Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Do events in our lives happen by chance or are they planned by God?  Are we just at the right place at the right time or does the Lord put us where we need to be at the right moment?  Our lives are made up of coincidences which I prefer to call, and commonly referred to as, God incidences.  We have all had moments in our lives when there are really no explanations other than God’s intervention.  The first day I casually walked into a Pauline Book Center, which was life changing, was no coincidence.  Part of evangelization is sharing our stories – our God incidences.  I would like to share one of my mine.

A few years ago, a favorite radio personality suggested adopting a Bible verse and living it out during the approaching New Year.  I loved this idea; however, by mid-February I still could not decide on a verse.  Then, while attending a day of prayer, the priest mentioned the above verse in his opening comments.  I immediately loved it and decided this could be the right one for me.  While leaving the chapel and picking up my Pauline Prayer Book, the prayer card from my father’s funeral fell out.  On the front of the card was Micah 6:8.

A chill ran through me.  The card was chosen because it had the prayer of St. Francis on the back (my Dad’s name is Francis), but I did not remember the verse on the front from Micah.  My dad died in 2001; I had not looked at the card for years.  I truly felt this was a message.  If I had not been in the retreat chapel on that day and the prayer card did not fall, this incident would never have happened.

Since Father’s Day will be celebrated this month, I decided to dedicate this post to my father who taught me so well in his quiet and gentle way.  Evangelization is not only writing and talking about God’s love but living it out in our daily lives .  My father did not talk about his faith and religion but he lived it.  What was the message of my God incident?  What were God the Father and my dad telling me?  How could I apply Micah 6:8 to my daily life?  Some thoughts:

To Act Justly – Everyone wants to be treated fairly and with equality and dignity.  In our society today, this has become an important topic and has been in the news almost daily.  To act justly simply means to do the right thing and to follow the Golden Rule:
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. “  St. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:32:  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you” and in Colossians 3:12-14  “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Lord, help me to treat others as I want to be treated, especially in the small annoyances of life when it is so easy to forget to be kind, patient and forgiving.

To Love Tenderly –  Our culture uses the word love so casually.  I witness tender love when I see the faces of new parents gazing down with unconditional love at their newborn or at a grieving person holding the hand of their loved one as they are saying their final good bye.  Who is a better example of tender love than our Blessed Mother who we, as Paulines, hold close to our hearts?  Mary is the most humble, gentle, tender and loving mother.

The familiar verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4 -5 sums up beautifully what tender love is:  “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”
In Romans 12:10, St. Paul tells us, “Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”
How do I treat the people in my life who I profess to love?

Lord, let me love tenderly – with compassion and mercy.

Walk Humbly With Your God -    As Paulines we are called to imitate Christ who said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.“  Nothing makes me feel more humble as when I am giving Communion at Mass, to the homebound or at a hospital.  Love this quote that speaks of humility from Pope John XX111:  “It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it.  Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.”
St. Augustine was asked which virtue was first.  He answered:  humility.  It is the foundation of all of the virtues.

Lord, help me to be humble.  Help me to live my life in humility and simplicity.

In closing, and since I am dedicating this to my father, please bear with me as I share another God
incident.  While volunteering at a local hospital one morning, I noticed a familiar name on my patient list.  I was assigned to visit my godfather who I had not seen in several years.  It was such a blessing to not only visit him but to give him one of his last Communions and then attend his funeral the following week.  Had I not been in the hospital that day and assigned to his room, I would not have this lasting memory.  A coincidence?

One more share…. I heard a story recently about a couple whose baby was born and was given only a short time to live.  While at home one evening, they picked up their Bible,  turned to the Gospel of Luke (the baby’s name) and randomly chose a page.  The first verse they saw was Luke 18:16:  “let the little children come to me.”  The baby died the next morning.  A coincidence?
Do you have a favorite Bible verse or God incident that has impacted you?  Please share.  It is an excellent way to evangelize!

Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator for eight years. Semi-retired as a credit/AR manager in NJ, she is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of four. She serves as a Eucharistic minister and belongs to a Divine Mercy Cenacle group. Maryann assists at Pauline book fairs and J-Club events, schedules meetings and prayer times for local Cooperators and friends of the Pauline Family, and accompanied a candidate in the Cooperator formation program. She participated in a Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage to Italy in 2010. 


Rae Stabosz said...

Nice! I am right there with you about coincidences, Mary Ann.

Sandy Cunningham said...

Beautiful. We should get a book together of all the Godincidents we've been experiencing. What do you think?

M-L Handal, NYC said...

Thank you, Maryann, for the beautiful and spiritually provocative reflection on that wonderful pericope from Micah 6:8. It presents us with a challenging set of directives, especially in the current popular culture where we don't so often see people, or even ourselves, "walking humbly" with our God.