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Listen to the messengers God sends you

Readings for March 9-10, Fourth Sunday of Lent

By Fr. Edward Looney | For On Mission

Throughout the course of history, God has called people for specific purposes. For example, God called Noah and prepared him for a mission that would lead to the re-creation of the world.

In our first reading from the Second Book of Chronicles, it says that the people mocked their messengers. Thinking of Noah, I’m sure many people thought he was crazy for doing what God told him, until he was not, and the flood came and his family was safe. 

Time and again, God called messengers like Jeremiah, who is named, to speak to the people, giving them prophetic words to call straying humanity back to the ways of God. At the right time, God intervenes with a message when people need it most.

The same is true when it comes to apparitions. It seems that they happen in history at the exact right moment. 

We are blessed to live in the Diocese of Green Bay where the Queen of Heaven gave a message to a Belgian immigrant named Adele. The immigrants who were arriving in northeast Wisconsin were falling away from the faith for lack of priests who spoke their language. God sent his mother with a message to renew the faith of a people who were becoming lax.

Still today, God sends us the right messengers at the right time. 

Our Catholic tradition has a rich history of saints and their writings. There are so many works of holy men and women we could choose from to read. Out of this abundance, it is amazing, at times, that we choose the exact spiritual writer who speaks a message to us that we need to hear right now. It’s amazing that these things happen. This is the goodness of God who bestows such gifts upon his faithful people.

For years, I have followed a tribute social media account for Jesuit Fr. Willy Doyle, an Irish military chaplain with an open cause for sainthood. The account posts excerpts of Fr. Willy’s writings. 

At any moment over the last three to five years, I could have picked up the collected writings of Fr. Doyle. But it wasn’t until recently that I purchased and started praying through his writings and wisdom. What he wrote is exactly what I needed for my prayerful reflection right now. God sent me a saintly, priestly messenger at the time when I needed that person the most.

I’m sure this happens often for people. I need advice and I happen to run into a person who could give me counsel. The words they speak prove helpful. It could happen in the confessional, when a random priest hears my confession and offers me counsel that is quite helpful for my spiritual life, or it is a message in a homily that speaks to my current situation. 

It would be beneficial for us to pay attention to the messengers God has sent us in the Scriptures we read, in the spiritual writers we encounter, in the conversations that we have. Their message is what God wants us to hear right now. All we must do is pay attention, listen and trust that God is at work.

Fr. Looney is the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Shawano, and priest-celebrant at St. Martin’s Parish, Cecil. He is the host of the podcast “Hey Everybody! It’s Fr. Edward.”

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