In the ruckus-a-minute intensity of parenting young kids, where is there room for the Divine? Surely God has more important places to be than my kitchen in Conroe, Texas, convincing my 3-year-old to wear pants.
If I were God, I’d desire a quiet church over my loud house, or a safe tabernacle to my rough-and-tumble family, or a cloistered convent where everyone’s capable of praying without kicking the person next to them!
Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of St. Josemaría Escrivá, a Spanish priest and founder of the Opus Dei movement. His writings help me realize God’s favorite place to be is… wherever we are.
In a homily on October 8, 1967, Josemaría counseled:
“There is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it… We discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things.” – St. Josemaría Escrivá
As parents, we might say (with a little envy), “Well, what would he know? He’s just another solitudinous priest who could never comprehend the decibel level of daily life in my household!”
And yet, one of Josemaría’s most profound visions of God occurred on a rush-hour train in Madrid, crowded with passengers. Maybe he was standing, no seats available, holding an overhead rail as the train jolted along, one person bumping against him while someone else chattered nonstop and another grumbled for the loud one to be quiet. (That sounds something like parenthood, right?)
Somehow, within the cacophony of that crowded train, St. Josemaría encountered God: in a passing, transcendent moment, he understood God as Father in a way he never had before. Hours earlier, Josemaría struggled to hear God’s voice in the quiet of his parish, and yet here on a train, surrounded by the clamorous city of Madrid, Josemaría could hear and understand God with complete clarity. He began to exclaim, “Abba! Father!”
People must have thought he was crazy, though in the midst of his divine encounter, St. Josemaría didn’t seem to care about public opinion. (Perhaps, as parents, we should be as unbothered as St. Josemaría when our sacred vocations crash into the public realities of children fussing at Mass, tantruming in stores, or yelling through the neighborhood…)
In my most hectic moments, St. Josemaría’s extraordinary encounter with God on a crowded train in Madrid brings comfort.
God desires to be fully present with each of us, wherever we are—driving in rush hour, praying in Adoration, with kids at the store, on a call-that-should’ve-been-an-email at work, with toddlers fussing at Mass, even while wiping someone else’s pee off the toilet seat for the thousandth time in a week.
God’s favorite place to be is… wherever we are.
May each of us discover “something holy, something divine” in this hectic, ordinary day.
St. Josemaría Escrivá, pray for us!
Author: Charlene Bader