Sunday, September 14, 2008

Choosing Jesus

Tonight I had the unique experience of choosing JESUS over a guy that had caught my interest.

I had noticed him during Mass and had spent some time thinking of what I could say to him afterwards, planning how I would introduce myself without interrupting the reverence that is owed to God when one solemnly walks out of the church into the lobby.

I was in my usual spot, the crying room with all the mothers and babies and the people like me who get there late. As the lines formed for communion, I moved myself into the lobby and prepared to go down the center aisle so that I could receive communion from my friend, Father Paul.

The man I had my eye on appeared to be a very devout man, participating in the liturgy and staying focused on the order of the Mass. He was thoroughly invested in what was happening, I thought, until I saw otherwise at the near-end of Mass.

When it came time for communion, he exited and promptly left the church, whizzing by me in the lobby. By his expression, I sensed that perhaps he was carrying the cross of a mortal sin (which is, remember, any sin knowingly done as an offense to God). Having been guilty of this myself, I empathized and felt sorry for him, and I knew that his exit was due to the fact that he couldn't be in complete communion with God right now. It is a horrible feeling alleviated only by Confession, but the fact that he came for Mass anyway gave me the reassurance that he would probably go to receive the sacrament soon.

I've been wondering lately if sin causes us missed opportunities. I know that our God's will is sovereign, but I've never quite had the chance to see from the perspective of gift-giving how sin can make us unreceptive or completely ignorant of that which wants to be bestowed upon us.

It's not that I really felt my talking to this man after church was going to be a gift to him. He very well may have had a girlfriend or could have been discerning the priesthood for all I knew. Or, even more possible, he just might not have been interested in me, even if he didn't have the pursuits of the two aforementioned.

But, even if our meeting had gone no where and my speaking to him was merely a feather of flattery to stick in his hat, the opportunity was still lost because he needed to be right with God first. (Of course, I say all this and probably the reality was that he had to leave a tad early to meet up with his fiance or something.)

But there was a moment (when he jetted past me in the lobby) where I could have easily grabbed his arm and said hello (and then said the little thing I had prepared). And although I did take two steps in his direction, I also took two steps back because I remembered that before me was the Blessed Sacrament and that I must ALWAYS choose God over the likes of men.