I had my entire Friday planned, or so I thought. God had other plans for my day off. After breakfast with a group of priests, I wanted to go see the movie Silence, since it had created so much hype. Some people said it was a must see while others warned me not to waste my time. I wanted to decide for myself. Everything changed Thursday night when I heard a friend’s early morning flight was cancelled. Having dealt with flight problems myself in the past, I know it can be a nightmare, so I willingly offered to drive him to Milwaukee, if it made for an easier departure. That’s where the interruption began!
I drove my friend to the airport and went to a nearby coffee shop for a few hours, as I tried to figure out how to spend the rest of my day. Could I switch my Chicago appointment next week to today? Would a friend be able to meet me for lunch? Should I meet with a religious sister, with whom I serve on a committee, and talk about our upcoming event? I put out all these feelers, but no firm commitments in place. My computer screen also had loaded the area movie theatre times for Silence: 12:35 and 12:45. I thought I might be able to squeeze it in.
That was, until Sister emailed me back. She could meet and apologized for not seeing my email sooner. It was 10:45, and I was half an hour away from the convent. I calculated in my mind, how close the two theatres were from the convent, and if it was possible to squeeze in Silence. I decided it was possible. As I got closer and closer to the convent, I felt God tugging on my heart saying, “stay at the convent.” Sister had mentioned the possibility of lunch, but I thought it simply wouldn’t fit in my timeline. I was adamant about seeing Silence. I wanted to force it into my day.
Once I arrived and started talking with Sister, she asked about my timeline. I shared about wanting to go see the film and explained what it was about. After a few minutes, she asked for a decision about lunch. I said to her, “Sister, I don’t think God wants me to go see this movie. Let’s have lunch.” The reason was twofold. First, the theatres I had scoped out close to my home, both changed their times and only had a late night showing. Even if my day wasn’t interrupted, I wouldn’t have seen it. Secondly, I was cognizant about the tug on my heart to stay at the convent and pray at their Marian shrine. At about 12:30, during lunch, Sister pointed out I didn’t have time to see the movie. I was okay with it. After eating, we said our good byes, and both her and her superior encouraged me to visit the Marian shrine.
As I sat in my car, I calculated again the distance to the theatre and the length of “coming attraction features”, and wondered if I could make it in time to see the film, thus foregoing any visit to the Marian shrine. I wanted to squeeze that movie in, and I thought it was possible. As I deliberated, I decided it was in my best spiritual interest to go to the Marian shrine and make a Holy Hour.
As I prayed in the small shrine chapel, I could sense the presence of Mary. After all, this was a Schoenstatt shrine, and the Schoenstatt movement believes Mary has made her home in every Schoenstatt shrine in the world. As I sat there, praying the rosary, and mulling over what’s going on in my life, that maternal presence of Mary was tangible. During my meditation, twelve words forming three sentences were placed on my heart. Given where I was, I believed it was Mary who spoke those words to my heart. It was a mother speaking to her son, and she knew exactly what I needed in that moment. Those words received in prayer became the subject of further meditation during my Holy Hour, and for the rest of the day.
As I drove home in silence from the convent, processing the day’s events, and the Holy Hour, I came to realize, the interruptions of my day allowed everything to happen. All of this was designed by our God and a part of His plan. I wouldn’t have been in Milwaukee if it wasn’t for my friend. If I wasn’t in Milwaukee, I wouldn’t have gone to see Sister at the Schoenstatt convent. And if I hadn’t gone to the convent, I never would have received those comforting words in prayer. I wanted to squeeze in Silence, but if I did, none of this would have transpired. Because I allowed God to interrupt my day, I didn’t get to see the latest Catholic movie from Hollywood. What I experienced was much more profound, because in silence I sought to hear the voice of God. In silence, I realized how God interrupted my day for the better. The real lesson I learned from not seeing Silence, was to be silent, and ponder the interruptions God sends my way.