“Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
–St. Teresa of Avila
(The Payson Temple of the LDS Church, photo credit to Alan Jensen)
On April 21st a bus dropped me off in Rexburg, Idaho. I had no contacts, no phone, and $35 to my name. Thus began my 30-day pilgrimage, one of the various “experiments” or “experiences” that characterize the first two years of Jesuit life in the novitiate. Why Rexburg, Idaho, to start? Well, after praying for a few days before the journey about where the Lord was calling me to begin, I determined that He was sending me to engage in dialogue with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons, for short). I did wind up having many spiritually uplifting dialogues with Mormons by the close of my pilgrimage.
However, now that my sojourn around the United States has come to an end, one experience in particular rises above the rest in my memory, and the contents of this memory have more to do with my relationship with God than with my individual encounters with Mormons. About midway through my journey, I had acquired around $250 from generous people who wished to support me. As I was walking to church on Sunday, the Spirit seemed to say to me, “You have all of this money… Is this comfort hurting the goal of the journey, which is to rely upon God? Are you becoming too complacent?” The thought troubled me. Was God really telling me to start over with nothing, to give the money away to someone who might need it more than I even though I myself “needed” it? I prayed a little more, and the Spirit confirmed the suggestion. I knelt down and entrusted the situation to God, and shortly thereafter I did let go of the money.
Then came the doubts. I questioned, “What did I just do? Did I really just give away the resources that would help me return to St. Paul safely?” It was quite troubling, but a deeper peace began to take root. As stated in the lyrics of the beautiful hymn “Be Still, My Soul,” God was softly whispering to me, “Leave to thy God to order and provide; In ev’ry change He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.” Is this feeling not that of spiritual consolation? The soul feels calm despite the external storms.
Soon enough, though, came a minor miracle. At church a gentleman with whom I’d spoken earlier for a few minutes approached me. He smiled at me and said, “David, you seem like a good man, and, besides that, you’re from one of my favorite cities, Chicago. I’m going to get you a plane ticket home.” At this point I nearly cried. Words from Scripture resounded in my head, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38). When we give, we receive. And sometimes–like this time–God allows us to receive from Him in a very visible, manifest way.
I retell this story not to make it seem as if I follow God’s will perfectly; I was honestly more reluctant than anything else. However, it illustrates a greater truth: God’s providential hand guides us. When we listen to Him, blessings do come, whether in this life or in the next.
I leave you with the following verse, which I testify to be true to the glory of God the Father: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?… Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25,33).
David J.W. Inczauskis, n.S.J.