When God Shows Up

BY Crystal Catalan | August 8, 2022
Sunday’s Readings

“You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” 

No, we do not know the exact moment when the end of our time will come, that is certain. But, how can we be prepared for when God does show up? How will you be ready to respond? I’m not talking about Judgment Day, rather, I invite you to think about times when God showed up in your life when you least expected it. Perhaps when you were so overcome with emotion that you were at a loss for words and experienced awe at God’s presence. Or maybe that “God moment” when you knew you were in the right place at the right time, or perhaps someone else was able to be that for you.

“Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” 

Over the course of the summer, I led a series of reflections at our local correctional facility. Last week, I asked the group of 41 men in protective custody, “What do you hope for and what or who do you place your hope in?” One of the men loudly responded, “I find hope in my faith. And faith is believing in something that I may not see.” It was clear, he understood the assignment. 

In that very moment, I was taken aback and was in awe. God met me and had come to greet me. The others joined in and proceeded to openly share their thoughts and experiences on hope and faith.  First, I originally planned to meet with only about five to eight of them that morning, but instead, I was greeted by 41 of them. I was not prepared with enough handouts! When the officer told me I would have 41 in attendance, I gasped and immediately said a quick prayer to myself: “God, please help me out here. I did not prepare for this!” Immediately, I was overcome with a wave of calmness and peace, and a gentle voice in my head said, “You are more than prepared. Trust me.” And I did. And with thirty seconds left to spare in our time together, the group enthusiastically asked when the next session would be. 

When I enter the units, sometimes I don’t know how many folks I will be spending my time with. I also don’t know what stories I will hear, whether or not there was a lockdown an hour prior or if they had been on lockdown for a few days. What I do know for certain though, is that I am called to show up and serve as a faithful example of God’s love for each one of them. And to be prepared as much as I can, and to have faith, even in what I can not see. 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” What area(s) of justice do you feel most called to serve as an advocate for, either with time or treasure?
  2. Recall a moment that has helped prepare you for where you are now, perhaps in your personal or professional life. Maybe a favorite class you took, an immersion trip you participated in, or even a personal encounter the other day. Offer gratitude for that moment.
6 replies
  1. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    I am still very grateful for my trip to the Holy Land in 2015. There were big guns in many areas but it seemed as if the land was at peace. In walking and praying the life of Christ one became immersed in His life. His love for us was the focus of every day. His willingness to suffer for us was evident by the monuments ans statues and the beautiful waters. in myself, I left the war out of my thoughts and consentrated on God’s loving goodness, His willingness to suffer and die for us. Lord, today let me reflect with you on the goodness of offering your life for me. I live you, Lord, with all my hert and soul. Let me show that love to others today.

  2. Thomas Stanley Larson
    Thomas Stanley Larson says:

    Wonderful work-you were where God wanted you to be-might not have been where you wanted to be-we do his will. Please keep up the good work.

  3. sonja
    sonja says:

    Thank you for sharing your time with men in prison. Going into prison and talking with the homeless on the streets have been the most God filled moments in my life. I pray that God will continue to open new doors for me to share how He is very much present in our world today.

  4. Joe Pazera
    Joe Pazera says:

    Good story, having worked 22 years in prison I can feel this . Faith becomes important, people do change . The walls have a way of opening people up . I am a former Jesuit Volunteer and the JVC prepared well . God bless

  5. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Seclusion offers opportunities for authentic inner growth. Inmates in prisons, leprosy asylums, ashrams, novitiates, cloistered convents – they are known to develop a meaningful brand of spirituality.

  6. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    This is a moment that has helped prepare me for where I am now, in both my personal and professional life that has made a difference. I’ve thought of this person frequently as I help schools get ready for a new year, our pastor started the building up of the Pastoral Council in the parish I lived. He drove all of us to think/feel about the best way we could assist the parish. The direction was to help the parish realize that all the people had a “variety of gifts but the same Spirit” 1Cor:14 All the ministries of the parish were fit into a big wheel and divided up into sections that best suited Recall a moment that has helped prepare you for where you are now, perhaps in your personal or professional life. the parish. He helped me and others to live that mission statement and did it well. The man who started this with us is Bishop Emerita Jack Gorman.
    Years later, I begin the new school year with the same Scripture statement and ask the faculty and students to live it. This statement keeps competion at bay between all stakeholders. It keeps the faculty and students wanting to work together. It is a constant mantra in my head as I talk about those gifts we have to use in service to one another. ir ia an opening statement at the beginning of the day and fits nicely as a closing statement to the God that loves us all. Today, this week, recognize the gift of someone else and encourage them to use it in service to others.


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