by Ken Rolheiser
Easter miracles and Living on a prayer

God breaks into our ordinary lives and touches us with miracles and His love.

Christian writer Larry Peterson recounts this story about a dear friend who is now deceased, but who attended Mass faithfully every Sunday from the weekend of this phone call until his death.

“Petie, I am going to Mass this Sunday. What do you think of that?” Jumbo Feeney had not been to Mass in decades. He would go to church for a social event like a wedding or a funeral, but never on his own.

“Okay, Jumbo, what happened?”

“Here it is. And I ain’t never told this to anyone, so keep it under your hat. Every night when Midge and I go to bed, she grabs my hand and we say a Hail Mary. Then she says, ‘God loves you, Jumbo.’ Then we go to sleep.

“But I never paid attention and just let her say her prayer and that was that. And she never bugged me about it, ever.”

“So what happened?”

“Well, last night, Midge was acting weird and suddenly passed out. I freaked out. She fell down on the floor and was out cold. Jimmy quickly says to me, ‘Grandpa, it’s Grandma’s blood sugar. She needs something sweet to eat. You have to check her blood sugar.’

“Petie, I didn’t know what to do. She has diabetes all these years and I didn’t know what to do. I went blank. So, my 12-year-old grandson gets Midge’s blood sugar kit out, sticks her finger and finds out her sugar is 39. He gets some OJ and some sugar and some stuff for her to eat and he saved her, Petie. My grandson saved my wife while I stood there like a useless ass. If he hadn’t been there I—”  Then I heard my 6-foot, 5-inch, 250-pound buddy stifle a sob.

“Petie, she came around, and Jimmy and I got her on the couch. She is sitting up looking at me and I’m feeling like a fool. Then she takes a deep breath, looks at me and asks me if I will please go to Mass with her on Easter Sunday.”

“So what did you tell her, Jumbo?”

“I put my arm around her shoulder, looked her square in those beautiful green eyes and said, ‘Midge, I swear to you, I will go to Mass with you every Sunday from this Easter on. I swear it. All those times you told me that ‘God loves me,’ well, Midgie, you were right. He does love me. He gave me you back. I owe him big time.’”

“Hey, Jumbo, give Midge a hug for me, will ya? And, Happy Easter. Love ya, man.”

“Yeah, love ya too, Petie. Happy Easter.”

Sometimes our ordinary lives are a daily struggle, but with a prayer, we’re half way there as Bon Jovi sings in “Livin On A Prayer”:
“Whoa, we're half way there
Whoa, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear”

Sometimes it is tough to see the elusive success we all strive for:
“We've gotta hold on to what we've got.
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.”

I know, you’ve all heard it before: it’s the journey that matters. Saint Teresa of Calcutta said, “God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”

And sometimes God sends us a little story about His great love and how simple it is for us to pass that message on to those we love.

(596 words)