Real Life. Real Faith.

I sat in a grade school gym on a winter Saturday afternoon. I usually follow the game closely but, this week, I was chatting with another mom. She was going through a hard time and she needed someone to hear her. I was that someone.

As she spoke, I heard in my heart, “Give her your medal. You’ll get another.” I was surprised and a little unsure. I knew she went to Mass weekly and I knew it would bring her comfort but it was a miraculous medal given to me by a good friend after she visited Fatima. “Huh,” I thought. “Not sure I like this request.” I kept listening both to the woman beside me and to the Holy Spirit.

I heard it again, “Give her your medal. You’ll get another.” I felt selfish for not wanting to give it up, but I took it off the chain and awkwardly gave it to her, explaining what it is, why I wear it and that I think she should take it. She graciously accepted and the final buzzer sounded a few minutes later. I left the gym glad I’d listened and also wondering how this would play out.

One afternoon several months later, I glanced at the bulletin board next to my desk at work, and there, pinned to it, was a miraculous medal. I was surprised and elated. Another medal and I received it anonymously. I hadn’t told anyone what I’d done and it felt like a gift from Jesus. I’ve never learned who acted on the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

A year or so later, I was chatting with a woman whose husband had passed away. Again I heard, “Give her your medal. You’ll get another.” This time, I was wise enough to listen the first time. Off came the medal from my chain and it was just a few weeks later when I got another. A woman in my small group announced that she had a bagful of saint medals from her grandmother and offered to share. I requested a miraculous medal. This was getting fun. God is full of surprises.

A few years passed and I wondered if I’d get to experience God’s goodness like that again when a good friend died of cancer. I was thinking about his wife and those familiar words came again, “Give her your medal. You’ll get another.” I immediately took it off and taped it to the card I was writing to her. Then the wait to see when and how the next medal would arrive began. I knew it might take time but I also knew God had a plan and I would be surprised.

Five weeks later, at a conference, I walked past a table and saw they had miraculous medals for us to grab. Hooray! Here, it was in a place I didn’t expect. I’ve learned that God is never outdone in generosity and, if we are receptive and trusting, he will use us to help in his work. When he first asked me to give away my medal I resisted, having no idea he would respond in such a fun way. Now, three medals later, I’m excited to see what’s next.

It’s true what St. John Paul II said: “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.”