We have entered the season for potential severe summer weather. As much as they can disrupt our plans, who can deny that those summer storms also add to the season a nice dimension of beauty and a sense of awe for the mighty hand of God.
I heard a story told by somebody who attended World Youth Day in Spain with Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. One evening at 9:00 the Pope was scheduled to address the gathering of over one million young people who had come to Madrid from all over the world.
Just as the Pope was to begin his address an unforeseen cloudburst unleashed upon the gathering. Heavy rains drenched the unsheltered crowd and strong winds sent sleeping bags and other gear flying through the air.
After over a half an hour of a very heavy downpour the storm subsided. As Pope Benedict stepped forward again onto the stage one of his aids handed to him the address he had planned to deliver. The Pope, however, motioned it away. Instead of addressing the crowd the Pope simply knelt down and began a time of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Before long most of the gathered crowd of now soaked-to-the-bone young people also began kneeling, in the mud, and a sublime silence settled over the storm-ravished field. Many of the young people testified that this moment of post-storm quiet prayer before the Lord was one of the most moving and deeply spiritual moments of the entire week.
We all have our plans – but sometimes storms come along. What a difference it makes when we focus not on the storm or on our own thwarted plans but on God. When we do that we always can discover beauty and a sense of awe for the mighty hand of God.
My prayer for all of you this summer is that from time to time a forceful rain from God would fall over you – enough to interrupt what you are doing or planning – and that you would bow down for a moment of silent prayer and let God do something unexpected and beautiful for you.
Thank God for all of the unforeseen but deeply touching blessings God brings to us in any and every season.