“Let us not miss out on the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter, listening and discernment, in the joyful conviction that, even as we seek the Lord, he always comes with his love to meet us first.”

Pope Francis

A while back I was facilitating a group and the meeting turned into a very heated exchange. There were some big decisions at stake. Everyone had something significant invested in the outcome and consequently they also had strong opinions on how the project should unfold. I wish as the facilitator I could take credit for it, but at some point one of the group members suggested we just pause and pray. Instead of asking for something specific, the person suggested we place before the Lord, not what we wanted, but simply where we were. Whether it be confused, concerned, or angry, the person suggested we pray for God to meet us where we were and take us where He wanted us to go. I could tell the others’ reactions ranged from gratitude to reluctant resignation, but everyone engaged. We didn’t solve the issue at hand in that meeting, but the dynamic was a lot more productive going forward. 

I had forgotten about that experience until I heard this Sunday’s Gospel of Jesus’ first miracle at the Wedding Feast at Cana. It’s a story no doubt with which we are all familiar. However, for whatever reason, for the first time I focused in on Mary’s part. In my earliest memories of the story, I’ve always thought of it as Mary telling Jesus what to do. But as I read it this Sunday, I realized, she doesn’t tell the Son of God what to do, she tells them where they are. "They have no wine." It’s actually the headwaiter to whom she gives the order, "Do whatever he tells you." I instantly thought back to that group and the wise member who called a prayer time out. While the Lord welcomes all of our intercessions, how often am I comfortable enough simply to bring to him my place? I am afraid. I am so tired. I am angry. How often do I remember that the Lord doesn’t need my direction, but He delights in my recognition of Him? Like the Blessed Mother, can I bring my situation to the Lord and wait for His direction? As a leader, I don’t always have to have an answer. It may be that my greatest act of leadership is creating the space for people to come to the Lord, to share where they are, and to wait on God’s providence to be made known. How will you bring yourself to the Lord this week? Let’s pray not to be prepared, but simply to be present.

by Daniel Cellucci

January 17, 2022

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