Find God In Unexpected Places
From Nice, France, To Pisa, Italy
By Bo Sanchez
This is ironic.
Because our pilgrim group was going to Rome, our bus had to pass the French Riviera and stay one night in Nice. Does that place ring a bell?
I don’t know about you, but I only hear “French Riviera” when I read about Hollywood stars taking vacations there. And right next to Nice is Monaco and Monte Carlo, very famous for its casinos, glamour, and Grand Prix racing.
From the French Riviera, we crossed the Italian border, and by late evening, we entered the old town of Pisa—and spent the night there too. Yes, the one with the famous leaning tower. (I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.)
But as this was part of our road journey, we had to pass these “worldly places” and find God in them too. We could of course have taken a plane and “jumped” from one holy city to another. For example, we could have flown from Fatima and jumped to Lourdes, and from Lourdes hopped to Rome.
But that wouldn’t reflect real life.
Because human life consists of the sacred and the secular. Not everything we do is outwardly religious.
But here’s what I’ve realized: As we mature in our spirit, these boundaries blur. The mature Christian sees everything as sacred.
Why? Because God is everywhere.
Let me say something shocking here: A spiritually mature person is equally at home in her prayer meeting and doing her laundry; She is spiritually at home attending Holy Mass and shopping in a mall. Why? Because if God is her home, and if God is everywhere, then she is at home everywhere.
As heretical as this may sound, how does one know if a prayer meeting or Mass becomes “effective” in our lives? Only if they train our spiritual eyes to recognize the same Presence of God in other people, in nature, especially in the poor, and in ourselves.
Of course, someone could quote my words above out of context and say “Bo is telling us not to go to Mass anymore”. On the contrary, I believe it is our highest praise. But unless you’re a monk, you can’t stay in church 24 hours a day.
Friend, do you find God in your job? In the mall? In the gym? In the restaurant? In the movie house?
Concentration Camp survivor Victor Frankl talks about another woman in the prison with him who knew she was dying. She spoke about the one thing that gave her joy each day—a tree outside her window. It gave her so much comfort. The woman said that she spoke to the tree each day—and the tree spoke to her. She said that before her days in prison, she never had the time to see how beautiful something as simple as a tree is. It was God’s Presence, God smiling at her.
Friend, you and I are so busy, we no longer see God in the simplest things. But if we look deeply, in these simple things, we see God smiling at us.
So smile. He is smiling at you.