Month: February 2017

Almighty God and His Hobbit Missionary

Since salvation history began, God’s way with souls—and His sense of humor—have not changed. He has always chosen the most seemingly unfit to accomplish His plan, from Moses, who pleaded that he was too “slow of speech and of tongue” (Exodus 4:10) to be God’s messenger, to St. Faustina Kowalska, who had no money, education or power, but was sent to bring the Divine Mercy message to the world. Most people are never called to do anything so great, but even in less significant cases, God often manifests His power through apparently unfit instruments. One such case was my spring break mission trip to Cuzco, Peru, during my sophomore year at Christendom College. The Holy Spirit moved in me, despite my many natural aversions to the experience, and used me on the trip to show His love.

When my parents first learned that I wanted to go on a mission trip, they were pleased but surprised, and with good reason. Whatever words might be used to describe me, “adventurous” would hardly be high on the list. It might not quite be true that I “never did anything unexpected or had any adventures,” but I might be compared to a hobbit, one of the little people who inhabit J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. I like a routine, familiar places and people, and a reasonable predictability in life. A year earlier, making the transition from home life to college had been a slow and excruciating process. How could I now elect to trade a visit home for a week in South America?

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A Door in the Gloom

The door swung open, releasing a wave of noise and strong odors. At this time of evening, the workingmen of the little town gathered in the tavern to relax and ease away the day’s toil. The air inside, warmed by the many bodies in it, was thick with the smells of sweat, smoke, and liquors, and the atmosphere vibrated with loud voices, laughter, gushing of drinks and clanking of glass. The young man who had just entered, though, contrasted significantly with the surrounding scene. His clothing, mostly covered with a brown cloak, was simple and poor but not dirty. His face, its expression alert but serene, glanced intently around the crowded space, searching. Suddenly his gaze halted, fixed on something across the smoky air, and his face lit up with interest. He began to make his way toward what he had seen.

As he strode between the tables, attentive observers might have noticed the rowdy congregation of workingmen taking heed of his passing. He did not look at them, but where he came near, men lowered their shouting voices, wiped the dribbling ale from their beards, and generally attempted to look somewhat civilized. One, less subdued than the others, waved his handful of cards and called with a grin, “Ho, have a game with us?”

“Not now, Marek,” the other replied, his tone friendly but sober. A moment later, this quiet visitor had passed all the tables and reached the great room’s far corner, dusty, dim and furnished only with a few sacks. On these lay a long, narrow lump, covered in a threadbare gray cloak—a lump in which the young man had recognized a human shape.

He knelt beside the lump and said, softly but clearly, “This is no place for you.”

The lump stirred slightly, then grunted, “Who says?”

A smile of deep relief broke over the man’s face. “Dominika, why don’t you come with me?”

At this name the lump jerked upright. From beneath the cloak, a lean hand and arm peeled away the hood, and out peered the pinched, dirty face of a young girl, not more than seventeen. As she saw her visitor, her face broke into surprise and a wonder that was almost joy. Her mouth fumbled for a moment, then managed to form a cry, “Matus!” as she flung her bony arms around him.

“Finally,” he murmured, tenderly embracing her back. “I looked all over.”

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When you’re round beset with losses

And your heart and flesh stripped bare,

When you look for the old comforts

But find only empty air,

When you’re driven to the limits

Of what feelings can endure,

Let your spirit hear your Savior

Saying, “Blessed are you poor.”


When you hear the world’s cruel laughter

For the love by which you live,

When you find no one who’s willing

To accept the heart you give,

When you’re crushed beneath betrayal,

Growing weary, feeling weak,

Let your spirit hear your Savior

Saying “Blessed are you meek.”


When the sight of your corruption

Tempts you to shrink back in fear,

When life strikes your tend’rest center,

Sparing not your sacred dear,

When some rare unspoken anguish

Leaves your soul deep gashes torn,

Let your spirit hear your Savior

Saying, “Blest are you who mourn.”


When you feel your life outflowing

Like the blood from piercéd side,

Let your spirit hear your Savior

Saying, “Blest you crucified!

Blest are all who suffer with Me,

For I promise you shall rise.

In My plan, the one who triumphs

Must be first the one who dies.”

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