This really goes back two years. After nearly a lifetime of exposure to the Catholic Church, my wife made the decision that she wanted to become a Catholic. She knew she had to attend RCIA classes but she did not want to go alone. She wanted me there for “moral support.” So I began to “tag along” with her.
Both of us had issues from prior marriages that needed to be sorted out before we could move forward with our Sacraments. After about a year’s time in RCIA we thought we would stop going to classes and wait on our marriage issues to be settled. We figured that if our annulments were granted Vicki could then receive her Sacraments because her RCIA requirements would have already been fulfilled. We spoke with Martha, our RCIA instructor, about our plan. Around the same time as this, a new group of students were starting the course. Martha asked us if we wouldn’t mind continuing on in with the classes just to have some “experienced” students help the others transition. Since we enjoyed the course we agreed to keep coming. We figured we were always learning something new anyway. What could it hurt?
In the late summer/early autumn of 2015 a class for catechists started. I felt this desire to take the classes just in case I ever wanted to become a catechist. No sooner did I begin that course of study, our own Lisa Hendey, the editor of CatholicMom, came to our RCIA class to give a talk. I did not know Lisa but was familiar with her since she had previously spoken to our class and was a parishioner. She had recently become the editor-at-large for Ave Maria Press. Since I had heard about her recent appointment I went-up and congratulated her. The next thing I knew, within a couple of days after that encounter, I learned that Lisa was wondering if I would be interested in contributing to CatholicMom! This caught me off guard since Lisa had no way of knowing if I had any sort of writing skills or if I was interested in doing any sort of writing (which I was). So I accepted the offer.
After the catechetic training was over, Martha asked me if I would be interested in helping out in the retreats for the Confirmation candidates. After that I helped at the catechumen retreats in their preparation for receiving the Sacraments.
If any of you know, the annulment process is not a rushed affair, nor is it one taken lightly by the Church. It is a thorough examination by the Church of one’s previous marriage to determine if it was sacramentally valid. It is not Catholic “divorce” nor is it “automatic.” The thoroughness of it all can be tedious and can grind on you. I have to admit, I was getting impatient and exasperated. However, it was during this time that God presented me with all of these opportunities--opportunities to be of service to His people. In just about the same amount of time that my impatience was growing, God was moving me in directions that, for the most part, distracted my impatience for a greater good.
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If you read my article last month about my son, the budding philosopher, I wrote that his questions have forced me to learn more about the Faith. In the same way, all these opportunities that God has sent my way has forced me to grow in my own faith. I have had to re-learn, reinforce, and research the topics of our faith as they come up. His opportunities have also forced me to turn back to Scripture on a daily basis, to become more prayerful, and try to recognize Him in everything and everyone.
It certainly has been an interesting year. We might be tempted to call it coincidence. It is not coincidence at all. It is God working on "God time." He knows when to present the opportunities that may seem coincidental or “out of the blue.” We just have to be open and take advantage of what He presents to us and realize that what He gives us is for the good of His Church.
Copyright 2016 Michael T CarrilloIt has certainly been an interesting year. A whole whirlwind of opportunities opened-up for me in just a few short months; all of them God-service-related. Let me explain.
About the Author
Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.