“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved: It is God’s finger on man’s shoulder.” ~ Charles Morgan
Surprises. Most people like them. Pleasant surprises, that is. I have known many a manager who has instructed his or her staff never to have them surprised. They want to know everything that is happening so as not to be caught unaware. I can agree with that. I want to be informed, as well, in case anything comes back my way.
But pleasant surprises? They can be very pleasing and joyful, even if a bit stressful. I remember once, many years ago now, when I engineered my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party. I told them that I was going to get coverage at my parish and accompany them to the 5:30 p.m. Mass at their home parish. Afterwards, we were going to go out to dinner.
They suspected that I might pull something at dinner; but, I knew that they had no idea what was in store. I had arranged for many people, several from out of town, to attend the evening Mass with them. Afterwards, we were going to go “to dinner” at the parish hall where we were expecting over one hundred guests. Some of the wedding party were even in attendance.
When I picked my parents up at their house and while we were on the way to the church, I broke the surprise just a little bit by forewarning them that there were going to be many things they didn’t expect and to be ready for that. I did that because of my father’s heart condition. I didn’t want him seeing all the people at Mass and have a heart attack or stroke.
The look on their faces when they walked into church was worth all the trouble arranging the day. That look remained with them throughout the Mass, at which I was the main celebrant, and through the evening dinner. The surprise made their day and their anniversary. They realized just how loved they were when they saw some of their wedding party who had traveled distances to be with them.
Love should not take us by surprise even though it often does. Too many times, we encounter the human kind of love. That is to say, a love with strings attached. When we are met with genuine love, a love that is totally unconditional and free, it often takes us by surprise. That is the love that comes to us from God.
We may think that we are unlovable because of the sins of our past. We may think that we are unlovable because of the choices we have made and make. Well, think again. God loves you. It is as simple as that. Surprise!
FAITH ACTION: Do your best to love all people you encounter today, without placing any strings or conditions on your love.