Has God ever used you as the answer to someone else’s prayer?

People's Express

This story reveals my age. If you remember the days before the internet and cell phones you know that it wasn’t always easy to locate someone. Communication wasn’t instantaneous. And if someone was out of town and you didn’t have a forwarding phone number or address it was almost impossible.

I had been praying for Theresa for several weeks, ever since Colonial X’s wife had called to ask if I could locate her to share the sad news that the Colonial had died. Theresa was a Pediatrician, originally from Korea. Colonial X had sponsored her to go to medical school and again assisting her in her application to emigrate to the United States. I had visited Theresa many times, bringing her Holy Communion. She had a debilitating neurological disease that robbed her of strength and vitality and her ability to continue in her medical practice. Theresa was still a fairly young woman. When she was able she would travel to the DC area to stay with a good friend and a respite from the loneliness of her apartment. Unfortunately I didn’t know the name or address or phone number of her friend.

None of this was on my mind as I hurried to catch a plane at Newark Airport. This was in the 1980’s in the days of People’s Express Airline. My conference had ended early and if I hurried I could catch the earlier flight back home to Buffalo. As it turned out I was able to catch the earlier flight. People’s Express had open seating and as I made my way onto the plane there, with an open seat next to her, was my friend and parishioner Theresa. I thanked God for providing this opportunity to relay the message of the death of her friend and for her to share how much this man had meant to her and done for her.

What were the odds that on one of the four flights I took that year I would be able to sit next to the very person I had been trying for weeks to locate?

Has God ever used you as the answer to someone else’s prayer? Please comment on this blog by sharing one of your stories.


P.S. On a whim I googled Theresa and found that she is still living. She was featured in a retirement community ad. I learned that she must have recovered from her neurological condition and was able to continue her medical practice until retirement. I haven’t been in touch with her for almost 30 years but I just wrote her a letter at her retirement home. It certainly is much easier now to be in touch, but maybe this too is part of God’s design.

Have you seen the face of Christ in another person?

Jim with kids at Good Samaritan school

How have you seen the face of Christ in another person?

I believe that if we look closely enough we will see the face of Christ in every person, because each of us is made in the image of God and in some way reflects and reveals that sacred image.  So, I expect that each of us has stories we can share of seeing the face of Christ in another.

Here’s one of mine: On a mission trip to Haiti our parish group visited a school of one of our partner parishes in Gros Morne.  The visit by the Americans was a big deal and much of the school was assembled to meet us.  All the children wore uniforms – the girls wore plaid dresses often with complimenting hair ties and bows and the boys wore blue checked shirts and khaki shorts.  One little girl broke away from her class group and ran towards us.  She came right to me, rubbed my arm and ran back to her friends, all of them laughing and twittering.  I was laughing too.

I realized a few moments later that she had rubbed my skin to see if the white came off of it.  I doubt that she had ever touched a white person before.  Was I human?  Was I like her?  She wanted to know, to touch, to see.

Christians most basic belief is that God came among us, revealed God’s-self to us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  If we were to rub Jesus’ skin would the human shell come off so we could see God within?  Of course it wouldn’t for Jesus was fully human!  In his human self he showed us God’s self.  But Jesus also showed us our human self – what it means to be fully human, to be fully present, to fully give yourself away to others.

That little girl touched what it means to be human in me.  She shared our common humanity.  And in doing so she gave me a glimpse of Jesus who is human like her and like me.

Please share some of your stories: How have you seen the face of Christ in another person?