So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
Just Another Day
April 3, 2019 started off as “just another day” for me. I said goodbye to my wife and daughters, blessed them, drove to work at the parish, took care of multiple emails and led a rosary for our Senior Adult Ministry. At 3 PM, I went over to the chapel and prayed a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for all the souls in purgatory. As always, I emphasized “those who will die today”. Never did I think that I could have been praying for myself.
I left the parish at 4 PM, said a prayer for safe travels and prepared for the drive home. It was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to a peaceful ride. As I typically do, I alternated between listening to podcasts, Christian music and praying. The traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike seemed lighter than normal and all was well. At around 4:15, there appeared to be a slowdown (which is nothing out of the ordinary) and I applied my brakes and came to a stop. I looked in the rearview mirror (an instinctive move) and saw a car approaching at an uncomfortable rate of speed. Time seemed to slow down as I braced for the inevitable. I was about to take a direct hit by a car traveling at 70 miles per hour!
What happened next is a bit blurry in my mind. For what seemed like minutes (it was actually a matter of seconds), my car was propelled head on into the concrete divider, spun around completely and came to rest facing the oncoming rush hour traffic. By the grace of God, I was able to collect my thoughts and drive the car to the shoulder of the highway. The person who hit me had also pulled over to the side of the road and was waiting in the car. I was surprisingly calm as I called ‘911’ and my wife. A gentleman from roadside assistance then opened my passenger door to make sure I was okay. My first words to him were:
“I’m blessed to be alive!”
As I climbed out of the car, I noticed the postcard of the Blessed Mother and the baby Jesus that I picked up two days earlier at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. It was sitting on the passenger seat. A feeling of peace came over me, as I was reminded of their constant presence. I had some neck and back pain and I could feel that I hit my head on something (probably the visor), but I was able to walk unassisted. As I waited to complete the police report and have my car towed, I posted a message on Facebook asking for prayers and pondered how I would get home. Everything worked out perfectly.
Before this incident, I was very aware that my time on earth is limited. I also understood that God expects me to use my gifts to advance His Kingdom. That is why I gave notice at the parish earlier this week. I’ve been feeling a strong calling to return to full time ministry as a speaker and author. There is work to be done. I understood that. But now that understanding is stronger than ever. The fact that I’m alive today is a reminder that the Lord isn’t ready for me yet. He still needs me to work for Him on earth. People need to know that Jesus Christ is real and wants to be a part of their everyday lives. He also wants them to have hope and be at peace. I plan to spend the rest of my life spreading that message.
He has a plan for you as well. If you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus, do it today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Ask Him to use you as His instrument. Don’t worry that you’re not qualified. None of us are. He will do the heavy lifting. All He wants is for you to say, “yes” and depend on His assistance. He will handle the details.
I am alive for a reason and so are you. Jesus is counting on us to assist Him. I’m all in. How about you?