The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Coincidence" or Divine Synchronicity?


I flew to Rapid City, South Dakota recently to move a resident Jesuit priest to Chicago. I had never been to South Dakota before, never dragged a trailer before, knew I had to drive an old car that hadn’t been driven for months, and knew my Jesuit companion had health problems. So I worried: would a heavy snow storm hit? would dragging a trailer on snowy cause us to skid off the road? If we got stuck in snow, would my friend’s health be compromised?

The first day of our trip was uneventful: cloudy skies, but dry roads, little traffic, no precipitation – and the trailer followed perfectly. The next two days we drove through Minnesota and Wisconsin to Chicago: blue skies, no clouds, little wind - couldn't have been better. The same weather continued the fourth day when I drove my companion’s belongings from Chicago to their final destination near Detroit. The fifth day I returned to Chicago, cloudy, but with little wind and open roads.

I arrived in Chicago around 2:30pm – after 1,600 miles of clear sailing. Around 3:30 the wind started, and by dinner time, we were in the midst of a full-scale sleet storm, with biting, driving winds and a multi-inch accumulation of ice. On the news I heard that a massive storm had hit the Great Plains. In just the area we had driven through - Winona, Minnesota to La Crosse, Wisconsin – 15 to 18 inches of snow fell. Over 50 cars had skidded off the highway into the ditch.

So, the question is, Was our good fortune just a coincidence, or was God at work in our lives to help us complete our journey safely?

The Greek word “Gospel” means “Good News,” God participating in our lives and fulfilling faith claims that "Though i walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will not fear, for you are with me" (Psalm 23) and "…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear…" (Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount).

St Ignatius of Loyola says in the Spiritual Exercises that "God works and labors for me in all creatures upon the face of the earth, that is, He conducts Himself as one who labors,..giving being,..conferring life and sensation..." (section 236).

So, when these remarkable events occur in our lives, we can choose to deny God and call them coincidences, or to recognize the Divine Synchronicity of the God who loves us, fulfilling His Good News in our lives.

I know how I choose. And you?

5 Comments:

Blogger teresa_anawim said...

Good post, Fr. Ben.
I am now learning to realize that those things in life I used to call a 'snafu' just may be God's merciful protection on my life and not misfortune or failure after all!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Winona! I went to college there. Beautiful, beautiful country, and for skiers, the snow is a blessing. (I used to be a Nordic skier..switched to Downhill later).

Been seeing God's hand everywhere lately. I don't believe in "conincidences."

I don't always understand how or why, but when it happens...wow.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous JoAnna said...

I had an incidence like that happen just a few weeks ago. My daughter was on her bike and couldn't stop. She rode right into 2 lanes of traffic and was unharmed. Cars were 20 feet from her. It was a true act of God. I thank God everyday for keeping her safe. But then I think that if something would have happened to he..how would I react? I would like to believe that my faith is strong enough to endure such events and trust in God.

11:11 AM  
Blogger curiousdiver said...

Father Hawley, you may be content with accepting the divine synchronicity of God, however you may also be surprised to learn that Littlewood’s theory of large numbers practically predicts the event you have just described. Littlewood, a Cambridge University Professor, proposed that essentially we are expected to witness about one miracle every month. To prove this seemingly outrageous claim, Littlewood explains that on the average humans are awake for 8 hours every day, although I would argue it’s more than that, and that during this time we witness about thirty thousand events. Littlewood then defines a miracle as a highly improbable event, specifically an event that occurs every one time in a million. If we accept this definition, and take into account that the average human experiences 1,008,000 events every 35 days, it can be concluded that we should witness a miracle approximately every month! Apparently miracles are a rather commonplace event. In any event, my question to you Father Hawley is this, what about those poor suckers in the other 50 cars that got caught in the storm? Did God forget about them or did they simply not deserve to be protected as much as a Roman Catholic priest (perhaps it was a caravan of Muslims)?

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just across this term just these past few days. I do agree that the divine is in charge but I am not sure that being kept safe or not safe is what his will is.

Simple acts of kindess from our free will would be more important than being kept safe. In fact, if suffering is to be denied then the cross means nothing.

8:06 AM  

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