Grace surprises us

Since I do not believe that “luck” or “chance” exist, last Saturday brought me a surprising moment of grace during my visit to the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is a grace that I continue to reflect upon since my arrival back home.

It came as an unexpected joy to learn that Pope Saint John XXIII, when he was the Patriarch of Venice, also served as the “protector” of the Apostles. In fact, he had a room set aside from the convent, adjacent to their chapel, where Saint John would occasionally stay when he visited. I had the privilege to visit that room last Saturday.

As I looked around the simply furnished bedroom, I noticed that the Pope had sent a blessing to the sisters, which was prominently displayed at one end of the room. The blessing spoke of Pope John’s prayers for the sisters and invoked God’s protection upon them. As I turned away from the blessing, I noticed its date: March 29, 1959- the same day when I was born! As soon as I read the date, I was filled with a sense of great peace and joy. It seemed as of Pope Saint John XXIII was speaking to me, in my heart, assuring me of the same protection he affords the sisters from heaven. It is a gift that was unexpected and deeply appreciated!

I have often reminded myself that grace surprises us when we least expect it. For me, the surprise came in a simple room from a man who would one day become both a Pope and a saint!

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!