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I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace. 

Psalm 34:1 (The Living Bible)

Glories and Grace

Breaking Now: Rain Possible on Sunday.

This is an actual headline on my local news website.

Guess that’s news, or something.

I’d like to add my own contribution to the headlines.

This just in: Dinner, possible. Around 6-ish.

Another newsflash: Breathing, likely, throughout most of the day. Your life, even.

Molehills are morphing into mountains everywhere you look.

If not for this phenomenon, there’d be no such thing as reality t.v. shows – or adolescence for that matter!

The thing is, there’s really no reason to focus on molehills when there are real mountains’ majesty to behold. God’s glories and grace are constantly flowing. All you have to do is look around you to see it.

There’s a very tiny elderly lady on my block who walks around with the smallest, fluffiest dog I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t need that leash she’s carrying, as she treats him like a little prince, not even letting his little paws touch the ground. Their devotion to each other is a sweet human interest story in life’s newspaper. A reminder that love comes in all packages, ages, even species. They are each other’s minute miracle.

Think of the glories that comprise our lives. We walk on a planet suspended in outer space and the reason we don’t fall off is gravity (AKA God).

We have within us this powerful contraption that keeps life pumping through our bodies from the minute we’re born until the day we draw our last breath.

Miracles surround us and even infuse our very being.

The real newsflash is this: God’s grace is a deep reservoir – you can draw from it endlessly and it never runs dry.

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So I was at the dentist’s office, getting my teeth cleaned (isn’t that how all great stories start?), when the dental hygienist told me about something strange that had happened to her. It occurred some years ago, back when her four boys were all teenagers — and acting like it. On a particularly brutal day, when typical teen moodiness, aggression and hijinks seemed at an all-time high, my dental hygienist decided she’d had enough. While driving down Douglas Avenue, she paused in front of Blessed Sacrament Church. I’ll let her tell the rest: “Suddenly, a dove, a white dove, appeared in front of my window, silhouetted by the sun, with light all around it. It flew along next to me for several blocks, and I was overcome with a feeling of peace.”

I was dazzled by this story, not just because I’ve personally driven down that stretch of Douglas Avenue 10,000 times since we moved to this town with nothing appearing in front of me except jay-walking Catholics, but by the almost cinematic perfection of it. A white dove surrounded by dazzling light? Check. A miraculous change of attitude? Double check.

I found myself envious of this woman’s experience, envious of such a dramatic show of God’s love and concern for all of us. Most of us don’t get gifts like this. But we do experience God’s love. We just see it in more subtle ways: In the beauty of nature, in a smile from a stranger. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to get a dramatic dove story — just once in our lives?

Of course, I wouldn’t know a dove from an albino pigeon. And if something — even the Holy Spirit — suddenly appeared in front of my windshield, my reaction would more likely be a shriek than anything else. Maybe that’s why I don’t get dove-moments.

Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about miracles. Why do they happen? How do they happen? I can’t pretend to know. But I can muse on it. So here goes.

Miracle

You can shout, stomp your feet.
Or hone yourself to holiness,
thin and translucent as a paper saint.
Sometimes it will come.

Other times, it arrives,
like a perfect snowflake
on the collar of your coat,
unbidden.

You will flick it away.
Or you will let it melt on your fingertip,
watching solid turn to liquid,
its own little miracle,
and you will know:
Sometimes for a moment
we are each extraordinary.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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