Pay Attention to the Lord!
by Victoria Ann Noel
Before you start wondering if God has a plan for your life . . . consider my situation. I have driven the same road for fourteen years to the school where I teach. Each day I travel in prayer time with the Lord. I turn on a tape by the Saint Louis Jesuits or Carey Laundry and praise, sing and pray my way into the parking lot at school thirty-seven miles away.
About four years ago, the Lord laid it on my heart to start claiming every house along the way in prayer for Him. Salvation in each household I claim for Him????? That seemed like a big order from God for a little gal-a sinner who kept on repenting!
But I prayed! And I prayed! Morning after morning I prayed. A few months ago, after nearly four years of praying to claim each household for Him, I heard "You can stop now!" from the Lord. I wasn't quite sure that I was hearing that correctly. Why stop now? I questioned Him. "Lord, did this do any good? Was I just making this up to keep a boring ride tolerable? Show me something so I can rejoice!"
In this same four years, my husband and I were very active in one parish. Circumstances changed and we were moved by the Lord to change where we attended mass. We began attending Saint Theresa's Church. Within a few months Saint Theresa's announced a merger with Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (our family patron) Church and promised that they would be building a new church to accommodate both congregations. We continued attending Saint Theresa's and I continued my prayerful trek to teach each morning.
Along the way I particularly noticed a farmhouse situated on top of a knoll just where I turned onto another highway. A farm family? I was raised as a farm child and so that hilltop family became a special focal point for my Salvation prayers. I prayed, I pleaded, I urged the Lord with all that was in me for that farm to become His in full glory! I prayed especially assertively for them on dark mornings of winter when I could see lights on the hilltop shining from their windows.
Meanwhile Saint Theresa's parish voted to name the new church community to be housed in a brand new church on one of two possible parcels of land. The options were Saint Catherine's, Saint Francis de Sales, and Saint Joseph the Worker. My heart was with Saint Joseph, but as a teacher saw de Sale as a dear saint also and Saint Catherine reminded me of my Aunt Mary Catherine and a cousin Kathryn. The parish voted for Saint Francis de Sales. . .patron saint of teachers. Next, a meeting was set to choose the property on which to build our church. I continued to pray the thirty-seven miles of households, offering them up to the Lord.
A few weekends later we read in the bulletin that one of the two feasible properties had been selected. There would be an architect's meeting to present the proposed renderings of the new church. My husband and I put it on our mental calendars, but as all things midweek go . . . we missed the meeting. I continued driving to school and praying for the households along the way...in particular the farm family on the hilltop.
The next few Sundays we were out of town and did not attend mass at Saint Theresa's. On the third Sunday we were back in Saint Theresa's and before heading to the prayer wall to pray for the congregation's needs, Bill and I stopped at the back of the church to look at the architect's drawings.
I was thrilled to find a "bell tower" that resembled of all things . . . a silo. The farm girl in me beamed all over as I headed to the prayer wall. All that week I had especially warm feelings for 'my' farm family on the hilltop as I prayed for their salvation and safety within the family of God.
Then the Lord whispered the message to me that I could stop praying. I found myself questioning Him about whether or not I had actually done any good all these years.
Yesterday, Bill suggested that we drive over to the new church property to look around. I started screaming, laughing, crying, and praising God . . . as we pulled into the driveway of a farmhouse on a hilltop and saw a very large, rustic wooden cross marking the boundary of the our new Christian Family of Saint Francis de Sales Church next to the the barn, silo and farmhouse.
The Lord had ordained that I pray for our own Family of God for these past four years even before we in the Christian Community had perceived of Saint Francis de Sales happening.
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