Earlier this week, I had a chance to attend a fundraising event for the North Dakota Family Alliance. I’d done a preview story on the event for The Forum, and through that, procured a couple tickets to the dessert banquet.
The keynote speaker was Heisman Trophy winning Tim Tebow’s mother, Pam Tebow. Pam is a fellow pro-life advocate and mother of five, so I was pretty sure I’d enjoy her talk, which I did, very much, as well as meeting her briefly afterward.
As a fellow sister in Christ, I was captivated by her message. “We have a master who loves babies, he loves life,” she said. “Love changes everything.”
Pam reminded us that “the truth of God’s word, if you call it to mind, gives you hope.” And even though Pam admitted to not having been gifted with a operatic singing voice, she braved it and sang for us songs she’s set to familiar childhood tunes, with words from the Bible; songs she has sung to her children, grandchildren and others to help them learn the loving truths found in Scripture. And you know what? I didn’t notice she wasn’t made for the singing stage. It was so precious and came from a heart that just wants people to know of God’s love.
Pam is very soft-spoken and so gentle. As a Catholic who loves Jesus’ mother, Mary, I couldn’t help but draw the parallels. The way Pam has harnessed her grace and beauty to gently bring souls into her fold for Christ is certainly Marian.
She talked about Biblical mindsets to help us live better, such as thinking like a servant. “You represent Jesus the best when you’re serving,” she said. “God notices every cup of cold water that you give in His name.” What a beautiful statement; something I could hear Mary saying. “Do what He tells you,” Mary said, as she pointed to her son, the epitome of servitude. As was she, in taking on the harboring, rearing and ultimately releasing of the Son of God, her baby.
Pam mentioned that oftentimes, the acts we do for God are hidden, but He sees it all. And “when you make an eternal impact, God gives you eternal reward.” She also noted that we are made for mission and “are animated in Christ Jesus for good works.”
And then she talked about one of my favorite words of the year: mercy. “As you demonstrate mercy, God will give you mercy.” It’s so true. When we extend our hearts to others, we are blessed.
My evening with Pam comes during a week when I have been preparing my mind and heart for a talk I’m going to give soon on the topic of Divine Mercy. This topic has been traveling with me for several years now. In fact, one of the titles Ramona and I had originally considered for the book we co-authored, “Redeemed by Grace,” was “Divine Mercy.”
Why? Because Divine Mercy played a role in Ramona’s conversion — a huge role. It was on Divine Mercy Sunday — the Sunday after Easter as proclaimed by Pope John Paul II in 2000 — that Ramona was given the grace to take the leap of faith that would bring her into her new life of light. St. Faustina had a huge role in bringing Jesus’ message of mercy to us.
I need to pause here. The following is a painting of St. Faustina outside our church’s Divine Mercy chapel, and as I took it, I saw Mary’s reflection appear (see Marian statue above). I got the chills when I noticed the confluence of these two beautiful images.
So last year, I was invited by Holy Spirit Catholic Church here in Fargo to talk on Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday 2015, along with the story I was in the process then of helping bring into its final form. I will give that talk this weekend and I’m very much looking forward to sharing this part of Ramona’s story with people here in Fargo-Moorhead.
As I was preparing for my presentation the other night in the Divine Mercy chapel (there’s definitely a theme here), I came across the following concept in the book, “Consoling the Heart of Jesus,” by Fr. Michael Gaitley, who talked about the “merciful outlook” we should strive to take on as Jesus’ followers. Gaitley says some people in our world have given up on Jesus, so they’ll do anything to steer clear of Him. In order to reach His children, Jesus goes to them “incognito” — in disguise — through…guess who? You and me.
I can’t wait to share more about how Ramona was reached by various incognito sources, which led to her moment of Divine Mercy and redemption. Meantime, I look forward to hearing your stories of mercy.
Q4U: When have you been Jesus “incognito” to someone, or when has someone been Jesus “incognito” to you?