How a sandwich taught me to trust in Jesus Print
On His Time
Written by Kevin Wondrash   
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

Last month and for the second year in a row, I went on a private retreat. Basically, I took some time off from everything in my life, spent a weekend at an area retreat center, and used my self-imposed “free time” to pray, read, reflect, (and sometimes nap!).

Also for the second year in a row, I used the book Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat by Fr. Michael Gaitley as my "guide" on the retreat.

Father Gaitley takes the reader on a journey reflecting on Christ’s passion and the devotion to Divine Mercy brought to the Church by St. Faustina Kowalska.

The most enduring illustration of the devotion is the Divine Mercy Image, which contains the words "Jesus, I Trust in You."

Consoling the Heart of Jesus emphasizes the need to practice this "trust" and never run away from Christ's mercy, even if we're overwhelmed by sin and weakness.

It’s one thing to read all of this while sitting in a chair and say, "Yes, this is what I need in my life. I'm going to be better at this," but it’s another to actually live it out.

Practicing 'trust'

About halfway through my self-directed retreat experience, I drove to the nearby city for Saturday evening Mass. Now back in the "real world," I would have to practice this "trust"

It's amazing how the littlest things can derail our faith lives -- the evil one is funny that way.

While I was at Mass, I kept off and on dealing with the uncertainty of -- my dinner that evening. In hindsight, it sounds silly, but there’s more to the story.

I was fortunate to be having my retreat at a center where meals were provided. The staff was nice enough to delay my dinnertime until after the usual scheduled meal time, so I could attend Mass.

I knew I'd be getting back a little later than the modified meal time, so I let little thoughts of "What if they think I'm not coming and there's no meal for me?" "What if they are unhappy with me that I got back late?" "What if I read the information wrong and the outside doors actually lock earlier than I thought?" creep into my thoughts.

This particular Saturday was celebrated as the vigil of All Souls Day, so the Mass was running longer than normal, thus ensuring I'd return to the center even later.

My inner thoughts were engrossed in a battle of "Everything's going to be okay, this stuff always works out" and "What if clutzy me goofs this up and I don't get dinner tonight?" (As I'm writing this, I realize how amazingly spoiled I sound, but irrational worry over little things makes weaklings of us all).

The Mass ended, followed by a darkened drive on a winding road back to the retreat center. I kept looking at the clock, knowing I'd be late. "They'd given me an inch, pushing dinner back, and I've taken a mile, being late," I thought in much less eloquent words at the time.

Arriving back at the center, I braced myself for what may happen as I strolled in 20 minutes late.

The dining room was empty and dimly lit. Thinking the worst, I looked over on the counter and saw the most wonderful looking Reuben sandwich with a slice of apple pie. "Oh, they were going to just leave it here for me . . . well had I known that, I wouldn't have worried."

"Duh, Kevin! . . . 'Had I known that . . . I wouldn't have worried,'" but I did know it.

From both past experiences and a renewed trust in Jesus, I knew it would work out okay, but I didn’t let myself believe it.

No worrying allowed

How many times in our lives did and do we still worry over little, or maybe not-so-little, things and then wondered why we even worried to begin with, when they all work out in the end?

Even if we can't see the end at the beginning, or the middle, don't things usually always work out for the best, especially if we trust in Jesus?

So, why worry? Especially if we have little control over what happens to us or around us.

Had I known they were going to leave my meal out for me, I wouldn’t have worried about anything.

Had I known (hypothetical examples for the future) I'll have a wife, kids, great job, great friends, etc., I wouldn't have worried about anything.

So why worry?

Trust in Jesus.

It'll all work out! The great tasting sandwich reminded me of that.


Kevin Wondrash is the reporter for the Catholic Herald in Madison. He is active in the young adult community at St. Maria Goretti Parish, Madison, and in the Diocese of Madison. You can follow him on Twitter @CHReporterKevin