If the Shoe Fits, Wear It

By February 4, 2016 Devotional 14 Comments

Father Barney told a story in Mass this morning. It was about a man who was in a terrible car accident.

The man awoke several days later and discovered that he couldn’t move his feet, his legs, his arms, his head. He couldn’t move anything. The doctors explained that his spinal cord had been severed and that he was completely paralyzed and would be for the remainder of his life. He could see and hear and that was it. His ability to speak was gone. Even his ability to breathe on his own.

At first, everyone came to visit him. But over time most of them began to fade away. Even visits from his wife and children became less and less frequent. They had their lives to live. It was just too hard to sit with someone they knew was so unhappy, too awkward trying to communicate.

The man sunk into a deep depression. All he could do was think about what he had lost.

Late one night, an angel of the Lord visited the man. “The Lord has sent me to heal you,” the angel announced. He touched the man’s forehead and disappeared. Instantly, the man could feel that he was healed. He could move. He sat up in bed and pulled the respirator tube out of his mouth and began to breathe. He climbed out of bed and nearly ran from the room, laughing and crying at the same time.

“Now,” Father Barney asked us, “who do you think would be the happiest man in world?”

Everyone in the congregation knew the answer: That’s easy! It would obviously be this man. He would be overjoyed that he could breathe and talk and walk and experience life. Obviously, he would be the happiest man in the world!

Then Father Barney tossed the spiritual hand grenade: “But you  can do all these things,” he said. “You  can breathe and talk and walk and experience life. So why aren’t you the happiest man in the world? Why aren’t you the happiest woman in the world?”

What’s the answer?

“The man in the story is happy,” Father Barney explained, “because he is aware of what he has been given. He’s grateful. I think we could almost say that gratitude is the very key to happiness. Most of us aren’t happy enough because we aren’t grateful enough.”

At this point Jesus might have said to the crowds, “Let him who has eyes to see, see. Let him who has ears to hear, hear.”

What the Lord said to me as I walked out of Mass into a beautiful sunny morning in Ventura County, CA, blue skies overhead, car keys in my pocket and money to buy a cup of coffee on my way to the office, was more along the lines of:

“If the shoe fits . . . wear it.”

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  • Leslie Smith says:

    Ken, thank you for sharing this reminder about how much we have been given. It was very timely for me. Just this morning, I went into our Adoration Chapel and prayed for JOY. I am closer to Jesus than I have ever been but my grown daughter (who has left the church) says that Catholics do not SHOW JOY! After reading your letter, I realize that I need to be more grateful for the many things I take for granted. I focus on all the things I need to get done, instead of being grateful for the GIFTS of health, strength, & knowledge to get things done. I feel blessed, but I can see that I don’t yet radiate the same joy as that man in the hospital. If we want others to be Catholic, we need for them to see the joy that comes from being Catholic. I think that is the kind of evangelization that all of us can do. If people ask why we are so happy, we can say it’s because of our faith; and if we aren’t prepared to answer their questions about Catholicism, we should have a brochure, CD, DVD, book, or a website ready to hand out! PS: How is your wife doing? Is she better?

  • Ken Hensley says:

    You are dead on! Thanks.

  • Sandy says:

    Thank you for the reminder – too often we do get caught up in “what needs to be done” – and do not take the time to say thank you to be grateful for the “little” things in life given to us by our Lord God.

  • SV Seaman says:

    Wow. There are times, I forget how blessed I am and overlook everything around me. Thank you for this story.

  • Babra Solberg says:

    Sometimes it takes a miracle for us to see that “He Was There All the Time; waiting patiently in love……. Thank you Lord for your redemptive love and resurrection.

  • Jo Liow says:

    That is so true but if one could end the day with two simple questions: What am I grateful for? What am I sorry for? It could help. That is the genius of St Ignatius who recommends that we do this daily, twice a day, if possible. Praise God1

  • Diane says:

    The words at Mass were recently pointed out to me. “Let us give thanks and praise. It is our duty and our salvation.”. Giving thanks can save us in a spiritual sense but also in a psychological sense.

  • Anthony says:

    I truly believe that being grateful is what us humans find so hard to be in tune with , when the culture spreads the lie that the newest and biggest car , house, and largest bank account defines joy. AMEN !!!

  • Chris says:

    What a great lesson and reminder. Thank you so much for sharing. I read this to our men’s group this morning (we meet every two weeks for breakfast) and everyone loved it. Thank you and God bless you!

    And thank you, Lord for life, and for your love and infinite mercy. Amen

  • Doug says:

    When we realize its not about us,its about God,we just get to be part of it all we will be really can be grateful just to be here.

  • Mary says:

    Driving into work early this morning as the sun was rising and the rays glistened off the freshly fallen snow, my response to this gift from God, “Thank you, thank you, thank you…” How lovely that the song, ‘Good, Good Father’ by Chris Tomlin played on the radio giving me the opportunity to praise Him even more! It’s awesome when we discover that our joy radiates Him and that gratitude can lead us into a deeper and more intimate and rewarding relationship with Him. And in turn helps us in our relationships with others and teaches us to love those that are hard too! Thank you for this blog that challenges me to look at things in a new way.
    In Christ, Mary

  • Doug says:

    “The man in the story is happy,” Father Barney explained, “because he is aware of what he has been given. He’s grateful. I think we could almost say that gratitude is the very key to happiness.”

    I guess that explains why we’ve needed to “fundamentally change America” over the past 8 years? But, I digress.

  • Roxane Hensley says:

    Thank you brother. I didn’t read this until today and it was the exact day that I needed to hear it! sister

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