It began early in my highschool experience. Long story short, I was fortunate to befriend a kind and wise priest. He soon became my spiritual director, and guided me through some of the most important years of my adolescent development. To this day, I owe a great deal to him, and I can never truly show the depths of my gratitude.
But one of the most important lessons he ever taught me was not really a message at all. It was a name. His name. Michael.
“Who is like God?”
The only name I had ever heard of whose literal translation in Hebrew formed a question. He told me this once merely for fun, and how it had constantly been an inspiration for him throughout his life. But over time, I found out just how important this name, this message, would be.
For those who know me, they know that I have something of a Superman complex. I am often proud enough to believe there is nothing I can’t do. But every one has their kryptonite. Yet in spite of these weaknesses, I still strive to do what I can for people. But sometimes, it is simply beyond my control. I cannot do everything.
So, I have to trust in God. He can do all things. And much better than I can, might I add. Much, much, much, much better.
Leaving home has been enormously difficult for me. I miss my family. I miss my home. I miss my city, and my streets, and my car (or what’s left of it…battery died, duct tape is coming loose, and thus the doors are falling off.) But what I miss the most are the people.
I miss being able to know how they are doing. I miss knowing that they are okay, or if they’re not, knowing that I could be there to help them.
But I can’t.
I am not God.
(And aren’t we all the better for it?)
It is not by my hands that the world is saved. It is not by my suffering, my blood, my cross. It is not my hands. It is the Lord’s hands, working through His humble servants as instruments of His sacred grace, by which His will is done.
When my senior year was approaching, my spiritual director approached me with a sudden and shocking revelation.
His order had called for him to be the pastor of a parish an hour and a half away from my home. I was quite crushed. This was going to be the most crucial year of my discernment. He couldn’t go. I needed him. But even more than that, he couldn’t go because he was my friend.
Only now do I realize that I suffered so little in comparison to him.
I was losing a spiritual director, but he a spiritual director. I was losing a father, but he a son.
Just as I am now experiencing being away from the people I love, the people I have always strived to serve with love, he was experiencing the same thing ten times over. I was not the only one he cared about. I may have been losing one friend, but he was losing many, many more.
But it was not by his hands that we were to be saved. The Almighty One’s will had called him elsewhere, and he humbly accepted that will.
I still talk to him from time to time. Even though we do not speak as frequently as we had in the past, I still respect his opinion highly, and no matter how hard I fight him, he’s usually right.
But I understand now the hope he put in the Lord for my own good. He trusted me to the One he knew could care for me better than any one else. For who is like God?
It’s a rhetorical question, obviously. At first, the pride in me wanted to translate it as a question like, “Who among you is like God and thus worthy and able to serve His people?” But now I understand the truth. The answer to the question, Michael, “Who is like God?” and even my own variation of the question is:
No one is like God. God alone is God. God’s hands alone work the saving wonders of the world. God’s hands alone.
These are not my hands, Lord; Lord, take my hands.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Who is like God?
I am here by the will of the One who made me and made me to serve Him. Of course I miss the people I love. The people who love me. But they are in better hands. They always were. I trust you all to the Lord, and I pray for you every day.
“Be it done to me according to thy word.” –Luke 1:38