Chance encounter

By Father Christopher Kubat  

Recently, I visited my biggest Seedlings column fan… my mother, Mary Barbara, in Bellevue.

She always went by her second name, Barb or Bobbie, but my sisters and I always call her Mom. She has a small, dorm-sized fridge in her room, stocked with cheese curds I purchased during my recent trip to Wisconsin.

After greeting her, I gave her a fresh supply of Southern Nebraska Register editions. Her best advice when not knowing what to write is, “Don’t worry son; just use a big picture and you’ll need less words.”

After noticing she did not have any crackers, I decided to visit the snack bar down the hallway where family members may purchase food and grab complimentary crackers for cheese curd emergencies. Since it was a cold day, I wore a black sweater under my suit coat that, when zipped up, hides my clerical collar.

As I walked up to the bar, there were two young men standing in line, both in their mid to late 20s. After saying hello, one of them asked, “Are you a preacher?” “Yes,” I replied. After unzipping my sweater he smiled and said something to the effect of, ‘I knew it!’ 

My first question was, “Are you both going to church?” One replied, “I used to go with my grandmother until she died many years ago.”

The other, a lapsed Catholic, despite having baptized his children, explained with a sad face how he wished he was stronger, spiritually. It was then I planted a few seeds into the soil of their souls. It is amazing how often this happens walking through the lobbies of our CSS offices across the diocese. It is stunning how many fallen-away Catholics there are around us, and still others for whom God is not even an afterthought.

After returning to Mom’s room, instead of playing cards, she started reading my columns while I started typing this one. After telling her the story about the men I met while getting crackers, she said, “A chance encounter!” I guess if it was not for those cheese curds, I would not have met the above-mentioned young men.

During this season of Advent, please do not be afraid of planting seeds in the souls of the people we meet, especially those chance encounters, for this is the reason the Son of God became one of us to plant seeds of grace into souls in order to reap a rich harvest of eternal life.

Always remember that when we do so, we can rely on the aid of the Holy Spirit Who will give us the words to speak.

Come Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of your love. Help us to be efficacious instruments of conversions in those you send us!

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