We probably have all experienced what we would consider a coincidence. Their appearances may leave us flabbergasted because of their timing. We may even point out, “I was just thinking about that!” Three events have happened to me recently. Let’s call them “spiritual coincidences.”
This Lent I felt out of control. I did not feel that I was close enough with God. My sins were keeping me away from him. Even though I knew he was near, I was not listening to him. It was a real struggle. I knew that the only relief was Reconciliation. This being the season of Lent was a perfect time to make a good confession. Not wanting to have any spiritual baggage prior to an upcoming retreat for our RCIA candidates and elect, I decided I would go to Reconciliation before the retreat. In the days leading up to my confession I really examined my conscience. I really dug deep. The gospel on my confession day was … the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)! Coincidence?
In the second instance, as our retreat was concluding, one of our candidates said that our topic about the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit could not have come at a better time for her. She had just recently made her first Reconciliation. The priest had asked her to reflect on some of the Fruits. She told him she did not know what they were. The retreat lesson made her feel better equipped to properly complete her penance and she was happy for that. Coincidence?
Lastly, while writing this article I received a text from my son asking me about miracles occurring in other faiths/religions and how God allows them, especially if those miracles reinforce beliefs that we may consider “false” or contrary to our own. Before his text arrived, I had been reading about the Franciscans of 16th-century Mexico and their dialogue among the Nahua people. Many of the beliefs of the Nahua paralleled Christian beliefs to some degree, perhaps making it easy for the Nahua to assimilate the two belief systems. My thought process had been on how Christian missionaries were dealing with the religious beliefs of non-Christians. Coincidence?
These “spiritual coincidences” of mine, I like to think of as inspirations of the Holy Spirit — the initial thoughts being prompts of something unknown to come. The actual manifestations or recognition of those previous thoughts, seemingly coincidental, force me to consider that perhaps something more is being brought clearly into view for me to ponder.
I don’t know if there is any Catholic teaching on coincidences, but this article on God-incidences relates very well to this line of thinking. It is worth a read.
Have a blessed Paschal season.
Copyright 2018, Michael T Carrillo