Katie Sciba talks about her personal encounters of God’s mercy in her life. She encourages us to take time this Advent to reflect and see how God has shown you mercy throughout your life.
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“The Lord has not abandoned us yet and He’s not going to now.”– Katie’s Husband
This talk is a personal one, where Katie shares how she witnessed the Miracle of the Sun and how that experience supported her throughout difficult times in her life. With Katie’s personal experience in mind, consider the following:
- How have you seen God’s mercy in your own life?
- Have you ever experienced something where you wonder, “Why would the Lord let me see/experience this amazing thing?”
- Have you ever experienced difficult trials that leave you wondering if the Lord has abandoned you?
- Consider this quote by St. Faustina, “When the lord allows great suffering to a soul. He upholds it with a greater grace although we aren’t aware of it.” Have you ever experienced a grace upholding you when in the midst of suffering?
- We all have pains in the past that the Lord has resolved. Muse or think about what God’s hand has wrought or done in your life. Look at the trials of your life, even the ones ongoing and look for God’s mercy.
Text: Jesus: Jesus’s Mercy in the Details of Our Lives
Hi, I’m Katie Sciba. Thanks for being here for our third session for the Pray More Advent Retreat. Let’s pray.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Jesus, you are love and mercy itself. Give us the graces necessary to hear you speaking in our lives. Soften our hearts to receive your mercy, so we can experience the joy and freedom you desire for us. We ask this through your holy name. Amen.
The Miracle of the Sun
Okay, so third session in, we’re talking about the mercy of God. What mercy is, it’s when someone who is capable acts on the part for someone who is incapable and that action is done out of love. So, we’ve talked about mercy on display in the Old Testament, in the New and now
I’ll discuss how I’ve seen mercy in my own life. The mercy of God, plain as day and no question about it.
I’ll start out with a story. It was 1999. I was 13 years old and I was driving down the interstate with a family member. There was nothing remarkable about this particular day. It was nice out, the sun was shining and we’re listening to country radio. It was great. And the person driving, my family member, said, “Wow, look at the sun.” And I said, “What, look at the sun?” And she said, “Yeah, look. It looks like a giant Eucharist. It looks like Holy Communion.” And I wanted to correct this person and say like, “Stop. No, didn’t anybody to ever teach you to not look at the sun?”
But I looked and sure enough, the sun was this perfect circle in the sky that you could look directly at, and it wasn’t painful. I didn’t squint. We could just look right at it. It was a perfect white circle in the sky. And then completely unexpectedly, the sun started bouncing all over the sky and spinning, spouting all of these vibrant colors. It was bouncing, going behind hills, coming back over them. We were experiencing and witnessing the miracle of the sun which I had only heard about in reading about and learning about Our Lady of Fatima. I knew right away what this was, and other people were driving by us, and I remember looking and they were putting their visors down, putting sunglasses on and I knew they weren’t seeing it.
At the time, I did not understand why the Lord would let me witness this miracle. Now, the family member I was with was devout, very, very on fire for the faith. So, I assumed that the only reason I got to see it was that I was with her. But I had no idea that, truly, it was part of God’s plan for saving my faith in the future.
God Saving my Faith
So, let’s jump ahead 15 years. I was about 28 years old when my dad, my Superman, died from melanoma. It had spread to his brain, and they had run out of options for treatment. In the months following, my faith plummeted, and I was full of anger and doubt. I was continuing to go to Mass, but it was just for show and I felt empty and again, just so, so furious. And I was so sorrowful. I had begged for my dad’s life. I had begged in the name of Jesus, and I was sure that God would say, “Yes,” to my petition but He said, “No,” instead.
Years later, my family faced a different kind of crisis. We had to unexpectedly uproot from our home in Louisiana. My marriage was strained, we were broke. We were living in my mom and stepdad’s basement, and I was pregnant with our fifth child. It was then that I learned I had a gestational disease that had the potential of taking our pre-born son’s life and the only cure was delivery. We were looking for a home to rent as well but kept getting denied. Not because we had a dog but because we had so many children. My hope had dried up. I was praying and praying and praying and did not see any kind of hope in our circumstances. And what was amazing was my husband, through this time, kept saying to me, “The Lord has not abandoned us yet and He’s not going to start now.”
We were up to our eyes in situations that we could not solve for ourselves, and we kept praying and we kept praying and kept praying. And it was in these instances when I was angry, questioning and doubtful that that experience of the miracle of the sun kept me hanging on.
Because see, God doesn’t experience time as we do. It’s all laid out in front of Him. So, he knew that saving my faith when I was 28, upholding me in my suffering years later when I was 31, that would come from this miracle back here when I was 13. And it was all on the same plain for Him. And it was very much an active act of mercy and love, as I needed it. Miraculously, so we we found a house to rent that was within our budget. They initially, in the listing said that they did not take dogs. My heart broke and then the next day I refreshed the listing and the rent had dropped 50 bucks a month and they said that they were starting to take dogs. When they found out that we were expecting our fifth, they said, “No big deal, that’s great.”
God is With Us
And so, we found this wonderful home and everything started to even out. My son was born, he was born healthy, my health was restored after he was delivered. Everything was fine and we could breathe. And it’s in these occasions when I turn to that verse, Psalm 143:5 and I muse on what the Lord’s hand has wrought in my life. And I see I was so desperate in these circumstances, but the Lord held me.
Now, St. Faustina in her diary said, “When the Lord allows great suffering to a soul, He upholds it with a greater grace although we’re not aware of it.” And sometimes it really, that pain and the difficulty and the challenges, those can blind us very easily when all we can see is our own sorrow, all we can see is the difficulty that’s immediately in front of us or even within us.
We all have pains in our past that the Lord has resolved. I invite you to muse on what His hand has wrought. Look at the trials of your life, even the ones ongoing and ask Jesus to reveal His presence to you.
God Has No Limitations
One of my favorite novenas to pray right now is a super popular one called, “The Surrender Novena,” and at the end of each day, you pray repeatedly, 10 times, “Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.” There’s that wretched phrase, “The devil’s in the details.” I don’t like that because I think that the Lord is in the details, that Jesus cares about every single detail of our lives. The things that we care about, our own concerns, we can entrust those to Him. And so many people say, “Well I don’t want to bug the Lord about X, Y or Z when there are people starving or there’s famine or there’s a horrible disaster somewhere else.” And what’s wonderful is that an infinite God can give Himself entirely to all of us. There are no limitations.
Let’s pray. Jesus, you are Lord of the impossible. You are the master of all of the details of our lives. Help us to surrender ourselves to you and to know that we who trust in your mercy will receive the love and care that you promised through St. Faustina. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.
About Katie Sciba
Katie Sciba is a national speaker, retreat writer, and eight-time Catholic Press Award-winning columnist. She has a degree in theology from Benedictine College, and her work on Catholic minimalism, spiritual intimacy with Jesus, as well as marriage and family has impacted audiences nationwide. Katie writes for The Catholic Telegraph in Cincinnati and has been featured on several podcasts and radio shows. Her humor and honesty enable her to connect well with a crowd. Katie and her family live happily in the suburbs of Omaha, Nebraska.