As we wrap up this month of July, take a moment to read this story called “Having Lunch with God” by Fr. Joseph Healey that I came
across in A Maryknoll Book of Inspiration. It left me with a big smile on my face and I hope it does the same for you!
“A little East African boy in Dar es Salaam wanted to meet God. He knew that it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his bag with small, sweet cakes and a large bottle of soda and started on his journey.
He had been on his way for about ten minutes when he met an old woman. She was sitting in a park by the Indian Ocean just staring at some African birds. The boy sat down next to her and opened his bag. He was about to take a drink from his soda when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a small cake. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again. So he offered her a drink from his soda. Again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!
The little East African boy and the old woman sat there all afternoon eating and drinking and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and got up to leave. But before he had gone more than a few steps he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a big hug. She gave him her biggest smile.
When the boy opened the door to his own home a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.
She asked him, ‘What did you do today that makes you so happy?’
He replied, ‘I had lunch with God.’ But before his mother could respond, he added, ‘You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!’
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home in the Upanga section of town.
Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, ‘Mother, what did you do today that makes you so happy?’
She replied, ‘I ate small cakes and drank soda in the park with God.’ And then, before her son could respond, she added, ‘You know, he’s much younger than I expected.'”
What a beautiful story that can’t help but fill one with joy! This idea of seeing God in others opens our eyes to the many different ways that we can see, hear and feel God in moments throughout our lives. It is in no way a new idea but one that has been expressed in many
iterations for centuries. Here are two such quotes below conveying the same idea that I came across within a few hours of
reading Fr. Joseph Healey’s story. God is with us and sometimes, if we take a moment to look or reflect, we see it.
“Come, Holy Spirit, Light of the soul, that we may see in all creatures the glowing beauty of God’s love.”
“God is closer to us than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. Wherever we are, God is. The beginning of prayer is to know simply that – that God is with us, no matter what. God is love, and we live and move and have our being in love. What could be more beautiful, more consoling or more encouraging! God is with us.”
~ A Maryknoll Book of Prayer