I was sitting at my kitchen table and I heard a little “beep, beep, beep.” Hmph. It turned out to be a message from my refrigerator that my bottom freezer compartment door was not closed all the way.
I was tending to a recipe cooking on my stove, and I heard a “bing.” My phone was messaging me from my computer desk that I had just received a text.
A municipal repair truck was down the street repairing an underground road problem, and a truck was backing up: “bleep, bleep, bleep.” Watch out!
My clothes dryer finished its cycle and chimed a little tune to tell me to come get the clothes.
I started my car, and it impatiently signaled me with “ding, ding, ding” that I had not put on my seatbelt yet.
All the attention-getting sounds of our modern noisy world alert us every day that good things and bad things are out there vying for our focus.
What did folks do in Old Testament times, without the benefit of electronics? If we go to Numbers, chapter 10, we read about the two silver trumpets that, with their quivering sounds, were blown to summon the congregation, sometimes to assemble and sometimes to prepare for war. Messages communicate good news, caution, or bad news.
Meaningful messages don’t always have to be loud. Consider the messages of love that St. Gertrude of Helfta, whose memorial we celebrate today, received in the form of visions. In 1281, when she was 25 years old, Gertrude, a Benedictine nun in what is now Germany, received her first series of visions. What better message of love could she want to get than the one in which she actually rested her head near the heart of Jesus and heard it beating? She felt as if she had experienced a new birth. She saw herself as a bride of Christ. St. Gertrude produced numerous writings, spiritual exercises, and prayers, and described her visions in some of them.
It is safe to conclude that certain messages are sent by actions instead of sounds or words. In the gospel reading for St. Gertrude’s memorial, John 15:1-8, Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches who should abide in him. We are to bear the fruit of His love; that translates into messaging others with loving, fruitful actions. Jesus says in verse 8:
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
Yesterday, I got the message that God loves me; it came in the form of a phone call from a friend with whom I had worked many years ago. I had been feeling a little somber as I remembered it was the anniversary of my mother’s passing. I was thinking about other worries and concerns when the phone rang, and it was Elisa. I had not spoken to her in years. She had gotten married and moved to Georgia. She was always an uplifting, God-sharing, happy-go-lucky person. As we talked and tried to catch up on years of news, I just knew that the Lord had put this idea to call in her mind on this day. Elisa messaged good memories, and God just smiled.
Let us pray daily that we can be messengers of God’s love to everyone that we encounter. We don’t have to make quivering sounds or bleeps or dings, but we do have to make intentional efforts to imitate Christ, our Vine.
Resource: Catholic Online/Saints & Angels, catholic.org.
The scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.