Have you ever noticed how often things happen three times in a row? Sometimes it is on purpose. Sometimes it is by chance. And I suppose sometimes it has to do with when you start noticing and counting. For example, I used to watch a television show about a medical center, and when the “doctors” were moving a patient from a gurney to a bed, they would always say, “On three: one, two, three,” as the lift occurred.
Remember the nursery rhymes and stories with three little pigs, Goldilocks and her three bears, three blind mice, and the three little kittens who lost their mittens? In baseball, three strikes and you are out! There’s the expression: “Three time’s the charm,” which means that success comes on a third try. In Sacred Scripture we read of the Magi, the three astrologers from the Orient. We also read that on the road to Calvary, Jesus fell three times. At Mass we pray, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts.” After the consecration, we pray the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God three times.
What got me thinking about all these threes? Well, being retired, my husband and I enjoy going out to restaurants for breakfast, and a lovely “three-time” experience occurred for us in just a week’s time. We were sitting in a small diner and waiting for our food, and I noticed that the two women sitting at a nearby table had just received their breakfasts. Before they ate, they silently joined hands, closed their eyes, and said a brief prayer.
A few days later, we were in a different restaurant and a young couple was sitting near us. When their food came, they joined hands, and each said a silent prayer. In that same restaurant about two days later, a little girl, a man, and an older man were seated at a booth. It seemed as if they were all family members. When their plates of food came, they all quietly said a blessing together before they ate.
What lovely faith witnesses! I hear so much in the media about God being left out of our lives. Three times in one week I saw evidence that that isn’t true! I know they were only short religious pauses in those peoples’ lives, but they were good pauses, and inspirational reminders to anyone who happened to notice.
What if we tried to thank God for our meals, or even our snacks, every day? What if we picked out three specific things each day that we usually take for granted and thanked God for creating them or for creating the inventors or manufacturers or designers?
Just like those thank-you prayers for breakfasts, prayers don’t have to be extremely long. If the prayers are sincere and remind us of who is always there to hear us and love us, then they are valuable. Prayers can be made up on the spot, in our own loving words, and can draw us closer to God and to fellow pray-ers. It can be as easy as 1-2-3!