Have you heard of a book called, God Exists: I Have Met Him?
It was written by André Frossard, a famous French journalist. His father was the secretary of the French Communist Party, and raised his son (André) as an atheist. At the age of twenty, totally uninterested in religion or God, Andre’ went out with a friend one day. The friend entered a building in which there was a chapel, and André waited outside. Tired of waiting, he went in to look for his friend. It was 5.10 pm. He went in an atheist. He came out at 5.15, convinced that God exists. The meeting transformed him. He would later write a book about it with the title given above.
An acquaintance who heard of his experience asked him, “But why you?” André told him there is no answer to that question, except this: “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
Have you met God? How do you meet Him? When? Where?
We invite readers to share their experience of meeting God. More people than we think have had deep and transforming experiences of meeting God. People from all backgrounds, age groups, religions, educational levels.
In our first account of God-experiences, we listen to Sister Margaret (Margot) Power PBVM, an Irish missionary who has spent most of her life in India. Sr Margot is known for her deep humanity, loving attention to people, joyful presence, sense of humour and convinced life.
In Pain, in Children, in Silence
Sr Margaret Power PBVM
The event I had dreaded most in my life turned out to be different from what I had imagined it would be. It happened this way.
I was very, very attached to my father and always believed I would not be able to bear his death. I was already in India when he fell ill, but I was in my home in Ireland during my father’s last illness. He became critical. My Mom and I were outside the ICU. Then, a young doctor came out of the ICU. He was an Indian. This made me feel good, since I was just coming from India. He was at a loss what to tell us. So, we asked him, “Is Dad…?” He nodded sadly. We knew that Dad was gone.
This was the moment I had always dreaded. Yet, when it actually arrived, God filled my heart with a deep sense of peace.
I need not fear facing the situations I am scared of. He is present in my pain. He knows what I need better than I do.
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One day in 2011, I had a chat with a little girl on our school campus. I asked her who she was, her name and where she was studying. I remember having some sweets in my bag. So I asked her if she would like to have anything. I thought she would ask for sweets! Her answer was a total surprise and God’s gift for me. She said, “Sister, I want to see the face of Jesus.”
I had thought of children as nice and charming and a source of joy. Now I see that they are also God’s voice for me.
* * *
The following incident may appear trivial to some. Though it happened many years ago when I was in Presentation Convent, Egmore, it has never left my mind. It was a moment of deep encounter with God.
I had received a considerable sum of money for a particular purpose. Workers were doing repair work in the house, furniture had to be shifted, and the house was in a bit of a mess. It was only after two of three days that I thought of the cash I had received! I searched everywhere, but could not find it. I had a heavy heart and was beginning to get desperate. On the second night I had a dream. In the dream I saw a brown cover at the back of the steel drawer (not inside the drawer but behind it). I remember being at peace after the dream. Early next morning I got a screw driver and managed to remove the drawer completely and there was the brown cover with the cash inside. I just folded my hands and said, “I knew you would see me through, Lord!”
Nature is a powerful call from God every day. My early morning walk in the campus is a beautiful experience for me as I begin my day surrounded by nature ….trees and plants that bring me in touch with God. As I walk, a song usually comes to my mind and stays with me throughout the walk. I remind myself of how privileged I am to be in a place that is so quiet and peaceful.
* * *
I sit quietly in my room at night and go through the day, relishing the moments that went well and become aware of the blessings that God gave me during the day. The Spirit often helps me to remember small details that went unnoticed. It is a time for me to ask pardon for my many failings and I ask God to give me strength to live tomorrow better. I cherish this time of the day as it is here that I meet God, with whom I can be completely transparent. He knows what’s going on beneath the surface.
* * *
Sometimes I just do nothing but sit still and become aware of my breathing. This leads me to realize that it is God who keeps me in being every moment.
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Silence also teaches me something that otherwise I would forget: That God is close, that God talks to me the whole time, in so many ways, through people, events, nature, silence, music, pain and joy. I need not live in fear. I need not fill my head with worry. I can let go. I need to listen attentively, as He speaks to me through our children, workers, community sisters. He waits for me in silence and in noise, in rain and sunshine, in birds and trees and blades of grass. If only I were more open to His tender voice of love!
– Sister Margaret (Margot) Power PBVM
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