I love it when things like this happen.
On Thursday I completely forgot about choir practice, to the point where, as I was walking to Holy Family for the 5:30 Mass, I was looking forward to a free evening and wondering if I might borrow a DVD from the library on the way home. Then I suddenly remembered I had to be at St Vincent's at 7:00. Of course, my choir binder was at home. I toyed briefly with the idea of showing up without it, then decided I'd better not.
So a little before 6:00, instead of taking the King streetcar west from Holy Family as usual at that hour, home I headed. Just as I was a block away, I bumped into a neighbour, someone I've been praying for for years. He asked where I was coming from. I explained I'd just been to Mass and was about to go to choir practice at another church. He hadn't known I was Catholic. He himself is a long-lapsed Catholic and had never been terribly keen on religion in the first place. In the country where he grew up, it was "a cultural thing." He's "spiritual but not religious."
For me, though, he could see, practising the Christian faith is not a grim duty but rather something to get excited about.
And so we talked on the street corner for 20 minutes, in wind that felt like 12 below (for you readers south of the border, that'd be about 10 Fahrenheit), about whether Christianity is true--whether anything can be True--about our being made in the image and likeness of God, about historical smears against the Catholic Church. Yes, it makes sense for Catholics to say that other religions are objectively mistaken, even if they have elements of the truth. No, Pius XII did not help the Nazis persecute Jews--he actually sheltered Jews, a sign of which is that the chief rabbi of Rome took Pius's Christian name of Eugenio when he was baptized after the war. And so on.
Such seemingly random encounters are what my evangelical friends call divine appointments. Through no foresight on my part, I happened to be in the right place at the right time to share a bit of the good news of Christ and his Church.
I don't flatter myself that this is going to turn my neighbour around overnight. I just plant the seed and wait for the Holy Spirit to lead someone--maybe me, maybe someone else--to do the watering in due time. Choir practice was all the richer that evening, though, because God in his providence had let it slip from my mind in the afternoon.