Temptation is a loyal mistress. She is always there at your beck and call. She will support you at all costs, give any excuse for you, and if she is in a really good mood, will provide you ample justification for any decision you should make. She flirts heavily but she is also fickle. She temps wildly but if you give in to her, she often slaps you on the cheek for being such an easy mark.
Like one of the Sirens of Greek mythology she came tapping at my door last Sunday. As you may recall, last Sunday was Mother's Day. We had just finished up all of our Masses, baptisms, meetings, and donuts, and I went to go lock up the church. Everyone had deserted the parish to spend time with Moms. My Mom spending Mother's Day in heaven it seemed like a great opportunity to find Sunday rest. Shedding formal clothes this wonderful late afternoon was to begin with a nap.
I had left a book I was reading downstairs and wanted to get it in order to fall asleep with it. Walking into my office I saw a strange sight: my message light on my phone was blinking.
It takes a lot for a message to get through to my phone on a Sunday. Somebody really, really wanted to get through to me. They didn't leave a message on the parish phone, they didn't call the emergency line, they wanted me. At 5:00. On Sunday. That happened to be Mother's Day.
That's when temptation hit.
Fortunately my Guardian Angel was more convincing than the Siren. It was unfair bringing my Mother into the mix, but I understand. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Returning to my grade school age petulance I jabbed at the buttons (despite my drawing of a rotary phone) and waited impatiently for the message to come up.
"Please enter your code."
jab jab jab
To listen to your messages press 2. (Why 2???)
You have one message. To listen to your new messages press 3.
The following message was sent to you on Sunday, May 11th at 5:00PM
"O FOR THE LOVE OF PETE JUST GIVE ME MY STINKING MESSAGE!"
As it turns out, there was an elderly person at the hospital who had never been baptized. The prognosis was not good and it seemed that sacrament had to take place that day or perhaps not at all. Returning the call it turned out that I was the only priest in north east Ohio available before night fall.
I would like to say that I cheerily hopped in my car and went right over. I would like to, but it would be a lie. Grumpily I trudged upstairs and redressed in my clerics, stomped over to the church to get all the things I would need for the expedited initiation rites, and back to the car where I slammed the door.
In the driveway my guardian angel slapped my upside the head. Did I not have any idea what an awesome thing this was? Did I have no idea what an honor this was? Did I have any idea how eternity would change for this person? Was there no understanding of what a great responsibility this was? Do you remember why you became a priest?! (For most men, this would have been the role of his wife as she pushed her husband out the door. I must rely on my guardian angel.)
I took a deep breath and my mood lifted considerably. What it boiled down to was having to change plans. I am not good at that. Change restaurants locations half way to the place decided and I will silently grumble having prepared myself for a particular place already. Now that this WAS the plan, it was even kind of exciting thinking about what was about to take place.
But wait, there's more: On the way someone called on my cell to say that another parishioner was in the same hospital and could a pray for that person. "Better than that! I'm on my way there! I will visit!"
How come it is, when you follow God's, things just seem to turn out better?