As part of my lay Christian vocation, I try to keep the presence of God with me throughout the day. Anyone can tell how well I am doing with this at any time by my demeanor. When I am successful I smile a lot and think of other people. When I am ignoring it I lose my smile and turn into myself.
One way I work on this is by finding little things that remind me of God at various times of the day. I associate things I do regularly with little aspirations that bring me back to him when I am thinking about other things.
For example, when I climb the stairs in my house I think of God. There is a particular thing I tend to leave on my bathroom counter each morning, so when I manage to put it away I think of God. If I later find it there I think of how I didn't think of him earlier and think of him then instead. Like many of you, I try to say the Angelus each day at noon or close to it. When I am in a hurry on a street with lots of red lights, I ask Mary to intercede for me and clear the way with green lights (I have found, by the way, that she is excellent at obtaining this particular favor for me, but only if I am late for reasons outside my control). And so on and so forth.
As often happens in the middle of the world, I sometimes find myself completely wrapped up in my own thoughts and plans and forget about these little things. But I try to get back to them as soon as I realize I have drifted away from them. Nonetheless, I have definitely been in need of help staying focused in this area and, surprise (!), help has arrived.
A few years ago, an anonymous friend left a bracelet for me on top of my purse while I was singing at mass. I have no idea who it was, but the person left a very nice card and box with the 2011 Brighton Breast Cancer Bracelet in it. I absolutely loved it and wore it constantly.
Later that same year when I found myself very sick post whole brain radiation, I was visited in the hospital by Fr. Paul Donlon, a priest of Opus Dei. He told me all about the scapular and enrolled me in it that very day. Over the past several years I have tried many ways to wear the scapular and have not been successful. I don't do well with necklaces of any kind and have to take them off each time I have a scan so they tend to get tangled or broken or lost.
I finally noted that a friend of mine wore a tiny scapular medal like a charm on her watch, so I got the brilliant idea of adding a small scapular to my beloved bracelet. I took it to my favorite jeweler and asked him to add the little scapular I brought along. Unfortunately, there was an incident during the post-soldering chemical bath when an unexpected metal was found in the bracelet. It's reaction to the solution dissolved part of the bracelet and stained the scapular charm a dark brown. I was so sorry to lose that bracelet and medal! However, the jeweler (who felt as bad as I did) worked with me to find another bracelet and scapular charm, and I am very happy with the result.
The new bracelet and scapular medal make a little noise when I move my arm, a jingle quite similar to that of a dog's tag on his collar. I soon realized that every time I hear that jingle it can remind me of the fact that I belong to God. So, if I happen to be shaking my fist or gesturing at something in anger, that little jingle can bring me back to the presence of God. If it sings when I am turning the steering wheel in the car, it can remind me to pray for a safe journey. The possibilities are endless! It is like a little bell from heaven, reminding me of what is really important, no matter where I am or what I am doing.
So now I have to do my part: I can't shut it out or let it become part of the noise of my life! I have to listen for it and use it the best way I am able.
I think I can, I think I can...