By Kelly Wahlquist
“Every day will I bless you,
and praise your name forever and ever.” ~ Psalm 154:2
“Go big or go home.” Those were the words from the passenger seat as I navigated the rolling green hills on the way to the vineyard that Sunday afternoon, where many WINE laborers were joyfully preparing to welcome two hundred women for an elegant evening of faith, fellowship, fabulous food, and a little Ave Rosé—a fantastic wine named after the Blessed Mother. Vines plush with purple and green grapes and a crystal blue lake made the perfect backdrop for the altar for the opening Mass in the vineyard. There was only one problem: the sunny morning sky was growing darker as rain threatened our celebration.
As I drove our guest speaker, ValLimar Jansen, and her husband/piano accompanist, Frank, to the venue, I decided to communicate with the One who could calm the storm, so I broke into an audible prayer. “Lord, you know we love the rain, but today, Lord, I think there are others who will love it more. Please, Lord, part the clouds and let the rains fall around the vineyard. Spare our celebration of your nourishing waters. And plaster a beautiful rainbow in the sky so we know you are listening.” That’s when Frank said, “Why not ask for two rainbows? Go big or go home.” And we all laughed as I continued, “Ok, Lord, two rainbows would be great.”
Miraculously, the ladies, dressed to the nines, celebrating Mass in the vineyard, remained dry until a few light raindrops fell during Communion. Then something very WINE happened—a woman in the front row rose to the occasion holding her colorful umbrella above the singer to keep her and her guitar dry until the final blessing. Luckily, we all made it back to the pavilion before the rain began to fall.
As I walked on the stage to welcome the ladies, I asked Frank to play some music to get the attention of the chatty bunch. Seven notes into the song, I stood mesmerized. It was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Astonished, I turned to Frank and said, “We just got our two rainbows!” One was a rainbow umbrella, and the other a rainbow song.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). That evening at our “Tale of Two Vineyards” event at Sovereign Estate Winery, Isaiah’s words rang true—my prayers were answered, just not in a way I would have ever imagined! What a beautiful gift!
Today, as we celebrate the Feast of St. John Chrysostom, let us ponder his words.
“Anyone who receives from the Lord the gift of this type of prayer possesses a richness that is not to be taken from him, a heavenly food filling up the soul. Once he has tasted this food, he is set alight by an eternal desire for the Lord, the fiercest of fires lighting up his soul.”
Lord, help me to pray always, in all I do, to trust in the outcome, and to rejoice in the gift of prayers answered, even if those answers come in unexpected ways.
Call to Action
This week, be particularly attentive to the gifts God showers upon you and allow those graces to light up your soul.
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