I spent four days in St. Louis at the Ignatian Spirituality Conference surrounded by men and women who find hope in the legacy St. Ignatius left. I was there to learn and to be with and among these men and women, and I was also there to present workshops. I found myself overwhelmed many times throughout the conference at having so many people who impacted me, my life, and my faith in one place. There were times I could not help, but pause and thank God for the numerous people that journeyed with me that were in that room.
As I stood at the back door of my second workshop greeting people as they walked in, Fr. Matt Linn walked in the door. That name may not ring a bell for you, but for me this is a man that had a profound impact on my faith life. It is a man that I never had a conversation with, but a man that I sat and listened to and learned from on a silent retreat six years ago. What was his great gift to me? He taught me the Examen, a prayer that daily helps me bring God into my everyday life. A prayer that helps me make decisions and discern what God asks of me. A prayer that was the catalyst for a great interior shift that began many years ago.
I still cannot believe I had the opportunity to thank him for teaching me the Examen. After I spoke to him, I literally had to step outside for a minute to compose myself, to pause and embrace the moment. I could not believe the gift of being able to say “thank you” to him. (I also had to step outside to calm my nerves at the realization that he, too, would be in our workshop. How could he learn from me?)
One of the many graces I took from this conference is the reminder of how often God uses other people to touch our lives. I experienced this first hand this weekend as I had the gift of telling both Fr. Matt and many others “thank you” for taking a moment to share their faith with me and to journey with me.
Who would you want to tell “thank you”?
How have you experienced God working in your life through the gift of another person?