What Leads me to God?

Posted by Addie Woods

October 23, 2021

What Leads me to God?

By Maria Vincent Brocato, SCN

Part of the Toolbox for Prayer series

Download in PDF format

A quick and easy answer to this all important question, “What leads me to God?” might be, “Everything!” That answer bears much truth in it. Plunging more deeply, however, reveals places and happenings, situations and persons who bring God front and center into my life. It could be a beautiful tree, an imposing mountain, a peaceful, winding river, the discovery of a poem, a passage from Scripture, being alert and finding God wherever the divine may be waiting for me. Places would be where Eucharist dwells and where I sit to pray. The places where I find the beauties of nature bring God right to me. A fragile flower, a singing bird, a lovely cloud call out the Creator’s name.

Happenings and situations that lead me to God are many fold: times when I
realize my brokenness and sin where I need God to forgive and heal me, times of intense gratitude, times of deep tragedy or overwhelming grief. I find this latter reality in our everyday lives is unable to be sustained unless there is a clinging to God. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died five weeks later. I thought I would die of grief. I was in a car accident on the journey to my father’s funeral and could not attend; my brother’s youngest child, an only son, was killed in an auto accident at nineteen. These were terrible moments in my life, my family’s life. I clung to God for sanity and relief.

A moment when I always know God is there is finding a word or phrase in
Scripture which I have heard numerous times in my long life and yet, at a certain reading, it jumps out alive and real. And God is there.
The persons who lead me to God are those who walk around in my everyday life as well as those who come as a surprise. I know that some of the friends I see often are God’s presence in my life, there is no doubt in my mind. In addition, a card from a long ago friend, a surprise call from a beloved cousin or an unexpected act of kindness from a stranger lead me to know that God is present with them, and with me. When I see on a newscast that a person, not necessarily famous, has acted in a noble and unselfish manner, I say in my heart, “Thank You, God.” When I see our SCN Community living out its mission, despite diminishment, I say, “Thank You, God, for the graces of now and all the dear women who have gone before us.”

God has blessed me in so many ways, far more than I could ever deserve. My
whole life can rightly be a thank you prayer.

“I clung to God for sanity and relief .”

Now I share with you two short poems from gifted Emily Dickinson and how I find God’s message there:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And in the strangest sea
Yet never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.

After reading the poem, I reflect:

In what ways have I seen God’s care of me in the, “Hope that never stops at all?”

How did I return to a hopeful life stance after being diminished by pain or
hardship?

Have I experienced God’s giving to me and “Yet never, in extremity,” asked
nothing in return?

To fight aloud is very brave
But gallanter I know
Who charge within the bosom,
The cavalry of woe.

Who win, and nations do not see,
Who fall, and none observe,
Whose dying eyes no country
Regards with patriot love.

We trust, in plumed procession,
For such the angels go,
Rank after rank, with even feet
And uniforms of snow.

After reading the poem, I reflect:

Do I keep silent about painful happenings in my life?

How does God help me to cope with the hurt I hold in my heart?

What about the interior battles God helps me to win and no one knows? What
about the times I falter “and none observe?”

Does it matter that “no dying eyes …regards with …love?”

How do these poems speak to you of God’s presence?

 Maria Vincent Brocato, SCN, from Clarksdale, Mississippi, entered the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 1948. With a BA from Spalding University and an MA from Fordham University, she devoted her early ministries to the field of education. She served the SCN Congregation as Formation Director, as Provincial of the Southern Province and as President of the Congregation. For five years she was Vice President of Mission for the SCN Health Corporation, and in Mississippi, served as Assistant and then Executive
Director of Sacred Heart Southern Missions. SCN Community history has been a special interest, for which she has written reflections on the lives of SCN women and co-authored, with Mary Ellen Doyle, SCN, the book Impelled by the love of Christ: Sisters of Charity of Nazarth Kentucky 1948-1960. Her hobbies include Italian cooking, gardening and quilting.

Want to read more from the Toolbox for Prayer series? Click the links below.

Two Wings of My Prayer Life

As an Indian Christian Religious, the two wings of my prayer life are Biblical and Indian Spirituality. At home, we had everyday family prayer which included Rosary and reading from the Bible. I was responsible to conduct it. It was a vocal prayer that did not touch my heart though there was devotion to do it. After coming to the Congregation too, prayer was mostly a recitation of psalms and singing of songs. Though I was faithful to it there was not much impact on my life. Prayer was like an activity I had to do but I did not enjoy it or experience anything in my heart.

What Leads me to God?

A quick and easy answer to this all important question, “What leads me to God?” might be, “Everything!” That answer bears much truth in it. Plunging more deeply, however, reveals places and happenings, situations and persons who bring God front and center into my life. It could be a beautiful tree, an imposing mountain, a peaceful, winding river, the discovery of a poem, a passage from Scripture, being alert and finding God wherever the divine may be waiting for me. Places would be where Eucharist dwells and where I sit to pray. The places where I find the beauties of nature bring God right to me. A fragile flower, a singing bird, a lovely cloud call out the Creator’s name.

Using Inclusive Language and Feminine Images of God in Prayer

We all know that God is spirit and as such has no sex or gender. Unfortunately, language is too limited to describe an infinite, transcendent, non-human God with whom we desire to have a“personal” relationship. We can only talk about God in metaphors, knowing that we will never fully be able to describe God.

While male metaphors for God abound in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), there are female metaphors to help offset an overly male God view.

Feast day of St Louise De Marillac

Sisters in Pittsburgh, along with Caritas Support Services staff and a few VCS employees who work at St Louise Convent, gathered for a festive meal after the 11 AM mass held at the Sacred Heart Chapel on the May 9th feast day of St Louise De Marillac.

Creating a Toolbox for Prayer

Vipassana means “to see things as they really are.” It is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques rediscovered 2500 years ago by Gotama the Buddha, and is the essence of what he practiced and taught.

Praying with Catherine Spalding: From the Known to the Unknown

What seems like a lifetime ago, during a third grade social studies activity about daily life for the Kentucky pioneers, I vividly remember taking turns churning
butter and pouring melted tallow into iron candle molds. I was fascinated by all they embarked upon on their journey. From an eight-year-old’s perspective, their
lives seemed unbelievably difficult – fraught with obstacles to daily survival, uncertainties about the future, and risk. I could not understand why someone
would choose this path; however, I admired the passion, grit, ingenuity and faith in God required to cross from the known into the unknown. All that I learned back then took on its own shape in my active 8-year-old imagination and I believe those early images of the pioneers awakened in me a curiosity and awe about acting on a dream. What was it like to be so strongly drawn to move into the unknown – willing to risk it all in the name of hope? I was captured by this pioneer spirit. As I grew older, my understanding became more informed, less imaginary and more inclusive of the various impacts of this westward movement. Today, it continues to be expanded as we search to recognize the full story of that era and our place in it – good or bad. We still have so much to learn. However, for this reflection, I will focus on the part that captured my interest as a child – spirit, passion and resilience.

Feast of St. Vincent de Paul

The Central Leadership Team of SCNs Sangeeta, Jackulin and Adeline wish every Sister of Charity of Nazareth and Associate a very happy St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day.

See No Stranger

This Toolbox for Prayer post is a video from Sister Chris Kunze. Sister Chris encourages us all to let our light shine and “see no stranger”. We must look beyond ones outward appearance, and instead see them as a sister or brother that we do not yet know. This allows us to open ourselves up to the possibility of connection, let go of the impulse to view others as different, and enables us to pay attention to others stories.

A Journey with Prophets

The novices were delighted to attend the class of Sister Jane Karakunnel on scriptures, especially on prophets and the Gospel of John from July 11 to Aug. 4, 2022

Creating a Toolbox for Prayer

Window Gazing on Travel’ emerged as a free form of prayer for me ever since I was introduced to contemplative Spirituality within the SCN Congregation.

5 Comments

  1. Amrita SCN

    Thank you Maria Vincent for sharing your faith experiences with us. Your sharing is very profound and came from your everyday experiences. It touched my heart and led me to God.

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
  2. Basanti Lakra

    Thank you Sr. Maria Vincent for sharing your experiences and encounters with God. You have written it in a very simple and profound way, helping the reader to go through her own such experiences.

    Reply
  3. Sr. Deepti SCN

    What leads me to God is a very inspiring article . Thank you Maria vincent for its depth .

    Reply
  4. Sr. Deepti SCN

    What leads me to God is a very touching article by Maria vincent. It inspires me a lot. Thank you for writing from the core of your heart to make it most meaningful.

    Reply
  5. Name *Joel

    What leads me to God? Good question answered will be as many humans in existence.
    Nothing leads me to God because I am in God and God in me. Not an iota of space to lead. My life is God and God my life. A process will make a complete union, oneness possible that is when my body leaves me, the obstacle is removed!
    I am constantly reflecting the mystery of me and God.Thank you dear Maria for your reflections.

    Reply

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