Father Joseph's Reflection
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Last Monday I experienced something that I never had here in Washington—real rain! Growing up in Seattle I thought I knew what rain was. It wasn't until I spent a few years in the Midwest that I realized I had been incorrect. In Chicago rain comes in drops, here it's something more like those mist cannons on the vegetable aisle at the grocery store, a light moistening a thousand times a day. What I ran into last Monday was far from this.
I was on my way down to see my family when all of a sudden my windshield was blasted with what looked like a firehose. It was so unexpected that it took me a minute to figure out what it was. It was coming down so hard that I couldn't see any cars to the left or right of me. Eventually I came to the realization that I couldn't even see the lane markers. What you're supposed to do at this point is stop, assess, and wait for visibility to return before continuing, but for some reason that never crossed my mind. In front of me I could see two red lights, most likely from another car or truck, and I figured if I just focused on those I would be fine.
Looking back on it, this really was a grace-filled moment. Those lights were like an angel leading me to safety. After about three minutes the rain let up and it was back to sunny skies. It was an odd experience especially in its intensity and brief duration. In hindsight, I'm lucky I didn't get into an accident. I easily could have slid into another lane without knowing it. I'm thankful for the lights ahead but I really should have been more cautious and used my head. It’s funny how much the whole thing speaks to the spiritual life. We do stupid things all the time, but God is always giving us a light to guide us home. When we look back on things we can see how foolish we were, and yet we somehow made it through. God never lets us stray too far and never gives up on us. The next time you’re in a spiritual rainstorm of sorts, I recommend just stopping and asking God to come save you. But if you're a fool like me—watch for those lights.

Prayers Always,
Fr. Joseph Altenhofen