Good morning!

This morning I was happy to read about how the churches in France have reopened after a legal battle.

It was also nice to see at least one bishop speaking out about the injustice and discrimination on behalf of the government who (like here) had clumped the reopening of churches in with reopening of things like cinemas etc.

For those of you who speak french, here is a short clip of the bishop of Toulon who I happen to know! He speaks of the discrimination and he encouraged Catholics to make themselves heard by peacefully speaking up and out….

And judging by yesterday’s result, it worked!

Bravo Monseigneur Rey and may your example and courage guide and inspire other bishops to do the same here in England and elsewhere.

As France has been on my mind I was suddenly reminded at our Holy hour last night of another little lesson that God taught me a few years ago in Paris.

I was en route to Lyon and visited Paris for a few days. I stayed near the sacred heart basilica where I went to daily mass and adoration.

I was also quite near the famous Moulin Rouge and the area full of prostitutes and what not and as usual I found myself as a bridge between 2 worlds; heaven and hell.

Long story short I lost my mobile phone. It was a Samsung galaxy given to me by my good friend James from my time in Australia. He got a new phone and gave me his old one. That was my first smartphone and the beginning of my 6 year relationship with Samsung!

So back in my hotel room with no phone I cried out to God. Why? Honestly I was exhausted and felt so let down by Jesus and yet in my heart I said that there was surely a reason.

Determined not to lose my peace over a silly phone I said “I surrender, what will be will be, you’ll sort it out”.

Soon as I said that I heard the voice of Jesus whisper clearly in my heart “you will get it back”.

Now it wasn’t a very good phone as it was old and the screen was cracked but I didn’t need or have the money for better.

I figured I must have dropped it at a coffee shop and as for getting it back, that would be an act of faith because that area of Paris is notorious for pick pockets.

It was late and I went to bed both worried and at peace. After all I’d been through greater trials than that.

Next morning I traced my steps back to the coffee shop where I had been the previous day. I asked the owner if he had found a phone. His automatic ‘Non’ left me very far from convinced but I could hardly tell him that he looked like a right thief and to give it back….even if he did!!

As I left the shop somewhat disappointed and even more frustrated with Jesus I heard the owner call me back?

‘Un portable avec l’écran écrasé ?’

(A phone with a cracked screen?).

“Oui” (yes) I quickly replied and there I was reunited with my Samsung.

So God was right but the story doesn’t end there!!

I went to make a call and it wouldn’t work, the SIM card had been stolen.

And I suddenly thought:

“Lord Jesus, you are impossible at times, you told me that I’d get the phone back which I have but you didn’t mention that it wouldn’t have a SIM card….still love you, you are teaching me and I can be stubborn, thank you”.

The next day I left Paris and went to Lyon. Someone donated €100 to me and I heard Jesus whisper again to me “use that to buy yourself a new phone”.

Needless to say I obeyed immediately and got myself a new Samsung Galaxy.

Anyway, all that to say what exactly?

To say that God is good but that He does put us through many tests and many trials that we would not expect and that at times we could really be tempted to just give up and to opt for an easy life.

It is also a message to blind trust, especially when things are not working out as you had expected and when it seems that Jesus is allowing all these bad things to happen to you and is doing nothing to stop it.

Jesus simply makes use of trials and sufferings to grow us in trust so that He can bless us more afterwards.

And so wherever you are today and regardless of what is going right or wrong I encourage you to trust in God’s goodness and believe in your heart that He has a plan and that although you may be in pain now, one day that plan will come to fruition and every tear will be turned to joy!

Jesus, I trust in you.

Michael