Every adventure begins with a first step. As many of you might know I like to have adventures when I travel. It is not uncommon for me to fly to a foreign place with no place to stay, trusting that the Holy Spirit will provide a place for me when I get there.
I was not always like this, and this is the short story of the first time that I ever planned a trip this way. I was a priest at St Mary in Alexandria 10 years ago. I decided to take a short trip with no plans, and no place to stay when I got there. I went to the travel agency and said that I just wanted to fly somewhere and for the travel agent to just pick a place for me. She picked West Palm Beach. I said sounds good.
It just happened that I was to fly to West Palm Beach on the Sunday after the 2000 election of Bush and Gore. The election was in disarray, and for many our whole government seemed to hang in the balance. Remember at that moment West Palm Beach was the center of the world attention with the hanging chads.
My flight left at 10:30 pm the Sunday after the election. I landed in West Palm around midnight with no place to stay. I got my rental car and ventured out towards the city. I quickly learned that because of the election, there was not a vacant hotel room anywhere in the city. I just drove up and down the streets, but around 2:30 drove in the parking lot of Holiday Inn. A room just became vacant so I took it.
Monday morning I woke up relived that I found a place to stay. I opened up the curtains and I said,”Good Morning West Palm Beach.” My hotel room was right in the center of downtown West Pam Beach. My room looked towards the court house where they were counting the hanging chads. As I looked over the court house; I saw something that surprised me. It was Vultures circling around the court house. I immediately thought of the scripture, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
I thought to my self that something spiritual is happening here. It seemed to me that the devil found an open door and was very active here in West Palm Beach. Maybe the Devil found a way to unravel our entire country.
Thinking that maybe I was sent to West Palm by an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I offered Mass that morning for the protection of our country and for the defeat of the devil.
The interesting thing is that 4 days later on the day that I was flying home, I again offered Mass for the protection of our country. The Gospel of the day was Mathew 24 15-28. The Last line of the Gospel was “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
Did the Holy Spirit bring me down to West Palm beach that week to offer mass for our country?
This is just another story from the Secret Files of the Men in Black.
Blessing Fr Stefan