Saturday, 10th October 2020 was of extreme significance to the millennial Church as Carlo Acutis, a youth who died of leukaemia at the age of 15 was elevated to the state of “Blessed”, by The Catholic Church.

While in prayer the following morning I was led to reflect upon his life and death, and I realised he was born in the same year as my younger daughter. His life would have been more or less like my children’s but he breathed his last breath at the tender age of 15. The fact that this happened to a youth who loved The Eucharist and spending time with Jesus in The Blessed Sacrament, would have left everyone confused and disillusioned.

However, his story doesn’t end there. For, today Blessed Carlo Acutis is on the highway to sainthood!!

As I worshipped the Lord, He spoke the word “opportunity” to my heart, revealing how every disaster or disappointment is actually an opportunity to draw closer to Him and to draw His life into mine more powerfully. The Lord showed me that this is a choice I alone could make for myself. Do I choose to allow disappointment to suppress me into a victim mentality, or do I choose to stand upon my identity as a child of God and stubbornly trust Him to know everything I cannot understand in the midst of crisis? Do I choose to blame someone for my predicament or do I choose to transform it into a learning experience?

Even though the right choice may be known to us, the truth is that sometimes it is a nearly impossible choice to make. And the one thing that helps me in the face or impossibility is my commitment to daily prayer- a commitment that resists a thousand reasons not to pray. From the time I joined The Community of The Risen Lord thirteen years ago, something our main coordinator and founder brother Lalith Perera has always reiterated is the importance of the personal prayer and hearing the Voice of God in prayer. I hear the voice of my Lord mostly through The Scripture, be it The Psalms or praying with Daily Readings. Day after day, the Lord gives me promises to hold onto. The Holy Spirit empowers me to make those promises more real than my actual circumstances. And though it sounds ridiculous and implausible, The Word of God truly is alive and active, and is sharper than a double-edged sword (cf. Hebrews 4:12).

Grace enables me to believe that God, my Father is the Perfect Goodness and the absolute Faithfulness and, in this belief, my gaze and focus are shifted from my situation to Him. Self-pity disappears and suddenly my spirit’s eyes open to see a different reality; a reality where I see Him carrying me through the struggle into a new intimacy with Him and into unspeakable joy and freedom. And in this reality, signs, wonders and miracles become a normality as His promises become more real to me.

I feel this is why Lord Jesus said,

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew‬ 11:28-30‬ ‬‬‬

The invitation to make every event of our lives an ‘opportunity’ to experience His victorious life is open to all who choose to accept it. So let’s run to the Lord in child-like faith and expectation. I pray that you who read this will enjoy His Resurrection life, and ride on His Eagle’s wings with absolute freedom, looking down on the cyclones, floods and fires of this earthly life from that higher place that He makes available to us when we turn distressing occurrences into divine opportunities.

By Dr. Sunimalee Fernando