God continuously works in our lives. We may see these times as coincidences or as something special. That decision He leaves to us. I believe, God has been working on my life, well… for all of my life. I will try to keep this short, but I cannot guarantee it, right now.

When I was in seventh or eighth grade, the nun teaching us spoke of a person living in Italy who was a member of the Capuchin religious community. His name was Padre Pio. This was the first time I had ever heard of the name, or of the man. I told my mother that I wanted to be a Capuchin priest. And, in her wisdom, she said something like, “Of course you can, but wait until you finish high school.” I exchanged letters with someone in Italy, I don’t know who. (Oh, how I wish I knew who it had been.) Teenage years came and I quickly forgot my desire of becoming a Capuchin priest.

My life ambled all over the place. Meandered might be a better expression. My immaturity moved me in so many directions, some very good, and some not so. I would like to say I was searching, but that would imply purposeful pursuit. It was more like a reed shaken by the wind.

Fast forwarding to the year 2008, three years ago, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Shortly before this time, Padre Pio again brushed my life. My son’s father-in-law also was diagnosed with cancer. It was through him that I again heard of Padre Pio. I can’t say I really began praying to him at that time, but it did serve to remind me of my first experiences and feelings towards this holy man. (Trying to keep this short, I urge you to click here on Padre Pio to read an earlier blog which describes Padre Pio’s impact on my operation to free me of cancer.

A brief synopsis would be: though the operation was a success a catheter bag would constantly fill up with crimson urine. This condition lasted for close to five weeks. It cleared up on the day I was supposed to go on a Padre Pio retreat. I was unable to go on the retreat because of this condition, so St. Pio came to me. God once again chose to forcefully touch my life and show me His goodness and desire for me to straighten out my life.

Yesterday was the third anniversary of my bladder operation. Last week. I went to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital for my six month checkup. The Cat scans, the chest x-rays, the blood work, all of which had been done for the checkup everything came out negative with no new cancer growth. Cathy and I were ecstatic over the findings and both felt a tremendous worry and burden lifted. When leaving the hospital garage, the first car that we see has the license plate:        PDRE PIO.        We looked at each other incredulously. How many thousands of cars go by that hospital every day? How many cars have that license plate? THAT car passes by that hospital, by us, as we emerge from the garage. That car might have even made a wrong turn at some point, and in so doing passes by us. God DOES care for us. He is in each and every one of our lives. He really is.

I have mentioned on many occasions in these blogs that all of us have our problems and struggles. To act like we don’t have these is an affront to our fellow man, ourselves and our God. His desire is for us to reach out to everyone. We must show everyone that He loves and is concerned about us. With God there is no coincidence. He is constantly with us, teaching us, guiding us and shaping our lives. He does not force. He merely presents us with choices, which we can lovingly accept or ignore. The choice is always ours.