Let God do the driving


As everyone who follows us on our blog or on Facebook knows, we were in desperate need of a car.  Our car was totaled on December 26.  A few days after the accident, I remembered something that St. Francis said in his Testament.

Let those who know not [how to work] learn, not through desire to receive the price of labor but for the sake of example and to repel idleness. And when the price of labor is not given to us, let us have recourse to the table of the Lord, begging alms from door to door.

I know that we do not bring in enough money to purchase a car, not even a used one.  Other than a few hundred dollars from the insurance company, we had nothing.

However, God will never be outdone in generosity and in pity for us.  I remembered this passage from the Testament and decided to beg for help.

In less than 24 hours after posting our cry for help, we received three offers to help us.  The first was from an old friend who said, “I have a car that I want to give to you.”   Imagine our joy when we heard this good news.  But there is more . . .

An hour later, a dealer who supports our work for the Gospel of Life called me.  “Brother, I can help you.”

The next morning we received an email from another generous person.  “Pick the car you want.  I’ll pay for it.”

All of this is leading somewhere, so please stay with me.  The Franciscans of Life have just finished a three month process during which we reviewed our constitutions and did some editing for greater clarification.  The chapter on poverty required the greatest amount of attention.  For greater clarity we inserted an article into the chapter on poverty.

The brothers shall own only one car per house.  They may not own a new car, nor an old car that is commonly used by the wealthy.  They are to acquire used cars, either through their effort or the generosity of others.  Let these vehicles be such that they conform to what the working man or woman in the lower economic sectors would drive.  Let them not use said vehicles for recreation.  They are tools for service to the voiceless.

We now had an interesting situation.  We had a vendor who was willing to give us a very generous deal on a used car.  There was a benefactor who wanted to purchase a car of our choosing and there was the father of a family who was offering his car as a gift.

We, the brothers, discussed what to do and which offer to accept.  It was finally decided that the superior should decide.  I hate it when the brothers do that.  😦  Guess who has to decide?  😀

The question on the table was, “What would be the most natural for a poor man?”

This was easy.  People don’t usually call the poor and offer to purchase a vehicle of their choice for them.  That offer was now off the table; although we are very grateful.  The poor don’t get telephone calls from dealers offering them a bargain on a car, simply because they’re poor.  I wish this would happen more often.  Unfortunately, it does not happen often enough.  That offer was off the table as well.

This left one offer on the table.  The older family car that was offered to us free of charge.  I remembered that the first car I ever owned was a hand-me-down from my sister.  I was broke.  The only thing that I could afford was that old car.

The end of the story is that we have a car and it’s beautiful.  It’s a 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan with 156,000 miles and a few dents and scratches on the outside, but it’s perfect under the hood.

Here are the pictures.

There are several other dimensions to this story.

First:  The brother who was involved in the accident in one of our novices who is about to make vows this week.  The car was totaled; but Brother walked away without a scratch, not even a headache.  Not only was he not hurt, he was smiling when he arrived home.  His first words to me were, “I feel very peaceful.”  If this is not a sign of a man whom God has called to himself, I don’t know what is.

Second dimension:  During our review of the Constitutions, we asked The Immaculate to point us in the right direction.  “Are we doing the Will of God?  Is this way of life and this work what God wants from us?”  The Lord protected our novice from physical harm and blessed him with great peace and joy, despite the hardship.  Interior peace is the best sign that one is in compliance with God’s Will.

Finally, the third dimension to this story, without the car, our student brothers cannot travel to the university.  We cannot continue our work in hospice, pregnancy centers, university campus, religious education and among the immigrant poor.  We live in an area where public transportation is very poor.  It would take two hours to get to the university using public transit, when it takes 25 minutes by car.  A brother would spend four hours on the road to go to a class.  This is time that has to be stolen from prayer, community, and apostolate.

Not only did God’s providence come through for us through the generosity of others; but he confirmed us in our vocation.  God does not provide transportation to go where he does not want us to do so.

The last thing for today, we need to do some body work on the car.  We have $1,300.00.  We need about another $500.00.  If you can spare $1.00, it would help.  If you know someone who does body work in the Fort Lauderdale area and can hook us up with a good price, that would be very helpful.

While we’re on the subject of money.  We want to thank everyone who donates to Franciscans of Life.  Every month, we manage to reach the necessary dollar amount to pay our rent and utilities for that month.  Isn’t that awesome.  🙂

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
    To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.
    Phil 4:19-20


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