Jesus called me on Valentine’s Day, much in the way he visited me through a colleague the day before.

The phone rang at 8 AM, just as I was really gearing up to get going – finish getting myself ready, start the car, get Miss Muffet dressed, nurse the baby and tuck her in her car seat. I didn’t recognize the number, but I took the call.

“Hi Sarah. I’m really sorry to bother you, but you’re the last person on the sub list. I can’t make it to Adoration this morning. Can you cover for me?”

“Um, what’s your hour again?”

“Ten to eleven.”

“Oh gee,” I started, in my best hem-haw way. “I’m just really not sure.” In my mind, the list of reasons (not excuses, REASONS) why I couldn’t make it were mounting: I had the kids with me, I had a lot of work piled up in the office, I was already running late. “You know, why don’t you call the person on the hour before, tell them you can’t find a sub, and if I can make it, I will, but if I can’t, they can cover the monstrance?” (This is our LAST CASE scenario, mind you.)

After I hung up, I tried to put it out of my mind.

“I just can’t do it,” I said out loud. And one of the voices in my head – the one that is usually associated with doing the right thing (it sounds, sometimes, a lot like my husband) – just wouldn’t keep quiet.

“Why not? Come on, REALLY. WHY NOT?” this persistent little voice kept repeating. “Your boss doesn’t care if you up and go to Adoration. What work do you have that’s more important than an hour with Jesus?”

“Welllllll….” I was hemming and hawing at full force now.

“Sarah. Sarah. SARAH.” (Uh-oh. My parents used to do that same thing to me.) “Haven’t you been complaining about wanting more quiet time? About missing a quiet hour with Jesus now that your Adoration hour is in the evening instead of the middle of the night? Do you think JESUS cares if you bring the kids? Didn’t he say to bring the children to him?”

I’ll spare you the rest. You get the drift.

And you know what? Before I left the house, I had decided that I was going to TRY to go. I hadn’t committed to it yet, but I was more than halfway sure that this was a chance to spend Valentine’s Day with three of my four favorite people – my two girls and Jesus Himself.

Why would I turn down an invitation like that?

We were a few minutes late getting over to the church, and just as I had instructed, the monstrance was covered. Miss Muffet watched me with great interest as I walked up, bowed, and uncovered it. She wanted to join me on the altar, but I told her no. (Maybe, looking back, this could have been a chance to show her around the sanctuary. Next time, then.)

She was quite interested in our front pew view of the pretty monstrance. She said hi to Jesus, and she had a couple of conversations with him. (I didn’t hear his answers. But then, maybe I wasn’t supposed to.)

Do you know how long an hour is, in a quiet church with an infant who’s fussy and a three-year-old who wants to walk around?

Do you know how much grace is packed into the moments?

Do you know how much better I felt, having given that hour to God?

I saw clearly, during that hour, where I was supposed to be: at the foot of the cross with Mary, in the garden with Jesus, offering myself in thanksgiving with the Holy Spirit.

Thanks, Jesus, for a great Valentine!