Consider the sparrows, and the Astros, too

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You know, baseball can bring some spiritual benefits! Here's the story as Fr. Bryce Sibley tells it:


Last week I was on retreat in Alhambra (CA) at the retreat house belonging to the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Before I left I asked some of the sisters to pray that I could get tickets to the World Series...

...because I like the Houston Astros and they were playing in the Series. The tickets were nearly impossible to come by and even the worst seats would have cost you about a thousand bucks a ticket.

As I was leaving the Retreat House, I debated on whether or not to wear my Astros cap, since they were already down two games, but I made the decision to wear it since I cannot give up on them.

I get to LAX and it is packed. In reality, LAX has nearly 20,000 people there at any time. I get into one line to go through security but it is really long, so a cop suggests we move to another line to pass through security. Thanks to that, I shaved 20 minutes off of my waiting time.

I get to the gate and sit down and begin to read but am feeling a bit tired, so I get up to get some coffee, but when I return someone has taken my seat. I scout around for another one and see one that seems to be occupied. I ask the woman if it is free and she points to an oriental woman walking toward the seat, saying it was her seat. The oriental woman moves her stuff over and asks me to sit, so I do.

I begin drinking my coffee and reading, when this oriental woman notices my Astros cap and asks if I am a fan. I say yes, but am sad since they were down 2-0 in the World Series. She says not to give up hope. I then tell her how I had hoped to get tickets, but they were just too expensive to afford and besides I could not find any, to which she responds, "I could get you tickets, no problem..."

I look at her like she is joking, to which she responds that she works for Fox Sports, who does the broadcast of the games and has access to tickets. So she makes a call right there and locks some down for me. All I have to do is call before the game and go pick them up. Needless to say, I was excited. Come to find out Fox Sports always has extra tickets to these big events, and she is a devout Catholic and happy to allow a priest to have them.

I told her I would pray for her till the day she died.

Then she says, "You know, Father, if you would not have been wearing that Astros cap, I never would have thought to bring it up to you." That got me thinking about all the little "coincidences": deciding to wear the hat, changing lines at the airport, having to change seats, and the probability that the one person I sit next to in LAX works for Fox Sports! It did not take me long to realize that it was a result of the prayers of the Sisters!

But the story does not stop there. I get to Houston for Game 4 - Mrs. S. got two tickets for me - and went to pick them up. But the tickets she got were in the 4th level, the nose-bleed section. I was a bit disappointed but I did not care: I was going to the World Series! I go to meet my friend Donald who was coming with me, and after dinner as we were leaving I get a call from Mrs. S., happy that we had not got into the Stadium yet, since she got some better tickets and was willing to swap them out. So we met her before the game and she gave us tickets in the dugout section about 30 rows up and a little to the left of home plate. These tickets were going for about $5,000 a piece!

I've attached a picture of me from my seat so you can see how close to home plate we were. We had the most unbelievable seats possible (plus, we got free parking because Donald's cousin was a cop managing one of the pay lots at the field). It was sad to be there when the Astros got swept, but it was still such a blessing to be there and with such great seats.

But I kept thinking of how it all goes back to the power of prayer, and if God will answer prayers for something as seemingly insignificant as tickets to the World Series, imagine how he will answer faith-filled prayers for things that deal with the salvation of souls!

1 Comment

Thanks for posting this story! Where did y'all get it from -- Fr. Bryce himself?

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On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on October 29, 2005 12:39 AM.

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