You Are the Apple of My Eye

You Are the Apple of My Eye

The only time I ever had a vocation crisis was in the very first year of my priesthood. I cannot recall all of the factors that contributed to this, but I do recall going to the pastor and asking for help. Fr. Monaghan was very supportive, and I know he was trying everything to lift me out of my funk.

I recall Fr. Monaghan taking me out to a Chinese restaurant to cheer me up and have some time away from the parish to talk. But, as much as he tried, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a priest any longer … I needed to hear from God.

When the meal was over, the waiter brought the check, and the customary fortune cookies. I opened mine, and tears started flowing down my face. Fr. Monaghan couldn’t figure out why a fortune cookie would bring that kind of emotion. Then I showed it to him. It read, “You are the apple of my eye.”

Now, I know it may sound ridiculous that someone would get emotional over what a fortune cookie read, but it was the very words I needed to hear from God in that moment. Prior to that, I had heard that phrase come up in scripture many times and, especially, as I would pray the Liturgy of the Hours. It always struck me as such a beautiful expression to say to someone you really cared about.

The phrase appears in four books of The Old Testament: Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs and Lamentations. The phrase “apple of my eye” refers to something or someone that one cherishes above all others. St. Augustine wrote, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” God can do this, and He does do this. It’s not that we do not want God to love others, but we also do not want to be just a face in the crowd either.

I fell very deeply in love with God at that Chinese restaurant. But, the tears flowed even more later that night when I was alone in my room, and I looked at that fortune cookie again. It dawned on me … “What a strange fortune! … What fortune says YOU are the something of MY?? … Who is the MY? … Fortune cookies don’t read like that … if anyone else opened up that cookie, they would say, ‘Who is the MY referring to?'” I have never heard of a fortune cookie reading that way again.

Be that as it may, God found a way to communicate His love to me in a Chinese restaurant, and I have deeply loved Him and deeply loved my priesthood, without one inkling of doubt ever since.

Please know that God loves you as if you were the only one He ever created.

PSALM 17:7-8

Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings

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