December 7, 2012 by lucieromarin
So, yesterday, on the Feast of St Nicholas, I was reading the life of St Colette of Corbie (who is not in Second Place; that’s for the weekend); she was named after St Nicholas, because she was conceived after her parents prayed to him in desperation. Her mother was sixty years old when she gave birth!
My first reaction to this discovery was amazement and hope – you know, “Oh, wow, God can really answer prayers at any time,” and so on. My second reaction was annoyance. What is the point of keeping a woman praying forty years for a child? St Colette was an orphan by the age of 17 because of it. I supposed it probably sanctified the mother, and it certainly gave both God and St Nicholas the chance to manifest their power in her, but still…sixty?
A thought struck me later. If God had granted the woman’s prayers while she was still in her twenties, then St Colette would have been born forty years earlier, right? So, she would have been in her seventies, rather than in her thirties, right when God wanted a saint to reform the Poor Clares. In fact, she would have been dead (she lived to 66) so she couldn’t have reformed anything at all. Yes, I know God could have chosen someone else for the job, but He didn’t; He chose her, which meant that, for the sake of the entire Church, she had to be born when her mother was sixty, rather than twenty.
I’d only ever thought of Long Waits and Delayed Answers in terms of the effect on the one praying. I’d never thought of it before in terms of the effect that our granted prayers might have on the rest of the Church.
And how weird – to discover this on the Feast of St Nicholas himself!
(Also, St Nicholas punched Arius in the mouth. Don’t mess with Santa.)