Last week, I wrote about one of the challenges that I have as a lawyer, which is the failure of many of my clients to understand the nature and extent of the work I do for them. Much of what I do as an attorney is hidden from my clients.
When I represent a client on a personal injury case, if I’m able to get the case settled without having to file a lawsuit, it customarily takes from 18 to 22 months to conclude the case. If it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, it can take up to five years from the date of the injury to get the case resolved.
During the time that I work on a client’s case, there is not much that I do that my client can see, touch, hear, smell, or taste. At the end of the case when I collect my fee, which can at times be substantial, I want my clients to understand the breadth and scope of the work that I performed for them. So what is it that I can do to help them understand the extent of the work that I do on their behalf?
From the beginning of time, man has been a visual creature. The serpent seduced Eve to bite into the apple in part because it was so visibly appealing. I suppose you could call the serpent the first advertising and marketing expert that ever existed. He crafted a compelling and irresistible message that enticed Eve to defy God.
After he described the apple as being beautiful, delicious, and life changing, he appealed to her pride by saying, “All you have to do is bite into it to be like God.” There is no doubt that the tree and its apples were beautiful and inviting to the eye. But it was her ability to actually see in her imagination the future that the serpent painted for her — a future that promised that she and Adam would have the same powers as their God — that convinced her to act.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s what Saint Thomas said after our Lord’s apostles reported to him that Jesus had risen from the dead. Our Lord later reprimanded him for his lack of faith and said, “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.” John 20:29
We all want to see before we believe. That’s why it’s important for me as a provider of legal services to make sure that my clients see the work that I do for them.
We live in a society in which we can demand and see tangible results within hours or days. We have FedEx, which allows us to pay for something and have it delivered to us the next day. Amazon is working on a system with Whole Foods where people will be able to order groceries online and have them delivered to their house within two hours.
We have the ability to tap into instant entertainment at any time of the day or night with Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. We have the ability to instantly communicate through Facebook, Instagram, and Texting. These forms of electronic entertainment and communication weren’t available when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.
We have been conditioned to believe that we should get tangible results within hours, days, or at most, weeks. Yet our faith requires that we patiently wait, sometimes for years, before we see tangible results from God. This is why so many Catholics abandon their faith. And this is why you and I should redouble our efforts to become stronger, more devout Catholics.
It’s not easy to remain faithful to the Catholic Church and its teachings. We are asked to invest years of sacrifice and self-denial for a reward that we are unable to see, touch, hear, taste, or smell. That’s a lot to ask. But we are told that our reward will far exceed any reward that we could ever expect to receive here on Earth. How do we know whether that’s true?
One of the reasons it’s so difficult to have faith in God and maintain that faith for a lifetime is because in most instances, we are unable to see what He does for us. There are numerous things that God does for us daily that we are unable to actually see with our eyes. If we could see all the things He does for us, we would be so overwhelmed that faith would not be necessary. If that were the case, we would have ample proof of His love for us.
But if our Lord allowed us to see everything that He does for us, there would be no value to our claim that we truly believe in Him.
Much of what God does for you and me is completely hidden from us. Because we can’t see what He does for us, it’s difficult for us to maintain our belief and faith that He will provide for all our needs. God is very much aware of our lack of faith, so he gives each of us the one thing that we need to guarantee that we will persevere in our faith: the grace to pray.
There is no guarantee that any of us will be able to maintain a strong faith in God for a lifetime. But He does guarantee that we will have the grace to pray for the faith that is required for us to believe in Him. That is why daily prayer and communication with God is so critical. If we fail to pray every day, our faith will quickly falter, and we will be easily seduced by the temptations of the world and the evil spirits.
God stands by and supports those of us who pray for the grace to be faithful. My wife and I have been married for more than 37 years and during that time, in addition to faithfully following the teachings of the church, we have prayed a daily rosary and attended Mass on most days of the week. We have also regularly visited with our Lord in the adoration chapel and incorporated spiritual reading into our schedules.
Although there have been periods of time that God has remained hidden from us, there have also been many occasions when He has allowed us to see and hear Him working in our lives. We have seen some of the grace and favors he has blessed our family with. We have also heard, through the voices of our children and grandchildren, how much he has blessed us.
So back to what I do to make sure that my clients can at least see some of the work that I do for them. I periodically mail copies of letters, legal documents, and medical records to them so they can see, touch, and read them. I meet with them on a regular basis, so they can see their large file of materials next to me on the conference table, and they can hear an update from me on what’s been going on with their case. I also make sure that my clients hear the voice of the case manager in my office who is assigned to their file when she calls them on a regular basis to ask about their treatment and update them on the progress of their case. These are just a few of the things I do to make sure my clients see and hear about some of the work that I do for them.
All growth in faith and love for God starts with prayer. Are you praying enough every day? I can tell you the answer to that question without even knowing who you are.