Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Severe Spiritual Storm Warning

We have become so familiar with the image of thunderstorms approaching Louisville. Because of great advancements in computer modeling and radar imagery, we receive many of these warning several days in advance of threatening weather. We are given so much time to prepare for the arrival to protect our families.

This week, I have found myself digging out of a Spiritual Thunderstorm. The interesting connection is that I didn't receive any advance warning and did not realize the storm until I finally realized what was happening and asked the LORD for help and assistance. But, however, I have noticed that I am beginning to realize the storminess much more quickly.

Before this year, I would have found myself trying to do everything to get MYSELF back on track. I thought that I could always do something to get MYSELF back on track. Right there is the source of my difficulty. I had failed to ask the LORD for the help to return to him.

I am reminded of the apostles being afraid and waking up Jesus as they are on the stormy sea. (Mark 4:38). The apostles, while their faith was weak, still had some confidence that Jesus could help them, if only they ask. We should always ask for assistance the instant that we realize that our Spiritual Storm is approaching or is upon us. Jesus is always there and with us, waiting to assist and be with us at our most trying times.

I was so touched by the Third Antiphon from the Saturday Week 3 Daytime prayer which reminded me and comforted me: "When you heart is torn with grief, the LORD is near you." May the LORD continue to be near to you. Praise him in the good times and ask for strength in the difficult times. Amen.

Picture Credit: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/iHMAMj2SQ90/0.jpg

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Visit

My parents came to Washington DC to visit for Columbus Day weekend. My dad just retired at the end of September, so it was also sort of a celebration trip. They were able to stay at the seminary in our upstairs guest rooms. It was so great to have them come and stay with me.

On Saturday, we toured the Mt. Vernon Mansion and Grounds (Home of President George Washington).In addition, we went on the National Treasure Tour. We found out that the tunnel was the creation of "Hollywood." We were able to go into the basement and see where the inspiration for the movie came from. (I won'tspoil it in case you decide to come and visit me!!)

On Sunday, we visited the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, which is about a mile from my seminary. They feature replicas of many altars and churches that can be seen in the Holy Land. In fact, one set of steps leading to statues of the crucifixion are the actual height of Mt. Calvary. The Harris' found that very cool!! We also walked through the National Cathedral.

It was so great for my folks to visit and see where I go to school and how we live in the seminary. It was such a blessing. Now I have some homework to do to catch up, but it was worth it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Let us pray": More Than an Instruction

One day last June, when I was praying Morning Prayer, I came across this simple three word phrase, "Let us pray."  I have to admit that at first I was angry at the phrase.  I said out loud, "I was just praying. Why is there a command for 'Let us pray'?"  Then, that same week at church before the opening and closing prayer, the priest announces, "Let us pray" and the same thought came to mind, "We are already supposed to be praying, it's Mass."

Now that I have taken the time to think about this seemingly little phrase, the Holy Spirit has blessed me with two new reasons for this small, yet powerful phrase.  The first thing that changed my heart about this phrase was the ideas of the faithful asking permission to continue praying.  After all, everything in our being and even the ability to take our next breath comes from the gracious gift of the LORD. Recognizing that all is a gift, we should ask again to pray and the LORD will allow us to be in relationship with Him once again.

The other thing that changed my thinking was that we are never really praying alone.  Even if we are in our interior room and praising the LORD, we are always surrounded by saints, angels, Mary and the LORD.  That phrase reminds us that we are always accompanied on this journey of faith, even in the deepest, darkest periods of our life.  We are praying with and for the entire universal church.

I am sure that there are more aspects to this phrase that I have not thought about or been inspired to think about.  Maybe more will come.  Maybe you will think of one.

May God continue to bless you and your family.  You are in my prayers.