Take It All As Blessing
Consider the prodigal son. At the end of his time away from home he finds himself hollow, sad, and hungry. He recognizes the depth of his sin and his unworthiness of a place in his father’s house. This itself is grace.
– Tagged "Growth"
Pray without seasoning. This idea has been cooking (pun intended) in my mind for a while, but prayer is such a personal thing, that I hesitate to write much about it. However, I realized that is precisely why I want to share these thoughts with you. Prayer is a unique experience for everyone and it does not follow a one-size-fits-all mold. We should have the freedom to pray in the ways that we are most aware of God and of His movements.
The past year has provided ample opportunity for wrestling matches with God in my spiritual life. I never thought that I’d find the long-elusive definition of hope here; I’ve often searched for it instead in optimism and resignation. But, as I have learned to bring my desires honestly to the Lord, I have also learned truer consent to His will than ever before. As with Jacob in Genesis 32: 23-33, the Lord is not afraid of the most tender places of our hearts. If your relationship with the Lord looks like a wrestle right now, I invite you to look for hope in the strength of His nearness.
The words of the risen Christ to Mary Magdalene echo through the centuries into my own heart. Mary’s faith was strong and her friendship with Jesus was fierce. She had learned, over years of companionship with Jesus and His disciples, how to be in deep friendship with the Lord. I’m guessing they shared inside jokes and that she knew how to make Him belly laugh. She could probably recognize His footsteps and tell when He was feeling tired. Mary knew the living Christ, and she knew Him well. She was one of the few to stand at the foot of the cross in His last hours. Even to the end, Mary was prepared to give of her deepest self to the Lord.
Thinking about the future made me super excited as a kid. I wanted to be a scientist, and then a paleontologist, until I wanted to be a movie director and… That zeal eventually ran out as I grew up. I learned about how every career I wanted was competitive and uncertain. I instead longed for something more abstract and basic - a life of meaning, purpose, adventure, and honor. I wanted a simpler and humbler way of life, one where I could grow in my relationship with God and help others. And, here I am discerning the priesthood now!
I walked up the makeshift stairway to the new JPII loft at Saint Isidore’s the other day, and I was greeted by several sets of smiling eyes going the opposite way. As I opened the door to laughter and banter, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the surprising reality: there is still life happening here. Somehow, between sheetrock walls and makeshift stairs, friendships are being made, spiritual hunger is being fed, and hearts are being cared for.
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