Letter From the Pastor – Fr. David’s Dialogues (October 6, 2019)
One of my Passionist brothers always ties whatever homily he is preaching back to prayer. I have always admired him about this consistent ability. I struggle with it because prayer is different and so unique for everyone. Moreover, prayer is so intimate for so many that others rarely share that with me in a way I can get to know their prayer experiences.
Every Ash Wednesday when we enter the Lenten journey, Matthew tells us, “When you pray, go to your room, close the door and pray to your Father in private.” (Mt 6:6a) This room doesn’t mean the physical place with walls, windows and doors away from the front door. It means that interior place within. Then, when you still yourself enough to be in that interior place, bring with you in a mental way something that is the light of Christ. For many it is a simple word or a mantra. It is something which brings just a little illumination to this interior room which is the illumination of Christ.
Of course there will be constant distractions. You will be thinking about what happened yesterday, or what you need to do for tomorrow. You will have imaginary discussions with people who were part of your past regarding things you wished you would have said, or humorous quips which lightened the conversation. You may find yourself preparing to-do lists to get checked off as soon as you finish your quiet time. The challenge is to not chase after the distractions; they rob you of being in the present. The challenge is to be present to the here and now, a light which shines in the interior place within. When we focus on this light of Christ, then it gifts us with the love of God and the peace only Christ offers. We grasp with greater clarity the dwelling of God in the deeply interior place of our soul.
Most active people struggle with finding this still and quiet place. A certain restlessness comes over us as our minds race and we think about the things we need to get done in our busy and hectic world. We then cut ourselves off from being able to be present to the present moment in Christ. Some would say we are deaf to being able to hear Christ’s Word. I find this interesting because in Latin the word surdus is to be deaf. Therefore, absurdus is to be completely deaf and cut off. To be bounced back and forth between the past and the future, to cut ourselves off and not be able to listen to a voice calling us into abundant love, to neglect listening to God in prayer is acutely absurd.
Perhaps the biggest challenge we could take on this week is how to be acutely present to every moment, and attempt to live in the Here and Now.