After a whirlwind road trip to Michigan with my oldest to visit my parents, I returned last night and had to make a concerted effort not to plunge neck deep into email. The temptation to see what I would be facing at work this morning nearly got the best of me, but I fought it off and visited with my bride and family, then went to bed.
I rose this morning with a knot of dread in my belly. Over the past few days of travel, I had made it to Sunday Mass, of course, but had not dedicated as much time to personal prayer as usual. I felt the consequence this morning as a distance from God. I was distracted and foggy, even after coffee. I caught myself expecting the worst and feeling unready, unprepared, unequipped.
Just before my bride left for work, we sat together and prayed briefly. Afterward I was still anxious about reentry, but the world began to come into focus. I prayed some more while driving, and when I arrived at work, I found a manageable number of emails and voicemails—a couple of which were from much-needed volunteers.
So far, so good—so why am I feeling so uneasy?
At 10:00 AM, I went to the Adoration Chapel to pray. I used to always pray a rosary in the chapel, but have stepped away from that practice in recent years in favor of a less routine and scripted approach to time with the Lord. But today, the rosary practically leapt from my pocket, and I was quickly immersed in the Glorious Mysteries.
The first thing that struck me was how quickly I was alone with God and at peace, even though two other people were praying in the chapel. This distance I had felt earlier was all my own—my inattentiveness and distraction. I know I tend to fall away from some of my habits of prayer when I travel, and I know that when I do, I quickly feel remote and downcast. I know I should do a better job of insisting upon prayer even when my usual routines break down.
But He never left. He was right there beside me, as always, waiting patiently for me to turn my attention to Him.
The second thing I noticed is that He responded immediately. As I finished the opening prayers of the rosary and began praying the Glorious Mysteries, I saw in an instant how they spoke to my feelings of unpreparedness and inadequacy this morning:
- The Resurrection: Jesus has overcome and defeated Death. We are eternal beings and Heaven is opened to us—what should we fear?
- The Ascension: Jesus has called all of us as we are; He has given us a mission and has promised He won’t abandon us.
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit: He fills us with His own Spirit as well as abundant gifts and graces to carry out our mission.
- The Assumption of Mary: He reassures us of the rewards of saying yes to His mission by bringing His mortal mother, body and soul, to Heaven.
- The Coronation of Mary: He makes His mother (and ours!) the Queen of Heaven and Earth so that we may have a powerful advocate and intercessor praying for us and dispatching the gifts and graces of Heaven on our behalf.
As the old saying goes, God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. An hour in the chapel changed my whole outlook on the day, the week—and even on the prospects of recruiting enough Faith Formation volunteers for the coming year.
You see, the same applies to all of you. You might not feel up to the challenge of sharing your faith with others. You might feel distant from God and His church. You might feel like your own tiny yes couldn’t possibly amount to anything, because you are unready, unprepared, unequipped.
But the same Heavenly Father that asked an unwed Jewish teen to bear His Son; the same Jesus that called a motley assortment of fishermen, laborers, rabble-rousers and outcasts to save the world; the same Holy Spirit that breathed life into the void in the beginning and continues to do so every day—the same Holy Trinity we worship as our God—calls and equips you.
So take some time to pray on it. You have nothing to fear—not even death. You have a clear mission and the gifts and graces to do your part. You have the promise of a heavenly reward and a strong and loving mother working tirelessly to help your along the way.
We can do this. Will you help?
Originally published on the Saint Andrew Catholic Church blog The Net on Wednesday, August 22, 2018.