Had breakfast with a friend. Stretched the creative muscles. Bought honey for my honey. Prayed with the monks. Put my pen to paper. Received lovely virtual flowers. Watched an artist at work. Sat in the sun. Chatted with a bluebird. Walked. Sent a postcard. Prayed a rosary.
I intended to sit in the cool half light of the church, but when I parked I was overcome with the desire to sit in the sun. The field was inviting, and the birds were all singing at once.
There was a blanket in the back seat, a leftover from a harsher than normal winter, so I made myself a little island in the middle of a green ocean. The birds sang to me and the sun finally got past the ever-present chill and warmed me. All the way through.
I read and wrote, and I think maybe I dozed a little in the sun, too. And then the bells called us all to prayer. I couldn’t resist the pull. Look, the gate was open for me.
Yes. But give me a chance to explain.
I teach a couple of dual enrollment courses at a local high school and often admire the collection of inspirational quotes that have painstakingly been hand-painted on certain walls. This particular quote attributed to Adlai Stevenson faces the last hall before I get to my classroom.
I’ve read that quote dozens of times as I race down the hall toward my classroom. In fact, I’ve seen that quote so many times that I barely notice it anymore.
Today was a little different. I was still in a hurry to get to class, but for another reason. Today begins the Paschal Triduum, marking the end of Lent.
I had a few things on my mind — mostly planning my schedule for the next three days as I endeavor to attend the special liturgies that begin tonight with the Mass of The Lord’s Supper and lead to the Easter Vigil.
I look forward to this every year. In spite of being a crazy busy several days, time seems to slow down for me. It’s a gift that I don’t question. So today I found myself standing in front of Stevenson’s quote when I’d ordinarily zip right past it.
As I stood there reading it for the hundredth time, it occurred to me that I could substitute one single word in that statement and it would encompass every challenge I’ve faced this Lent:
Faith is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.
I was struck with the simplicity of it. I like shiny things and am distracted easily by anything that is new and promises to be different. Because of this, I think I have missed a great deal of opportunity for growth in my spiritual life. I want to have the epic religious conversion. I want to get, as I often tell my close friends, a memo from God that spells out everything in black and white. In short, I want to be knocked off a horse like St. Paul.
Instead, I get opportunities to wait. To practice patience. To wait some more.
I missed that I could have, should have been doing something while waiting. While I continue to wait.
I’ve come to understand that there’s a certain peace in the long haul, the daily grind of faith.
Every once in a while Facebook is useful. I saw this through my friend Marnie (thanks chica!)
The beauty of creation
reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator
341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will. ~ from the Catechism of the Catholic Church