“You’ve cleared our schedules. You’ve flipped our focus. You clearly have much to say, Lord. Help us to not miss your voice.”
At the beginning of Lent, our pastor gave a wonderful homily. He reiterated how best to honor the death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus. He talked about how Lent invites us to prayer, almsgiving and fasting in the 40 days in preparation for Easter. And, the need to plan for it now. Otherwise, before you know it, Lent will be over and we will have missed its graces.
So, I planned to: Begin or improve my prayer life by …; Do for others, in Almsgiving, by ….; And fast from …. (This, to discipline myself, prepare me to reject sin when tempted in the future).
Well, with the COVID-19 pandemic we are experiencing, wouldn’t you agree this Lent became the “Lentiest of Lents!”
“Slow me down, Lord,” has taken on a new meaning, with God seemingly slowing down the entire world as we all turn to Him.
Deacon John believes in praying boldly, even in asking God for a sign in difficult times. “It’s OK to ask for a sign,” he’ll say, “when we want to shore up our faith. We don’t want God to prove himself, instead, we want His love, His reassurance.”
After all, we know He has it all under control.
Andrea attended Catholic school and was taught by nuns who prayed for her. She came to know God and his faithfulness in spite of her growing up in a pretty dysfunctional home.
On more than one occasion as a college student she had felt God’s love and presence. There was the time she drummed up the courage to fly home for the holidays. Gripped with terror at the thought of flying, Andrea felt close enough to God to ask a favor, even discerning that God might actually delight in her leaning on him. As scripture tells us, “God remains in us and his love comes to its perfection in us.” 1 John 4:12
She desired some kind of sign from God, whether she would be safe taking that flight she booked from LAX to Houston or not.
A couple of nights later she received what she felt was a definitive response while attending a charismatic prayer meeting at the Mount St. Mary’s campus in Los Angeles. Everyone at the prayer service was deeply steeped in the Holy Spirit. She was no exception as evidenced by the fact that, when invited, she even had the courage to stand and speak before a huge crowd. Asking everyone to join her, she led a prayer for her to overcome fears. Interestingly, she did not mention her specific anxiety.
A little later in the evening, a gentleman came up to her and started chatting. In the course of their brief conversation, he revealed that he was a pilot. Interesting, she thought. Young and naïve enough, she allowed herself to warm up to him, even jokingly revealing she has never been anything less than a “white-knuckle flyer.”
“Ahhh,” he said, “There’s nothing like it, to be up in the clouds, floating above.”
Smiling, she started thinking … could this be … a sign? No! She thought. The “doubting Thomas” in her would not let her believe so quickly. She was not quite convinced. The gentleman cheerfully continued, describing his love of planes and how his career allowed him to do what he’s loved to do since a very young boy.
As Andrea was dropping her gaze, his eyes caught hers. He looked piercingly at her, and declared directly, “It’s the Lord!”
“Let me stay in your tent forever, taking refuge in the shelter of your wings!” Psalms 61.