Thursday, February 9, 2012

Speak now, your servant is listening

I'll never forget the day my Grandaddy Eldon died when I was very young - maybe in kindergarten.  I remember my dad taking the phone call, and my mom grabbing the kids and we went back to my sisters bedroom and all knelt down and prayed together as a family.  It seems that connection to prayer and Christ existed throughout my lifetime.  In elementary school, we had sisters from Channing, Texas come and stay with us. I kept a piece of art that I made with Sister Mary Thomas, and displayed it proudly for the longest time as a tribute to my faith that was nourished by her presence.  When I was about 12, I got caught throwing rocks at cars and after my friends were sent home, my mom took me up to the church for a private confession with Fr. Cyr.  when I was in middle school, we prayed the rosary every day, sometimes all 3 decades (yes there are 4, but at the time there were only 3).  When I went off to college, I began to wear a cincture/cord under my clothes to help me fight the temptations of lust.  These were all deeply Catholic traditions that led me to Christ and helped me stay strong in my faithfulness to him.

Over the past weekend, I helped lead a Confirmation retreat for over 175 students.  I find it so interesting the differences from one kid to the next.  Some have been given a very firm foundation of faith.  They are firm, bold and willing to defend Christ and His Church.  Others really just didn't get it.  They don't get the point, and they find it hard to be motivated in something they have never really connected with.

By the end of the retreat, they were finally willing to go deeper, so we took them there.  On a scale of 1-10, they were about a 7.  They had a great time, met some friends, heard some great talks and enjoyed being a part of this.  We weren't quite at a 10 yet until Christ came into the picture.  We took them over to the church to experience adoration, confession and the mass.  When they walked in the church, you could just feel the spirit moving.  It was emotional, spiritual and yes even physical.  We could physically feel the presence of Christ in our midst.  Its like that feeling of the last day of school.  The excitement for summer and the feeling of pure freedom!  This wasn't just psychological, and it was absolutely nothing I could have created myself.  It was truly the work of the spirit.

Students were moved to tears.  They broke down for the first time in years and said it felt good.  We walked around and prayed over students and time and time again, I could feel the spirit within as I laid my hands upon their shoulders.  I could feel the spirit lifting the burdens from their hearts and filling them with peace and joy as a small glimpse of heaven.

Moments like these make me wonder how I could ever  have doubted!  There were so many cues from the spirit, guiding our work and our ministry.  On Friday night, we were getting ready to spend the night in the church when the spirit spoke and wanted me to share a scripture.  The spirit whispered to me "Speak now, your servant is listening".  I immediately got up and found the scripture in the book of Samuel.  I couldn't remember exactly what the scripture was about, so when I looked it up, I was in complete amazement.  The spirit guided me to a scripture about Samuel and Eli sleeping in the temple.  Here our students were, about to be sleeping in the church. 

1 Samuel 3:7-11 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”   Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”   Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 


 I guess the point of all this - is that so many people go day in, and day out just half way believing in their faith.  They only half way turn to Christ, and they half way make time for their spiritual nourishment.  So many people are too busy to go on a retreat or too busy to spend time in adoration. People are too busy to go to Daily Mass.  More than likely, it hasn't been modeled well for them.  They really just don't get it!  They think they get it, but they've never had that eye opening life changing experience that takes them deeper into a personal and powerful glimpse of heaven!  If you're over the age of 40 - go on a retreat!  Maybe it's been a while and you've moved past the days when that was a priority - GET UP!  Quit waiting for God to come into your mundane life to change it and go chase after Him!  Sometimes we get so lazy in our spiritual life - me included!  It's not going to change unless you take action yourself.  The spirit is speaking to you!  Are you listening? 


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful and challenging blog! We are truly blessed to have you as a minister to our children. Thank you for all you do Mark!