Daily Gospel


 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    mortals that you care for them? - Psalm 8: 3-4

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Do you ever pray and wonder if Anyone listens?

My prayer life has evolved from the simple prayer I was taught as a child, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” In my earliest memories of that prayer, I had no idea I was asking God, “if I should die before I wake,” carried the possibility. Do you pray and wonder if Anyone listens? I am still here.

We ask God for answers or help that may not come — in ways we are unable to appreciate in the moment. We’re not ready. God is unchanging, but our way of relating to, and understanding of God is fluid, growing.

I was taught to thank God before I ate, and thank God before I went to sleep. I made requests that weren’t granted, not in the way I wanted. I was disappointed. Sometimes what I asked for was not what I need.

If you stay focused on what you don’t receive, you can miss what God is giving. God’s presence is a mystery you do not see or experience all the time, yet God is ever present.

Centering Prayer, for instance, a discipline to pray once or more a day, 20 minutes in silence, mind emptied of thoughts. You begin slowly. Five minutes, you sit, empty your mind, keep returning to silence from what you don’t realize is constantly going on in your head. Five minutes seems like eternity. With determination and practice — 20 minutes, the goal, becomes a place of timeless resting in God’s love. Like Jacob of old, God is in this place, and I didn’t know it. Too much goes on in my head — monkey chatter — to notice. Only in retrospect could I realize how much distracts me from God with me, within me, always.

Do you take time to savor your life’s journey – look for God’s grace and love you missed at a particular time? Memories you carry, or people you knew and more appreciate over time — only in looking back can you see what you couldn’t in the moment.

My vision deteriorated when I was in fourth grade. My teacher told my mother I couldn’t see the blackboard. I was squinting, getting up to move closer. After my glasses came in, the optometrist double-checked my vision and sent us on – 20/200 was back to 20/20. She always remembered my first words when we walked into the afternoon sun, “Look, the trees have leaves.” They had become a blur — and blurry became normal. Maybe that’s true of life events. Only later can you see where you were, where you’ve been, where you are now. When I stare into the night sky, stars and moon, darkness — wonder who am I in this vast, ever-expanding world and universe, “what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” God is always in this place, even when I don’t notice. The miracle of a flower. The quiet work going on in a massive tree. In these days when I feel so disconnected, I find peace and grace to write about it, and say, “Thank you. Thank you Lord, that I have moments again, to see a leaf. Thank you Lord, to hear and see how — you are always mindful of me.” How about you? What can you see?

Blessings of open eyes and hearts this day for us, Fr. Steve
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