|Photo Credit: Sgarton from morgueFile.com|
Our family enjoyed Father Bentil’s homily on Saturday evening. His focus was on the need for prayer. He reminded us that we can’t change unless we pray. We can’t transform unless we pray. Consistent prayer has incredible power in our lives. Father Bentil attended Matthew Kelly’s event in January and the take-home message he walked away with was the need for daily prayer. I’m so glad he chose to share that piece of inspiration with our parish family.
I simply adore this gem of prayer advice from Matthew Kelly’s book, A Call to Joy: “Sit with the Lord and say, ‘Lord, I have this problem. This is the situation…these are the circumstances…What do you think I should do, Lord?’ Explain the problem to Jesus as clearly and completely as you can and then listen. Yes, listen. I am not saying that you will hear an audible voice, but I am sure that in some way God will lead you, direct you, and answer you. He may just tell you to be patient or to wait. He may inspire you to take some action. However He chooses to communicate with you, you will find peace if you listen carefully and follow the inspirations of your prayer. Peace is the proof that God is present in your plans.” I JUST LOVE THAT! Don’t you?
Father Bentil encouraged us to make time for prayer. We often say to another, “I will pray for you.” But do we? Do we actually carve out time to pray for the individual we promised to pray for? It’s difficult in our sometimes over-scheduled and over-committed day to chisel out prayer minutes. But, it’s essential. Oftentimes, we neglect to give prayer a high priority and it’s the most rewarding gift we can give to ourselves, our family, and our friends. AND, it’s completely free.
Matthew Kelly explains, “In prayer, God reveals to us the plan for happiness that He holds for us. In prayer, He nourishes us and fills us with hope, giving us strength to continue along the journey.”
A few months ago, my mom sent me a touching prayer about healing from an online publication called Daily Word:
I am whole and well in mind, body, and spirit. When electrical equipment malfunctions, I first check to see whether it is plugged in. Similarly, when I experience dysfunction or disease in mind or body, I check whether I am “plugged in” to God. If I have harbored faulty ideas, I let them go. If I have given power to beliefs of disharmony or sickness, I disconnect from those thoughts and reconnect to Truth.
Established in right thinking, I allow the light of Truth to heal and transform me. As I experience healing from the inside out, I feel great ease and aliveness. I deeply trust life’s divine and perfect unfolding. No matter where I am in my healing process, I know that perfection and wholeness are my Truth. God is my health and well-being.
In addition to Scripture, homilies, inspirational books, seminars, and online publications, we can hear God speaking to us in our everyday life. We can find sermons in the midst of our day-to-day if we open our ears to listen and our eyes to see. I heard a sermon on Sunday…from a bull. Yep. Here’s the scoop:
My sweet husband was working this past weekend so he wasn’t with us on Sunday. The kiddos and I headed home after CCD only to find that a bull and a cow had pushed through a pasture fence and made themselves comfy in our yard. My children were devastated when they saw that the bull had crushed our orange tree, as well as our 5-foot pine tree that they had grown from a 6-inch twig. There was wailing and crying echoing from the back seat of my car. “How could that bull DO that?!” they hollered. They were sad. They were angry. They watched the cattle continue to trample all over our plants, trees, and grass as we sat in the car feeling so helpless.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had plenty of rain…so much so that the pastures are a sloppy, muddy mess. There isn’t much grass to munch on, so my husband has been feeding them cattle cubes and hay every day. But, we all know how the grass appears so much greener on the other side, right? Well, the cows agreed. So they headed on over to see what was there. They probably munched on some clover, a bit of grass, and obviously a lot of orange tree leaves and pine needles.
I’m not a cattlewoman by any stretch of the imagination, so I had NO idea what I was going to do to get those cows back in the pasture. The bull is gentle, but he does weigh over 2,000 pounds. Essentially, he could “accidentally” push me down and sit on me and that would be the end of that. (On multiple occasions, my husband has assured me that the bull wouldn’t hurt a fly…hmmm…) The bull just stared at me when I drove closer to where they stood. I called my husband in a panic and he tried to calmly walk me through what to do to corral them. (For me personally, a one-ton bull and “calmly” don’t belong in the same sentence, but what do I know?)
I knew I would need some back-up assistance from the kiddos. I gave them tissues to wipe away their tears and we created a cattle round-up game plan. So, while the bull and cow were checking out the play set swings, I dashed (as much as you can dash in church clothes) to open one of the gates. Then, as the cattle meandered around, my son and daughters made a bee line into the barn to get a bucket of cubes. I stared at the bull. He stared at me. No one moved. Time stood still. That is, until the bull heard a familiar sound.
His black ears flinched and fluttered several times when he recognized the sound. He and the cow immediately found the open gate and darted toward the joyous sound of cubes. To them, cubes equal happiness. To them, there is NOTHING better than delicious cattle cubes. My son had placed some cubes in a bucket and shook it vigorously over and over to get their attention. Boy, did it! With the cattle back in the pasture, I hurried to close the gate and the kiddos ran to the car. We were all sweating and the adrenaline made our tummies queasy. But, we did it. We did it together and we were proud of our teamwork.
That evening, I thought about our cattle fiasco. The cattle wandered over to see if there was anything better. The cattle were tempted and strayed away. The cattle made a royal mess on the other side of that fence. But, just the simple sound of cubes got them back on track. They forgot all about why they wandered off in the first place. They knew that sound.
In a bizarre way, I heard a sermon in all of this. Don’t we wander off to see if there is anything better? Aren’t we tempted? Don’t we stray? Don’t we sometimes make a mess of things? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. BUT! The simple sound of God’s voice can get us back on track. The glorious sound of God working in us and through us can help us get re-focused when we stray. That sound equals happiness. There is nothing better than the voice of God in our lives and it should have us literally running to Him.
How can we find the voice of God? It’s simple.