So many of us struggle to live out our faith in this world of ours. I know I do. Every day. Sometimes hiding our heads in the sand is so much easier. Fat, dumb, and happy – that was me. And then I decided to learn. To educate myself. Oh, I attended college, chasing the allusive degree. But I am more interested, as the years pile on top of each other, in eternal knowledge and eternal truth. Because, like it or not, that is where I am headed in the not-too-distant-future.
I was chatting with a High School friend, well, texting, and realized I have been out of high school for 45 years. Yeah – out of high school. Sigh. Where has the time flown? I remember thinking how old people who were 45 seemed to me back then. She and I will have been friends for 50 years pretty soon. It just seems surreal. And where am I right now? Am I closer to those mystical truths I was searching for? Some days it feels as though the Hand of God is on my shoulder and I bravely march into my day. Other days I am happy if I get dressed and accomplish pretty much anything. Today is more along the lines of that last comment.
Why is it we get this spiritual and emotional ennui, which is defined as a “listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement?” Some of the synonyms for it are boredom, tedium, lethargy, or languor. There are many avenues through which we seek the divine. We can attend Churches where the music is mighty, the overhead projectors show you the words to the songs so you can participate, and the atmosphere is jovial, almost like attending a performance of your favorite band. The aim is to excite you enough for you to pursue your faith doggedly and wholeheartedly, regardless of your moments of ennui. There are places where you can worship almost in solitude, and at almost any hour of the day or night, and are referred to as Adoration Chapels. I love going there in the middle of the night, to just sit in the Presence of God in the Tabernacle, and seek His Grace. Just being in the presence of the Holy, when you recognize it, can enervate you to make those changes in life that wipe out these moments of lackluster living.
We can quietly seek the Holy in our world, without having to go to a place. We can play music that helps us. We can grab a rosary or prayer rope. We can open the Scriptures and dive into the Word of God in our pjs, grasping for dear life onto our morning coffee. The difference is that attending a religious service brings us to community. No man is an island, and no man is supposed to go through this life alone. No man. Some people feel that hermits and others who isolate themselves from the rest of us think they are holier than we are. That is simply untrue. Many hermits, or others who perhaps are in secluded monasteries of either gender, who are cloistered away from the world, actually feel inadequate to be in this world and are desperately seeking the Divine. And most pray, constantly, for all of us in the world. They isolate themselves because they feel the need to be alone with God and also are called to be Spiritual Warriors for the rest of humanity. Thanks be to God there are those who still seek Him in this way. They are who are praying for all of us, nonstop. It comforts me to think of them, praying at every hour, of every day.
There are those who serve God by leading us in prayer and worship. We need to spend time worshipping with our fellow believers. It lifts up the Kingdom of God and it lifts our souls to heaven, alongside people who believe as we do, singing mighty praise to God. Corporate prayer accomplishes such good in this world. And we also look to our religious leaders to actually instruct us, and to lead us to better ways of living our lives in the everyday. And every once in awhile, we experience something unique and special and it stays with us. As I was feeling so inadequate and so slow and with my feet really dragging today, I recalled the homily from this weekend. We were told that abortion is wrong. Period. That the taking of a human life in this way is completely unnecessary, and it is always wrong. Infanticide is always wrong. As a Church, a believing people, we are called to defend the defenseless, always. And I was so excited to hear, from the pulpit, strong language defending the Pro Life stance – in fact, in unequivocal terms. My heart just sang. Afterwards, I shook the Priest’s hand and I squeezed it as I said, “Thank you, Father. That was an incredible homily. It was incredible. Thank you.” Each word got a squeeze. Why? Because everyone is afraid to speak and I wanted him to know I supported every word he said. Everyone is so worried about offending someone else, they stand by and say and do nothing. The Governor of Virginia, the State of New York, and many national legislators, defended infanticide. They lit the Empire State Building to celebrate it. And every, single, citizen in this country should be very, very afraid of legislation like that. Every, single, Christian, should be standing up and just saying, “No! We are not going to take this stuff any longer. We want our country, and our world, back.” The Lord is sending us message after message in the things we see and hear all around us, that it is time to stand up for what is right.
Love, and standing up for the right thing can cost us our very lives, in some areas. The priests above stood and said no to guns and violence. They prayed over dissent and shooting and death, bringing the Word of God to a place that was unraveling. We need to see this sort of courage from everyone. Even me. Even you.
How can we be brave like this? We can call our legislators and tell them we are pro-life and all abortion and infanticide is murder. We can make public testimony when horrible bills are being proposed (most levels of government have ways for you to participate from your living room). We can support centers in our towns that save babies and support mothers. We can donate used baby items, new items, cars, time, talent – you name it – to the pro-life movement in our towns. We can offer to drive moms to pregnancy appointments. We can adopt a newborn. We can foster newborns. We can go to NICUs in our town and volunteer to hold the babies (yes, you can do this). We can knit or crochet (well, not me, but you. I am taking a class next week. So there is hope for me) booties, hats, and blankets for newborns and donate them to hospitals and pro-life centers. We can pray every day to save just one baby. We can add an intention every day, to pray for one mother who is considering abortion. We can take our lackadaisical attitudes, our ennui, and turn it into something powerful. No prayer is ever wasted. The Lord uses our prayers for His Kingdom. Please, do something. Our world needs each of us. Now.