Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Was Born to Climb

I am strong enough to rise above most any troubled time.
Today may be a mountain but
I was born to climb.

In earlier postings you have read reflections about God's plan for each of us -- for you, for me. Looking through the Sunday edition of the local paper, The Washington Post, I was drawn to the daily horoscope column. As usual, I read through several of the insights, predictions, etc. posted for the curious, like me, and the superstitious, not like me, I hope. As I started to delve into the readings for today's liturgy, my mind and heart were not caught by what was written. Praying for an open heart and open ears, words of s Sunday TV evangelist came to mind and did not seem to want to hear "Go away!" The preacher's words brought to mind Dr. Wayne Dyer's valuable book, "The Power of Intention."
What was the Holy Spirit preaching to me? I came to believe this: God had a plan for you even before you were conceived or born. You, all of us, need not go to horoscopes or fortune tellers to learn what is best for us.
Our times present painful, frustrating and debilitating challenges to our faith as well as to our bodily strength. They wear us down. Morale has lowered so many people in many walks of life. I speak of my own colleagues in the priesthood and religious life. In conversations with priests, young and old alike, I hear great pain, serious pain. I cannot misunderstand their signals of disappointment and at times genuine abandonment by superiors and some directions the Church is following today. If you do know a happy priest, thank God and your friend for his upbeat spirit. He may well be in a minority! Likewise I speak with parents who have children and grandchildren without employment. Again, turning to our local paper, we read that a suburban father murdered his wife, a teen-aged son and a not-quite-teen daughter before taking his own life. Friends discussed the family's serious financial straits. I speak with relatives and close friends who are pounding the pavements in search of a job with little hope there will be a discovered treasure in the sands.
To my clergy and religious brothers and sisters, to those unemployed, those despondent because these challenges a bringing dramatic changes and pressures to their lives let me write this: don't give up on your God. Again, recall that he sent you into our world at this precise time in its history with a purpose, with an intention. It is not a fortune, not a plan, not a new vocation he will give you. He brought about your birth with that original plan before you were born. His is not a future reality. It has already happened; it is in place. If we truly believe each, in every difficult moment that we are "infused," you might say, with a purpose, a plan that he wants you to bring to reality in our world.
The more I believe God has a plan for me in my retirement, the stronger my mind believes I can be a good priest, regardless of my "official status" as a retired clergyman, the sooner I can overcome any challenges that confront me. This is a truth for all of us: priests, religious and laity alike. God has promised to care for us, again, even before we were born! God did not say I will make you a blessed people. Rather through his prophets he told us "You are a blessed people."
The quote beneath the picture was given to me by a special friend, Bev, who has a deep relationship with her Creator-God, a faith much stronger than my own. She is often challenged by her Pastor because she is not always thinking and praying in the box. I thank her for her strength and for her being a true and living model of one who believes God has a plan for her and all that she does is done because she knows she is a blessed woman. Thanks, Bev, for being such a noble model ... and for climbing some challenging mountains.