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from fathers desk

My Dear Parish Family,

It is hard to believe that seven weeks have passed since Epiphany and the beginning of our Message Series centered on, I Heard God Laugh , by Matthew Kelly. As a spiritual family, we have traversed a great distance in the interior life. Many are the gems that sparkle through the book. The book assists both the beginner and the more experienced to take the next step. I pray this book has enriched our life of prayer and reaffirmed that our good and loving God seeks a deep personal friendship with each of us.

In the final part of the book, Kelly discusses the power of laughter, writes of God working on him in silence, shares a mystical experience of hearing God laugh, reminds us of how God delights in his children, and warns us that busyness is not conducive to true human flourishing. I would like to reflect on two of these aspects.

Some experiences of prayer can sustain us for many years. My journey to the priesthood began out of a deep conviction received in adoration. God had been working on my heart, but in that moment before the Eucharist, I received an uncanny assurance that my path in life would change and that my happiness would be found by taking this new fork in the path. Even when obstacles arose on the way to the priesthood, I stood fast with confidence and trust because of this powerful experience. While I have never heard God laugh, He has shared his warm embrace, blessed me with his healing touch, and strengthened me with the unshakable sense of his love. These are rare moments, but they are moments from which I have derived extreme strength. They serve as guideposts when the storms of life prevent easy navigation. These moments form a spiritual bedrock on which I would stake my faith and my life.

Despite “not going anywhere” during the pandemic, that stillness has not brought about more time for contemplative prayer. I feel as if I am busier than ever! Everything is more complicated. In certain areas, duties have doubled. Coupled with that an air of uncertainty pervades these realities. Things are in flux and need to be revisited and revised. I don’t mean to complain, but to draw out some of the areas of my life that have become more “busy,” despite trying to avoid it. Once a priest told me B.U.S.Y. means b uried u nder s atan’s y oke. It makes perfect sense when we call to mind the fourth seismic shift (p. 73): transform everything into prayer. When we move deliberately and intentionally through life, making our chores and duties into prayer can come naturally. It helps so much to spend time in daily meditation; that deep prayer time flows over into the rest of our lives. But when we move too fast, when we multitask, when we become too busy, prayer and God get crowded out. We lack the attention to move more quickly while keeping a prayerful spirit.

Much more could be said about prayer. And we will say more about it… in a future message series! For now, let’s deepen our habits of daily prayer, especially as we prepare to journey with the Lord through Lent.

May God hold you close to his heart!
Fr. Wilson