Saturday, December 4, 2010

The need that I am

Yesterday, as I got into my car and pulled out of the parking lot at work, I needed to pray. I didn't feel like I needed to pray. I needed to pray. This need did not arise from a bad day at work, which I rarely have thanks to a great job and terrific colleagues, nor from a personal or family crisis (Deo gratias). It was a gray, cold, drizzly day. I was tired and I wanted to go home, but I had pastoral duties to attend to, thus requiring me to go straight from work to the Cathedral. Of course, this is something I do a minimum of two times per week and I generally look forward to it.

I needed to pray yesterday afternoon like I need a drink of water when I am really thirsty, like when I am so thirsty that the only thing I want is water. In short, I needed to pray because not only do I have a need for God, but I am a need that only He can satisfy. I count this experience as a great consolation, the greatest one for me of this still new Advent season, which began for me a few weeks earlier with the beginning of the Nativity Fast. I experienced the added consolation of being able to meet my lovely wife for a quiet, if all too quick, supper at a local eatery on my way home from the Cathedral.

My response to this need was that I took in hand the rosary made by a friend and prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries, adding an act of contrition after invoking each of the five mysteries. I had no trouble determining who and what to pray for, my intentions came easily. It was a profound experience of living the dialectical tension between the already and the not yet, an experience of joyful waiting. How else, except by way of a pathology, can coming away from contemplating the Sorrowful mysteries of Christ's passion and death being joyful possibly be explained?

In speaking of his own prayer life, the Holy Father told Peter Seewald, in his gracious and always understated manner, "the Mother of God is... always a major point of reference." Indeed, she is: Remember, O most blessed Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided..."


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