Today I took my oldest son to talk with our former parish priest. Why? Not because he was in any kind of trouble or anything, but because he has expressed some interest in becoming a priest himself. And while I want to encourage him in his the best person to talk to about it is, well a priest.
We have known father M. M. since we moved her 6 and a half years ago, and I have to say that he is one of the greatest priests that I have ever known. In case you are reading thing father M. N. you two are in a very close tie. We trust him to be honest about what needs to happen while at the same time being encouraging. This is a rather interesting balancing game we are playing here. We do want to encourage him, if this is his calling we want him to know we support him and are proud of him. When know that a calling from God can often be a tiny whisper in a world that is always shouting at you. At the same time this is a huge commitment. We understand that, and at the age of 15 I am not sure that he understands that, and we want to make sure that he is not just making the choice because he feels some pressure from us. As Father M. M. said to today, In the end what it boils down to is that a calling like this is between you and God, and I think that is the best thing that he could have said.
That brings me to my other topic. For years, really since I have been married, I have struggled with prayer. When I am not using a prayer I have memorized or one that I am reading, I don’t really know what to say, or what to do. I am not saying that there are not enough prayers out there that I could use. I mean really there are saints and prayers for just about any situation that you could immagine. It is not that at all. But when you go to Adoration, or you kneel in front of the Tabernacle for an hour, some times prayers don’t really feel right.
When that happens I often start getting figety or start feeling rather lost. I am not sure what to do, and I usually fall back on saying the Rosary several times. If I don’t do that, my mind usually wanders something like, I really should be doing something. I have already said the Rosary and the Devine Mercy Chaplet, now what. At that point other things start to creep in, usually problems of the day or thing that I have been working on. Sometimes the stories that I am working start playing out in my mind. And while there is nothing really wrong with thinking about those things, I really am there to spend time with God.
So as I said, I have struggled with this. I have never really been able to come up with a good solution. And yet the simplest thing, the most obvious answer was sitting right there in front of me. During his Homily a week or two ago, Father M. N. said that his relationship with God for the last (some number of years that I forgot) has been silent. When he said that, I thought wow! That is an amazing thought. He had another point and it was a really good one, but what stuck with me was that when he is there with God, he does not say anything.
One of the pillars of a good relationship is communication. As someone who has been married to a woman who I have been friends with since our freshmen year of high school I can tell you that communication is key. However, being able to sit and be silent with that same person, just being together and not saying anything, can be amazing. The same thing can be said for my relationship with God. Sometimes I need to communicate what I am feeling or, to say thank you for something in particular, but there are times when all I need to do is sit and be quiet. Knowing that I don’t really have to say anything, that I can just let my mind go blank and not really be doing anything but be with Him, is amazing. I feel like I must have known this was possible, that it was ok to do, on some level, but It felt like I had been given permission when I heard him say it. It was like having some weight lifted off my shoulders.