Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!
1 Kings 19: 7b
Our readings today bring back great memories. These were the readings for the Sunday during my retreat prior to entering the novitiate in August 2006. On that retreat (at the Jesuit retreat house in Milford, Ohio) I spent a lot of time reflection on this reading from 1 Kings - especially on that line quoted above.
The quote and my meditations on it often come back to me during busy weeks or times that my personal prayer is unfocused or scattered. For me this isn't about food, although one does need that kind of sustenance for the journey. But it's about other types of sustenance - prayer, quiet, Eucharist, friendship... those are equally important for the journey, no? Otherwise, the journey is too long, too hard, and altogether without direction. In my journal from that retreat I wrote, "Drink deeply from the wellspring of prayer, Nicole. Or this journey will be too long." And how true those words are!
Yesterday we celebrated the 70th, 60th, 50th, and 25th jubilees of many of our Marianist brothers/priests and two of our sisters. Sister Marie celebrated 60 years of vowed life and Sister Mary Louise celebrated 50 years. It was a marvelous celebration - a moving Mass with vow renewals, good music and a lot of people; a laughter-filled reception full of people I hadn't seen in months or years; and a nice dinner. It was a lovely evening, really. As each person renewed his/her vows, they also said a prayer. The prayer was a thanksgiving for God's faithfulness, asking forgiveness for their past infidelities, and requesting the grace to remain faithful for the years ahead. And what occurred to me as I watched this was that without many such prayers throughout life, the journey is just too long.
Later today I am going to a prayer vigil for the Sikh community with one of our sisters. We will gather with others from the Dayton community to pray for peace, healing, an end to senseless violence, and tragedies such as the recent shootings. What a drastically different thing to be about today compared to yesterday's joy. And yet, to me the underlying necessity of prayer stands out in both situations. The violence will not cease in our world without people of prayer working and praying for it. Yes, it takes both - hard work on behalf of peace and a disposition of prayerfulness.
And so... Drink deeply from the wellspring of prayer, my friends. Or this journey will be too long.
Many blessings to all who read this!