Reflection during Diocese of Pittsburgh Deacon and Spouse Retreat September 12, 2014
Tonight I went alone to the chapel to pray before Night Prayer was scheduled to begin. As I entered it was very dark, only two faint lights in the rear of the chapel and the sanctuary candle in front near the tabernacle were the only lights available. I had come from the evening social in the bright dining room to the chapel where I found myself stumbling to find a pew in the dark. But I did settle in place for what I thought would be thirty minutes or so of me feeling uncomfortable and alone in the dark.
However, as I began to pray I noticed that I was not alone, there were other human forms around me!
As I continued to sit there, my eyes became more accustomed to the low light and I soon recognized the deacons sitting around me, all sitting in the back of the chapel. As the minutes passed I could make out the path of the aisle to the altar and the empty pews in front of us on either side. Soon I could see the point of the roof high above us, the altar far in front of us, the stained glass windows surrounding us, the Blessed Mother extending her hands to us from her pedestal beside the altar, and her son Jesus looking down upon us from the cross high above the altar. Despite how dark it seemed when I first entered , I could now see everything around us.
How much this is often like our lives. So often we are in the dark about our direction in life, where we need to go, what a god is asking of us. We sit down in prayer for answers and we feel lost and uncomfortable. As we talk to The Lord he seems like the sanctuary candle, distant or far away. But if we sit quietly and patiently with the Lord, giving our time to Him, things will come into focus and become much clearer, we just need to spend time becoming accustomed to prayer. Soon we will notice that Jesus is not distant and far away like the sanctuary candle, but is actually with us, surrounding us with his light, showing us the path before us, leading us to where we need to be.
We need to spend the time to get past the darkness and uncomfortableness that we so often feel in the early stages of our prayer, so that we can spend time in the later stages of prayer when things are comfortable, things come into focus, and we can see clearer what God wants of us.