Monday, October 01, 2012

i think we're alone now

"i think we're alone now
there doesn't seem to be anyone around
i think we're alone now
the beating of our hearts is the only sound" (Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now, 1987)

i'm back from my retreat, refreshed through prayer.  last week the French priests of the Archdiocese of Ottawa gathered at Notre-Dame-du-Cap for our annual retreat.  it was preached by Jacques Gauthier, a man of prayer.  the theme, of course, was just that, prayer!  we all need help with our prayer life, because, as scripture puts it, we do not know how to pray (Romans 8:26).

Jacques Gauthier is well known.  he has written many books (many translated in several different languages) from theology, saints, and poetry.  i enjoyed the retreat for many reasons - from his examples using his love of running, quoting songs, love of the Saints (he's an expert on St. Thérèse who we celebrate today), and also his love of poetry and play on language.  it was great retreat (see pics).  of course, he was there not necessarily to teach us to pray, but rather to inspire us to pray more.

he quoted several things from several books, but one that jumped out at me was a type of theology of prayer using the example of The Little Prince.  le Petit Prince (FR, EN), by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, has always been one of my favourties because of its simplicity, and now it continues to climb the ladder of awesomeness!

priests spend their time helping others pray.  but do they pray?  do i?  the dialogue that Jacques quoted last week is from Chapter 21, and begins with the Little Prince and the fox (translation from the original French into English, by moi!):
"fox:  Bonjour.
Petit Prince:  Bonjour, répondit poliment le petit prince, qui se retourna mais ne vit rien.
(Yo yo ma, says he in reply, turning around seeing nothing.
fox:  Je suis là, dit la voix, sous le pommier ...
(dude, I am right here, under the apple tree
Petit Prince:  Qui es-tu?  Tu es bien joli ...
(wtf(ox)? who are you, says the little prince.  you are neat-o!
fox: Je suis un renard.
(dude, I am a fox.
Petit Prince:  Viens jouer avec moi, lui proposa le petit prince.  Je suis tellement triste ...
(let's chill, eh? suggests the little prince.  i'm so freakin' like Charlie Brown - walkin' around all depressed!) 
fox:  Je ne puis pas jouer avec toi, dit le renard.  Je ne suis pas apprivoisé.
(no can do.  you have to get to know me first.)"
extracting from this short diaologue, ... the theology of The Little Prince, i see God playing the part of the humble fox, while i, playing the Little Prince.  Jacques Gauthier continued using the book to describe our prayer life with God.  before following Him, we need to love Him.  before loving Him, we need to know Him.  and this journey takes time.  often times people say that nothing happens during prayer.  something always happens at prayer, it is just that we might not be aware of it.

i remember a priest once preaching about his ministry.  he started off addressing God, reflecting on what He was hearing through prayer:  "you used to love me.  now, you just work for me."  ouch!  he was describing his own relationship with God - after all these years, we stop spending time with the fox, and we wonder why we are lonely.  ministry is important, leading people to Christ is important, but i have to take that same time for myself too.  these annual retreats help me with that initial spark, that encounter with God in Jesus Christ.  we always have to get to know God better.  we pray for those searching, that they may find Him.  and that those who have found Him, continue to search for Him.

"i think we're alone now
there doesn't seem to be anyone around
i think we're alone now
the beating of our hearts is the only sound" (Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now, 1987)
these words sounds like St. John Vianney's.  he went into the Church one day to pray and was surprised to see one of his parishionners.  he asked him want he was doing.  the man replied, "i am watching Him, and He is watching me."  that seems to be the start of prayer.  just to be present.  we then begin to realize that we too need to be tamed, as the fox reminds us.  anywho, today, we have all day adoration.  i will pray for you, and your intentions.  please pray for me too, as together we walk this journey of Faith.  peace out.

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