Sunday, September 15, 2013

bridge over trouble water

Claude Théberge - Cat, 1996?
"when you're down and out
when you're on the street
when evening falls so hard
I will comfort you" (Audrey Assad - Bridge Over Troubled Water, 2013)
this is one of my favourite Simon & Garfunkel songs.  and, i am currently enjoying the recently released (a few days?) version by Audrey Assad.  when i played the piano i always wanted to learn this song.  i'm not sure what i love most, the words or music.  the words are consoling, the piano hypnotizing.

it is good to be consoled, to find consolation with God in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  in searching for that equilibrium though, we often lose our balance in life (paradox).  that is true of our brother priests as well.  next week - Monday to Friday - the English priests of the Archdiocese of Ottawa will be away on retreat.  i will be joining them.

but what about ministry, schools, meetings, the Sacraments?  when the Missionaries of Charity sisters complained to Mother Teresa mentioning there was too much work to do, what was her reaction?  "there is too much to do, OK, another hour of prayer then!"  like a friend reminded me the other day, it is important to find time to pray:  a moment of silence during the day, one day a week, a weekend a month, and even a week a year.  balance, it does soul + body good.  also, Canon Law tells me, encourages me strongly to take an annual retreat.

i look forward to this retreat.  our retreat master will be none another than my friend Michael Dopp, he founded The Mission of the Redeemer Ministries, a new ministry, at the service of the Church, committed in forming Catholics in the new evangelization!  however, before sharing the Good News, one has to live and experience the Good News, to pray, to be consoled, comforted by God.  we cannot always be on the high of proclaiming the Good News, but we must also encounter Him in the darkness, when pain is all around.  God doesn't always work as we would like Him too.  i am reminded of this truth in a book that i am now reading for the second time:
"one of the basic unrealities of most accounts of the inner journey is that they avoid discussing the almost intolerable difficulties we often encounter on this heroic way.  the chapter, 'Serpents and Devils in the Shadows' should be required reading for all spiritual guides and those who venture inward.  the darkness is real, and those prepared to meet it have the best chance of passing through the abyss successfully." (Spiritual Pilgrims:  Carl Jung + Teresa of Avila)
along with my Bible, this will be part of my spiritual reading for the week.  one cannot just simply stay on spiritual cloud nine.  one has to dig deeper at times.  i enjoy the stories have how saints, brothers and sisters succeed.  but don't we need to know how they struggled as well?  indeed, how they overcame obstacles!  it seems that we'd rather stay in the light, then really look at the darkness.  however, God works in both, and to omit one would be, ... ?

"don't work too hard".  i've been saying that all my life, to everyone and to anyone i met.  i think i may have had it wrong.  i think i should say, "work hard", yes, "but for Him."  if i work hard for myself, it'll never be enough.  if i work hard for Him, well, ... that changes everything!

pray for your parish priests.  peace.

ps:  the video, Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Audrey Assad:

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