Slow me down, Lord. Slow me down.

6th Tuesday in Eastertide / 2 days to Ascension Thursday
1 day till the Feast Day in memoriam of St. Brendan of Clonfert (my namesake)

After the last post, I need to slow down. And it came during a break from reading about e-commerce and the implications of it in applying a Value Added Tax/Goods & Services Tax on e-commerce transactions.

This is from a homily given by Fr. Jerome Tupa OSB at Saint John’s University’s final Student Mass for the 2006-2007 school year in the USA (5th Sunday in Eastertide) before the summer vacation break begins.

I hope Fr. Jerome doesn’t mind me transcribing his homily down but I thought that some of you out there from EMP Youth might need this during this time of stress as exams at the end of semester 1 of 2007 are approaching quickly (along with any pre-exam assessment, like my very own GST research paper that’s due next Monday!).

The Gospel Reading for the 5th Sunday in Easter was taken from St. John’s Gospel (Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35) and these are selections from Fr. Jerome’s reflections and thoughts in his homily on the Gospel Reading to the students there that night a week and a bit ago.

So in tonight’s liturgy, it’s a farewell liturgy. But we’re confronted with a dilemma. And the dilemma is one of work, prayer and a balanced life. Finding love in otherwords. And I think that we are truly blessed here in Minnesota because we have about 4 miles away a sister monastery. And I want to tell you a little bit about their activities and how they’ve been so instrumental in creating what we have today here in Central Minnesota.

Schools, hospitals, the cultural life that we enjoy today, were to a large degree because of the constant work of the Sisters of Saint Benedict. From Canada, and in fact, in Canada they had several foundations, all the way to the Mexican border, these women have founded monasteries, schools, social programs, they’ve been truly instrumental in bringing the church’s message of love wherever they have been. The history if you ever read it of these women is that they worked from morning to night, making visible really, the presence of God’s love all around them.

Love of neighbour and love of praising God. As Christians we are called upon to bring that message. But we’re not called upon it, we are commanded, commanded by one of the commandments to do something that is part and parcel of that bringing the message, and that is stopping. Resting. Sabbath.

At the end of this busy year, I’m sure you are all looking forward to a real Sabbath, where you’ll be able to listen to your music, work out in the yard, work in construction, work in whatever it is, but at least it’s a change. We’re commanded by God to also change our week. Sundays. We’re encouraged to rest.

So how do we, you’re wondering where I’m going with this aren’t you?, are you? Yeah, good, good. I’m gonna pull it all together, everything is gonna be neat and tidy. We always talk about love, we talk about how you’ve got to find Christ. Sometimes you have to just simply stop, look into your soul, into your deep self and say “Where am I on this journey? What can I do?” And you let the voices speak to you. Where is that voice of God in my heart? If you don’t stop, you probably won’t hear it.

So why do I speak about taking a day of rest when all of you are scrambling for papers or for exams? So many things of packing and everything else you need to do this week. Why do I speak about war or service or devastation to the environment when we are helpless, don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.

What I’m saying is, we become drained spiritually when we don’t stop to look at what is around us. See how much love there is around us to go for a walk, to look at the stars, to listen to the birds and know that these are all miracles, calling out to us. To love, we need to be whole, we need to be whole. And that is, in the Judaeo-Christian world, we need to recharge ourselves, we need to continually look inside, at the inner power to face tough or ugly challenges.

Perhaps during the course of our day, to get in touch with ourselves and to listen to God’s voice in our heart. We need to get out of our noise and stop, and to think of this prayer:

Slow me down Lord. Slow me down.
Ease my pounding heart. Quiet my racing mind.
Soothe my frayed nerves. Relax my tired muscles.
God, teach me the art of Sabbath.
Teach me to keep in touch with myself.
To listen for the voice of God, in all around me.
Slow me down Lord.

And in this time of slowing down before I go to sleep, I say those words at the end of the compline office: May God Almighty grant me a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen.

Pax,
+ bf 0030hrs

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