19th Sunday In Ordinary Time

The Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee

Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land. Looking for some of the photos from that trip I came across a PowerPoint presentation I had put together for some of our Parishioners (I was at Our Lady of the Lake at the time.)

You are welcome to download it if you like. Although, it is a large file.

Back in 2009 I wrote about the Calming of the Storm, which features prominently in today’s Scriptures. In meditating upon the readings, I was more struck by the thought of the prophet Elijah in the cave on Mount Carmel, waiting to hear God. Waiting amidst the wind, the rain, the storm, the earthquake, the fire… It reminded me of the call of Carmel, and of those who spend their lives listening for God in silence.

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

The world today is so very loud and boisterous. It’s easy to think of the stormy sea of Galilee.

So many people run around constantly with little time for reflection. And very few are willing to sit in silence, meditating on the Word of God, or thoughts of the life of Christ, or the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The view from atop Mt. Carmel
View from Mt. Carmel

But as Christians, if we are going to truly thrive in these times of duress and unease then we simply have to carve out periods of time for prayer, and perhaps more importantly for calming our spirits and nourishing our souls.

God will always provide that, even if it is only in our heart, as was the case with St. Catherine for quite some time. Her family disapproved of her withdrawal from life, and so kept her very preoccupied. She could only find time in her heart, in her mind, until God led her into a better situation.

This is where I’m wont to start discussing the horrible state of the economy, the misery and struggle felt by so many people right now, the visceral and polemic political debates going on. But, being on a small vacation, I’m going to find something more relaxing to do.

As things worked out, after spending the week pondering upon Elijah listening for God in a cave, this morning I joined with a community of Carmelite Sisters for Mass. God is so great and so good. The pleasant, prayerful atmosphere was entirely conducive to meditating on God’s Word, and on the Eucharist. The chants led by the nuns (I had never heard them before, they were beautiful,) floated to heaven, and my spirit soared gently with them.

As simple an experience as it was, I’ll cherish it always.

Listening for God, often just a whisper in prayer before doing His will. Amen.