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Prayer for October 4, 2017

On that day, you will know that you are in me and I am in you. —John 14:20

I took some time off from writing—it was not planned, it just happened. Traveling and life got in the way. I kept saying I will write next week, and before I knew it, three months had past. Then this last week I had a disturbing encounter with a person who had little respect for God. Unlike my professor who was an avowed atheist, but who respected my faith and saw value in it—this person obviously thought God was unnecessary and my calling as a pastor was less than helpful. I was taken aback by my own response. I felt disoreinted and wanted to fight back. (I am truly Irish!) It was a real test for me to hold my toungue with him. And then I read Richard Rohr’s columns on Julian of Norwich and Sister Thérèse and I knew God loves even those who do not love God back, and that God wants me to love this person. Listen to how Brother Joseph Schmidt describes what Saint Thérèse calls her “Little Way:”

Thérèse shifted her focus more and more from attaining perfection or acquiring holiness to the attitude of the publican (see Luke 18:9-14): She let God’s mercy be her perfection, her holiness. “I desire, in a word, to be a saint,” she prayed, “but I feel my helplessness and I beg you—Oh my God!—to be Yourself my Sanctity!” [All true holiness is mirrored and reflected, and Thérèse allowed herself to enjoy that.]

“Jesus, draw me into the flames of your love,” she wrote. “Unite me so closely with you that you live and act in me.”

I wept when I read these words. I weep right now thinking of the horror that people in Nevada endured. I have no words to explain what happened—it defies human logic. So I will pray: “Jesus, draw me into the flames of your love. Unite me so closely with you that you live and act in me.”

I cannot change anyone—but I also do not want to let anyone change me. Even in the face of ignorance and arrogance I want to reflect the love of Jesus. I want to embrace Thérèse’s “Little Way.”

Prayer recap: Dear Lord, Help us to feel a sense of oneness with You that withstands the slings and arrows of ignorance, arrogance and violence. Amen.

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