December 10, 2015
“I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water. I will plant in the desert the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and olive; I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine, that all may see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
Today’s first reading from Isaiah reminded me of the first time I felt myself pray with sincerity after years of not speaking to my God. I remember very clearly writing in my journal before bedtime. I would usually just go over my day and remind myself of stuff I had to do, but somewhere near the bottom of the page I started to address God, asking that He please moisten, soften, and plow through the dry, cracked soil of my heart. I felt like I had seen myself clearly as I made this petition to the Lord, and went to sleep surprised and relieved that I had finally done something that felt honestly like prayer.
Years later, I can see just how carefully God listened to my plea and how faithful has been His “yes” to me. I am the same clump of lousy soil, dusty and dry, but His kindness and patience have made it possible for my wasteland to sustain the marvels that He plants. I know that the Lord has wrought similar miracles in all of you, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude every day for the gift of your friendship and of the witness that you all bear to His love. As Jesus says in today’s gospel, “whoever has ears ought to hear” of the great things God has done for each of us.
Lastly, I wanted ask if any of you would consider volunteering at Holy Family’s Women’s Shelter this winter. It runs from January to March, and needs 2 people to sleep there each night for the shelter to stay open. As of now, our numbers are very too low for the shelter to run 7 days a week. The website, hfshelter.com, has all the details and I am happy to answer any questions I can. The commitment is pretty low-key (1 night per month for 3 months) and the guests are absolutely wonderful. If you can’t volunteer your time, then please keep the shelter’s guests and volunteers in your prayers.