Sunday, August 29, 2010

Making Time for God

I often complain about "not having enough time for God" in my day. Apparently, God got a bit weary of hearing that, so he made time in my day this week. Twice. On Friday, I dropped my kids off at school, which means I get to work early. Usually that means I simply start work earlier. But as I neared my usual exit to work off the interstate, there was a huge traffic jam on the off ramp. Annoyed, I decide to go up to the next exit instead. It is the long way around, but it was going to be far shorter than sitting in the long line on the highway. But then a thought came to me. By taking this other exit, I would go right past a nearby church. This church has a Eucharistic adoration chapel which I like to go to, but I usually cannot go there, because they close the chapel at noon during the week. However, at this time it would be open. So I went there for a brief but fruitful period of adoration.

The second instance was Saturday. I was attending a day-long workshop on marriage at our local seminary. It was supposed to end around 3:15 that afternoon. We have confession at our parish on Saturdays at 3:00, and it had been 2 1/2 months since my last confession, so I was far past due to go. However, my son had been at a sleep over at a friend's house, and I didn't want to take too long relieving the parents. To my surprise and delight, the workshop ended before 3:00, and I was able to get to confession and still pick up my son just about on time.

I think this week God was saying, "Ok, this time I'll make the time in your week. But from now on, it's up to you!"

I was reading Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth today and came across the section where he talks about Jesus' temptation in the desert. The Holy Father writes:

At the heart of all temptations, as we see here, is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives (p. 51-Large Print edition).

This is in fact what I do, although I tell myself soothing rationalizations (lies) to make me believe that I am doing something far less grievous than this.

All of which ties in nicely with today's readings at mass. The first reading from Sirach and the Gospel reading from Luke focus on humility. Sirach tells us: "Humble yourself more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God" (Sirach 3:18). Jesus is our example here. He, Who is God, humbled Himself to become a human and to suffer a death of derision and humiliation. Then in the Gospel, we hear: "For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11). Jesus, Who humbled Himself, was exalted in the resurrection. We are told that if we wish to participate in the "resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:14), then we must humble ourselves.

It is important for me to remember that pride--the opposite of humility--is making myself more important than God, more important than my neighbor. It is about exalting my time, my will, above the One Who humbled Himself unto death--for me. I pray that I will keep this in mind the next time I wish to sleep in instead of saying morning prayer or turn in at night without praying, even though found the time to watch television.