Saturday, November 14, 2020

Saturday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

These are certainly trying times that can easily lead to discouragement. This is one of the most powerful tools of the Evil One: to get us to an inner state of surrender, to give up the struggle, to stop praying, to become bitter in spirit. “Why pray?” we ask, leading us to give up the discipline of consistent prayer.

I felt this way when I needed to go into quarantine after being so careful. “How much more separation can I take without getting depressed or falling into loneliness?” I asked myself. It is so easy to give up the struggle and lose Spirit. It is so easy to lash out at what a botched job our leaders are doing to deal with this pandemic. And when I learned that someone very close to me chose to gather with a large group of people to party and have fun, I was furious. Most came down with Covid-19!!!!!!

I could go on and on. So many of you have families and children, juggling endless tasks and responsibilities ; you are trying to keep things together during the virtual learning your children are going through. There are those whose jobs are in question, not to mention completely losing one's job. Yes, it’s so easy to just give up and succumb to indifference.

The wonderful, persistent, get on your nerves widow in the gospel should be our patron saint of never giving up hope and the power of prayer. Yes, our prayers are “working,” even if it doesn’t feel like it. Please, keep pounding on the door of prayer. Sometimes, God is like that judge who is fast asleep and couldn’t be bothered with a desperate widow. Yes, it’s the truth... sometimes God seems so distant. Let God know how you feel. Get angry at him in your prayer. God can handle your getting ticked off at him!!!!!!!!!

The best prayer is honest, heartfelt prayer that is not filtered with pious nonsense: “Oh, I shouldn’t be talking to God like this.” Boloney!!! God can take your anger. I remember sitting in the ER with a mother who just lost her son in an accident. I was speechless when she started yelling at God, using the language anyone would use in the face of a senseless tragedy.

I confided in a Lutheran minister my not knowing what to do or say in this situation to this mother. She told me something so simple and wise: just say to her, “Yell at God... tell him exactly how you feel... use all those words you want to use... let God know exactly how you feel. God can handle it.” I’ll never forget her advice to me, which was given 40 years ago when I was a seminarian ministering in a hospital. God can handle it...

Keep praying. Shake yourself fists and hands at the tiresome devil, telling him where to go. Shake your fists at God, letting him know just how frustrated you are, or whatever you are feeling. But I probably wouldn’t tell God where to go in my anger. On second thought, yes I would!!!!! God can handle it...

Don’t give up. Keep praying. A door will open when you least expect.

Fr. Frank