It has been a better week, I am starting to get back on the right path. As I look back over the past 5 months one thing becomes very apparent. If I want to feel good about myself, feel less stress, be more at ease, and generally enjoy life I have to have a strong prayer life. As soon as I let it slide life slides as well. Looking back it is clear as a bell.
I was praying and preparing not only my worldly self to go to visit the Holy Land but I was also preparing my soul. I wanted to be ready, and worthy body and soul to visit that land that Christ called home. At the end of January I even went so far as to visit a Holy Door and fulfill the requirements for a plenary indulgence. I shared with the priest that heard my confession that I was going to be going to the Holy Land the next week and that I wanted to be prepared as best as possible to visit that part of the world I considered most holy. He smiled and said that because of our Holy Father Pope Francis’s gift of the year of Mercy and the Holy Door and it’s gifts my soul was as white as the day I was baptized. I felt renewed and vowed I would never fall away again, oh if it were that easy!
The trip was one I shall never forget, the sights, the graces we received, the blessings we could actually feel. I was blessed beyond my hopes, and on top of all that I now have a new family to call my own. The pilgrims on that trip became a family very quickly, God’s Love was showered on all of us. These children of God are my refuge, my strength, my support group. When I feel down they lift me up, when one of us needs extra prayers we know that 90+ people are there for us. This family is a special gift from God to hold us together following Jesus’s example of how to live. One would think as strong as we all felt at the end of the trip we would become pillars in our churches. Then reality hits, the real world awaits, temptations are there, we may fall, I know I did, and I know how it happened.
I am an agronomist, in simple terms I am a doctor for Corn and Soybeans as well as other crops farmers grow to feed our world. When spring comes one thinks of God’s gift of life anew. Plants spring our of the once frozen earth. The wonders of God! So with all this beauty and promise how could a person fall victim to sin? Actually it is pretty easy. The other side of spring is one of long hours of work, limited time to sleep, people’s attitudes get poor, stress becomes the biggest challenge of each day. When all this happened I slipped, my prayer life almost came to a halt. Oh I still said a few quick prayers but no time was spent reflecting on them. No time was spent to talk to God, Priorities were not right, before spring I was spending time reflecting on God’s word and then putting thoughts into words through this blog, as spring moved in this quit as well.
As a result temptations were there and I did not have that inner strength that comes from prayer to fight them off. There is a reason God tells us to pray unceasingly, and I found that out this spring. Life is like that and Christ knows that, that is why he gave us the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to be able to pick ourselves up, dust off our souls and get back to living the life God asks us to live. I went back to that priest and that Holy Door this week. After we finished my confession and I thanked him sharing these thoughts. He smiled and said God knows we will fall, the grace is that he will always be there to dust off our souls and welcome us home just like the father welcomed the prodigal son. That is love, so if you have fallen, if you are hurting, please see your confessor and get back on that path. Christ is waiting for all of us to join him. I know I am feeling stronger again and I pray you are too.