This morning I have an opportunity in the stillness of our 5th wheel at Riverside near Keremeos to reflect on how fortunate I am to be in relationship with Jesus and to thank my mother whose 94th birthday it is today although cancer claimed her at age 78. My mother was my spiritual mentor from my childhood. She was steadfast in her faith and never shy to direct me and correct me as I progressed into adulthood. She put up with a lot from me as I went through a period in my life when I challenged everything Catholic. She attended daily Mass during most of her later life and she dedicated one weekday of each week to each of her 5 children. I think that I was Monday, as the eldest. I remember her not so silent sobbing on the other end of the telephone when I phoned her sometime in the late 80’s to advise her that I had been to Confession after 15 years away from my faith. Not too long after that, Helen and I and my sister, Maureen, accompanied her to Medjugorje, an experience that cemented our spiritual bond.
As my mother witnessed to me, communication with Jesus can be enjoyed in the stillness and in the quiet times of everyday life. On one occasion in the 90’s on a business trip to Vancouver I arrived at my mother’s condo late in the evening and let myself in with my key expecting her to have retired to her bedroom for the night. There she was asleep in her lazy boy chair with her copy of the liturgy of the hours open on her lap. Right next to her chair on the side table sat the Bible. I tip toed over to her chair and kissed her on the forehead. She awoke instantly and insisted on catching up before retiring. She had been using the quiet time awaiting my arrival to spend time with Jesus.
All of us I think, if we are serious about maintaining a personal relationship with Jesus, face the challenge of how to communicate in devotional prayer with our loving Savior. Once we have come to understand that communication with Jesus is a two way path, the challenge is to listen for the voice of Jesus. Although Jesus can speak to us in the maddening crowd it is more likely that he will speak to us in times of quiet and stillness often through scripture, sometimes by reflecting on something shared by others and sometimes just in the quiet of our hearts. The key is to find times when our minds are settled enough to “listen”.
I have to confess that it is easier now for me in retirement to find the quiet times than it was when I was busy practicing law. I was able to find some time then however by making a point of taking my coffee into my home office shortly after I arose from bed and sharing my coffee break with Jesus before I got busy with my day.
Happy birthday Mom! Thank you for introducing me to Jesus and for teaching me how to listen both to you and more recently to Jesus.