Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Holy Cow - Some Good News!

By: Cecilia Harriendorf, SC
Sisters of Charity of New York
Novillero, Guatemala

The story goes like this.

Once upon a time, there was this farmer who spoke with God every morning.  He'd tell God about his cows, he called them each by name.  He also told God about his concerns, especially if Elsie or Betsy had stopped producing an appropriate amount of milk.  The farmer prayed for good health, good crops, rain, world peace, his wife and children and, of course, he prayed for his cows.

One day, while passing by, a holy man overheard the farmer talking to God.  The next morning, the holy man stopped at the farmer's house and told him that when he prayed he should stand erect, raise his arms to Heaven and say, "Lord of all, blessed are you,  etc, etc, etc."  The farmer was grateful for the suggestion on how to present himself to God.

Several days later, as the holy man passed by the farmer's field, he overheard the farmer at prayer.  Standing erect with his hands to the Heavens, the farmer said, "Lord of all, blessed are you, etc. etc, etc."

Continuing on his way, smiling, the holy man heard a voice.   A different voice.  He just knew it was the voice of God.  And God said, "Holy man, what did you do to the farmer?"  "I didn't do anything to him," the holy man said, "I taught him how to  pray."  "No," God said, "you didn't teach him how to pray."  "You taught him how you pray."

It's a simple little story with important insights.  Number one:  No one can teach you how to pray.  Two:  God very much wants to hear from you.  Yes, you.

Truly, there have been holy men and women throughout the ages who have helped us to better understand the nature of prayer, the different kinds of prayer, the various rituals of prayer ... Men and women who, by their words and actions, have nurtured our desire to pray.  But the intimacy of prayer, the act of lifting up of one's heart and mind to God, is a deeply personal and richly unique experience.  And the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that, "God tirelessly calls each person to this mysterious encounter with Himself."

When you're happy, God is at the center of your happiness.  When you are sad, God is there to embrace your pain.  When you don't care, one way or the other, God continues to care.  And there's more good news.  God knows your weaknesses, fears, frustrations, etc. etc. etc.  So don't bother fancying up your act.   With simplicity and humility, bring your day, your life, this very moment, to the God who created you and loves you - just as you are.

The extraordinary truth is that God longs to live in an intimate relationship with each one of us.  So, during this Lenten season - a time of prayer, charity and fasting, take some time to pray.  Take some time to let God love you.

Tell God about your hopes and fears, joyful moments, dreams, desires - and cows, if you have them.  Then, be sure to take some time to listen.  In the silence of your heart, God will speak to your heart.

Many blessings during this Holy Season.

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