Finding God in Hectic Times

blur of runners

The following was written by Terry Hershey, author of The Power of Pause.

There was an exhausted woodcutter who kept wasting time and energy chopping wood with a blunt ax because, as he said, he did not have the time to stop and sharpen the blade. Do you know the feeling? Have you ever tried to pray, only to find your mind swimming with yesterday’s or tomorrow’s worries?

Life is hectic for all of us. Finding God? We’ll be lucky to find the appointment calendar buried under the heap of work on our desk. Our own busyness and rushed pace blind us to the fact that God can be found right in the middle of our chaotic lives if only we would take a moment to pause.

Here’s what I know: Jesus didn’t wait to become overwhelmed. He was proactive, which meant that he frequently made sure he found a place to take off the blinders. He would literally get up from a crowd and leave—and depart to a quiet place. I know that’s not easy for us to do in a world that rewards busyness, but we can look to Jesus as our example. Was Jesus busy? Most certainly. Was he in a hurry? Never.

So I have one gentle suggestion for you today. Find a place to pause and sit still—literally. For just ten minutes. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself these questions: What do I notice? What do I see, hear, and touch? When I stop rushing, I see. If I see, I pay attention. If I pay attention, I savor. If I savor, I recognize that this moment, this very moment, is the sacred present . . . and that God has been here all along.

You deserve these?

512px-Smilecafe

My brother, the retired professor, sends me all sorts of jokes from the internet.  Here is a sampling from his latest.

He prefaced them with the remark, “These are awful: you deserve them!”

When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

The batteries were given out free of charge.

A will is a dead giveaway.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

Police were summoned to a daycare centre where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

I can hear you groaning!

Sacred Spaces

This is a guest post by Paul Gallagher.

person walking outside

Do you have favorite places to pray? I know I’ve got several, and depending on what’s going on at the time, I will seek out my little locations and get connected with God.

Since I’m a morning person, one of my favorite places to pray is my little patio right outside my kitchen. I’ve equipped this patio with comfortable chairs, a table, and a beautiful little terra cotta image of the Madonna and Child. Coffee in hand, I can sit and watch the sun come up, giving thanks to God for all He has done for me, and I lay before Him my thoughts and prayers for the day. It’s a wonderful way to start my morning.

We’re blessed to have Perpetual Adoration at my parish, and I frequently visit the Lord throughout my day. I do a lot of intercessory prayer in our little chapel, asking God to help particular people I know are going through a tough time. I pray daily for the children God has entrusted us with in our programs, and I ask God to bless all our volunteers.

When I’m dealing with a difficult situation, there’s one place I go that always brings clarity and peace. The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is in Emmitsburg, Maryland, about 20 miles from my house. From the first time I visited many years ago, I feel especially close to God and His Mother here. Long before there was an actual grotto, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton used to come here to pray. It is truly “holy ground.”

Lastly, I love to pray while I’m out for my daily walks. As the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins reminds us, God’s grandeur is all around us, if we only pay attention. Just seeing the beauty of nature always clears my head of the sometimes petty issues that I’m dealing with.

I’m sure you have your own sacred spaces. I think some remain the same, but then there are others all around us, waiting to be found. Let’s pray that we might help others find their own sacred spaces, where they will encounter God in a deeper, richer way.

Where are your sacred spaces for prayer?

Paul Gallagher is an Educational Consultant at Loyola Press. Previously, he was the DRE at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, MD, for over 10 years. Deeply rooted in Ignatian spirituality, Paul blogs about transformation and taking care of ourselves, body, mind, and spirit at www.makingallthingsnew.com.