Sunday, August 16, 2009

When You Can't Get There

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today's Word:
Proverbs 9:1-6 (Wisdom has built her house..."Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!"
Psalm 34:2-7 (Taste and see the goodness of the Lord)
Ephesians 15:5-20 (Do not get drunk on wine...but be filled with the Holy Spirit)
John 6:51:58 (The Bread of Life Discourse: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day")

And: James 3:1-18 (What a Christian Says: "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace")

The Sign for Our Times:

Sometimes, the route you plan isn't available to you.

I write this today from a special perspective. Both my wife and my son have summer colds. Son is on the rebound, but my wife is not doing as well as she spent a good chunk of the week first looking after me, then after my son. Ordinarily, I'd be at work; or, because it's Sunday, working at church. My dear wife of 28 years is fairly resilient and can usually get past these quickly. Today, however, it's at its worst. So, not waiting to be asked (something I don't usually do), I decided to stay home and attend to whatever I could.

It is a rare thing when I don't attend one church or the other of the two in which I serve, praise, and worship God. After doing it for so many years, I tend to feel a bit lost when I don't go. Not that I haven't made up for it; I served at three funeral services in the past week; but these can strain anyone's connection with the Divine. Another thing: staying connected with God doesn't end when the worship service or Mass is finished. What to do, then, when your access to the things you do is temporarily cut off?

Several organizations have helped to create what I call 'cyberchurch.' This started back when radio and TV broadcast some religious programming as well as local church services. Now, there are media 'giants' such as Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN, for Catholics) and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN, for non-denominational Christians). These broadcast 'ministries' are available 24/7, and have provided vital service especially to the homebound.

Cyberchurch has its home in the online world. There are many sites that cover just about everything imaginable, including a social networking site, Pastors and ministers have public blogs and these have followers. And this morning, I discovered a couple of gold mines in the form of podcasts. These allow me to pray the Divine Office and hear the daily Mass readings from my computer anytime - and they're available several days in advance so I can download them to a portable MP3 device or my iPod and listen to them when I'm not tethered to my computer or TV. Other options are becoming available for people with 3G cellular devices such as the iPhone.

Some may scoff at this, saying this puts God in their face too much. I may have agreed to some extent in the past. But being who I am and doing what I do, I realize that I don't always maintain a prayer-filled discipline. Further, I'm sure there are many more who would like to have something like this around - but just don't know where to look. We've all become so busy managing the complexity that life has become. Even for all that I bring up about it, I get preoccupied - even downright lazy - and put the practice of my faith on the back burner; and that's the absolute last place it belongs.

A detour may be well known, or it may be something unheard of. It may seem an inconvenience - but it can also lead to a treasure to which you want to return. That's happened more than once in my life, in both mundane and spiritual areas. I would have missed these if circumstances at the time they were discovered hadn't forced a detour.

I should caution that one should be careful while traversing a detour. Watch (and listen) closely, for the route is sometimes unknown. If your faith and trust is where it should be, though, a detour has the potential to add to a fruitful journey.

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