Next week, we start what is the traditional year-end holiday season that extends through early January.
Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Years. Food, prayer, presents, parties, and football. Usually a lot of food, a lot of presents, a lot of parties, a lot of football. More than enough food and parties to cause a lot of us to begin that new year with another new diet. More than enough presents to tempt us to cut up those credit cards and swear off debt. And more than enough football…. well actually, there is never enough football.
But is there enough prayer? Is there ever enough prayer?
The thing about holidays and Holy Days is that they focus us on prayer, gratitude, and spirituality. But what about all those other days that aren’t Sunday Mass days or holidays? When it’s bitter cold in mid-February and the car is stuck under a snow drift, do we pray? Or maybe — do we curse? When it is 115 degrees with 89% humidity in August, do we pray — or do we curse? When it’s just a plain ole normal day where nothing especially went right or wrong, do we pray? Or do we just let it go by, untouched by our spiritual selves? I admit, I’ve been on the wrong side of each one of those questions more times than I wish I had.
St. Vincent de Paul said, “Give me a man of prayer and he will be capable of everything. He may say with the apostle, ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me.’”
As Vincentians, we are women and men of prayer. And through that prayer, service, and friendship, we seek to grow in holiness and become closer to God and each other. Our meetings open and close with prayer. In our gatherings, we reflect and pray on scripture and other spiritual discussions. We sometimes pray with those we serve; we always pray FOR those we serve. Prayer is central to being a Vincentian.
So today, I pray that you and your families are blessed with happiness and peace this holiday season. I pray for those gone from us this past year who won’t be sitting around our Thanksgiving tables or won’t have presents under the tree. I pray today for an end to the war, violence, and hatred that has exploded across the globe. I pray today that civility, listening, and understanding return to our conversations and interactions in society. And I pray that those we serve find hope, healing, and relief from suffering.
And finally, I pray that when the holidays are over, the tree is back in the attic and it’s a normal boring Tuesday, that I pray. That day — and every day.
Peace and God’s blessings,