Seeking First to Understand
I love in the Gospels when Jesus goes off alone to pray, often in the darkness before dawn. His prayer is not the thing of fireworks as are his signs and miracles before great crowds – his prayer seems almost incidental to the ‘action’ in the story; Jesus goes off to a quiet place, listens to God, and seeks to understand:
And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35).
We see this quiet, listening prayer at key junctures in many Gospel stories: before the multiplication of the loaves, before choosing the twelve apostles, before Peter’s profession of faith that Jesus is Christ, before the Transfiguration, before teaching the apostles the ‘Our Father’… in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion. Each lead to an implicit invitation to see the world in a new way. Through the eyes of Jesus.
It would seem to me that as a society we’re also at key junctures in our own cultural story: The corona-virus pandemic, the lock-downs, incidents of police brutality, protests for racial equality, violence. There is so much ‘action’ occurring all around us that a time of listening and reflection – a time of seeking first to understand would be immensely helpful. Fr. David Gaa, OFM, the Minister Provincial, will be joining us at our Fraternity gathering on Sunday, July 12th to talk about his public letter on racism. We are invited to enter into a time of sacred listening – to seek to understand the story he shares – to understand his exhortation that we all pray and struggle for racial equality.
I extend the invitation for each of us to engage our Franciscan souls to be open to hearing the message offered to us from our Franciscan Provincial. It is totally ok for us to not be comfortable. How God calls us to reflect, to be challenged, to be transformed – is up to God. But it starts with one small step… our going off to a quiet place in our hearts, listening to God…and seeking first to understand.
Fr. David concludes his letter saying that he is ‘convinced that is we give ourselves more completely to the Lord he will come to our aid and help us do what we do not have the strength to do. We are all in this together.’ That thought I embrace gratefully and wholeheartedly – indeed we are all in this together. And together may we seek to see the world - through the eyes of Jesus.
Pace e Bene +
Secular Franciscan Order
Old Mission San Luis Rey
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Oceanside, CA 92057
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