A Journey into the Quiet
by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
The image of journey as our life's relationship with Our Lord and in our encounters with the People of God is a very prominent in our Catholic tradition. This season of Lent is another opportunity to travel on a journey within ourselves to strengthen the bonds relationships with both God and our Christian community. In that spirit, I would like to take a look at our personal journeys with Christ during this reflection.
A Call from the Ordinary
My life's journey has traveled to many countries of the world with my current stopping place in the midlands of Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha's rural flavor is starkly different from the inner-city lifestyle of my youth in Philadelphia. One of the most pronounced is the abundant accessibility to areas of farmland and woods. I recently sipped the richness of this rural/urban mix when I decided to wander in the wooded area about 20 miles from my home.
I hiked in snow-covered woods that carried the remains of a 15" snowfall-a real change from my suburban sub-division life. As usual, the deeper into the woods that I traveled, the more I became aware of its quiet surroundings. The barren trees, covered with snow; the frozen lake gleaming in the sunshine and the biting wind all dominated the pathway. This unusual setting was in sharp contrast to the ordinary times in my life. In the same way, Lent is a forty day walk in our spiritual woods that calls of us out the ordinary.
A Call to the Quiet
On this particular day, I reached a new awareness of the environment of the wood and heard a different call--a call to quiet myself. In this quiet, I could hear myself breathe and the brisk crackle of the frozen snow beneath my boots. Yet, as I traveled deeper in the woods, this sense of quiet began to fade. Gradually, I became aware of the sound of trees swaying in the wind and the chirping of the few birds that I judged to be tough enough to survive a cold winter. After another short time, real transformation seemed to take place. Rabbits darted across the path, squirrels seemed to become visible and suddenly I was aware of other squirrels dancing on the trees and swinging from tree to tree. Next, birds seemed to be everywhere--many different types and colors. When I let go of my personal thoughts and became present to the community surrounding me, life arose from the silence and barren. This transformation happened because I was willing to let go of my personal noises and immerse into God's creation.
The Lenten Journey
This journey to the snowy fields is like the Lenten journey with God. The trailhead of our journey into the Mystery of God's love happens when we take the time to release troubles and allow ourselves to be quieter in our ordinary surroundings. Even though it may seem loud or uncomfortable it takes faith to travel deeper. It is in the deepness that the rewards can truly be discovered.
For some it is slowing the pace of our daily routine to make a tough change that might go from the temporary to the permanent. For others, a new commitment of daily prayer fasting and almsgiving calls us to this quiet. As a Catholic community, it can be taking advantage of some of our Church's Lenten gifts by participating with our brothers and sisters at daily Mass, Eucharistic Devotions and Stations of the Cross.
Ultimately, it is in the quiet that we find a place to be more aware. So, as we continue our journey through our forty days of Lent, let us break away from the ordinary and take our own personal walks into the quiet. It is there that we can be more present to the Lord.
For your reflection:
From a Ministry Perspective:
From a Family Perspective
- Where in my life do I most need to "slow down" so that I can more appreciate the community I am serving?
- In my Lenten journey, how can I show the Holy Spirit's love to those I minister?
I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please email me.
- Where does my family most need to "slow down?"
- In my Domestic Church's as parent, sibling, widow or single, how can I show the Holy Spirit's love?
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