Every now and then a song pops into your head and stays there for a while. This past Saturday during our Vigil Mass we sang a song with a simple refrain, “God is love, and all who dwell in love dwell in God.” Those words have been in my head ever since. Then early this morning, while preparing for Mass and spending some time in prayer, I found that the words of this song and today’s Gospel passage compliment each other. The passage for today’s Mass is Mark 9:14-29. It’s the story of Jesus driving a mute spirit out of a young man, only after the disciples had been unable to do so. There has been some speculation or questioning as to whether the young man may have been afflicted with epilepsy or something similar. There is also some question regarding the apostles: had they grown a little over confident in their ministry? Forgotten that it must be Christ who works through them? Had they, while doing their ministry, put their prayer time on the back burner? We can focus on the details of the story if we want to, but I suggest that the very last words of the passage, those spoken by Jesus to the apostles, are where we might need to focus. The closing dialogue goes like this: “When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, ‘Why could we not drive the spirit out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer.’” The message here, although perhaps hidden at first reading, is simple: prayer and works must be connected. All of the work that we do must be directed by the wisdom that we gain in prayer. Whether it’s the work of our job and all of the tasks that might be on our list for the day, or the most important work of all; namely, relationships. Each day and each encounter with another person need to begin with the question, “what is God asking of me in this moment?” This is especially true in our relationships with each other. How do I react to other people, especially in difficult moments? Do I easily “go off on” them, or do I take the time to take a deep breath and allow God and the fruits of the Spirit to guide me? This, I think, is why the words of Saturday’s song from Mass have been on my mind. To “dwell in love and to dwell in God” requires that we dwell in prayer on a regular basis. All of us, in one way or another, are affected by busyness. It can partially or completely sever our bond with Christ in prayer. We hear a lot of talk about being people of peace in a world and a time when there seems to be so much division. Well, it begins with us, in us. For peace and wisdom to dwell in us, we must first take time to dwell in God in prayer. Truly, prayer and works must be connected.
From the Tee Box
A Blog by Father Trey Nelson
Monthly Archives: February 2019
Posted on: February 25, 2019
Posted on: February 6, 2019
Last Thursday (January 31, 2019) was is the feast of Blessed John Bosco. This day has special meaning for me. When I was a child, we lived for a couple of years in St. Francisville but then moved to Baton Rouge, where were all enrolled into Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School. At that time, the school was staffed and run by the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco. They wore a full habit year-round, wearing black during the winter months and white during the summer. John Bosco was lifted up for us, daily, as someone who devoted his life to the education and faith formation of children. The Gospel for that day’s Mass was perfect for his feast day, in, that, it is so important for us to help children embrace the light that is within them and, as Jesus, says, to let it shine. This day is special to me for another reason, however. Looking back on my childhood, I am led to recall, as many of us do, “how things were” back then. The presence of nuns is rare, at least in our area today. The seasons of the year were more distinct: winter, spring, summer, fall. The pace of life wasn’t nearly as fast-paced and busy as it is now. And stores, for the most part, closed on Sunday. In short, the Sabbath was more clearly visible and more consciously kept. Obviously, things will continue to change. This has been and will be the case at any point in our history. A healthy rhythm between work and rest will continually be challenged by busyness and the desire to do, be, and have more. Technology will become an even more integrated staple in our lives. The greatest challenge of all will probably be in building relationships, and the greatest “disease”, if you will, may more than likely become loneliness, if we’re not already there now. While all of this is important to acknowledge, grow with, and learn from, dwelling on it and worrying about it will get us nowhere. Our primary focus should be, not on what is changing, but on that which has, is, and always will remain the same: God’s fidelity to us and promise of unconditional love and protection. I enjoy “looking back” just as much as the next person. And it’s certainly important to look forward, to some extent. But right now, in this moment? Let’s be reminded, that, as St. Francis de Sales wonderfully said, “the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you today and every day.”