Day 19 – Friday – 10/12/12
Chillin’ out at the local graveyard for our weekly Desert Day prayer time. It is very peaceful and serene out here. Beautiful mountain scenery all around. Sunny day. A few wispy clouds is the sky. It’s a great place to come for some peace and quiet. We began our Desert Day quite appropriately by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as a group before splitting apart. Getting to pray the Chaplet, on a Friday, in a cemetery provides a unique and somber opportunity to meditate on my own physical mortality. The principal thought that is coming to my mind is how little I seem to think about it. It almost seems like at times that I forget that I’m mortal, because I get so wrapped up in life here on earth.
But even if I live to some crazy Biblical age of 900+ years, that’s still a blink of the proverbial eye when compared to how old the universe is, how long it will be around after me, and especially in comparison to eternity. And while it’s good to enjoy the journey I can’t lose sight of my final destination, eternity with God. When I think about leaving behind all of the good stuff one day when God finally calls me home (family, friends, loved ones, cherished places, memories, etc…) it’s a little saddening. But then I think about how much greater eternity with God will be, and it gives me hope. Please Lord give me strength to persevere through this life and especially give me strength and comfort to persevere through the gateway of death so that I can be with you forever.
Today I’m reminded again of the awesome parallel with Jesus that I’m experiencing in my own 40 day fast out here in the desert. The hunger, the temptations, the closeness to God. It’s pretty surreal when I really think about it. If I only experience one IOTA of the grace that Jesus experienced during his 40 day fast, I will consider myself extremely blessed. If hunger is any indication of the level of grace I’m experiencing, I’m definitely receiving more grace as the fast continues. And if battling and subduing my will, inclinations, instincts, feelings, and desires is any indicator, then there too I’m experiencing alot of grace.
To end today’s entry, just a few reflections on the Eucharist, the ultimate fulfiller of the ultimate hunger. My physical hunger today is pretty noticeable, because instead of eating a meal split into two snacks (one at breakfast and one at lunch), i’m waiting until supper to eat because we have our monthly community dinner with the other missionaries. (edit: actually, I have to admit that the hunger pangs are pretty intense today.) I think also now that i’m well into my fast, and i’m taking two smaller snacks instead of a meal, my body’s adjusting and feeling the hunger more. So, I decided to do a communion service for one of the old men at the Comedor, because otherwise he wouldn’t receive the Eucharist. I can’t say no to him receiving the Eucharist, especially when I’m able to bring it to him, and especially when I know he really wants it. So besides the extreme privilege of bringing the Eucharist to him, I was also able to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist as my first solid food nourishment of the day.
To be able to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in The Eucharist when you are feeling strong hunger pangs heightens the experience of the Eucharist. It’s pretty amazing. I was equally astonished as to what he said regarding the Eucharist. Once I got there, it was apparent that he had a little bit of chest congestion and a little bit of a cough. He said he wanted to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist, but wasn’t sure if he should because of his cough and he didn’t want to disrespect Jesus by possibly coughing him up. I assured him that Jesus wants to be with him in the Eucharist, and that it was ok to receive Jesus anyways. That Jesus understood his situation, and could even heal him. I was just awestruck by this old man’s way of having so much respect for the Eucharist. If only we all had that same respect……..