Friday, March 18, 2011


How has this happened? It was just Sunday, and now it's Friday. What have I done this week that makes me worthy of the name, "Christian"?

Sadly, not much. There's a question I hear sometimes, a motivational saying: "If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough outward evidence to convict you?" If these five days were examined and mined for evidence I'd go free for sure.

I had all these plans! It's spring break for me at the college, and my home schooled son got the week off, so my duties were minimal. I thought I'd hike and meditate, visit the nursing home, be up for 6:15 Mass every day, say a nightly rosary. I had a stack of books I wanted to read, a test to study for next week. I had this blog to write.

So what did I do instead? I don't know, really. I'm on hiatus from my social network on Facebook, and gave up computer games as part of my Lenten package. I know I cleaned the house. I did hang out with the family. I started a book, Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (that seems ironic, no?) I spent some good time drinking coffee and talking with my wife. And, along with the rest of the world, I followed with breaking heart the plight of the Japanese. I prayed a lot, and caught up with my spiritual director. I helped around the house more, and bought little gifts for everyone. I fasted, and I read more scripture than usual.

So how do I feel? I feel great! I feel relaxed, refreshed. When I wake up, I don't immediately get that knot in my gut thinking about the day's duties stretched out in front of me. In fact, I've realized that some of those "duties" were just self-imposed tasks that are unnecessary, more there to give me a sense of control than anything else. I feel closer to my family, closer to God, closer to the group of men I meet with regularly to plan a retreat in the fall.

There's a lesson in this for me. Sometimes, when I think the answer is to get busier, God wants me to just STOP for a bit. Breathe. Laugh. Sleep better. Think more deeply. I see that I've been trying to cram my days full when what I need to do is carve out a little more space, daily. It's hard to feel close to God when I'm fully occupied with running from one "necessary" task to another. He didn't make me a robot, He made me a man; and I need to accept the limits of my state with more grace.

In the restful silence of this week, I've meditated more than I have in months, and all of my meditations have brought me into that timeless space that accompanies God's presence. If I haven't said the Rosary this week, so be it. But I've been praying almost without ceasing the whole time.

Maybe there wouldn't be enough outward evidence to convict me of my Christianity this week. But if the jury could see what God has been writing in my heart these last few days, I'd be convicted for sure.