June 19, 2021
by Nancy Shirley
Creighton University's College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 370

2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Psalm 34:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Matthew 6:24-34

Praying Ordinary Time


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

The gospel in today’s gives us a familiar phrase:

No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.

While I had certainly heard this phrase before, somehow, I didn’t remember it in this context. I have often thought of this but the pull in two directions for me was not the world vs God, rather family vs everything else. It seems that so many things act against maintaining a solid family.  We work hard to provide the basics for our family and to have some “extras.”  Oftentimes that hard work means that more time for work and less time for family and leads to much frustration. I remember making a decision as a single mom worried about finances with just my teaching nursing — a decision that would be life-changing.  I joined the Army Reserves – a decision that at the time seemed very safe for immediate future with the possibility of long-term benefits.  As I raised my hand in October 1986, I never imagined what could happen in August 1990.  The invasion of Kuwait rocked my world and put (at least in my eyes) my family in peril.  I remember praying more than ever before every day – attending daily mass at 0630 with my 11-year-old who was sleepy but determined to go with me daily and pray her heart out – and freely distributing Saint Jude cards to anyone who would take one and asking for prayers.  Perhaps that should have been a big clue about which Master I needed to be directing my energy toward. 

Miraculously, I was not deployed although about one-third of my unit was sent.  I have no doubt my prayers were answered.  Yet, I was still not attuned enough to search at that time as to find the right Master.  I was still at it, working hard and perhaps believing I was in control of my life.  It was not until about seven years later that I realized that no matter what was happening in my professional life or even in my personal life, there was an emptiness.  Clearly, my Masters were not leading me in the right direction.  I remember telling a colleague and friend that I was soul weary – I could find physical rest and even emotional rest, but my soul was tired.  I longed for the spark that burned when I was younger, the spark I felt when I did mission trips to the Dominican Republic with ILAC.  My friend suggested I go to Sacred Heart Church in Omaha – from the first moment I attended the music captured my heart and the rest is history.  I found what could penetrate and revive my soul - I found (and still find) that my true Master speaks to me through music.  Now you know why I try to include a song link with every reflection. The fact that about eight months later I met my husband there also points out the plans my Master had for me. 

One of the many songs that captured my heart at Sacred Heart was Precious Lord sung by their gospel choir.  It was written in the 1930’s by a Rev Thomas Dorsey when his wife and child both died in childbirth. I never thought I would be including a link to Elvis Presley – however, it was the most beautiful verse I found!!

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

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