August 5, 2019
by Amy Hoover
Creighton University's Retreat Center
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 113

Numbers 11:4B-15
Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
Matthew 14:13-21
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Judging Others? Or Ourselves?

As I read today’s readings, I really found myself identifying with Moses.  Not the situation so much as the feeling of heaviness of carrying people.  Carrying people, walking with people doesn’t normally feel heavy, most of the time it is life giving. But today, for whatever reason, I am feeling the burden like Moses.  I am feeling overwhelmed.  It quickly struck me, as I continued with the gospel reading, that we could say Jesus was feeling heavy too, heavy with grief, to the point of needing some alone time.  This was my first aha/reminder – self care.  Am I taking time to care for myself to withdraw to a deserted place or do something out of the ordinary? 

My second graced moment came as I finished reading the story from Matthew.  It is a well-known story, the Feeding of the Multitudes. I was struck by my own internal movement not to pick apart the story or even pray with it too long.  The message for me seemed clear and simple:  God provides.  Like God provided in the desert with manna and quail and in this story of providing bread and fish for the hungry, God would provide nourishment/energy/relief from the burden I am feeling.  The relief may come in the deserted, desert place or it may come surrounded by people.  If I can take time for self care and shift my attention back to God I may be surprised by how God provides sustenance for a weary soul.

Thinking I had received what God was offering me this day, I was surprised with the invitation to stay just a little longer.  That time/space/prayer brought a third grace, the noticing that God oftentimes uses what we already have to feed us or nourish us.  Here, the five loaves and two fish.  For me, it was the unexpected visit of a friend and encouragement of another.  There is also the gift of living in a place that oozes quiet and itself encourages noticing the Presence, Love and Movement of God.

So, as I move on with my day and whatever contributes to the weight that I carry, I find myself inviting us all to take a breath and ask How is the Lord sustaining and providing for us today?  Can we see how God is using what is already here?  I am also hearing “Be prepared to be surprised.”  What Joy!

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