|Justin & Jonathan discuss homeless services|
with a man along SE 82nd
Speaking of leisure, I have repeatedly offered to God my leisure time as a sacrifice if only He would do something to shake Portland out of her faithlessness. I have often said, "Lord, I will give up every moment of time to myself for the rest of my life if only you will wake this city." That may seem like a strange sacrifice, but leisure is the very life-blood of the life of the mind, and the arts. Good books and beautiful art feed the soul, though not so well as prayer does. Prayer also takes leisure time, and I am willing to sacrifice some of my closeness with God. Blessed Titus Brandsma lived in a whirlwind of practical activity and writing, even though he was a Carmelite. It seemed that God required him to sacrifice a deeper life of prayer for the sake of his other callings. Finally, after the Nazis imprisoned him in Dachau, he was at last able to pray in the way he had always desired. His soul drank in the sweetness of communion with God even in that cesspool of malice and violence.
Sometimes our apostolate begins to resemble only an outreach on the streets, complete wth the corporal works of mercy. That sounds like a fine thing, but it isn't enough. At those times the Holy Spirit intervenes, and I am reminded once again that prayer is the soul of the apostolate. I may not have much time for deep prayer at home, but we must pray as we walk together. Prayer elicits grace as we share in the life of God. Without prayer, my supernatural hope and charity will shrivel like a prune. Without prayer, fewer graces will flow to all of those who've chosen to live far from God (even though He remains so close!). With prayer, we walk in grace with Christ who alone can do all things. Without prayer, we have only ourselves and our weakness, our merely "natural" hope and love. Those won't do much good for what we've been called to. One of our guys, Nick, put together a little prayer and chant booklet for us on our walks. We will use it religiously.
A final thought. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has a must-read article on these issues, provocatively titled, "Confronting the Heresy of Activism with the Primacy of Prayer".