Fr. Bauer's Blog

 

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these still challenging times. 

I’d like to begin today by thanking all those who have made or increased their commitment of financial support to our Basilica Fund. Your commitment of financial support, no matter how small, or how large, enables us to continue to do those things that fulfill our vision here at The Basilica. 

However, as I mentioned when I spoke at the Masses a couple of weeks ago, if you are not able to make an ongoing commitment of financial support for our parish, I ask you to give what you can, when you can. I thank you in advance for whatever financial support you can commit to. Please know whatever you are able to give will be appreciated. 

If you are not able to make a financial commitment or to contribute even occasionally, I ask you to pray for our parish and for your fellow parishioners. Please know your prayers both needed and are deeply appreciated. 
And, if for some reason, you are experiencing some financial difficulties, please contact our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. We may be able to help you or refer you to someone who can.

As your pastor, I thank you in advance for whatever financial support you can offer our parish. 

On another topic, while it is heartening for me to see so many people back at The Basilica after many months, I want to make sure we are continuing to make The Basilica a safe place for them to be. For this reason, I want to strongly encourage people to wear a facemask when you are on The Basilica campus for a liturgy other activity. 

As I have mentioned previously, in welcoming people back to worship, one of the challenges we face is resuming, renewing, and in some cases rebuilding, our liturgical ministry teams. If you have been involved in our liturgical ministry and not been contacted yet, or if you are interested in becoming involved please contact us

As always, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via livestream. We will continue to livestream the 9:30am Mass and our Noon Mass, Monday through Friday. We are also looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Mae Desaire

During the coming weeks, we will be looking at bringing back on line more of our ministries. I will keep you informed as this happens. In closing, please know that as we move forward, our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and security of those who come to our campus.

I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about these changes I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website. 

Let me close today in prayer. 

 

 

Dear God – 

For this day, help me to keep my heart open.

Help me to observe the beauty around me; to appreciate all that I see.

Help me to notice the blessings in my life, and to ignore those things that do not measure up to my expectations.

Guide me dear God to be of service to others, and to go through this day with humor and grace, and no regrets.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord we pray. Amen.

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As I write this column I realize I do so at the risk of offending just about everyone. I say this because today I want to say something about abortion. I write as a pro-life Catholic priest, but also as a male who cannot possibly know, let alone understand, the very real and complicated issues that can lead a woman to seek an abortion. I also write as a confessor who knows the pain, hurt and sadness that many woman carry and have carried for years after having an abortion. Given these things, it would seem that there is very little that I can or should say that might be helpful, and yet to say nothing seems cowardly and wrong. Legalized as a private act, abortion has become and remains a very public and divisive issue. It is an issue that it has divided our country, our communities, and in some cases, even families. If we don’t start doing something different in regard to the way we talk about the issue of abortion these divisions will only deepen and grow. 

I say the above, because in the past several weeks, however, especially since the new law in Texas was passed, I have noticed a not very subtle change in the way the issue of abortion is discussed. Specifically, when this issue comes up, one of two things usually happens. On the one hand, people change the subject and/or simply refuse to engage. On the other hand, people divide into two camps and the discussion usually becomes fairly vocal, occasionally confrontational, and at times mean-spirited. 

What the above suggests to me is that perhaps we have reached the point where we need to change the way, the manner, and the form the discussion in regard to abortion takes place. I would like to suggest that we frame the debate about abortion differently as we move forward. And I would like to suggest further, that we who hold and espouse a pro-life position take the lead in this effort. Specifically, I would like to suggest four things that need to be part of the way we frame the debate and talk about the issue of abortion in the future.

1. We need to acknowledge that abortion is a failure for all of us. We can’t just point a finger and lay the blame at the woman seeking an abortion or those who provide abortions. Rather, we need to acknowledge that, as individuals and as a community, we have all failed whenever a woman feels they have no other option than to seek an abortion. We should never demonize a woman who seeks an abortion or the individual who provides it. Rather as Mother Teresa said many years ago when talking about abortion: “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.” Abortion is a failure of love for all of us. It is a failure to give until it hurts. 

2. The above should challenge us. For those of us who are pro-life, it should challenge us to invite those who would espouse a pro-choice position to help us work together to find common ground that we can all stand on—that we can use as a basis for reaching out to each other, and from which we can move forward together. In this regard, two things come immediately to mind. The first is to ask what we can do to reduce the number of abortions that are taking place. Polls show that the majority of people think too many abortions are occurring. Let’s talk with each other about how we can reduce the number of abortions. Second, in a related vein, we need to talk about how we can provide better medical and social services to women and men in problematic pregnancies so that abortion will not seem to them to be their only option. A woman should never feel that she has to choose between her well-being and her unborn child’s life. While our Church, and particularly our Archdiocese, has done much in this area, imagine how much more could be done if we worked with those who advocate a pro-choice position. 

3. As people who are pro-life, we need to continue our efforts to educate people’s minds, illumine their hearts, and challenge their spirits to see and understand what a truly wonderful gift life is. Over and over and over again, we must remind people that life is a gracious gift from a loving God. As pro-life people, our challenge, our goal is to preserve, protect, and enhance life at all stages of development, and in all its manifestations. This activity needs to occur at all levels of our society, and it rightly includes participation in and trying to influence the political process. This activity, though, can never include any form of violence, whether verbal, emotional, physical or spiritual. As people who are pro-life, our position needs to be clear. Violence is not and cannot be part of our cause. And we must disassociate ourselves from those who would use or advocate violence in any form. Wherever the opportunity arises, and whenever the occasion presents itself, we must freely, openly, and unapologetically speak of the value and dignity of every human life—from the unborn to the elderly—to the terminally ill. All life is a precious gift. This needs to be, it must be our unchanging message.

4. Finally, beginning now and in the future, we need to pray with, for, and sometimes in spite of, those who do not hold our pro-life position. I am more and more convinced that if we cannot pray with and for each other—despite our disagreements and differences— that it is only out of force of habit that we will dare to call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus has taught us that we need to pray together and for each other. Prayer unites us in the common belief that a hand greater than our own created this universe and sustains us even now. Prayer is our often feeble attempt to respond to God the Creator, and to try to understand the will and hope of our God for us. In our prayer, particularly with and for those with whom we disagree, we imitate Jesus, and open ourselves up to God’s grace so that together we might seek to understand and do the will of our God.

The above are my suggestions as to how we might proceed as we move into the future. I am sure there are many things I have missed, but I would like to suggest that if we are ever to come to a resolution with regard to the issue of abortion, this can only occur when we change the way, the manner, and the form in which we talk about this issue, and seek new ways and means to engage each other in dialogue. As people committed to life, I think we need to be in the forefront of this activity. I believe that ultimately it is only in this way that we can help others come to understand the value, dignity and worth of every human life.

 

Several weeks ago the first reading for Mass one day was the story of Moses meeting with God in a tent during the Israelites’ time in the dessert. “The tent, which was called the meeting tent, Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp. Anyone who wished to consult the LORD would go to this meeting tent outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people would all rise and stand at the entrance of their own tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses” (Exodus 33.7-8). This “tent” was a visible sign to the people of God’s promise that God would be with them on their journey. It was the regular place where Moses would meet God. 

Now, as I reflected on this passage, there were a couple of things in particular that struck me. The first was that going to the tent to consult with God was a regular discipline for Moses. He didn’t have an idea one day just to pitch a tent, and see what happened. And his going to the tent was not an occasional occurrence. Rather, he had a regular place and a regular habit of meeting with God. It was in the tent that Moses spent time with God. 

Second, it is also important to notice that Moses erected the tent “outside the camp.” It was not in the middle of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but outside the camp. It was a special place where one thing and one thing only happened: Moses met God. And as Moses walked into the tent, the heavens opened and a pillar of cloud descended to rest on the entrance. 

I think this passage tells us something important about how we are to pray. It reminds us that just as Moses had a regular time and place where he met God, so too you and I need a regular time and place for prayer. Now in saying this I want to be clear. We can pray anywhere. But I believe a regular time and place for prayer can be a big help to our prayer life. In the years since I have been ordained, wherever I have lived, I’ve always had a special place (or at least a special chair) for prayer, and I try not to do anything else in that space. There is something about walking into that space, or sitting in a particular chair, that helps me prepare for and enter into prayer. 

In addition to a regular place for prayer—away from distractions and interruptions—a regular time for prayer is also very helpful. When I was first ordained, while I prayed morning prayer prior to Mass, I tried to reserve an hour or so for prayer in the late afternoon before dinner and evening meetings. This worked for a while, but I found that often this time got interrupted and/or abbreviated by other pressing (?) matters. About twenty years ago I decided that I need to switch my prayer time to the morning—and I am not a morning person. It was the only way, though, that I could spend some interrupted time with God in prayer. 

Walking with God in the midst of all of life is important, but to draw closer to God in order to “hear” the voice of God speaking to our hearts, minds, and souls, we need those special times and places when we can withdraw from the hustle and bustle of the world and spend uninterrupted time alone with God.

It is our abiding belief that God dwells with us—that God abides with us. We need to work, though, to make this truth a reality in our lives and not just a belief. The challenge for us is not to let ourselves think: “Wouldn’t it have been great to be like Moses and meet with God in the tent of meeting?” The reality is that we can meet God each day in our prayer. If we can realize this amazing gift, we can live in intimacy with God each day, and the world will see the promises of our God lived out through us. 

 

 

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times. 

Today I want to talk with you about where we are at currently and the challenges that we face as we move forward at The Basilica. With the rise of the Delta variant, I want to once again urge people to wear masks when you come for liturgies or other events at The Basilica. 

At The Basilica, we have many children under the age of 12, who cannot be vaccinated yet, as well as many people with underlying health conditions. Given this, I think that asking people to wear a mask is one of the best things we can do to ensure their continued health and well being. 

While it is heartening for me to see so many people back at The Basilica after many months, I want to make sure we are continuing to make The Basilica a safe place for them to be. As I have mentioned previously, in welcoming people back to worship, one of the challenges we face is resuming, renewing, and in some cases rebuilding our liturgical ministry teams. If you have been involved in our liturgical ministry and not been contacted yet, or if you are interested in becoming involved please contact Travis Salisbury

As always, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via livestream. We will continue to livestream our daily Noon Mass and 9:30am Mass on Sundays. We are also looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Mae Desaire

On another topic, as part of the preparation for the upcoming Archdiocesan Synod, I want to invite you to participate in small group discussions to share your thoughts/ideas about the future of our Archdiocese. These groups will meet both on campus and remotely. You can register for one of these groups on our parish website. If you would like more information please contact Cathy Edwards in our parish office. 

We are also looking for volunteers in our Faith Formation program and our R.C.I.A. program. You can call the Learning Office for more information about what this involves. During the coming weeks, we will be looking at bringing back on line more of our ministries. I will keep you informed as this happens. 

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support for The Basilica. As we begin to resume more activities on our campus, your financial support will be critical as we resume the many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. As your pastor, I want to thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated.

In closing, please know that as we move forward, our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and security of those who come to our campus. I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal--whatever that may be. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about these changes I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website. 

One final thing, tickets are still available for our Basilica Block Party this weekend. 

Let me close today in prayer. 

 



Loving God, it seems that we turn to you most easily when we need comfort, consolation and hope. 

And so we come before you today, knowing that you are waiting for us, to shelter us in the shadow of your wings. In you may we find refuge and relief. 

Dear God, these uncertain days tempt us to lose hope. “Pandemic” is a frightening word, and we can easily feel confused and helpless. And so we look to you to lead and guide us, and to keep any anxiety at bay. Strengthened by your love, help us to choose to let your peace reign in us. 

Good and gracious God, help us also to be your compassion and love to those who are suffering and in need of our care. Help us to be generous and stay in contact with the forgotten and lonely. May our prayers and support be with our world and national leaders, scientists, health care providers, and all who are instrumental in overcoming this crisis. 

We look to you O God, of hope, may your love blanket the earth, as you teach us to live more generously each day. We pray this through Christ our Lord. 

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Basilica Community,

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today I want to talk with you about where we are at currently and the challenges that await us at The Basilica as we move forward. With the rise of the Delta variant, we are once again asking, actually we are strongly encouraging, people to wear masks when you come for liturgies or other events at The Basilica.

At The Basilica, we have many children under the age of 12, who cannot be vaccinated, as well as numerous people with underlying health conditions. Given this, we think that asking people to wear a mask is one of the best things we can do to ensure their continued health and well-being.

While it is heartening for me to see so many people back at The Basilica after many months, I want to make sure we are continuing to make The Basilica a safe place to be for everyone. In welcoming people back to worship, one of the challenges we face is resuming, renewing, and in some cases rebuilding our ministerial teams. In this regard, one of the areas that is most pressing is our liturgical ministries. If you have been involved in our liturgical ministry and not been contacted yet, or if you are interested in becoming involved please contact Travis Salisbury and let him know.

As always, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via livestream. We will continue to livestream the 9:30 and 11:30am Sunday Masses. We are also looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please contact us.

During the coming weeks, we will be looking at bringing back more of our ministries. I will keep you informed as this happens. One thing in particular I wanted to mention today is that during the month of August The Basilica is hosting the sculpture Angels Unawares. This sculpture is on our front plaza along Hennepin Avenue.

Angels Unawares depicts 140 almost life size migrants from all times and places aboard a boat. It was created by Canadian Catholic sculptor Timothy Schmalz, who also created our Homeless Jesus sculpture. The name Angels Unawares comes from Hebrews 13:2, which reminds us to “show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support for The Basilica. As we begin to resume more activities on our campus, your financial support will be critical as we resume the many ministries, services, and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. As your pastor, I want to thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated.

In closing, please know that as we move forward, our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and security of those who come to our campus. I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal, whatever that may be.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about these changes I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website.

Let me close today in prayer. 

 

 

Loving God,

We pray for your love and compassion to abound
as we walk through this challenging time.

We ask for wisdom for those who bear the load
of making decisions with widespread consequences.

We pray for those who are suffering with sickness
and all who are caring for them.

We ask for protection for children, for the elderly and for the vulnerable
that they may be protected from this virus.

We pray for misinformation to be curbed
that fear may take no hold in hearts and minds.

As we exercise the good sense that you in your mercy provide,
may we also approach each day in faith and peace,

trusting in the truth of your goodness towards us.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

crucifix

God is Present

A few weeks ago, the first reading for Mass was the story of Jacob wrestling with a man/angel (Genesis 32: 23-33) all during the night until the break of dawn. At the time, Jacob was on the run from his brother, Esau, from whom he was estranged. I suspect Jacob felt at least at a distance from God and possibly even abandoned by God. But then God found Jacob and wrestled with him in the form of a man all night long. Not being able to prevail over Jacob, the man said: “Let me go for it is daybreak.” But Jacob told him: “I will not let you go until you bless me.” At the end of the story we are told that Jacob named the place Peniel “Because I have seen God face to face, he said, yet my life has been spared.” Clearly Jacob knew that he had struggled with God, and while not triumphing, had been blessed by the experience. 

Now my suspicion is that there have been times in each of our lives when, like Jacob, we have felt that we were wrestling with God. Fortunate and blessed indeed is the person who has not experienced times when they have felt alone and abandoned, or times of pain and hardship. At these times when we face questions that seem unanswerable, worries that keep us awake, and when anxiety is our constant companion, God can seem absent from us. At these times, though, if we can remember Jacob, perhaps we will discover, as Jacob did, that those times are privileged places of God’s grace and blessing. 

Now, to be clear, the above doesn’t just happen. Jacob had to wrestle all night long in order to experience a blessing. And so it is with us. Sometimes we need to “wrestle with God” in order to experience God’s grace. Many years ago when I was struggling with a decision, the priest who was my spiritual director at the time told me: “John, the grace is in the struggle. Don’t avoid it; engage it.” And while I couldn’t see it immediately, I eventually discovered that God had been with me in the struggle and had been offering me God’s good grace all the time. I just wasn’t able to receive it, until I opened myself to it. 

Each of our lives is a mixed bag of blessings and pain. While we would like to enjoy the blessings and avoid the pain, that isn’t possible. What is possible, though, is to believe that God is present in both the blessings and the pain. It took me a long while to realize this. I have come to know and believe, though, that even in the messiness and the struggles of our lives, God is present and offering us God’s good grace. There is indeed grace in the struggle. We just have to be open to that grace in order to receive it. 

 

 

Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today I want to talk with you about where we are currently, and the challenges that face us at The Basilica, as we move forward after the pandemic. As I hope all of you know, at the beginning of July we started our new Mass schedule. Masses are Saturday at 5:00pm; Sunday morning at 7:30am, 9:30 and 11:30; and Sunday afternoon at 5:00pm. It is heartening for me to see so many people back at The Basilica after many months.

In welcoming people back to worship, one of the challenges we face is reinvigorating, renewing, and in some cases rebuilding our liturgical ministerial teams. In this regard, we are in the process of contacting all of our liturgical ministers. If you have been not been contacted or if you are interested in becoming involved please contact Travis Salisbury.

As always, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via livestream. We will continue to livestream the 9:30am Mass, and have begun livestreaming the 11:30amMass. We are looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please let us know. During the coming weeks, we will be looking at bringing back more of our ministries. I will keep you informed as this progresses.

One thing in particular I wanted to mention is that during the month of August The Basilica will be hosting the sculpture Angels Unawares. This sculpture will be on our front plaza along Hennepin Avenue. Since it will be hard to miss, I wanted you to be aware of it.

Angels Unawares depicts 140 almost life size migrants from all times and places aboard a boat. It was created by Canadian Catholic sculptor Timothy Schmalz, who also created our Homeless Jesus sculpture. The name Angels Unawares comes from Hebrews 13:2, which reminds us to “show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support for The Basilica. As we begin to resume more activities on our campus, your financial support will be critical as we resume the many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. As your pastor, I want to thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated.

In closing, as I have mentioned previously, as we move forward, our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and security of those who come to our campus. I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal—whatever that may be.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about these changes I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website.

 

Let me close today in prayer. 

Loving God, we pray today for our parish community. Deliver us from simply desiring to get “back to normal," and give us instead the grace to be open to the opportunities that your Spirit is offering us at this time.

Grant that we may come out of this pandemic with eyes more able to see the needs of those most vulnerable and those who lives have been so severely impacted by the pandemic.

Give us creative minds and hearts to embrace and carry forward the new ways we have found to connect with one another; and bring us safely back together as a people renewed in the sure knowledge of your faithfulness and abiding love, and strengthen us for the work ahead. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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A few weeks ago I needed to go grocery shopping. When I parked my car I followed an individual into the store who was talking on their cell phone. As we entered the store they must have lost coverage because they kept repeating: “Hello, can you hear me? Hello. Hello. Can you hear me?” This mantra continued as the individual grabbed a cart and began walking down an aisle. It persisted as they turned the corner to the next aisle. 

I have no idea if they ever reconnected with the person on the other end of the call, but I did wonder why they just didn’t go back outside or find a quiet corner of the store to continue their call. 

As I thought about this, it occurred to me that more often than I care to admit this experience is often a good reflection of my prayer. I spend a lot of time and use a lot of words talking to God, but when I don’t get an immediate response, I sometimes wonder if my prayer “got through.” 

At these times, I have to remind myself that prayer is not about me talking to God, and expecting God to answer immediately and on my terms. Rather prayer is about being open to the will and work of God. It is about me bringing my prayers and petitions to God, but then being open to how God might respond to them. 

In talking about prayer I deliberately use the word “respond” as opposed to “answer” because I have discovered that while God doesn’t always answer my prayers in terms of doing what I want, there is always a response of some kind. I only need to be open to the manner, form, and timing that response takes. God is there and God is responding; it is just that for whatever reason, I’m not open to, or able to discern God’s response. 

I truly believe that not only does God hear our prayers, but also that God responds to our prayers. This leads me to wonder/suspect that in reality it is probably God who is saying to me: “Hello, can you hear me? Hello. Hello. Can you hear me?” 

 

 

 

Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today I want to talk with you about where we are currently at and where we are going at The Basilica in regard to the pandemic. As I hope all of you know, a few weeks ago when the city of Minneapolis dropped its mask mandate, we also dropped our mask mandate for people coming to The Basilica. We do encourage people, though, to wear a mask if they feel more comfortable doing so.

We also encourage social distancing, and have removed the tape from the pews to give people more room to do this. Additionally, we are still asking people to sanitize their hands before receiving communion.

As have mentioned previously, beginning the first weekend in July we will resume our normal Mass schedule. Mass will be held at 5:00pm on Saturday and 7:30am, 9:30, and 11:30 Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon Mass will be held at 5:00pm.

As always, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via livestream. We will continue to livestream the 9:30am Mass, and beginning the first weekend in July we will start livestreaming the 11:30am Mass. We are looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please let us know.

I also want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support of our Basilica community. Your financial support enables us to continue to offer the many ministries, services, and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. As your pastor, I want to thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated.

Finally, we have started to resume some activities on our campus, and will continue to do so throughout the summer. Our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and well-being of those who come to our campus.

I will continue to try to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about these changes I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website.

Let me close today in prayer. 

 

Ever loving God,
Font of harmony and source of unity
We ask for the grace to face the sin of division in our society;
We beg for mercy and forgiveness for the harm we have done;
We implore that you open our hearts and minds to way that will bring about justice, equality, healing, harmony and peace;
And we prayer for the conversion of heart of all those who perpetrate fear, promote supremacy, and cultivate hatred.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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The other day when I got into my office I noticed the red message light on my office phone was blinking. As I looked at it, it took me a moment to remember how to retrieve the message. The reason it took a couple of moments was that it had been a few weeks since someone had left me a message on my office phone. Now I receive lots and lots of emails, texts, and messages on my cell phone but it had been a while since someone had actually left me a message on my office phone. 

As I thought about this, it led me on a trip down memory lane. When I was grade school, we had one phone in our house. In high school we added an extension phone for the upstairs. This continued while I was in college. Later in the seminary, four of us got together and paid for a phone that we located at the end of the hall so we could all use it. 

It wasn’t until my first assignment that I actually had a phone of my own in my office. Even then there was no way to leave a message. The parish secretary used the infamous “pink message slips” when someone called and we weren’t there. In my second assignment, the parish had upgraded to an answering machine so that people could leave a message if they called after hours. Eventually computers and email became common place, and I had to learn to communicate using them. It wasn’t until I became a pastor that I eventually got a cell phone —it resembled a small walkie-talkie—and I remember at the time thinking I was quite the technophile. 

Nowadays, of course, I can’t imagine life without a cellphone and a laptop. I am amazed at how much has changed just within the past 25 years in regard to the ways we communicate with each other. And while the ways we communicate have changed, what has not changed is the basic need and desire for us to communicate with one another. 

I believe the above is not true just for us, but is also true for God. Just as our desire to communicate with each other and have done and continue to do so in a variety of ways, so too, God wants to communicate with us. And perhaps more importantly, God is not limited in the ways/manner God does this. If we are looking for God to communicate with us using only the spoken or written word, we will miss much that God has to communicate with us. 

God communicates with us in the movements of our spirits, in the musings of our minds, and in the longing of our hearts. If we are going to come to know what God wants us to know, we need to listen with our hearts, our minds, our spirits, and our whole being. If we only listen with our ears, we are limiting our awareness and understanding of what God wants us to know. 

 

 

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