Mission Blog Day Six - Good Friday
I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” Timothy 4:7 Mission in the Cloud, Prayer Room, Naples. Midnight. Balmy evening, very humid for this time of year, even for Naples. The prayer room is dead silent, the fountain outside has gone quiet. In the sky, suddenly—and a little mysteriously --an orange orb emerges as an unseen cloud floats past the moon, now waning after yesterday’s fullness. It shines an eerie orange glow on the image of Jesus crucified on the wall, the statue of his ever present Blessed Mother praying beside him, and a sole missionary, in prayer at His feet.
The day started off almost like a “normal” Good Friday with morning prayers, coffee and toast, and the blog posting for Holy Thursday. Then, the pace changed. Instead of heading down the 6 line to SoHo for eight hours of joyful street evangelization, talking with hundreds of passersby, being part of His rich harvest of souls that Good Friday always brings, today was devoted instead to prayer, prayer, and more prayer. I meditated quietly for a couple of hours on a wonderful testimony by our Regnum Christi “Missionaros” friends in Manila, put together virtually, on the Seven Last Words. Then to the rosary, prayer journal, exercise, and the 4:00 service of the cross broadcast live by our Legionary priests in Rye. It was so heart- warming to see all of our priest friends there up and about, having fought off the Corona invasion into the household that temporarily took a few of them down two weeks ago. After, Evelyn and I took a long beach walk into sunset and beyond with a shared meditation on the Stations of the Cross. We took our time, squeezing every last spiritual drop out of the each of the 14 stations using the beautiful Stations prayers and readings in our Regnum Christi handbooks. It had been too long since we’d last used them. After a light dinner, it was on to Mel Gibson’s haunting The Passion of the Christ.
Now, at midnight, I’m back in the prayer room, trying to pull it all together. Amidst the doom and gloom of the Corona Crisis, I feel an extraordinary sense of peace tonight. The light has broken through the clouds. Only moonlight for now, and a faint orange light to boot, but I know that dim light is the Lord’s way of reminding me that the light of the moon is coming from Him, from the bright Easter sunrise that is soon to dawn.
The theme for the day was the “all in” moment. In His passion and death, the Lord was “all in”. He left nothing on the table in His effort to save us, as Mel Gibson so bloodily portrays in his film masterpiece. Mary was all in, always the mother, loyal to the end, sharing Christ’s suffering deeply and closely. John, the disciple Jesus loved, was all in, alone among the apostles sticking by Jesus to the horrible end up on Calvary. And my fruit of a day of prayer was this: I’m not yet “all in.” Far too often, I’m holding back something from the Lord, for myself. There’s a balance to be had for sure. After all, my mission is to help grow the kingdom out in the world, not just in the prayer room. Many of us share this vocation. But when I’m out there in the world, how often, as hard as try, do I still grow distracted, take the easy route, get on the “self-pity” bandwagon, top listening to my Lord, start speaking for myself-- and fall into sin? Too often. My other lesson from the day: “all in” doesn’t necessarily mean more action. My calendar is overloaded with action on all fronts. Check with my assistant and see if you can get 15 minutes next week!
“All in” means more prayer, more listening, less talking. More focus on what the Master wants for me, and less focus on what I want for Him. Or was it what I want for me?
So, missionaries, my final challenge for you for this Holy Week is simple. Ask yourself in prayer if you are really “all in.” Not half-in, not mostly in, not in on alternate days, not in for Holy Week and off for the rest of the year. All in. Like He was. Like He is.
Even in the middle of this dark night, His light is shining. It’s reflecting off that orb up there in the night sky. Easter is coming. A new dawn. A renewed commitment. A new chance to get “all in.”
A missionary April 11, 2020