Putting in the time to prepare a homily that is succinct and to the point, but is also impactful, energizes me in a way I cannot describe. Studying the Scripture readings and praying with them, reviewing commentaries, and seeking solid pastoral applications for the content, all fill me with a desire to compose a message that brings comfort and hope to the congregation while also challenging each individual to live out the message in a concrete and tangible manner.
Preaching parish missions and retreats takes it to another level. Spending an extended time (beyond the 8-12 minute homily) breaking open God's Word over the course of an hour for several evenings at a parish mission, or a whole weekend for a retreat, presents an opportunity to truly open ourselves to the movement of the Holy Spirit. These events frequently bring healing in a way that is nothing short of spectacular.
Teaching at workshops and other events is also energizing for me. Sharing the Good News of Salvation brings me great joy. I am always grateful when these opportunities arise.
Healing can come in many forms. As I talk with people during breaks at a retreat, I often see healing taking place. The presentation leads to reflection, and sometimes dialogue with me. This renewed awareness leads to prayer. Prayer leads to healing. This can encompass the Sacrament of Penance, a renewed fervor for the Eucharist, and a deeper commitment to one's daily prayer life.
A very specific approach to healing takes place when I visit folks in the hospital and in nursing homes. (I vaguely remembering doing that prior to COVID.) There is something about sickness and suffering that opens us up to the movement of God's grace within our lives. Unfortunately, I have missed some opportunities for growth in the midst of my own sufferings by focusing on myself and the unfairness of life. Why me? It is my intent to take my personal mistakes and shortcomings to help others in their own journey of suffering and healing.
I want to be tired for the right reasons.
Today, I simply ask you this one question. What sparks a light in you?