I spend an hour every Thursday morning in a Catholic chapel praying. We scheduled pray-ers are called ‘adorers’ and we each take an hour time slot. The chapel has a pray-er in it 24/7 (except during Mass).
As my hour came to an end, one by one other pray-ers left. I was left alone, but soon needed to leave for an eye appointment. The next scheduled pray-er never came. After 10 minutes into her hour I was getting antsy, as I really needed to leave and it is highly frowned upon to leave the chapel (the Eucharist in particular) unattended.
Just as I was about to take my leave a gentleman came in and sat in the front row. He was tall, broad, clean shaven, buzz cutted, plain clothed (jeans and pullover shirt, no jacket) and probably in his early 40’s. He seemed a bit monk-like to me…it was his demeanor that made me wonder if he wasn’t a priest or monk. He kinda glowed too…now, I can’t explain that. I donned my jacket, approached him and whispered asking him if he’d cover the Eucharist (the communion host) upon leaving if no other pray-ers were there. He said no problem. I mentioned the scheduled pray-er hadn\’t shown and that I needed to go. He said quite unassumingly, “Oh, I’ll just stay the hour then.”
Being quite surprised, I said that would be great and left. As I scurried to the car it hit me, he was available for God. A pray-er was needed and he was ready and willing to say ‘yes’ without warning. He gave up whatever his schedule may have been and stayed…maybe he had no other obligations, I can’t say. Maybe he lives his life from moment to moment, ready to ‘fill in’ wherever there are gaps in God’s work.
I don’t know any people like that–people have commitments, children, work, elderly parents, places to go, errands to run, things to do. We are a scheduled people, our calendars are inked in tight. We scurry like mice in a maze, racing around the next corner on our way to the big cheese at the end.
This guy (was he an angel?) made me stop and see there is another rhythm out there, a rhythm that runs counter to the movement of the world. Available for God, available to ‘fill in’ as needed, available to be a floater in God’s Kingdom.
I wonder if I’ll ever see him again…maybe so, maybe when the next scheduled pray-er doesn’t show…hope so :)
(contemplative prayer update: ok, today in chapel was the first time in a long time where I entered this kind of prayer. It was pretty empty, felt like zippo.)