Saturday, October 26, 2013

Prayer Poured Out-Gospel Reflection for 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

A story of a famous rabbi, who when faced with a real challenge to his Jewish flock, would go into the forrest to pray.  He would light a fire, say the prayer and the prayer would be answered.  Later when a disciple found himself with a challenge, he did the same by going into the forrest to offer the prayer. However he pleaded to God that he did not know how to light a fire.  Never the less his prayer was answered.  Later still another rabbi with his own crisis went into the forrest for the same purpose.  However his plea was that he did not know how to light a fire NOR even knew the prescribed prayer.  His crisis was averted.  Finally another rabbi needed to overcome an impending misfortune.  He just cried out to God. " I do not know how to light a fire, nor know the prayer, or even know how to find the forrest"!  Of course God heard his plea and no misfortune occurred. (from "The Sower's Seeds-Brian Cavanaugh TOR-Paulist Press 2004)

It is interesting that we can set so many limits to what authentic prayer is.  As we know prayer is nothing more than our communication with our God.  It can fit different moods and can be offered with great pomp and circumstance, or accompanied by only the natural sounds around us.  It should flow from a Christian piety; meaning a dutifulness toward a religion.  It is different than the piety that Jesus speaks of in the gospel.  That piety was so disconnected from the Jewish faith that it became both its own means and end. Constant unauthentic piety without integrating into the world is only self serving.  To live a pious Catholic life, one must be attentive to the world, because our religion is focused on life in this world and for us to prepare it to be like the world to come. And our prayer must reflect our faith. We cannot honestly pray or have an honest conversation with God if we only judge others harshly and set ourselves apart from those we meet every day.   Authentic prayer turns us inward to God that carries us outward to right relationship with others.  God who calls us to be of service to each other, especially the poor.

In the first reading from Sirach we are taught that God shows no partiality/God does hear the cries of the poor, the “Anawim”  But what about us?  We all know what Jesus asks, the challenge for us is to see how well we are doing on a daily basis. To pray like the poor….open to hearing and speaking to God; and constantly!  Too often we are like the Pharisees with the false piety of one.  Prayer then is to be poured out!  Not a trickle….or even a flash flood. An authentic prayer life binds us to our surroundings as well as ourselves.   A connective means to authentic prayer is a daily examen.   It is like standing in front of a mirror, a mirror that reflects our soul. If we all took every challenge, every disagreement, every hurt to authentic prayer I am convinced we would be led to a more positive and charitable outcome.  Most of our angers and disagreements stem from a refusal to acknowledge the God-in others, but simultaneously want to see the God-presence in ourselves.  Kind of unauthentic prayer, unauthentic piety, and unauthentic Catholic Christianity.

Most importantly for a Catholic Christian,  the tie that binds us together is to pray the liturgy, the mass.  This particular prayer is our apex for the week.  Listening to the words of scripture and the communal prayers; responding with our entire being, seeing ourselves and others gathered together. Bringing our sorrows and joys here for support and thanksgiving. This is true authentic prayer.  Poured out constantly.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ad Altare Dei

My last post on this pilgrimage at least on this iPad.  "Ad Altare Dei"  All I want to do is fearfully approach the altar of the Cathedral of Santiago de Campostella and give thanks. At dinner of "tapas" and great Spanish wine I was struck on how powerful this week was. Was not a religious experience, but an experience of the soul.  The soul that tells the truth, that causes one to know one's own limitation, the souls that says "laugh out loud" on occasion. We met a French Canadien couple tonight that live half the year in Tucson AZ, a lone pilgrim from Slovakia with connections in Bozeman, MT, all taking time to experience a journey. Their caminos. For me, I needed to experience my history. A history of blood spilled for faith whether justly or unjustly; kings and queens, El Cid, and Don Quixote...but everywhere at least for me, the Catholic Faith open for all to see. Dear friends, we have always been a church of saints and sinners. Of reformers and inquisitors, of pious old and irreverent youth. Hopefully my Camino will allow me to be a bit more grateful for them all. It has truly been a "buen camino"  Gonna drink the rest of this wine mass in the morning...good night.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Que Pasa San Patricio!

Short blog tonight as we set off for Ourense tomorrow. Not the longest ride but it begins with some steeps climbs. We begin at 1224 ft.  Supposedly a 3100 ft vertical gain but we end up at about 350 ft altitude.  I look forward to that ending. Miss my Olive mucho now. Great food here.

Now for the title. This region/province of Ourense is known as Gallacia. Yea, those Celts were here siglos ago so a new language is spoken by the majority.  Gallacian! Many fair-skinned folk here. Food different too. Pray for us and I pray for all of you too! Go Bucs (Pittsburgh Pirates)!

Set out for the great city!

Spain. Home of St. Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross.  Fire of Divine Love and Dark Night of the Soul. Had a little of both in the last two days. First day from Salamanca was a gift. An easy ride. Yesterday is another story. Thinking that is was more direct,new chose an untried route that became my "dark night". Perhaps needed to show me humility and see what I wanted to see....the face of Christ in every person along the way. Mountains up, and low valleys at least 10 times. Stung by a wasp that flew into my face as I was going 35km down a hill, over hydrating and only eating a most delicious bread baked by Maria in an unknown village, the body was telling me that all was not well. Needed to depart from the group and find respite in the local village of Pobladura de Aliste. Had a beer and a pastel in the bar and got to know the locals. Feeling a little better I contracted with a local cabbie for a ride with bike to Pueblo De Sanabria....80km away. Over the mountains and through the Forrest at near dusk he bright me to this place, a lovely hotel in Sanabria.  The other guys made it an hour later full of stories of getting lost on a Forrest service road in the dark and by the grace of God finding their way to this town. So there is is.  I will take off by train to A Guadino with my bike and meet up with them today to continue our ride. Offered mass today for my friends and those asking for God's grace and their special intentions. An honor to be a priest. Mom, I am OK so don't worry. :)

Scripture today reminds us to "set off for a great city, and to allow to rest in the Lord (Martha and Mary) Gonna do both.  Buen Camino! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Take and Eat, Take and Drink...

First day and it was great. Sat nights are pretty lively in a university's city, Salamanca included. Up early for an 8am mass.  Could not find the place as it is in a Carmelite convent with no noticeable marked doors.  For this familiar with Europe know that streets are just marked.....differently. Not wanting to wait for a 9 or 10 we got down to basics, mass on demand with a priest.  We celebrated in my room.

After some goodbyes with Oscar our desk clerk, we took a pic and off to Zamora. Now, this supposedly 50km ride ended up 62km. That is 39.1 miles. And this is just the first day.  I am saddle-sore, bugs up in my nose and eyes, and parts of my body are very numb! Found my stone and will carry it as cross along with my petty pains. In my Zamora hotel room, prior to Sunday Vespers at the Catedral, I am reminded of the power of the Eucharist and how it can change an attitude. Will add pics later and on FrVal Zdilla FB page. Buen Camino!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bearing with one another...

Well, for those who wanted to get a daily map of our progress emailed to them; bear with ME on this one. Seems that in not wanting to bring along my laptop and the iPad instead, totally forgot the iPad does not have a USB port... So, to download the tracking from the ride I need to upload it to the "GARMIN connect" website, then you all can get an email sent and view the progress.  Neither of my companions wanted to bring the laptop for the same reason. Too much weight and risk damage from weather.  So it might be a one time send as I will need to find a computer to use at one of our stops that has internet and a USB port. I am positive we will find one. After all trusting in God is a part of this trip; a BIG part, at least for me. You can follow us with some pics and an occasional video on my FB page...FrVal Zdilla

Still gonna try some things but this is also an old first generation iPad too.  Mass in the morning, a hearty breakfast, and we are off to Zamora,Spain. Buen Camino! Bear with me.

Friday, October 4, 2013

And so it begins..

Camino Notes


The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. The gospel remind us to have faith.  After a long flight arrived in Paris near noon. The economic situation in Europe shows in  the lack of upkeep of Charles De Gaul airport. Rough flight to Madrid...turbulence big time. Lost a kilo of weight in sweat. Took the train to Salamanca and will pass thigh Avila; tomorrow a trip to the tomb of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila. What a city! One of the most famous universities in the world is here and the best example of Romanesque architecture.  Found our bikes in three boxes waiting to be assembled.  A late dinner of tapas-assorted sausage (blood sausage-yes), potato/ham "crocettas", cheeses, bread and some good wine.   Tomorrow we explore the cathedrals and environs, then Buen Camino! And go Bobcats! I have FAITH!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Co-Mission

Leaving for Spain today.  In a few days I, along with two friends will begin a small but important pilgrimage to Santiago de Campostella.  For me is is a pilgrimage of faith.  Recognizing the millions who have made this trek before me.  Why?  For the Christian a sense of mission is instilled into us at baptism.  We want to show Christ in our kindness, friendliness, and when needed, our assistance to others who may be in need.  Not to wait for a big moment, but in daily and most insignificant ways.

We may not be walking, but I know there will be countless opportunities to live the great sending from the Holy Mass, "go and announce the Gospel of the Lord."   For me I hope to take small steps, steps that are even more difficult at times.  To show a smile more often; to allow another to pass first, even when I have the right of way; to even look every person in the eye so to see the God-life that dwells therein. This is where I will begin. And if I get a flat tire, or my feet get wet, I pray that I will have the joy of Christ in my heart to laugh it off, and to move on.  After all, I am not alone, but am co-missioned.  With my friends there is always Christ who pedals along with us.  Buen Camino!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sangria Highway

I have been anxious the last few days and tomorrow will arrive in a few.  Prayer folio ready to go.  Now for that sangria.....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Send me your intentions

Many experience the Camino as a prayer. I plan to do the same while biking it with friends. I will offer the mass along the way. Please email me your prayer intentions and I will offer them in the Eucharistic Prayer. My email is Peace.