Written by Keith Strohm
It seems that both Jack and I were felled by a similar malady yesterday--although I've been dealing with mine for about 4 days now. In a strange way, being sick reminds me of my days in Graduate School. Not because I was always sick, but because the community at our Newman Center would have been tripping over themselves to pray for me.
These folks loved to pray for people--specifically praying over them. If someone had a sniffle, or a difficult exam, or a real tragedy in their lives, you could be sure there was a group of folks who would gather round, place a gentle hand upon a shoulder or a head and begin to pray.
We were like spring-loaded prayer warriors, launching ourselves at the darkness in people's lives. It brings a smile to my face--especially as I remember the more light-hearted moments. However, there was something powerful and holy about what they did as well.
When they prayed for something, they expected that God would answer--and in 'miraculous' ways. The amazing thing was, He often did move in a surprisingly tangible way.
Even without the "signs and wonders" that God performed during those days, I took away something very precious. The idea that catholics can, indeed, be open about their prayer lives--sharing the way that God has touched and gifted them, and offering those gifts on behalf of another.
It was different once I graduated and connected with a local parish. There was a "conspicuous silence" within that community that I have found in almost every single parish I've been a member of--with the exception of one. Within those communities there might be individuals who were open and excited about sharing their experience of God. I think there were even small faith groups geard toward that in some places. It always seemed, however, that these were hidden conclaves separated from the rest of the parish--places where folks of 'questionable manners' broke the unspoken code.
As I writer, I am often guilty of taking a bit of poetic license to drive home a point, and perhaps I am doing that here.
But not by much.
Somehow, somewhere we have bought in to the idea that our faith is personal and private--something that we should be careful not to bring out in to polite company or the public square. Something that we should reserve for Sundays within the confines of the parish walls.
We have, as a People, lost our spring.
Or as Jesus might have put it, "We are salt that has lost its flavor."