December 3, 2017
One of the extremely foolish things I have done in my life was to cross the Pacific Ocean on a boat no bigger than a canoe; but maybe the worst was something that took place way back 20 years ago. I was driving from Calgary to Hay River with two other priests. It was a 16 hour trip. We took turns behind the wheel and were not pushing it, but I was definitely more tired than I thought I was. I can remember saying to myself that “I’m OK,” and I can remember trying to convince myself that I had only to hang in there for another hour. When we passed Peace River, for a split second, I fell asleep. It was absolutely frightening. Thank God the priest on the passenger seat started calling out, “Philip, Philip.” I opened my eyes, always a good thing to do when driving, and I saw that I was headed towards oncoming traffic. I veered the van back in my lane, then did what I should have done an hour earlier. I pulled over and let someone else drive. We were lucky to be alive, a thought shared at the time by the other fellows in the van.
Our spiritual life is like driving a car especially during the winter: Keep your eyes on the road. We can be going about our business, attempting to live our faith, but taking things for granted. Warning signs are often ignored.
These signs might be slacking off from church attendance, letting some things into our homes or our lives that are questionable, inappropriate or even un-Christian. Maybe we are practising less control over our tempers. Or perhaps, we are not making as much time for prayer and family as we need. Suddenly we fall asleep. Temptation is there, but we don’t have enough spiritual energy to resist. We are blessed if we wake up in time to realize that we are destroying our spiritual life as a Christian. It could happen that we don’t wake up and sleep forever in our spiritual death.
The message of the First Sunday of Advent is “Stay Awake.”
Someone just sent me an email, I copied it for you…
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have higher incomes, but lower morals; we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the time of tall people and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce; of fancier houses but more broken homes!
As we are waiting for Christmas, should we sit still, reflect and try to find a way to resolve the paradox of our time in history?
May the grace of God be with you!