We’ve all felt like Elija in today’s first reading. For me this week seemed like that, when all the pettiness and office politics finally got to me and I felt like finding a secluded place and surrendering.
“He himself went on into the desert, a day’s journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead. ‘Yahweh,’ he said, ‘I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'”
But God had important work for Elija, just as he does for all of us. Somehow his angel comes and gives us spiritual refreshment at the moment we need it most. I had one of those weeks this week, when the volume of work combined with the occasional pettiness of office politics to make me want to just give it all up and escape to the seclusion of my family. But when I got home after one of those particularly trying days, I still couldn’t escape work. There were e-mails to answer.
One of them was from a person representing one of our magazine’s biggest advertisers. I’ve gotten to know this person pretty well over the years and after getting past the business part of our e-mail exchange, I signed off by telling “Mel” I was ready for bed after a long, mentally strenuous day. I let my business guard down and added that “besides, my perpetual adoration hour awaited at 3am and I needed some sleep.” Somehow that touched a personal chord with Mel and we both found a moment of spiritual freedom from our business cares. In that e-mail exchange we found a momentary escape from the trappings of business and an opportunity to share a connection with the Holy Spirit. That mutual acknowledgment that business could also be a vehicle to God made me yearn for 3am to come even faster.
Today’s mass was the perfect conclusion to my spiritual weekend rest stop, not only by vicariously sharing in the angel’s pep talk to Elija, but by taking to heart Paul’s ‘s admonishment to the Epesians:
“Any bitterness or bad temper or anger or shouting or abuse must be far removed from you, as must every kind of malice. Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ. As God’s dear children, then, take him as your pattern, and follow Christ by loving as he loved you, giving himself up for us as an offering and a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God.”
As my son Marty said when we got home from church today, “That was a good mass.” Indeed it was. I’m ready to continue on that journey God wants me to make, spiritually rested and ready for another week traveling the road that leads to Him. I just have to remember to be open to the Holy Spirit’s messages, e- or otherwise, that come through at certain points along the way.