Power Brokers, Great and Small

Did you ever spend what seemed an eternity in an airport or a hotel lobby looking desperately for a power outlet to recharge your laptop or intelligent device before it ran out of juice? In a way, that was Doran Oancia’s goal in looking for a church with an adoration chapel. As we shared with you a couple blogs ago, this CEO was not having an easy time finding such a place as he looked to relocate his family to another state. Not all churches have a chapel dedicated to 24/7 perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. If you’re like Mr. Oancia, that’s a problem because spending at least an hour each week recharging his spiritual life this way has become a success strategy for his earthly life.

If you can relate to that outlet search to recharge your intelligent device, our faith tells us that success means not only replenishing your own source of enlightenment, but, once recharged, being available as an auxiliary power outlet for others.

That’s what we who regularly recharge through perpetual adoration can become for others—not only through prayer, but through interpersonal spiritual outreach. Sunday’s Mass readings remind us that prayer was a main spiritual energy source for humanity centuries before we started searching for outlets to fix our power capacity problems.

Our second reading from the first book of Timothy (1 Tm 2:1-8) describes the power of prayer that can inspire humanitarian productivity, especially among those who, by their elite status in life, can either promote great help or do great harm:

Beloved: First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. … There is also one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all. … It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Such mutual empowerment among communities of the faithful—both the powerful and the powerless—ensures longer lasting intervals of faith between charges. That’s why it’s helpful to seek out more such auxiliary power sources, because inevitably, immersion in our secular culture of illusory self-sufficiency can drain our reserves of faith before we know it.

One such community that families of special-needs children have found is “Faith and Light International,” with outlets around the world. It was founded by Jean Vanier in response to such families being ostracized by the power brokers in that afore-mentioned secular culture. Faith and Light’s mission statement: “When we evangelize our friends with an intellectual disability and lead them to Jesus, then, in their turn, they evangelize us and teach us to know Jesus better. This bears fruit, twenty, thirty, and a hundredfold. Then we all become instruments of peace and unity.”

The peace this generates among Faith and Light members inspired our local chapter in Cleveland to name itself “Sanctuary” for the atmosphere of adoration our collective prayer produces. This miracle is explained in scripture (1Corinthians 1:27): God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong.

This Sunday’s first reading goes back even further, to the Old Testament book of Amos (Am 8:4-7), to warn all power brokers away from draining faith from God’s innocents:

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!  … The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!

Many among this world’s powerful probably don’t realize the harm their nearsighted decisions can cause, which in itself is a threat to communities of faith and light because such unintended harm goes unmitigated. That’s why a growing population of CEOs—who are using their influence for online evangelization among fellow power brokers—is ditching the idea of faith/life balance in favor of preaching a system of integrated priorities: Faith, Family and Life. This Sunday’s Gospel reading (Lk 16:1-13), is the main inspiration for such evangelization:

No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.

A life spent in perpetual adoration of God’s Wisdom offers the perpetual sanctuary of His power.

–Tom Andel

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