Ave Maria Living.com

Ave Maria, Florida – the town with a Catholic heart.©™ Stories & information for residents & visitors.

Archive for Shire

McTeigue: Do we think of Ave Maria as the Hobbits thought of the Shire?

tumblr_inline_nd4nppkcr61rh3zxj

“Consider, as you watch the movie, whether we think of Ave Maria as the Hobbits thought of their hometown of the Shire.”

What do you think of when I say the words, “Oil Well Road”? Well, if you have spent any time here in Ave Maria, you know that Oil Well Road is the link to the city of Naples and to the great world beyond. If you have been around for more than just a few couple of years, you probably know that Oil Well Road has been expanded by a massive construction project. And you know that the project of widening, straightening and leveling Oil Well Road took a lot of time, effort and money.

I mention the construction project at Oil Well Road because of what we read about John the Baptist in Mark’s gospel this afternoon. Borrowing from the prophet Isaiah, the Baptist calls upon his hearers to, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Well, gosh—how hard can that be? I mean, if the Lord wants to go somewhere, it should not be difficult for Him to get the roads He wants. I mean, He is God, after all….He just needs to snap His fingers and “POOF!” Instant 12-lane superhighway! Right? Well…no….

The way of the Lord that John the Baptist spoke of, the way of the Lord Who is coming into the world, is the way into our hearts. And that road is a mess. About the human heart the prophet Jeremiah said, “More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?” To which I would add, “Amen!” We know he is right. The road into our hearts is crooked, with plenty of detours, dead ends, littered with the debris of idols and cratered by sin.

But the reason that the season of Advent is a season of hope is because the Church proclaims that our Lord will walk into our hearts if the way is prepared for Him. Yes, yes, I know—easier said than done. I am reminded now of a friend whose little boy spilled grape juice on a white carpet. As his mother gasped in horror, he said, “Don’t worry Mommy! I’ll just magic it away!” We cannot have recourse to magic or to wishful thinking to make straight the way of the Lord into our hearts. So, how shall it be done? How about by prayer? The short answer to that question is, “Yes and No.”

The answer is “No” if we think that prayer will allow us to “magic away” what separates us from God. For example, if I think that all I need to do is to say my prayers and then, presto-change-o, abracadabra, hocus-pocus, all my attachments to sin will simply disappear, and then the Lord can just sprint into my heart and there begin His reign, then the answer is surely “No.” Prayer does not work that way. We all know that. And we all know that because we have all tried it.

So, I will ask again: Can we prepare the way of the Lord by prayer? The answer is surely, “Yes,” if we understand prayer properly. We must understand that prayer is the fuel for the engine of our discipleship, which means that prayer is the power behind apostolic action. Filling up the tank and then leaving the car in the garage gets us nowhere.

Prayer gives disciples the fuel needed to begin the necessary and hard work of reforming our lives. Prayer gives us the desire and energy we need to remove the obstacles of sin that keep our Lord from entering our hearts and from exercising His authority over our lives. To make straight the way of the Lord is a project that requires prayer, and then reform, which is a clearing away of whatever impedes to progress of God into our lives.

Today, I will mention just one impediment, one great obstacle that keeps God from realizing His reign over our lives. That obstacle is the illusion, the subtle and persistent illusion that we believe we ought to be allowed to take for granted, because we have deserve it, an ordinary life of routine, comfort and plenty.

cslewis

Next week, the third movie installment of Tolkien’s great novel, “The Hobbit” will be in the theaters. I am sure that many folks here will see the movie; I will probably see it myself. While you are watching that movie, I would like you to

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: