Posted by: Peadar Ban | March 24, 2009

Now Is The Time

It is early on Monday morning of the Fourth Week of Lent. Someone told me…or did I read it…that Lent means Spring time. Well Spring is actually here, sooo… I have opened my window and can hear the songs of birds where only a month or so ago I would have heard howling wind were I foolhardy enough to open a window. Of course, the howling wind would have been accompanied by my wife’s well placed criticism of me for wasting heat. “May I remind my husband that the proper place to listen to howling wind,” I can hear her tell me, “is outside in the midst of it.”

That was then, and thank God it is behind us. This is now, and thank God it is here. But, now is always “here” isn’t it?

It is a great gift to be able to give thanks, don’t you think? On a morning like this one it is only natural and so easy to be filled with gratefulness, I believe, for the pleasant air, the songs of waking birds, the beauty of crocuses nestled about the garden. But, I can remember many times, many “nows”, when I hadn’t a thought about being grateful for them; dark stormy days, darker lonely nights when I was abandoned by everyone, or lost in myself. Something occurs to me “now” as I think about those times, days or weeks, while I find myself in this “now”.

I was never abandoned, never lost. I may have “felt” like that, but nothing, really, had changed. This is what I remember, now, and as I remember it I wonder if gratitude can be retroactive. There are some lines nestled into Psalm 73. I read them this morning as my wife and I prayed the Office of Readings with our friend Kathy: “Yet I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand. With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor.”

Last Saturday I was with a couple of friends at a cozy spot in New Jersey. (New Jersey?? Cozy?? Well, yeah. At least it was where we were.) One of the fellows was speaking about his experience praying the Divine Office. He mentioned that he had problems with keeping it part of his daily schedule, and I thought to myself, “Don’t I know about that well enough.”

I thought back to his remarks while reading those words from the psalmist, and about the many times I could agree with him that I’d been “a little lax” in my remembering to pray. But, you know, I had an excuse. I mean, I’m just an ordinary guy who decided it would be a neat thing to do this; pray the Office. It’s not like I am a priest, or a monk. I mean there’s no *law* saying I’m supposed to do it. It’s so easy, don’t you know. And, when things aren’t going to turn out the way I wanted them, or when I don’t turn out the way I wanted I to, even when I’ve been a “good little do-bee”, I suddenly remember and go running back home. “But, as for me, I lost my balance; my feet all but slipped,” says the guy who wrote that psalm. More than slipped, is the way of it with me; tripped, stumbled, fell, plunged head long, hurtled, etc.

Regardless of all of that, this now (and every now from now on may it be so), I see things in the light of Psalm 73’s quiet words. “You take hold of my right hand….and at the end You receive me with honor.” My simple job is to remember that I have company, welcome Him and be grateful. Because, really!, “…(T)he Holy Ghost over the bent/ world broods with warm breast and with, ah! bright wings.”

How hard is that? Why, even a child can do that.

I think I will make a nice salad to go with tonight’s supper at the rectory; a salad with a citrus dressing, bright and spring like. I’m going to call it a spring salad, a thanksgiving salad.


  1. Oh, how I can relate! Every time we read those words, “my feet almost slipped,” I think within myself: Almost?

    What do they slip most often on? The very thing you write about here, trying to keep ever before me that, regardless of how I might “feel”, I am not alone.


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