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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
August 20, 2006
On the Way to the Mountain

    The news of the past three or four weeks has been less than positive.  The local news tells us that people are not only stealing from stores but they are doing so with the help of their young children.  The national news informs us that a major oil company has neglected its responsibility with respect to maintaining its oil lines so now we all pay the price at the pump as if we weren’t paying enough already. 
   
    The worst, although more removed from our actual daily routines, is probably the recent crisis in the Middle where we were left wondering how the war would play out.  We could not help but worry about the eventual possible magnitude of the crisis.  And right on its tail came the news that a major terrorist attack had been foiled.  Hundreds if not thousands of lives could have been lost in airlines explosions had it not been for the British security.  These events cannot help but leave us with mixed emotions that have repercussions on our view of life.

    The result of the above is varied depending on our age, experience and emotional strength.  We have the option to take life more seriously and with more appreciation for each day of life or we can despair and turn in on ourselves not caring for anything or anyone because we reason, “what’s the use?”  Most of us are probably somewhere in mid-stream.  The more things hit us through the media the more difficult it becomes to remain optimistic.  Rather we begin to slide toward anxiety and frustration.  We see no use trying to look toward the future with optimism.

    What can we do so save ourselves from this sense of slipping into pessimism and habitual skepticism?  One thing we can do is to take a trip to the mountain.  There is a scripture reading in the book of 1 Kings that tells the story of the prophet Elijah when he is on his way to Mt. Horeb.  The story tells us that Elijah is awakened by an angel and is told that he must eat before he undertakes his forty day journey to the mountain.  There are two important points to the this story.  One, the journey of forty days tells us that is a long journey.  It may have been five days or three months (forty is a figure of speech), but whatever it was, it was long.  Secondly, we must realize that in biblical language, mountains are almost always places of transformation.  Bingo, just what we need.

    Living in this world almost necessitates a transformation on our part.  We need to see things with more light and more faith. We need to come to the point of being able to Trust God with all that happens around us.  Otherwise, we will wither from depression and anxiety.   And so, we begin our personal journey to Mt. Horeb.  The name is irrelevant in this case.  We all have a “Mt. Horeb” in our lives.  Our journeys are always rather long whatever “long” is for us.

     The story of Elijah tells us that we must not attempt to go on this journey without feeding ourselves.  Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B., co-author of The Circle of Life, tells us that we are not alone on this journey.  We all have “angels” that help us.  These angels support us, encourage us, and sometimes lead us to the water.   There are many ways to be nourished on the way to the mountain.  All we need to do is open our eyes so that we can get the spiritual food we need on our journey.  Have a Great Trip. . .       
                                                Lorette P. Nault