Reflection for Wednesday, September 27, 2000: 25th week in Ordinary Time.

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Pedersen, Cathy Weiss
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What I want may not be what I need… |On my occasional trips to conferences or to visit our children, I can never be accused of traveling lightly. No matter how hard I try, I always end up packing for all of the ‘what if’ possibilities of weather and events that might occur in my few days away from home. I am astonished at the ability of some people (my children and husband included!) to travel lightly.|However, even my lightly traveling companions would be hard pressed to literally heed Jesus’ instructions to his followers as they prepared to ||preach the Good News: “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking staff, nor traveling bag, nor bread, nor money. Don’t even take a change of clothes.” (Lk.9:3) |Whether traveling on the road or in our ordinary day to day lives, discerning between what we truly need and what we might want is a major challenge. In our consumer-minded society, it is almost unthinkable to not be prepared for all eventualities. If we don’t assume responsibility to meet our own needs, who will?|The prayer in Proverbs is definitely counter-cultural to our materialistic mindset: “…I ask of you, deny then not to me before I die: …give me neither poverty nor riches; [provide me only with the food I need;] Lest, being full, I deny you, saying, ‘Who is my God?’” (Prv. 30:7-9) |What is it that I ask of my God in prayer? After all, Jesus did encourage us to, “…ask, and you shall receive….” |Perhaps it is not so much WHAT we ask of our God as much as it is HOW we ask of our God…|As I pray from my needs in my day to day experiences, I go to my God with what I best perceive as my need at any given time. I may need God’s inspiration in a particularly difficult consultation with my colleagues. Or I may be painfully aware of my need of God’s healing of my mother’s illness or my friend’s struggle within a domestic violence relationship.|However, it is not only WHAT I ask of God that is important, but HOW I ask. My challenge often is to approach my God with my needs in a way that trusts that God will meet those needs…perhaps not in my prescribed way, but rather that God will be present with me in my need. God will walk with me in my journey.|I find that when I spend less time in trying to figure out WHAT God should do to take care of the needs as I perceive them, and I allow God to be with me in my needs, I am provided with what I really need on my journey.|It is then that I may even discover how to travel a bit more lightly…whether it is in my day to day journeys or on those travels away from home…trusting that I don’t need as much as I thought or perceived that I did.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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