I rarely write about my faith life. But I thought I would share this story because it seemed important to me.
I often forget about the Lord, and my Christian faith becomes an afterthought. I get preoccupied with work, with my side projects, with daily errands and to-do lists. The result—Christ gets shoved out, pushed to the side.
He never enters my mind during the course of my day.
And that’s when the Holy Spirit steps in and prods me. He never lashes me across the back or drops a tree branch on my head. But I receive a gentle nudging and a whisper: “Wake up Francis. I’m still here. Remember me?”
On a recent Saturday night, after I finished working out at the Marshall Square Mall Fitness Center, I walked down University Avenue toward my apartment on Genesee Street. The cold air felt good against my skin, and I was bundled up in my black pea coat, knit hat and winter gloves.
I was listening to “Mr. November” by The National on my iPod as I passed by Grace Episcopal Church at the corner of Madison Street and University Avenue.
Grace Episcopal Church. Photo by ZeWrestler.
I looked up and saw through the circular stained-glass window light coming from inside the church. It looked warm and inviting; I also stopped and peered at the stone cross perched on top of the pitched roof.
And that’s when it hit me. “Oh right. I am a Christian too.”
I realized I had not spoken to or acknowledged the Lord the entire day. I said no prayers and I failed to express gratitude for the gift of my life. I went about my day in pursuit of worldly ambitions; I served myself and Jesus did not fit into my plans.
And it seems I repeat this scenario often. There is little room for God in my world these days.
But on this Saturday night, while swinging my arms to keep warm, I said a quick prayer as I hurried toward my apartment building.
It went something like this:
“Dear Lord, break open my heart. Shatter it. Let it fall away. And then rebuild it according to your model. Let my heart be like your heart, full of love for others. Let me pour out this love and not save it all for myself.”
Heart Sunlight. Photo by Francis DiClemente.
I felt better after I said the prayer. And I hope it will serve as a reminder to myself to reserve space in my day for what I need most.