Today I started to take a walk in the late afternoon, up to and around the complex north of me. When I got to the highway, something compelled me to walk further, even though it was drizzly; I got the idea to set out for the San Pedro Conference Center, a retreat house with a beautiful little chapel. I knew it had to be a couple of miles away, but I went ahead with the impulse anyway. Normally I would obsess about the facts that it was late afternoon; it might rain harder; and traffic was getting heavy. But I forged ahead.
I got there after about 45 minutes, went into the Chapel, sat down in front of the Tabernacle, prayed. It was sooooo beautifully quiet; I didn’t have my hearing aids in, which helped; otherwise I would have been distracted by children playing tag six miles away, or lawns being mowed in distant suburbs. But I basked in the stillness.
Then I got up and got a Liturgy of the Hours– the Large Print Edition, as it was sort of shadowy in there, what with it being late afternoon. I read the Evening hours for the day– the beautiful Psalms of praise, the readings… they’re so comforting, always, with their rhythm and promises of hope. And I was still asking myself: what compelled me to walk all the way here, without an umbrella, under gray, drizzly skies?
I was doing my usual after reading the Hours– concentrating on the Tabernacle and emptying my mind so as to better contemplate the great Mystery in front of me. (I always meditate on how HUGE and yet how INTIMATE God can be at the same time.) Then I got a mental poke: I decided I needed to look in the prayer book and see what Saint’s Day it might be: and today, January 17, was Saint Anthony’s day: and my departed Dad was named for Saint Anthony.
So, I think, there was a compelling reason for me to walk to that Chapel after all: God in his goodness was asking me to spend a little time with Him, and when I did, He presented me with my other Father. I thought that was so generous: huge and intimate at the same time. What a great gift to have been handed in the middle of a gray Thursday afternoon, right?