Lincoln’s Log 11-29-2020

Watch!

“‘What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’.”
Mk. 13:37

Have you ever heard of bi-modal sleeping? Historians and archeologists tell us that prior to the 19th century, many people around the world divided the night into two segments with a period of being awake in between. For example, they would go to bed shortly after the sun went down, but rise again a few hours later for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, and then return to bed until morning. This is sometimes referred to as the “second sleep.”

A recent article on the second sleep states that:

During this waking period, people would relax, ponder their dreams, or have sex. Some would engage in activities like sewing, chopping wood, or reading, relying on the light of the moon or oil lamps.

Medieval monks used to rise in the middle of the night for prayer (called Vigils) and then return to bed. I know many people who, when they are battling insomnia or just can’t sleep for some reason rise to pray. Some even tell me they start praying the rosary while lying in bed and gradually drift back to sleep. One person told me her mother said the angels finish the rosary if you start it and then drift off. I love that idea!

Keeping vigil, that is rising in the night for prayer, is a powerful spiritual practice. It enables us to find some quiet and watch for the Lord’s coming. It is a practice that just about anyone can begin, whether you watch for the Lord for a few minutes as you drift back to sleep or rise from your bed and pray. Some of us are called to vigil when our anxieties or racing minds just won’t let us fall back asleep. Follow that call to keep vigil!

Prayer itself is a form of being awake. When we pray, we wake ourselves up to the reality of God’s presence. It is not surprising that Jesus tells his disciples to keep watch.

Advent is a special time for us to pray and keep watch. Follow Jesus’ call to keep vigil. You might be surprised at what you discover.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 11-15-2020

Gift and Responsibility

“‘His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.”
Mt. 25:21

Responsibility is not a word we usually associate with gifts. We love gifts, but we don’t like responsibility. We enjoy gifts but associate them with freedom from responsibility. “It’s a gift. I can do whatever I want to with it,” we think to ourselves. Imagine being required to give a report on what you did with last year’s Christmas presents! Can’t we just enjoy our gifts?

This week’s Gospel reminds us that the gifts we have received from God aren’t given to us for our benefit. We may enjoy the gifts God has given us, but God has given us these gifts to benefit others. Like much of what Jesus teaches, we discover that when it comes to gifts, “it’s not really about us” at all. Everything is about the Kingdom of God. Our lives and our gifts are part of a much bigger reality than we can imagine. We are called to not just enjoy our gifts, but also to risk using them for the kingdom.

And it doesn’t matter what the gift is. We may not like it. We may think it is a useless gift. We may be embarrassed by it or be afraid to use it. But what we think about our gift doesn’t matter. No matter how small or seemingly useless the gift is, it has a glorious destiny. It is destined to help build God’s kingdom. St. Teresa of Calcutta (aka Mother Teresa) is often quoted as saying,

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

This is good news! If you want to find lasting joy, find a way to use your gifts, whatever they are, to serve others, and help build God’s kingdom. There is a new kind of freedom that we discover when we give our gifts away. It is freedom from ourselves and the freedom to love.

“Come, share your master’s joy.”

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader