Prayer is the oxygen of the soul. St. Padre Pio
My older brother Jim was the master at scaring the snot out of people! He could stealthily hide behind almost anything and lunge out at the perfect moment and leave you jumping and breathless. No matter how many times he did it, I was always caught off guard. My reaction was always a giant gulp and a moment of holding my breath until my heart started beating again. I have that same “gulp and breath hold” every time I see a snake, giant spider or mouse jump out of the feed barrel in the barn. It’s a crazy thing when you momentarily stop doing the one thing you do most instinctively; breath.
When I happened upon this quote from St. Padre Pio it made me think of all the times we gasp and stop breathing. There is no real danger in those snap seconds but they remind me of those moments in life when things are scary, heavy or so frustrating it feels like I can’t breathe. If I dig into those times a little bit, I realize those are probably the times I try to take the wheel and handle things on my own instead of lifting the moment up in prayer. I will know I’ve reached a new spot in my discipleship when I lift things up in prayer before I think, ponder, worry or hold my breath. Prayer truly is the oxygen for the soul and when there is oxygen, there is life and peace and joy.
I spent the weekend in Up-State New York and it was so great! I had my first flight in an 8 passenger Cessna, my first glimpse of the Adirondack Mountains and my first opportunity to see the beautiful landscape and meet the lovely people who call that part of the US home. I was invited there to present a Catholic Hospitality Training. One of my favorite parts of the day is the session when we learn to pray together with others. I always ask the group to find a prayer partner that they don’t know. I say a prayer to the Holy Spirit that he will match people up to make a powerful connection. It all seems sort of random until we give it over to him. I have to tell you, some mighty things happened Saturday afternoon…talk about a whole lot of oxygen for the soul! One couple who wound up together was a man recently diagnosed with a medical condition and a professional who treats that specific disorder. Another pair was a person who went through addiction counseling quite a time ago and she wound up praying with a former counselor who helped her find the path to healing. A third pair discovered that they had so much in common they were in tears. It is such a powerful thing to witness! It’s as if new life is breathed into the room and the souls are filled with life giving oxygen.
Jesus is so willing to flood our souls with the oxygen we need, but we have to stop holding our breath. We have to go to him and we have to offer to bring him to others. When we offer to pray for others the life giving oxygen for our souls comes to both the pray-er and the prayed for. We often hesitate to pray with others because we’re afraid we’ll do it wrong or say the wrong words but the power of prayer is so much bigger than the words we speak. We aren’t the giver of the comfort; He is, and he just wants us to open our mouth so he can pour forth the words. So how’s your oxygen level?
A Seed To Plant: Sit in quiet prayer for a few minutes today and just focus on your breathing; the rhythm of the air in and the air out. When you’ve settled into a peaceful calm, focus on the prayer that will bring oxygen not to your body but to your soul.
Blessings on your day!
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