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A couple weeks ago my gracious wife gave me the latest music CD from Jerry Jeff Walker. His mellow baritone voice, guitar style, and heartfelt story-songs have appealed to me since the early seventies. Taking my comment that I’d never seen Jerry Jeff in concert as a cue, she checked and found he doesn’t have a tour.  But, she did find that he recently produced his first album in ten years. As I listened to It’s About Time, I thought it could be his best album ever.

One particular lyric that caught my attention was from the song, The Rain Song. He wrote:

“The hardest thing a man can do / Is look inside and see the truth / About himself”

That line grabbed me not just because of how simple yet profound it is, but because I’d been thinking much the same thing. There were some things weighing on my heart and I needed to work them out. I just wasn’t sure how to do it.

Then, last Wednesday, our parish offered a day of Adoration with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. hour for that day was void of a regular adorer so I volunteered to take it. Later, as I was driving somewhere, The Rain Song came on my stereo and within moments I heard that verse. It hit me that I needed to spend my time with Jesus in reflection looking within myself. And, since I had nothing else planned for Wednesday, I decided to spend not just one hour but a half day before Jesus in a self-imposed silent retreat.

Those hours spent in prayer, meditation and reflection were some of the best I’ve ever spent. The experience was like having a second conversion. As I prayed for the Holy Spirit to enter my heart and reveal to me the “truth”, I invited Christ to help me work through my fears. I asked Him to lead me, to give me direction, and I promised to follow. I laid it all out and then I shut up and listened. He didn’t disappoint.

Over those four hours I learned a lot about myself. And, when time was up, I knew where I stood. I knew that, to get to where I wanted to be, it would require some hard work and a measure of suffering, both born of love, but the fruits would be worth it. I knew, too, that I wouldn’t have to go it alone, that Christ’s love would be there with me every step of the way.

Jesus said, “Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7). He convinced me last week that if I knock on His door seeking through prayer the knowledge of the Prudent thing to do, Justice in why it should be done, Temperance for knowing the right measure, and Fortitude to make it happen, He will open that door and provide the right answers.  With His help it wasn’t all that hard after all.

I’m convinced, too, that the best place for this to happen is with Him in Adoration. Give it a try.

“Jesus, I love you and thank you for your most generous love. Thank you for sending your Spirit into my heart revealing to me that which I needed to hear. Thank you for the grace to come to you in prayer and for giving me the strength to do what is right and just. Amen.”

(Looking Within was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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