As many of you know, I’ve just returned from my summer vacation, which I took a bit early this year. I was able to spend quality time with my family for the first time since the pandemic began, and I had some space to read, and kayak, and hike, and enjoy many other restorative activities. It was wonderful!
Although I did unplug somewhat during my time off, I also kept up with the news, which often provided a challenging contrast to my desire for relaxation. So many recent events were upsetting, and they provoked long and frustrating conversations and debates among my family members. Often we agreed on our feelings, but not always on how we should act in response.
That may be true for all of us in our current times: how are we each being called to “be the change we want to see in the world” (to use a quote attributed to Gandhi)? I suspect that we all have different roles to play, and so there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to this question. But I think we can each come closer to our individual answer through prayer and connection with God. Importantly, this is prayer as a way of discerning divine guidance for our next steps, rather than prayer as a way of avoiding having to take any action!
If it’s helpful, you might start with this well-loved prayer by Thomas Merton:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that
I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am
actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
May God bless the path before you!