Out of the many anecdotes and stories in Father Cary’s (length) homily at IHM today, I caught this amusing one which at first hearing, I couldn’t decide whether it disturbs me or relates to me. maybe both.
A lady chances upon his son kneeling beside his bed one night, praying aloud. She decides to listen in on the prayer but was puzzled why he only repeated one sentence, “Let it be Tokyo, let it be Tokyo, let it be Tokyo!” So after his prayer concluded, the lady went up to her son and asked why. The son replied, “I had my Geography exam today, so I’m praying to God that Tokyo is indeed, the capital of France!”.
Rare moments of laughter ensued as I immediately wrote this down in my phone, uncertain about the relation to me, but certain that I should dwell on it.
I had been working for more than a year, with some gaps and holidays in between but it has been quite a long time and a drag at times. My own faith journey has had its up and downs over the year and just recently, I became aware of the need to stop the slide. This is why that little boy’s prayer hit me.
1. Faith – I think as we grow older, and gain more knowledge/wisdom and skepticism about the faith and prayer, we pray very differently. We know that praying to God isn’t like dropping a coin into a vending machine, so we say “let Thy will be done”. Yet we lose that innocent faith and trust in the providence of our Lord; to be able to ask for the impossible but still look at the cross with our big, dreary eyes and believe it will be granted. After saying “let Thy will be done” for too many times, we fall into the doubt of why we say that in the first place, well, if it is already going to happen.
2. Letting it be – even though the boy’s request was ridiculous, at least he asked. Thoughts of my future job, relationships, family just fills up my mind everyday and I increasingly become more practical in my approach to planning for them. After all, I have been accustomed to say, “let Thy will be done,” and then move on to do what I think I need to do about it. The congruence between what I pray for and what I do to achieve what I want/need is slowly diminishing. Perhaps because I am only praying for acceptance and providence, and in my daily life, I am working towards something. Is this the right way? Or am I working towards what I want, and then pray, “Let it be Your will” I immediately feel like I should have signed up for the vocation discernment but oh well, perhaps that one will give me more than I already have to think about.
3. Let it be..zz – the working day drains me and time in the evening becomes precious once again. I push myself to meet up with friends, settle admin stuff for school event, for Caritas Young Adults, spend time with family and trying to keep up with commitments and to-do lists. When the day ends, I just really want to relax and do whatever I want, but I can’t – not yet at least. Why wouldn’t I seek that consolation in prayer, that used to come with the closing of the eyes while sitting in an upright posture? Perhaps I face the same hesitation because I have a long list of intercessions to do. I feel so much inertia and thoughts plague me. I haven’t had a good night of sleep on weeknights for the longest time and I pray I can, I will, soon…
Mark, in the words of fellow community member Jes:
which says a lot, but not that much…