Journey with us...

Journey with us...

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Stay Awake Be Ready: How spiders can teach us about prayer

Live + Jesus!


Today's Gospel reminds me of a song we used to sing in Sunday School. Complete with clapping hands and the eager voices of children, the song was filled with excitement and anticipation.

This is what our Lord calls us to today. This joyful expectancy of His arrival. Of course, as adults, we may look at this as a preparation for death or a warning to be ready for the end of the world. And it is that, but let us today be like little children. Why are they so excited/ Why do they eagerly clap and dance while they sing this little Biblical hymn? Because they are eager for Jesus to come right now! Eager and expectant that at any second, Jesus will show up. He will burst into the room and greet them. Is this a childish understanding? A fantasy of the imagination?

I would like to suggest that perhaps they are right in their eagerness. Will not Jesus come to us each day if we ask Him? Does He not surprise us under the guise of our family and friends stopping by unexpectedly or calling just to tell us they love us? Perhaps even you see Him in the smile of a stranger or a lonely individual who reaches out to you for help. Perhaps He does not come in human form today, He comes in the words of the homily, a book we are reading, or a butterfly flittering in front of our eyes.

This stance of expectancy was brought home to be one day in the presence of a little spider. Having more leisure than usual , I was seated outside beside a large orb web (a circular web) and entered into a long moment of prayer with this spider. The web, being spun across the front of a bush, was easy to see and yet the spider was hidden as it sat squarely in the center of its little home. As I gazed upon it I noticed that each leg was pulling ever so gently upon the radial lines of the web. There was a peaceful and constant tension in the spider as it sat quietly in the center. Each leg pulled at a single radial line which was then attached to other areas of the web. As I watched it never relaxed its grip or retreated from its guard post. It was waiting and expecting at any moment for some little insect to fly into the web. At this, the spider would then spring ito action to ensure that the meal did not manage to wiggle out of the sticky web before the spider could reach it. Yet, for the 2 hours that I spent with this spider, there was not a single catch. Not a single fly. But the spider for this seeming failure did not lose hope or relax its attention.

How much the Lord desired this same attention from us! A ready posture at prayer, at home, at work. An expectant attitude that He will teach us, send us some gift or grace, inspire us with some project or guidance. Yet, we must be always ready so that when the little spiritual morsel is sent into our web we are able to respond with prompt gratitude and ready attention. Just as the insects are able to wiggle out of a sticky web on their own if given enough time, so too the gifts from our Lord if not opened and used, if not appreciated and loved can slip through our fingers and be lost.

If I may boldly challenge you today, my challenge to you would be to ask the Lord, “Lord, what are my radial lines? What areas of my life do I need to be in touch with in order to hear Your voice and see Your gifts? Show my Jesus how to live in this gentle tension without becoming weary and with confident trust that You will and do send spiritual morsels to sustain me every day. Thank You Jesus. Amen.
The black lines are the "radial threads"

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