It was an early Saturday morning a few months back that I found myself humming the tune “Be Not Afraid”. It was one of those toss and turn nights that I could not settle in. What was keeping from a good night’s rest was my uneasiness about the decision to walk the Ignatian Camino. 30 days, 450 miles, alone. “You are out of your mind” ran through my head. The timing of this song was perfect, and I truly believe it was not a conscious decision to have that song enter my thoughts.
I needed to GOOGLE the lyrics of the song because all I really knew were the above three words. I learned two things. First off, this song will now be an inspiration for me.Secondly and the neatest finding is that Robert Dufford wrote these lyrics. Yes, Robert Dufford S.J., a Jesuit Priest.
Today I was trying to grasp this concept of what Saint Ignatius calls “interior freedom.” Recognizing the disordered attachments that may be getting in the way of my spiritual growth. The word “afraid”, the emotion, was evident in my thoughts. Was being afraid one of those disordered attachments that may hinder my spiritual growth? I can’t say, I was taken to another place. My thoughts began to focus on the homeless. I found this interesting because I wrote in an earlier blog about how a Sports Illustrated story on homeless athletes’ stopped me in my tracks. Why this trend? Why this awareness and interest now?
The more I dug deeper into my feelings I came to the conclusion that I’m afraid of the homeless. I thought of all the times that I would intentionally avoid that homeless person on the street. My pace picks up as I walk by, my head shifts to the opposite direction. The most disturbing finding that came from this reflection was that I really had little to no feelings for these people.
A rock star in my eyes, Fr. James Martin is a pro at what I will call “Stealth Spirituality”. I can’t always see his messages, but they are present, always. Lately he has been gently guiding me to the homeless in a way that was not evident to me before. Being afraid was getting in the way of how I viewed the homeless. I’m slowly learning as of late, each face has a story. They are souls that can teach us about gratitude, perseverance and about being close to God. I always need to remind myself that the journey I’m on is not about what to do, but how to be. Teaching me how to live, think, pray and love. Please enjoy this video that Fr Martin posted.
P.S: Who would have thought that my alarm clock ring tone would play “Be Not Afraid”….it works.