Busted Halo

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March 24th, 2014

BRIAN – DAY 20: Balance

40 Days Searching for the Sound of Silence


AP Photo

AP Photo

At the beginning of Lent, I was convinced the best way for me to feel close to God was in silent, contemplative solitude.

I still feel that way…to a degree. Over the course of the last two and a half weeks, however, I have also come to realize how crucial other forms of prayer and interaction are to making my time alone worthwhile.

Yesterday I made my first visit to a food pantry run by Catholics in my neighborhood. Though I have done some volunteering since the end of my time with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), this felt new.

I am sure some guilt drove me to get up and work at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, but the desire ran deeper. On some level, I had begun to feel disconnected from others and, in turn, the divine. Sure, I spend time with people all day at work and with friends on nights and weekends. But since leaving JVC, faith-based community has not really been part of my life. I generally do not go home after mass to reflect on the Gospel with my fellow attendees, whereas I had done this while living in Peru.

Volunteering this weekend was not a particularly eye-opening experience, but it was an enjoyable one. It brought me into contact with people gathered for a common purpose of faith-driven action. Furthermore, a few of the volunteers invited me to their home for lunch and a Bible study on the Book of Luke. Again, this rendezvous brought no flashy epiphanies, but it felt good to eat, read and pray with others.

Just as a beautiful spring means so much more when preceded by a dreary winter, I think our prayer lives need balance for each individual aspect to have meaning. While it is vastly important that I take the time to retreat and commune with God on my own, I also will not have much to commune about if I don’t venture out into the world to exchange in prayer, faith and community with others.



The Author : Brian Harper
Brian Harper is a communications specialist for the Midwest Jesuits. He has lived in Peru, South Africa, and Italy, and his writing has been featured in America magazine, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and various other print and online publications. You can find his work at www.brianharper.net.
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