Our diocese recently celebrated our 125th anniversary. The weekend was packed with bishops, speakers, performers and, of course, Mass. My notebook was jammed with notes and so many things I want to remember.
But the main stand-out idea came from Curtis Martin, the founder of Focus. (If you ever have the chance to hear him speak, GO!!) He was talking about lectio devina, prayerful reading of the scripture. The verse he had spent weeks on was from John 1:39 where John tells us the time of day: 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
Why was this time important? Mr. Martin turned this over in his mind over and over until it hit him. John was telling us what time it was when his life changed forever and he chose to follow Christ. Just like I know exactly where I was when I heard my first news report of 9/11. It was John’s “Where were you when…” experience.
I’m a cradle Catholic. I’m also not just a little bit embarrassed to tell you that it never occurred to me that I had to make that very real, very conscience life-changing decision. It seemed so… Protestant.
The thought was almost threatening: At what point in my life had I actually made that commitment? HAD I made that commitment? If I hadn’t, was it good enough just to get by as I had been? I was happy enough just plodding on my merry way in my spiritual life. Right?
Well obviously if I couldn’t remember experiencing it, I hadn’t had my 4:00 moment. The feeling was somewhere between loss and inadequacy; it was not unlike the mixed feeling of guilt and embarrassment that comes with not having sent a thank you note months after receiving a gift.
However, these feelings quickly lifted when I realized that this could be remedied right on the spot. The entire weekend was charged with prayer and thanksgiving and thoughtful speeches. It wasn’t possible to leave without being changed to some degree. For me it was transformative, especially in my prayer life. So my thanks and congratulations to the organizers at the Sioux Falls Diocese. You touched lives.
Have you had a 4:00 moment?