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Pathways to God in Everyday Life View Comments
By Catherine Looker, S.S.J.

A very wealthy young man runs to Jesus, kneels at his feet and asks him: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). After this eager inquirer asserts that he has faithfully kept God’s commands all his life, Jesus lovingly invites him to a deeper level of discipleship—along with a promise that he will find treasure in heaven—after selling his possessions. When the young man hears this, he walks away sad because he refuses to give up his many possessions.

As compelling as this story is, we may also find it helpful to recall that Mark describes this young man as running to ask his question. This story can prompt us to question the pace and direction of our own spiritual journeys: How eagerly do we approach Jesus? Do we run to him? Or does fear hold us back?

Do we approach Jesus with hesitations and doubt? Or do we take our questions and concerns elsewhere?

Don’t we daily seek direction and guidance? While driving short or long distances, many of us rely on a Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite-based system that works reliably in all weather conditions, everywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. We implicitly trust that the GPS will quickly and safely guide us to our destination.

Is there a similarly reliable guidance system for our spiritual lives and our relationship with Jesus?
Alice, a 33-year-old working mother of two small boys, recently shared: “How do I have time to pray and find God? I am so busy with my two children, and it’s much easier for me to pray at Christmas or Easter since I enjoy these seasons with my children, family members, friends and co-workers. But what about the in-between times when I often feel rather adrift, without a clear spiritual focus?”

What Alice calls “in-between times” the Christian liturgical year names “Ordinary Time,” the liturgical period between Christmas and Lent and again from Pentecost to Advent. Alice is asking the same question as many contemporary spiritual seekers: How can we more actively and securely follow Jesus’ guidance amid our daily tasks?

Using Gospel passages and reflection questions, this article will offer five pathways for spiritual journeys: encounter, trust, faith, freedom and community.
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Sister Catherine Looker is a Sister of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill, which sponsors Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. She is an assistant professor of religious studies there and has a broad range of experience in teaching, pastoral ministry, spiritual direction and retreat work.

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Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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