“If we are to know the Lord, we must go to him. Listen to him in silence before the tabernacle and approach him in the sacraments.”
In January, Catholic Leadership Institute moved into new office space. I gleefully took on the role of decorator-in-chief, thinking about all the different ways to help the new space come alive with our culture. One of the things that most excited me about our new home was for the first time, we were able to incorporate a chapel. Finally, not only would we have a spot for our daily 2:45pm ET community prayer, but also a place for individual quiet reflection and conversations with the Lord. Six weeks after we moved in, I had lots on the walls but no one working there as a result of the pandemic. Six months later, my décor plans are almost complete and it is still only me enjoying all of the square footage most of the time. This week, as I added a refinished kneeler to our chapel, I stepped back admiring my work and thought, "Gosh, is anyone ever going to pray in this chapel?"
Then it struck me. For about 100 working days, I have basically been the only person at CLI spending 8 hours a day with a chapel mere feet from my desk and I hadn’t prayed in there, not once. While we’ve moved our daily community prayer to Zoom, it never dawned on me to pray in this room that I had been trying to make prayerful for the last six months. How many times have I literally paced by that space worrying about the future or being frustrated by the present? How many times did I tell someone I would pray for them or their intention while finishing a call or wrapping up a virtual meeting? Yes, I can pray at my desk. Yes, the Lord is always present. But am I showing up for the Lord? We may or may not yet feel comfortable going back to Mass with others at our churches, but so many of our churches are open during the day with the Lord present, just waiting for us to show up. Regardless of whether or not I am able to get to a sacred place, am I filling whatever space I’m in with the sacred? The kneeler needs a little more padding and I’m working on some stained glass, but the chapel will really come alive when I’m alive in Him.