We have a decades-long practice at Catholic Leadership Institute to ring the bell at 2:45 PM and join together for prayer. It’s a beautiful and welcomed part of our day and we remember you and your intentions, sometimes out loud by name, and always in our hearts. With many of our team members located remotely and especially during the summer months, it’s not uncommon to have a smaller crowd some days. Last week, between several preplanned vacations, an unexpected sick day, and some out of office meetings, we were a skeleton crew of three. Noticing it was 2:47 PM, I strolled down to the conference room and rang our 1950’s school bell. Then it happened. Actually, nothing happened. No one came. I rang the bell again and still, no one. Having never experienced such a thing, I was left with a momentary paralysis as to my next step. Do I read the reflection and prayer I selected silently to myself? Do I read it out loud to an empty room? Do I just go back to my office? Thankfully, I heard the front door open and one of my skeleton crew compadres walked back in from outside and then a third person entered a moment later.
On my drive home, I tried to diagnosis the reason for my paralysis beyond an extrovert inviting people to something and no one showing up. Why wouldn’t I pray out loud with no one else around me? My mind quickly responded, “Well, you don’t want to appear crazy as if…” I caught my brain. As if…I was talking to no one. Many of us Catholics share that we prefer our prayer in private. Perhaps I need to ask is my private prayer life as intentional as my public one? Regardless of the setting, do I consider it in vain if I can’t tell if someone is listening? In my ongoing exchange with our Lord, who is actually not acknowledging whom? If you think of it, any day this week at 2:45 PM, offer a prayer, out loud or silently, for one man’s occasional unbelief. And if you are in the area, please stop by and pray with us!