Monday, January 11, 2016

Pouring Out My Troubles

By Melanie Rigney

As she remained long at prayer before the Lord, Eli (the priest) watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently; though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her, “How long will you make a drunken show of yourself? Sober up from your wine!” “It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered. “I am an unhappy woman. I have had neither wine nor liquor; I was only pouring out my troubles to the Lord. Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.” Eli said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left. She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and no longer appeared downcast. (1 Samuel 1:12-18)

“The Lord raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage.”  (1 Samuel 2:8)

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. (Mark 1:23-26)

Lord help me to find You in the everyday.


Here we are in the first week of ordinary time of the new liturgical year and the second full week of the calendar year. Sure, we know intellectually that “ordinary” refers to ordinal, as in counting. Sure, we know that another of our special seasons, Lent, is less than a month away. But right now, it’s ordinary time, and let’s be honest: ordinary time can be boring. Ordinary time can be tedious. Ordinary time can be, well, ordinary.

But it can also be extraordinary.

By Malnazar (Armenian) (illuminator,
Details of artist on Google Art Project)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Hannah wasn’t feeling particularly extraordinary when she and the rest of Elkanah’s family went to Shiloh to worship; to the contrary, she was feeling pretty despondent about not having a child, not to mention tormented by Elkanah’s other wife. And yet, in her sadness, she continued to pray… and her prayer for a son was answered.

The day may have started out as ordinary, as any other for the man with an unclean spirit. But it turned out it was the day he would encounter Jesus… and he was freed of the spirit.

Our “ordinary” time can be the same. We can wait until Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas, a holy day of obligation, or a feast day to grow our relationship with God… or we can seek to make every opportunity for an encounter with the Lord special. He’s ready if we are.

Do something extraordinary in the ordinariness today. Love. Forgive. Help. Heal. Laugh.

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