Monday, July 5, 2010

TURN THE RADIO OFF!

”SILENT CAR, HOLY DRIVE, ALL IS CALM, STRESS ASIDE….” (My mobile version of “Silent Night)


That’s right. I’m leaving my car radio OFF on my drive to daily Mass and while driving around town for appointments and errands. That’s my new routine since I returned from a weekend retreat of Silent Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. That weekend was quite a new adventure for this still recent Catholic convert; I never participated in a silent group experience before. It took some getting used to, but then I began to appreciate it. I realized how much I have been missing spiritually by filling up any time slot with some kind of auditory blast and blare!


God speaks in the silence, if we will only listen. "Silence might be a fearful thing to modern man," stated Pope Benedict XVI recently. He encourages us, "Accept interior and exterior silence, so as to be able to hear God's voice, and the voices of our neighbors."


Sometimes God has to calm us down, lay us aside, isolate us, quiet us (yes, shut us up!) even require us to stop praying in order to get our attention. He may already have answered those prayers, but we are too busy buzzing around to be aware of His work in our inner life.


Jesus told us to go into our closet when we pray, to come alone, and shut the door. I don’t think they had clothes closets with doors in Jesus’ day. We need to interpret it in our current cultural milieu. In my case, my closet is my Chrysler and it has four doors. I drive mostly alone. My auto is now my mobile sanctuary and adoration chapel.


It would seem that Jesus meant we should lay aside attachments when we go into our inner chamber where “God sees in secret.” During that silent retreat, I became keenly aware of how many attachments to things of this world and secular life styles and material cares I still hugged to myself even while seeking holiness and spiritual progress. I’m working on specific negative attachments that I seem to cling to or they easily cling to me. We commonly work on such attachments in Lent, but it should be an on-going awareness that draws us to the sacrament of Reconciliation.


One of my attachments was that I always switched on my car radio to a talk news station for the duration of my commute to whatever destination, especially to Mass, a trip that normally takes 15 minutes. The endless raucous news chatter was certainly no preparation for my appointment to meet Jesus in the Eucharist. It had become an attachment bordering on an addiction.


My sacrifice, which really was no sacrifice at all, was simply to open my mobile “closet,” shut my driver’s side door, buckle my seat belt, and not reach over to turn the radio on. This may sound inconsistent with my position as president of a Christian radio station that plays predominately Christian music. Nevertheless, leaving the radio off included not tuning in to our music station either.


How sweet is the silence! The only button I press is to notify God, “Here I am, Lord. Your servant is listening to You.” My ears aren’t bombarded with the cacophony of the world’s concerns, and my heart is not stressed with the calamities of politics or the earth’s catastrophes—at least just for the time being.


Mostly I lift my heart into the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, as the apostle Paul bids us in Ephesians. I simply ask the Lord what is on His mind for me for the day; then I listen. When a personal need or someone’s name or intention drifts into my mind, by mental prayer I merely “mention it” to God. It wings its way into His holy presence and He takes care of it.


“DRIVE IN HEAVENLY PEACE…RIDE IN HEAVENLY PEACE” to conclude my mobile adaptation of the familiar Christmas carol. Try it—you’ll like it! I liked it so well that I have left my car radio off indefinitely.

----------------

See my previous post, SEEKING SLICES OF SILENCE March 2010.


# END

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Leona,
I just finished reading "My Journey to the Land of More." Thank you for the honest witness of your conversion story as you made it clear your conversion was slow, somewhat unwanted, not without great sacrifice, but ultimately a deliberate choice and gift from God. I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids,Iowa. I attended St. Matthew's grade school and Regis HS. My dad was a physician, Paul Heitzman, and a devout Catholic. I graduated HS in 1965 and ultimately married in Atlanta, in the Episcopal Church, in 1970. When my children reached the age for their First Communion, and after concerns about Episcopal church's doctrine, I told my husband that I wished to go back to the Catholic Church and raise our 3 children Catholic. He not only agreed but surprised me by saying he would also like to convert! Ten years ago, my youngest son married a wonderful girl whose dad was a pastor and missionary. She spent her HS years in S. Africa and longed to go back. My son left the church in college to attend her dad's "non-denominational" church that sponsored a college campus group. We later discovered that to have a position of leadership with the group, it was necessary to join his church. Minda's dad married the kids....I am indebted to the blessed virgin who stayed with me throughout the ceremony....and now they are two wonderful, Christ-loving parents. They now live in S. Africa. Minda works for JAM (Joint Aid Ministries) and Paul work with Jesus Alive Ministries. They are on fire with the love of Jesus and I know that I am truly blessed by them. Of course, I would love nothing more that for my son to open his eyes to what he has turned his back on, specifically, the phenomenal gift of Christ in the Eucharist! Slowly, I see him becoming more involved in their new church with aspirations of planting a church somewhere in Africa, in the next couple years. My husband and I see that we cannot talk to them about the difference of our faith and it has lead in the past to bitter arguments, with Satan laughing as anger is one of his great weapons! For the last 6-7 years, we simply try to be loving,supportive, forgiving, compassionate and the best witnesses of our Catholic faith possible. We have a great relationhip with Minda and Paul and their two young sons, Peter and John David. Paul knows how much the Eucharist means to us and my husband as, years ago, he read him a letter by St. Justin Martyr which made a huge impact when my husband converted. However, Minda's parents live in S. Africa, she has many friends there, she and Paul love the people and the country and I believe God has called them to service. I also believe that it will be someone other than our immediate family but will be a third party who ultimately pries the door of their minds open for them to see fully, to grasp the fullness of the Catholic Church. Perhaps you might be that third party. Please pray about this matter. I would be humbled and so grateful if you would consider developing a relationship with me that may even lead to your communication with Paul. Thank you for your example of always remaining open to God's will and God' timing. And as Fr. Jose loves to say, "May the Word and love of God remain forever in your mind, on your lips and in your heart."
Jan Nichols jolliest_jan@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Leona,
I just finished reading "My Journey to the Land of More." Thank you for the honest witness of your conversion story as you made it clear your conversion was slow, somewhat unwanted, not without great sacrifice, but ultimately a deliberate choice and gift from God. I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids,Iowa. I attended St. Matthew's grade school and Regis HS. My dad was a physician, Paul Heitzman, and a devout Catholic. I graduated HS in 1965 and ultimately married in Atlanta, in the Episcopal Church, in 1970. When my children reached the age for their First Communion, and after concerns about Episcopal church's doctrine, I told my husband that I wished to go back to the Catholic Church and raise our 3 children Catholic. He not only agreed but surprised me by saying he would also like to convert! Ten years ago, my youngest son married a wonderful girl whose dad was a pastor and missionary. She spent her HS years in S. Africa and longed to go back. My son left the church in college to attend her dad's "non-denominational" church that sponsored a college campus group. We later discovered that to have a position of leadership with the group, it was necessary to join his church. Minda's dad married the kids....I am indebted to the blessed virgin who stayed with me throughout the ceremony....and now they are two wonderful, Christ-loving parents. They now live in S. Africa. Minda works for JAM (Joint Aid Ministries) and Paul work with Jesus Alive Ministries. They are on fire with the love of Jesus and I know that I am truly blessed by them. Of course, I would love nothing more that for my son to open his eyes to what he has turned his back on, specifically, the phenomenal gift of Christ in the Eucharist! Slowly, I see him becoming more involved in their new church with aspirations of planting a church somewhere in Africa, in the next couple years. My husband and I see that we cannot talk to them about the difference of our faith and it has lead in the past to bitter arguments, with Satan laughing as anger is one of his great weapons! For the last 6-7 years, we simply try to be loving,supportive, forgiving, compassionate and the best witnesses of our Catholic faith possible. We have a great relationhip with Minda and Paul and their two young sons, Peter and John David. Paul knows how much the Eucharist means to us and my husband as, years ago, he read him a letter by St. Justin Martyr which made a huge impact when my husband converted. However, Minda's parents live in S. Africa, she has many friends there, she and Paul love the people and the country and I believe God has called them to service. I also believe that it will be someone other than our immediate family but will be a third party who ultimately pries the door of their minds open for them to see fully, to grasp the fullness of the Catholic Church. Perhaps you might be that third party. Please pray about this matter. I would be humbled and so grateful if you would consider developing a relationship with me that may even lead to your communication with Paul. Thank you for your example of always remaining open to God's will and God' timing. And as Fr. Jose loves to say, "May the Word and love of God remain forever in your mind, on your lips and in your heart."
Jan Nichols jolliest_jan@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Would love to talk to you about my own spiritual journey into Catholicism.
Susan
pstrsusan@yahoo.com

Joyful Catholics said...

I love 'quiet drives!' I used to crank the radio up most all the time, but now, either due to my 55 years, or else due to my becoming a Catholic 5.5 years ago, or both, I really enjoy the silence! I've always liked silent times, but now even more. My husband and I prefer the early Mass on Sundays just for that reason, too. We were in Evangelical fellowships for nearly 30 years before returning to the CC, and had so much 'music' and 'singing' (which I enjoy too) that we really appreciate the 'Holy Hush' of early Mass. God bless you. PAX CHRISTI, susie

Tiber Jumper said...

Your testimony of conversion is such a blessing! You took such a risk to follow the Lord into the Catholic Church. I too became Catholic after 31 years as an evangelical. I was born into the Church but left it as a 14 year old, never knowing who I was leaving. God bless you and your ministry!