Hello moms and followers of the wonderful work and ministry of Lisa Hendey. My DW Dee and I are back from a 4,500 mile round trip driving vacation: from the warm climes of the southwest, to the midwest where we visited our daughter and her family in Missouri, and a then a son, working in Indiana. We continued to Ohio where I spent a week at a priest and deacon conference and retreat. While I was elevated to the heights of prayer and adoration and praise and worship, Dee was visiting with her aging mother. Every trip to see her is pure gift. I also was able to see ‘mom’ for a weekend and found that she had made her son-in-law her nearly world famous apple dumplings. Ummm, good!
When Dee picked me up she said that I was six feet up off the ground - the effect of a most holy week of liturgies, confession, adoration and tremendous, empowering talks. God is good! To breathe in incense and the awareness of Jesus really present in the monstrance, and to be with 150 priests and perhaps 50 deacons who are on-fire for the Lord and His Church -- Well, a month later as I write this column you can tell I’m still some inches or feet off the ground :-)
When I came back to the parish, I resumed the Sunday summer duty that I have: doing a Communion Service for the Boy Scouts at a place called Camp Geronimo. It is at about 5,500-6,000 feet in elevation, among the pines and other trees, and it is at the base of some majestic, steeply rising mountains. The air is crisp and clean there on Sunday mornings as I arrive to set up for a 9:15 liturgy. Jesus is with me, and has been since I left the parish with about 100 consecrated hosts.
Before we get started, I put on some hymns or praise music to put us in the mood for entering into liturgical prayer and worship. Among others, I’ve played Michael W. Smith’s songs from his WORSHIP album. And I’m wondering if you’re familiar with his song BREATHE -- which by now must be fifteen or so years old?
A part of the lyrics include these words, “.... this is the air I breathe... this is the air I breathe .... Your holy presence living in me.... this is my daily bread... this is my daily bread... Your very word spoken to me...”
It’s hard to know what is in the minds of the boy scouts and their scout leaders as they assemble and hear these words... this theme. When I listen to them, I often go back to the first time I ever heard them. It was about ten years ago during a spiritual formation weekend for deacon candidates. Our formator invited us to close our eyes and to envision breathing in the very life of God into our beings... having the words and music help us (lead us) to have a Spiritual Communion with Jesus.
And so, BREATHE by Michael W. Smith and by other Christian singers does in fact help me to breathe in the ‘scent’ of God up there in the pines. But also when there is incense or the smell of my mother-in-law’s freshly baked apple-dumplings.
This summer or any time you get away from the demanding and busy norm of your life, I pray you will BREATHE in God’s holy presence. Ralph Martin, author and speaker wrote these words in his book, HUNGRY FOR GOD:
"God is imparting Himself, bestowing Himself, pouring Himself out everywhere, always. Receive Him, receive Him. Receive Him now in the words you read. Receive Him now as you touch the chair you sit in. Receive Him now as you look out the window and see the sky, as you touch the ground, feel a tree, breathe the air.”
To which I add: Receive Him as you drive to see grandma; receive him in fresh evening or morning breezes. Receive Him as you sit on a beach and listen to the waves gently reminding you of His ever-present love.
Copyright 2012 Deacon Tom Fox
About the Author
Deacon Tom Fox and his wife Dee are co-hosts of the CATHOLIC VITAMINS Podcast for over 6 1/2 years. Tom has also been a member of the Catholic Mom columnists team for eight years, and was a regular contributor to the Catholic Moments Podcast for three years. Most recently, Deacon Tom has been leading a project to bring Catholic radio to the north central Arizona community where he and Dee reside. Blessings!