Holy Land Pilgrimage

Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry

February 28, 2020

In my first posting, I declared myself a blank slate. I was determined to avoid any expectations and to let God do His handiwork with me and through me and to me. Padre Pio said, “Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” In my previous posting, I described my first full day in The Holy Land and the message of Peace and Love that God had given me. Now I wanted God to take the wheel and drive home to me (pun intended) how he wanted me to prepare for my Diaconate Ordination. I should have listened to Padre Pio. I became anxious. I was worried my prayers for myself had gone dry. I believed my prayers for others were doing well, but I thought God had cast me adrift. I even voiced my concern about this to a priest on this pilgrimage.

Once I stepped back and simply prayed, things changed. I made the mistake that I often council other people to avoid. The dreaded “I want” began to enter my thoughts and my dialog with people. My situation, my vocation, and my Diaconate Ordination had slowly become about me. It is never about “me”. It is God’s plan. It will be done on God’s schedule. Once I put my trust back where it belonged, with God, He responded to my prayers.

God communicates with us sometimes through a bible passage or spiritual reading. Sometimes it is through another person. He chooses His mode of communication. Our God is a mighty God. He is all knowing. He is the embodiment of Love and Understanding. If you don’t mind me saying, He is also very clever. One of the important duties of a Deacon is to preach the homily. What better way to communicate with a soon to be ordained deacon than through a homily? During our silent retreat in Galilee, I was privileged to hear four homilies that answered almost all my questions about being a Deacon.

That first homily that hit home to me asked me to become meek and humble. The second homily defined for me that my calling was to be a person for others. The third homily suggested my life might require me to be the suffering servant and to accept this as a gift from God. The fourth homily suggested that I needed to renounce worldly possessions and to rededicate them for the good of God’s people.

The fifth and final homily was delivered during the Mass on Calvary. The altar stands at the spot where Jesus was nailed to the cross. A beautiful mural of The Blessed Mother looking on as Jesus is nailed to the cross is the backdrop. Am I worthy to be His servant? The homilist simply said, “If you are concerned about your worthiness, remember you just walked in Jesus’ footsteps to the cross.”

Sam Conforti
Diocese of Joliet

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