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Straight for the Altar

May 22

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Sunday, May 22, 2011  RssIcon

 

Straight for the Altar
Pastor’s Column
5th Sunday of Easter
May 22, 2011
 
Since last week was Vocation Sunday, this week I want to share with you one of my more interesting vocation stories. Has God ever stood on his head and waved at you to get you to do something for him? He sure did with me!
                                                                                          Father Gary
 
          One afternoon, I was praying before the Blessed Sacrament in my parish church and saying the liturgy of the hours. At that time I was working in the airline industry and actively praying about a vocation to the priesthood. I formed the habit of praying before the Blessed Sacrament in college, and I've always tried to have an hour a day there. The Blessed Sacrament and the Mother of God keep me going as a priest now.
 
          As I was praying in my local parish church in Los Angeles, I looked up to see a small bird fly in through the doors to the church and literally land out of sight behind the altar. I couldn't believe my eyes, so after a while I walked out into the sanctuary to see what the attraction was back there, but the bird flew back out (there was nothing at all behind the altar except the bird).
 
          I sat down to continue praying when the bird flew in the church again and went straight for the altar. It landed out of sight behind the altar again, where it stayed until I got up and shooed it away.
 
          I returned to my pew to pray before the Blessed Sacrament again, but not before first closing the church doors so there wouldn't be a repeat performance with this unusual bird. The psalm I was praying at the time providentially said this:
 
"The sparrow herself finds a home, the swallow a nest for her brood. She lays her young by your altars, Lord of Hosts my King and my God. They are happy who dwell in your house, forever singing your praise."
                                                                               Psalm 84
 
          I remember calling an old friend of mine who has been a nun for many years
and asking her what she thought God was trying to tell me. She said, "Does God have to hit you over the head with a hammer? If that bird can find the altar, why can't you?!"
 
          Now as a priest, I think of the bird, the Psalms, the sister’s remarks, and I think, "Lord you have not been too subtle with me!"
 
Written by Fr Gary Zerr and originally published in 201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist by Patricia Proctor

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