Friday, September 18, 2015

Little Detours

Today is the feast day of St. Joseph of Cupertino; there’s a cute and stirring movie about him which I watched some years ago. And it turns out that St. Joseph of Cupertino is the patron of those with autism.

I requested a Mass to be said today for the little guy I’ve written about here, who I believe has autism.  And if you would be so kind as to pray a little prayer for him, too, I would be grateful. The various components of the situation of his life are making intervention difficult: his parents are recently divorced parents and live in towns 75 miles apart; and it is only since the divorce that they’ve acknowledged the problems their son has, which heretofore I think they tended to deny; plus, both towns are in rural areas where resources for autism are scarce.

The last time I wrote on this blog, I was heading off on retreat again. And it was a really wonderful retreat! A friend joined me this time, and that made for some special times.

But the part of the retreat I remember the most was when I was sitting on the little home-made deck that overlooks the irrigation canal and the broad meadow that serves as pasture for a herd of cattle. I had prayed the Rosary, and was going over in my mind the issues that had recently been causing me to feel stress. The little guy mentioned above came to mind—I’ll call him Joey, after the saint.

As you know, if you’ve been reading this blog for long, I’m trying to lead a life of prayer and penance. I keep to a monastic prayer schedule, pray the Divine Office, etc., and attempt to open myself to the wonders of contemplation. In a way, I have one foot in the secular world and one in the religious world.

When I became involved with Joey (and his older sister), I recognized that this was a distraction from the contemplative type of life for which I was striving. I’ve been researching and investigating treatment programs for autism, and spending time observing Joey and talking to his parents. It has disrupted my Divine Office schedule often enough over the last few months!  And yet, it seemed that God had placed this situation in my lap and was asking me to deal with it. Still, satan can appear in that capacity, too—making one think God is behind the distraction when it is really the devil.

Chipmunks enjoy the deck, too.
So I sat there, gazing out onto that peaceful meadow, thinking. I thought to myself that perhaps I was at a crossroads, but then another picture emerged in my mind. I am not at a crossroads, where I must choose to make a turn one way or the other. Instead, I am taking a mandated detour. My path is still toward the contemplative life, but God has redirected me for some reason. So many things fit together to confirm this evaluation, and my spiritual director agreed with this discernment.

I’ll continue on along the detour route then, and help Joey as best I can; I know that eventually, God will bring me back to the main path. Better to walk with Him along the detour than to forge ahead on a road that is temporarily closed! Besides, He still allows me plenty of time for prayer! 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

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