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SPIRIT MATTERS: Like a fish in the water...

SPIRIT MATTERS: Like a fish in the water...
SPIRIT MATTERS: Like a fish in the water...

This week I told a friend I would pray for some uncertainties in his life, but when I settled in to pray, I didn't know what to do or say.

So I sought out help from one of the prayer books that often gathers dust on my nightstand, a book full of novenas.

The one I came across was "A Novena for a Healing or a Cure," and when I read it, it was apparent it was designed to meet the needs of so many needing a "healing" or a "cure," no matter what kind of "illness" that might be.

The novena began with the sign of the cross and segued into an antiphon for one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 91.

"God will give angels charge over you."


As I had sat there overwhelmed with emotions, those words were balm for my soul as if an angel herself were hovering over my bed and pouring healing liquid over my spirit.

It's easy to forget that, you know?

As a child it's so easy to believe in angels, to believe that God sends these spirits into our lives to guide us and protect us.

But along the way something changes.

And we no longer believe.

It's not that we don't want to believe.

It's just that there are sometimes so many difficulties charging at us at once, that we can't possibly imagine the presence of benevolent spirits near our hearts, let alone the existence of a Supreme Being whose substance is pure love and who guides us even when we feel we are all alone.

That's what is most uncomfortable for me. When, like a little child in a crowded space, I lose sight of a loving, protective parent that keeps me safe.

What I'm forgetting in my childlikeness is that the Supreme Being *is* that crowded space where I am lost, like the ocean is to a fish.

That's why it is important to take time to sit in silent prayer regularly, to become more and more aware that the space from which we draw breath is the same God who made us and sustains us, as St. Peter said "In him we live and breathe and have our being."

"Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty
will say to the Lord,
'My refuge and my fortress;
my God in whom I trust.' "

The Most High is where we dwell. The Most High is where we abide.

• SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines spirituality in The Times' readership area. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada at to share how you engage your spirit in your life and community.

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