The day after Easter was a day off for Catholic Center employees.  It was also a day to get out of the house.  We took a little drive to the Ferdinand State Forest to get some fresh air and see something besides the other houses in our neighborhood. 

We discovered a really beautiful place that was less than crowded.  After parking the car, we found a nice trail through the woods, and headed off on a short adventure.

While much of the forest is greening up, the dogwoods are in full bloom.  That means pinks and whites standing in contrast to the enveloping green of the hardwood forest.

It was a lovely day, and it was good to get out.  It’s pretty easy to maintain social distancing when no one else is around.

Today, a week later, the first reading from Mass ends on a powerful note.  “As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”  (Acts 4:31)

We all have the opportunity that the Apostles had.  When we pray, maybe the earth doesn’t shake, but it can sure feel like everything around us is moving.  I can think of a few times in my life where prayer has resulted in a physical reaction, from tears to quaking.  Long ago at a retreat when I was a college student, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer during Mass.  The presence of God was overwhelming, filling every open space in the room, wrapping strong arms around me and holding me close to Him.

I have told that story many times over the years, and even today, 40+ years later, I can close my eyes and feel that power and love that held me so close that day.  That was my ground shaking. I was filled with the Holy Spirit.  It has taken some time and overcoming past weakness in my faith, but today I can proclaim the “word of God with boldness.” 

The Lord brings me great joy and courage.  In Him I can do all things. 

The celebration of Easter, the resurrection of our Lord, the fulfillment of God’s promise to us, continues.  The state forest is a gift from God, its care entrusted to us as stewards of his gifts.  Let’s go forth and proclaim Him with boldness.

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