Encounter Culture

EncounterCulture2

I am blatantly stealing the term “Encounter Culture” from Pope Frances—but I don’t think he’ll mind.  I hope not…

As I consider the last days before Christmas begins, I think about the ways in which I miss the whole point of the season, year after swiftly passing year. I tend to get caught up in the details of shopping, sending out cards, finishing school assignments, getting cookies baked and decorated, remembering to take things out of the freezer to defrost… I get so tired that my soul lays down and begs for a rest.

So, I try to make up for my spiritual emptiness by praying in the evening. Unfortunately, my body thinks this is a good time to turn off my brain. And so it is. I am finding that praying is a sort of emptying experience.  I have to stop and not be efficient for a bit. My to-do lists get shoved to the side and my self-esteem wilts as guilt kicks in, but then, I reevaluate my life.

Here is a little thought that has helped me remember the “reason for the season” and hug my relationship with God a little tighter:

If I miss God in my life, will I find Him at my death? 

December 15th was the 2nd anniversary of my husband’s death after a four year battle with leukemia. My daughter and I went to his gravesite last weekend and placed flowers next to his tombstone—which bears my name as well. Charles Dickens was right on the mark when in The Christmas Carol he has old Scrooge finally relent and change his life when he sees his tombstone bearing his name. There is something relentless about confronting your name inscribed in stone and place your feet on the dead grass where your body will someday lie.

My heart beats at the command of God. I don’t want to face a hole where a relationship with the Eternal should have been.

Each Christmas is a reminder of a universal truth—God lives and He comes to us as both Man and God for our salvation.

I may not be able to tuck and that under the tree, but my life can live the truth of it as I unwrap the gift of each day.

 

Books by A. K. Frailey

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend Novels

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter https://amzn.to/3iGqGlQ

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In Production)

OldEarth Melchior Encounter (In Production)

Science Fiction Novels

Last of Her Kind http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Short Stories

It Might Have Been—And Other Short Stories https://amzn.to/2XXdDDz

Encounter Science Fiction Short Stories & Novella https://amzn.to/3dq6q5l

Inspirational Non-Fiction

My Road Goes Ever On—Spiritual Being, Human Journey https://amzn.to/2KvF3Ll

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings https://amzn.to/3rtAy6S

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Photo https://pixabay.com/photos/eclipse-solar-eclipse-solar-sun-2666089/

A Culture of Encounter

Sister Constance Veit wrote an article in the Catholic Times recently where she relates meeting Pope Frances when he showed up at the home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington D.C. Her joyful experience reflects Pope Frances lived message, calling us toward an “encounter culture” lifestyle. I love that expression, and I have thought about it a lot these past few days.

As I go about my daily duties, teaching, studying, cleaning, cooking, talking with the kids, I am reminded that every moment can be an “encounter moment.” To be honest, my day often feels like a well-intentioned resolve which devolves into a series of colliding events: a day at the circus, but nobody gets paid.

But every so often, I catch myself in the midst of what might appear to be random chaos, and I stop and pray the moment from meaningless madness toward a purposeful encounter. I have prayed in an encounter moment while correcting papers, I have prayed in an encounter moment while standing outside under a perfect autumn sky, I have prayed in an encounter moment while chatting on the phone, while talking with one of my children, while making bread, while knitting… In fact, I have discovered that there is no moment that can’t suddenly be lifted from the mundane to the momentous by a few seconds of reflected prayer. In those brief ticks of the clock, I become truly aware of the present value of the encounter before me, opening myself to all that grace has to offer. Long evening shadows falling against a wall, the smell of wood smoke curling up the chimney, the wispy tendrils of hair falling over my daughter’s cheek, all become sources of wonder. I discover treasures hidden in plain sight.

I suspect this meaningful moment is the whole purpose of art, to remind us of these mysterious treasures, to have an “encounter” with our own lives. Pope Frances speaks to the whole world, reminding us of profound realities when he reminds us to live intentionally, to live as a culture of encounter. In truth, there is nothing too profound for the human heart, if we allow God’s grace to enter and encounter Him in everything.

 

Books by A. K. Frailey

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend Novels

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF

OldEarth Neb Encounter https://amzn.to/3iGqGlQ

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In Production)

OldEarth Melchior Encounter (In Production)

Science Fiction Novels

Last of Her Kind http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Short Stories

It Might Have Been—And Other Short Stories https://amzn.to/2XXdDDz

Encounter Science Fiction Short Stories & Novella https://amzn.to/3dq6q5l

Inspirational Non-Fiction

My Road Goes Ever On—Spiritual Being, Human Journey https://amzn.to/2KvF3Ll

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings https://amzn.to/3rtAy6S

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Photo https://pixabay.com/photos/sea-seagull-bird-seevogel-1993791/