Let’s face it, 2020 is one big interruption. Your present, your future, your plans, and your routine have likely been interrupted in some way over the past few months. And that’s really, really hard. But it doesn’t have to be all bad. While any interruption can be annoying, frustrating, painful, or even devastating, it can also be an opportunity to look up and let the Lord in.
Recently on The Inner Life®, Father Michael Hurley stopped by to talk about the spirituality of interruption, and how the interruptions we face in life can actually be opportunities to grow closer to God.
Father Michael said, “With all that is going on in our country and in our world, we might think that our plans have been turned upside down and interrupted. There’s the joke that if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. And certainly we need to make plans and have routines, but it seems that life in a sense is a series of interruptions. And like anything else, our spiritual life needs to be integrated into our normal daily life.”
He pointed out that part of the word interruption comes from the Latin word “rupt” which means “to burst.” And it’s important to acknowledge that when we are interrupted and our plans or routine are burst in some way, there is a certain amount of suffering there. But how do we respond to that suffering?
“There are two ways to see an interruption,” Fr. Michael pointed out. “We can see it either as a temptation from the Evil One, who is basically trying to get us off-course if our goal is to do the will of God for our life in this moment. A way to distract us, discourage us, to let that interruption be felt as in some way paralyzing us from what we are called to do.”
But Fr. Michael also explained that whenever there is temptation there is also an invitation. He said, “Wherever the devil gives temptation, God on the other side gives us an invitation to see how his grace can bring blessing. Even in the darkest situation, even in the most painful interruptions or breaking of our plans.”
When you have plans laid out and then hit a roadblock, it can lead to a feeling of desolation and loss. But the Lord tells us, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12)
“The Lord is there to bring his grace,” Fr. Michael said. “And so the real spiritual strategy here is not to avoid the interruption, and not to let the interruption become a temptation, but to open ourselves up to the invitation that interruption brings us each day.”