During my first month in Houston, my spiritual director said to me, "If you want to know how your spiritual life is doing, drive around in Houston." The amount of time that we all spend on the road is remarkable. As a commuter parish, many of us spend at least one hour per day on the road commuting to work, school, and/ or Holy Rosary. Therefore, I would like to take a break from talking about our shared Dominican charism as a Dominican church family and talk about something that is a major part of our life, driving in Houston. During Lent, I will offer some suggestions on how we can turn a normally stressful time into a grace-filled experience.
First, let's talk about that person whom we love to hate, the bad driver. We see them turning right at an intersection when they are in a no-turning lane. We honk our horns at them when they nearly clip our front bumper off on the highways or interstates. We may even give them a "Houston wave" when they cut in front of us right before an interstate spilt. I, myself, have been guilty of labeling these drivers as "those people", people who make it their life's mission to make me mad. However, when was the last time that you and I saw "those people" as human beings or - even better - our brothers and sisters in the Lord. When was the last time that we gave them the benefit of the doubt or offered a prayer for them in the heat of our frustration? As Christians participating in the Lenten season, you and I are called to forgiveness and reconciliation, especially on the road. Yes, it will be hard, but I ask you to think how much different your life would be if you turned these moments of anger and frustration into opportunities for prayer and penance. Oh, how different our Lent would be indeed!
-br. James Martin Nobles, O.P.