I’ve heard dozens of sermons and ferverinos, formal and informal, from Fr. Bill Baer, thanks to my four years under his direction at St. John Vianney and our continued friendship since. And it’s never gotten old. To this day, I’ll drive across town to Transfiguration parish in Oakdale where he is the pastor, often for no other reason than to hear him preach (so it’s a sad day when, unbeknownst to me, it’s the deacon’s turn…).
I seek him out for a lot of reasons, but never because I’m expecting him to say something new. No, it’s because there’s truth in his words, plain and simple. He has a remarkable way of communicating the most profound truths in the most accessible ways. And, of course, he’s terribly entertaining.
Last Vespers, Fr. Baer noted that there’s something about Catholics our age that leads them to sort of sample from the local calendar of Catholic events and experiences like it’s a pu pu platter, but never settle on consistently attending any one. We’re so obsessed with finding that new thing that’s going to give us what he called that special “spiritual shiver,” that we never give the Lord a chance to work in our lives in the way in which he typically does: slowly, over time, and mostly undetected.
What’s the point? Pick something and stick to it. Allow God to work through you without constantly checking your spiritual pulse for abnormalities. Abnormalities, by the way, are typically not good.
Of course, we at Vespers at Lourdes would love for you to keep coming back here. But that’s not so much the point. Whether it’s at Vespers or elsewhere, we do well to remember Blessed John Henry Newman’s words: “God’s Providence is rarely seen in the moment.”
So give God a chance to work in your life, in the same context for an extended period of time, and you’ll probably be surprised when you look back and realize what He was doing all along – spiritual shiver or no.
– Isaac Huss
Full Audio of Fr. Bill Baer’s Vespers at Lourdes presentation on October 9, 2014: