When I arrived here at the Casa O'Toole on the grounds of the Pontifical North American College for the beginning of my sabbatical program, I was welcomed and taken to my room on the 3rd floor. "Go over to the desk and open the window," the director of the program said to me. When I did so, the view above is what I saw. Today I moved some of the furniture around so I did not have to reach over the desk each day to open the window to let the awesome view of St. Peter's Basilica into my room.
In looking out onto this historic symbol of the Church and the incarnation of Christ from my room, I recalled words from Saint Ambrose that I read on the flight over. In speaking of the admonition of Jesus to "go into your room (to pray,)" St. Ambrose comments...
A hope for me during this blessed time is that I am opened in a new way to the voice of God. I pray that I may open the window of my soul a bit more, so as to let the grandeur God enlighten my innermost being. This too is the goal of preaching, the subject matter of my first 3 weeks here. As a preacher, the words preached are most effective when they touch the inner soul of the hearer. As a preacher, one must first be able to encourage the hearer to open the window of the soul, to let that word in.But by “room” you must understand, not a room enclosed by walls that imprison your body, but the room that is within you, the room where you hide your thoughts, where you keep your affections. This room of prayer is always with you, wherever you are, and it is always a secret room, where only God can see you.
Before obeying the direction to "open the window," I asked, "why?" "Just do it," my host said. How often we are reluctant to be open, without knowing the outcome before hand. As I begin my weeks here, I ask you to pray that I may be open to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Through this openness, may I grow in my own faith and therefore be able to offer to you God's word in a more effective way.
Know that I pray for you, that you too might, "just do it," and open the window of your soul to the greatness of God.