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DEAR FATHER | Find moments to listen to Jesus

What is a ‘four o’clock’ moment?

A “four o’clock moment” is an experience of encountering Jesus that is so profound that you can remember the scene vividly and picture what it was like as if it were yesterday.

The phrase originates from John 1:39, when two of the disciples of John the Baptist — Andrew and John — meet Jesus, who asks them to follow Him. As Pope Francis shared at an audience in 2017, “This experience made such an impression on their memory that one of them even noted the time: It was about four in the afternoon (John 1:39). The Evangelist John tells the story as a clear recollection from his youth, left untouched in his memory as an old man, because John wrote these things when he was already old.”

What is your four o’clock moment?

This can be difficult for those of us who grew up in Catholic culture, in and out of parish and school events, Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, participating in the life of the Church but perhaps not genuinely choosing to follow Jesus completely, lovingly.

Retreats can create these moments, letting the Lord enter when we break away from the routine or perhaps in preparation for receiving a sacrament. Can you think of a time when you felt particularly close to Jesus, grateful for His Presence and decided to follow Him like Andrew and John?

I love how the light streams through the upper windows of the chapel at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. Sitting there during a break from helping at a seminary summer camp, I spoke to the Lord about what I wanted to do after high school. I let Jesus speak, too. While I don’t recall what hour in the afternoon it was, I remember how profoundly cared for I felt in that moment, reassured that the Lord loved me and would take care of me, especially as I stepped forward to apply for seminary.

Hearing other people share their four o’clock moments is a great blessing. Each one is particular and personal. Ask those in your parish or faith community about the moments they encountered and chose to follow Jesus. Perhaps the sharing will help you appreciate yours all the more.

For those of you who feel you haven’t had such a moment, it’s all right! Perhaps you’ve been close to the Lord at Jesus’ side. Or, maybe it hasn’t occurred yet. Ask! And evaluate how you can move toward Jesus like Andrew and John did, seeking Him out and being willing to change to love Him better.

All of us should consider what those next moments may be, the “five o’clock moments,” if you will. Andrew and John had plenty of them, memories in which they could visibly describe what Jesus is doing and how He instructed and encouraged them. How is your moment right now?

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