It is morning, and the sun is just barely rising today. The sky is trying to decide if it wants to become blue. The stars are scattered, puckering good morning “kisses” on you and me, while at the same time it’s clear they are toying with leaving. Trees are showing off their majestic outline high into the newly illuminated distance. Birds have awoken and are beginning to sing, and the dogs are wandering around looking for food. Houses have wafts of smoke puffing out of chimneys and there is frost on the ground. All around me I can feel there are people scattered, some nestled in their beds dreaming contentedly, while others are struggling to stay warm over a city grate of warm musty air. Some are up baking bread, while others are running down a hospital hall to a code blue. And I… I am kneeling, thanking the Dear Lord for His many gifts, the least of which is me, here to adore and serve Him. How might I make my Father proud today? I confess I need lots of help if I am going to do this well. How might I use the full spectrum of what the Paraclete is offering me, so that others might hurt less and smile more? For sure, I can find this path more quickly and surely by staying near Christ’s mother, the Blessed Virgin, in thought. She will keep me staring at Him, listening attentively instead of turning my head away. So I will ask her to guide and coax me along a more graceful path than I would otherwise choose. Heaven knows I am surrounded as well by the likes of Saints Joseph, Francis, Aquinas, Ignatius, Padre Pio, and Damien, not to mention Anne, Clare, Catherine, Teresa, Therese, Faustina, and Bakhita…nudging me this way and that as the very best and wisest friends always do. I’m going to make this my active prayer today – to follow Him more closely, every moment. I will live this prayer as life itself and in His service in the roles of son, husband, father, friend, physician, and scientist. Yet it wouldn’t be the same without you there at my side. Every soul counts. Won’t you help me find the way?