Often-times on a day off, with no particular plans, I’ll take an “urban trek,” to explore some part of the city I’ve never really paid much attention to. It’s a great way to open my eyes to new sights smells and sounds… AND… it doesn’t cost much more than metro fare. Last week I was on such a trek in Logan circle, when midway I stopped for a coffee.
Better said, I grabbed a “cafe.” Five years of seminary in Rome fostered a number of religious devotions in me, including my love of espresso. It’s a great pick-me-up in the morning or midday. And yes, it can be a religious experience. Making one requires a certain degree of liturgy whether it’s ritual dialog with your favorite barista or respectfully engaging your own espresso pot/machine to confect the perfect demitasse. The results can be wonderful. Psychologically, I break out of whatever rut I was in. Physically, I get to sit and compose myself before the caffeine sets me up to face the world again. The whole process doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. OK, spiritually speaking it’s not exactly a retreat at Mt. Athos, but one could well call an espresso break the culinary equivalent of an “aspiration.”
Aspirations are small spontaneous prayers we offer up throughout the day. They’re literally “breaths” sent up to God. An aspiration can be an act of thanks, faith, intercession of pleading for help. Aspirations are [hopefully] responded to by in-spirations… “breathing-ins” from God that answer our deepest needs. As an exercise, consider offering up a short series of aspirations every time you make a coffee break during the day… It may help you to see your day through eyes of faith.
Back to the urban trek… rejuvenated by my stop at Peregrine Espresso, I continued my exploration of the neighborhood… new houses, new restaurants, new everything inspiring me with new reflections and aspirations… and somewhere in all that newness, the distinct flavor of hope (mixed with coffee, of course.)
“I often think that when we come to adore Our Lord, we should obtain all we wish, if we would ask it with very lively faith, and a pure heart.” -St. John Vianney, On Prayer