A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Hitting the Road

Posted on: July 16, 2015

There are two seasons in Canada: winter and construction. It’s an old saw but one that holds true in my corner of Ottawa. We see roads being widened and pipes laid, police officers directing traffic, and pylons sitting in different positions every time we head out.

Trying to gauge the time to reach our destination is challenging at best, with work on several major roads under way. And my frustration level is climbing, along with everyone else’s.

Since returning to Ottawa a few years ago, I’ve found tailgating to be a real problem, along with drivers’ assumption that others will roll through stop signs—and this has worsened with the ramped-up construction. Drivers block intersections as they try to squeeze through lights, and they honk their car horns, irritated with the slower-than-a-snail’s-space progress.

Whether we’re taking kids to day camp or daycare or summer school, heading to and from the bus station for our daily commute or to the grocery store, or going camping or sightseeing as a family, time on the roads is a given. We need to exercise our common sense, caution and patience. Maybe that means planning to leave a little earlier, combining errands, having snacks handy, stopping more often on longer trips, and keeping a little more gas in the tank than usual and distractions (such as beeping electronics or passengers’ cell phone chats) to a minimum. And praying that God will keep us safe in our travels this summer.

May we take a cue from this prayer for motorists:

Grant me O Lord a steady hand and watchful eye

That no one shall be hurt as I pass by.

Thou gavest life, I pray no act of mine

May take away or mar that gift of Thine.

Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear me company,

From the evils of fire and all calamity.

Teach me to use my car for others’ need;

Nor miss through love of undue speed

The beauty of the world; that thus I may

With joy and courtesy go on my way.

St. Christopher, holy patron of travellers,

Protect me and lead me safely to my destiny.

~ St. Christopher’s prayer for motorists, “Celebrate July 2015,” Catholic Digest, June / July / August 2015; “The Motorist’s Prayer,” Catholic Online

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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