BEND - The fall Confirmation schedule began this past weekend with a visit to St. Mary's in Pendleton and St. Helen's at Pilot Rock. It is a great time of the year to drive. There is a touch of fall in the air, the sun feels warm instead of hot and the beautiful fall colors are beginning to make their appearance. I was very much encouraged by the heavy clouds and the downpour through which I drove from Boardman to The Dalles. Everywhere I turn, I am reminded of the near-drought conditions that now afflict major portions of Eastern Oregon, and so the rain was a most welcome companion on my drive.

On the way to St. Helen's, the parish, not the volcano, we drove past McKay Reservoir, and one of the local residents pointed out to me how the water level of the reservoir had been affected. I also had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in the Wallowa area, and the water level of Wallowa Lake was also a topic of conversation. I frequently drive past both the Prineville Reservoir and the Ochoco Reservoir, and the lack of water in these basins is quite noticeable.

We are aware of the water shortage afflicting southern Oregon and the entire Klamath Basin, and anyone driving across the mountains to Salem cannot help but be shocked by the diminution of Detroit Lake. We are most certainly in need of rain to water the crops, settle the dust and replenish the reservoirs. For this replenishment we can and must bend our knees in prayer and invoke God's merciful assistance.

While the water worries of Eastern Oregon weigh down upon us and while we are concerned for the supplies in the local reservoirs, there are certainly other signs of hope. One of the great hopes that always significantly raises my joyful expectations of the future is the great reserve of young people in the Diocese of Baker. If we consider the young people to be the reservoir of the future, then we have great cause for joy and hope. The young people I met at Pendleton and Pilot Rock are of the type one must describe as the salt of the earth. They are teenagers, sure, and they carry a lot of the stigma normally attached to teens, but the young people I see are signs of hope not of distress.

If we are to count our blessings, then we see a reservoir of youth filled with promise, assuring a bright future. If we look for causes for distress, we see many reservoirs lacking the water necessary to provide for the needs of the community. If given a choice between these two reservoirs every one of us would choose to have the youthful reservoir full and the earthen reservoir empty. We, of course, want them both to be full, but we must remember to rejoice that the more important reservoir is healthy.

There is another reservoir for which each of us is personally responsible. This is our own spiritual reservoir. We are familiar with the Prayer of St. Francis: 'Lord, make me a channel of your peace.' It is certainly good for us to be channels of God's peace and God's mercy, but other saints have proposed that it is not enough for us to be channels or conduits. A channel or conduit simply transports something from one place to another. The channel neither takes from nor contributes to the supply.

Perhaps the prayer should read, 'Lord, make me a reservoir of your peace.' Make me a reservoir out of which a stream and river of peace may flow. The saints frequently remind us that it is good to be active and giving of ourselves, but they also always warn of the danger of allowing the spiritual reservoir to become depleted. It is perhaps most significant that the first recorded miracle of our Lord concerned something as simple as water.

The wedding feast at Cana was the occasion and the Lord's simple command to the servants was, 'Fill those jars with water'. Fill the reservoir of your soul. Fill yourselves with prayer. Fill your relationships with love. Come be replenished in the presence of the Lord. Soak in the abundant snow and rain of the Lord. Drink deeply of the well spring of the Scriptures. Be filled with the rich food of Eucharist. Draw in the healing, purifying grace of Reconciliation which can mend a faulty reservoir. Fill your own particular jar. At Cana, the Lord then miraculously transformed the work of servants' hands into wonderful wine. Those reservoirs of water, mixed with the Lord's blessing, became a source of joy for the wedding guests. The wedding couple forgot that it was not enough to have wine on the table, it was also necessary to have wine in reserve.

We can readily see the importance of having the various reservoirs of the state brimming with abundance. We can and do rejoice in seeing the reserve of joy and hope in the young people of the diocese. It is also essential for each of us to see and acknowledge the need we have for building up within ourselves a genuine spiritual reserve, a reservoir. From that reservoir, we can and must pour out. That reservoir, however, needs to be repeatedly and abundantly replenished, or it will soon run dry, and without the reservoir there is nothing to pour into the channel.

It is necessary and appropriate for us to pray for abundant rain to fill our reservoirs. It is necessary to pray that the wholesomeness of our young people continues to increase; they are a most precious resource. It is necessary and appropriate for each of us to pray for a replenishment of our own spiritual reserves so that we can continue to be a resource spreading the good things God has bestows upon us. Be a channel of peace, but be also a reservoir. Pray for rain: rain to provide water for our reservoirs and spiritual rain to provide for the spiritual reserves which we need.