By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB
In my part of the world right now, a beautiful blanket of sparkling snow covers field and lake, bush and path. Deer tracks connect woods and parking lot. Icicles cling to the bell tower.
This quiet beauty fills me up … especially during prayers. Our chapel is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the woods and lake and path. We really commune with God’s creation as we pray!
I know that it’s counter-cultural to spend my time (when I’m not teaching preschool or working around the monastery) in prayer, but it’s my life.
In some sense, it should be everyone’s life.
That is, as followers of Jesus, we are called to pray always. Toward that goal, we must face and resist the things that deceive us and pull us away from Christ. Things like money and addictions and anger and material items.
Sometimes the things we must resist come in the form of friends who ask us to do things we know are wrong for us.
Sometimes they come in the form of inertia … weak will … even some people.
Consider Jesus’ statement in Luke, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!”
This can be literal, yes, but also metaphorical. We can talk ourselves into thinking a relationship or experience (that we know, deep down, is wrong) is straight from heaven. (Have you ever heard the saying, “It feels to good to be true”?)
The Blessed John Henry Newman said, “You must consider that it is your very calling to bear and to withstand. This is what you offer to God, as a sort of return for his great mercies to you.”
So what does that mean on a day-to-day basis?
It might mean being more active in our faith by attending Mass on Sunday and setting aside time, daily, for personal prayer. It might mean serving on parish council or singing in choir. It might mean serving people in need.
Make time for silence … God’s language.
Our culture is not concerned with these matters. It’s concerned with fashion, recreation and material goods. These are fine in their place.
But as Christians, we are called to put God first … every single day. To make Christ the center of our lives. To listen to and embrace God’s call.
What a great New Year’s resolution!
If you think you may be called to more, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk! 🙂