As we all get older in age there is something that happens universally to almost everybody; we become forgetful. Some of those things we forget might be trivial, while others may be more serious. Regardless of whether something is trivial or serious forgetfulness poses a serious danger. Though it might be a blessing to forget some of the bad things that have happened to us the opposite can occur; we may also forget the good things that have happened to us. By forgetting the good things we have experienced in life we become more susceptible to doubt, skepticism and fear.
One of the greatest dangers in the spiritual life is forgetfulness; forgetting what God has done in your life, how he has spoken to you in different stages of your life, forgetting those moments where God felt close to you, where the presence of God was undeniable, or those moments when God spoke to you through a friend, a spouse or where you had a profound experience of him in prayer or meditation. Everyone has had these or similar experiences with God. Do you remember yours? How many times have you and I “forgotten” these experiences because of the busyness of life or because we are experiencing a dry period in our spiritual life? Because you may have forgotten all the graces God has poured out on you over the years you now doubt his love for you and his nearness to you.
The reality is God is speaking to you every moment of the day; however, every moment will not always appear as a profound encounter with him. If we are honest most of the moments of our day and our experiences of them are routine and “ordinary.” Yet God is still active throughout your day since it would be impossible for him to disappear from your life even for a second.
So what can you do to help prevent this forgetfulness?
A practice that you might find helpful is to record your experiences of God in a journal. Every time you have a profound experience of God write it down in a journal so that you never forget it. In this journal you could write words from Scripture that spoke to you in a certain moment, something a friend shared with you that touched your heart or any experience that helped remind you of God’s love and his nearness to you. Then when we are in the “desert” or just going through difficult times we can open our journals and be reminded of how faithful God has been to us over the years. By remembering God’s actions in our life we become less likely to forget all that he has done for us, which gives us confidence and peace about the present moment and all that God might be asking of us in the future.
God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY