Monday, February 25, 2013

Letters of hope and consolation #21

The desire to establish a “prayer schedule” for your life is one that you will never regret. If you remain faithful to it you will realize the great blessings that come from having a certain structure of prayer in your daily life and those times you have set aside for prayer will be an oasis for you in the midst of your busy life.

Before you embark upon discerning the amount of time you will pray everyday and which spiritual practices you will adopt you must begin by simply asking the question, “Is the thing I’m considering even a possibility?” For example, attending daily mass is an excellent way to grow in intimacy with God, however, for some people, because of their work, family, health, etc it might not be possible. Therefore, to try and force this could cause a great deal of anxiety and unnecessary stress in your life that can become counterproductive in your relationship with God and with other people.

Before you make any decisions about your spiritual life you want to first ask the question, “Is what I am considering possible given my vocation, situation or state in life at this moment?” It would absurd for a married man to attempt to pray as much as a cloistered monk and just as absurd for a cloistered monk to pray like a married man. Hence, it might mean that you will not be able to adopt all the holy and pious practices other people are doing. The good news is that pious practices are not guarantees for holiness, whereas accepting and doing the will of God is.

This principle could be summed up in the phrase, “obedience to reality.” The circumstances of our life, our vocation and the situation we find ourselves in right now reveal to us just how much God requires of us in terms of prayer and meditation. Therefore, as you begin to make some decisions about your prayer schedule begin with the most credible place, reality.

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR

St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY
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