OCTOBER 5, 2020 MONDAY
Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Dear Church Family,
Some of you have asked about prayer practices that traditionally lead people closer to God. Paul writes that God’s will is that we pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances.
As I walk in our neighborhood, I notice signs in yards that say, “Thank you Jesus.” As with Mother Teresa and her first words of the morning – “Good morning Jesus,” it’s a quick connection that draws me, at least in that moment, closer to God. “What am I thankful for, God?” That opens me into a different world. How better to begin your morning and end your day than talking to Jesus, falling asleep in his presence as you say goodnight.
There are “amateurs” — like prayers as a substitute for studying for Spanish in college. In Milwaukee I became friends with a business man, who was between jobs. He asked if he could pray at noon during the week in the nave, and faithfully did so – leaning into God and laying out his concerns for his life and family in a time of crisis. You may whisper a quick prayer for a child, or grandchild – for some special need or concern a friend, or you, have.
And then there’s a second tier – the professionals, people who are cloistered, trained, spend hours daily in prayer – and seem so far beyond us. Mark Thibodeaux, S.J., a spiritual director, author and priest, says there is “no divide between the marketplace and the monastery” – the frantic pre-exam prayer of the college kid and the quiet contemplative prayer of the monk.”
The beginning place for everyone – listen and pay attention to a desire in your heart. That’s God’s way of reaching you. We either ignore – or answer. That desire for relationship and companionship with the Father never leaves. You may be too distracted and busy with other things. You may think it’s some ear or mind worm that won’t leave you alone. In the words of St. Augustine – our hearts are restless until they rest in God.
Today, give it some thought. Even better, if not unceasingly as Paul suggests, make a few moments and ask God for help. Ask the Lord if he wants to “talk” with you — not in words necessarily, but awareness – meeting that inner desire for his presence. To be in that zone, realizing even you’re distracted, asleep, or asking for help – God is always on call. Do more than think about prayer, telling yourself you must be more committed. Just do it. God waits – for our openness and invitation to welcome the gifts he waits to give us. This is God’s will for you — in every moment you live.