The fall is going by so fast, often it feels like I’m only playing catch up. But over the past few months I’ve learned or relearned a few things that I think might be inspirational, so I’d like to share them with you:
- You can only find silence by being silent. No music, no internet, no tv. They will all distract your prayer time.
- Making time for prayer is not negotiable. I’ve had lots and lots of late nights, but even then it is not a good excuse. Without taking time for prayer, I feel so much more alone and distant from Jesus. Without this time, it’s hard to continue striving for virtue and generally live like a Christian.
- Regularly reading scripture is not negotiable, especially the Gospels and New Testament Letters. They help me stay aware of Jesus’ words for us all, and they especially can help you pray better as you can do Lectio Divina with the scriptures.
- Set the bar high for yourself. God didn’t make us so that we could fit in but rather that we could achieve excellence in all that we do, and glorify Him in the process. The devil would love for us all to do “just enough” prayer, effort, service. It’s usually not enough! Jesus told us to put ourselves last after everyone else in service.
- Prayer isn’t about making us feel good. Mass isn’t about making us feel good. Instead, they are opportunities to grow closer with the Lord and conform our will with His. I especially have struggled with prayer, and it forced me to concentrate even harder. Just as you would want someone that you love to show you that they care about you, sometimes God will test us to see just how much we care about Him.
- I only tell you that I want you to pray and read scripture and go to mass and all of that awesome stuff because I know that it helps. It can seem like a burden, yes. But just because getting your wisdom teeth pulled hurts doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. It’s for our good in the end.
- The election is coming up and it can be a very heavy topic. It is very important that we vote, and vote well, but there are things that we can do that are more important than arguing over candidates. We must start with the building blocks, like belief in God, belief in Jesus, and following Jesus. I’d love for a certain candidate to win the election. But what I’d love more is for the world to come to know our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. He is the reason why life has meaning! He is the one who can save souls!
- Jesus called us all to evangelize. But we can only give what we already have. Evangelization is sharing the person and message of Jesus Christ. Do you know Jesus, do you have a personal relationship with Him? As we come to know Jesus more, we will fall ever more in love with Him and will desperately want others to know about Him as well! So before we can effectively evangelize, we must be evangelized ourselves.
- Not all of the pressure is on us in evangelization and things like that. God is only asking that we are open to His plans, and He will bless all that we do. I have a couple of examples for this one. The first is this Koinonia retreat that I was blessed to be on team for: there were talks and meals and masses, but really, we didn’t do anything to influence the hearts of the participants. They themselves kept their hearts open and that was all that God needed, He showed them His immense love for them and there were changed lives because of it. Another example is how I’ve been praying for opportunities to share my faith. God answered that one not once but in two very significant conversations in the past week. It goes to show that all that we have to do is open the door and from there He will do the rest of the work. We just have to have the faith in Him and trust.
- I am continuing to seek to love others more and more intentionally, but I’m not even close to where I should be yet. Love causes us to deny ourselves in favor of others. It’s tough. But how can we say that we love God if we don’t even love His people?
What lessons have you been learning?