New Year? How did that happen?

As I grow older, I am frequently reminded how quickly time goes by. The passing of Advent and the onset of a new year are just two of many examples. Suddenly it’s time for resolutions and changes — yet for me personally, I believe that this little tradition went by the wayside several years back. My liturgical calendar inspires my resolutions, not the turning over of a new year. The liturgical seasons offer us a variety of opportunities to get our spiritual house in order. And that’s not a bad thing. If you’ve read other posts that I’ve written or attended any of my workshops, you know that I emphasize prioritization. Seasons such as Lent and Advent give all of us the opportunity to reset our priorities (if they’ve become a bit skewed) and to attempt some new practices or to breathe new life into some old ones. I need these times to pull it all back together, year after year.

This morning, reading a brief article in This Day by Fr. James Martin, SJ entitled Teach us to Pray: Begin Where You Are, I was given a very important reminder about prayer that I tend to forget when the holidays consume me or work overwhelms me so I thought that it would be a good service to share that reminder with you today – as you are ‘resolving’ and starting fresh for 2019.

We don’t have to be ___________ in order to pray. You can pick any of the following words to fill in the blank in order to make that statement appropriate for you;

  • perfect
  • happy
  • focused
  • devout
  • holy
  • saintly
  • hopeful
  • cheerful
  • relaxed
  • educated
  • spiritual
  • on-task
  • free
  • ready

If need be, pick your own term — one that describes why you avoid or ‘forget’ to pray. Maybe a term that shares why you feel uncomfortable with prayer. Fr. Martin reminds us ‘God meets you where you are’. And he goes on to say that we, when dealing with a distracted friend or family member, practice understanding and compassion. We are happy to be together or to share our thoughts and feelings, despite the distractions. We are there for one another. But then he hits us with some great food for thought, so appropriate for today. He tells us that if we are able to muster up that sort of appropriate response, how much more so is our perfect and merciful God able to do just that for us.

In a nutshell, what it all boils down to and what we need to remember (and resolve to do) as we enter into 2019 is to pray. No matter where we are at, or how holy we feel or don’t feel, despite all of our distractions — pray. Sit down with God and try. What is important is being there. Relating. Communing. Sharing. Thanking. Praising. No matter what your day looks like or how you are feeling. No matter how often your mind wanders – prioritize prayer – even just a little time devoted to the effort will reap rewards that you probably can’t imagine and perhaps won’t even recognize … at first.

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