Or maybe something big changes in our life, like a new job, marriage or baby and suddenly the time and routine which we’d formerly devoted to prayer, is now consumed by duties too important to neglect. We’re overwhelmed and it’s easy enough to let the prayer slip into whatever time and space is left over.
As for myself, I justified my recent neglect of private prayer by saying, “But I go to Mass almost every day. Isn’t that good enough?” No! The Mass is the chief or central act of communal worship in the Catholic Church and there is nothing which can replace it. I would not miss any opportunity to go to daily Mass, however, it is not a substitute for my individual prayer time with God. I need both. I need to go away from everyone and spend time alone with the Father—just as Jesus did so often, as we are repeatedly told in the Gospels. When I do this, I find a world within myself where He dwells. I discover that still small voice.
We are all on a spiritual journey. For most of us, I suspect, it isn’t along a superhighway. I know I’m traveling the back roads. Lately, I think I’m not even on a road at all. It feels like God has taken me out of any motorized vehicle and is leading me along an unexplored path through a wooded area. He has me by the hand but I can’t see the way ahead at all. Maybe it is night time or He could have me blindfolded. In any event, the effect is the same; I’m completely dependent on Him to take me where He wants me to go. For someone who is a planner and organizer, this is not a comfortable position to be in. I have to trust Him utterly. I can’t stop praying—not because I’m good or self-disciplined but more out of a sense of desperation.
I don’t know if this means my prayers are less efficacious because they are as necessary as drinking water or breathing, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. I do wonder sometimes how many different levels we pray on. When I am very relaxed and praying the rosary, I’ll be contemplating Our Lord’s actions in one of the mysteries and yet I am also aware of being very conscious of my plea to Our Lady, “Pray for us!” Today when that happened, I wondered if one was the spirit and the other the mind or if they were both just simultaneous thoughts of the mind. I suppose that's not really important either ... just my random musings. Of course, that’s not to say, there aren’t other times, when I’m not concentrating on any level, so please don’t think I don’t have my fair share of distractions. I do!
I’m still very much a child of prayer, taking stumbling steps.
Oh Jesus, You have brought us safely thus far. Please continue to watch over us as we continue on our individual and collective journeys, always traveling toward You, the only and ultimate destination.