Thursday, October 25, 2007

TRIAL BY FIRE

Have you already made a mental list of what you would throw in the car to save if a forest fire was heading your way? I did. And I am afraid my car would look something like the Clampets on their way to Beverly Hills if I were successful in packing everything on that list. Wanting to save the hand carved wooden statues in the church alone would fill the car past capacity. (Whom would I leave behind?)

Actually you probably make similar decisions every day. There are only twenty-four hours in a day and usually twenty-five hours worth of things to do. All of a sudden you are forced to evaluate what stays and what goes, what is essential and what must be left to providence. Early casualties are usually sleep, eating well, and exercise. Unfortunately prayer is also on the quick to ax list. God, like family, has to always be there waiting for us and so it easy to think, “He will be here tomorrow,” and put Him on the back burner.

I’m no less guilty in that strategy than anybody else. In the seminary they gave us a number of years to get used to saying the Liturgy of the Hours before we were required to pray it daily. There was some wisdom in this as we came to realize the importance of prayer on our own. Late at night, studying for a final, having much more to cover and eyelids already growing heavy someone would say, “We haven’t even prayed Evening Prayer yet,” and there was a great temptation to say, “I think we could miss it just this once.”

Sometimes we did, and sometimes we didn’t. Then over time we noticed something interesting: when we stopped to pray, the evening progressed more quickly and smoothly. When we skipped prayer, the work we set out to finish took much longer and was more painful. On our own then we learned never to sacrifice prayer on the altar of business.

A saint once said, “People should pray for an hour a day. Very busy people who do not have time to pray should pray for two hours.” When one thinks of all that a pope has to do and how much of their day is spent in prayer and how much they still accomplished should alone give us pause to think twice before jettisoning prayer.

When the fire is coming and we can only fit the essentials on the calendar before taking off on our day, make sure there is room for prayer. It is an essential. It is not one more thing to do; it is one more person with you to help you with your load.



Thank you for your kind words yesterday as one of the casualties of busy week at the parish was the blog post!

2 comments:

Adoro te Devote said...

Great post!

I've been thinking about prayer a lot lately (maybe because I'm studying it?), and considering how much I really pray. Not enough. Not nearly enough.

At work, the adoration chapel is right down the hall, and even a few moments in the main church is readily available. But there are days I don't spend more than 5 minutes. Why?

No excuse. But when I have something big to prepare for, I'm busy crying at Jesus' feet. When things are going well,I don't thank him or acknowledge him enough.

Yet when I do take that time...things go well!

You're so right.

Oh, and I empathize with your busy-ness....my blog posts and replies have been sacrificed, too.

Adrienne said...

Oh sure, something else to feel guilty about. I am always having to speak to my pastor about this problem in my life.

adoro - your absence has been missed but we understand.

Oh, and the first thing I would take would be my two dogs and two cats.