The season of Lent is a Catholic liturgical season consisting of forty days of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and penance beginning at Ash Wednesday and concluding at sundown on Holy Thursday (so we can get even more intense for the shortest liturgical season: the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday). ZZZZZZ I apologize if you dozed off. That description of Lent, while true, may seem dry. We too often limit what the Church offers to its basic understanding. When we apply that to our spiritual life, we can begin to doze off. More accurately, we limit its effectiveness in our life. What do I mean?
Let’s simply analyze prayer. With our busy lifestyles, we limit prayer to an occasional exercise, a set of words, or a ritual. But prayer is so much more than that. Let me give you an example. Sometimes after a long day when I am driving back to the rectory at night, I see some folks on Woodward who are riding their bikes in the snow or rain; some are pushing all their belongings in a grocery cart, or are exposed to the elements sitting on the curb waiting for the bus. My heart goes out to them and I often pray for them as I shut the door behind me and climb into a warm bed. We have homes that shelter our bodies and offer us security. When I pray, it helps me in my mind’s eye to visually sit in a place of comfort. Before I invite the Lord in, I design the floor, the room, a balcony with a beautiful view, sometimes a roaring fire in a fireplace, a comfortable chair, etc. Then I invite the Lord to join me.
I believe prayer is a home for the soul. Without prayer, our souls are no better off than those folks out on Woodward. Prayer as “home” offers continuity, permanence, honesty and earnestness. We enter the house as a seeker who needs something, but we exist as a witness. After real prayer, we leave as a person who more clearly understands our mission. We can enter as a stranger but emerge as a member of the family. Our soul can enter the “home” of prayer spiritually shapeless and inwardly disfigured but come out changed. We can rattle off rote words that don’t engage us and define it as prayer. We can pray without making prayer a “home” for the soul and prevent the prayer from having any real affect. But, when we let God in and listen to him, we can come forth made whole. After real prayer we are changed.
So this Lent, let’s change things up.
Despite doubts and hesitations, God is always inviting our soul in. When we do, we emerge a little more at peace with the world and ourselves. We grasp our mission more fully and handle the pain and struggle in a healthier way. When we pray, let’s make it more than just a set of words. If your prayer seems lacking, create a safe place, a “home” for your innermost being to be with God. Speak intimately to him and let him speak to you. Let your prayer be a “home” for your soul and find a place of rest, shelter and peace. See and hear God and face the challenge to learn and change. What is he calling you to do with your life?
God Bless, Fr. J.J.
P.S. You are always welcome to come to the various prayer opportunities offered here at the Mother Church!
Morning Mass: Monday through Saturday at 8 AM
EXPANDED AVAILABILITY: Exposition of the Eucharist ~ come for a few minutes or an hour!
- Mondays from 8:30 AM – 5 PM
- Thursday from 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
- First Friday of every month from 7 AM – 8 AM