Wednesday, February 26, 2014

That's Amore

TMB #38: Daily Devotions

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Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?

Insert uneasy laughter. Maybe you didn't expect the question; maybe you don't like it. It's not a judgmental question - it's an honest one. It can be intimidating having that daily talk with God - which, of course, is what prayer is.

I've had to learn to trigger myself into praying, little reminders. The bells ring in the morning - a call to prayer. Prayers of thanksgiving before meals, and in the aversion of disaster(s). Prayers come easier when life is nipping at your heels; or maybe when all seems well, then you feel the bursting of a grateful heart as you acknowledge to whom you owe thanks. Daily mass, weekly confession, enjoying a beautiful moment (glory to God and his creation!), recognizing the gracious Lord who created us in his own image and wants you to know Him, because to know him is to love him.

To pray ceaselessly (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is to not wait for the right time to pray - it is to seize the moment, the opportunity to know God better, deeper, and more fully.

Sometimes those moments are small: here I am God; I showed up, God. Other moments are growing: God, how great are you; your work is mysterious, and thank you for including me (even though it can hurt).

Then there are the awe-invoking moments: thank you, thank you, thank you - the pain, the wait, the trust - it was all worth it. There are the sobering moments too: this doesn't make sense; this isn't getting better; are you there?; I love you.

I pray best with Scripture - it centers me. It speaks to me, new and deeper in my heart, every time. I love Scripture in the morning, the daily mass readings, and sharing the psalms with Grace before bed. Scripture is how we learn about God - his history with his people, his coming and going, his words, his glory, and his seriousness about us and our salvation.

For special days, I love novenas: nine days of the same prayer, same petition. I have a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but there are a lot of great novenas. I try to pray the rosary on walks with Grace {hey Mama Mary!}, and I'm starting to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet when a rosary seems too daunting.

Every evening, my husband and I pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and O My Jesus before bed. We started when we were engaged, shyly saying the words together over the phone, and moving into more confident, soul-sharing. The ability to pray with him opens our marriage to further graces. I try to pray with and for family members and friends, in the joyful spirit of our communion of saints.

There is always extemporaneous prayer - speaking aloud, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your words, and there are fixed prayers, for further meditation. Here are a few of my favorites:

And, especially, the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila:
Let nothing disturb you,Let nothing frighten you,All things are passing away:God never changes.Patience obtains all thingsWhoever has God lacks nothing;God alone suffices.
Praying does not need to be daunting, but, like anything worth doing, it takes practice, perseverance, and a want to know and please God. It is a conversation worth having.

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