Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Our Lady of holy grounds

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."
Well said, Ferris.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Paramount Pictures, 1986)
It's true, life moves fast. We're all busier than ever these days with myriads of activities, responsibilities, and distractions. It's hard to know how to stop for a moment of peace so we don't miss it, but as busy as we are, we need that moment of peace, frequently...every day...probably throughout the day. The question is, how do we find it? Clearly, you've mistaken me for someone who knows, but since you're here, I might as well share what I do, try to do.

This is perfect timing, actually, because I just finished my morning cup of coffee. That also means I finished praying my daily Rosary. It's interesting that the Rosary has become my daily dedicated prayer time, first, because I'm a scripture nerd, so you'd think I'd place more emphasis on a period of Lectio Divina, and second, I have just never been able to get a good handle on so much rote prayer. Yet, this begins my day, focuses my mind, and orders my heart toward its Source (I capitalize that because I mean God Himself, in case that wasn't clear).

There are other moments of prayer throughout the day, usually those moments when, if you're attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, you stop and thank, praise, or for some us remedials of the spiritual life, just say, "Hi," acknowledging that the Spirit called, and you're not just screening your spiritual calls. Even if you don't know what to do after simply greeting Him, He can work with just that. Thank God...literally. Seriously, take a second and thank Him...right now. See? Done. Easy.
See that "done" up there? Yeah, I have a lot of those. They come in and go out through texts on my phone. Weird? Maybe, but they keep my prayer life adding fiber to your drinks when you get older. Like I said, I have a hard time setting aside prayer time because things get hectic, but I know I'm not the only one. Much like experts recommend having a "buddy system" to successfully maintain an active lifestyle, I thought, there's no reason why it wouldn't work to have someone to keep me honest about my daily prayer workout.

You wish you'd thought of it, I know...or uh, if you had, why didn't you tell me?

Anyway, I asked a friend, who I know is also trying to grow in greater faith and holiness, to keep me on track, and that I would do the same, in return. I began like a teenager driving a stick for the first time, stalling out over and over, but eventually, I fell into a rhythm. We text each other daily, "Done," or sometimes, "Hey, you'd better hurry up." It works pretty well.

Enter, coffee.

Coffee is also part of my daily schedule and has been for years. I generally only have one cup, but it's just enough to sit back and take a breath before the insanity of the day begins. It just so happens that the amount of coffee I drink, when drank one sip per prayer, takes exactly the same amount of time as it takes to pray a single Rosary (*mind blown*). Yep, as it turns out, there seems to be a religious connection with coffee...but then, you all knew that. It's no wonder our parish priest frequently jokes about his close friendship with St. Arbucks (I think they have a special corny jokes course in some seminaries).

Anyhow, special dedications to Adoration, prayer retreats, and spiritual direction are important, and we should absolutely work toward those, but for those just starting out or who have issues with focus and consistency, maybe just invite Our Lady to a cup of coffee in the morning. Tell her how crazy things are, how you're not sure if you're raising saints or monsters, or how you just wish the "right one" would come along (job, future spouse, whatever), the same as you do with your close friends. She knows a little something about how crazy life can get, and like many earthly mothers, she'll go back and share all of your personal stuff with her Best Friend...yep, more capitalization; you know what that means. She'll tell Him, and He'll take care of the rest.

Relax, enjoy that cup of coffee...or tea, if you're one of those, and may your cup runneth over...or not. Coffee and tea stains can be tough.