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I’ve been meaning to write about this for several days, but this post by Fr. Longenecker has inspired me.
During the last couple of months, I struggled very hard with prayer. I just felt like I never had enough time and energy to pray consistently every day. In the last couple of weeks, however, I’ve really set my mind to rectifying that. I decided that I had to get my priorities straight: God and my religious life and my duties as a Christian and especially as a Lay Dominican simply have to come first. Without them as my center, I can’t possibly be myself, and my life doesn’t mean as much. How can they if I neglect the very source of my life and the vocation He has given me?
So I just set my mind to it that, at the very least, I was going to pray Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours every single day without fail. It wouldn’t matter what else was going on, it wouldn’t matter how I may feel or how tired I may be–I would’t leave home until I’d prayed, and I wouldn’t go to sleep until I’d prayed. It was very difficult at first! I always felt so rushed and distracted… and very tempted to rush past praying. But I forced myself to just sit down, take my book and pray. And not just speed through it, but take all the time necessary.
After a few days, I found that a strange and wonderful thing happens when I take time for prayer… it is as if time slows down! And the more rushed I feel, or the more tired or distracted–i.e., the more effort it takes me to slow down and turn my mind to prayer–the more time seems to slow down while I am at prayer. And the more time I seem to have for everything else I need to do! It has really given me much more peace and relaxation in my life! Over the last couple of weeks, I feel like I have gotten so much more accomplished, and in a more whole-hearted way!
I don’t really know how to explain it, other than that God provides for those who put Him first! He provides not only material things, but also time. And He provides much more of it than we could ever ask for!
Since that first week of praying Morning and Evening Prayer every day, I have also found more time to pray the Rosary and attend Mass more often during the week, to read Scripture more, and to pray more in the course of my days, whether at work or home or driving or walking at the gym or grocery shopping. Turning to God in the midst of any old circumstance has become more natural to me. And I feel like I am living my life more fully and more properly. Everything is more ordered–not in the sense of being restricted, but rather in the sense of everything working more smoothly, and resulting in greater peace and liberty. And what do peace and liberty mean for humans? That’s right–happiness! It is ours for the taking.