Getting Into the Swing of Things

I started my job as the new Director of the St. Joseph Educational Center (SJEC) on August 1. The first seven days could be described as a major information download, as co-workers and colleagues helped me acclimatize to my new office. This process included learning everything from how to order file folders and pens, how to program my office phone, how to find the bathroom, to understanding my budget and planning the Center’s calendar for the next two months. During that whole week I was totally dependent on others to help me keep my head above water—a difficult feeling/reality to handle.
Needless to say, this process was dizzying and a little overwhelming. I would love to tell you that in the midst of all of this busyness and adjustment, I took the time to pray. The truth is, however, that I prayed very little that week. I certainly could have prayed more. (But I don’t want to get caught up, here, in the vicious cycle of ‘could’ve, should’ve’ so I will move on with my point.)
Looking back on that first week, I can see that I was not being as attentive to my relationship with Jesus as I was to the details of my new job. I guess you could say that I concentrated more on refilling my coffee cup than on refilling my soul with the peaceful presence of Christ that comes with staying in prayerful contact with Him. Isn’t it funny that sometimes, especially when we are feeling most in need and most dependent, prayer is the last thing on our minds? Asking “Why is this?” is not as productive a question as, “What can I do about this?” The Book of Job taught me that.
One thing we are always in control of, no matter what is happening in our lives, is when we choose to pray. And when things become hectic and disorienting for us, it is important to remember that prayer is what grounds us, because it grounds us in Christ, our Rock (Ps 62:2). By opening up the prayerful lines of communication with Christ, the very channels of grace in our lives, we become more centered, organized, and focused.
This is not a self-help technique, nor is it a formula for success, at least not “success” by any worldly standard. Rather, prayer in times of distress is to admit that we are not commanders of our destinies, controllers of our worlds. It is the way we set our little, personal worlds right again by acknowledging that we are not God. And thank God for that, right? Acknowledging this single truth is freeing. (And the truth shall set you free (Jn 8:32).) It puts the soul at ease.
Prayer that arises out of a felt dependence on God, which makes up the bulk of the Psalms, reminds us that we no longer have to feel like Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders because we remember once again that it is already resting comfortably in the hands of God. Prayer is remembering who we are and who we are not. Likewise, it is remembering who God is and is not. Knowing that God is in charge of the world, and indeed has overcome it, frees us to be once again in charge of our lives, or at least a little part of it . . . the part that calmly and freely chooses to pray in the midst of the busyness and chaos of life. And, if you ask me, that’s one of the most important parts.
(A great resource on incorporating prayer into your life is Pause for Thought: Making Time for Prayer, Jesus, and God, by Gerald O’Collins, SJ.)

By | 2016-08-05T14:07:38+00:00 August 5th, 2016|Bite-Sized Faith for Parents, Blogs|0 Comments

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