Monday, March 19, 2012

Growing Closer to God

I find myself screening God's calls
Because it's Lent and I am lousy at giving things up, I decided to add something to my day instead.  I have been praying "the little hours" of the Divine Office.  The little hours are the times of prayer other than the big three: Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer.  Also called Daytime Prayer, the little hours are short sets of Psalm readings and prayers that can be completed in about 7-10 minutes at a time.  In the Benedictine tradition, these prayers are recited at 9 AM, Noon and 3 PM and in the common vernacular are referred to as Midmorning Prayer, Midday Prayer and Midafternoon Prayer.

I have been trying to remember to pray these prayers since Ash Wednesday.  I started off really well.  For three days in a row, I missed nothing.  I set my cell phone alarm and would stop where ever I was and say my prayers.  But then, the weekend happened.  There is nothing more devastating to a schedule than fun.

Since the first weekend of Lent, I have been struggling to get back on track.  I will have good days and then there are days like today, when I turn off my alarm and think, "Oh, I'll pray as soon as I finish this one last thing."  The problem is that the "one last thing" always turns into something more involved and then I forget all about my prayers.

This brings me to my point.  I have been thinking a lot about God recently and my relationship with Him.  I have wanted, even desired, to come closer to God since Christmas.  I can feel the longing in my heart, but I still seem to be at such a distance!  During our Lenten Afternoon of Reflection, Msgr. Osborn even echoed some of my thoughts on the subject and I thought, "Yes!  That's it!"

When I am in a relationship with someone, be they a friend, a lover, a child or other family member, if I want to see them, I make time for them.  No matter what I am doing, if I can drop it, I will.  This is especially true for my husband (or in days past, my boyfriend/fiance).  Not so with God.  He has to fit in around everything else.  That's why I picked to add this Lenten devotion; to make myself more accountable to God and fit everything else in around Him and not the other way around.

Mother Angelica often refers to God as "your first love" and it is true.  Before anyone knew you had been conceived, God loved you.  He loved you so much that He gave you life!  He created you as a unique and wonderful person.  There is no one like you anywhere else in the world and he made it that way just because He loves you that much.  So, if that's true, then He should have first pick of your time and attention.  I've found that He's pretty generous, too.  I always have time for everything that needs to be done, if I have this in the right order.

When we enter into a relationship with God, he wants to be the attentive lover of our souls.  He wants to shower us with gifts.  He wants to talk with us and visit with us.  The problem with me is that, so often, I am screening His phone calls.

When God calls me, just to chat, I on the other end of the line (if I answer at all) saying,
"Mmm Hmm....
"Could you not watch one hour with me?"
Oh yeah, sure...Ummmm...
You know, I'm really busy so I'll get back to you.
'K Bye!"

Am I really engaged with Him?  Am I hanging on His every word like I would if he was my boyfriend or am I rushing through the conversation so I can check "prayer" off my list?

So while I find myself wanting to come closer to God, I have busily put up walls.  "Oh, uh, sorry...This is MY time." Or "Just let me do one more thing..."  And I am finding, it's not just with God.  It's with everyone.

C.S. Lewis says in "The Weight of Glory" that the holiest thing that you will encounter on this earth (next to the Blessed Sacrament) is the person sitting next to you.  If that's true, then I have a lot of work to do in the area of honoring the Holy Presence.  I am always in a hurry to get to the next thing.  Even if that means giving the person who needs my attention "the bum's rush".

If I can put God in His rightful place in my life (The Most Important Person) then I think I will be taking a step in the proper direction.  I get the feeling that everything else flows from that relationship.

Please pray for me and I'll pray for you, too.

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