By: Corinne DeLucenay, My New Journey with Prayer
“For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”
-St. Therese of Lisieux
College years are the years that “you find yourself.” You figure out who you are, and what you stand for. At least, that is we what think and are told. In reality, it is just the beginning of getting to know yourself. After graduating in May, I found myself learning more and more things about myself daily that I didn’t realize before. As I am transitioning in this new stage in my life, my eyes are open to a new perspective of seeing myself and others.
One of the things I thought I would have figured out in a more graceful manner is my prayer life. I thought, “Yay! I actually have more time now, it won’t be difficult like college sometimes was.” This is so very wrong. Even though, I, at times, struggled with my prayer life during undergrad, it was still easy to take a walk across campus to a chapel, or somewhere serene. Now, I have realized, that I have to make more of an effort. Not only do I have to find have a place, but my bigger issue: find the time. Somehow, during my time at Marian I could find some time. Even during my crazy hectic semesters or when I needed to have my little revamp on my prayer life, I found the time for prayer.
Now, there seems like there is not enough time in the day to fit everything. This is not a new feeling, but it is felt in a new way. Not only do I have to pay attention to my own time, but I also have to pay attention to the time to those around me in my community. I live with four others, and it is such a beautiful experience. I learn something new every day. Living with four others, now I have new challenges. Along with balancing my work schedule, I have to balance community time and personal time. I admit, I am definitely still learning, and I tend to choose community time after a day at work. This leaves me with little time to be intentional about prayer and other things. I do not get too bent out of shape because, I see community time as a time to grow in my faith, and I know the Lord is speaking to me through them. I see it as one form of my prayer life that is prominent.
I take my “difficulty” in truly setting time for intentional prayer throughout my week, besides Mass, as the Lord letting me know that is a choice. It is a choice to follow Jesus Christ. How humbling is that? The omniscient God has given me the opportunity to choose Him, each and every day. This not only means that I say “Amen, I believe,” but that I make sure I foster our relationship, by coming to Him in prayer.
I see it as a privilege that the Lord has called me to live a life of holiness. Since it is my choice to have a prayer life, I must work at it. Like many choices or decisions in life, it is not always easy. It takes time and effort, and you truly have to be committed. I have chosen to follow through with this commitment, allowing myself to falter.
In this new time in my life, there is so much room for growth and adventure, this includes my prayer life. In choosing to work on my prayer life, I feel the Lord calling me to be creative, to find new ways to encounter him each and every day. This call has had me to take initiative to find a Spiritual Director in my area. I have only had a couple of meetings with my new Spiritual Director, but I have already experienced the fruits of it. I find this particular part of my Spiritual life to be crucial. I am in such a searching time in my life, so to have someone mediating the Holy Spirit is such a blessing. I try to take time a few times a week to reflect on Scripture, pondering on the Lord’s Word in Lectio Divina. I do this to try to take time to truly listen to the Lord, and try to drown out my controlling thoughts on my life.
A new devotion to Mary has been brought to the surface, and I give Marian some credit to this. Many things led up to this, and looking back, it is quite obvious. Mary has been a prominent presence in my whole life, not only due to my Catholic faith, but in so many other ways. Because of this, I have chosen to consecrate myself to Mary, and have new found appreciation devotion to Our Mother. Through this I have become closer to Jesus, and learn more about her. It has added a new dimension to my prayer life that is beautiful, and challenges me as a daughter of God.
In the ways I am trying to enrich my prayer life, I am constantly fumbling. I either miss my opportunity for a good prayer time choosing something else instead, or I rush through my prayer like it is a chore. When these moments happen, I try to pause and take time to talk with the Lord. I try not to worry how short or long my prayer time is, and let him know that I am in this relationship for the long haul. I am still learning. When I stumble, I often remember the words of St. Therese: speak to the Lord from the depths of my heart, even the simplest of cry, whether sorrow or joy, is showing God you love him. That is what I am attempting to do: showing God that I truly do love him.