For many, this time of quarantine has brought about a season in the desert. We have been deprived of the sacraments and the physicality of our faith. We haven't had the daily rhythm that we had grown so accustomed to.
Yet, I believe this is a time to renew our faith and expand our interior life. Particularly, our intimacy with Christ. Before the shutdown, I found myself walking the walk of a "good" Catholic. Daily Mass, frequent Confession, adoration, and any other Spokane Catholic events I could attend. (My wife loves to say I'm a sacrament junkie - she's not wrong). BUT, how often did I show up to Mass or to adoration with a heart that wasn't prepared to truly receive or adore my Lord? How many times was I just going through the motions? How many rosaries did I pray with only my lips and not my heart?
There is no lack of wrote prayers in our Catholic tradition. And I wholeheartedly recommend them. But if we don't tap into a personal and intimate connection with the Lord, then I believe we will miss out on the fruits of those prayers. I believe something similar can be said for the sacraments. If our faith journey simply becomes a routine, are we really living a vibrant relationship with Christ that non-Catholics will look at and want to know more about? Being careful of a purely emotional or sentimental approach to faith, I ask these questions hoping for a deeper relationship with Christ not a more sporadic one (Ephesians 3:14).
SO! Unsure of how much quarantine time remains, I am challenging first of all myself and secondly, the youth of NCYM to spend 10 minutes a day for 10 days in quiet, intimate conversation with God. **Starting Wednesday 5/20**
We see Jesus doing this often in the Gospels when He goes off to a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35). He teaches us how to pray as He says, "go into your room (your soul), close the door and pray to your Father" (Matthew 6:6). Below is a general set of guidelines for this challenge. I am similar to the baby in the picture of this blog post in regards to prayer but I hope these steps will guide your 10 minutes each day.
Find a quiet place. This might require a walk outside if there is no quiet place in your house.
Set a timer for 10 minutes (this takes your mind off of how long it will have been midway through).
The first minute or two might best be spent in quieting your mind, resting from the dreams, the worries, and plans for the day and focusing on Christ present within you.
The rest of the time I challenge you to talk intimately with the Lord and listen for His response. Speak to Him as your closest friend. Speak honestly and wait to hear back from Him.
Ask, seek, knock. He is closer to us than we imagine and speaking clearly if only we would quiet ourselves enough to hear His voice.
I am excited to hear next Tuesday night how the challenge is going for you all.
Peace and Blessings NCYM Family,