Have you been indifferent to a choice?
I don’t mean this in a negative way ( a who could care less way) but say it with a positive tone.
In praying about some recent events in our lives, I came to feel an indifference towards the result. Indifferent as in experiencing the inner, well, freedom I guess you would call it, to be open to God’s will and wherever that may lead. To not put all my cares and wishes and hopes in one option. To say… Okay, God, I am happy with either choice, whatever is your will.
In Ignatian spirituality, to be indifferent means to choose the will of God rather than my own. To choose what will bring me closer to God.
Now, this indifference over a few recent situations doesn’t mean that I am perfect spiritually. Or that I feel this indifference over everything. Far from it.
It shows, instead, the power and graces of prayer.
And of devotion to our Blessed Mother.
We are taught to love and say the Rosary with great devotion; let us be faithful to this our first love – for it will bring us closer to our Heavenly Mother…..Cling to the Rosary as the creeper clings to the tree… Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light, her private writings.
I am finding that persistence in prayer slowly, gradually, changes me …and my natural inclinations to be not-so-nice.
Well, I am sure that is obvious to most people but I have had to learn it the long way. To persevere in prayer regardless of feeling. To pray, even if prayer seems a penance, even if I would rather just get up and chat and talk. Or cry.
Prayer with perseverance means that I learn self control. Our Lady brings me to Her Son, but it comes with a cost. A little bit of dying to self. Of doing what I don’t want. Of being nice when I don’t want to be. Of being uncomfortable. Of praying through pain.
I want to smile at Jesus and so hide if possible the pain and darkness of my soul even to Him. Mother Teresa again.
Praying the Rosary, clinging to the Rosary, takes the focus off me and off what I want in a situation. Takes the focus off even my own prayer intentions. Gives me a vehicle to forget about me ( Deo Gratias) and to just be, with Our Lord and His Mother, in prayer. To offer this prayer, and the other Morning and Evening Prayers of the Divine Office, for others. And not for me.
It is not all about me. A real revelation.
The Divine Office, that and praying the Rosary, reminds me of this fact. These prayers unite my prayers with the community of believers. They are a discipline and a grace.
The Divine Office (or the Liturgy of the Hours) is the public, daily prayer of the Church. Jesus said to “Pray continually and never lose heart.” ( Luke 18:1)
So, the Divine Office is the Church’s response of praying unceasingly throughout the day.
When I pray the Divine Office, I join with the Church in prayer. I participate in the prayer of Christ, in His prayer for the salvation of souls. I am not praying for myself and for my day but for the needs of others, of the family, of the world.
There are days when the psalms I pray might be expressing an emotion different from that which I am experiencing. But the prayers of the Divine Office, the intention of praying this, and of praying the Rosary, keep in my mind the thought that I, that we, are praying as a Church. As I pray, in communion with others praying these prayers throughout the world, the exact same prayers, not me-centred petitions or a shopping list of wishes, I am given the grace of truly praying in communion, of offering up the prayer of someone else who might be in great pain and sorrow, or of someone who might be giving praise to God.
So, perseverance in prayer has helped me, is helping me. And helps my family, for a mother and wife’s prayer life is closely interwoven with the life and heart of the family.
I heard one writer, a mother, refer to praying the Divine Office as a “safety net” – the prayers catch you when you feel you are sinking, are falling, when things in the family are going right, when things in the family are less than right. Praying the Divine Office lets you fall, safely, in prayer, into the arms of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. With the rhythm of the prayers and of the liturgical seasons. With the familiarity of the Psalms. With perseverance and imperfection and with love.
I don ‘t always pray perfectly. I don’t usually reach that point of (Jesuit described) indifference. I am often self centred. I have not reached spiritual perfection.
But prayer is teaching me many things. Is giving God’s grace to my family. Is showing me Christ. Is uniting me with the Church, her liturgy, her prayers. Me, an often too busy, too sarcastic wife and mother. Who fails to think before she speaks and acts and then regrets her choice. Who is brought to her knees in prayer.
If prayer and perseverance in prayer can teach the recalcitrant me oh so many things, imagine how it helps my family, my friends, those other, more gentle mothering souls.
I am ready to accept whatever He gives and to give whatever He takes with a big smile. Mother Teresa.