Dedication to Prayer by Karen
|Dark Night of the Soul|
by St. John of the Cross
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2725) clearly states that "prayer is a battle" and that "the spiritual battle of the Christian life is inseparable from the battle of prayer".
Maintaining a routine of daily prayer is hard...really hard, but it's necessary for our spiritual health. When people say that they don't have time, what they're really saying is that other things are more important. I encourage you to make the Lord a priority in your life; to dedicate yourself to a routine of personal prayer.
Being faithful to our commitment to daily prayer requires us to fight each battle as it comes: the battle against distractions that prevent us from focusing on the Lord, the battle against the temptation to "do it later", the battle against disappointment, frustration and other emotions that might arise when we can't hear the Lord, we can't feel His presence, and it seems like He isn't answering our prayers. At times, personal prayer leaves us feeling peaceful, encouraged, and full of joy. Other times, we experience confusion, sadness, or worse yet... empty nothingness. That's normal.
I've been thinking about this idea of "just showing up" for the last month or so as I've been doing my personal prayer. I awake extra early so that I have adequate quiet time before the rest of my family gets up. As I watch the sunrise, I share whatever is on my heart with Jesus. Now, keep in mind that when I'm lying in bed I have no idea whether the sunrise is going to be brilliant or blah. I have to get out of bed, go out to the porch, and wait. Sometimes I can tell from the first glimpse of color that the sky is going to transform into a stunning palette. Other times it seems like nothing special, but ends up being spectacular. And of course, there are the days that are nothing but cloudy grey skies. This is all very analogous to my prayer time. Some days it seems like it's going to be great, but I end up feeling empty and alone. Other days I begin my prayers out of obligation, feeling certain that I'm just going to have a one-sided conversation, and then something really powerful happens. Just like my inability to predict the prettiness of the sunrise, I have no way of knowing what the Lord has for me on a given day. The most important thing is that I show up, do my best to give Him my attention and love, and trust that He's going to give me exactly what I need that day.
Following are some photos of the sunrises I saw as I sat on my front porch contemplating the importance of just showing up.
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Thank you and may God bless you and all those