Last time we spoke, I told you of my prayer life and of one of a study I'm doing for Advent. In doing the study for the last couple days I have been remembering things. Mainly, my early prayer life after CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) retreat that I attended 8 years ago. This retreat lit my fire, my zeal, my zest for God. I saw these women who had such a personal relationship with God and Mary and Jesus and the Saints. I wanted that! After this retreat, I couldn't get enough. I was in every study I could find. I collected prayers like trading cards. I prayed wrote prayers, I cried out to God often. I spoke with Him all the time. I saw Jesus just about everywhere I turned. I learned to bind my pain/struggles with the souls in purgatory. I was much more sincere in my prayers.
What happened between then and now? Why did I forget about the souls in purgatory? Surely, I have had many aches and pains, headaches and thanks to the accident, back pain. I could've bound those with the souls in purgatory. No, my prayer life changed. I grew in a different sort of way. I once heard Fr. Corrapi say that when people would ask him to pray for them, he would immediately say, in his head 'I place you in the hands of the virgin Mary and all the angels and the saints'. He said something to the effect that it was the most powerful thing he could do and his prayers wouldn't do any better than theirs So, I started saying that whenever I ask people what I could pray for them. A) It was quicker and b) sometimes I might forget to pray for that person and then I'd feel bad so I'd ask God to pray for all those who asked me too (and sometimes, I still do that). But, I noticed that for me, that wasn't exactly a sincere prayer. Sure, God still hears me, but inside my heart it just wasn't the same.
My prayer life, now, while different, is deeper and more shallow at the same time. It's shallow because I shy away from wrote prayers most of the time. I want to use *my* words not someone else's (although, wow, have you read some of the Psalms? I've been using some of those, they're amazing!). It's deeper in the respect that I am still learning how to pray. This study is teaching me more about myself. Yesterday's reading was from Phillipians. It said 'in EVERYTHING with thanksgiving make your requests known to God'. I am paraphrasing big time because if I go downstairs to look it up, I'm gonna get sidetracked and forget this post for about a week! lol Here's what caught me, two words, everything and thanksgiving. I have not come to God with everything. Irks, irritations, struggles, sure. Happiness, dishes, laundry, dinner, nope. Now, you're probably saying "Gina, God doesn't care that you're doing laundry or struggling for the gazilionth time what to make for dinner (Dear God, please not chicken AGAIN! lol) and you would be wrong. God doesn't just want part of my day, or part of me. No, he wants it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. He wants me to come to Him with EVERYTHING (Dear God, please make that person go faster! Dear God, I had so much fun with Sarah tonight making truffles!)
The other word that got me was thanksgiving. How many times to I come to Him with thanksgiving. Sure, sometimes. There's always "thank you, God for having that work out" but rarely a thank you, God for today, or my morning coffee, or snuggles with the kids. Sure I thank Him for the big things, but I also need to thank Him for the small as well.
And lastly, our guardian angels. One of the Priests and I am so sorry I can't remember which one, said we can talk to our guardian angels. My poor Gabriel! He's my guardian angel. I haven't talked to him in forever! He must think so horrible of me! I do love him and count on him to be there. He is like breathing. You take it for granted that you do it. I don't always think "breathe in, now breath out" unless my friend Kathy at work is trying to get me to relax lol In the same vein, I don't think of Gabriel. And that pains me and makes me sad. He is so amazing and has always been there for me and will always continue to be there for me. I'm sure, like God, there's many times I've caused him to drink! lol And, like God, and my amazing husband, he stays.
So, this advent, I haven't said the prayers every night like I wanted to (a little less than half), I haven't said one rosary by myself or with the family, and I haven't had deep faith filled discussions with the kids. However, I am learning more about me in my daily prayers. I am becoming closer to God in my own way and thereby teaching my kids about God. I used to think prayer was like the Indigo Girls song Closer to Fine. There's a line that goes "the less I seek the source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine". Prayer use to scare me. God use to scare me, death use to scare me. Now, God and prayer is where I find myself. And as for death, well, we'll just let that go for today.
Until next time,
Say a prayer for yourself today. If you don't take care of you, you're no good for anyone else!