December 13, 2020 – Third Sunday of Advent
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks… (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
So what does committing to God’s work look like? Where do we begin? Maybe we begin with the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing.”
That is certainly a lofty and admirable goal, but not very practical. It is not practical, not even possible, if we only think of prayer in the traditional sense – kneel down, fold our hands, and recite words of prayer committed to memory back in grade school. We can’t do that without ceasing – or at least I know I can’t.
So we must expand our definition of prayer to include living a prayerful life. What we can do is live life with a prayerful disposition, with a prayerful spirit.
Cardinal Tobin once offered four suggestions on preparing for Christmas that spoke to the idea of living a prayerful life:
- Set quiet time aside for prayer – I may not be able to pray without ceasing, but I can spare a few minutes of alone time with God
- Go to confession – wipe the slate clean and start anew, filled with God’s grace. In Fr. Jim’s letter in the bulletin, he lists several opportunities to go to confession over the next week.
- Be more faithful, and attentive, to our Mass attendance. Mass is a beautiful reminder that God is with us. It allows us to better recognize His presence in our lives.
- Give spiritual gifts – a smile, a kind word, or a helping hand to those in need.
God wants us to seek Him out. He wants us to engage with Him, to maintain an ongoing dialogue. What we do in our daily lives should be about Him and for Him, about others and for others. I can’t kneel, fold my hands, and recite words of prayer without ceasing, but I can live a life that glorifies God. I can seek Him out and be about His business.