I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Extreme Makeover: Advent Prayer Edition

As I admitted to my 8th graders earlier this week, I wasn't doing so hot in my communication with God prior to Thanksgiving. (As a religion teacher, this is probably shocking, I know. But, unfortunately, it is true. 100%)

But, along came Advent, and I decided it was time to overhaul my prayer life, starting with making it a priority. To do this, I set my alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier each day than I would normally get up. (On the days I go to the gym, that's pretty darn early (because prayer is literally the first 15 minutes of my day), but it's worth it.) And in those 15 minutes, I sit with the readings of the day or reflections (mainly) from three sources: The Little Blue Advent Book, Fr. Barron's written reflections, and Sacred Reading from the Apostleship of Prayer. In addition, I journal a few thoughts here and there - you know, the main takeaways.

In looking back over my journal recently, I noticed a few themes:

1) Waiting is active. And it is hard. We have to keep in perspective how sometimes God completes His will only after a very long time. God's time isn't our time. We need to trust in the "slow work of God." We can't expect immediate returns.

2) We need to ask God/Jesus for His will in our lives. "Lord Jesus, make me the person YOU want me to be. I give myself to you." That's hard to say and truly mean when you say it. (Kinda like the Suscipe.) It's easy to hold back and say this and add on "...but really XYZ," isn't it?

3) It's time to get more familiar with the Bible. Bible study is all well and good, but I need to examine Scripture on my own too. There is so much richness in history and in the fulfillment of Jesus' coming.

4) We make promises for the times it is hard to keep them, not for the times it is easy to do so. If I could only tell you how many times this Advent season this thought has kicked me in the butt to get out of bed for the gym (commitment) or to listen to the Divine Mercy chaplet as I snuggle into bed each night when I'd rather fall asleep. It's so true - We promise so that we stick to something (or someone) when the going gets tough or when we just don't feel like it. And keeping that promise makes all the difference. And you know something? God always keeps His promises.

I pray that the remainder of this Advent season brings you and your loved ones peace and joy.

Went to the Chriskindlmarket tonight downtown - not quite sure how this translates, but I think it has something to do with "Goodbye" and "Happy Holidays!"

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