I know, cliche Bible-beater movie title. But bear with me. My sister's post over on Riding Shotgun inspired me to share my most recent spiritual discovery: letters.
I'm betting that most of us have been there: in Adoration, meditating on God and basking in His presence. You're feeling holy and blessed to have found the time to squeeze Him into your busy day-to-day, especially since this is actually the second First Friday in a row that you made it happen! Twice in the last two months! Whoa!! So you contemplate His awesome gifts to you, His will for you, and His actions in your life. Then you spend a few quiet moments just enjoying the silence with Him.
Under the guise of stretching your aching back, you discreetly sneak a glance at your watch, certain your hour is almost over. At best, fifteen minutes have passed.
Stifling your sudden impatience and lack of pious enthusiasm, you meditate on His Passion, His mother, and the lives of a few of your favorite saints. You spend a few more quiet moments before again checking the time. Five more minutes have gone by.
In desperation, you pull out your Rosary. Once that's done, you add on a Chaplet of Divine Mercy just for good measure. Surely that's finished off the rest of your time, right? . . . Ever notice how Rosaries and Chaplets don't take as long when you say them quietly to yourself rather than with a whole group of people? Yeah, still not done.
And this is actually an amazing feat so far, if you've managed not to mentally review your To Do List, plan an email you need to send later, recite song lyrics in your head, or do mental highlights of the movie you watched last night! Good job!
Yes, that is definitely me in Adoration. I'm a huge offender when it comes to the song lyrics and the watch checking. My mind just doesn't focus on anything worthwhile without help. So that's why I stopped going to First Friday Adoration - it just seemed rude to go and think about other things, and somehow not going seemed like the holier option in that case. Slowly the rest of my "non-family-mandated" prayer life started to fall apart as well. But I knew that had to change. Especially when I found myself sitting amidst the pieces of my life, unsure how they all fit together, and ready to burst into tears at a moment's notice. Yes, this girl really needed a long heart-to-Heart with God. "But how? I can't focus!!" my brain cried, lost in its hopeless little world of self-pity.
I'm convinced God answered my brain's plea, and His answer was, "Write Me a letter."
So I grabbed a pen and a hardback journal that I had laying around and headed off to church, unsure whether this was really a good idea. It all still seemed a little disrespectful both to God and to the other people in the chapel. "Won't my pen be too loud?" "Will it be distracting to other worshipers?" "Am I not supposed to be looking at Blessed Sacrament instead of down in my book the whole time?!" But I knew I had to at least try.
I chose a pew near the very back and began with a few simple prayers, hoping to get my mind in the right place, and show God that I was trying to be respectful. Really.
Then I sat down and opened my book to the first page, unsure what to say. But grabbing the bull by the horns, I wrote it like it was an actual letter - complete with salutation and opening pleasantries. Before I knew it I was knocking out my issues one by one, and actually getting answers! Admittedly He did leave a few for me to ponder some more; but at least half of the major worries I had were laid to rest. And the first time I checked my watch, over an hour had passed without a single song lyric to torment me.
That was the First Friday of July. I tried again this month, and again I got answers; and again I spent over an hour without realizing it. I come away feeling completely revitalized and reassured, and I'm actually starting to look forward to Adoration!
On the flip side, after I finish my letters, I usually close with a Rosary. I cannot begin to tell you how distracted I am during those five decades. I have to move my lips along with each prayer or I literally lose all track of what I'm doing. Five minutes of daydreaming takes place every third Hail Mary. The difference is night and day. And, yes, I know I need to work on that too; but that's another post for another day. Right now just enjoy the fact that I've posted twice already this month!