By Dom Hubert Van Zeller

Springfield, Illinois

Nihil Obstat: Georgivs Smith, S.T.D., PH.D.
Imprimatur: E. Morragh Bernard
Westmonaterii: Die XVII Movembris MCML

First Published 1951

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Next Thing

Having grasped the idea that the circumstances of your life are constituent elements of your vocation, you have now to evolve a technique for coping with these circumstances in such a way as to avoid fatalism and false liberty.  For instance, you may not say:  'If God has destined me to this sort of life, He must not complain if I say no prayers; I loathe the whole thing and am not going to try.'  To throw in your hand is the big temptation of your state.  To do so and put the blame on God only aggravates it.

You may be handicapped psychologically from perfecting the work which circumstances force upon you.  You may be physically unequal to the strain of it.  But there can be no question of your being at a disadvantage spiritually.  So far as prayer goes, you are being given enough grace to render to God the measure which He expects from you.  Once granted that you are responding to Him on the only level which really matters, it is of trifling importance that psychologically and physically you are not suited to the responsibilities of your state.  God can make good these deficiencies in a moment.

It becomes a matter, then, of developing a system of prayer within the framework of your God-given duties.  it will be your system of prayer -- not necessarily anyone else's.  You will have to find a way of communicating with God by means of and not in spite of the calls upon your time and energy and patience.

When you get right down to it, what is the response to God's grace?  It is giving back in terms that He has proposed.  For one person it may be done by singing psalms in choir, for another by nursing the sick; for one by kneeling silently in front of the Blessed Sacrament, for another by reaching small children.  For some it is by being ill, for others by making use of their health.  The whole thing depends upon the terms of God's demand for the individual.  Prayer, if it means expressed praise, is only one form of communication with God. Prayer, if it means directed effort towards God, can cover all forms of communications with God.  Your whole purpose, then, is to work out a way of praying which directs every effort towards God -- and to work out a way of directing efforts so that everything becomes a prayer.

Far from relieving you of your obligations towards prayer, the vocation in which you find yourself imposes new ones.  What you have to remember is that they may be quite new new -- of a different order altogether.  This fact should not appear alarming, it should be stimulating.  All you have to do is lay your soul open to the impulse of grace.  The only serious mistake which are liable to make is to confuse the requirements of your sort of prayer with those of the contemplative nun's.  The effect of both yours and hers have got to be the same; it is the expression which differs.

No comments:

Post a Comment