Certain life changes – especially when leaving one employer for another – can have profound effects on self-realization and self-knowledge. It was during one of these involuntary changes that I had the opportunity to delve deeply into my faith. Being able to watch EWTN everyday filled in many gaps of my poor sacramental formation and helped me to become a daily Mass attendee. As I began to understand my baptismal responsibility better and learn more about the saints, it became evident that saints weren’t born holy; yet by entering into relationship with God they became holy. What became clear was, a relationship with God and the path to holiness was hinged on a life of prayer. It was a simple – and at the time maybe simplistic – way for me to explain this burgeoning need within myself. Somehow, my natural inclination was almost an insatiable appetite for prayer that lay dormant all my life; and was rumbling to life like a volcano.
Oh the twists and turns of one seeking to fulfill a life’s calling. Between Mother Angelica and Fr. Benedict Groeschel – both of blessed memory – how well they pointed me to all the needed resources. Books, homilies, “family chats” on their TV shows and yet what I needed most was just to “do it” and stop futzing about. So I did, I read books that unpacked what prayer should be, I said the rosary daily, I went to holy hours to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and yet intuitively I knew I wasn’t entering into the fullness of “doing it.”
In time I made my way to the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order knowing without a doubt, that was where I belonged. It was like being 4 years old again and beginning school – it was awkward, unfamiliar, imprecise, challenging to my solitary and introverted nature. It was downright uncomfortable. But I was in it for the long haul “warts and all” – and let me tell you, there are lots of warts! Month after month, year after year, putting one foot in front of the other; learning about prayer and community and why both are tied together.
Regardless of discomfort, prayer remained singularly important; and the balancing act started to make sense as I settled into familiar routine and rhythm. Consolations were poured out on me during private and community prayer; I was learning to love the Psalms – but didn’t understand why. And then one day the expected and unwanted took place; dryness.
to be continued…