Well, this is post #100.
To celebrate, I began writing a post called “100 things I’ve learned since starting TDoC!”
I got to 13 before I started running out of ideas. And I’m pretty sure it would have been terribly boring.
So instead, I will just say this: In the two years I’ve been writing this, I have become a father twice, I have grown (sometimes the hard way) as a husband and educator, and I have learned more about prayer and Jesus than at any other point in my life.
What I’ve come to realize is that there is more joy to be had in this life than I ever dreamed possible, and I am just beginning to taste of it. I’ve also learned that this kind of happiness is only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Body, the Church.
Without Him, there is nothing but dark and suffering. Even the good stuff (like sex and food and family) become sources of fear and discord, not to mention that hope is stolen from the trials of life.
But with Him, the darkness is but shadows cast in a land of light, and the suffering is but the burning in the muscles of our love as we run to the home we never meant to leave.
A good friend of mine said to me recently, “Prayer gives us the accent of our native land so that anyone who hears us knows we come from Love.”
Yes. I wish I’d thought of that.
Other than the sacraments, daily personal prayer with Scripture is the most important thing we can do.
More important than eating.
More important than sleeping.
More important than our families.
More important than our friends.
More important than our jobs.
More important than anything.
Now that I’ve finally gotten to the point where I pray every day (after years of on-again-off-again, pray-a-day-then-skip-a-week, love-ya-Jesus-but-not-that-much), I’ve realized that prayer makes it possible for me to love my family and my friends and my students and my food and my sleep and everything else in a way I never knew, a way that is fuller and more meaningful and more pure than what I am capable of on my own.
And I don’t need to be afraid to talk about my prayer life. I have learned that mental prayer is not a skill; it’s a gift God gives us. The only thing that makes a prayer life “good” or “bad” is whether you show up and whether you’re open to what God wants to tell you. So we can’t be proud of our prayer lives, any more than children can be proud on Christmas morning.
We can only receive and rejoice.
We are pilgrims traveling back to our homeland of Love, and all we have to do to get there is open up our Bibles and our hearts. You can’t be bad at prayer. You can’t miss the destination. Because it’s God who brings you home, as long as you let Him.
That’s what I’ve really learned. I am absolutely soaked in Love. My wife. My kids. My parents. My siblings. My in-laws. My job. Music. Art. Novels. Food. Running. Sunsets.
“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.” Matthew 25:29.
I think this applies to prayer. All the blessing God has given me are multiplied and given anew every day that I pray and stay close to Him in the Sacraments. And those who want these blessings but demand them on their own terms without a relationship with Jesus often are not given them. He will not give us that which will satisfy until we come to Him first; otherwise, we might never go home at all. And that’s all He really wants. He wants us to love Him. He wants His family to come home.
Thanks for reading this blog. Here’s to another hundred posts!