How do you prioritize your time? For those of us in the working world, we have a schedule set for us for a good part of the day. For those of us raising families—the responsibilities therein and subsequent time allowances are predetermined. For those of us doing both…YIKES! Our waking hours are limited, but even so—we are reminded again and again that we benefit greatly to take some time, even a few moments to ‘Come to the Quiet’ with our God—even if that means adjusting our schedule of what we might consider ‘Free’ or ‘Leisure’ time.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Apostles that they need to go away to a lonely place to be by themselves so that they can rest and pray. We all need this. Some people can afford to go on a retreat or a pilgrimage, to go off to a holy place, whether it be a monastery or a shrine, and take some time to recharge their spiritual batteries.
If you can, I urge you to take advantage of these opportunities to be like the Apostles and be with, even for a few days, like-minded people so that you can return to the pressures of everyday life spiritually refreshed and rejuvenated.
But for most of us, we need an alternative. If you are not able to get away to a place of retreat or pilgrimage perhaps you can do it in your own home. Perhaps you can set aside a day or even a few hours a week for private meditation. Reading a spiritual book, saying some prayers, doing the Stations of the Cross, meditating on the scriptures; all these things can be done at home. However, if your home-life is not conducive to that, Church is open Monday—Saturday 8am-6:30pm., and, of course, Sundays until noon.
However we can achieve this, it is vital for us to do this now and again. All of us need on occasion sufficient space to reflect on our lives and to make important changes in our priorities. To do this effectively we need to set aside the necessary time for us to be alone with the Lord.
I urge every parishioner to have in their home a special place for prayer. It doesn’t have to be an actual altar; it could be just a crucifix, a holy picture or a statue put in a particular corner. This small shrine can then become a place set aside for personal prayer and meditation—or, as is often the case for me—a ‘Listening Station’ where I am open to God with no personal agenda.
Having such a place in one’s home is a great advantage and brings blessings on the whole house. It can be the place where we sit when thinking about our own difficulties or interceding with God on behalf of our family and friends. It can be a place of meditation where we keep a copy of the scriptures or our Sunday missal or other Spiritual Reading. It can be the place where we keep a Sacred Talisman or our rosary to enlist the help of Mother Mary in times of trouble.
In this way pilgrimage becomes part of our lives, the Sacred begins to permeate our homes enabling the love of God to radiate out from there to the world around us.
I’m not suggesting you turn your homes into a Church but just to have a small corner set apart for prayer, a small place where we can easily express the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who, Himself, took time away to pray.
I pray, you will.