The other day I did the scariest thing in the world. I wrote on my calendar times to be quiet—just be quiet and listen to God. I would (I mean will) attend Adoration and walk in the the local park for three hours every week, for starters.
I’m in the habit of letting what seems “urgent” take the place of what’s truly important. Just this morning, I was on Facebook when I knew I’d benefit more from getting out for a walk. I can see that the really important thing, connecting with God in silence, will never happen if I don’t schedule it. And if I neglect quiet time with him, I’m less connected with him in the rest of my life. Which is the cause of anxiety.
“He has scattered the proud in their conceit” (Luke 1:51).
We get good at what we practice
Even though I pray morning and evening prayer, pray the Rosary, and attend Mass almost every day, these tried-and-true ways of snuggling up to God won’t completely get through to a less-than-quiet heart.
Psalm 19 inspired me this morning:
The heavens proclaim the glory of God
and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.
Day unto day takes up the story
and night unto night makes known the message.
No speech, no word, no voice is heard
yet their span extends through all the earth,
their words to the utmost bounds of the world.
There he has placed a tent for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom coming from his tent,
rejoices like a champion to run its course.
At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun;
to the furthest end of the sky is its course.
There is nothing concealed from its burning heat.
The psalmist is saying that God is reaching out to us 24/7 through what he has created and that nothing and no one is outside his “burning” love. He’s saying that everything in the created world carries the message of God’s love for you and me personally.
Could anything less important pull me away from that?
Too often I put on the “sunscreen” of busy-ness, rushing, perfectionism, and people-pleasing that keep God’s “burning heat” from entering my heart. I choose fear over trust. I choose self-will over Divine Providence. Lent is a great time to shed that and focus on God.
Because I know that when I turn my face to him again, the healing rays of his peace will penetrate to soften my heart and turn my will toward him who “cares for me.” This involves the virtue of Courage, which spurs us on to do what is right, despite the obstacles!
We sometimes fear opening ourselves up completely to God’s guidance because he may take us in a direction our egos, fears, or ambitions don’t want to go. I need to remember that whenever I have opened myself to God’s sunshine, he has given me grace that I could not have imagined was possible: the conviction that he’s got this, that I don’t have to do anything be worthy of his love, and that my greatest joy is living that message and sharing it with you.
G.K. Chesterton said over a century ago: “Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks.”
Sound familiar? Me, too. But quiet time with God is the way to “catch up with ourselves”! I invite you to scroll down and share a way, even if it’s 5 minutes a day, that you have committed or can commit to listen to God during Lent, no matter what other penance you have chosen. Below are some books that will help you quiet your heart.
You can do this! :)
Making Room for God: Decluttering and the Spiritual Life. Physical clutter around me also steals my ability to be at peace. As one who struggles with clutter, my friend Mary Elizabeth Sperry shares her God-centered guidance on how to declutter and why it will bring you closer to God.
Above: Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Fr. Jacques Philippe.
Below: Time for God by Fr. Jacques Philippe.
Fr. Jacques Philippe’s books bring many people to instant peace while giving the why and how to stay in God’s presence — a good way to kick off your quiet time!
Fine print: These are Amazon affiliate links. I offer them because I believe the books will help your spiritual life. If you click here and purchase, Virtue Connection may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!