Both Gift and Grace
This excerpt from Joan Chittister’s writings was featured as the “Reflection” for Thursday, June 16 in the monthly publication Give Us This Day: Daily Prayers for Today’s Catholic (Liturgical Press).
Both Gift and Grace
Many of the prayers we say have been passed down to us for generations. The psalms, for instance, mark the cry of the human spirit across time. The Scriptures speak of peoples and prayers over twenty centuries before us. Prayers such as these in every culture carry the wisdom of the past to enlighten the insights of the present.
These prayers are venerable, a history of the unchanging human spirit. But they do not guarantee that those who say them will ever be “prayerful” people. They tell us only that people pray.
Prayerfulness, on the other hand, is the capacity to walk in touch with God through everything in life. It is the internal awareness that God is with me—now, here, in this, always. It is an awareness of the continuing presence of God. It is my dialogue with the living God who inhabits my world in Spirit and in Mind.
Prayerfulness sees God everywhere.
Prayerfulness talks to God everywhere.
Prayerfulness submits the uncertainties of the moment to the scrutiny of the internal eyes of God. It trusts that that no matter how malevolent the situation may be, I can walk through it unharmed because God is with me.
Prayerfulness is both gift and grace, both a natural disposition and a quality of soul to be developed. But develops it!
Prayerfulness is fostered by the simple consciousness that God is. That God is near us at all times. That God is closer to us than the breath we breathe. That God is available, a silence in the midst of chaos, a voice in the midst of confusion, a promise at the center of the tumult.
If I ask and I listen and I reach out and I fill my heart with the words of the One who is the Word, then I will be answered. Somehow the path will become clear.
—from The Breath of the Soul by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications)