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The Power of Prayer II

Time for Jesus?

Look at the center of your life and what do you see? Do you see yourself there or God? Too often we become assimilated, even engulfed by the little worries of day to day life as we traverse this earth. Would you rather have the Lord by your side as you walk through life or the many troubles we become obsessed with? Do we take time to be intimate with Jesus as we would our dearest friend? Do we even desire to be with the Lord or do we tell ourselves “everything I do is grounded in faith? ” Have we learned to see God as Abba, a sweet and tender father? Pope John Paul II once said, “The greatest joy of all is the joy that comes from the Lord.” While God certainly suffices in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, that spiritual life is nothing if it is not shared. Faith that is given away grows many times. So I share my prayer life with you…

Doing Time?

As for me, well I would rather spend time with the Lord, then do time in purgatory later. Prayer has made my life on earth a joy to live. Prayer also constantly gives me joy and peace that I have never known before. Not only do I take time for Jesus I am simply taken with him - I am smitten and that is all there is to it. Yet it was not always so. There was a time that I was so constantly stressed by everyday life that I was not just ready to pop…I was ready to explode like the Hindenburg zeppelin. In the end, I found that without a prayer life, there simply wasn’t any other life…not one that was worth while any way.

An Oasis in the Wasteland...

In the times in which we live, very few religious have the time for purely contemplative lives. As I have told people over and over, nuns who don't work don't eat. Whether the work is paid of not, there is still work. To use a new turn on an old phrase, if you can’t take the nun out of the stressful workplace you can least take the stress out of the nun. Did I pray? Of course I did…I am a nun…what my prayer life lacked however was structure…What I needed was time set aside for the Lord and I to spend together. I needed time to be intimate with my Jesus. Then, as a novice, I found the following quote describing canonical hours:

“The day is like a journey through an arid desert, but every three hours we come upon an oasis that offers us the waters of grace and the cool refreshing shade of heavenly assistance. Spiritually we may revive ourselves at the canonical hours of prayer."

-Author Unknown

What I also found was that desperately needed spiritual refreshment that gets me through the day. Whether I spend most of an hour, as I do, at mid-day praying, or 10 minutes in the middle of the afternoon...it helps my soul. In religious communities there exists a term called “canonical hours of prayer.” Simply put this a division of the day into eight periods, with psalms, readings or prayers being said at each hour. The following will give you an idea of what these divisions are, the intent is not to impose a structure but schedule time to learn how tender a father God can be.

Matins - The nighttime hours
Lauds - The hour at dawn
Prime - The first monastic hour of the day
Terce - Celebrated mid morning
Sext - Originally celebrated at the sixth hour of the day (noon)
None- The ninth hour of the day (mid-afternoon)
Vespers -Celebrated at the approach of dusk
Compline - The last of the daytime offices, which brings day to a close

An hour can have a special intention. In the evening I will remember my Jesus' suffering in the garden and take the time to console Him for all that this generation continues to do to Him. I have learned the importance of praying to Jesus because He deserves it...if our wicked generation is going to constantly re-crucify Him, the least I can do for Him (after all He SAVED MY LIFE) as a nun, and His wife, is to console Him. Most important of all, however, is I have come to pray for the most important reason of all...for the joy of it...because I enjoy prayer and the peaceful place it takes me.

What's Love Got to Do with it?

Actually, EVERYTHING. In the process of taking time to be intimate with Jesus as well as my dear Abba, I learned more about prayer. As my did sister Therese once told me in a letter, prayer should increase the fire of love within us. I learned to lift my heart up to Jesus as well as my life. For the first time in my life I took time to prepare for communion I found the truth of the words my sister Therese used to describe her first communion…she called it “love’s first kiss.” She described communion as “a fusion of love.” I found a special love in communion I had never known before.

Say What?

If you have not spent a great deal of time with God, there is at times a concern of how to pray…what to say. Most importantly simply talk to Abba. Therese didn't like formal prayers...she just talked to God. That is all any of us need to. In fact, in "True Life in God" God says the most efficacious form of prayer is contemplative silence.

Peace be with you.

Sister Juliemarie
of the Sisters of Embracement


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