There is nothing like an evening Mass to perk up the spirits. I am blessed to be able to attend the UCL student masses with Father Stephen (I might even reblog the audio of the homily if it goes online), the topic of which somewhat thought about keeping the faith, keeping being a practising Christian, including keeping a circle of Christian friends.
I am lucky to have many Christian friends and Catholic friends who support me and share my faith, which is a great feeling. One part of the homily that resonated with me was this idea. The spirit as a fire, an effort to maintain yes, yet warming and persistent, not a firework, a once-off flash*. Of course, it’s easy to say that one has support, but harder to really use that support to be a good Christian.
I have never been a great at praying. It is my human failing. In the Thursday Sycamore (think Alpha but for Catholics) group I am helping to facilitate, we discussed prayer. It’s easy to forget that phrase ‘pray as you can, not as you can’t’ or to have it lost in translation, but it is essentially suggesting that the best prayer is not that of structure and length and monotony, but of heart. Don’t like the repetition of the Hail Mary? Pray by voicing your own thoughts, or pray in silence. Don’t like to sit and pray at once? Go for a walk. Find God in nature, praise him through your eyes and your feet. Pray by verbally punching the air! Even witnessing to God by recognising His role in our lives is prayer.
For me, I like to notice God during the day because it reinforces His presence in my past, present, future. He’s done so much for me already, but it’s easy to get swept in the worries of materialism that I forget to remember his good deeds.
For instance, I have always been one for spotting the times of providence and God’s work, and this weekend was no different. I was with the girls, doing some wedding dress shopping and one appointment down and midday having past I’d seen lots of lovely dresses, but none The One. The thing is, I’d been looking for a certain type, not realising that the dress was right in front of me, just waiting to be found. Isn’t it funny how some things just catch our eye at the right moment, where we might have missed them if it were not for some blink of a moment?
Anyway, to tie my two points together, and without all the fluff an explanation would give, I prayed and God answered my prayer, just as He has always been doing, regardless of whether I’ve been paying Him any attention and grace or not. I was worried and he soothed me.
*Coincidentally, this is what I’d have at my wedding: a nice hearth welcoming and no dark skies with loud explosions in them.