For many of us, this is a very hectic time of the year. Factors such as the following contribute to the stress that several experience. For one, many of our normal tasks and responsibilities still need to be done. As adults, we still have to go to work every day. As children and youth, in many cases, we have another week of school until vacation starts. Wouldn’t it be neat if we didn’t have to go to work or to school during the month of December. Then, we could spend the entire month getting ready to celebrate Christmas. This is wishful thinking. Another factor contributing to the stress that many experience at this time of year is that for the most part, the activities in which we participate in and of themselves are good. We need to interact with others.
A painful truth of which we need to be reminded from time to time is that none of us can do all that we are asked and expected to do. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. We need to have a measuring stick by which we determine what we will do at this time and what we cannot do now.
This leads to a significant question. Who are we really trying first and foremost to please? Most of us want to make our loved ones and friends happy. A harder person often to please is ourselves. Even if we could be busy 24 hours a day, none of us can meet all of the expectations that others and we place upon ourselves. To avoid becoming burned out, we need a measuring stick by which we determine what we need to do at a given time.
The Lord invites us to regard Him as the One Whom we will want to please in all that we do. He frees us to prioritize the expectations that come our way. Every day, the Lord invites us to live in the spirit of prayer. Prayer can be described as living an on-going conversation with the Lord.
A conversation is two-sided. It is vital first and foremost to recognize ways in which the Lord speaks to us. These include: 1) the Scriptures – In the Bible selections that are designated to be proclaimed at Mass every day, we are offered a guideline for reading the Scriptures. These Bible references are printed in our bulletins each weekend. 2) The Lord works to affirm us every time we gather for Mass and on occasions on which we celebrate the Sacraments. 3) Oftentimes, the Lord would speak to us through spiritual readings, through art, music and literature. 4) Frequently, the Lord works through other persons to offer us what we need for our temporal and eternal well-being.
Hopefully, what we ask of the Lord and the way we strive to live will be in response to His speaking to us. As our love for the Lord grows, we will want nothing more nor anything less than what the Lord wants of us. As One Who came to live in the world in which we live, the Lord Jesus guides us in terms of what to ask of the Father in His Name. This is summed up in a most excellent and concise way in the Lord’s Prayer.
As we try to relate all that we ask of the Lord to some part of the Lord’s Prayer and strive to live in accord with what we ask, we will not become stressed out. As through prayer, we become preoccupied to learn what the Lord wants of us, we will be able to take what others and we expect of ourselves in stride. On the one hand, we will not be mastered by busyness that others and we would impose upon ourselves. On the other hand, as striving to please the Lord in all that we do becomes our top priority, we will grow in the ability to experience that lightheartedness and joy that we had during this Season as young children.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver - Pastor