A neighboring parish has a Holy Hour with Benediction every Thursday and my husband is kind enough to drop me off and take the kids for a walk each week so I can get some quiet prayer time. (For my non-Catholic readers, a Holy Hour is when the Eucharist is placed in a monstrance on the altar. Since Catholics believe that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, this is a special time to worship Jesus. Some churches have this form of adoration available all the time, others for just one hour each week. Many churches, unfortunately, do not provide any time for adoration.) A Holy Hour with Benediction is one of my absolute favorite liturgical events. I'm so glad we've found a time to fit this into my life regularly.
I wish I could say that my time before the Blessed Sacrament was a time of deep, mystical, contemplation, but it wasn't. That did happen once but, too often, I end up staring numbly off into space. It's awfully hard to recollect oneself when the time just before prayer was taken up with getting unhappy children packed up just about at bedtime. Today, actually, was a really good time of prayer, though I didn't realize it until the end. I use a journal when I pray before the Blessed Sacrament because it's the only way I can stay even a little focused. Today my journal was going something like this:
"Dear Lord, I just can't get the dishes done and I need to get some winter clothes and I should make those cushion covers and Joseph really needs more of a schedule and I wonder if Margaret is napping enough and maybe doing the dishes should come before yoga each night and maybe I should pray more and maybe Eric would like me to stop nagging him all the time and I wonder what I planned for dinner this weekend."
I'm paraphrasing a bit, but I think you get the idea.
I reflected on this a bit. Does God really want me to use this precious hour each week to talk about the dishes? I mean, I pray other times, too, but this is a really special time. Shouldn't I be working myself into a mystical frenzy?
But, here I am Lord. I come to do your will. I'm confident that I chose the right vocation and this is it: dishes, husband, kids, prayer, groceries. To do the will of God I need only do all those things well. It's an awful lot of little things.
I'm a big fan of the Tightwad Gazzette. When it's author, Amy Dacyczyn, was asked why she emphasized practices, like reusing ziploc bags, that saved only pennies. She answered that most people have very few opportunities to save $100 or $1000 dollars in one shot, but most people have many opportunities every day to save a few pennies and the savings add up. I think about that every time I turn off a light or wash out a plastic bag and this evening I thought about applying it to the spiritual life. We don't often have a chance to battle cancer, or die for the faith, but each day we are given many opportunities to do small things exceedingly well for the love of God.
I can bring my dishes and groceries and whining kids before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and know that He does, indeed, want me to bring my vocation and its challenges before Him. God's grace is even sufficient for couch cushions.