When LeAnn first asked me to write about how I maintain a relationship with God, I thought it would be easy. I pray, go to Mass regularly, and co-direct a Catholic summer camp...this should be a piece of cake to write about. However, after some reflection and many scrapped rough drafts, I realized that my relationship with Jesus isn’t a perfect one. As much as I would love to share a flawless relationship and a step-by-step guide to being the best woman of God possible, I can’t. At first, I felt a little deflated and unworthy, but I felt as though my saint squad was standing over my shoulders with reminders from above.
St. Therese of Lisieux is standing over one shoulder saying, “To remain a child before God means to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God. It is not to become discouraged over our failings, for children fall often. But they are too little to hurt themselves too much.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta is over the other shoulder saying, “Just do small things with great love.”
It is these words from my saintly role-models (as well as many other remarkable words) that really guide me in my spiritual life. Obviously, the saints did something right in their spiritual lives, making them great men and women to turn to. While there are so many great things to learn from each of the saints, finding a few that you relate to and building a relationship with them is a great way to open the doors to grow stronger in your faith. I enjoy reading and I am always in search of good books to read about my favorite saints. I have a habit of frequenting thrift stores or book sales and buying every book with JPII, Mother Teresa, or Therese of Lisieux on it. I use these and other books, like the Magnificat to help me connect with Jesus daily. If you’ve never flipped through one before, it’s this nifty little book that has each day of the month in it. It has morning prayers, the mass readings, and evening prayers in it. On a perfect day, I’ll spend thoughtful time with each, but that doesn’t always happen. I’ll always carry my Magnificat and a “Jesus-y” book in my little backpack that I take everywhere so that way I always have something to keep me occupied, and it lessens the ability to use the “I left it at home” excuse.
I often start my mornings off with work, class, or student teaching. I’m the kind of person who will literally sleep in until the very last possible second to still get ready and out the door in time. However, I am now well aware that the last snooze of my alarm doesn’t actually help me to feel any more rested than if I just got up 10 minutes earlier. Since discovering this, I try to make myself get up and out the door just 10-15 minutes earlier than I need to. This means I’ll get to my eventual destination 10-15 minutes earlier, which gives me some quality, early morning, quiet time to pray. This also allows me to put my heart and mind in a good place before interacting with people while also enjoying some sips of coffee with Jesus.
The best days for these morning meetings with Jesus are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when I have some extra moments to spare before my morning begins. My college’s campus ministry has holy hours on these mornings from 8-9 AM. I love beginning my day with the physical presence of Jesus. I’ll admit, I don’t get to make it every morning, sometimes it just isn’t realistic with my schedule. But I try to go as often as I can. Time in Eucharistic Adoration is really important to me; I thoroughly enjoy the time that I can just sit and be with Christ. That silence is when He really speaks to my soul and I feel at peace. So, amid my busy schedule, I keep a list of all the days and times that surrounding parishes have adoration so I can pop in, even just for 5 minutes, when I can.
Talk to Jesus--or don’t. I know this seems contradictory, friends, but trust me for a moment here. I’m a huge believer that prayer takes on many different forms, and they all work in different settings. That being said, I frequently just talk to God in a similar way that I would talk to my best friends. I’ll just tell him about my day, or whatever it is that’s going on in my head. I find it works best for me to do this while driving. That way, I can speak out loud without worrying that anyone else will hear. It just feels more authentic to me.
But after you’ve talked to Him, it’s time to shut your mouth and listen to what He has to say. Take time to just sit in silence and exist in the presence of God. It’s hard, it’s really hard, especially at first. Your mind will wander to your to-do list or worries, or you may feel like you need some music to help it “feel” right. Our world fills us with constant noise that we don’t know how to be silent. We don’t know how to be silent. So don’t feel bad if you can’t go long in the silence. Just spend as long as you can in the silence, and try to keep your mind from straying. Over time, it will get easier, and you will hear His voice more clearly. I find it’s easiest to do this in Eucharistic Adoration--when I am physically in His presence.
The greatest decision that I’ve ever made was to spend more time talking about Jesus and to spend more time with people who talk about Jesus. When you welcome God into your everyday moments and everyday life, you’ll find yourself being a person who shares a pure and genuine relationship with Him.
About The Author
Meagan is a college student about to start her last semester of her undergrad. She loves working with children and is even a summer camp director! She enjoys coffee, quiet mornings with Jesus, and rad Ms. Frizzle-esque style outfits.