Revised from a post I wrote for The Catholic Young Woman.
Day 28 of 31 Days.
I think sometimes how much harder it is to live as a non-religious member.
Nuns and priests, monks and friars, men and women in religious orders are constantly surrounded by God and His Word. Imbued with it, immersed in it. It's their occupation, their job, so to speak.
How much harder it is for lay people, who do not serve official positions in the Church, to seek Him and consistently, loyally follow Him in our noisy, crowded world. To pick out the snatches of His voice amidst the messy jumbled cacophony of our daily lives.
I love going on retreats because everything is about God. Our days are ordered around activities that direct our attention to Him, deepen our focus on Him, and improve our communication with Him. I went on the Bear Awakening retreat (a college-aged retreat for deepening your relationship with Christ, whether you are Catholic or not)...and for a blissful, wonderful, soul-releasing, and refreshing two and a half days
- for an entire weekend -
all I thought about was God.
No homework, no tests, no worries, no duties, obligations, etc. The outside world did not exist. I never even knew what time it was because cell phones were not allowed on the retreat, in order that we would be "on God's time, not our time."
I experienced many things that can be expected from a retreat, such as talks, prayer, Mass, praise and worship...but I was also completely and utterly blown away by certain aspects of the retreat that I was not expecting.
For a weekend, God was my entire world. The only thing I concentrated on and exerted energy for. Each day was so full, but I felt so rested and spiritually, emotionally, mentally at peace.
Just riding the waves of sweet waters of grace.
Resting and afloat...with the knowledge that He would not let me wander off path, that I could slip my eyes shut and He would still see me to shore.
I would love nothing more right now than to have that...to have a week of quiet and peace, away from noise and stress and the outside world, even from clocks and my phone. A week, or even a weekend of God-filled grace.
And nothing else.
My heart is so hungry for it, it almost hurts. A sort of ache, deep within. I need my God.
Those heartstrings people talk about? The one between my heart and His is pulling - taunt and strained. I need Him and He needs me.
Life, unfortunately, is not a retreat. It's a constant battle between the world and God for our attention. Our great challenge as young women of God is to meet Him every day amidst the bustle and flurry of life, to whisper a prayer beneath the noise and conversations that fill our day, to give thanks for the small things when big things go wrong...and to show the people we encounter the love He gives us. It's no small task...but it's one we are called to.
one of the great Church Fathers said,
"Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you."
And how true it is.
Above all, living out our calling as young women of God means placing our relationship with Him above all else. I know I struggle trying to remember that - there are so many distractions and things to do each day. We are busy, tired, and sometimes unwilling. But that is when we need to rest in God the most.
And so I'm trying to make Him a part of my daily routine, by starting the day by looking at a verse from Scripture and meditating on it in silence for a few moments...and thinking of how I can apply it to that day, to my life.
By choosing one day each week to go to daily Mass (in addition to attending Mass each Sunday)...I can't go every day due to my schedule, but that's the beautiful thing about God. A little goes so far and means so much to Him.
By giving of my time and gifts to my church community in order to return, to pass on, to express gratitude for the gifts I've been giving.
Baby steps, dear friends. It's all in baby steps. Rome wasn't built in a day, and saints don't become saints overnight.
So make God part of your life each day. Only then will your heart cease to be restless.
So rest in Him.