Tuesday, the 14th Day of Lent
Lord, let me know you, let me know myself.
Lord, you do your will and not mine.
I'm just coming, Lord.
~ St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ
These lines or, as the editors of Hearts on Fire call them, aspirations are taken from the the style of prayer cultivated by the Jesuit Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez. Brother Rodriguez spent many years as the porter at the Jesuit college on the island of Majorca and was renowned for his holiness and wisdom.
There is certainly a seduction to think that prayer, or deepening one's spiritual life, demands many hours each day or frequent trips to a retreat house. Yet, look at these 'aspirations' above: any of these could easily be prayed while driving to work, folding laundry, mowing the lawn, or changing a diaper. Good prayer doesn't mean fireworks...it means that you've shown up.
Two weeks into Lent and I suspect many are tired. It can seem a rather long trudge, one long night without hardly any hope for morning's light. In the moments of ennui, when breath and prayer seem so difficult to muster, or so pointless, perhaps these little gems might sound forth from our depths and recall us to the prayer of the everyday, the unglamorous but necessary consecration of our daily lives to God's Kingdom.
Anecdotally, I remember learning the third line - "I'm just coming, Lord" - in my sophomore year of high school. This is the prayer that propelled me along, far behind my classmates, on the dreaded 1/2-mile run. After running a marathon in 2009, a 1/2-mile seems like nothing. Sixteen years and fifty pounds ago, it ranked with scaling the Himalayas. In between gasps and pants as I pushed and cajoled my body into moving just a few more steps, I distinctly remember muttering this prayer to myself over and over again...it seemed a better choice than muttering, "Son of a b*#*% or I hate this s*#@." This simple prayer, said many times since during times of struggle or feeling left-in-the-dust, has always proved a light and a source of consolation. I'm still 'just coming' and I'm pretty okay with that...one foot in front of the other, day by day, trying to live for God's greater glory.