Recently, Father Jonathan Sawicki, the Diocesan Director of Vocations, asked me for a favor. He was trying to put together speakers for Quo Vadis Days, a retreat for young men ages 15-25 who are discerning the call to the priesthood.
Father told me that when he had approached another priest about who he suggested could speak on prayer, my name was dropped. My first reaction was, “Uh, I am not discerning the priesthood.” Father retorted, “Yes, but you do know what prayer is and you have lived it far more than my seminarians.” To that, I said, “True! Wow! I am humbled and honored.”
In preparation for this talk, I spent some time in thought and in prayer about what I should share with these young men.
In the book “13 Powerful Ways to Pray,” Eamon Tobin states, “Prayer is longing for greater union with God. … Prayer is glimpsing the beauty of God, just as we get a glimmer of the sun now and again on a cloudy day. Prayer is standing before God in radical poverty, without illusions, before the richness of God. Prayer is discovering all that God has already given us and growing in our appreciation of his gifts. Finally, prayer can be defined as ‘a personal relationship with God.’” 1
For me, prayer is all of this and more. You see, prayer first and foremost is a mystery. By that I mean, no matter how much one reads about it, you cannot discover its true essence because it comes directly from God. Secondly, it is also a gift that we have been given through our baptismal dignity. At the moment we are baptized, we become true and special sons and daughters of God. On account of this filial relationship, our gracious God gave us a way to discover who He is! It is an invitation to climb on the “lap” of our Creator. Prayer is how we discover Him.
This discovery is personal and unique, just like your “vocation story” of whether you choose to remain single for the sake of the Kingdom, get married, or live a religious vocation as a priest, a deacon, or a religious Sister and so on. Prayer for each of us is different because it invokes a relationship with a God who hungers to know each of us intimately and uniquely.
As the days pass from the moment of my initial conversation, and subsequent talk at Quo Vadis Days, several folks have reached out to me from out of the blue and asked me to add a special intention to my prayers. I am always humbled, not only for these individuals to reach out to me, but also because I see this as a gift through which I can walk with them through their concern expressed in their intentions.
When we lift others in our prayers, we get closer to them as well as closer to God.
Prayer is such a mystery!
Let’s unpack it by my new series!
1Tobin, Eamon. 13 Powerful Ways to Pray. Beacon Publishing, 2016. Pg. 4.
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness