Yesterday, I shared the 4 Simple Steps to Holiness, and promised that I would elaborate about each of the steps in the days ahead, so today I will talk a bit more about the foundation of all things in the spiritual life–daily prayer and meditation.
Time with our Lord is the key if we are going to be transformed into saints. Why? Pretty simple. You become who you spend time with.
We all know that we are influenced by our environment–the people, places and things that we are surrounded by, day in, day out.
For example, you want to become a great baseball player. To do that, you immerse yourself in all that will help you achieve that goal. You practice and do all the work necessary to master the skills and achieve great conditioning. You hang out with other ball players, read biographies and histories about the great players in order to learn about the game. You surround yourself with superb coaches, and take their advice about how you can improve. You literally eat, breathe, and sleep baseball. And, after doing that for a couple of decades, and if you happen to be athletically gifted, you might become a great baseball player.
Now learning the art of how to spend time with our Lord in daily prayer is kind of like becoming a great baseball player. You have to practice and do all the work necessary to master the skills associated with prayer. What are those skills? Several of the most important to learn are: how to be comfortable with silence; how to listen for the small, still voice of God; how to start from a place of gratitude; and how to focus upon the things of God rather than our own to-do lists. There are more, but learning those are a good start.
Daily prayer also takes great conditioning. You have to show up every day and persevere even (or especially!) when you think you’re getting nothing out of it. To keep crawling out of bed in the morning, or to resist watching an extra tv episode at night so you can have time for prayer is a result of great conditioning.
You hang out with other people who take prayer seriously. You read biographies and histories about the great pray-ers in history like Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Therese of Lisieux, Mother Teresa of Calcutta or John Paul II. You learn more about prayer by reading the Doctors of the Church and the Cathechism.
You find a spiritual “coach” (also called Spiritual directors or mentors) to help you learn about prayer and you take their advice about how you might improve and pray better. You literally eat, breathe, and sleep prayer. And, after doing that for a couple of decades, and regardless of whether you are gifted, you will have a great prayer life.
Why? Pretty simple. You become who you hang out with.
Because if you choose to immerse yourself in time with God, go to holy places of God, and surround yourself with things of God, then because God is God, He will show up. And when God shows up, and if we have done our part, we are transformed.
So what is the foundation of all things? Showing up and letting God do His thing. Because if there is one thing I am certain of, it is that God is God, and I am not. And on that certainty, all things are possible–including you and I someday becoming saints.