Your Prayer In Our World


By Carolyn Shields

The world demands a lot from you, yet we have a God who infinitely loves you for simply being. Yes, He wants you to strive and cultivate what you've been given and to grow, but He is filled with joy when you simply behold Him in adoration. He's not pressuring you, not asking you to always do more, and not constantly measuring you and comparing you against something else.

I always loved finding Him in adoration because it's such a simple form of prayer. Usually no begging question or sincere plea on my part...just simply being and beholding. This past year a few times I wondered if I should be more bold in my prayer life. Take on that "go big, ask a lot, all in" kind of prayer. Which is awesome, but just not for me.

Because the more I open up and talk about my prayer life with others, the more I realize how little it demands of me. How routine is okay. How integration is key. Holy hours are beautiful and enriching, but so is saying the Divine Mercy chaplet when I wake up for students, praying the rosary on the way to work, and conversing with Holy throughout the day. Again, yeah, we're called to deny ourselves, to sacrifice, and to other pretty weighty and challenging things, but our faith is a solace from a world that makes similar demands but for nothing other than itself.

And really, I think adoration and a simple prayer life in general appeals to me because I'm not just a transparent person, but because I'm keenly aware of how prodding our world is, always ready to tap us on the shoulder and whisper "Do things this way," or "Don't believe that." The Atlantic recently published an article titled Ivy League Scholars Urge Students to Think For Themselves, stating, "...the tyranny of public opinion doesn’t merely discourage students from dissenting from prevailing views...It leads them to suppose dominant views are so obviously correct that only a bigot or a crank could question them. Since no one wants to be, or be thought of, as a bigot or a crank, the easy, lazy way to proceed is simply by falling into line with campus orthodoxies. Don’t do that. Think for yourself."

And I remember when I first came to this ivy league school that I was going to fail because I didn't have all the answers when the world demands that you articulate your viewpoints and opinions. But the answers aren't what draws me to Holy. I think being told the answers isn't what appeals to our generation at all, especially when we're in this climate where we are being told how to feel and what to believe, and if we disagree in the slightest, we're labeled as a traitor to humanity's progress.

Uhm, no.

As a young Catholic in today's world, I think one of the bravest acts we can do is to admit our faith despite our uncertainty. To speak our "I don't knows" with "but I still have faith anyways." The Church may be an arsenal for answers and truths and doctrines, but she is also shrouded in mystery. So as a young person it can be intimidating to reveal yourself as Catholic and not have all the answers ready at your fingertips, but your faith in light of your "I'm not sures" is going to speak volumes more than a memorized Catechism response.

The glory,  the sacred and the mysteries will be what the hard-edged definites will crave. The reverence, the intangible, and the rich spirituality will speak for you. Our Holy knows what you are capable of doing. Simply do that.