“When we spend time with God, we bring something with us for others, and that is supposed to decrease, to be lessened while it enriches others. No water boy should complain that the bottles get empty when he goes down to the field. His job is to go back and fill them up again.” ~Dr. Edward Mulholland, Benedictine College
This Lenten season, I have tried to spend more time with God in prayer. I have been encouraged by an excellent book, Time for God by Father Jacques Philippe. This extra prayer time, when I have made time for it, has been a blessing! Father Philippe makes the simple point that no matter what our daily schedule holds, we MUST prioritize quiet time with God in prayer. Returning to the loving, peaceful presence of God is infinitely valuable and healing for our souls.
When my prayer time is over and I return to the fray of family life, though, it is not long before I feel as though my spiritual and emotional stores are draining again. “What happened, Lord?” I wonder. I feel as though my children, neighbors, and responsibilities, important as they are, are like little vacuums sucking up the peacefulness, patience and loving presence that I experienced during my prayers.
The quote above, part of a larger Lenten article by Dr. Mulholland, helped me to put these feelings in perspective, as did our Holy Father’s Lenten message. “He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich,” we are encouraged by 2 Corinthians 8:9, the focal scripture passage for Pope Francis’ message.
Rising up from prayer, I can emulate our Lord by offering the riches of my prayer time to my children, my husband, my neighbor. Yes, as I delve back into the business and messiness of the world, I may feel a drain of my peace and patience and loving kindness as I interact with others. By God’s grace, others may be enriched by the Living Water I have to offer from my time with Him. If I feel “poured out” from sharing these spiritual blessings with others, I am learning that this is something to celebrate, not resent! And, when I feel my tank is empty, may take the time to return to the Lord, that He might fill me up again. Even Jesus retreated often to be alone with the Father in quiet prayer, and so must I.