I had a hard time figuring out what to give up for Lent. I thought maybe I’d give up chocolate… or maybe not. Or maybe try to improve my posture or lose some weight. Probably not.
Really what I should aim for is to cut the complaining. But, there is no end of things worthy of what I’ve come to call “social commentary.” Most of the time I vent with God.
But, is complaining a sincere form of prayer?
Maybe not a real form of prayer, but a kind of sub-form. It isn’t adoration, contrition, or thanksgiving, but definitely a part of supplication. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me the complaints I utter do somehow morph into prayer. While I’m voicing my astonishment at what perturbs me, I begin to feel some compassion and I think of reasons why the other did whatever. And this is the best part: at the same time I find myself engaged in acts of adoration, contrition, and thanksgiving.
There are lots of little threads of prayer in our lives. In fact, everything about us is meant to cause us to pray. That is because God is present within and around us to protect us and to engage us with his love. What exactly are these opportunities for prayer? Regrets, tiredness, distractions, fears, preoccupations, times of quiet and peace, joy and sorrow. Every moment contains an invitation to commune with God.
Do you ever feel like a crabby mystic caught between nature and grace? There is who we are and who we know God is calling us to be. And whatever your thing is, whatever you’re working on, prayer teaches you how to reconcile the two. The pray-er becomes the prayer.
Sister Mary Lea Hill, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul since 1964, recently wrote a book entitled Prayer and You: Wit and Wisdom from a Crabby Mystic. She has enjoyed communicating the faith through a variety of apostolic assignments. Her skills as a story teller were honed as director of audiovisual productions when Pauline Books & Media first produced animated features in the early 80s. An editor and author for many years, Sister Mary Lea has written several books, including the best-selling Basic Catechism (co-authored with Sister Susan Helen Wallace).
This post first appeared on the Daughters of St. Paul Pauline Books and Media blog and My Discover Hope weekly email; if you would like to subscribe to our sisters’ weekly email, you can do so here.