By Fr. Mike Boutin
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:6).
This clip from YouTube will help you find your Inner Room!
"Stop the world. I want to get off!" - bills to pay, kids to drive to soccer, laundry to do, refrigerator is empty again!, prescriptions to pick up, emails that need answers, phone calls to return, books that need to be finished, Ma needs a phone call... life spinning out of control... one day at a time...
Time for the "inner room"...
Lent's forty days and forty nights invite us into the desert with Jesus, on retreat in a way, so as to re-focus, gain perspective, and find new insights. Lent invites us to consider the three traditional Lenten disciplines - prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, or works of charity - not merely as activities that are taken up during Lent only to be forgotten after Easter. Rather, we are invited to look seriously at our commitment as Christians, and discover the ways that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are at the heart of real discipleship.
Prayer is about the "inner room." There, deep inside the labyrinthine ways of the human heart, we can "just be." No masks, no pretenses, no posturing... no needing to explain or provide excuses. The light in the window of our inner room is God's love and mercy; Christ's heart full of love for us enlightens our inner room and provides us with a way to see, and to understand, and just to be.
Prayer isn't just words... rather, prayer is relationship. Consider the many ways we communicate with those we love the most: silence, music, small talk, words of love, words of forgiveness, and even words of anger or questioning. If we truly love God, wouldn't we want to communicate with God in the same wondrous and myriad ways that we communicate with those we love?
Can we really be honest with God? Share with the Lord the deep sadness of our lives? Tell God what angers us about God's plan? Communicate with God real words of love, of questioning, and of forgiveness?
Does God know today what is most in my heart? What most worries me today? What keeps me in the darkness?
Go now into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret....
Father Mike Boutin is the co-pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, MA, and travels widely, leading pilgrimages throughout the world to various Catholic religious sites. He is a frequent speaker on liturgy, music, spirituality, and pastoral ministry.