My hand flops through the air and, with a mind of its own, starts pawing at my nightstand. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP is playing in the background, and I can’t figure out what is going on. Finally, my hand finds my alarm and stops the horrible beeping sound. Groggily I open my eyes; why oh why is my alarm going off this early? The sun peaks through my window trying to remind me that I’m waking up for a reason. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I remember that I’m supposed to meet a friend for daily mass, which happens to be at 6:30am. Waking up early isn’t the easiest thing and pressing the snooze button can be very tempting, but knowing that my friend will be waiting for me gives me the extra incentive I need to pop out of bed… err roll out of bed.
Getting into the habit of praying on a daily basis can be challenging. Because of this, I like to think of prayer as exercising our spiritual muscles. Similar to going to the gym, the first few training sessions may seem overwhelming and you may need the help of a workout buddy to get through them. This can also be the case in our spiritual lives. The thought of sitting quietly or not knowing what to say may be intimidating. Remember, it’s about building up your spiritual muscles; start small. Having friends and family members that will serve as a source of accountability can be very effective in helping us to live out and strengthen our faith.
You may be wondering why prayer is so important. Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s through prayer that we are given the strength to resist temptation and remain faithful to our baptismal promises (CC2340). In addition to this, when we begin to incorporate prayer into our friendships, we establish deeper bonds of solidarity, the fellowship arising from common interests or responsibilities. In this case, the common interest is growing in our faith. When friends begin to act as witnesses to one another, it fosters the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones (CC1948).
As these spiritual goods develop, we are granted grace and are made more aware of God’s presence in ourselves and those around us. When we recognize God in others, we begin to see one another in a new light (man, it just keeps getting better and better!). The human person is no longer the object that society tells us it is. Instead of viewing one another from a utilitarian standpoint, as something to be used rather than valued, God’s grace enables us to recognize the true beauty within one another. And it’s through this grace that the dignity of the human person is restored. Only when the true value of the human person is recognized will we stop looking at one another with eyes of jealousy and lust. In turn we will begin to view those around us as people worthy of respect. When we see one another with this perspective, we are able to form authentic friendships. Authentic friendships recognize the unique gifts each one of us has been blessed with and, in turn, help to build up the kingdom of God here on earth.