At the end of spring semester my personal prayer life was pretty bad to be honest with you. I rarely spent time alone in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I hardly devoted more than maybe 4 minutes of each day to prayer and my spiritual reading/journaling was basically non-existent.
At first when I found out that I’d be living in Flather hall this summer I was pretty disappointed. For those of you who do not know, Flather hall during the year is a freshmen boys dorm. So my thoughts immediately turned to the dirty bathrooms. But something else popped into my head as well, Flather has a chapel in it.
And so as the summer began, I told myself that I would make good use of that chapel and I would recommit myself to a life of prayer. For the first few days I carried my slightly reluctant, bad-habit self down to the chapel each morning and night. As I sat there I felt prayers that had been hiding deep down inside my heart begin bubbling up. Before they could spill over my lips though, I stopped them. I didn’t want to talk to God, not just yet. I simply wanted to be there. I wanted to just sit before Him. So I prayed, “I know we have a lot of work to do, but I’m just going to sit here for a bit, okay?”
So that’s what I did. I merely sat or knelt before the Blessed Sacrament every morning and night for days. And I noticed something very significant happening inside my heart. When it was time to go to the chapel each day, I still felt my old temptations speaking in the back of my mind: “its late, you’re tired, pray tomorrow, just pray in your room” etc. Yet despite this, I kept finding myself in the chapel. Day in and day out, I ended up before the Eucharist.
Christ has been drawing me to Himself. The Eucharist, within the lowliness of bread and wine, has continually demonstrated its overwhelming power in my heart. He keeps calling me, beckoning me to Himself. And at the end of every trip to the chapel, the simple cry of my heart has been “Jesus, keep bringing me back to you.”
After making this time before the tabernacle the foundation of my spiritual life, I’ve been able to expand my prayer life in other ways as well. I’ve started journaling again, and instead of merely recaps of my day, I’ve been able to explore actual movements of my heart. I’ve also picked back up on spiritual reading. Here is the thing about that though…I get over zealous and try to read like 8 books but then never completely finish one. But I’m trying to stay semi-focused. Here’s a look at my summer reading list:
I’m so thankful for the chapel in Flather and for Christ’s unrelenting love that continues to poor over me when I come before Him. The desire to be near Him has only strengthened with each trip to the chapel, and each time I leave I feel the magnetic pull of His Body and Blood calling me back the next day. My desire for the Eucharist has also renewed my commitment to go to daily Mass. It only makes sense that a love for the presence of the Eucharist would lead to a longing for its reception.
I saw this C.S. Lewis quote the other day and I think it adequately describes the renewal of my prayer life this summer: