One of the challenges I received from the Christmas and
Lenten retreat was to pray properly.
Oftentimes I pray out of habit. I can recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be and even the Angel of God in a few minutes because I memorized all the words and I have been praying them since I was in kindergarten. But of course praying is not a race and it does not matter how many times I prayed these prayers in a lifetime if I have not prayed them properly at all.
It is so easy to be distracted while praying. Sometimes I find myself reciting a prayer but thinking of other things in my to do list. Or hurrying the rosary because I need to do something else. I am guilty of these even though I know it is very rude. I mean, it is like visting a friend’s house then not once ask about how he/she is and instead talk about yourself and leave just like that.
So I tried to pray one memorized prayer as solemly as I can. I decided to pray the Our Father, I even asked Jesus to help me pray it properly since He was the one who taught us the prayer.
First, I prayed slowly thinking of all the words in the prayer. Then I recited it again. On the third time, I felt a sudden emotion almost like awe mixed with guilt and embarrassment. I was only up to “holy be thy name” and it echoed in my whole being. I realized suddenly how small I was, how great His name is and how careless I was everytime I say the prayer. It is such a lovely prayer that I reduced to a piece of memorized lines.
I found myself on my knees because His power felt so strong. I was crying. I was apologizing for my mistake and thanking Jesus for that piece of wisdom.
I was able to feel, even fleetingly, how grand His name and power was. I always had a problem with fully trusting His plans but I somehow felt that He couldn’t possibly make a mistake – He is huge. His presence is everywhere.
I remember back in college, I felt a deeper respect for the environment and the whole universe after my Physics professor talked about how all of us came from the stars. We are all part of stars, he said. As much as we can shine like the stars in the sky, we are also very small particles of something bigger than any of us.
Like stars, we are all made in God’s image and likeness. As much as we are like Him and from Him, we are also made for Him. It is only when we realize how small we are and how great He is can we really see that He’s got our back. His plans for us are much bigger than we can ever imagine, we just have to have faith.
image by Dingzeyu Li from unsplash.com