Published as a column in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for October 20, 2013
Today’s readings focus on two important keys for our spiritual life: Scripture and prayer. Sacred Scripture is important because it gives “wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” and helps us to be “competent, equipped for every good work” as Paul tells Timothy in the second reading. Prayer is so important that Jesus teaches the disciples in today’s gospel about “the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” But how can we find time to obtain wisdom and deepen our faith through Scripture or pray without becoming weary in our already busy lives? The answer is something that we are probably already doing – multitasking!
We are probably already doing a certain amount of multitasking each day. We may fold laundry while watching a television program, listen to music as we work in our garden, use our phone to call a friend when we are taking a walk or stuck in traffic, listen to a book while we are working out or waiting in line, and in some cases we may even read the bulletin while we are listening to the homily, all in the hopes of doing more in the limited amount of time that we have each day. But with the help of the technology available on our phones, media players, and entertainment systems, we can devote some of the time that we are working, relaxing, or doing whatever, to work on our relationship with God through spiritual multitasking.
There are a number of great CDs, audio files, and apps that we can purchase or download that can help our spiritual life while we are at home, in the car, out in the yard, or in the neighborhood. We can read or listen to the Rosary, a chaplet, a litany, a novena, the Stations of the Cross, or any other prayers or devotions. Many of these items are available to us for free and yet they are very professional and high quality. The Liturgy of the Hours is one of the most beautiful ways that the Church follows Christ’s invitation to “pray always without becoming weary”, but it can be difficult to learn and pray alone. Thankfully there are a number of great apps that allow us to pray this important prayer along with a choir, a cantor, a lector, and others. Also, there is even an app that will provide us with new homilies each and every day, in case we cannot get enough homilies while we are at Mass!
Now when we are stuck in traffic, caught in a long line at the store, working out, or even just relaxing, these times can be moments of incredible grace with our Lord!
For those of us that are not technologically savvy, there is tried and true method to spiritually multitask that has been around for centuries that combines our prayer time with scripture reading together in a practice known as gospel contemplation, an easy method to grow in faith and draw closer to God by simply reading the Gospels and then reflecting upon them in a prayerful conversation with Jesus. To engage in this prayer form:
- 1. Select a gospel passage. A good starting point is the daily Mass readings which can be found in many devotionals or on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website at www.usccb.org/bible/readings.
- Recognize the presence of God. Know that God is present and that as you reflect on the Word of God you are encountering Him and his message.
- Read the gospel prayerfully. Read the passage slowly and as many times as necessary to become familiar with the cast of characters, the actions, the dialogue, and other details about the passage.
- Close your eyes and use your imagination. Insert yourself into the scene and become one of those present: a disciple, a Pharisee, a Samaritan, a sinner, someone in need of healing, or just a member of the crowd, because at different times in our lives we are probably each one of the characters in the passage. What do you see, hear, or even smell or taste? How do you feel as the scene unfolds before you?
- Reflect on the passage. How did you encounter Jesus in the passage? What was Christ saying to you through the passage? How was your heart moved?
- Pray. Speak openly from your heart to Jesus about the passage and your life.
By reading Scripture and praying at the same time, the Gospels and our prayer life come alive as we draw closer to Christ as he speaks to us directly through his Holy Word. When we multitask in this way we not only do more, we become more!
It is important to remember that spiritual multitasking is not just to fill certain times of the day with Scripture or prayer. The goal of spiritual multitasking is to make every single moment of our day spiritual, by taking the message of Jesus Christ found in Scripture and making it a part of who we are and everything that we do and to “pray always without becoming weary.”
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
- Do I see additional times during the day that I can spend on my spiritual life?
- Do I see waiting in line or being stuck in traffic as times of impatience and frustration or times of grace that allow me to spend time with our Lord?