"Let go of your plans. The first hour of your morning belongs to God. Tackle the day's work that he charges you with, and he will give you the power to accomplish it." - St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
I begin most days very early and in prayer, not because I am overtly pious or claim to be perfect by any means, but because I recognize the immensity of God's gift of time to me.
Beyond this, I have come to experience quite honestly the incredible way that our Lord truly gives the power to accomplish all things when we entrust ourselves completely to Him through carving out much needed time and sit at His feet in prayer.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of a wonderful and heroic virtuous woman St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, she is an example of a woman truly hidden in Christ and imbued with great strength, intellect, and a deep sense of femininity. I wrote more reflecting on her and her example over at Serviam Ministries this week, and I am sure it is a piece that will flutter some feathers, but is a necessary reflection.
When I reflect upon St. Teresa's words about letting go of our personal plans and giving the first hour of the morning to God, I can see the importance of this for acquiring balance and being able to fulfill the many tasks that lay before me throughout the day.
We can tackle all things, even chaos when we begin our waking hours focused on God and making ourselves receptive to His will. This is not easy at first, no doubt. To discipline ourselves and to be receptive to a sense of routine and order requires obedience and sacrifice. Under the illusion of greater rest, perhaps hitting the snooze button seems more alluring. But I would almost challenge anyone "out there" to choose instead to hit the button on their alarm and rise a bit early, even if momentarily grumpy and then immerse yourself in some quiet time of prayer, collect your barrings , and slowly the beauty will emerge.
I was not always disciplined enough to recognize the importance of beginning each day with a structured time in prayer. It was the fruit of hanging out at a monastery retreating from time to time in my early twenties. I encountered the Rule of Benedict. And obviously as a lay woman, I do not have to observe or live by this to it's entirety, it would be quite odd in fact if I did. However, something very vital and important struck me about this way of life. Something I think that leads to a healthy human formation, and great balance. It is the ordering and balance of work and prayer. Prayer being most central of course, and for all of us as faithful, the primacy of Christ should be crucial in our days as well. Wherever we are called to serve, and in whatever we may suffer, with Christ at our center, and with an obedient willingness to align ourselves to properly understanding this we will have great flourishing in our lives. I am not promising that one will merit the material and tangible things that our world has come to deem most valuable, but I am speaking of great interior peace and this, by far, will allow us to "tackle the day's work" and live more intentionally and purposefully.
Quite often when one is overwhelmed there seems to be a suggestion of taking more "me" time. Granted there is something vital in that. But, as a Christian I see "me" and "my" time, as God's time and so thus begins my day. We can make this experience something incredibly personal. It does not have to be spent kneeling down on concrete floor reciting litanies, and wearing a hair shirt or chanting psalms.
I spend mine with two cups of coffee (black) and reflecting upon the readings of the day before preparing food and attending to my chores, this too can be prayerful. And, I have also incorporated praying the Rosary into a morning work out, then off to daily Mass with the kids. This dedication is not the result of a life of luxury or ease or because other people take care of things for me. It is born from giving that first hour to God, and sacrificing in order to do that. We are no better rested by avoiding time of prayer. However, to acquire routine is a process and it is a grace I believe, one that we can pray for.
The Lord will meet us and lead us gently, and fill us up with His grace and give us the power to accomplish all things. "Let go of your plans" respond to the invitation of sitting in silence with our Lord, begin early, bring your coffee, and witness the beauty unfold. (CC)