There are so many distractions that we face every day; our phones, the television, the internet, unexpected changes in our daily schedule, etc. These distractions keep us busy, they keep our minds occupied, they cause us to respond to people in a way that is not always holy.
This is my daily routine.
Wake and shower – 6:00am
Wake my daughter and head downstairs to start my day – 6:30am
Pick up my phone and check email, text messages, and Facebook – 6:35
Make daughter breakfast – 6:45
While daughter is eating, go to big computer and respond to emails and facebook until 7:05
Daughter leaves the house for school – 7:10
Facebook, tie up loose ends on computer – 7:15-7:35
Read magnificat or some spiritual book – 7:35-7:45
Wake son – 7:45
Do work on computer – 7:45 – 8:15
Make son breakfast – 8:15
Make sons lunch – 8:20-8:25
Son leaves for school at 8:30
Back on computer until third child wakes around 8:45-9:00
Here is what I notice from this morning routine. I spend 1 hour and 30 minutes on the computer or my phone and spend 5 minutes talking with each of my kids before they leave the house for the day. I also spend only 10 minutes with Jesus every morning. A total of 20 minutes interacting with the single most important people in my life; Jesus and my family. Compare this to 1 hour and 30 minutes with work and other things that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It is good to be passionate, very good, but it is good to be passionate about important things like your kids and God, not things like work or the election or what someone posts on Facebook that you might not agree with. Who cares about that stuff! Will that stuff get you into heaven? When you are dead and in heaven with Jesus, are you going to care at all about who won the game last night, who the next president is, the new house that your friend built that is “so much better than yours”, or how much money is in your bank account? NO you won’t! You will see the glory of God and the absolute goodness He extends. All of that other stuff just takes your eye off of the prize. A prize that is available to you in this life.
When you make love to your husband, that is a gift from God. What a beautiful gift of intimacy from an all loving God who uses this gift to create life. When you look at your children, I mean really look at them and watch them play, laugh, chase butterflies, care for you, touch your face, embrace you, cry when they fall, sleep on your chest, and wipe the tears from your eyes when you cry; that is God. That is God giving you a glimpse of his love for you. That is God showing you the life he wants for you. At what point in our lives does this all change? When do we become less like a child and get ourselves wrapped up in worldly things that make us forget what heaven is like?
On retreat, you have silence, complete silence. In the midst of the silence, there are several hours when you are in prayer. Starting at 3:15 am before the sun rises, you are in prayer followed by prayer at sunrise, mass, the 3rd hour of prayer, the 6th hour of prayer, the 9th hour of prayer, vespers before dinner, and the Compline (prayer before sleep, followed by the Abbot’s blessing. The prayers are simple, yet beautiful. The monks chant in a responsorial format always praising God and the Blessed virgin Mary. While I stand listening to each hour of prayer, I wonder, is this what heaven is like? If we are to praise and pray to God all day long in heaven, could this be a glimpse into what it will be like? If this is just a small taste of the sweetness of being with God in all of eternity, then YES I want to be there!
The silence allows you to filter out all of the distractions and focus on the things that are most important. Your mind isn’t cluttered with stuff, it is only open to receive Jesus. By clearing out the clutter, we can receive Jesus here and now. Jesus might come in the form of a butterfly fluttering past your window or a squirrel gathering nuts for a long winter. Jesus might come while watching the sunrise and seeing God’s beautiful world awaken before your eyes. But most of all, God’s beauty comes in the form of your husband and your children. If our love for our children is one millionth the love God has for us, we have been given a gift that is beyond comprehension. I don’t want to waste that gift for one more second. I want to live free from distractions so that my life can belong to God allowing my husband and children to receive the benefits from this commitment.