Seeking spiritual peace, quiet discipline like I used to have

About 15 years ago or thereabouts, I was so much more spiritually connected than I sometimes feel I am now. I used to actually read the religious and spiritual books I bought rather than bringing them home and having them sit on the shelf for years. I used to pray more consistently.

I did have a few issues with wanting to acquire more spiritual reading than maybe was realistic, and my spiritual director had cautioned me not to overdo it or to think having the books or devotionals was a substitute for real faith. Point well taken at the time, and remembered to the present day.

In 2000, I started working at a Catholic book and gift shop, and I learned of the existence of even more spiritual writings that interested me, and devotionals and such that I hadn’t heard of. I tried to bear in mind the words of my director, though. In 2003 my father died unexpectedly, my mother’s health took a downturn, and years of stress and financial and work difficulties ensued. I think it was during this time that sometimes prayer got put off due to exhaustion. But some good things were happening, such as I was getting back to going to daily Mass.

At other times, I was enjoying things such as doing artwork, and I think it was a gift from God but sometimes it could take all my mental energy and there again, the balance tipped away from being calm and focused on spiritual matters.

There are other factors too numerous to list, but I know I’d like my spiritual life to undergo a renaissance. In some ways, I’ve made a start - I started going to weekly Adoration, just tagging along with friends, and somehow now I see the parish has put my name on the regular list - and I’m A-OK with that. :thumbsup: I’m reading the Bible and I feel aware of Advent and in the spirit of it, just not as structured with it as I used to be.

Daily prayer is still a struggle - mornings are not my best time. I don’t work an outside job and have a poor track record sticking to any self-imposed schedule. Winter depression has set in some, although that may be just my wimpiness - I might have pleaded summer blahs 6 months ago. :blush: The spirit is willing but the flesh is flabby and weak.

Finally, I just feel I have so much I need to do, want to do - living in a small space that gets disorganized quickly, projects, creative stuff, etc. - again, my creativity is a gift from God but I can’t let it take me so far away from just sitting quietly with Him. To sum up, I have such strong Martha tendencies and I remember when I used to be able to be a Mary - things were more in balance. Please, share if you relate, and how you reconnected with your “inner Mary of Bethany.” Thanks!

Reading your post, I see a thread running through your life, and for me it is the same. That desire for spirituality and peace that you feel is surely a grace from God. Your good intention to respond to God’s call, even when the circumstances of your life prevent you from doing so as you might like, is certainly still pleasing to God. Looking back, my own spiritual life has also ebbed and flowed like the tide, sometimes stronger, sometimes distant. Are there distractions now that you can choose to let go of? I took the bold step, for example, of getting rid of my TV some years ago, to eliminate an all-too-easy excuse to skip prayer. There are always little choices we can make to facilitate our “Mary” side. Now, I am the opposite of you in one regard: Morning is the very best time for me for prayer and spiritual reading (I too have perhaps too many books on things religious). By the evening, I’m too tired for any serious prayer. But, we do the best we can, depending on our state and stage in life, and I know God blesses our good efforts and attempts. Thanks for your post.

And thank you likewise for your post. :slight_smile: One prayer I pray often - particularly in the midst of a busy (and maybe also stressful) round of events, or when I’m preoccupied, is simply for God to increase my desire to be close to Him. And to forgive me for being so distracted as I can sometimes get. :juggle:

I’m not a big TV watcher but I suppose the Internet is something I should be more disciplined with. And non-spiritual books, although I don’t read trashy stuff. But maybe I read for entertainment more than I need to and could choose one of my spiritual books more often. I think one reason I don’t always, now that I think of it, is that with a mystery or a sci fi or a romance or even a literary novel, I can be distracted more or put the book down, or snack :popcorn: and it doesn’t matter that much. With spiritual books I feel I should be more focused and often my mental energy isn’t what it used to be.

It sounds like you’re a morning person, and I’m a night person. My best prayer is usually in the morning IF I can not get sidetracked by the others in the house (2- and 4-legged) and be awake enough not to fall back to sleep :sleep:

Being a night person seems to be more in favor of my other pursuits, unfortunately, such as non-spiritual reading, and I seem to have lost the momentum to pray at night, or I want to read a bit longer then suddenly I’m really sleepy. :yawn: I think I might need to use my TV or computer to facilitate prayer - Mother Angelica’s Rosary or something - in the evenings. Then I’d find it easier to pay attention, and hopefully the habit would take hold.

I’ve noticed a change since I’ve grown older. Not only does my body continue to lose strength, but my mind as well. It doesn’t mean I can’t think but I find as the years go by it seems to take more effort to use my mind.

When I was middle aged I could think all day, come home, and then in the evening use my mind again. This also hold true for prayer as well, tho practise makes it somewhat better. But it seems my depth in thought is much richer.

I think better now than before, but there is more work to it, whereas before it seemed more of a delight and so much easier.

Maybe some of this might be what you are experiencing as well.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

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