Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. It can be in our leisure activities, our jobs, our home life, our prayer life, or anything. We may not even realize it’s happening. If we don’t realize it, we can’t do anything to get out of that rut. We can find ourselves in danger of taking things for granted, of not being as involved in things as we should, of losing interest in good things, of being led off in a bad direction.
Sometimes it takes a little bit of prompting from outside, a little bit of convincing us to put ourselves in a position to have a different perspective on things, to get us out of that rut.
I’ve been in a rut spiritually as of late. I didn’t realize it until I went to confession this past Saturday. Part of my penance was the rather strange command to add something new to my prayer life. My priest seemed certain in what he was saying, but spoke in extremely vague and nebulous terms. Perhaps he found it odd to receive such a generic prompt from the Holy Spirit. Perhaps not. Regardless, what was vague to him and probably would have been vague to anyone else wasn’t vague to me. I knew exactly what the Holy Spirit was trying to get across: Lectio Divina. Other practices would be good, but this would be the best for me right now.
Another recent example of this was my experience at Mass yesterday. I just joined the choir and attended my first practice this past Thursday. Yesterday was my first time ever singing in a choir at Mass. The entire Mass was… different. Not better or worse. Just different.
It’s difficult to describe. I really did have a sense that when I was singing I was praying twice, to reference a quote traditionally associated with Saint Augustine. The exact quote, which has apparently been shortened to what we say nowadays, is:
“For he that sings praise, not only praises, but also praises with gladness: he that sings praise, not only sings, but also loves him of whom he sings. In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving.”
I definitely noticed feelings of gladness and affection during Mass yesterday that were different from normal. I’ve always felt that way about the Mass, but those feelings were not quite the same. There was a much stronger sense of… I find it difficult to describe. A greater sense of sharing with others?
A different perspective indeed. It will take a while for me to absorb what that means.
When God actually asks something of us, he doesn’t so it out of capriciousness. It’s not like he needs anything at all, as he’s perfect in and of himself. But he loves us and wants what is best for us. I don’t know why Lectio Divina in particular would be a good thing for me to do right now. I don’t know why it’s important that I be in the choir right now. Maybe doing these things will make me a better person. Maybe these things don’t matter one bit for me at all, but somehow will matter to someone else in the future.
I trust God. So I will do what he asks of me.