Adam Wood, Senior
I am not the most disciplined individual. In fact, I’m a pretty heavy procrastinator. I think the thing my mom was most excited about when I left for college was not having to watch me get stressed because I put off homework until the night before. Out of sight, out of mind. These days, when I am home on breaks, I intentionally don’t tell her the things I want to get done while I’m home because I know she’ll ask how they’re going, and I’ll feel stressed because they usually aren’t going at all. Even still, when I was home for a few days over fall break, keeping my to-do list secret didn’t stop her from saying, “You must not have had anything to get done while you were home because I don’t see when you possibly would have done it.”
Unfortunately, my lack of discipline tends to spill into other parts of my life, like not exercising and, more importantly, not devoting myself to regular prayer. I know that conversing with God on a regular basis is a good thing to do. It’s easy for me to connect the most joyful and peaceful times in my life with those times when I had the most consistent prayer life. That is why I find it so frustrating that I struggle time and time again to have ongoing conversations with God. Now I know this is easier said than done. With the steady flow of exams and projects, extracurricular activities, and the ever-present stress involved with finding an answer to the “what are your plans for next year?” question, it is definitely difficult to find time to hit pause on the day and just sit with the Lord for a few moments.
Something that has always helped me with my struggle is being part of a supportive Christian community. This is why I am so glad I chose to come to a school where the opportunities for being a part of such communities are plentiful. From my dorm brotherhood in Fisher Hall, to the Compass groups I lead, to the Notre Dame Vision mentor community, and the friends I have through Campus Ministry, I have been able to connect with individuals who challenge me to strengthen my connection to the living God through prayer. For someone like myself who often struggles with having the discipline to develop my own prayer routine, it is a blessing to have the encouragement of others that share the common goal of growing in faith.
When I am able to interact with these small groups, it serves as a wonderful reminder of the beauty within the worldwide community of the Church. It is a reminder that our Christian faith is first and foremost a communal endeavor, and that my motivation for cultivating personal prayer shouldn’t be to feel better about myself, but to be strengthened by God and to be a witness to others. After all, the goal of my life as a member of the Church should not simply be to get myself to Heaven, but to get everyone else there, too. In addition to not being a particularly disciplined person, I also don’t consider myself much of a writer. So I perused the YOUCAT in search of a quote by someone who could say what I am trying to say about Christian community. Before long, I stumbled upon this gem by the French poet Charles Péguy: “We must be saved together. We must come to God together. Together, we must present ourselves before him. What would God say to us if some of us were to return without the others?”
The point of this meandering blog is to say that in my desire to become a more disciplined person of prayer, I don’t need to rely wholly on myself. I should continue to draw strength from others, so that I can, in turn, provide strength for them.