By guest blogger Michelle Desjardins ’17
By the time Lent rolls around every year, I am pretty worn out. My personal life, my social life, and my spiritual life have all gone into winter hibernation. It can be so difficult to figure out how to revive and prepare myself for the Resurrection of Christ. Sometimes, we all just reach a lull, an endless cycle of mindless interactions with God and with each other.
As we entered this Lenten season, I knew I needed to make a change, to break out of these patterns. Lent is like those New Year’s Resolutions that you never really kept, but now, instead of doing it for your own selfish motives, you’re doing them to prepare yourself for Jesus‘ Resurrection. Reflecting upon the past year, I realized one thing that had been lacking recently: intentionality. It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in the franticness of the year that we forget to be truly present. At Mass, we go through the motions habitually. In conversations, our minds are stressed about everything else. We are always going 100 miles an hour and never stop to breathe.
This Lent, I want to set aside intentional time, in my personal life, and especially my spiritual life. When I am in a conversation with a friend in need, or when I am sitting in St. Dominic’s Chapel, I want to make that time meaningful, instead of constantly thinking about what I should say or do next. Even prayer life gets pushed aside in the busyness of our daily routines. I tell myself I will pray before I go to bed, but next thing I know, I’m asleep before I have even thought about talking to God.
I was having a conversation with a friend about this on Fat Tuesday. She suggested an iPhone app called “Examen” to help me structure my prayer life. The app follows St. Ignatius’ Daily Examen (sorry Dominicans!) structured around transition, gratitude, petition, discerning, forgiveness, and resolution. At each step, the app guides you through a meditation, and gives you space to journal as you go through the prayer, which helps me personally to focus my prayer and organize my thoughts. I can set reminders for myself throughout the day to pray, to make myself stop running around and set aside intentional time.
Setting aside this intentional time has helped me to reflect a lot more in my prayer, to take note of the joys and blessings in my life, and to open my heart more fully to the Lord. This Lenten season and this new means of focused, deliberate prayer has brought me back to this year’s “Year of Mercy” over and over again. This idea of mercy, of unending and unconditional love, has been a recurring thread in my prayer life so far this Lent. By allowing myself to reflect on my day, each and every day, I have seen the works of mercy living out on a daily basis. I have seen this mercy reflecting during prayer. I have seen this mercy in conversations with friends. I have seen this mercy in Christ’s love for us on the cross.
As I’m preparing myself for the ultimate gift of the Lord’s mercy on Easter, I am hoping that this new intentionality in my prayer and personal lives will help me to reflect on this endless love and the gifts it brings. Being present in this way has already opened up my eyes to the mercy around me, and I hope that this intentionality will continue to help me open up my heart to the Lord more fully throughout Lent, to continue to guide me on this Lenten journey. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.”
By guest blogger Michelle Desjardins ’17 By the time Lent rolls around every year, I am pretty worn out. My personal life, my social life, and my spiritual life have all gone into winter hibernation. It can be so difficult to figure out how to revive and prepare myself for the Resurrection of Christ. Sometimes, […]MORE