Thursday, August 23, 2012

Filling Up the Jar

Several years ago, I attended a youth conference which greatly impacted my life.  One thing that I still remember quite clearly was a talk about fitting God into our busy lives.  The speaker used the following analogy: Take a very large jar.  This represents the sum total of your time.  If you fill it first with all the little things (represented by small pebbles and stones) like leisure time, school work, job, friends, family, and all those other one hundred and one things you simply have to get done, your jar becomes very full, very quickly.  And then when you try to "fit in" God and a spiritual life (represented by a large rock), you simply can't find the space/time.  If you put God in first, however, you still have plenty of room for all those other little pebbles to fit around the large rock.

This analogy has proven true time and again over the past several years up to the present day.  We tend to think that we haven't got time for that rosary, or a chaplet, or daily Mass.  There are so many other things on our plate that we can't afford even 10 minutes in prayer.

Let's take a step back and see with what we do fill our time.  Eating.  Relaxing.  Working.  Studying.  Chilling.  Sleeping.  Spending time with family and friends.  And at the end of the day, generally we still haven't crossed off even one third of the things on our checklists.  So how could we have time to add in one more thing, especially something so daunting as developing our spiritual life?

The answer is beautifully simple.  If you commit yourself to putting God first, everything else will fall into place.  I understand that everyone has different claims on their time, talent and treasure.  No one, however, has so much to do that they can't spend even a few minutes in prayer.

In my own experience, I have discovered that when I put God first, He rewards me one hundredfold.  At the present, I have the blessed opportunity to attend daily mass.  I know that there are many other things I could be doing, some of them highly productive, with the time I spend in mass.  I, however, wouldn't trade my spiritual time for anything else.  I'm studying the law, which is arguably one of the most difficult graduate programs to survive, let alone succeed in.  I know that times will be inevitably stressful, especially come exam week.  I also know, however, that if I continue to develop my spiritual life and relationship with God, I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me.  With His help, I can conquer my legal studies with excellence.  Without Him, nothing else has any true meaning.

So the next time you pass by a church, stop in for a few minutes just to say hello.  God likes hearing from us.  Make an earnest effort to go to mass more than once a week, or to say a daily chaplet or rosary.  Talk to God throughout your day.  If something is troubling you, ask Him for help.  If you're suffering, offer it up for the poor souls in Purgatory or those suffering around the world.  If you're happy about something, thank Him for the blessings.  It's really the little things that count.  Put the big rock of Faith and God into your life first, and everything else will fall right into place.

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