As a Catholic, I embrace the idea that God exists within the context of my everyday life, and I welcome the Shehecheyanu as a verbal manifestation of that idea. It helps me put words behind my feelings of joy and gratitude, and moves me to verbally recognize God’s abundant blessings in the everyday moments of life. As I continue on in this year, I have a feeling that I’ll be saying the Shehecheyanu a lot more.
Even amidst the challenges of 2020, we are given countless opportunities to choose — like the author of Sirach describes — between fire and water, life and death. These three choices help me find life and contribute to life in small but meaningful ways.
Obedience isn’t the first virtue that comes to mind when I consider ways that I can strive for a life of everyday holiness. But putting it into practice in a few small ways has helped me to see the goodness that can flow from not allowing myself to be my own guide or god.
Just over fifty words, the Suscipe is brief. But by moving me to complete three major actions — letting go, giving thanks, and asking for help — it transforms my mindset and softens my heart with each recitation.
We make hundreds of yes or no decisions daily, even if just to ourselves — no, I won’t stay in bed even though I kind of want to; yes, I’ll invite a new neighbor over for coffee — and good reasons for both our yeses and our nos can lead to wholeness and holiness. But looking back on my life, I see that a few yeses, which, like Mary’s, came in the face of uncertainty and even bafflement, have led to a life that I love.
As St. Augustine once explained, a Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace. I may not think that Confession is a necessary prerequisite to receiving God’s forgiveness, but I do experience God’s grace through the Sacrament.
Intergenerational friendships, which allow us to learn from people who have experienced more of life than us, and others who are seeing the world with fresh eyes, make life richer for all parties involved. Taking time to engage in activities, practices and conversations that promote the sharing of wisdom across ages benefits our individual lives, our communities and our world.
Learning about and praying numerous variations of Lectio Divina during a two-week period that I spent at a Benedictine monastery opened the doorway for a major turn in my prayer life.