Just wanted to jot down a quick note about something that’s been a running theme lately in my spiritual life, that of connections. Over the past couple of weeks, the Lord has been showing me how everyone: past, present and future, is connected because God is omnipresent. At the same time, I recently asked the Lord to shed some light on my sins are so I could do an effective examination of conscience each night with my prayers. These two things are coming together in an interesting way.
The first point is that because everyone is connected, even the things you do to yourself in secret affect others. Even if you just whisper some gossip to yourself, or complain about someone to yourself, it will ultimately affect someone else. It might not affect someone in the present, but it could affect someone in the future. Take, for example, Adam and Eve – their sin against God not only brought them the taste of death, but all humanity as well. There is no way of knowing how a sin can affect you or others. One thing is certain: sin wounds my relationship with God, and could even cause a serious separation. It’s clear – sin must be avoided at all costs!
It then occurred to me that the best way to avoid sin is to remain connected to God. I listened to a podcast this morning that talked about the fall of our first parents, and how the consequence of their sin was being disconnected from God and His breath of life (which is why they must die). On this day celebrating the Exaltation of the Cross, I am reminded that the Cross is a symbol of victory for Christ defeated death and restored that connection with the Triune God.
We are still fallen in this life, however, and must work constantly to keep that connection going with the Lord. I realize now why St. Paul exhorts us to pray always, for that is the only way to stay connected to God.
The Church in her wisdom has given us the Divine Office which one prays several times a day, to maintain this connection. I can also listen to music that reminds me of God’s presence, or listen to podcasts. I can whisper the Jesus Prayer over and over again until it becomes such a habit that it will continue to be prayed even as I work or play. I can gaze upon holy icons and meditate for a moment or two about Jesus, Mary or a saint.
There are many ways to stay connected but it really takes force of will to keep it going. I know though that it is the best way to avoid sin, which breaks connections with God, and with everyone else.
How do you stay connected to God?