I'm currently reading a book titled My Life with the Saints by James Martin, S.J. It's a memoir highlighting the role that the lives of the Saints played in his formation. I'm only up to chapter two, so I'll have to get back to you with a more proper review when I finish it.
Chapter one is about Therese of Lisieux, one of my favorite saints. Quite a few of my Catholic friends have a devotion to the Little Flower (as do I), and quite a few have stories about mysterious roses appearing duing their novenas, and a number attribute specific prayers being answered through the intercession of the Little Flower (as do I).
I'm not surprised that Fr. Martin devoted the first chapter of his memoir to the Little Flower. He talks about Therese's trials, how she struggled with doubts about the existence of heaven, and how she even contemplated suicide during her battle with Tuberculosis. "Yet though she struggled, wept, and raged," Martin writes, "she continued to believe--drawing from a deep well of trust filled from the springs of a lifelong friendship with God." Now that's what I call an a-ha moment.
Recently an old friend of mine tried to get in touch with me. She sent me a message on Facebook, and then later called me. I did respond to her Facebook message, but I've been so destracted with all of my obligations that I just haven't picked up that phone and called her back. I deeply regret letting this opportunity to reconnect with a dear old friend pass me by. The longer I wait to pick up that phone and call her, the harder that call becomes to make. Soon I start making excuses and finding something convenient on which to lay blame. The days turn into weeks, and this woman that had been a part of my life since kindergarten slips further and further away from me...or more accurately, it's I who slips further and further away from her.
Isn't it the same with our Lord?
It sure is for me. It's why I've been focusing so much on prayer these days. If someone is going to call me "friend", it's because I've accepted those precious invitations that give us the opportunity to build our relationship, and I've reciprocated and extended real invitations myself.
Prayer is exactly that: communication with the Lord. Whether it's worship at Mass or just silently contemplating Him while sitting in a quiet corner of my yard, I am building a rich, vibrant friendship with the Lord who loves me infinitely, who will sustain me through trials, darkness, even sickness and death.
I'd never know any of this, though, if I didn't bother to return his calls.