By Ryan LeBlanc, E.D. Feehan High School, Saskatoon
Two simple ways to live as a Christian are to pray and serve. In your day today, maybe you decided to pray. Just turn to God in your heart and speak with him. Great. Or you might have decided to serve. To willingly do something good for someone else. Awesome.
Good for you! You did it! And… all of us could benefit from doing that a little bit more.
Pray. Then pray. Then pray, pray, pray.
Serve. Then serve. Then serve, serve, serve.
What?! Even when I don’t feel like it? When it’s inconvenient? Do I have to?
Well, no, you do not have to. That’s the whole point. Prayer can’t be forced. Serving kindness can’t be forced. We choose it.
I think “x” percentage of us have tried to pray or to serve today, and I think “close to x” percentage of us, if we reflect on it, experienced something positive and strengthening when we tried it. This is my wildly unscientific guesstimate.
But even though we experience the good consequence of prayer or service, at some point, you and I are going to hit a wall. A major sticking point, when praying becomes tough, or serving becomes burdensome. The positive that comes from it becomes hard to see and feel.
I already know this because every Christian, including the big saints, has experienced this. Don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean you’re a failed Christian. Well, at least no more of a failure than everyone else.
Yes, it is true. At a certain point, we all get sick of praying. It seems to stop paying off, we just give up on it, we will get to it after one more episode… the point is, something on the inside or outside gets in the way.
Same with serving with kindness. We reach our max, we feel unappreciated, we find that person just annoying, we have a bad day, we just want kindness towards me for once. Again, inside or outside, something stops our effort to be kind.
Today, I let you in on the secret sauce of Christian living. No matter which one of prayer or service you chose to try out, when it gets tough or even impossible to do that one… switch it up. Try the other one. See what happens.
So, it goes, pray; pray, pray, pr- ooo Facebook! Now, get up and Serve.
Or it goes, serve; serve, serve, ser- get outta my face! Now, be still and Pray.
Try the old switcheroo. Or, if you haven’t got around to it, pick one and try it. One moment of prayer or one act of kindness today, maybe the opposite of what you last chose. See what happens.
Let’s switch to prayer right now:
Holy Spirit, you help us pray, And you help us serve each other. Let’s have some of that sweetness today.
Ryan LeBlanc is the Teacher Chaplain and Catholic Studies Department Head at E.D. Feehan Catholic High School in Saskatoon. He is also discerning the permanent diaconate in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.