Within my first day with the community, we prayed at least five different times together. Being a Catholic, and recently graduating from one of the best Catholic institutions in the nation, I was used to this, but there was a little extra anxiety added to the mix as I found that this group prayer became a source of insecurity.
It appeared that every other missionary knew these prayers by heart – be that the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to the Liturgy of the Hours – and then when they were asked to lead prayer? Oh goodness. It was as if the Holy Spirit guided their tongues with such beauty that you knew these people were close to the heart of Christ.
And as such, me in my little lonesome and now insecure heart, felt as though I was seriously missing the mark when it came to pursuing Christ. I thought because my prayer life wasn’t that which flowed with such grace and confidence and supreme understanding of the treasure that is the wealth of all the Church has to offer, that it somehow reflected on me and my relationship with He who matters most. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt as such, but it can easily entice the urge to retreat into the shadows because you either don’t want to be judged, or feel less than capable, or whatever. I often recognize this temptation anytime another complains of someone acting “holier than thou,” or the “Bible-beating” terms that you hear, and whatnot. I mean come on, face it — we’re all insecure in one way or another.
But as I came to understand what prayer is – it’s not this measure of comparison, it’s not an origin of timidity, and it’s certainly not that which ought to entice fear whenever one is with his community – I realized that it’s another beauty that we can give to Him.
And so looking at prayer not as something that we need to prove to others – or ourselves – but rather as that which calls us to a deeper vulnerability and humility in life as we approach Him, we will find we learn from those whom He surrounds us with.
And more than anything though, remember we can’t retreat because we think we’re not “perfect.”