Feeling Overwhelmed? Try These Spiritual Practices
Each stage and phase of life has its joys and its sorrows. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28–30:
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
What can be more uplifting than this Scripture passage? Our Lord wants to give us rest in him. His rest is one that will calm our spirit and renew us for our mission, the daily demands of life, and the challenging moments related to parenting. So if you are a new mom with a colicky newborn or a parent of a teenager who is giving you heartache, may you find rest in Jesus. As Catholics, we can experience the rest the Lord gives by turning our heart over to Jesus in prayer, going to Mass to be fed with the bread of life, or going to rest with Our Lord in Adoration.
How are you going to seek the rest Christ is offering you in your life? When we take baby steps or toddler steps toward holiness we can set a manageable pace for our spiritual growth and allow Christ to speak to us. Having a relationship with the Lord starts with opening up the airwaves and permitting him to speak to us in the ordinary moments of life. So if you are feeling exhausted, weary and overwhelmed, why not start practicing some new tactics for spiritual growth?
- Start your day off with morning prayer. Present your day to the Lord, share a prayer from your heart, or try placing a prayer card in a strategic place that will remind you to offer a morning prayer.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intentions of our Holy Father for this month.
- Remember to offer grace before a family meal. Eat dinner with your family and start this gathering off with thanking God for your food. The traditional Catholic dinner prayer goes like this:
Catholic (before eating): “Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.” (Preceded and followed by the Sign of the Cross.)
- Family prayer can be meaningful when we offer our intentions to the Lord. When we carve out time in our busy life for the family to come together and share their prayer intentions a meaningful experience can take place. For what do you want to thank him? For what do you want to pray? What virtue do you want to see increase in your life? Ask your children to offer their intentions, and all respond, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
- As Catholics, we are spiritually fed through the sacraments! Take time out of your busy week and go to Mass on Sundays, holy days, and even consider going during the week!Once we start to build up a habit of going to holy Mass, we not only speak with our words that God is essential in our life but with our actions. If you are not in the habit of doing so, start by finding a faith community and get plugged in. The sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is a wonderful gift when you desire more graces and powerful assistance in your personal life. I recently went particularly because I was feeling burned out as a parent and needed the strength to deal with four teenagers!
- Spend time in silence and listen to the Lord. Once we take time out of our busy lives, we are better able to hear the voice of Our Lord. Consider reading the daily Scriptures that you can find at org or in a Catholic publication such as Living with Christ early in the morning as a way to refresh your soul. Permit the Lord to speak to your heart.
By taking steps toward spiritual renewal and revival, you will be able to get your personal gas tank off empty and fuel your daily activities, particularly as we get ready for Advent, which is right around the corner. When we are feeling burdened and overwhelmed, we must never forget that Jesus is offering to fill our tanks with the graces we need. We are reminded:
You will discover rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matthew 11:29–30)