James 2:14-24, 26
"If you cannot spend much time in prayer, no matter: to act well is always to pray well. Be attentive to your duties, and at the same time be attentive to God by frequently purifying your heart in the immense ocean of divine love." St. Paul of the Cross
This quote from the founder of the Passionists sums up the readings for today nicely. To act well is to pray well. It is a wonderful moment when we can schedule time out of our day to sit in silence and pray. However more often then not, there are days when we may find that we do not have the time to stop and carve out a silent moment to speak with God.
If the statement "God is all around us" is true, finding a moment to devote to Him should be simple as saying a morning offering before we get out of bed in the morning. Realize his presence in nature, in the faces of the people that we meet, and the works that we do. Praise him not only when blessed moments happen, but also offer up those moments when we feel our cross weighing down. Making ourselves aware of His presence helps us to live out the first reading from today: living our faith through our works.
Therefore, it is not about being able to give Him ten minutes of silent prayer a day, but about making ourselves aware of His constant presence in our lives. Keeping that line of communication open will allow our hearts to be open to His will. If every work that we do is for His greater glory, our daily tasks become not just empty gestures but acts of faith. As taking from today’s first reading, "For just as a body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead". Our faith coming to a physical fruition is necessary for our spiritual journey.
By then offering our lives and work as a sacrifice to God, we not only show our love for Him and others but also take ownership in our salvation history. We recognize that we are part of His promise and are his hands here on earth. We take up our cross, as we are called to into today’s Gospel reading, and follow him.
God is always communicating to us, although we are not always aware, we are constantly immersed in the ocean of God’s love.
Kim Valdez, is on the Pastoral Staff at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.