In my homily on Ash Wednesday, I talked about how quickly everything in this world slips away, like sand that slips through our fingers. There is nothing we can do to hold on to anything. Everything fades, passes away, and crumbles into dust.
Those of you who are a little older know the feeling that life is slipping through your fingers: your health is weaker, you cannot do what you used to, maybe you are no longer able to drive or live in your own house and maybe your friends are passing away one by one. However, when those of us who are younger stop to think about it, we have also had these experiences. Friends we used to know have moved away or just drifted away, the good times from high school or college have passed behind us, and every day seems to go by so quickly.
While the truth that everything passes can be disheartening, it can also be very reassuring, because it means that bad times pass quickly as well. Winter doesn’t last forever, problems don’t last forever, wars don’t last forever, governments don’t last forever. All the problems we worry about today are going to pass away sooner or later.
While everything passes, God remains. God does not pass away, God never fails, God never fades or grows dim, and God never crumbles. The whole purpose of daily prayer is to keep our minds and hearts rooted in the one thing that really endures, which is God.
A lot of people miss this truth because they think about prayer as something that we have to do. Just like you have to brush your teeth, you have to get your daily prayers prayed. It is better to think of prayer as a pause in our daily life to spend some time with God. We take a break from the current of emotions, news, and the people around us to spend a little time with God.
Think of your daily life as a house; your daily life can be build on rock (God) or on dirt (other people) or on sand (the government and human institutions) or on water (the daily news) or on wind (the emotions of the day). Which if these things have the biggest impact in your guiding your thoughts and actions in daily life? The whole purpose of daily prayer is to keep our heart and mind rooted in God, rather than in the things that change and crumble.