Who doesn’t love Pope Francis? she asked. He has such an intimate relationship with God. I so envy him. Since I was young, I have always desired the type of relationship with God that is so close and loving on my part that I would never let go of it, and I would protect it all of my life.
She is a good friend of mine and I have always envied the relationship she has with God. It’s funny how that works. She doesn’t even realize that she has it already.
This propelled me to look more closely into how Pope Francis speaks about God, and this quote struck me: This may sound like heresy, but it is the greatest truth! It is more difficult to let God love us than to love Him. The best way to love Him in return is to open our hearts and let Him love us. Let Him draw close to us and feel Him close to us. This is really very difficult letting ourselves be loved by Him. This is perhaps what we need to ask today ‘Lord, I want to love You, but teach me the difficult science, the difficult habit of letting myself be loved by You, to feel You close and feel Your tenderness! May the Lord give us this grace’.
Well, just how did Pope Francis develop his relationship with God or anyone we consider to be holy and close to God? First of all, it probably took a lot of practice in prayer. We often forget that our prayer life is equivalent to quality time spent with family members and friends. If we didn’t spend time with them, we certainly wouldn’t have a very good relationship with them. So prayer has to be the number one priority if we want God to be so much a part of us and everything that we do.
We need to realize that there are many different types of prayer and prayer forms. Explore them and find one that is a fit for you. Talk with people you know who have solid prayer lives, get their suggestions and seek their encouragement. Don’t lose hope. Prayer grows just as our relationships grow. The more time you spend in it, the stronger your relationship will be.
Find a time of day when you will feel least distracted. For some it may be the morning, for others it will be the evening just before they go to bed. Establish the best time for you and stick to it.
It is important to remember that prayer should be 10% talking and 90% listening. Listen with your heart. Quiet yourself and put all distractions aside for the few minutes you plan to be in prayer. Distractions are part of who we are. They will always be there. One wise person told me not to fight the distractions in prayer. Make friends with them and bring those distractions to your prayer.
One of the things I find beautiful about the above quote by Pope Francis is the truth in it. God wants to love us more than we will ever know. Giving God time to do that will certainly change us. Sometimes there are days when all I can do is say: Here I am, Lord. I open my heart to you. Just pour your love into my heart. Then I just sit quietly for a few minutes as I picture God pouring love into my heart. It’s a simple way to pray, but I have found it to be quite powerful.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to pray. It is your relationship with God that you are growing. The words aren’t nearly as important as an open heart and mind. If you have never had the discipline of a strong prayer life, make a promise to yourself to begin soon. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain a beautiful relationship with your God.