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Jan 30, 2024 686 Sarah Barry
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Living out the Faith

Trapped in the busy and burdensome web of everyday life, is it possible to keep yourself connected to God?

Sometimes, it seems as though my faith goes through seasons each year. At certain times, it is blossoming like the sunbathed flowers of summer. This is usually during vacation time. At other times, my faith feels like the sleeping world of winter—dormant, not in full bloom. This is typical during the school year when my schedule does not allow for daily adoration or hourly prayer breaks, unlike the free vacation times. These hectic months are usually occupied by classes, chores, activities, and time with family and friends.

It is easy, amidst the hustle and bustle, not to necessarily forget God but to let Him fall into the background. We may go to church every Sunday, say our prayers, and even pray a daily Rosary, but we keep our faith and ‘normal’ life separate. Religion and God are not meant to be saved strictly for Sundays or summer breaks. Faith is not something we should cling to solely in times of distress or return to briefly just to give thanks and then forget. Rather, faith should be interwoven with every area of our daily life too.

Daily Humdrum

Whether we own our own house, stay in a college dorm, or live with our family, there are certain jobs we cannot escape. Homes must be clean, clothes must be washed, food must be made…Now, these tasks all seem like boring necessities—things that mean nothing, yet we still have to do them. They even take up the time we could have used to step into the adoration chapel for thirty minutes or attend daily mass. Yet, when we have little children at home who need clean clothes or parents coming home after work who would like to find scrubbed floors, this isn’t always a realistic alternative.

Filling our time with these necessities, though, doesn’t have to become time taken away from God.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is well known for her “little way.” This method centers on the little things with immense love and intention. In one of my favorite stories of Saint Therese, she wrote about a pot in the kitchen that she hated to wash (Yes, even Saints have to wash dishes!). She found the task incredibly disagreeable, so she decided to offer it to God. She would finish the chore with such joy, knowing that something seemingly meaningless was given purpose by bringing God into the equation. Whether we’re washing dishes, folding laundry, or scrubbing floors, each boring chore can become a prayer by simply dedicating it to God.

Magnified Joy

Sometimes, when the secular society looks at the religious community, they do so with the assumption that the two worlds can never collide. I’ve been shocked to learn that so many people think you can’t follow the Bible and have fun! This could not be further from the truth.

Some of my favorite activities include surfing, dancing, singing, and photography; much of my time is devoted to doing them. Often, I dance to religious music and create videos for Instagram paired with a message of faith in my caption. I’ve sung in church as a cantor and love using my gifts to serve God directly. Yet, I also love performing in shows like The Wizard of Oz or photographing football games—secular things that bring me great joy. This joy is further magnified when I offer these activities to the Lord.

Backstage of a show, you will always find me praying before my entrance, offering the performance to God, and asking for Him to be with me as I dance or sing. Simply working out to stay in shape is something else I both enjoy and value to maintain my health. Before I start a run, I offer it to God. Often, in the middle of it, I place my exhaustion in His hands and ask Him for the strength to help me make the final mile. One of my favorite ways to exercise and worship God is to go for a rigorous Rosary walk, thereby working out both my body and my spiritual well-being!

In Everything, Everywhere

We do often forget to find God in other people, don’t we? One of my favorite books is a biography of Mother Teresa. The author, Father Leo Maasburg, knew her personally. He recalls once seeing her deep in prayer as a reporter timidly inched up, afraid to interrupt to ask his question. Curious as to how she would react, Father was surprised to see her turn to the reporter with joy and love on her face rather than irritation. He remarked how, in her mind, she had simply turned her attention from Jesus to Jesus.

Jesus tells us: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40). But Jesus is not only found in the poor or the sick. He’s found in our siblings, our friends, our teachers, and coworkers. Simply showing love, kindness, and mercy to those who stumble across our path can be yet another way to give love to God in our busy lives. When you bake cookies for a friend’s birthday or even just go out to lunch with someone you haven’t seen in a while, you can bring God’s love into their lives and further fulfill His will.

Wherever You are…

Within our own lives, we move through different stages as we age and grow. The daily routines of a priest or a nun will look very different from those of a faithful layperson with a family to care for. The daily routines of a high schooler will likewise be different from the routines of the same individual once they’ve reached adulthood. That is what is so beautiful about Jesus—He meets us where we are. He doesn’t want us to leave Him at the altar; in the same way, He doesn’t simply leave us when we exit His church. So, instead of feeling like you’ve let go of God as your life gets busy, find ways to invite Him into everything you do, and you will find that everything in your life becomes infused with greater love and purpose.

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Sarah Barry

Sarah Barry is a student at the University of St Andrew’s in Scotland pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies. Her love of writing has allowed her to touch souls through her Instagram blog @theartisticlifeofsarahbarry.

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