In every one of my live Catholic teacher seminars I talk about the importance of daily prayer within the vocation of Catholic education. Much of the time teachers feel that the busyness of modern life rules out the likelihood of making a firm commitment to daily prayer. In this episode I want to talk about the importance of daily prayer and how it can transform your daily teaching life.
Well, hey, everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you once again for The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Just a quick few minutes of encouragement and inspiration for you and the amazing work you do every day as a Catholic educator. Thanks again for the wonderful good wishes of so many of you after the accident I had about 10 days ago now. Out of hospital, recovering, so thanks to everybody for your wonderful support.
Listen, the fact that I have two shattered wrists has not stopped me from posting pretty continually in the Facebook Group. Of course, if you’re not with us, come and join Passionate Catholic Teachers. Just type that into Facebook. I’ve been trying to post their regularly, and of course, the daily email that we put out to Catholic teachers. I shared one yesterday that I want to riff on with you just for a second now, and it’s a beautiful quote from Saint Josemaría Escrivá, and he says this, “You go to pray to become a bonfire, a living flame, giving light and heat. You go to pray to become a bonfire, a living flame, giving light and heat.” If you’ve ever seen me live, you know that I will tend to finish a keynote or a seminar with a series of practical steps that we can follow. One of those that I always talk about is the crucial nature of prayer. Usually it’s towards the end of the seminar and I’m trying to keep to time, so I kind of touch on it, I give a few ideas, but I don’t go super deep on it.
I just want to say in this short message that prayer is utterly central to the vocation of Catholic teacher. You see, if we don’t become people who take prayer seriously, then really what we’re relying on is our own professional skillset, and our own human capacity. For some of us that would be really good and for some of us it could be limited, who knows, we’ve all got different skills and abilities, different energy levels, different capacity. Prayer is a real game changer. I think as we mature in our life of prayer, the thought that’s in my heart is that essentially what happens for a Catholic teacher who takes prayer seriously is you become prayer.
You become what you give time to. If you give time to the chapel for 30 minutes a day or early morning, just reading scriptures, and being with the Lord, or eucharistic adoration, or however you pray, as you continually do that over days, weeks, months, and years, it changes you. You can’t do that every day and not slowly become different. Really what you’re becoming is you’re becoming like the one who your attention is upon. If you go and sit in the chapel, and the presence of Jesus is there, and you’re giving time to that, you’re gradually going to become like the one you spend time with.
I’ve been married 20 years and you know that joke that old couples, you know, those really old couples you see sometimes, they start to look like each other. They start to look and they know what the other person is going to say before they say it. It’s a really beautiful thing. I’m 20 years in, we’re probably not fully at that stage, but there’s a connection, and a sort of symbiosis between Karen and I that’s the result of a huge amount of time spent together. As we pray, what happens is that we begin to become like the one we’re spending time with. That cannot but transfer into the classroom. It’s difficult to spend 30 minutes a day, or more, with Jesus, seeking his nature, his presence, his wisdom, his guidance, his encouragement, and then not be different outside of that.
Now I’m not saying we’re going to be perfect and we’re just going to be levitating off the ground, and everyone is going to say, “Wow, you’re so holy.” It’s not that. I have just discovered that you will just slowly change and there will be a gentleness, or a courage, or a strength, or a compassion, that develops over time the more you give yourself to prayer. What Escrivá is saying to us in this quote is that we become like a bonfire. Have you ever been somewhere where it’s cold, or it’s night time, and everyone is drawn towards the light, everyone is drawn towards the heat, and around that heat there’s often community, and connection, and conversation, and love, or celebration happens. What’s happening here is that we become like that bonfire. We become that person that draws others around us and people want to be in our presence, because they see something in us.
Wherever you’re at now in your journey as a Catholic teacher, whether it’s your first year, or your 50th, we all need to press deeper into this life of prayer. We all need to press more deeply into seeking Jesus in prayer. The other thing I do is I really ask the Holy Spirit everyday in my morning prayer, just to guide me throughout the day, just to direct me throughout the day. Really, that’s what we want to do. I want to encourage you. If you have got your head full of that idea that you are too busy, and Jonathan, I like what you’re saying, but it is impossible for me. I’ve got kids, I’ve got this, friends, I got three kids under the age of 12, I got an international travel schedule that’s insane. I have a really busy life. Some of you might be even busier than that, who knows, but I make the time for it everyday.
Even at the moment with my body still bandaged from the surgery, I got down here today to pray the rosary, and to really pray for the day, and for the needs of different people. If I can find the find the time in this circumstance, we can too. Just get into that chapel. Just get to work a little bit earlier, or maybe find a place on the home where you can pray. I really want to encourage you.
All right friends, that’s it from me. Let’s be bonfires. Let’s let people be drawn to us because we’ve been drawn towards Christ. Come and follow me on Twitter, BeingCatholic1, if you’re not following me, just do a search for Jonathan Doyle or BeingCatholic1. Of course, the Facebook group is Passionate Catholic Teachers. In Instagram, you can find me on JonathanDoyle47. If you want to come and say hi on Instagram, JonathanDoyle47.
The last thing, as always, go check out the website BeingCatholic.com.au and then you’re going to see a tab there for a thing called Going Deeper. I want you to click that tab, and that tabs going to take you through to a free trial of the online Catholic Teacher Formation program, three weeks of free trial. You’re going to love it. BeingCatholic.com.au, check that out. Last thing is please make sure you’re subscribing. This is a new podcast, we’re just going to build it up slowly, so wherever you are hearing this, Apple Podcast, wherever, just hit subscribe. Please, would you do me one favor? Grab the link today and just this with a bunch of teachers, that would be awesome. All right, I am Jonathan Doyle, this has been The Catholic Teacher Daily podcast, and I am going to have another message for you tomorrow.