One of the benefits of enjoying a Christian life, is the contemplation prayer brings.
It is critical to set aside time for daily reflection and prayer and bring clarity to our purpose in this life – to glorify God in all we do. Our actions need to be designed to express our love for Jesus Christ and to spread that love to others through evangelization. One thing, however, which tends to get overlooked when I pray, is the gift of Self. A recent conference in which I attended with Dr. Carolynn Woo as keynote, provided the best way for incorporating an examination of our gift of Self which was in this question, “How are you bringing worth to others?”
I found this question mesmerizing, and one in which I made a commitment to work toward including in my daily prayers. The importance of this reflection was based around the many needs of others. I know in my prayers I include others; however, there is also a lot of “here’s what you can do for me today, Lord.” I justify this as I am generally praying for the needs of others, but it is still in the form of “please do this for me.” Fortunately, the one provision this question of worth has provided for me, is that God answers me with using the gift of self. That the worth you bring to others comes from the gifts that we each have been given, even if that gift is just the prayer itself.
I never really thought about praying to grant me more gifts to help others, but that just may be what others need. So you can reflect on the “gift” of Self, when you apply PACTS to your prayer – petition, adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and silence. It is in our petitions that we can feel the full power of our prayer, as Saint Pope John Paul II indicated in an address to a general audience in 1997, “the prayer of petition is an essential form of co-operation in furthering the work of salvation in the world”. It is in our prayer of adoration that we are able to draw closer to the Lord. As Pope Francis noted in a homily in 2016, “One cannot adore without accusing oneself. To enter into this bottomless and boundless sea, which is the mystery of Christ, these things are needed.” Our prayer of contrition brings us into an understanding of Christ as human and Christ as God. It is our resolve to seek to avoid all further acts of thought, word, deeds and omission. In thanksgiving, we acknowledge the one true God who has died for our sins and gives us the ability to even seek to call on his divine intervention to solve not only issues for our Self, but challenges others may face as well. Finally, it is in silence that you will be given the opportunity to truly listen to what God has in mind to help you express the worth you will bring to each new day.
Yes, the gift of Self is that way for us to not only draw closer to God, but to also drawn closer to others (even our enemies). As Kevin Aldrich wrote in the Catholic Stand in 2014, “Every person’s most fundamental vocation, moral responsibility, and source of fulfillment is authentic self-giving”. Let’s seek to practice bringing worth to each one in need, through our gift of Self. They are depending on us.