Fr. Mark-Mary picks a fight with the pop-philosophical phrase, “We’re human beings, not human doings.” The sentiment is noble, but Father reminds us that we’re made in the image and likeness of God, who is both pure beings and pure action. And this distinction is important because one of the core foundations of our being is relationship, which is an action by nature. Love is “willing the good of the other.”
We’re made for relationship, so we get in trouble when we walk around and go through life outside of relationship. This is super practical for human relationships (friends, family, coworkers, strangers) but Fr. Mark-Mary wants to focus on your relationship with Jesus here. The Catechism quotes St. Paul when it talks about this:
‘Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.’ St. Paul adds, ‘Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints.’(CCC 2742;1 Thess 5:17; Eph 5:20; Eph 6:18)
It’s like saying you love someone who you never see and you never talk to. If we’re not in prayer with our God, we’re not in relationship with Him. But if that’s where you’re at, you’re watching the right video! “Our problem is not sincerity but strategy,” Fr. Mark-Mary observes. So he suggests this 20-minute-a-day plan:
- 10 minutes of prayer when you rise in the morning. Fr. Mark-Mary recommends praying over the Gospel reading of the day. And don’t forget to share with the Lord whatever’s on your heart that morning.
- Around midday, 5 minutes of prayer with an examination of conscience. Fr. Mark-Mary recommends the “three-by-five Examen” he’s learned and outlined in a previous video.
- In the evening, spend a few minutes in prayer with a Psalm. Spend this time bringing your needs and the needs of others specifically from this past day to Jesus, and close with an Our Father.
- At the end of the day before bed, close with another Examen and a Hail Mary.
There is a momentum from the fall towards disintegrating relationships. This is why we haven’t talked to that friend in months. We haven’t actually hung out with our sibling in weeks. We still owe our mom a call and there are things we need to talk to Dad about. And we haven’t been praying as often as we’d like.
Take heart. Heaven is a state of perfect relationship with God and our brothers and sisters in Christ, so let’s start working toward that in this life. We don’t enter into relationship on accident, and we don’t get to heaven on accident.
Meet Fr. Mark-Mary
Father Mark-Mary was ordained as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (CFR) in 2018 and lives at a friary in the Bronx.
The mission of the CFRs is to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus through fidelity to the Church and her Sacraments. Paired with their commitment to prayer, contemplation, and study of Sacred Scripture, the CFRs serve those around them, especially the poor, in the footsteps of Christ.
Discover beautiful music from the CFRs and Fr. Mark-Mary’s book Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Spiritual Progress, both available from Ascension.