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If You Pray in the Chaos of Calcutta, You've got Good Company

alec vanderboom

Sunday was Carmelite Day and I have a fun story to share.

A mother in our Aspirant Class asked for advice for how to fit handle Carmel's requirement for thirty minuets a day of "prayer of the quiet" in a house with young children. I confessed that although I'm not hitting that goal each day yet, I did find it helpful to follow the suggestion to break up the prayer time into two fifteen minute segments.

"One fifteen minute segment I do at night with Jon after the kids are in bed. But the morning one, I have to do it in the midst of chaos of everyone."

I explained that we have a two bedroom apartment. Our Marian alter is in the dining room/living room which is one big space. I found that if I try to pray in one of the bedroom, a fight will usually break out. Yet if I just set the timer and start to pray in dining room, the kids can see me and are content.

"So I just do my "quiet prayer" in the midst of all the chaos. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes the kids are jumping on furniture. I try to pray anyway. I figure learning how to tune out all those loud, external distractions is a good practice because inside my mind is still noisy, mindless distractions anyway."

My class leader go so excited at this comment.

"If you Pray in the Chaos of Calcutta, You've got Good Company!" she said.

She reported that her eldest two children just returned from a pilgrimage to the original convent of Blessed Mother Theresa in Calcutta, India. They prayed in the same room as this saint. The surprising thing was that the convent was so noisy. It was one big room that was poorly made. There was lots of sound from clattering carts, and sick people needing help, and loud noises from the street.

"We think of Mother Theresa as having this perfect serene place to meet God. Yet that whole relationship was created by praying in this imperfect, noisy place."

Mother Theresa pray for us. Help us to tune out the noisy distractions of the world and listen to the small, still voice of God.