Michelle Jones Schroeder finds it difficult to stick with a particular devotion for long, but this helped her discover the richness of our faith.
There are so many beautiful spiritual practices and devotions that can tremendously bolster your faith life and I desperately wish I had the time to do each of them. But with only twenty-four hours in a day, this is complete impossibility. Add in my responsibilities to family, work, and a tiny bit of “me time” and there’s simply no way to spend the amount of time on my faith that would be required to incorporate all of the meaningful exercises I discover. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t try because the thought of fortifying faith makes me giddy in anticipation of receiving new graces and bearing new fruits.
When I discover an element that I haven’t practiced before, I dive in wholeheartedly for a solid four days (on average) before I somehow get derailed. Weeks or months later, something reminds me of this inadvertently discarded activity, and I wonder why I abruptly ended it. Who knows what distracted me? Clearly, I have some form of Faith Attention Deficit Disorder.
While I have lost track of several amazing devotions over the years, there are some I’ve managed to be remarkably faithful in maintaining. I start every day with a Rosary, I spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration each week and every Mass I attend, I say a post-communion prayer that I discovered on a Padre Pio prayer card. There are countless other inspiring faith activities that I have picked up and put down repeatedly at various times.
One really helpful gem that I recently added to my rotation, then accidently forgot about but just started again is the act of giving Jesus something every day. More specifically, I lay something (figuratively, of course) at the foot of the Cross. One day it may be a deep sorrow I experienced. The next day it may be a test of faith that I failed, miserably. Some days I even lay at the Cross the distractions that prevented me from communion with God in meaningful prayer.
The beauty of this exercise is when we bring our setbacks or pain to Cross, it becomes united with His suffering, which is His expression of ultimate sacrificial love. Whatever I bring is completely transformed. If I carry a sorrow to Him, Jesus bears that sorrow with His own, thereby lightening my burden. If I give Him my regret over time I wasted scrolling social media, Christ frees me from wallowing in guilt and refocuses me on His redeeming love. Anything that weighs on my heart is taken to the Cross where it is changed.
Will this awesome activity go to the wayside at some point? If I’m being honest, probably. What I’m coming to learn as a reflect on my faith experiences is that the Holy Spirit nudges me to pick up what I need when I need it. He allows me to discover new practices that may be necessary for my faith development now or in the future.
Instead of beating myself up over dropped devotions, I’ve decided to look at it like a cookbook. I can’t and don’t need to make every recipe, every day. I just need to have them handy when I need them. But for now, this beautiful act of giving something to Christ on the Cross every day brings peace to my heart and a reminds me of the love of Jesus that is displayed there.
Copyright 2021 Michelle Schroeder
Images (from top): Canva Pro; Anuja Mary Tilj (2019), Unsplash
About the Author
Michelle Jones Schroeder is a married mom of two who lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She loves St. Pio of Pietrelcina, '80s music, and her family and friends. Michelle’s the author of The Handy Little Guide Series (Adoration and Confession) for OSV.