The most important aspect of prayer and contemplation is silence, and it’s more than just finding a quiet space somewhere. That certainly does help, but what is even more essential is inner silence. And while it can be difficult to achieve among the chaos of our daily lives, silent prayer and contemplation is where we find our most fruitful results to problem solving and decision making.
In 1Thes 5:16-18, we’re told “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” St. Joseph knew the will of God for him, and being a virtuous man, he was able to sanctify each of his days. His heart and mind were firmly fixed on only doing God’s will. The only way a human being can discover God’s will is by prayer and contemplation. We need prayer and contemplation in our lives to maintain inner peace. It recalibrates our disposition. But “who on earth has time for that?!” is a very common response. The answer: we all do. We all get the same 24 hours per day but choose to use them differently.
Literally everything St. Joseph did was to glorify God, from raising Our Lord and Savior as his own to any artisan work he had. Pleasing God was his primary focus. That alone, is a form of prayer. Combined with supplications for comfort, guidance, protection, and insight throughout the day, and you (without realizing) have just sanctified your day much the same way St. Joseph did. Pretty amazing, eh? We hear so much about finding inspiration in the saints or following the saints, and the beauty of it all is that if you are already a prayerful and contemplative person, you’re already doing that. You’re already striving for sainthood without even realizing it. In return, God gives you the graces, wisdom, knowledge, and experience you need to continue to do His will. Seemingly superhuman strength comes from prayer and contemplation.
Eliminating the distractions and noise (literal and figurative) in our lives will help bring about the silence necessary. It might seem absolutely terrifying to do, but completely giving up television and radio in all its forms is one step towards this. I can personally attest to how awesome life is without them. And I haven’t missed out on anything important. Another is going completely tech free after a certain time at night or for the whole weekend. It is humanly impossible to cultivate inner peace and the stillness in your life necessary for fruitful prayer and contemplation without making intentional daily efforts to do so. Is this “stepping back in time”? Yes. Does it work? Yes, and there’s thousands of years of precedence to support it.
Being a devout Catholic is radical and counter-cultural. Our strength is found in God through prayer and contemplation as St. Joseph modeled for us. What are you willing to permanently give up sanctifying your day for the glory of God? What can you do to be more intentional in cultivating a life of prayer and contemplation like St. Joseph? How will you create an intentional balance of work and prayer in your daily life?
Please be assured of my prayers, and may God continue to infinitely bless all of you.