Before we delve deeper into the practical aspects of implementing a daily prayer schedule, let us reflect briefly upon the factors that limit us from praying each day. One such factor, which is not immediately evident, can be found in the classic Disney cartoon Beauty and the Beast (which is a modern re-telling of a very old fairy-tale).
It might seem strange to suggest that a children’s cartoon can teach us profound truths about the spiritual life, but there is one particular song that brings out a whole host of questions regarding the meaning and purpose of life.
It all begins with the opening song that Belle sings while walking through the quaint French village. (Here is the video for those who don’t have 4 year olds who watch it on a regular basis:)
The song starts out with these words by Belle:
It’s a quiet village
Like the one before
Then after a few greetings of “Bon Jour!” Belle continues:
There goes the baker with his tray, like always
The same old bread and rolls to sell
Ev’ry morning just the same
Since the morning that we came
To this poor provincial town
What Belle is expressing is what many of us feel: boredom. We are bored with our nine to five office job. We are bored with school. We are bored with retirement. We are bored with monotony.
Then Belle gets excited about the book she is reading about fantasy, adventure and romance. The bookseller even gives her the book she can not put down because, “well it’s my favorite: far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!” Then she releases the inner desire of her heart:
I want much more than this provincial life!
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere
I want it more than I can tell
And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they’ve got planned
Belle wants to be swept up in a fairy tale that shows her there is more to this life than the everyday chores she dreads. Why bring all of this up? Because we too have these desires written in our hearts. We want to believe that there is something greater out there that we can be a part of.
Myth over Reality
Unfortunately, what happens is that we repress these desires and don’t think that it is true. We think that our lives could never be as exciting as they are on the movie screen and walk away from the movie theater depressed about the state of our life. It all seems to us to be one grand myth that is unattainable.
What we fail to realize is that we are already apart of a Story that reaches back thousands of years. That Story has sword fights, far off places, and dragons that were slain. In fact, it even has a great Romance, in which we play a central role.
The monotony of our everyday life often clouds us from the reality that God is there and He wants to take us on a grand adventure! He wants us to fight in a frightening Cosmic Battle that involves angels and demons that we can not see. He wants us to write the next pages of the great Story of Salvation History.
We fail to realize that we are already part of a great adventure and that God is counting on us to pull through. It may not be slaying a physical dragon, but it certainly involves a very real and more powerful Dragon who thirsts for our soul.
We do not see that our life is already “much more than this provincial life!” It is exciting and dramatic. To re-quote what J.R.R. Tolkien so famously said,
“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament… There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth.” (emphasis added)
What does this all have to do with daily prayer? Everything.
Why does prayer not hold a key place in our life? Often we say because it is boring. Nothing happens. We just sit there and it mirrors the rest of our life, which is the same every day. In essence, we don’t know how to pray and we fail to realize that what we do with our life matters.
Too often we are impressed by the lives of the great Saints, but say, “That could never be me.” Well, God is actually beckoning us to be one of those Saints. We may not have our head chopped off, but God wants us to follow Him and be a beacon of light in our realm of influence. He wants us to slay our own dragons. In fact, He is a great King who has adopted us as sons and daughters. We live in a fairy-tale every day of our life.
When we realize what God is calling us to, prayer becomes much more of an adventure. We actually look forward to prayer and make room for it because it brings us into a much more fuller life than the nine to five office job that is the same every day. It brings us into contact with our Beloved, the Bridegroom who daily tries to woo us.
Belle did not realize that her “provincial life” was already much more than she could imagine. She did not need a prince to whisk her away. God has already done that with us and invites us to live life to the full, playing our role in the Divine Story of Salvation History.
Now it is up to us to respond to the invitation on a daily basis and respond to the deepest desires of our heart.
Read the Entire Series
- What do Mother Teresa, Fulton Sheen, and J.R.R. Tolkien all have in common?
- Do You Feel Like You Have No Time to Pray? Then This Series is For You
- How a Daily Prayer Schedule is a Mighty Weapon Against Satan