What Beauty and the Beast Can Teach Us About Why We Don’t Pray

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:

Little town
It’s a quiet village
Ev’ry day
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.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • materetmagistra

    Wow! Very good Phil. I’ve slowly been noticing what you eloquently put to words happening in my own life.

    I noticed growing up, how my older brothers and dad could spot deer in the woods so much quicker than I could. Then as I began to follow in their footsteps I developed that same skill. A skill refined to the point where while I am driving I often will see deer several yards in the woods – not just out in the field. Sometimes to the alarm of the passengers! Although the skill is such that my eyes pick out the animals almost without having to look for them. The skill begins with the blessing of 20/20 eyesight but it must be disciplined and practiced through hours spent in the woods.

    Later in life I felt that same boredom with domestic life. But as I disciplined and developed a prayerlife my spiritual vision got better. I am beginning to see the demons that are prowling out there ready to devour. I am beginning to see that we live in a curious time. A time when the most adventurous thing to do is to settle down, get married, and raise a bunch of kids. Our culture has grown hostile to such a lifestyle.

    As such it can be quite and adventure.

    • Philip Kosloski

      Thanks for your comments! Indeed, the spiritual life needs to be practiced and then our eyes are opened to reality like we have never seen it before.

      Life with God is always an adventure.

  • Elizabeth Siegel

    Very well said! Thank you!

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