My name is Stephen Guokas, and I am a first year Masters Student in Music History here at UC-CCM. I come from a strong Catholic background; I attended Catholic schools through middle school, and stayed involved in my parish (mostly through music) throughout high school. When I left to do my undergrad, it was music again that kept me involved with the church, and now that I’ve entered grad school, I'm very blessed to be involved with a wonderful group of people at St. Monica-St. George. Unlike last week’s author, Luke, I am completely new to the area, having spent most of my life thus far in Wisconsin and Minnesota. I love the winter and snow and swing dancing. Phew, now that you know a bit about me, back to today’s psalm.
Last week we learned about the importance of giving up personal affects or pleasures to help those who are less fortunate; I for one rather enjoyed the example of using Starbucks money (they are a bit overpriced) to help a homeless man get a meal. Today’s psalm is in a similar vein in that it directs our focus to the Lord’s will for us.
In college especially it can be very easy to fall into a hedonistic mindset: if it feels good, I’m going to do it. We see this aspect portrayed in our movies, television shows, books, graphic novels, blog posts, etc.; we’re taught that this is the time for us to shirk all responsibility and “live in the moment.” While this is not inherently bad for us, overindulgence in this lifestyle has ruined many lives, and continues to do so. There is a very simple and easy way to avoid this corruption however, and that is through prayer.
Prayer is, simply put, conversation with God. God wants what is best for us, now and always. This is a fact; if we but listen to Him and follow His guidance, He will lead us toward things that are ultimately the best for us and for our salvation. Prayer doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be formal and full of “thee” and “thou”; rather, it should simply be personal. A quick prayer for guidance in the morning when you wake up (or as you hustle to class, if you sleep until the very last minute like I do) is something that can help focus your day immensely, as well as bring some calm to our hurried and hectic lives. Prayer also helps keep us in contact with God, and can be a little check-in as we go throughout our week to make sure that we’re following the path that He set before us.
Moving back to the college example, praying for guidance and then following that guidance can help us avoid most (if not all) bad situations. Should I really party until 4:00 am if I have to get up for 9:00 am Mass? Is it really good for me to neck (down) a 750 of Smirnoff? Will sleeping with this girl, whom I just met, help me in the future? You may laugh, but these are situations that many people (especially after a drink or five) have difficulty answering. A quick prayer then—a quick check with the Father—and these bad situations can be easily avoided, so long as we do not “harden our hearts” to what He has to tell us.
While I’d love to continue on about discernment, this is about all the space I have for today. I wish you all a very blessed Sunday and a good start to your week. See you at Mass.