A note of thanks to a saintly friend …

I prayed a novena to St. Jude. I asked for help finding work. A week or so after the novena ended, I received word that I had landed a job. What’s more, it was not just any job, but one I truly wanted, one that got me intrigued and excited. I got it! So, as promised, I am publicly thanking St. Jude for help finding a job and leading me out of a mental wasteland that had me thinking I had become invisible.

If you have read my earlier posts, you know that there is another reason why I want to thank St. Jude. He helped me see that I am not actually hopeless or a lost cause. He helped me take a step back and assess my situation objectively. I wrote about these revelations.

But there is one other aspect of this novena that I realized this morning. This novena showed me the practical side of prayer. Yes, prayer is a loving way to relate to the Lord, which we should do on a regular basis, but it often gets shoved into that compartment we call our spiritual life. We pray because our religious upbringing taught us to do so, because we are in church or it’s a holiday, because this is what good Christians do. We don’t consider prayer in the same vein as brushing our teeth or eating lunch; we elevate it to a higher purpose. Unfortunately, like the good china we only use on special occasions, it often stays elevated and unused. Even people who do pray on a regular basis can fall into the habit of doing so with no more contemplation than their morning coffee order. Yet prayer, whether to ask for something, to give thanks for something, or to simply say something to God, is as important to our well-being as proper diet and getting enough sleep. It grounds us to our humble existence while simultaneously opening us to the greater universe. Praying to a saint (who was, at one, point, human) reminds us that we have the ability to undergo the hardships (and hilarity) of life yet still follow in the footsteps of Jesus. During prayer, God can help us sort out and make sense of our lives. He can bring about a sense of calm or renewal of strength or both. We have a spiritual life that needs nourishment as must as our physical being. Prayer should be given the same consideration as diet and exercise. It just makes practical sense.

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