There’s An App For That: Always Being Prepared For Christ
I was laughing the other day as I scrolled through my phone. On my home screen are 6 apps: phone, text, email, and my app to control the lights in my house. The other two are my Kindle app and Laudate. Kindle is there because I read from “Jesus Calling” everyday and most days I read from “Jesus Always.” Laudate is my favorite app for the daily readings, saints, and a whole collection of prayers.
As I dive deeper into my phone, I have iBreviary, which I’ll use for Liturgy of the Hours, Magnificat, myParish, Google Podcasts, and YouTube Music all keeping me grounded. My three subscriptions in Google Podcasts are Catholic School Matters, Catholic Sprouts, and the Catholic Talk Show. I find inspiration from the first two in my position as principal. The last one is educational and funny. One week you can listen to “5 Unbelievable (But True) Catholic Miracles” and the next week laugh along while you listen to “The Fast & The Glorious: The History of the Popemobile.”
Even my phone and text apps will reveal a deeper connection to my Catholicism if you know where to look. Other than my staff, my last 5 text messages are from friends who are all Catholic and I have met in different parts of my life. I chose to surround myself with people who are like minded and can support me along my journey. I have to scroll to October 6 to find someone in my phone I have talked to that is not Catholic.
YouTube Music is what I am listening to right now writing, praying, and reflecting on this article. I have playlists for everything from going to the beach to working out. There are 11 playlists alone dedicated to my prayer mood with music ranging from Matt Maher to Oaxaca by Saving Grace. The last one is heavy metal, screamo Christian rock. Certainly not my style but I used to teach 7th grade religion and introduced my kids to a whole range of Christian music beyond Casting Crowns and NEEDTOBREATH.
So why was I laughing? My phone and its content just screamed Catholic as it is packed with access to faith tools. But it’s how I keep myself grounded throughout all the ups and downs encountered throughout life. Life is on the go always so I have adapted how I pray, and how I slow down to hear His voice throughout the years. I use my resources closest to me. Challenges pop up all the time but I am always prepared. I know that even in my toughest times when I cannot think, I can use the resources at hand to ground myself in the foundation of Christ.
This weekend’s Gospel reminds us that the end of times will come, “they will seize you and persecute you.” As life can feel overwhelming, I am comforted in knowing I am not on this journey alone. I am constantly preparing and coming back to the foundation of my life.
At St. John School we are also constantly preparing our students and in return they help prepare the adults who work with them in God-inspired unexpected moments. Service week is one of my most favorite parts of joining this community. Once a month we dedicate time, talent, and treasure to helping those in need. Students create cards to reach out to those in need. We collect can tabs (to turn into cash) and money for the Lingap Center. We work with the food pantry here to provide food and paper products for those in need here in Jackson. The outpouring of the students’ generosity never ceases to amaze me.
Another favorite part in preparation is the many prayer opportunities we offer. Mass transforms me. Listen to our choir and you will feel God working. Listen to the little voices loudly proclaiming the prayer Our Father and you will know God is moving in that child. I cannot tell you the number of times I have popped into the adoration chapel at school to center myself and ask God for help. Each class visits the adoration chapel weekly and at least once a month spends a longer time in devotion with Christ in the chapel. The students pray together as a whole school at least weekly and pray every day in class. I pray with our students before field trips. In October I would join classes as they prayed the rosary. Our kiddos are even praying in latchkey with intentions and activities to support those offerings. Our teachers pull in resources with not only virtues and morals but also teach utilizing Catholic resources about the saints and so much more. We make conscious choices to prepare our kids every step of the way not only academically but also spiritually.
“For we do not know the day nor the hour.” All we can do is submit ourselves with prayer, attend mass, and surround ourselves with people who will support us on our journey.