Recently I found this prayer fixed to a bulletin board at the back of the Church:
Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
This prayer is attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J. (1907 - 1991). Prior to becoming the Superior General of the Society of Jesus (a.k.a. The Jesuits, the religious community of which Pope Francis is a member), Fr. Arrupe was a missionary, serving for many years in Japan. Incredibly, he was living in suburban Hiroshima when the city was devastated by an atomic bomb on August 6th, 1945. Though Fr. Arrupe and seven other Jesuits were within the blast zone, they all survived.
I first read Fr. Arrupe's prayer several years ago while on a month-long retreat in Mexico led by another Jesuit, this one spent the majority of his life serving in India. Since then I have loved this prayer. It always reminds me that Christianity is not, in the end, about ideas or even a way of acting but primarily about a relationship with Jesus. As Pope Benedict wrote:
Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. (Deus Caritas Est, 1)
I want my relationship with Jesus transforms all areas of my life. I can become discouraged when I see that this is not the case. I take great hope from Fr. Arrupe's prayer. It encourages me to focus on the most important thing. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.