As part of our message series for the New Year about how to make simple spiritual changes that will improve everyday life, we decided to ask and write about techniques our own staff and close friends use to grow closer to God. Here’s one such article about how a picture is worth a thousand words.
“Early mornings are my time,” said the parish’s Coordinator of Children’s Faith Formation, Carol Grewal. “I like the quiet and peacefulness of the early dawn hours.” For the last eighteen months before the sun rises, Grewal has been starting her day by reflecting on a scripture passage. “It helps me to become a better person and to live out what I am called by God to do,” she said.
Since September, however, Grewal has added to her morning routine. “I try to find an image on the internet and send it out by text message to a few important people in my life.” The picture she uses to inspire herself and others is related to the scripture passage she has been reflecting on for that morning. Adding the text of the passage, she sends off the completed image to a number of close friends, including Saint Brendan Pastor, Father Roger. “I know he isn’t an early morning person,” Grewal chuckled, “but we’ll get him there!”
Often the message includes a challenge for the day and poses a question, inviting participants to respond. Recently, for example, she sent an image of a tree bearing various fruits of the Holy Spirit. The picture was entitled, “This Fruit is Always in Season.” The message alluded to government dietary guidelines and invited readers to select five servings of this kind of fruit for the day. Listing her own choices as two servings of patience and one each of joy, faithfulness, and self-control, she then asked recipients of her text message what they would choose. By challenging her friends, Grewal says she is trying both to hold herself accountable and encourage others. “I consider it a kind of ‘mini-evangelization,’” she said. “I don’t expect a long dialogue. I am just hoping to inspire people, as well as myself.”
Through an adaptation of the Jesuit practice called the Examen, Grewal said that she reflects at the end of the day on whether she has met the challenge she set out for herself that morning. “When I’m intentional about it,” she said, “it puts me in a better frame of mind and helps me to focus on what really is important in life. I’m the kind of person that tends to get bogged down in the details of the day, and I struggle sometimes with why I am here. But deep down I know that I have a purpose, and I try to discover that purpose more and more through this simple technique. It’s my own little life hack, because a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Saint Brendan Church in San Francisco. Check out our exciting featured news articles.