Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer, Madeline McKissick, leads the reader through an all too common ordinary afternoon practice. She reflects on the idea of prioritizing time in prayer amidst busy and chaotic schedules. 

It was another whirlwind of a day. I worked at the FMS office from 9-5, came home for spiritual direction at 5:30, worked on my faith blog for a while, had dinner with the community, and listened to a few of my community members give their spiritual lifelines. 

My days aren’t always quite this full, so today I went to my room feeling more tired than usual. As I climbed the stairs to the third floor, I remembered two things that I hadn’t done yet: my room was still littered with clothes that needed folded, hung up, or thrown in my laundry basket, and I hadn’t prayed yet. Trying to kill two birds with one stone, I grabbed my rosary and started to pray while I put my clothes away.

As I prayed, my rosary kept getting tangled in my clothes. It would get caught in my cardigans and it would snag my sweaters. After getting irritated at this little inconvenience, I realized that Mary was pulling me away from my task so that I could be fully present with her. I untangled my rosary from my favorite cardigan and finally sat down on my bed to finish praying. I gave up multitasking to choose what was most important. Instead of keeping my hands busy with folding and cleaning, I held my rosary gently and felt its small iridescent beads slide through my fingers. No longer dwelling on my chores, I meditated on the Joyful mysteries, contemplating how Mary experienced them. I thought of the awe of Mary hearing Simeon affirm that her Son was the Christ, and the joy that she felt when she found him in the Temple.

I didn’t pray perfectly, but I finished stronger than I started. After saying amen and making the sign of the cross, I felt a wave of God’s peace. Regretfully, I realized that I haven’t been praying as much as I should, and I resolved to make more time for the one who’s the most important in my life. 

I love that there’s never a dull moment with Franciscan Mission Service. My days and my heart are always full as I work, serve, pray, and have fun with some amazing people all day. These days are long, but they’re so rewarding and fruitful. Today was a reminder that amidst service and community, God still calls me to spend time in prayer. I encounter God all the time in my community, but it’s just as good for us to be alone together. No matter how busy my schedule can become, I can always rest in his presence. Even when I’m exhausted at the end of a long day, I still find moments of silence and stillness with God. With my hands open, I renew my promise to surrender my life to him, offering him everything that I do and longing to live in a way that answers his call to holiness.