Coraggio met on July 18 for a Holy Hour led by Father Jeff Read, associate pastor of Evansville’s Holy Rosary Parish. Following the Holy Hour, Sister Sharon Richardt, a 54-year member of the Daughters of Charity, spoke to the group about different ways of meeting God in one’s spiritual life.
Sister Sharon said many circumstances in life provide opportunities to pray. When you are fearful, use that as a chance to speak with God. “You can use the things you don’t like, the resistances,” Sister Sharon told the group. She added that when another person bothers you, it is good to offer a prayer for that person. Conversely, the happier moments in life give opportunities to pray and thank God for the happiness. Sister Sharon pointed out that in her own life, she was happy for an eight day retreat the Daughters of Charity were hosting that was going well.
Sister Sharon said there are three excellent ways to experience God in prayer. She explained the benefits of quiet centering prayer. She discussed the positive aspects of writing in a prayer journal. She also expressed the need for showing gratitude for God’s gifts.
Centering prayer constitutes a significant part of Sister Sharon’s prayer life. She told the group that she usually engages in two 20-minute periods of centering prayer daily. She said centering prayer involves closing your eyes, breathing, and simply resting in the presence of God.
Sister Sharon explained that many people will focus on a word likep14 - God, Jesus, Mary or another spiritual word when distractions enter their minds during centering prayer. After leading the group in five minutes of centering prayer, one participant said it was difficult to not use his word over and over again to stay focused. “There are many benefits,” Sister Sharon explained about centering prayer, noting that it usually leads to a better ability to listen to God.
She also noted that prayer often can be one-sided. To help combat this, she recommends writing in a prayer journal. “God is always with us,” Sister Sharon said. “Prayer is to give you access to God.” She also gave everyone in attendance a reflection prayer journal sprinkled with Scripture verses and quotes from saints.
Finally, Sister Sharon believes the discipline of showing gratitude needs to be a part of a healthy prayer life. “It keeps you from being so negative,” she explained. She distributed daily gratitude journals to the members of the group, suggesting that they write down five things each day for which they could be grateful. “Keep it simple,” Sister Sharon instructed the group. She explained that this easy task paid off for her immensely. “Before I go to sleep at night, I have a positive thought about the day,” she said.
Coraggio usually meets the second Friday of each month at Holy Trinity Parish. It is open to all Catholics in the Evansville area ages 18-35. The next meeting is Aug. 8. For more information, email email@example.com or visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/coraggioevansville.