Why am I already working on a second book? In short, because prayer time must be a habit. Book 1, Coloring Meditations, is not a one-time event. To give an analogy, when you think about a parade, it seems like it is a one time, get it done event. That is a deception. For the part filmed for this blog, people prepared on a daily basis for spans of time ranging from their lives to weeks. A prayer cannot be read the first time with the heart and belief with which the prayer in the video is read. I happen to know that the prayer was said every single night in the Novena of Rosaries leading up to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Prayer is not a one-time activity. Finishing the coloring of your copy of Coloring Meditations will take numerous sessions, on a daily basis. Thankfully, prayer takes many forms, which makes it easier for us to pray daily. In my humble opinion, our very human condition makes us seek out new things, and it makes us lack the discipline for doing the same thing over and over. For some people, using these coloring techniques to still their minds and listen to God as they absorb the wisdom of His saints will become a lifelong practice, because each coloring session surprises them with a new insight, a new color, a new accomplishment, a new intimacy with God. Therefore, providing the next book for these people in a timely fashion means they will be able to keep their prayer habit going. In addition, Mary keeps telling me to get it done! Her presence has become so much clearer to me ever since I went to Lourdes. Her presence and direction are hard to put into words because they don’t describe what I feel in my heart, nor do those words convey the process that has occurred as she has helped heal my lack of trust, kept me seeing and brought me closer to her Son. All of her work in my soul has become even more clear to me as I have gone to Mass at St. Mary parish in Rome, GA, where the Virgin of Guadalupe is right in the church. Her golden light and lovely face draw me to sit near her. Memories of seeing the real tilma in the new Basilica of Guadalupe in 1984 flood my mind when I see her statue. Her love fills my heart and helps me keep trusting. Participating in a parade in her honor and attending a Mass where her apparitions were beautifully, prayerfully re-enacted made the waters of gratitude flow out into tears of joy!
Maybe you are still unconvinced about praying every day. The feelings described above happen as a result of discipline AND His grace, totally undeserved by me. Although I do not fail to pray every day, I could certainly pray more! Why must prayer be a habit? Isn’t this like my friendship with my best friends where even when we don’t talk every day, we pick right back up where we left off the last time we were together? Here’s my personal answer, and yes, I have best friends that I feel this way about! My relationship with Jesus, Jesus through Mary and the Trinity exists on an entirely different plane. It is in every decision (even’ when I choose poorly and am disobedient!). That relationship is in every breath and every moment. Not even with my spouse do I feel that sense of unity. I cannot go on without talking to God. Even at the worst times in my life, when I was far from God, even then, I was still reading on and off (note!) Thomas a Kempis, the Imitation of Christ. I knew I needed Him, despite outward appearances to the contrary. The lack of consistency in prayer and holy reading derailed my progress towards God. Maybe if a way that attracted me more had been available, just maybe, consistency would have been more attainable, so that awareness of Jesus in the moments would have happened sooner in my life. Maybe many years of coloring meditations would have had to pass before the sense of awareness came. Maybe that sense is a gift received from the Lourdes pilgrimage. Being a mere human, I cannot ever declare surely how that sense of awareness developed. All I do know is that I want to give it to others, and I know that painting, drawing, calligraphy and coloring put me into an incomparable state of peace, because of what happens in my brain as I do them, and quickly, because these activities are a daily habit! Therefore, my books and cards are designed to make that experience available for others. Making that sense of connection to God achievable for as many people as possible through as many avenues as possible is what drives the production of every material and retreat offered at Art2Pray.
Please feel free to comment below on your prayer, what you thought of the video, reactions to this post or your experiences coloring in Coloring Meditations for a Full Life or the Coloring Meditations cards. Blessings to all!