I shall return again soon to St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, but I want to sum up a few ideas regarding prayer in times of turmoil.
One of the hardest things to do is to create and keep order in times of chaos. We are not God, who can create ex nihilo. We need something to use to create something, like the raw material of our lives.
What both St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and Titus Brandsma show us is not only the need for intense prayer in times of struggle, but the possibility of praying in times of trouble.
I have been learning this lesson myself in the past several months of turmoil in my life, turmoil which has included multiple moves, unsettled housing difficulties, financial problems, and the loss of treasured goods because of stealing. On top of this have been two health issues which cannot be addressed until I am in a place for some time.
But, God does not want me to put my prayer life on hold while I figure out how to put order into my daily life. He expects me to do at least the minimum of some of the Monastic Diurnal, or Divine Office, go to daily Mass, read the Scriptures and or holy books, and meditate or do affective prayer and intentional, also called acquired, contemplation.
No waiting for a perfect situation--if that were the case, I would never pray. These two saints teach us this lesson--they were both being harassed by an evil regime. They were under stress for themselves, their families, their congregations. But, they prayed through anxiety to peace, and prepared for the ultimate offering of their lives to God in martyrdom. Yesterday's Compline reminds us that the Prayer of the Church, the Office, said by both these saints in their Carmelite way, sustains us daily. Here is a key to the Carmelite way-private prayer, meditation, finally, contemplation, through the Dark Night to illumination, and, in the case of these two saints, union through martyrdom.
Take time, set time aside daily. Make meeting God your priority. Embrace your cross. These saints show us the way.