I have important exams coming up and life is really hectic preparing for them. Isn’t it reasonable to cut down on some of my commitments at the Church?
If you are involved in a lot of apostolic activities, it might be reasonable to assess priorities – though primarily because doing your best at your exams will help you to have a more effective apostolate afterwards. What must not be dropped is the essential core of your prayer life. Advice for examinees always includes ensuring that you have a proper amount of sleep and exercise, and eat sensibly. As Christians, we take an even more holistic approach, including our spiritual health as a part of being properly geared up for the ordeal. So don’t be tempted to give up your daily prayers and your assistance at Mass (serving if you are a altar server): and make a good confession as part of your preparations, so as to be in the best possible state of soul.
Satan is the father of lies: one of his whoppers is to convince devout people that prayer is a chore, that it is difficult, time-consuming, exhausting. Although sometimes we do find it hard to pray without being distracted, time spent in conversation with Our Lord is an oasis of peace and refreshment for the soul, nourishing us for whatever work lies ahead in the day. Your exams are a critical moment for you, yet it is always difficult to find time to put our lives in perspective. As they will affect your future, it is wise to take a long-term view, discerning your vocation and the “definite service” that God asks of you.
Naturally you will also have some more immediate concerns for which prayers of petition are appropriate. Our Lady, the Seat of Wisdom is a powerful advocate for examination candidates. In my own final exams, I said a short prayer to her before each paper and she certainly gave assistance. There is also St Joseph of Cupertino who is reputed to have been given only the questions to which he knew the answers – well we can always ask!
Catholic Dilemmas column published in the Catholic Herald
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