Most of us seem to like shortcuts. In our language, we use lots of abbreviations, some with punctuation, some without. For example, Mister shortens to Mr., United States of America becomes USA, and “until” can become “‘til.” We write or say less in an effort to save time or space. What is a love letter without a final SWAK? (Sealed With a Kiss)? Poets sometimes use abbreviations to achieve a particular rhyme or meter requirement. “Ever” could be “E’er”.
In our travels, we often take shortcuts to make our walk or drive shorter, more efficient, or even less costly. In our manual jobs, little shortcuts can, again, save us time and money. However, at times, haste makes waste.
While many shortcuts are helpful, there are situations in which these detours can leave us missing out on some things. Certain abbreviations may leave us wondering what they mean or may have more than one possible meaning. I read online that S.O.S., while a distress signal originally, stands for more than “Save Our Ship.” If we are reading an important article containing a number of abbreviations, we might have to stop and look up what each one means. If we are traveling, some shortcuts might deprive us of a number of beautiful vistas or local color. We could even end up getting lost or disoriented for a while.
I have noticed that television dramas, game shows, and movies don’t waste any time getting the audience pumped up. If you listen to the background music and the tempo of the shows’ formats, you know it is time to get your adrenaline flowing. Shortcuts to excitement welcomed! Sponsors are watching!
This question arises: Do we use our time wisely and effectively? Modern technology makes many things handy at our fingertips. We don’t have to use the postal system so much. We don’t have to physically travel so much. We can send messages in numerous ways. We don’t have to do things “in person” as we did in the past. Speed is much speedier!
How do shortcuts affect our prayer life? If we are freed up more than ever before, do we increase our prayer time, or do we take shortcuts?
St. Paul exhorts us to pray:
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; (Colossians 4:2)
It is easy to get into a mindset of shortcuts. Is it a good idea to talk less to God? Sure, God knows all about everything. We are the ones that learn more about God and his love for us when we pray and read sacred Scripture. We are strengthened through prayer. We are inspired by the Holy Spirit through prayer. We learn about love when we come closer and closer to Jesus, our Savior in prayer. We are healed and consoled when we pray. When we try centering prayer, we seek to sense God’s closeness to us in a very beautiful way. Using the extra time available to us through the use of shortcuts to stay more in touch with God might be an idea to consider.
“So be it” or, in a single word: “Amen.”