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ACTS

Jul 23

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7/23/2017 12:20 AM  RssIcon

Last week in this space, I looked at ACTS as an acronym for our prayer to God: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication should mark our humble approach to God in prayer as we seek to grow in relationship with Him. I indicated in that column that it also applies, to some extent, to our relationships with one another, as well; but in slightly different ways. Particularly for married couples, this model is designed to help any two people communicate with one another better.

Adoration moves over, but not to admire who God is in and of Himself, but simply: what do you admire about the other person. If this conversation happens on a daily basis, it can be something admirable from that day that might have gone unacknowledged otherwise. This steps seeks to praise the other person, not for what they do, but for who they are. Not in empty flattery, but in all sincerity and honesty. What are the good qualities of that person standing before you?

Because we are human, we sin. And sin does not just effect our relationship with God, it effects our relationship with those closest to us in life as well. This is an opportunity to say, ‘I’m sorry’ for the little mistakes that can add up over time. If we do not deal with them, they can tend to explode unexpectedly. To both ask for forgiveness, and to be generous in giving that forgiveness, can go a long way to restoring our damaged relationships. (After all, this is in the Our Father as well!)

So often, we only see the negative in others. Intentionally focusing on the positives that the other does throughout the day, in order to offer Thanksgiving for that person can help to change the outlook on life in a major way. Praise goes a long way towards connection, towards building a spirit of teamwork, and simply just acknowledging that someone else did something nice for you. It can be a wonderful gift to give, and is certainly a wonderful gift to receive! As opposed to adoration above, this Thanksgiving is in relation to something specific that was done.

Finally, Supplication, which is where this model really breaks down. Simply, this is asking, ‘this is what I need from you.’ Not in a demand, but a request: in order to grow together, this thing here would be fantastic. It could be a reminder to help hold accountable on a topic, it could be a request for something tomorrow, ‘can you collect the kids from daycare?’ etc. What is it that you need help with from this person? And simply ask. This does help break down the ‘If only he/she could read my mind…’ temptations, too! They shouldn’t be too big or too dramatic of requests, but something that is achievable and manageable; and remember these requests go both ways!

In looking at how this list parallels our communication with God in prayer, I continue to be amazed at how our relationship with God is paralleled by our relationships with one another. And to move closer to God is to move closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well. Here we have a model that works in both arenas! Give it a go and see how it works in your life!

(I do owe a debt of gratitude to my spiritual director, Fr. Jonathan Meyer of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, for diagramming this out for me!)

God Bless

Fr. Kyle Schnippel

 


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