I sat on the hard, dark-stained pew and lowered the kneeler until it softly thudded on the carpeted floor. A soft spotlight shone on the Tabernacle, and sunlight brightened stained glass windows, the only lights in the still, dark chapel. It was just Jesus and me.
Into the quiet of the chapel I exhaled a deep sigh, and then another. And when the sighs could no longer hold back the tears, I sobbed. A full-on ugly cry poured out of me, complete with gasps, snot, and shaking. Occasionally I would lift my head to look at Him. Sometimes I shook my fists at Him or banged them on the pew. There were no words, but I was praying.
I have been Hannah, pouring out my heart to our Lord.
I bet you have been, too.
It is a grace and a gift to be able to cry like that to God, to hold nothing back. Whether the tears are from anger, exhaustion, or sorrow, the Lord is ready to listen. He wants nothing more for us than to be close to Him, to have a relationship with honest conversations, so that we will be ready to join Him in Heaven. Rote prayers are helpful, important, beautiful—but we have to talk to God, too.
When I walked out of the chapel that day I felt so much better. I had raged and begged for forgiveness and finally found rest in His presence. It was as if Eli’s blessing to Hannah was for me, too. "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him" (1 Sam 1:17).
If you're looking to learn more about what the Catechism teaches prayer, take a look at our study called "Ways to Pray" from Rooted.
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker, and homemaker. She lives with her husband and eight children in Illinois. Bonnie is the author of "61 Minutes to a Miracle" which tells the story of her son's miracle that was approved by Pope Francis for the beatification of Venerable Fulton Sheen. She likes to bake, putz about the yard, and tell her kids to tidy the house. She is the author of the Blessed Conversations Mystery: Believe study found here. You can find out more about her here.