When Lesa Keeven developed a prayer resource for spiritual directees, she had in mind the everyday Catholic who wishes to know and love God better.
“Rhythm: A Forty-Day Spiritual Journey,” is more than a journal, she said; it’s a several-things-wrapped-into-one book: a jumpstart into a deeper journey with the Lord through prayer, an evangelization tool and a faith formation resource.
The book, released in December, features a daily challenge, quotes and other inspiration from the Church. It includes questions to probe the reader’s heart and mind, as well as space to write. It covers a 40-day period meant to develop a good rhythm of prayer; however, the content is not Lenten-focused — Keeven stressed that it may be used any time of the year.
It’s her hope that the book serves as an interactive tool to deepen a person’s conversation with God and develop a stronger relationship with Him as a result.
“Every relationship starts with a conversation,” she said. “To grow in relationship with someone, we need to communicate. When you allow yourself into a deeper relationship with the Lord, you start asking the deeper questions.”
Keeven is a former Catholic school administrator, including 12 years as assistant principal at St. Joseph School in Cottleville. She creates retreat days for teachers, women and couples. Several years ago while praying in the school chapel, she felt the Lord tugging at her heart to do something different in her life. Two years later, Keeven found herself enrolled at Aquinas Institute of Theology in its spiritual direction certification program.
“I remember painting my kitchen three times and thinking, ‘Lord, what are you calling me to do?’” Keeven recalled. “I felt a very strong call to evangelization and prayer.” Through her conversations with school parents, she discovered that many of them were learning more about their Catholic faith alongside their children. She also saw some of the prayer-related programs and resources her now-grown children tapped into when they participated in LifeTeen.
“There was so much I still needed to learn as well,” Keeven said.
In receiving spiritual direction, Keeven said she has appreciated receiving a small takeaway — such as a Scripture passage, quote or other little nugget about the Catholic faith — that she could reflect upon in between meetings. That is what partly prompted her to create the book.
Keeven included quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which she said can be challenging to read as a whole. “I wanted the richness of the Catechism to reinforce some of the points,” she said. “To pair the Catechism with (the content) was a beautiful journey. It’s my way of evangelizing the faith and helping others to receive the beauty of the Church and its teachings.”
The book is for anyone, not just spiritual directees, Keeven said. She’s received feedback from families who are using it as a tool to spark conversations at the dinner table. Another woman told Keeven that she’s been involved at the parish with social activities, such as fish fries and youth sports, but admitted she didn’t know how to pray.
“Sometimes we need that starting point,” Keeven said.
If we approach the faith with humility and simplicity, a greater understanding of our relationship with God can happen. “This ends up being your story,” she said. “I just want to reach the everyday Catholic.”
>> DAY ONE CHALLENGE
Choose a personal space and time for prayer each day. Reflect on the following passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and these questions:
Developing a rhythm of prayer
“The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. The cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian’s life of prayer” (CCC, #2698).
What is on my heart today?
Where is God in my thoughts?
How will I acknowledge His greatness and ask Him to lead me today?
For more information on the book, visit www.lesakeeven.com.