For whatever reason, growing up I always saw my faith as a private matter. Outside of Mass, I found myself uncomfortable praying along with other people, and I didn't really like telling anyone about my personal spirituality.
But, Jesus is here to challenge us, and despite what I want to hear, he calls us to "be in the world."
While that sounds awful to me, it's from the mouth of God, so I suppose it's worth giving some thought...
Let's face it: We like to take things that Jesus says and hold onto them, while not paying attention to other things that he says.
It's human nature.
For me, this is nowhere more true than the idea of praying alone behind a locked door so that no one can see.
I love this brand of spirituality. Me and God. No one around to hear my stammering as I pray, no one around to say, "Hey, maybe this prayer would be better," no one around to make me feel embarrassed about my intentions.
I was able to hold onto this brand of spirituality up until the point where I got married.
Shortly after our marriage, I learned that spirituality and sanctification was intended to be a community matter.
Quite honestly, I had a very hard time making this transition.
It felt awkward to pray along with someone else, even someone as close to me as my spouse.
As I continued to push on, however, it became a source of great blessing. We grew closer to each other, mostly through allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in this very profound way.
And so, now that I have seen the benefit, I'm left pushing myself harder and harder to let my faith be in the world rather than giving into my desire to shrink back into my own personal desert and just be alone with Jesus.
It's hard, but it's worth it.