The moment I woke up today and saw my extensive ‘to-do’ list, I felt paralyzed, sluggish, and unprepared to tackle my day. But I knew if I wanted to begin my day properly, I had to start with my top priority—prayeror in this case, asking God what was on his ‘to-do’ list for me. After 10 minutes, I realized that I was doing all the things on my “to-do” list for me, rather than doing them for othersor for God.

Hannah, before she became the mother of the prophet Samuel, was a childless parent. She was unhappy because the most important item on her “to-do” list (having a child) would not be accomplished. But it was precisely her “deep sorrow and misery” that prompted her authentic prayer. Eli would respond to us who are feeling overwhelmed: “your ‘to-do’ list is not yours, but God’s… Go in peace.”

—Michael Martinez, a Jesuit scholastic of the Antilles Province, is studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.