Something felt off, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I couldn’t get to daily Mass, my Rosary hung from my rear view mirror, daring me to make the time. I felt disconnected, out of sync. When I prayed, it was hurried.
Have you ever noticed that when you talk to a friend that you have been out of touch with that you are surprised at all the things that have happened in your respective lives during that time? Catching up, we call it. That was it. I hadn’t caught up with God. I wasn’t picking up my spiritual phone to touch base and then I was surprised when I felt out of touch with my own Creator!
Prayer is like that. It is a conversation we need to have, but more than that, we need to set aside the time to make the call. Why is it, for instance, that people who say, “I don’t need to go to Mass on Sunday to worship. I can do it in the outdoor cathedral of the world, “never seem to crack that Bible on Sunday to do just that. As with all relationships, our friendship with God requires some dedication.
You can look at things like reading the Bible, Mass, the rosary or a novena as just Traditions of the Church, but they are so much more than that. True love takes time, commitment, knowledge and work. Utilizing the Sacraments, sacramentals, and Traditions of the Church can teach us to be disciplined in our approach to this relationship.
The Church understands this need for time with Our Lord in prayer and encourages us to wrap our day in it. During Lent we can look at our day and try to add to it one way to draw nearer to our Lord.
We can start the day with a morning offering. There are many available to choose from or you can make up your own. When my kids were very little, we used to say, “Jesus be with us today, help us as we work and play.” Then we would tell the Lord that our day was His day and offer it to him. Some people like to say a little prayer to their guardian angel as well. Others start their day with an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. Any prayer that gives the first moments of our day and all those that follow to the Lord will do. Starting the day with daily Mass (if available) is another great opportunity to start the day in prayer.
During the Day
There are many opportunities to pray during the day. Formal prayers such as the Rosary can be used. The Angelus can be prayed at noontime or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3pm (The hour of the death of Jesus Christ, known as the hour of Mercy). Just saying a quick hello to the Lord during the day, or stopping in at a church to spend a moment in front of the tabernacle can bring an individual closer to God.
Dinner prayers with the family, a family rosary or just time spent reading the Bible together encourages family devotion to God. When our children were small, we would make a small examination of conscience with them at night and then pray the rosary together until they fell asleep. Ending our day with Our Lord close by brings comfort and increases love. We kiss our spouses goodnight, tuck our children in and kiss them, isn’t it nice to give Our Lord a spiritual kiss goodnight as well? Many blessings.
Books by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing that contain many of the prayers referenced in this article:
The Catholic Prayer Book for Children by Julianne M. Will
Prayer Book for Young Catholics, by Fr. Robert J. Fox
Catholic Family Prayer Book by Jacquelyn Lindsey