Saturday, January 26, 2013

Starting the day off right

I don't always make it to daily Mass. But I do try every day to set aside about 20 minutes of my morning for prayer and the daily Mass readings. If I don't make time in the morning, my entire day somehow feels off: I'm grumpier, shorter of temper, more susceptible to things like office gossip and just more easily distracted in general.

Even first thing in the morning, I can feel the pull and tugs of distractions trying to keep me from morning prayer, of those little demons trying to find an in by casting my thoughts in a different direction. I've become more intuned to them as I've gotten older and deepened my prayer life. And they're so small, almost meaningless things, like: "Oh, let me just go make some coffee first," "I just want to read a few more pages of my novel," or "let me just hop on my computer real quick to check Facebook." Then all of a sudden I haven't had breakfast and still need to take a shower and clearly haven't prayed, but only have 20 minutes before I need to get out the door and on my way.

On those days I'll grab my prayer books and copy of Magnificat on the way out the door and cram them into my purse or computer bag, thinking I'll have a chance to catch some prayer time at lunch. But more often than not, the day gets busy, I eat lunch at my desk while continuing to work, and the afternoon flies by. Sometimes, I'll leave the office, hit the gym, come home, shower and make dinner and then all of a sudden it's 9 o'clock and -- aside from a couple of hurried prayers over meals and crossing myself as I pass a church along my route to work -- I realize I haven't prayed all day.

A couple of times, trying to circumvent the lack of prayer time in the morning, I would actually read the morning prayers from Magnificat while I drove to work, reading a few verses of the Psalm or the daily intentions here and there as I drove. I very fortunately never got in an accident while I did this. Regardless of how much God wants me to give Him some of my time, I'm pretty sure He doesn't want me to crash my car in the attempt, so I wouldn't recommend this for anyone's commute, unless of course you take a bus or Metro to school or the office.

So these days I'm setting my alarm a little bit earlier to make sure I get in that all important prayer time. There are still days I miss, but I'm getting better. And I can tell the difference. I'm more open to seeing God's hand in things, more at peace, more patient.

Now I just need to work on waiting until I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open to do my evening prayer and examination of conscience...

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