Friday, March 14, 2014

Making Time for Prayer

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a friend who is a member of a religious order living in community. I mentioned that I envied him the daily rhythm of prayer. Morning Prayer happens when it's scheduled to happen. Likewise the Eucharist, Noon Prayers, Evening Prayer and Compline. One needs to discipline oneself to attend, but one does not need to carve time out of a schedule to make them happen.

I have no doubt that there are innumerable other aspects of life in community that spark no jealousy at all. But this piece leaves me longing for that structure.

As a secular priest, the Offices happen when I make the effort to make them happen. And on some days it becomes very easy to let slide. Ironically, the things that often get in the way of structured prayer are my responsibilities as a parish priest.

I'm currently experimenting with some different scheduling options, including setting evening prayer time as a period of Lectio Divina focusing on the evening Psalms and the Gospel.

What I know for certain is that when my prayer life gets off track, I get off track - and getting back on track is much more difficult that staying on track in the first place.

And I know that my peace and serenity - and my effectiveness - are contingent on the diligent maintenance of my spiritual condition.

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