Shepherding My Sheep: Father’s homily on March 7, 2010.
I read this post today and thought ‘Uhuh.’ In a good way – not a bad way.
Since coming across that passage in Acts, I’ve been thinking a lot about what being Catholic means – and what it means in a practical way. Being Catholic means that I’m a little different and that difference should show in my life. So, in what way is my life different now compared to what it looked like before the Easter Vigil?
I’m conscious that I’m resting on my laurels. I’m Catholic. I’ve arrived. But am I praying? Am I making little sacrifices? Am I going to Mass as often as I can? I’m not very happy at my answers to these questions or the way I measure up to the picture painted in Acts.
It’s progress I need, not perfection. And I was reminded at RCIA to leave the guilt behind and just do my best to make small, sustainable changes. So my goal is to spend some time tomorrow thinking and praying about what I can do to live out what I believe. I’m going to make a list and then choose one item to work on at a time. Watch this space.
I’ve made several attempts to get into the habit of saying the full Divine Office. I’ve even bought the first volume of the book. Any book which needs that many ribbons is seriously challenging. I failed.
I’ve been to Universalis and had more success – at least I knew what I was supposed to be saying. But the prayers and readings whooshed right over my head. I hope they were on their way to Heaven. I gave up after about three sessions as the experience really wasn’t meaningful to me – I was saying empty words and I’m sure the Bible has something to say about that.
And then I drifted for a while. I usually make a Morning Offering to the Sacred Heart, maybe say a couple of other prayers which I have stuck up on my bedroom wall and then scurry through the day with the odd imprecation before falling into bed where I mean to pray the Rosary but don’t.
For a good few months, I was in the habit of praying for anyone who had died. Say there was a news report about a bombing, I’d say the first part of the Prayer for the Faithful Departed. I appear to have lost this habit and am really not sure where I put it.
I’ve written here before that I want prayer to play a bigger part in my life. I want a vibrant, living, passionate relationship with God. And that’s not going to happen if I don’t speak to Him. I also want to be united with the Church in her prayers. I really like the idea that, in participating in the Office, one is united with the whole Church. I just wish it weren’t so difficult to do!
When I visit the Pauline bookshop in Glasgow, there are certain sections I’m sure to visit. The prayer books is always on the list, generally just after the Bibles which sit on the next shelf over. I was there yesterday and spotted a little blue book with gold lettering: Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was hesitant to pick it up because I ‘don’t like’ the Office of the Church and expected it to be a mighty tome with twenty ribbons. But it’s less than 200 pages. (And it only has one ribbon.)
I bought it and brought it home.
I had a good thumb through the book this afternoon and have resolved to start with just Morning and Evening Prayer. Deciding to strike while the iron is hot I began this evening. And I was very pleasantly surprised. The prayers really meant something to me and are simple to work through. In fact, the experience was painless and even enjoyable!
I think I may have found something that works for me. And that is always good.