Walking on Sunshine

Posts tagged ‘prayer’

Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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.

I’m Fading Fast …

This post is destined to be a bit of a ramble so, if you’re short of time:

I’ve had a busy day.  I’ve had the cold for a while and am feeling ill.  I don’t know if I have the stamina to make it to SlimmingWorld tonight.  And then I’m going to ramble about ‘real food’ for a bit before moving on to talk about Lent.

Today started at 5am.  My days are meant to begin at 6am but, lately, I’ve been waking up earlier which is kind of OK.  So I woke at 5am, snuggled with the cats for a bit and then got up.  My cleaner came this morning so we’re all spick and span.  Then Sainsbury’s delivered groceries and I put them away – I love knowing I’ve got lots of food in the house.  And having food means I’ll be cooking for the next few days till the freezer’s stocked again which is fun.  And then we’ll go on to the eating …

But moving on.  Lunch happened and then I thought about studying but didn’t actually open the books.  I wrote yesterday about bringing prayer into my daily life and to this end I decided I needed a prayer book.  Shopping or study?  Shopping or study?  Shopping won.  It usually does – just ask my Bank Manager!  So I trotted off into town and chose a really lovely (but suitably simple) prayer book.  For those that are interested, it’s this one.

Once I’d made my purchase, I realised that I was starting to feel really ill.  So I came home via a pet-sitting job (little old man called Tigger who is missing his mummy very much).  I fed myself some painkillers and had a coffee before hitting the shower in the hope that this would revive me.  It didn’t – although I now smell of coconuts which is always good.

Meds for me, meds for cats, dinner for cats, dinner for me.  And I neglected to use my new prayer book to say Grace.  Bad Laura.  I now have seven minutes before I have to leave for SlimmingWorld if I’m going.  After the recent feline interruption we’re now down to three minutes but I can have more painkillers now …

I am not going to SlimmingWorld tonight.  I’m ill.  I’m tired.  And I just want to veg out in front of the TV and then go to bed.  The diet will still begin tomorrow since I now have suitable food but I will go it alone for a week and see how I do.

OK.  So on to the other topics I’ve been thinking about.  I read a very interesting blog post last night and, unfortunately, can’t remember where it was so that I might give credit where it is due.  Ah well …  The writer was talking about her experience of ‘real food’ which she described as being unprocessed wholefoods.  She had become interested in the real food movement after reading The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin and claimed various benefits including weight-loss.  And she got me to thinking:

Could my health problems (in particular the constant migraines) be connected with my diet?

So I’ve done some digging on the internets and there are mixed reports about The Maker’s Diet.  I think the basic premise:  eat what God intended a human being to eat instead of chemical-laden rubbish, is good and I’m very interested in the whole concept of ‘real food’.  I’ve just ordered a copy of the book from Amazon and we’ll see how I get on with it.

And this brings me nicely to the question of Lent.  I haven’t had RCIA instruction about Lent yet (we’re doing the Sacraments at the moment) but I believe one should give something up for it and also do something positive?  And I’ve been wondering what to do for a while.  I’ve decided I’m going to take a big, deep breath and give up caffeine.  Now, I have to confess here that I’ve done this before and felt fabulous once my body got used to it so I’m not being entirely selfless.  But it is something I will find very hard and should, therefore, turn my thoughts to Christ’s passion.

For the doing of something positive I’m going to commit to daily Mass during Lent with a ‘missed for good reason’ caveat as I can do without feeling guilty if I’m sick and so can’t go.  Again, this is something I’ve done before (although not at Lent) and it made me feel really good and behave like a nicer person.  Being in Church at 9:30am every day will also help me stay awake without umpteen cups of coffee!

Once again, the pieces are falling into place.  Life is good – even if my throat does hurt!

Minnesota Mom: Food for Thought

“For me, each day came forth from the hand of God newly created and alive with opportunities to do His will. For me, each day was a series of moments and incidents to be offered back to God, to be consecrated and returned in total dedication to His will.”

— From the memoir He Leadeth Me by Father Walter J. Ciszek

via Minnesota Mom: Food for Thought.

This quotation really takes my breath away.  It’s so simple and yet seems to contain so much.  Every day is a gift from God and Father Walter endeavours to offer each moment back to Him.  I tend to make my Morning Offering, take a look at the day’s Mass readings while I guzzle coffee and then, suitably fuelled by caffeine, start the day.

I’ve been thinking that something might be wrong with this picture but I’m not sure what to change or how to change it.  Or even if I can.

The Divine Office?  It’s certainly good for brining one back to God five times a day but, being totally honest, I’ve tried to ‘do’ it to the best of my ability and really didn’t get a whole lot out of it.  The Office is centred around the Psalms.  The Psalms are poetry.  I’m not really fond of poetry.  And, in any case, I’m sure they lose a lot in translation.  I can see the point of saying a specific Psalm relating to your current situation but what’s the point of saying something that doesn’t fit where you are?  No, the Divine Office and I don’t get along.

Daily Mass?  Now here’s something I can do.  I love going to Mass.  I won’t bore you by listing all the reasons why but I do love it.  And I’m fortunate to be in a Parish where Mass is celebrated every morning at a Church within walking distance from my home.  I like the direction my life takes when I go every day, especially if I have time for Adoration too.  The weather and ill health have conspired against me getting to Sunday Mass, never mind Weekday, recently but I’m willing to start reversing the trend.  In fact, I’ve already made up a new schedule with ‘9:30am – Mass’ as the first appointment each day.  Now I just have to get well enough to go and hope the snow stays away.

So I’ve found a ‘Big Thing’ I can do.  But I feel I need ‘Little Things’ too.  I’m reminded of Brother Lawrence who gave each task he performed to God.  I’ve read The Practice of the Presence of God but it was an audiobook and I found it difficult to take in.  I’d actually struggle now to tell you anything from it.

Is prayer the key?  I’m thinking about learning specific prayers for specific activities/intentions.  Yes, I know there’s nothing wrong with just chatting to God in your own words but rote prayers work better for me.  I already have a prayer which I say whenever I hear that someone has died.  I think it’s time to start adding other prayers to my repertoire.  I think a visit to the Pauline bookstore to look at prayer books may be in order …

Security and Comfort

I read this post today:

A Catholic Mom climbing the Pillars: Security.

And it’s buzzing around in my mind.

If prayer gives one security, does it also give one comfort?

I can’t say that it gives me either.  It’s something that’s tacked on to the beginning of the day (sometimes).  And I try and say a quick, ‘Thank you!’  if something good happens.  But I don’t turn to prayer (and therefore don’t turn to God)  when in need of security or comfort.  And I would say here that I think security is a form of comfort.

So, given my problems with food, is prayer something I can train myself to use instead of chocolate?  Or cigarettes.

You know, I’d really like to have the kind of relationship with God that I see people writing about.  I’m not very sure how to get there but I plan to try.