Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent prayer

I've been praying the rosary daily for over month now. I have no idea why I didn't start sooner, but the night my grandmother was dying (the night of my Mom's birthday, actually) I felt compelled to pray it. I remember my 2nd grade teacher's admonishment that we never had any excuse to avoid praying it -- didn't we all have ten fingers with which to count the "Hail Mary"s of each decade? I cannot tell you how often my efforts (in all areas, not just prayer) have been self-sabotaged by my feeling that "it's too complicated" or "it's too much work", so Mrs. Woods's words were particularly relevant in this case. Each night, I have faithfully prayed the rosary. During various points (Isha's illness comes to mind) I have prayed more than one rosary per day, but I have prayed one at a minimum. And it's a good thing I have ten fingers - I had no rosary in my possession until two weeks into this little experiment! All of my rosaries were at my parents' house, so my Nonna gave me one of her spares until I could nab my old ones.

It's been great. Time for prayer has come more easily than I thought, and I have found difficult moments easier to bear as a result of the prayer. I am FAR from perfect, but I am trying. I plan to keep doing it!

We're into the season of Advent, though, and while one of the key reflections is preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth, the other is general preparation for His return in the fullness of time. Reconciliation and prayer are key, and so I began reflecting -- "Do I feel that I should try to spend more time in prayer?"

Last Christmas, I asked for a copy of Christian Prayer, the user-friendly version of the Liturgy of the Hours. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I didn't delve into it -- it's confusing to start, and I was REALLY pregnant, then postpartum, then...I never really got into the habit of praying either the Morning or the Evening prayer. Advent marks the start of the new liturgical year, and this year is year C which focuses on my favourite synoptic gospel - Luke. I figured that this would be as good a time as any to start.

I began (erroneously, I might add) last night. Today, after a call to my parents (who've navigated it for years) I managed to figure out which psalms and canticles to follow in which order, and I think I am on the right track. But all along, I have wondered -- am I being called to do this?

But tonight's reading - the first one I read after doing all the prayers correctly - happened to be the NT passage that I have always found the most comforting, the one we chose for our wedding. It was Philippians 4: 4-7, which contains the following passage:

"Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus."

I figure that it is worth a shot! Even if I am not being called to do this exactly, additional time in prayer and reflection (as long as it doesn't take away from time I'd spend with my family) is in and of itself a good thing. I will let you know how it goes.

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