Lent 2013 What to do, What to do?

I have to confess, sometimes I just don’t have much to write about.  I know all writers go through dry spells and I’m no different.  But there are times when I need to write something but don’t have any brilliant insights to share.  So, today, I’m not going to be brilliant.  (I know, how is that different from any other day?  Ha, ha.  Moving on…)  I’m just going to write and see what happens.

The Lenten season is upon us and, honestly, I’ve been fairly uninspired.  I really want to do something interesting or different but also something that is attainable.  I’m not giving up sweets this year because, frankly, I’m bored with it.  But I’ve found that I do need to make my Lenten observance something concrete and easy to account for.  It needs to be specific and it needs to be something that I can make a part of my daily routine.  Giving something up has always been easier for me than adding something in.  I can remember that I gave up desserts as I’m reaching for them but adding something to my schedule often gets forgotten in day to day life.  Perhaps I’m too much a creature of habit.  Perhaps I’m too forgetful and unfocused.  Either way this is all I have to work with.  So be it.

I guess I need to find a way to carve out time for whatever I add in to my Lenten practices.  After looking at my schedule, I’ve decided that I will be going to Eucharistic Adoration once a week as well as saying at least one Rosary per week.  I plan on using my Wednesday evening mom taxi duties to drive this.  (Pun intended!  Sorry.)

So starting today, I will spend time in Adoration after dropping my 4th grader off at Religious Education.  Then, I will say a Rosary while I walk the track at his basketball practice.  Basketball season is ending soon so I’ll have to adjust my Rosary schedule.  But, for the next few weeks this should work.  And to give myself another nudge, I’m entering my adoration time and rosary time in my Outlook calendar with a reminder.  Between my schedule, my family and my calendar maybe I’ll start a good habit of prayer.

If you’re interested in a more ambitious Lenten observance than mine check out my friend Mrs. Mackerelsnapper and her Lent 2013 Challenge.  It’s too much for me this year but I admire her zeal and her creativity in a finding a new way to relate to the poor.

Blessings,
Laura

Year of Prayer – Month 2

November is here and it’s time for me to focus on a different form of prayer for the month.  But first, a quick analysis of how my Rosary October went.

I started off October full of goals and enthusiasm to pray five decades of the Rosary everyday but midway through the first week I was already falling short of that goal.  Since I didn’t want to fall into my all-too-common perfection-or-inaction M.O., I tried not to overreact.  Instead, I reminded myself that even a decade of a Rosary is better than none at all and I pushed forward.  I utilized several different resources to help me along my way including my Rosary CD and the Laudate app for my smart phone.  I found that, while my Rosary CD was very helpful, if I listened while I was driving, I was often too distracted by traffic (silly me) to focus on my prayer as much as I would’ve liked.  Evidently, I’m old school because the tools that were the biggest help to me last month were the Rosary beads I received at my First Communion and a Rosary booklet I got at a Catholic bookstore many years ago for about $2! 

By the end of the month, even though I fell far short of perfection, I found myself going to the Rosary more and more as part of my daily routine.  I had established a habit, of sorts, which was a big goal of my Year of Prayer.  Making prayer a part of my daily life instead of just a part of desperate times and letting that regular prayer draw me closer into communion and communication with my Lord was my goal.  So, I’m calling Month One of my Year of Prayer a success. 

I know this journey has only just begun but I think I’m on the right track and that’s a good thing!

Now, on to November-

As the holidays start to ramp up, prayer will be even more important to help me maintain focus and sanity.  At the same time, I need to be realistic about the demands on my time.  So, because November is a time to focus on gratitude for our blessings, I’m going to spend this month thanking God for all I’ve been given.  I’m going to try to dial back my prayer requests (with the exception of intercessory prayer for friends and family) and focus on the abundance of what I already have.  I’ll be using a mixture of formal prayers and spontaneous prayers throughout the month.  Here are a few lovely prayers of thanksgiving I found at AmericanCatholic.org that I’ll be using.  If you have any prayers you want to share with me, drop me a line and tell me about them.  Once again, I would love to have you join me on this spiritual journey.  In fact, I would be most thankful.  (See, it’s working already!)

Check out more of my thoughts on gratitude and the environment in my November column on CatholicMom.com today around 10 am Pacific Time.  Hope to see you there!

Blessings,
Laura

Ready, Set, Pray!

Well today the Year of Faith officially began.  This is the year that our Holy Father has declared to be a year of learning more about our faith and growing closer in relationship to Jesus.  For my observance of the Year of Faith, I’m focusing on prayer.  This month the focus is the Rosary and so far, not so good.

My pray-the-Rosary-everyday plan has not been without flaws.  Many flaws.  Really, the plan isn’t the problem.  The flaws are entirely mine.    I’m embarrassed to admit how many times this month I’ve realized that I didn’t even say a decade of the Rosary the day before.  And it’s only the eleventh day of the month!

Why is it so hard for me to be consistent in my prayer life?  Why are my plans for prayer so often spoiled by my reality?  I would love to hear your ideas or tips for a richer prayer life.  Hopefully, this upcoming year will help me to grow in my prayer life.  The bad news is-I’m starting this year off on unsure footing.  The good news is-there’s no where to go but up (I pray!)

The week I’m going to try out a Scriptural Rosary to mix it up a bit.  Give it a try with me and let me know what you think.

Year of Faith-Year of Prayer

Pope Benedict has declared the year beginning October 11, 2012, the Year of Faith.   The Holy Father wants us all to focus on learning about our faith and deepening our relationship with Jesus.
So, here’s my plan:  I’m going to spend my Year of Faith focused on my prayer life.  For me, it will be the Year of Prayer.  Each month I’ll focus my practice on a specific type of prayer. 

Since October is officially the Month of the Rosary, I will be focusing this month on the many ways there are to pray this ancient prayer.  This week my focus will be on praying the Rosary daily in whatever way I can-in the car, in bed, during Adoration. 

I have a couple of tools that I’ll be using this month to help me to focus my prayer efforts

  • The Laudate app for android (also available for iphones)-this free app has a wealth of interactive information including the daily mass readings, liturgy of the hours, an examination of conscience, stations of the cross, traditional prayers and, of course the Rosary. 
  • The Rosary on CD produced by the Mary Foundation and distributed by Catholicity.com They have lots of free CDs that are informative, inspirational and prayerful.  Check them out.
  • Author Sarah Reinhard is promoting her new book, A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism, by holding a Rosary-based blog tour using reflections from the book.  Each day a different blog will host Sarah as she provides a reflection on one of the mysteries of the Rosary.  What a great way to enhance your prayer life.  You may even win a Nook!  Check it out.

I would love to have company on my Year of Prayer.  Will you join me?

Blessings,
Laura