Truth be told, I’m a few days into my quest to re-energize my faith. How am I planning to accomplish this? Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1) Daily Mass Readings. Under ideal circumstances, I’d like to attend Mass every day, and I’m sure a lot of Catholics feel the same way. Well, guess what? You can! Most days, anyway. A few years ago, I realized that EWTN has a Daily Mass podcast featuring the readings and homily. I got into the habit of downloading the podcast before work, loading it onto my mp3 player (pre-smartphone days, how primitive!), and listening on the way to work. It was typically 20-25 minutes and my commute clocked in right around the same time. I did this for a few months and it was a wonderful start to my day. So what happened? Well, there was a stretch of time where the podcasts weren’t ready by the time I needed to leave for work, so I fell out of the habit and just never went back to it. Well, it’s time to get back into the habit! How can I not want to do something that makes me feel so good? The great thing is that now, EWTN has an app for my Android phone! So far, I’m not seeing the podcast I so desire, but they are posting the video, which is essentially the same thing. I just have to avoid the temptation of trying to watch while driving and limit myself to listening. If I don’t have the Daily Mass on the way to work, I can also watch via YouTube on our X-Box.
2) PRAYER. How can you have a relationship with someone you never talk to? Yes, I’m sure God finds that minute and a half before I crawl into bed to be the epitome of devotion. I need MORE than that. It’s hard to describe, but it’s as if my soul thirsts and longs for prayer. Deep-down, serious prayer. To accomplish this, I’m going to have some scheduled prayer as well as spontaneous, throughout-the-day prayer.
- Morning Prayer
- Prayers Before Meals
- Evening Prayers (at least one decade on the rosary)
- Prayer of the Day from the Treasury of Novenas
I also have guide to daily prayer for business people. I have no idea where I got it, but at some point, I’ll look into that as well and let you know how it goes.
3) Bible Study. This is in ADDITION to Daily Mass Readings. Now, I have tried to knock everything out in one lump sum before bedtime and if we’re doing earnest Bible study, Daily Mass Readings, and prayer, that’s going to be anywhere from an hour and a half to two full hours. I can tell you from experience, trying to tack everything onto the end of the day just flat out doesn’t work. So, instead of putting it at the end of my day, I’ll be doing Bible Study at my lunchtime. I’ve actually already been doing this intermittently for the last few months. Why have I not been consistent? There’s just so much temptation to “get something done” on my lunch break. Why, I could run over to Wal-Mart and do my shopping so I’ll have more time in the evening! I could run to the bank! To the shoe store! The fact is, I am getting something done by doing Bible Study. For the foreseeable future, I’ll be doing the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. I’ve made it through John and am currently working my way through Mark. I love, love, love this study! It is truly in-depth, referencing additional verses, clarifying what was said based on the context of the times, going back to the Catechism, and just really exploring what the full message is.
4) My Own Little Prayer and Meditation Book. When I first started RCIA, I bought a little red leather bound prayer book. I love it. It’s always in my purse. A few years ago, I found myself writing in the back of it. Just a thought, a prayer, a verse. The problem with it is that it’s too big for my pocket and generally stays in my purse for most of the day. To resolve this, I purchased a small Moleskin notebook that fits perfectly in my pocket (the place of honor typically reserved for my smartphone). I can jot down my prayer for the day, a verse that inspires me, a quote from a saint. I know I can do all of this with my phone (I work at the CellPhone Store, after all), but I feel like I get more out of it if I write it down. Additionally, when I reach for my phone, it does EVERYTHING, so it’s a lot easier to get distracted. I still carry my prayer book in my purse, but when I put my hand in my pocket, I have a personalized book of inspiration.
5) No Idleness Allowed! I’ve been working in retail for about a year and a half now, and let me tell you, we have a LOT of downtime. People don’t really start coming in until 4pm on most days. I’ve been using that downtime to look at Facebook, window-shop online, browse humor sites, etc. This is, for the most part, a waste of time. Catholic blogs! The National Catholic Register! There are so many websites I can look at and actually benefit from. No more goofing around.
I’m flexible and open to suggestions! For now, I think it’s going to be enough to get me on the right track.