Pentecost Sunday 2018
After the long, tedious haul of Lent, the Easter season is a time of rejoicing in the Risen Christ. In an ideal world, all Christians would by happy and jubilant during this time, full of prayer and contemplation. Nothing would hinder our devotion and we would pray without ceasing during this joyous time.
But, for better or for worse, we live in a different reality that what I described above.
As a relatively new convert, I have eagerly jumped into many devotional prayers and practices. At first, it was really easy to incorporate new prayers and practices into my life. “This is easy!,” I thought. “I don’t know why more people don’t pray the Rosary everyday and pray all these novenas!”
Then, bit-by-bit, real life began to creep in. During this year’s season of Lent, I decided to abstain from blogging (except on Sundays) and other social media outlets. After Lent, when the time of fasting was over, I found myself struggling to write again. I found myself lagging also in my prayer and devotional life.
When I once eagerly prayed the Rosary each morning and read a devotional, I did well just to pray something on my own. Novenas? Forget it. Writing in my journal with prayerful overtones? No. Reading the devotions that are emailed to me every morning? Delete.
If you can’t tell, my Easter season has been a struggle.
As we round out the Easter season with the joyous day of Pentecost, I have thought of how I can better reestablish a routine of prayer that helps me grow right where I am. Of course, I know that life happens: Living gets busy and we can’t upkeep the prayer habits of those living in a cloister or monastery.
Thankfully, since January, I have met monthly with a wonderful spiritual director. Often, we talk about habits of prayer and practice. I willingly admit that I want to pray all the prayers and do all the devotions. When I “fail,” I become utterly disappointed and feel like I’m somehow less of a Catholic because of it. However, when meeting with her last week, my director suggested that I make a list of what I would like to do prayer-wise throughout the day.
Though I am a habitual list maker, I never thought to apply the fine art of list-making to my prayer life. Since I began making a list since last week, I’ve noticed that the “slowness” of my Easter season prayer has begin to fall away and I’ve began to notice a renewal in my own practice. I am not overwhelmed nor wracked with a false since of guilt.
Here’s an example of my own “prayer list” that supplements my spontaneous prayer:
- Daily Mass Readings
- Pray the Liturgy of the Hours (when possible)
- One Rosary decade (or full Rosary when possible).
These tasks fit easily within my own life and help me grow closer to Christ throughout my day. Once I complete all of these prayerful tasks, anything “extra” is a bonus. By choosing to make a list and sticking to it, I can already tell that I don’t feel as slothful in my prayer life. I am slowly picking up the energy that I possessed before the Lenten season and I thank God for the wisdom of my spiritual director. And strangely enough, I thank God for this slow, prayerful season of Easter. In a sense, I have rediscovered the joy of prayer.
As we enter into Ordinary Time, what are some ways you can revamp your prayer life if it feels slow? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Let me know below, I’d love to hear your story.
May Our Lord Jesus bless you as you celebrate Pentecost and venture into Ordinary Time.