Blog reader Jenn had a question about prayer, and so I thought tackle it on today’s post. Prayer is such a wonderfully dynamic thing. There are so many ways to have a conversation with God, to be still in his presence. One of the central ways that we Catholics pray together is through the celebration of the Eucharist. This celebration itself holds within it a great variety of ways to pray which involve spirit, mind, and body. It is at the center of our lives as Catholics.
Praying the Liturgy of the Hours is also something I love because I am in communion not only with God but with my sisters and with all who pray that way. There is a universal, deeply Catholic aspect to it that I love.
I also pray in other ways like the Examen of Consciousness. There are times when I am drawn to contemplative prayer, to being with God without words or images mediating. Those times are pure gift because they are not something I can conjure up. I can dispose myself to them through a regular habit of prayer and opening myself up to God. I also pray through nature. I have always loved the outdoors, animals, the sky, the land — all of it. I find it speaks constantly of the glory of God and the goodness of all of creation. When I’m in wilderness (even the bits of wilderness in a big city), I’m at home with my God and myself.
I pray through the day as well. I’ve got my formal times of prayer, but that doesn’t preclude praying through the day. Praying doesn’t always mean I’m addressing God about something particular, sometimes it’s like just being together as you would with a good friend. You just enjoy each other’s company. By cultivating a general openness to God, one finds that one slips in and out of prayer throughout the day. This reminds me of Saint Paul who wrote “pray without ceasing”.
Thanks for your thoughts on prayer. Very well said! I loved how you compared being with God just as you would be with a friend. Just enjoying each other.
Julie, I was wondering if daily Mass is a community custom for your IHMs or if it depends on each Sister’s daily schedule.
Thanks Lisa and Jenn for the messages. In response to your question, Lisa, the practice of daily mass varies widely across communities and within communities. It is not required that religious celebrate the Eucharist daily though some communities and individuals find daily Mass to be an important part of their life. It varies depending on one’s ministry and community responsibilities, one’s personal life of prayer, and one’s daily schedule. In my community the custom allows for a great variety. Sister J
I find the Divine Office terribly reassuring – knowing that you are part of that great hymn of praise and intercession, that you are supported in prayer by a vast network of fellow pray-ers, uplifting and supporting you.
Dear Sister Julie. I have to agree with Jenn’s comment above, how wonderful to just be with God. I wish I could attain your level of feeling.
Please keep me in prayer-Mike age 60 a clinical social worker in the VA
Add me to that prayer list to, Thanks!
please pray for me to on become a nun that GOD call me to do for him