Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Exercising Your Prayer Life

Every time I workout, I try to add a little extra oomph to my routine. Maybe I tread a little longer, run a little harder or do a few more reps with my stretchy band.

It is really a psychological battle, as well as a physical one, as I tell myself I can push myself a little more.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that some of us see our prayer life as a psychological battle, or a challenge of our will to try to empty ourselves mentally. But, this spiritual battle that we have with ourselves over prayer shouldn't really be either of those.

Perhaps, as you are striving for a more peaceful Advent, you have tried to incorporate prayer into your life, only to find you are always distracted by the things you have on your "to do" list. The Catechism reminds us that rather than trying to hunt down those distractions to do away with them, we should use them.

How do we use them?

Well, for starters, we need to realize that "our distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified." (CCC 2729)

In plain English . . .

When we realize that we are distracted by things, it should draw us closer to God as we realize that we have not fully given our heart over to him. This should inspire us to resolutely turn more faithfully toward him.

So the next time your thoughts are rambling terribly during prayer, consider what you are focused on and ask yourself, "Should this be distracting me from God?"

Happy Advent!

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