Seven Prayer Suggestions
For Use With the Snooze Button
“Shorten but never omit” sums up the sage advice found in the pages of Fr. Neubert’s book My Ideal, Jesus Son of Mary. The one prayer everyone should cultivate is the private talk, the conversation, (“colloquy” according to the Jesuits,) the coming into direct contact with the Lord in a conversation using your own words.
Fr. Boylan, Difficulties in Mental Prayer:
“Every soul who wishes to advance, should try to look God in the face, in all reverence, at least once a day, without rushing into some form of vocal prayer.”
This the fundamental reason for waking early.
According to your vocation, the breviary is another good reason to wake up early. Third order members are usually required to pray parts of the breviary on a daily basis. Many who are not connected to a religious institute find the breviary a wonderful prayer.
What if I don't/can't wake early?
Seven Prayer Suggestions For Use With the Snooze Button
- Shorten But Never Omit
- Establish Substitutions
Our Franciscan rule allows for the substitution of the breviary (morning or evening prayer) with 12 Our Fathers, 12 Hail Marys, and 12 Glorys. If I don’t wake early enough to pray the breviary, I can generally say the three sets of 12 prayers while driving or just going about household duties. When I do use the substitution, I generally concentrate on praying for God’s Will. If I am employing the substitution, it is probably because my will has been thwarted in some way and I need to pray for the grace of conformity to God‘s Will.
- Pick up where you find yourself
For the most part, (excluding the Rosary, breviary, and conversation) I don’t worry about the prayers that I have missed, I just pick up wherever I find myself in the day.
- Prayer Reminders:
There are certain statues and images that remind me to look up to heaven.
Hanging pictures of the Way of the Cross helps to develop the habit of visiting in prayer the Stations of Our Lord’s Passion.
- Hand gestures to remind me of certain dispositions
By tapping my heart, I renew my consecration to the Immaculate. Tapping also reminds me to send messages to the Lord in the Tabernacle. Walking by the crucifix and opening my hands before it, reminds me to offer my heart to the Lord. Another important hand gesture is to tug on my miraculous medal remembering that Our Lady promised many graces to those who wear the Miraculous Medal around the neck.
On mornings when I couldn’t spend or didn’t spend the usual amount of time in prayer, I will rely more heavily on my hand gestures.
St. Alphonsus di Liguori mentions Father St.-Jure's suggestion:
"[W]henever you make certain signs, such as putting your hand on your heart, lifting your eyes heavneward or to the crucifix, or similar things, it is your intention to make an act of love, an act of desire to see Him loved by all, an act of self-offering."
(From a great little pamphlet How to converse Continually and Familiarly With God by Tan Books.)
- One Sentence Prayers:
I will just say the first line of prayers and then with my heart say, “I intend the whole meaning of the prayer.”
- Patience with Oneself
On days like these, the most important thing to do is to practice
patience with oneself.
In the book The Twelve Fruits, Father Woollen writes:
“True patience is, first of all, a patience in acquiring virtue; it must be exercised that the soul may progress. ‘To be patient with self,’ says Father Faber, ‘is an almost incalculable blessing, and the shortest road to improvement, as well as the quickest means by which an interior spirit can be formed’… The interior training precedes the outward exercise of the virtue.”
The Twelve Fruits, (Roman Catholic Books)54, 55.
(One more post tomorrow)