Pray Constantly As with many


Pray Constantly

As with many parents of very young children, I spend most of Mass getting my son to face forward, stand, sit, kneel, try to say some of the prayers, stop watching the people behind me, stop kicking the pew in front of me, whisper--don't talk, etc. etc. You who are parents know the drill. As a result, I feel terrible about Sunday Mass, often as though I haven't heard a thing (I haven't) and I haven't properly served the Lord (although I have in my vocation as Father and in my attempt to make certain that the young 'en isn't too disruptive to those around him). I usually "make up" for this feeling by attending weekday Mass, and really participating.

As with many previous Sundays, I had these same feelings until I relaxed a bit and started to pray. I wasn't really praying Mass, because it was more than my brain could handle. But the entire time I prayed, "Thank you, Jesus." For every disruptive effort and annoyance, I prayed twice as hard and fast. And you know what? I didn't leave Mass feeling like a failure. I left feeling as though I had offered thanksgiving for many who may not give a thought to the wonderful treasure they receive at the Holy Sacrifice of Mass. No, I didn't participate in the way I would if I were without the distraction, but somehow I felt that God accepted what little I could offer in the spirit in which I offered it.

Then I realized on my way home that this little prayer can be prayed constantly. Occasionally one thought or another intrudes, but when it has run its course, I can just thank Jesus for that as well. Like the Jesus prayer, only simpler, and appealing to me because I owe so much thanks and I say so little, this prayer can always bring me back to the main point of life itself--the mercy, goodness, and life-giving person of Jesus Christ.

Try it for a day. Just start by saying it as you get up in the morning. Allow it to become the basso ostinato to the entire day. Let life play against the background of this glorious and simple prayer. The name of Jesus itself is a fragrant balm and to be able to thank Him for all that we are and all that we have is such a gift. It frees us so thoroughly from ourselves. It opens us to Him and at the same time is a constant acknowledgment of our debt to Him. It is a perfect accompaniment for the Jesus Prayer because it is a thank you for the mercies already tendered, and in its simplicity it acknowledges our need for future mercies.

It may not substitute for praying and assisting at Mass, I'm human and there I shall probably fail as long as my young son needs guidance. But at least I can offer this much as I am directing attention and limiting distraction.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 13, 2002 6:43 PM.

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