August 10, 2020
Filed In: Faith
I have a subscription to Magnificat that I’ve had for over a year now. It’s a wonderful prayer companion, filled each month with fresh perspectives, profiles, and articles. Central to each day’s prayer routine is morning prayer, evening prayer, the readings from Mass, and a short reflection.
The thing that I like most about Magnificat is that it’s all put together for me. One simple book, delightful design, and new content, delivered to my mailbox every month. I don’t have to do any planning other than deciding at what time I’m going to pray.
For the first several months, I moved through it with ease. I would do Morning Prayer and the readings from Mass before the kids were up, and Evening Prayer right before bed. We changed our clocks, Spring arrived, and suddenly I ran out of time to complete my full morning prayer time.
I grew discouraged. Each day felt like I was accomplishing less and less of my daily prayer plan. It’s a story that’s a common refrain on this blog over the past seven years.
I don’t know what it is about human nature that craves perfection. It’s an all-or-nothing mindset that demands that we do things absolutely perfect or not even try at all. It assumes that spending only half of the planned period of time in prayer is worse than spending no time in prayer. There’s also that tendency to skip an entire day or week if I mess up even one small part of my plan, in vain hope of a “fresh start” at some point later.
I don’t need a fresh start tomorrow or next week or next month. I need a fresh start right now. I need prayer to bring calm, peace, balance, and rest into my life right now, today.
Plans are wonderful things and they can be a marker to move us in the right direction. Deviation from them, especially in the realm of prayer, isn’t a failure; it’s life. God doesn’t expect me, or my prayer, to be perfect. That’s why He gives me grace and the Sacraments. What He does expect, what He yearns for, is a few minutes of my day when I set everything down, place my whole self in His presence, and we share an intimate connection.