This post over at Intentional Disciples got me thinking about my prayer style. While I try my best to be religious, I’m really not that spiritual a person. My meditative ability is just awful, almost non-existant. When I try to meditate my attention is elsewhere is just a few minutes. It’s hard to get through even one mystery of the Rosary without my attention going somewhere else. (It’s why, despite the obvious power of the Rosary, I don’t enjoy saying it. From time to time, I make the effort to get back into the habit, but I eventually let it fall by the wayside.)
I find I do best with the Liturgy of the Hours, which changes from day to day, and therefore can’t become simply a rote prayer. It’s also nice, because not only is it Biblically based (most of the prayers come directly out of the Bible) but it also has prayers for various times (“Hours”) of the day. There’s an invitatory, which can be said when first rising, morning prayer, 3 sets of daytime prayer, evening prayer, night prayer and an office of Readings containing a fairly lengthy Biblical passage and a non-Biblical reading that can be done any time during the day. This helps me remember to dedicate each part of the day to God, and keeps me from ever being that far away from either having just prayed or being about to pray. (I typically skip the daytime prayer, since I’m at work.)
But given my lack of a spiritual nature, I often don’t experienc spiritual ectasies, for lack of a better term as I write this. When I do experience them, it’s usually related to a sacrament: receiving Christ in the Eucharist, or just when the Consecration has occurred and the bread has become His Body, or the wine His Blood. Or receiving his Mercy and forgiveness in Confession. I will occasionally experience them during informal prayer when just reflecting on His great love for me.
But what really gets me “excited” is often a more apologetic approach to Christianity. I think it comes from my overly logical nature. (If I’m supposed to meet someone at 7, and I’m not there until 7:01, I’m annoyed at being late.) As a result, I have too much of a tendency to see the Faith as a mathematical puzzle that just needs to have the right variables calculated. For example, one of the more exciting moments I’ve had in my spiritual life is finally learning why Catholics refer to Mary as Queen. As Scott Hahn explained in Hail, Holy Queen, Mary is our Queen since she is the mother of our King. Israel, like other polygamous societies, made the King’s mother their Queen, since how else could they pick which of the King’s wives would serve. So, since Israel prefigured Christ’s Kingdom, Christ’s kingdom would have the same method for selecting a Queen: his Mother, Mary, is our Queen. I had never understood that, but knowing the logic behind it made me very happy and strengthened my faith, far more than any time I’ve spent in prayer.
That’s not the way it should be, though. I know I need to get better at seeking communion with Christ outside of his sacraments. Praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament helps me get better at it, but I know I still have a ways to go. With his help, I know I can do it, as long as I keep trying to reach Him.