Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Litany of Attentions

I have not forgotten the choir stall.  If I'm to walk through this world "cloistered in heart," I cannot forget it.  My heart must continue to be a place of prayer.

Does this mean I must recite vocal prayers during my family's dinner conversation?  That doesn't sound like a charitable option.  Shall I hold a rosary while diapering the baby?  I can say with absolute authority that Our Lord would rather I hold onto the baby.  Do I buy a wooden choir stall and glue myself into it?  (okay, this is getting ridiculous).   

"Throughout the morning, afternoon, and evening, I use brief prayers to return me to my choir stall.  I turn my heart to God with inward phrases of prayer, no matter what I am doing or where I happen to be.  'Jesus, I trust in You…'  'Holy Spirit, be my guide….'"

This is not so difficult; in fact, it's not difficult at all.  And definitely not ridiculous.  It simply requires practice.

Recently I was re-acquainted with what is surely my favorite definition of prayer.  Certainly it makes me wonder if I'm praying a bit more than I had thought.

"Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God," wrote Ralph Martin in The Fulfillment of All Desire (quoted here, in the blog of Msgr. Charles Pope).

Pondering these words, I've made a decision.  As the day moves along, I would like to offer God a "litany of attentions."  These may look something like this....

Being thankful that I have food bubbling on the stove. 

Gratitude for family. 

Joy in the Maker of autumn colors.

Simply paying attention to God.

Offering an unseen sacrifice in prayer for a loved one.

Singing inner praises to God while I'm sitting stuck in traffic.

Inspiration that comes from prayer or art or teaching that I've run across online. 

Simply paying attention to God.  

I love the idea of a "litany" of remembrances throughout the day.  It strikes me as a perfect mode of transportation to carry me to the choir stall.

No matter where I am, no matter what I'm doing, I can simply pay attention to God.

Painting:  Aime Pez Familienidylle, 1839 cropped