In the second of our ongoing series of guests posts in aid of Friends of Little Portion Hermitage, today author and speaker Shane Kapler has donated a terrific piece about daily prayer, “When You Can’t Make It To Daily Mass, Pray Like JMJ”, in which he reflects on the prayer life of a Jewish family like that of Jesus’ time. We’re really grateful for his contribution, and hope that you’ll not only take the opportunity to read it, but also that after dropping by the FLPH site you might prayerfully consider a donation toward establishing a permanent hermitage for Brother Rex and his successors. For those of you who missed Brother Rex’s appearance on EWTN this Monday, the video is now archived on EWTN’s YouTube Channel for you to watch anytime.
Getting back to Shane’s piece, it’s true that many of us find it impossible to get to daily Mass. Catholics are not required to go to Mass every day, of course, but most of us do know that we’re missing something. I can say that when I have had time in my life to make it there, it’s always been a great source of strength.
In his piece, Shane asks what the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph might have practiced in their prayer life at home. He describes the development of the Jewish practice of pausing several times a day for prayer, and how the Early Church continued this tradition and expanded upon it. In the life and rhythm of the Church today, this pausing takes place in the praying of the Divine Office, which the clergy, religious, and many lay people pray throughout the day. For those of us who have less time available, using shorter, modified versions such as that provided in “Magnifcat” magazine are a possible alternative.
For those of you who are run so ragged that even a simplified version of the Divine Office is not possible, you have a wonderful solution that will take no more than a couple of minutes out of each day, and requires little more than a bit of memorization on your part: The Angelus. Those of you who went to Catholic school, as I did, probably stopped and prayed it before you went to lunch. Prayed three times a day, at 6am, noon, and 6pm, it is a short way to begin and end the work day, as well as for taking a moment in the middle of your day to reflect on God’s Incarnation as Man, and what that means for your salvation. If you’re lucky, as we are here in Washington, many churches still ring the bells for the Angelus to remind you to make these prayers.
However you go about it, Shane’s call to take the time to pause during the day is really a great one. We can’t all get to daily Mass, and God knows that. What we can all do however, is make it a priority to pause to glorify God, thank Him, and remember that we are not made for this world, but for the next. If we do so, not only can we build a better relationship with Him, but it can help put everything from road rage to jammed copiers to kids who won’t eat their lunch into better perspective.