Votive candles at the Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul, MN
Last week, I was challenged in a meme by two blogger friends to write about my five favorite devotions and prayer practices. Though I’m a little late to the party, I do have a few to share. Perhaps these are less devotions and practices, and more things that I try to employ on a regular basis to keep my soul maintained.
1. Adoration: Though it felt strange at first to come to a chapel and sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament to pray, Adoration has become one of my favorite ways of keeping my spirit whole. Since the host has undergone “transubstantiation,” we Catholics believe it is truly Jesus himself, body, blood, soul and divinity. It is hard to argue sitting in the presence of God Himself and unloading our concerns and prayers before Him. I’ve never regretted taking time to do so.
2. Blessing of Children: I began doing this when my two oldest were young, and believe it to be one of the most powerful tools I have to stay connected spiritually with my kids. Whether it happens before bedtime or parting for the day, they seem to take solace in this small gesture as well. Sometimes it’s a simple Sign of the Cross. Other times it’s a song of blessing. Everytime, it is a sign of our bond and the need for us to take Jesus with us, wherever it is we’re going.
3: Food for Thought: Reading books on spiritual/religious topics has become a valuable way for someone like me, motivated so often by the right kind of information, to be sustained spiritually. Thankfully, because of the hosting I’ve done for Catholic radio this year, I’ve been given a regular supply of review copies of books and never have a shortage of options. The most recent one, “When’s God Gonna Call Me Back?” will be the topic of discussion on Monday’s show when I interview author Marge Fenelon at 9:30 a.m. CST on “Real Presence Live.”
4: Hail Marys: Admittedly, I don’t always take the time to complete the ancient prayer that is such a vital part of Catholicism, but as a busy mother, I absolutely love that it includes five decades and ten beads for each Hail Mary per decade, and that, perhaps not coincidentally, we have five fingers on each hand, and ten fingers altogether, giving us no excuse not to pray the Rosary wherever life finds us, whether we have beads in hand or not. I often pray Hail Marys when my own words fail me and find it has a calming effect, not to mention reminds me of my need to replicate Jesus’ life.
5: Spiritual Direction: Monthly, I meet with my spiritual director. This has been something I’ve wanted for some time and only really began doing routinely for the past year or so. But it’s been one of the best commitments of my faith life so far. Having someone routinely help me complete a spiritual check, someone to whom I can throw spiritual questions and know I’ll be getting solid, helpful answers, has been such a helpful part of my journey.
If you’re up to joining our devotional bandwagon, let me know in the comments and I’ll link to you as well.
Q4U: What are some of the things you do routinely to maintain your spiritual life?