Guys, what a couple weeks. I’m reeling. Everyone I know who takes their faith seriously is reeling. I have prayed more in the last month than in perhaps the last 6 months combined (which does not paint me in a good light, I can assure you).
First and foremost, I encourage everyone reading this to make time for an hour a week for Adoration. Get to confession as frequently as you can. I try to go once a month because our parish has incredible access to this sacrament, but I need to go once a week. The more I go, the more I find to confess. If your parish doesn’t have regular hours for confession, call up the parish office and make an appointment with your pastor. It is one of his most important and privileged duties as a priest, and the more they are asked for it, the more the good ones will make it available.
If your parish doesn’t have Adoration, visit the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.
If your parish is locked during the day, park your car in the lot closest to the back wall of the sanctuary (or wherever Jesus is reposed) and pray there. I’m not kidding. My mom made many a holy hour in her parked minivan this way when we were growing up in a small town with a single, mediocre parish that had never heard of a monstrance.
Make time for a daily rosary. We have tried (and failed) to pray it as a family, but we’re at least getting one decade done most days. I pray the other four in sections throughout the day, and if it’s not the best effort I can put forth, it is 1,000 times better than the rosary I don’t pray at all. Divine Mercy chaplets are great – and fast – too. We do a decade of Divine Mercy as soon as the kids get in the car after school, even if they scream about it.
Make time everyday to read Scripture. If I had spent half the time in the Word today that I spent on Twitter, I would wager my blood pressure would be in a better place right now.
While you’re making time to read Scripture, why not commit 5 or 10 minutes a day to reading some papal encyclicals? If you’re confused about which ones to start with, how about those penned by previous Holy Fathers who have been beatified or canonized by the Church: Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and Mulieris Dignitatem would all be great places to start.
And what else?
Comment on this post and I’ll add your name to the list of signatures on the letter I wrote last week. Write your own letter to the nuncio, to Cardinal DiNardo, to your local bishop, or to Pope Francis himself. Feel free to adapt mine to your own use.
Make a specific sacrifice tied to the crises in the Church right now. I’m fasting from social media on Fridays and Sundays, and it is hard and also very, very refreshing. We’re also trying to be better about the thing we’re all supposed to be doing (in lieu of an alternate intention that we actually carry out – we never seem to) and abstaining from meat on Fridays.
I’ve heard people complain that prayer doesn’t change anything, that prayer is useless in the face of such evil. I get it. I also wonder, since what prayer changes is actually, well, us, whether a deeper and more sincere prayer life in the lives of some of our priests could have spared us a universe of heartache.
Finally, do not let the chaos of this time of uncertainty (looks meaningfully into mirror) rob you of the joy of ordinary time. We are still mothers, fathers, roommates, friends, and sons. We still have jobs to attend to and dishes to wash and trains to catch. I tried to spend a few moments this morning paying special attention to my baby’s fluffy head, the lovely flower my destructive toddler liberated from the garden, the soft warm late summer air in our backyard. It feels like the sky is falling, but in reality, all is still as it was before.
The difference is, now we know about it.
I don’t mean this to minimize the scandal or the evil in any way, but to remind myself, foremost, that life as we know it has not ended. We are still called to become saints, to give our lives to our vocations, and to pay the bills and keep the lights on.