SANCTIFYING THE DAY


Daily Mass

Mother Church offers us many ways to sanctify each day. The most important of these by far is Daily Mass. Though not a requirement like Sunday Mass, daily attendence at the Holy Sacrifice is strongly recommended.

Holy Mass (Eastern Christians call it the Divine Liturgy) is Jesus' Sacrifice on Calvary continued and renewed in our midst. In it we visit personally with Jesus Christ, the great High Priest and Lamb of God, the Source of grace and holiness, our Redeemer, Intercessor, and Beloved Friend. What a priviledge to be able to meet with Him daily among our brothers and sisters; to devoutly adore Him amid countless angels present invisibly at each Mass.

Nothing else on earth can compare to the spiritual joy and consolation of His presence when we receive him into our hearts at Holy Communion. This is a foretaste of eternity; the more we receive Him in the Eucharist, the closer we draw to Him, the more grace we receive from Him, which assures us of an eternity closer to Him than we would otherwise have known. Consider these benefits if you are pondering whether you should attend daily Mass.

Liturgy of the Hours

The Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office, is another excellent liturgical means of sanctifying the day. Originally developed by hermits and monastics over many centuries, this systematic method of praying the Psalms eventually became required practice for priests and deacons. Then the Second Vatican Council called for the simplification of the old Breviary so that the laity could adopt this excellent practice and reap its spiritual benefits. This is the official prayer of the Church; when we recite it with devotion we pray in union with the Universal Church.

Copies of the Liturgy of the Hours, in either its full or simplified forms, can be purchased at Catholic bookstores. Ask a priest or religious for help if you run into any difficulty learning it.

Private Prayer

Liturgical devotion, though necessary, cannot replace private devotion (and visa versa) in our relationship with God. One can begin the day with a Morning Offering upon awakening (many excellent forms of this prayer exist).

Meditation

It is also desirable to spend some time each day in Mental Prayer. This is Christian meditation, a personal encounter and conversation with Jesus Christ. There are many traditions and methods of Mental Prayer (Ignatian, Carmelite, etc.) but they usually involve the following steps:

  1. Centering oneself, that is, calming down, setting aside distractions and focusing on God's presence.
  2. Spiritual Reading-slow, meditative reading of the Gospels or Psalms or other Scriptural text.
  3. Meditating on the passage: Imagine the Gospel scene, or savor the words of the Psalm.
  4. Conversation with Christ (have a heart-to-heart discussion with Jesus about what you just read.
  5. Thanksgiving for the time together with Him and the graces/insights received.

This is just an outline; I recommend you find a book on Mental Prayer or, better yet, get a spiritual director who can teach you and help you persevere in prayer.

Our Whole Lives, a Prayer

Of course, few of us can spend an entire day in such prayer. We often have work and other daily duties. Yet we don't have to waste these; we can offer our work to God and do all for His Glory. We can also pray short prayers during the day, such as "My God, my All" or "God have mercy on me, a sinner". These can help us keep our Creator in mind during a busy day.

A seventeenth century monk named Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection is known for his "practice of the Presence of God", that is, his constant conversation with God and awareness of the Divine Presence at every moment of the day and night. After his death, his abbott compiled Br. Lawrence's writings and letters into a book called The Practice of the Presence of God, which is available at religious book stores.(A partial text is available online; click here to go there). Check this book out if you are interested in fostering such constant communion with Jesus in your life.

As the day ends, we can make an examination of conscience, in which we recall where we have fallen short during the day, ask forgiveness and resolve to do better with the help of His grace (The Liturgy of the Hours contains this practice in its Night Prayer, or Compline). Finally, we can commend ourselves to God before lying down to sleep, and look forward to spending the next day in His loving presence.


| Next: the Week | Joyful Catholicism | Site Index | Home Page |