Sunday, July 01, 2007

Improve Your Prayer Life

From 'The Curt Jester' blog:
Kick up your prayer life!

Have you been meaning to do something about your prayer life? You are kind of into God, yet you can never seem to slice out some time in your busy daily life for him. You know this isn't right, but every devotional practice you look at seems to take too much time - time that you just don't have. In this day and age with so many time-saving gadgets that have left you with no time you end up looking for a quick time saving prayer life that will ease your conscience.

The Church in her history has developed the Liturgy of the Hours which has nourished the life of the Church and countless saints. But when you see copies of the Liturgy of the Hours the words four volume set don't exactly bring you confidence that you can eek out time necessary for this. That was until now with this revolutionary new system that will take your prayer life up a notch or at least a fraction of a notch.

Introducing The Liturgy of the Seconds! This one volume set is really easy to learn and to follow and you will get through Morning and Evening prayers in only a matter of seconds. We are called to fast and pray and now you can pray fast!

You might ask how is this possible? The Liturgy of the Hours uses a monthly cycle of hymns, Psalms, antiphons, and other readings - how can this be condensed?

The answer is simple we pick Psalms such as Ps. 117.

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD!

Ps. 131:

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother's breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

And Ps. 134:

A Song of Ascents. Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD! May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!

Now toss in a couple of really short antiphons and you will be mostly finished with Morning or Evening prayer in the Liturgy of the Seconds. For longer Psalms we break them up and only take a verse or two. Within a year you will almost read partially through the book of Psalms!

Now you say okay I now understand about how you can quickly go through the Psalm readings, but what about the Canticles normally prayed. Well instead of reciting the Canticle of Zechariah for Morning prayer and the Canticle of Mary for the Evening prayer, you just say the word Benedictus or Magnificat depending on the time of day. Now you might think this is really cheating and not pleasing to God in any way, yet we will show you the biblical warrant for this later in our discussion on the Rosary.

The Liturgy of the Seconds also includes Scriptural reading of course and as you might expect reading Titus fits in perfectly with the Liturgy of the Seconds. Instead of the Breviary you will have a very briefery.

You don't have to feel guilty about the Liturgy of the Seconds, for one thing God really understands time expansion. To God a day is like a thousand years and so if the ratio holds up a second is like almost half of a day! So every second you spend in the Liturgy of the Hours is really racking up time. Besides God being outside of time isn't really into time or for that matter in time.

Now once you have started the Liturgy of the Second and find that you actually have the very short time needed for it you might feel brave enough to add other devotions to your prayer life.

Holy Minute - On your way to the store or other place stop by a Catholic Church and spend a Holy Minute before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of in adoration if the Parish has 24 hour Eucharistic adoration. The great thing about Holy Minutes is that your knees never get numb. Or if you don't not have time for a whole minute, try the 40 Second Devotion.

Some people are attracted to the charisms of the various third orders such as the Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, etc. Yet many of these third orders require 30 minutes of contemplation/prayer each day. You can cut this time in half by singing during prayer/contemplation. St. Augustine is attributed as saying that when you sing you pray twice, so surely singing would cut 30 minutes down to 15 minutes!

The Rosary is a popular prayer, but it can take 15 to 20 minutes to pray just one of the mysteries if you use the standard form. Instead of reciting the full Our Fathers, Hail Mary's and the other prayer you just say "Our Father" and "Hail Mary." You can imagine how much faster a Decade of the Rosary is when saying "Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary." Though we recommend you apply a thin shin of some oil to your Rosary first before speeding through the shortcut Rosary.

Again you might ask about these shortcut prayers and if they are really appropriate? These prayer shortcut are really prayer macros. Macros help you to do complicated tasks in just one easy step. Even Jesus used prayer macros! When Jesus from the cross said "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?", he was referencing Psalm 22 and by using one phrase he was referencing the whole of the Psalm and its Messianic overtones. So if Jesus can uses one phrase from a Psalm to reference the whole Psalm then certainly we can do the same.

It is also reported that the Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia the children of Fatima just prior to seeing the first apparition of Our Lady were praying the shortcut Rosary. So obviously Mary was not perturbed by their use of the shortcut Rosary, though your mileage may vary.

So start with the Liturgy of the Seconds and other truncated devotions. After all God created us, loves us, and maintains us in existence; so the least we can do is spend some seconds with him.

The Liturgy of the Seconds is available from Second Hand Books.

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