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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Praying in the Middle of the Day

Trying to be Catholic Out Loud on a daily basis can be tougher than actually BEING Catholic Out Loud.  Especially if one has any kind of responsibility in the workplace.  It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, look up at the clock and realise that the plan to put ten minutes aside in the mid morning to pray has to be readjusted.

This is what happened to me today.  Juggling deployment of team members, preparing for upcoming unit meetings as well as doing a preliminary on the next employee evaluation pretty much filled up my morning.  Suddenly even my small stomach was grumbling and I realize it was 1230!

I pulled out my grilled salmon and fired up the iPhone - I use the iBreviary Ap for Divine Office - and went to the section marked Daytime Prayers.  I mentally sang the Midday hymn (all my tunes sound alike - but I am not singing out loud so I figure God understands I love the music, I am not a musician) and then the Antiphon stunned me.

I have pondered my ways and turned back to your teaching (Psalm 119:57-64).

This simple and beautiful phrase sums up my life.  I am one of those Catholics who never really left The Church in my heart; rather, I just walked away from Her Teachings.  It is very difficult to be a full on drunk (and all the fun that goes with that) and adhere to the Teachings of Christ Jesus.  Far be it from me to cast aspersions on those who claim to be able to do both (usually people who believe it is impossible to lose one's salvation - boy are they going to be horribly surprised) but for me I knew that I could not call myself a Catholic unless I was trying my best, one day at a time, to LIVE as a Catholic.  I had to be willing to adhere to the teachings, which I did after I came to the conclusion that the life I was living was so foul, so ugly, so sad and so lonely that even someone as determined to 'be my own woman' as me couldn't kid herself any longer.

I have pondered my ways and turned back to your teaching.

The evidence of my inability to really live a beautiful life were all around me.  Dead children, dead friends, dead husband.....sad and fat and sick and scared....I could see nothing but destruction no matter where I looked.  Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew who had caused all the calamity in my life.  It was not my 'bad' parents or my 'awful' childhood - it was me.  Aided by my disease of Alcoholism I had freely chosen a pathway of sin and anger, of loneliness and despair.  Take away the alcohol from this alcoholic and you were left with a sober person who had to be convinced that the pathway she had chosen was not really for her.  What other disease causes one to have to choose happiness? 

There are quite a few Catholics today who take great glee in knocking the 12 Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous.  I have blogged about them before and warned people to beware of anyone - Catholic or no - who feels it necessary to demonize the Steps in order to make whatever they are offering seem palatable.  This kind of proselytizing is forbidden but it happens all the time.  To believe that a person who applies the 12 Steps to their lives will walk away from something as deep and rich as Catholicism is (of course) ridiculous, but that belief is there. 

I firmly believe that the 12 Steps taught me how to rely upon a Power greater than myself.  Once I began to rely upon that Power, a Power I call God, I was naturally and beautifully led home to the Catholic Faith.  My reliance upon that Power opened my eyes to the necessity of a Sacramental Life and you cannot find that outside of full communion with the Church that Christ Himself founded.

I have pondered my ways and turned back to your teaching.

And so at midday, I pray:

God of mercy, this midday moment of rest is your welcome gift.  Bless the work we have begun, make good its defects and let us finish it in a way that pleases you.  Grant this through Christ our Lord. 

AMEN.

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