May 18, 2007

"Offer It Up!"

Several years ago, I had a marvelous Lent. I mean--it was fruitful, I grew a lot spiritually, I stuck to my lenten promises (except the whole no-swearing thing. I'll never get that one down), and Easter was a true culmination of joy. For three years after that I tried to achieve it again, and found myself dry, and uncomitted (mostly because I wasn't seeking Christ, I was seeking the fruits of His grace.)

Then last year, it occured to me that I should offer things up for particular intentions (drink only water for the conversion of a relative, etc.)--hoping that such sacrifices would be easier to stick to for the love of that person. After two years of doing this, I have turned it into a full schedule of prayer, each day offered up for a particular set of intentions. Such a schedule may not be appealing to some people, but I find it's the only way I remember to actually pray for those things I've promise to pray for. On good days I remember most of these intentions, on bad days, I only remember one. But, all the same, and flawed as it is, the schedule is as follows:

Monday: Frist, I pray for a sucessful work week: diligence, patience, and skill in executing my work. Secondly, I pray for Vocations. I pray not only for an increase in vocations to the religious life, and the priesthood, but also for all those who are struggling with the question of vocation and direction (both spiritually, and work-wise). Don't forget to pray for those called to and struggling with the single life.

Tuesday: I pray for families. I pray for all those who are engaged, and all those who are courting. I pray for those who are newly married, and for those who are facing struggles in their marriage. I also pray for all those who are expecting, and for the newly born. It's also a good time to pray for the right to life, and the protection of families.

Wednesday: I pray for conversions: both for those who have lost their faith, and those who are moving towards the Truth. (The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary seem particularily apt for this intention.)

Thursday: I pray for the infirm (beautiful prayer by St. Augustine!). Usually this is quite a long list... This is the traditional day for anioting of the sick masses, so I guess that's why. But with the Luminous mysteries, we also pray about Christ' miracles, and they often concern the infirm.

Friday: Remembering the day of Christ's death, I try to pray first for acceptance of, as well as relief from the corsses I bear. I pray for a stronger relationship with Christ, growth in virtue, and a deeper sorrow for sins. And I pray especially for the souls of the faithful departed. I do this everyday--but especially on Fridays.

Saturday: It's a bit of a grab bag. If I remember to go to mass, I usually offer up the day for our Nation, for our troops, and especially those I know who are in the military, for the cares of the world, and (more personally) for the practical concerns of my daily life (bills, gas prices, what to do about...).

Sunday: This, the day of days, is the best: on Sunday, I try to remember especially all the blessings in my life. I pray in thanksgiving for my family, my friends, and most of all, my faith. On Sunday, I try to make sure my prayers are of thankfullness and praise, not just supplication.

*nota benne: each intention includes a long (and constantly changing) list of names that fit the intention. Usually I list all these intentions at the begining of the rosary, or in my morning offering, rather than pray individual prayers for each. Also, there are lots of things I left out, but these are the things I focus on. I'd love your thoughts and intentions, and ideas about how you incorporate prayer into your daily life, so please comment. Links are to particular prayers for each intention.

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