There is a trend in our thinking that can lead us to believe that we must be busy all of the time. This busyness can easily mask our own self-importance, fear of silence, over-extension, or be a sign of our own spiritual restlessness. American culture, and increasingly many other cultures, has a default setting of busy. From children to adolescents to adults, there is a drive in our culture to maintain a fully booked, or double-booked, schedule. There are sports, clubs, ministries, volunteer work, parties, and other commitments that fill the pages of our calendars. The problem is that in all of this busyness our priorities, both in the spiritual life and in our vocations, can become disordered. We can forget what is truly important and place emphasis on the wrong activities at the expense of those that are more important.
The items on our daily agenda that are the most important for a Catholic may not necessarily be what is most important in our culture. It is easy to fall prey to this mentality since it is all around us. Contrary to popular opinion, sports, clubs, extracurricular, and even ministries can become disordered if they are not properly ordered to God and our vocation of holiness. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your days, weeks, and months throughout the year.
Prayer is first.
I know this can be tough to remember. I still struggle to begin my day in prayer and to pray throughout the day. There are days when I am going through the motions of bedtime prayers with my 4-year-old and my mind is elsewhere. If we do not focus on prayer from the very beginning of our day, we are likely to fall off track. The less we pray, the more we are in danger of sin and disordered inclinations. Prayer is the number one thing in our daily lives that deepens our relationship with God. If we can attend daily Mass, then our day will be fully united to Christ in the Holy Eucharist, which gives us an extra edge in the battles that will come our way. This is not possible for a lot of people, so that is why prayer is crucial. There are many ways to pray. We can spend 15 minutes in Scripture in the morning, pray Lauds from the Divine Office, do a Morning Offering, a Rosary, or any other approved form of prayer from the Catholic tradition. The type of prayer doesn’t matter nearly as much as the habit of prayer. Our days need to be prayerful, so that we can make decisions that guide our families and ourselves on the path of holiness. There is nothing more important whether it be a soccer game, homework, or Facebook. Prayer is the most important part of our day.