Time for a boost

It’s a strange thing. I blogged I don’t know how many posts about the Rule of St Benedict. I read canon law and theology for work. I am always reading something Christian alongside my ‘fun’ book. (Right now, that’s Lisa Deam, A World Transformed, all about the spirituality of medieval maps.)

But what good does it do to have read With Christ in the School of Prayer without praying?

Not that I never pray.

But life has been disconnected and, in many ways, frustrated this year in England. And I did not do a good job of refocussing devotional life in the wake of the birth of my now one-year-old son. It’s all my fault, whatever the circumstances. And some of the circumstances are blessings — but still. One should avoid having prayer life and Scripture and whatever other disciplines being derailed.

So what to do?

How do I get a boost and reshift and refocus, discovering the devotional life of being a parent?

Sometimes it has worked — the 4:00 AM feeds proved a good time for Nocturns. But now he sleeps all night. And from waking to getting on my bike to work, where do I find a moment to pray? And then, getting home, his supper, bath, bed, our supper, whatever’s needful in the evening, some time with my wife, bed. And so again.

So, people who read this blog. Some of you are parents who work full time.

What do you do? Where do you find time for all those happy disciplines — contemplation, intercession, mindful Scripture reading? How can fatherhood work for me spiritually? I want to be a good dad and a strong disciple of Christ who models Christlikeness to my son. I think that to be able to do this, I need to stay plugged into the Divine source of all things.

9 thoughts on “Time for a boost

  1. Riding a bike is great! What makes it really enjoyable is when you are riding it in rhythm. It just feels better. Let your foot slip off the pedal and you know what happens to your rhythm and the joy of bike riding.
    Walking with Christ is the same. Maintaining rhythm. Life has lots to throw at you, including parenting that makes the foot slip off the pedal. It’s natural and part of riding a bike. Getting back into rhythm can be difficult at times especially when you can’t find that pedal.
    Pray, or talking to God is something we can do even in the middle of a busy working schedule. Slow down and smell the roses. Slow your breathing, slow your walking, slow down your working rate, slow down your talking speed. Function at 75% Life wants you to move at 100%. It wears you out. A good riding rhythm on a bike is NEVER flat out. It’s about 60-75%. For some even slower. Reflect on Life’s present pace and you will soon discover it is probably over 80%. We have much to learn from riding a bike!

  2. I used to take great comfort from what I mistakenly thought was the Benedictine motto “Laborare est orare” until it was rudely explained to me by an ex-monk that I was mistaken, and the true formulation was “Laborare et orare”. The separation was clearly important to him – but still not to me. I think it is a good idea to try and imbue the mundane round, especially where child-rearing is concerned, with a sense of the divine and to understand the course and purpose of God in everything that we do all the time, which is prayer, I think. I’d rather hope, in the case of the monks, that driving a spade into a good tilth with a sandalled foot was a good prayer, rather than something that delayed a more ‘appropriate’ time to pray, albeit in a beautiful building with fine singing.

      • Good to hear this. I was looking for the hymn from the poem by Keble that covers this: “New every morning” and then (as if by chance) it cropped up in church the Sunday before last. “The trivial round the common task,/should furnish all we ought to ask./Room to deny ourselves,/ a road to bring us daily nearer God.” For some reason Keble’s word “ought” in the second line is rendered “need” in the modern hymnal.

  3. I’m a dad of four (8 yo and under) with a full-time job. I pray the offices, alternating between the ‘79 BCP and the post-Vatican II LotH. At one time, observing all the offices was easy. These days the Lord has moved me to be grateful for the grace to pray one or two in full. This means setting the alarm for 5:30 AM before the rest of the house is up. If I miss this, daily office podcasts on the commute to work is the next best thing. When putting the kids to bed, I pray with them an abbreviated compline. As a result, my little ones can recite both the Lord’s Prayer and the Nunc dimittis with antiphons. The sanctitying grace I miss from observing the divine office in full is more than made up for (and more challenging) in my vocation as a father and husband.

  4. If you’re looking for ways to spend more time with Someone, why not ask that Person directly? Surely the party involved can help you better than any outsider, even us mortals? 🙂

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