19 November, Friday – What is first and foremost in your daily routine?

Friday of Week 33 in Ordinary Time

1 Mac 4:36-37,52-59
Lk 19:45-48

…they rose at dawn and offered a lawful sacrifice

When we rise each morning, we all have a routine – don’t we? It may be a little different on the weekends and holidays, but we have a routine. Our morning ritual — a variety of things including brushing our teeth, making and drinking coffee or tea, making breakfast or breakfast on the run, silence or listening to the news or music, prayer or playing (especially if you have little ones!) meditation or exercise, reading or running…When you think of your morning routine, the beginning of the day, what is non-negotiable for you? What is something that you ALWAYS do, that you would NEVER skip? Is it breakfast, the news, exercise, coffee or tea…. Or prayer?

Today yet again, we read in Maccabees how they honoured God in all things first and foremost. In the morning when they rose.  Always. In their comings and goings, God first and foremost. Offering prayer. Dedicating the altar – the temple – the focal point of their life. They didn’t need to be reminded of their faith, because their faith is HOW they lived each day – their faith is WHO they were when they walked on this earth. They sacrificed the first part of their day to worshipping God, acknowledging Him as the center of…everything. EVERYTHING.

At mass we say (and this familiar line – when I am fully present to the moment – always catches in my heart) “…in all my thoughts, words and deeds…”  (I know I’ve repeated that the last few days in these reflections.) Putting God first in all our thoughts, words and deeds. What would our life look like if we did that? If each morning we rose and offered prayer – and not just a quick Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, but actually set a specific 30 minutes or more every morning to worship God in silence, to just be WITH HIM so that we hear Him. We schedule important things in our lives every day – we dress up and arrive early for many people, important people, people whom we love – are we willing to do that for God? Every morning? It would be a sacrifice for most of us to plan our morning – even as little as 30 minutes – to be fully present with God alone.

It was Martin Luther who said, “I have so much to do that I will spend the first 3 hours in prayer.” And on a similar note, St. Francis de Sales is attributed as saying, “Half and hour of prayer each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” 

Years ago, I read Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelley, and he shared that doing just that (stopping at church and sitting quietly to listen to God for 15 (or 30?) minutes, at the request of a man he admired) changed the trajectory of his life – not in the first week or even month, but you get the picture!

So maybe you and I are not in a place in life where we can stop by the church every morning for 30 minutes to meet with God, but I know we can all give God our undivided attention for 30 minutes every morning. We can all find a quiet place in our home where we can be in communion with Him. We can all get up earlier when it is quiet. Advent is approaching – why not start in the morning and spend 30 minutes every morning with our Creator and our Saviour? I promise that God won’t be late, won’t skip out early, won’t forget, won’t be distracted and Christ won’t take His eyes off of you either, even for a second. 30 minutes in the morning is a big commitment – a sacrifice, perhaps, in our busy lives. Is that a sacrifice we’re willing to make?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned; in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Thanksgiving: Lord God, Creator of all, thank you for each morning. Thank you for the beauty of the dawn. Thank you for the gift of each and every day. And Father, thank you especially for today, another day for me to work toward being the saint you created me to be.

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