Keeping a Holy Lent - 10

I've been remiss in publishing links to the Catholic News Service Blog and its fine series of posts on the the Year for Priests. Most of the essays in this series come from Fr. Chris Valka, CSB, a young priest who writes very well and with spot-on insight.

Since Lent calls all of us to a deeper and more faithful prayer life, this most recent of Valka's offerings might be very helpful. It's titled:

Praying Outside the Box

Over the past couple of weeks, I have met with a number of people about prayer, and since Lent is around the corner it seems fitting to pass along a few fruits from the conversations.

For most of the people with whom I speak, prayer is a conundrum. We are told that prayer is essential to our spiritual life, but just about everyone I know feels that prayer is a struggle. We are told that prayer is how we dialogue with God, but most of the time, it feels awkward and one-sided. In my own past experience, I found that priests often had very little to say on the subject, seemingly because they struggled as much as everyone else. So what are we to do?

I have always believed the first step is to take the whole idea of prayer out of the 12th-century box in which we keep it. Whether we know it or not, most of us have a mental picture of what “good” prayer is supposed to be like, and usually it is contemplative, ritualized and originated in a monastery. However, prayer is much more than all that.

Second, we have to understand that there are as many different kinds of prayer as there are traditions in the church. We can use broad categories like formal, informal, collective, individual, contemplative, active, introverted and extroverted (just to name a few), but even those hardly grasp the vast treasury of prayers prayed by the church.

(Read the complete post here)
And after you've read that fine piece, click here and keep scrolling down for others you may have missed!


  1. When I am out walking, I have been trying to be aware of things around me (as opposed to being automatic with my thoughts somewhere else)- really noticing everything and trying to accept and look at things nonjudgmentally- especially myself.

    Sometimes I talk to God while I am doing this and sometimes I just try to find God or feel God in the things/people I see.

    Is this a kind of prayer?

  2. You bet it's a kind of prayer Michelle. I think I used to do my best praying on early morning walks in Concord, doing exactly what you are doing. Enjoy every moment....and you will be surprised where God takes you.

  3. thank you, apc- I really appreciate what you said about your experience and I will keep working at this...


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