Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hacking the Divine Office

I've been learning to pray the "Liturgy of the Hours" (a.k.a., "Divine Office"). I've made progress---to the point that I'm actually praying and not simply puzzling over what to do next.

The Hours are almost entirely a matter of of taking pre-written prayers and trying to make them one's own. Most of these prayers come from the psalms, and I've always had a hard time "owning" the psalms. The effort to move my heart to really pray these psalms, reveals a space, especially in the daytime hours, which consist of mostly "battle psalms".

This space, of course, begs the question, "why?" Why do I struggle to own these prayers?

And, I've found the search for answers to this question to be rather fruitful.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Evangelism

Numerous recent events have revealed to me some realities of the state of Catholic Evangelism in my surroundings.

1. Many Catholic adults have never been Evangelized---they have never really heard the Good News. As Catholics, they are immersed in an ocean of Jesus but aren't able to relate those experiences to the person of Jesus. In this context, the phrase "New Evangelism" is much more meaningful to me. Catechists can't take familiarity with the Gospel for granted and dive right into catechesis. Moreover, evangelism can't stop when catechesis begins---catechesis must be charged with evangelism.

2. Some Catholics are being evangelized, but in various movements and retreat settings whose content is impregnated with elements hostile to the ancient faith. I experienced this personally during my own catechesis when I attended a "Life in the Spirit" seminar that passed out four-step salvation tracts! The seminar had some Catholic content and I honestly don't think the cradle-Catholics running the show recognized the payload embedded in the content they were delivering.