Friday, August 06, 2010


Fran of There will be bread, tagged for a meme, writes about devotions. She writes of her love for the rosary and of prayers in the morning, but I love her last choice: her writing, deliberately, from her faith, and her joy in a community to share it with.

Karl Rahner, SJ, who wrote eloquent and complex theological treatises, once told a student, "Beware the man of no devotions." and spoke movingly in his homilies of the graces of simple prayer. He, like Fran, was devoted to the rosary.

I often think of devotions as schools of prayer, training our minds to reach for God on a minute's notice, but I also find them to be ports in a storm. When I can pray nothing else, I can hold a handful of beads, or pull dry words from my shelf, and hold them out, in hopes that God will yet see, yet hear, yet be within me.

So what devotions am I devoted to?

Rosary I'll admit to a lifelong need for the beads. In my pocket, in my purse, in my drawer. Their weight holds me to the prayers, keeping them from flying away like a cast off newspaper. The olive wood rosary in my pocket now comes from Jerusalem, bought to replace one I gave away to a friend's sister who had need of it and beautifully blessed by a good Augustinian friend.

Scrabble Really - you can read what I wrote one Lent here about the discipline. It's a mirror, encouraging me to see moments of grace I might otherwise miss. "In my heart, can I view seven consonants as a gift? Can I view even the annoyances in my life as sources of grace? … You can only get so many points from your letters alone; winning depends on encounters with double and triple point squares. Grace is at play in our lives, enriching what we can do with our own limited resources. "

Liturgy of the Hours The psalms are in my bones, and this prayer etches them deeper still. It joins me to the Church through time and space. I've prayed these prayers for more than a quarter of a century, half my life. I'm blessed to have a community to pray them with these days.

And here I take heart from Fran in admitting this - writing. "If we are not supposed to cease praying, then perhaps one shouldn't cease speaking about prayer; speaking about it as well and as poorly as it given to one." - Karl Rahner, SJ from the forward to The Need and The Blessing of Prayer However well or poorly I do it - prayer or writing about prayer - Rahner's writing gives me hope that it matters. Writing for me is a way to meet God, and perhaps drag a few others along with me.


  1. Michelle - I love this! Thanks for letting me see what you have done.

    Unrelated, but I must tell you... Our parish bulletin always has quotations and little excerpts from things along with nice clip art, on the cover each week.

    Last week one of the little excerpts was from your blog! I think I actually recycled it, let me see if I can get my hands on another copy.

    Once I found myself quoted inside of a parish bulletin from Colorado or something.

  2. Thanks, Fran!

    I love the idea of our words appearing in places that we don't even know's like seeds drifting on the wind to settle in a new spot.

  3. When we become frustrated with the demands and impersonal intrusion of technology, this can remind us of the other side too - that our words can reach out like never before.

    I often use as a motivation, the idea that God does need me to actually write the words ... If I do my part then He can use them (or not) as He sees fit. If I never write them, then even God cannot use them.

    It becomes more of a partnership and less of an attachment to the outcome or end product.


    You are BOTH quite inspirational! And, now I have a new idea for our bulletin!

  4. And I see that you have modestly failed to announce your having been honored as one of the best Catholic blog writers.

    I will try to address that tomorrow!

  5. Cindy - I sometimes feel quite Carthusian about the writing - in the sense that they wrote anonymously, not knowing who read or would read what they wrote.

    Robin - I thought I was too forward to have posted it on FB!