Q: I daily say the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. However there are times that I cannot complete these prayers and I wonder [uneasily], is this how God wants me to pray? Or am I intent on ritual versus Presence, a Presence in which I sense I am in union with every moment, in and through all that I see and do not see?
A: What a delightful dilemma – to have experienced both the beauty of ritual and the celebration of the Divine Presence. I like to vision prayer as a two-armed embrace with God – one arm representing the discipline of prayer and the other the presence of praying. One is words celebrating the presence and the other is presence celebrating the words. So, when the words are not there, as when you are unable to complete the Rosary or the Chaplet, the presence is always there. When the presence is not felt, the words are there. Remember prayer is relational; praying is both words and presence and each is manifested in our journey at different times. There are also times when they are both present and experienced. Thomas Merton said “Don’t let you prayers get in the way of your praying.” Remember it is not a matter of finishing but a matter of truly being present. Enjoy the two-arm embrace of God.