Kitchen Catechism: Featured Articles


by Lois Donahue

Recently, in sorting through my accumulation of notes, I ran across the following one-liner... “If you’re too busy to’re too busy.”

Confronted by the message contained in these words I naturally thought about all the times I had been so busy scurrying around like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter that I had gone to bed at night not having said as much as one Hail Mary or even a simple “Hi God”. “Busy” certainly seemed to be the villain. But then I thought it through and came to the conclusion that there are two kinds of “busy” related to providing time for prayer.

First is a kind of superficial busy. The almost meaningless motions with which we all stuff some days only because our rat-race society falsely equates activity with accomplishment and which, unfortunately, seems to leave us with no time to pray. Obviously this is the kind of busy for which we alone must accept responsibility. It is up to us to choose to do what is valid nut-gathering and limit, as much as possible, what hopefully we will come to recognize is no more than scurrying. This, to me, is the kind of “busy” being targeted by the above nine very carefully selected words.


I think there is also very legitimate “busy” ... times when demands and responsibilities beyond our control completely engulf some days and we find ourselves so exhausted at night that we fall asleep the second our head hits the pillow. This kind of “busy” affects all of us in one way or another regardless of our age or our circumstances of living. It can range anywhere from grocery shopping, paying bills and keeping appointments to attending classes, hugging kids and responding to emergencies. However it is a for-real busy which seems to make it impossible to even squeeze in a prayer. So what do we do about prayer on days like that? First, if need be, we remind ourselves that prayer is a MUST in our daily lives - that it brings us and keeps us close to God .. that it gives us not only things like strength and consolation and hope but also the oh, so important knowledge of being loved. But the question remains -- “what do we do about prayer on days like that?”

How many of you have forgotten, or have possibly never been told, about a “Morning Offering”? It’s so simple. The instant you open your eyes in the morning you say in your own words something like, “Dear God, just in case today gets swallowed up in living, know that I offer to you as prayer everything I think or do or say.” Your thoughts don’t have to be ‘God’ thoughts. You don’t have to be doing holy things or saying angelic words. In making you human God chose to give you the ability to think - to do - to say. So certainly what He has given you, He would lovingly accept being given back to Him as prayer. See what I mean about simple - we are simply letting “busy” become prayer.Of course, Morning Offering prayer is in no way meant to be a complete replacement for regular prayer. Whenever possible we must make use of all our traditional forms of prayer, especially the great prayer of the Mass and the prayers which are part of the reception of the Sacraments.

As I began gathering thoughts together to end this piece on how we could offer our entire day to God in prayer it occurred to me that I had not included an entire day. Each day God so graciously gives us does not begin as we open our eyes and end as we close them.

I thought of our sleep-time and wondered about offering it in prayer. That did seem to be a bit of a stretch. I could just see my own kids rolling their eyes as if to say, “She’s gone over the edge this time.” However, it kept bugging me so I talked to Marilyn and she reminded me how often God, Himself, considered sleep-time important enough to use it to ‘communicate’ with His people. We know that God used Joseph’s sleep/dream time at least twice. Once to tell him to take Mary as his wife and again to tell him to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt. In the Old Testament we are told that God called Samuel while he was sleeping. There may well be more instances; but these are sufficient for me to “go over the edge” and suggest we might consider saying to God as we end our ‘awake’ day something like this...

Dear God, I’ve little left to offer you
For weariness has closed my day
Please take my sleep for therein lies
All of the prayers I’d hoped to say.

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"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

"Nothing should
frighten or grieve you.
Let not your heart be troubled. Am I, your Mother,
not here with you?"

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