DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     December 3-5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 230

GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to
SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
    INTRODUCTION
    "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

    This weekend Sister shows us simple preparations during Advent that include short prayer time and spiritual reading. If we must read, why not read things that will inspire rather than things that pollute such as all the secular trash out there that we're exposed to on a regular basis. We'd be much better off by picking up the Bible and reading a few passages and praying on it, or the writings on the saints no matter how short, or teachings of the Church or anything else spiritual that will edify and inspire us. She points out how everything falls into perspective when we place God in the right perspective. That is the gist of her column this week, Good reading will aid prayer life.

    Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www .heartofmaryministry. com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy @aol.com by e-mail.

GOOD READING WILL AID PRAYER LIFE

        Because Advent began last Sunday, I would like to pause in relating Kathy's Rosary Story, and will continue it next week.

        Most of us live very busy lives. It seems we are running as soon as our feet hit the floor in the morning (or evening, if one works a night shift). If we aren't busy making a living, we are busy doing for others or ourselves.

        Americans are doers. Oh, sure, we need our lazy moments, and probably take a lot more of those than we really need. But we are, generally, very active people, sometimes so much so that we find it difficult to find time for prayer. Someone once said: "A person, who is too busy to pray, is too busy."

        I think that is very true! As a matter of fact, our work really would go better, if we prayed first. Our Lady of Medjugorje said this very thing. "Pray first, then your work will go better."

        Since I started praying three rosaries before beginning my office work, I find that, indeed, my work goes easier, better and I have more energy to do it. It's the honest truth! We've all heard the saying: "We always have time to do the things we really want to do!" That is also true!

        It goes without saying that preparing for the birthday of Our Lord, Jesus, would warrant that we try to pray more during Advent. Let's not forget the TRUE meaning of Christmas! Christmas is important MOST OF ALL because we are celebrating the birthday of the Son of God, Our Savior and Redeemer. The giving and receiving of presents is VERY secondary.

        But let's face it. We all struggle with distractions and sometimes with the ability to concentrate on our prayers, especially, if we leave our prayer until evening after a day full of all kinds of activities.

        But one of the greatest aids to prayer and concentration in prayer is GOOD SPIRITUAL READING. One does not need to read a lot. Sometimes only a few sentences will do. To read from the Scriptures, autobiography of a saint or any other book that would be inspiring to us is a great help to lift our minds and hearts to God, which is a definition of prayer.

        Do not feel that you must read very much to let good reading raise your mind and heart to God. Stop immediately, as soon as something you read moves you to adore God, praise Him, thank Him or tell Him you are sorry for your sins. (We're all guilty!)

        If you only have a minute (literally), open a holy book and let it bring your heart to prayer.

        I think sometimes people don't take the time to pray because they think that they must give a large allotment of time to it, which they don't feel they have.

        I often eat lunch alone. I find that to be a good time to put a good book in front of me and read a bit while I munch.

        God is pleased with whatever time we give Him. But we MUST give Him time.

        Have a holy preparation for the birthday of Our Jesus! God bless you!

December 3-5, 1999       volume 10, no. 230
GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

DAILY CATHOLIC

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