I have been trying to work on my prayer life by adding a daily Rosary and attempting to get to Mass during the week more often. How do I know how much is too much with all my work and life responsibilities?
To understand God’s expectations, among other things, you must consider the precepts of the Church, your particular responsibilities in life and your comparative commitments to other activities.
The Church does not require that you pray the Rosary or go to daily Mass. So not doing these things is not a sin. But it is unwise to get caught up in a minimalist approach to your faith and salvation. In most schools, a minimum grade point is required to pass or to participate in extracurricular activities, but it would be reckless for a student to focus on scraping by. The risk of aiming for the minimum requirement is failure or being restricted from outside activities.
When it comes to your prayer life, the risk is your eternal soul.
“Extra” devotions are ways that you can increase God’s grace in your life and are infinitely powerful.
Your devotion to the Blessed Mother in the Rosary is fruitful beyond human understanding. If we as humans could truly know the power of participating in Mass and praying the Rosary, we would be tempted to let all of our temporal responsibilities fall by the wayside.
But, of course, that is not what God wants from us, either.
Good or bad, you are where you are in life because of God’s providence. He wants us to grow in holiness through our daily activities in the same way that he wants cloistered religious to grow in holiness through prayer. Keep in mind that your work is a form of prayer when it is sincerely offered to God. If the devotions that you are adding impede your ability to do your job, you may well be trying to add too much too fast.
But don’t be too quick to conclude that that’s the case. First consider the time you spend on worldly activities. It takes about one hour to participate in Mass and pray five decades of the Rosary. Ask yourself: “How much time do I put into surfing the Internet, watching TV, shopping and playing sports?”
It takes discipline to carve out time for prayer in the same way it takes discipline to make time for other things.
I would encourage you to check your time budget for other things to shrink than prayer and worship. Cut back on those last and don’t be surprised when you find “free time” popping up all over the place.
Catholic consultant, author and motivational speaker Dave Durand is online at DaveDurand.com.