Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Order of the Day

1. Monks and nuns can have a fixed daily rule of life, but this is not possible for everybody. However, everybody will find it useful to have a general timetable capable of being bvaried to suit different circumstances. In constructing a general rule of life for ourselves, we should keep two things in mind, namely the division of the day into periods and the way in which we shall behave during these periods.

It is hopeless to begin the day without any pre-arranged plan. Either there is going to be order or disorder. If there is disorganisation, it will produce two results. (1) There will be hurry and confusion in fulfilling those duties which have been left over until the end of the day. (2) There will be protracted periods of idleness, during which we shall persuade ourselves that there will be plenty of time to get everything done before nightfall.

To avoid such a situation, everyone should have a timetable adopted to his requirements. Naturally, it should be capable of any reasonable variations which circumstances may suggest, but in the meantime it will help us to get through our day calmly and with results.

2. Besides organising our day on the basis of a timetable, it is wise to work out in advance the way in which we shall behave during the different hours. It is easy to be taken by surprise, carried away by events, and as a result to waste time or do things badly. We should make up our minds as to how we should behave in the presence of God and in the presence of men. Concerning our relations with God, the best resolution is to begin the day by prayer and, if possible, a visit to the Church. Our ideal will be to hear Mass and receive Holy Communion. During the day, especially in moments of trial, we shall raise our minds and hearts to God by means of short ejaculations. We shall live in the presence of God; we shall live in His life. We shall end the day by making a visit, however brief, to the Blessed Sacrament, and by saying our evening prayers. When we are going to sleep we shall say certain prayers and remember the presence of God. This is a day in the life of a good Christian. How many can say they spend their day like this?

3. Once we have decided on our manner of behaviour towards God, it is necessary to determine how we shall act in regard to our neighbour. We can have quite a number of unexpected matters to which we must attend during the day, but normally we have a good idea what kind of people we shall be dealing with. There will be people who are an occasion of sin. We must ry to avoid these, but if that is not possible we must be on our guard and rely on the weapons of divine grace to protect us. There will be troublesome and annyoing people, with whom we must be patient and restrained. There will be people who are in want, either materially or spiritually, whom we must enlighten and assist. We shall meet difficulty and complicated problems, to deal with which we must ask God for insight and prudence. If we live in intimate union with Our Lord, we shall be competent to deal with all the business of the day, especially with the unexpected.