May was a crazy month. We moved my Dad from one assisted living facility to another, celebrated Mother’s Day at my house with extended family, and trips were made to Chicago and Tennessee.

Whew!

In the midst of that busyness, I lost the rhythm of daily time spent reading and digesting God’s word and kneeling (figuratively) before Him in prayer. I managed stolen moments here and there, occasionally dipping into both Oswald Chambers and my chronological Bible reading plan, but consistency was not the theme for May.

It’s June 1, and I’m coming out of the weeds for a return to rhythm, roots and ritual.

In the past, reading scripture alongside others who follow the Book of Common Prayer and the liturgical calendar have woven a treasured rhythm into my life, not just for the daily readings and prayer, but for how it leads me to approach each day and the tasks within it. Other disciplines such as weekly examen (looking back) and setting intentional goals for each month, week and day also have slipped away. I’ve missed that framework. As I told a dear friend today, I’ve felt “untethered” during the month of May because of it.

In the back of a little journal I created in 2015 during a writing retreat in Wisconsin, I have taped the Book of Common Prayer guide for morning, midday and evening prayer, as well as the compline (prayer at the end of the day). Today, I stepped back into that rhythm — ritual, if you will — and I feel like my feet are back on holy ground.

The thing about praying scripture aloud and reciting phrases between readings is that it draws me back to my Catholic roots. One of the sweetest memories of my Catholic upbringing is corporate recitation of the Word and of words beseeching God for guidance. Today’s recitation was this:

In our lives and in our prayers: may your kingdom come.

This morning during my “quiet time”, I listened to a recording of Be Thou My Vision (my favorite hymn) and read Psalm 23. I also prayed The Lord’s Prayer, read the Prayer of Saint Francis and revisited The Beatitudes. Personal petitions also were recorded in my prayer journal. This sounds like a lot, but all of it took less than 30 minutes.

June also promises to be a busy month, but I’m stepping into it with a return to the rhythm, roots and ritual that keep me grounded and give my spiritual and physical life focus. Such practices are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re mine, and it feels so right to return to them today.

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I’m joining other bloggers today to write on the one-word prompt RETURN. That’s the end of my five quick minutes of writing, but I want to leave you with a couple of things.

  • I’m excited to begin reading a book I picked up at the Festival of Faith and Writing in April. I’ll share bits and pieces of it with you in the weeks to come and offer a review. Because I love exploring the spiritual practices of other Christians (past and present), I expect to greatly enjoy Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints.
  • That’s my new French press in the photo above with a cup of bulletproof coffee sitting next to it. I’m cutting back on sugar and trying to amp up the goodness of my morning brew, so it’s sweetened with agave syrup and has a touch of coconut milk frothed into my favorite Five Lakes Chris’ Blend coffee. The secret ingredients are coconut oil (MCT oil) and unsalted grass-fed butter. Here’s a link to the recipe.
  • I love the prayer of St. Francis and all that it embodies. It’s how I intend to live my life, though I admit I often fall short. I thought you might enjoy reading it here. Let me know if it speaks to you:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

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