We've been out of our routines for several weeks now. And for the past week, we've had much feasting and far too many late nights. Feasting and hanging out with friends and family are lovely, but this morning it felt rather nice to return to normal. Even if we returned to our routine even later than our usual late morning start. Ahem.
At one point in my life, I would have denied that I was a creature of habit, that I craved the ordinary and routine, but whether or not I was ever really as spontaneous as I liked to imagine myself, I am no longer thus. A well ordered day is comforting. Consistency makes my life easier.
I suspect this is true for most of us and I suspect that this is why rhythms such as the liturgy of the hours and the liturgical calendar are so perfectly suited to us humans. We like to know what is coming. We like to have a cycle to live by. Order makes the large messy world seem navigable.
It is this order that is one thing most human and most divine that I have discovered in becoming Catholic. In my past, prayers were to be spontaneous and from the heart. A pre-written prayer would never have been considered to be of any value. Of course, those spontaneous prayers often all sounded the same from years of repetition -- and oddly enough, having having the order and routine of prayers prayed through the ages has given me the nudge to actually pray for these past several years.
In my old communion, there was no liturgical calendar other than Sunday services. The weeks and years brought no particular order or variation. It's restful to discover a calendar that leads one annually through the story of Christ. As Catholics we dwell every year on the same events, but through this annual routine, we can hope that we will grow in understanding and closeness to Christ. If you never know from week to week what the preacher will be thinking about, it is hard to have this same kind of reflection.
So as I ease back into my school plans, remind my kids to practice piano and sit together for morning and evening prayers, I am thankful for routines. Routines that even when one falls out of them for a while, can be re-embraced, rediscovered and picked back up. Just as I need to do this with my family life, isn't it these routines that drag me back to Christ and the Church when I slip and slide?
5 years ago