One of the things I promised myself I would do during Lent was to go up to the church every evening at 6 p.m. to say evening prayer. (I only live about 6 minutes away from the church, so the travel time was not an issue.)
I have long wanted to make the Daily Office a part of my life, but left on my own I always start out with a bang only to peter out later. I have started and stopped more times than you can imagine, and certainly more times than I am going to admit to you!
So accountability was part of my plan--if Don and Fr A were at the church, and would know that I hadn't come, then maybe that would help me be more faithful. Now, they're totally not the kind of people who would make you feel bad for missing a night, but they do ask you, in a concerned sort of way, where you were the night before.
With built in accountability like that, I was more successful than I have ever been. I probably missed between 5 and 10 nights during the whole of Lent--some planned for and some--well, some where my brain just went on hiatus and forgot where I was supposed to be.
So, I have six weeks of evening prayer under my belt. The question is will my new found practice hold now that Lent is over? Even after 6 weeks, I can't say it is a habit. Too often I find myself speeding down to the church, hoping I won't be late, because I only looked at the clock at 5:50 and realized I was supposed to be somewhere else!
It makes me realize how wise the Church is to make Sundays days of obligation for her children. I have proved to myself, well and truly, that if it weren't for external obligation I would be the laziest, slobbiest Catholic on the planet. Obligation alone made me show up every evening to receive the graces that I received.
I think that says something about me--maybe about all of us, but I'm not generalizing here. Even in the face of graces received, I'd still stay at home and watch Wheel of Fortune instead.
Maybe one day that won't be true. Maybe one day I can do it because it is pleasing to God.
How lucky are we? We get graces even when we perform only grudgingly. Now that's a deal!