How to Start the Day Off Right

I’m always looking for more motivation to pray, especially as we enter the season of Lent. But too often we see prayer as drudgery and something we feel obligated to do. When we view prayer in this light, we don’t really gain anything from it. Instead of drudgery, Pope Francis wants us to see prayer as energizing, restorative, and joyful. It should be the way we all start our day.

Prayer transforms a person’s day “into grace, or better, it transforms us: it appeases anger, sustains love, multiplies joy, instills the strength to forgive,” the pope said Feb. 10 during his weekly general audience.

Pope Francis (as reported in the Catholic San Francisco)

I try to make the Rosary the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up. Okay, in all honesty, it’s the first thing I do when I’m half-awake. The Rosary has become my spiritual snooze button. I pray the first few decades in bed after my alarm rings but before I actually start my morning routine. Instead of lying in bed thinking about how I don’t want to get up, the Rosary helps build up my resolve to start the day on a positive note.

Praying for Those Who are Unhappy

“Those people who always are judging others have an awful life; they are always condemning, judging,” he said. “It’s a sad, unhappy life. Jesus came to save us. Open your heart, forgive, excuse the others, understand them, be close to them, have compassion and tenderness, like Jesus.”

Pope Francis

We all know these people; they are on Facebook and Twitter always voicing their outrage de jour. Their day is terrible because of what some politician did or what some celebrity said. The fact that someone may see the world differently is abhorrent to them because they don’t understand how anyone can go through their day not in a similar state of misery. And while I prefer not to engage with these people over social media, we should pray for them and for us as well.

Think of the Second Luminous Mystery, the miracle at Cana. We live in a world of miracles and yet so often, we refuse to see them. We focus so much on the 24/7 news cycle that we fail to appreciate the people in our lives whether they be our spouse, friends, or family. Or we fail to see our boredom or routine as opportunities to build our relationship with God. The wedding at Cana was a disaster when the wine ran out but it turned into an opportunity for Jesus to show himself to those present. And so, maybe we should think of the disasters in our life as opportunities for Jesus to work miracles within us.

Our lifestyles have made it easier to have less meaning and to feel in a constant state of despair. Pope Francis tells us that it doesn’t need to be the case. Starting prayer early and often can help pull us and others out of despair and provide a sense of hope. Because when we pray, we acknowledge God in our life. And when see God in our lives and He becomes the purpose of our day, we may find that we have the ability to make it through any challenge.

“When we are accompanied by the Lord, we feel more courageous, freer and also happier,” he said. “So, let’s pray always and for everyone, even our enemies. This is what Jesus advised us, ‘Pray for your enemies.'”

Pope Francis