by Anton Wills-Eve

<a href=””>Daily Ritual</a>

the prompt asks for a daily ritual

                               THINKING OF ALL I LOVE


I am not even sure if this counts as a ritual, but apart from attending to necessary bodily functions of filling and emptying myself, which are not rituals but necesssities, I suppose the only genuine ritual I perform is spending at least twenty minutes at night or when I wake up, occasionally both, thinking about all I love. This is the only deliberate thing I do so regularly.

Obviously if one says daily prayers, however long or short, and makes sure they are every day then that is a ritual. And, yes, that is something I do. But it is how and why I do it that made me give this pensee the title I did. To say set prayers by rote and without thought, while a form of devotion, can just become a thoughtless habit. So what I do when I pray is follow a set pattern of reflection on who or what I am praying for. I find that if I devote every prayer I say to God, because I love Him, and with each prayer I picture some person or good deed that I love personally or would love to see realised – relieving third world suffering would be an example – or any person who asks me to pray for a particular intention with which I agree, like recovering from illness. Then I am asking God to help them because their recovery is something I and they would love to happen.

But do note an important point here. When I say a short prayer for my wife and one each for my children it is because I love them and want them to be closer to God. So I could not extend such a type of praying to say a football team or a sports performance which might please me but is not sufficiently important to bother God. If my favourite teams win major trophies I will say thank you in my prayers because I have been made happy. But that act of gratitude is also one of love so is quite different to asking God before a game to make one side win. Again, gambling within modest reason, is just a leisure pursuit, but to put your last $10 on a horse and then nip into church and ask God to get you out of a hole by making the horse win is almost an act of sacrilege.

Where I find concentrating on love when I pray is most beneficial though is when I pray for someone who has committed a really awful act. Somebody has to pray for them because God loves us all, so we should too. That can really be hard but therefore worth so much more. But as I stand at the moment I have a total of twenty nine people or intentions  I always keep in my thoughts each day, in crises I may add one or two more. This is ritualistic if you like, but at least I know some love for those people and things that need it is hopefully reaching them on a daily basis.