When I made my Final Promises as a Lay Cistercian, my intention was to do certain practices every day, if I could. Not being sin-centered, e.g., if I did not do certain prayers and practices, then I would not be plagued by guilt, for failing to keep a rule. Brother Michael, O.C.S.O.’s admonition to “pray as you can,” still rings in my ears. My own father told me something similar. He said, “do your best and forget the rest.” The key here is doing. Like the Genesis Story, Adam and Eve who had to work for their bread, would it not be reasonable to think that prayer demands to do something? I offer, for your consideration, seven prayers that I try to do every day. I say “try” because I don’t always do them. I am a Lay Cistercian living in the wilderness and desert of Original Sin, its false promises, allurements, and broken dreams. I try to convert my life every day to my true self from my false self. Some days are better than others. This movement is called the conversion of life, conversion, in this case, is movement, the movement is doing something that will allow me to move from self to God.
I do these practices, prayers and activities, every day. Every day is important because it allows me to pray consistently. Every day is tough to do, but it is necessary to have the capacitas dei (making room for God) in my spirit. Nothing happens if you do nothing. Another way of saying it is: if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. Praying daily penetrates the veil of the temple. It is how prayer and practices become habits of good thinking and good deeds. It is taking up my cross daily to follow Christ. My cross is heavy enough so I can imagine how heavy Christ’s cross was to carry.
As part of my Work (as in Silence, Solitude, Pray, Work, and Community), work becomes prayer when I lift it up to God as reparation for my sins and failures to love with all my heart, my strength, and my mind and to love my neighbor as myself.
Praise be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was and who is to come, at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian Doxology