03 April: Praxis Journal, Day Three

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Just reading, though certainly not outside with yesterday’s weather.

I’m a bit (a lot) late with yesterday’s praxis journal due to being on duty last night and having a wonderful and long conversation with a friend, the latter of which I considered more important than writing last night.

Overall, yesterday was wonderful – at least before I ended my Sabbath observation. Once 4:30 hit, I was back to assignments, projects, and miscellaneous tasks, not to mention my on-duty responsibilities, all of which rather drained me and made me unenthusiastic about my life in general, particularly the practices I’m observing this week. Jacobs, of course, experiences numerous, pretty much daily, frustrations and low points in his observance of the biblical laws, so I’m not very surprised that I am encountering them, too, if on a much smaller scale. In fact, I’m rather comforted by the fact that someone knows the frustrations I faced yesterday and actually experienced them on a much larger scale.

Not uttering the Divine Name proved to be my biggest challenge yesterday, especially when I attended mass at Old St. Joseph’s Church. It didn’t exactly help that I was in the choir (a form of worship and service that delights me) and that I had to frequently either stop singing entirely or just sing on an “ah” whenever that three-letter word appeared. Again, though, this practice is expanding my participation in prayer and my images of the Holy One, so, despite all my failings, I will keep trying at it.

One area in which I am only doing the bare minimum is my midnight prayer sessions. Usually I just utter the Canticle of Simeon and crawl back into bed, but I can sense each time that I could do much more and actually engage in praise of the Lord. My goal for tonight is to spend at least five minutes in mindful (and wakeful) meditation and praise of the Divine. We’ll see how that goes!

Observing the Sabbath yesterday was in all actuality quite wonderful. I wrote some emails to friends and family, called my mom, attended mass, and ate brunch with a group of friends, the last of which I have not done the entire academic year thus far. I also got to read uninterrupted for hours, one of the best and most relaxing activities for me. All Quiet on the Western Front will soon and finally be crossed off of my reading list. I was quite sad once the Sabbath ended for me, and my energy from it did not last long in the madness of my work, but, like Jacobs, I found a new appreciation for rest, for stepping back and letting the world move on while letting the Divine move me.

Separating meat from dairy is probably my most successful practice so far, and I have not had to radically alter my eating schedule in any way since starting it. The only query I have regarding it is whether I can eat baked goods that have milk as one of their ingredients (like chocolate chip cookies, for instance) after a meal involving meat. It would probably be best just to abstain from these and reduce my sugar intake at the same time, but my sweet tooth is notoriously wily in tempting me.

Giving thanks after meals is coming more naturally to me now, and, as I’ve observed before, it continues to be a centering and joy-giving experience. I hope to become better at doing it right after meals and stopping all other activities (except, you know, breathing and the like) to focus on my feelings and prayers of gratitude.

This coming week looks like it will be dreadfully busy, but that’s basically every week for a college student. With the help of the Divine and trust in that help, I’ll keep moving forward on this journey. Prayers are always appreciated, and I offer them for you in return. Thanks, and blest be the Lord! ~

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