Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

Archive for June, 2006

Muscular Christianity

Posted by universalis on 26 June 2006

In a secular world full of distractions we need to make space for prayer in any way we can. A friend of mine has an innocent-looking bracelet that just happens to have its beads in groups of 10: perfect for impromptu Rosaries. I used to have ten keys on my key-ring, and that was good too.

Let me commend to you the practice of going to the gym and using the rowing machine. Not that it has ten of anything; but its use involves a longish period of regular, repetitive motion, and I have discovered that that is ideal for simple prayers.

At the rate of one word per stroke, rowing one mile on the machine takes me one Our Father and two Hail Marys. The exact number varies a little: if you add in "In the name of…" at the beginning and "For thine is the kingdom…" at the end, and pull a bit harder, you can cut out one of the Hail Marys.

Praying at this slow pace (a mile takes me over seven minutes) engages the mind in meditation for a good long time. With practice, you can squeeze any number of prayer intentions non-verbally into the gaps between strokes. And from the point of view of exercise, this is something you can do with your eyes shut instead of obsessively observing the display on the ergometer.

It helps if you go to a gym without music.

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Posted in Spiritual Life | 31 Comments »

Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand

Posted by universalis on 15 June 2006

Universalis now has the local calendar for southern Africa (thanks to prompting from Father Chris Townsend at the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference) and I've taken the opportunity to bring the Australian and New Zealand calendars up to date.

If anyone can get information about the local calendars for Canada, India and Scotland, please let me know!

Posted in The Universalis site | 7 Comments »