Part of my responsibility as a Deacon is to learn, to read, to pray, to find better and more useful ideas to improve the life of the parish. Today was typical for I start out on one thing, and soon find other resources.
Started out reading the Bishop’s Customary, a letter written with the approval of the standing committee and in coordination with the canons of the Church and diocese, which “promotes our common life and worship in a clear and uniform way.” This letter was written in 2015. I’d never read it before, and find several instances where 3 years can make a huge difference in attitudes. It likely needs to be updated, and at the same time, I doubt our current Bishop will do so since he retires in just over a month. It will be up to the new Bishop (to be installed in 12/19) to write a new Customary.
In any case, I got to the reference about “Quiet Days” for clergy, and wanted to know more about what that was about. Interestingly, that wasn’t what I got, but what I did find was a “Resource for Clergy” on “Patterns for Developing Our Personal Prayer Life.” One of the reasons I found it interesting is because it talks about one’s personal prayer life – and I used to do Morning Prayer with Mom at 6:00 every morning (Catholic version). Since she has moved, that has gone out the window, and I don’t have the discipline (as yet) to do it by myself at 6:00 in the morning – I like sleep too much, and when bedtime is generally midnight… The other thing that was interesting was that Sis4 (I’ve decided to label them by number according to birth date – when you go from being solo to having 4 sisters, it can get confusing!) was discussing this very topic in an email earlier today. The resource is really useful for ideas to try (several of which I think I will work on incorporating into this Church’s activities), but also for a list of questions that I think would be useful for everyone. I’m going to cut and paste it below, but you can also find it on the link above, on Page 24 of the .pdf. I think I should likely see about answering this one quarterly. And, I still want to find out what Quiet Days consist of…
ONE: I consider the rhythm of my life. What percentage of my time is spent in the following ways?
To make it easier, call 1 hour per day 4% (NB there may be some overlap – e.g. Family time could also be leisure time, and the figures may add up to more or less than 100):
Work: _______________ % Leisure: _________ %
Church activities: ______ % Sleep: ___________ %
Prayer: ______________ % Family: __________ %
Worship: _____________ % Study: ___________ %
TWO: Is this a satisfactory allocation of time?
THREE: If not, what is stopping me changing it?
FOUR: Do I try to live on an endless high? Or do I accept the lows with the highs?
FIVE: How often do I have a rest day? How do I spend it?
SIX: Can I face pain and find in it opportunities for growth?
SEVEN: When I meet others do I do all the talking? Or all the listening?
EIGHT: When I pray do I allow time for God to speak?
NINE: Do I regularly reflect on my experience?
TEN: Is there a discernible relationship between my prayer and the ordinary events of daily life? How do they inter-relate?
ELEVEN: Am I the same person with my friends, with my colleagues, with my family, in my church? Should I be?
TWELVE: How often do I laugh? Is it enough?
THIRTEEN: I imagine that tomorrow, as if by magic, I will be able to do absolutely anything I wish, without restraint. How will I spend the time?
FOURTEEN: When did I last do some thing I really wanted to do?
FIFTEEN: Are there any areas about which it might be worthwhile to seek the help of a prayer guide/director? If so, what are they?