Starting to see something wrong with this picture? I sure am....
Nearly a week into this challenge I am finally beginning to see clearly that the Heroic Minute is about so much more than just the first moment of the day. Living out the Heroic Minute in the morning must flow out of a lifestyle of living out little heroic minutes throughout the day. I did not set myself up for success this morning, because I failed to prepare adequately the night before.
Here are ideas for developing a night-time routine that sets the stage for the Heroic Minute....
- Examination of Conscience...St. Josemarie Escriva writes extensively about the importance of a nightly examination of conscience and the perils of not performing one. Not sure what this entails? It is really simple - an examination of conscience is an honest review of the your day with an eye towards where you have fell short of living up to the Lord's will, both in sins you may have committed and in good actions that you may have failed to take. These nightly examinations of conscience should lead to repentance and the recitation of an Act of Contrition. If done regularly, the nightly Examination of Conscience is a great help in preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Examination of Consciousness...One of my Franciscan University of Steubenville professors, stressed often that in addition to the traditional Examination of Conscience, which focuses on our sins, we should also perform a nightly Examination of Consciousness. This is a review of the day with an attitude of gratitude - noting when and where the Lord blessed us during the day and thanking Him for those blessings and graces that we received.
- Night Prayer...I have an on again, off again "habit" of praying the Liturgy of the Hours Night Prayer before going to sleep - I am absolutely convinced that when I do pray this before bedtime, my sleep is much more peaceful. If you don't have time to complete all of Night Prayer, you can begin by reciting this small portion of it:
"Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace."
- Enlist some heavenly help... Several readers have commented that they have asked their Guardian Angels, the Blessed Mother and their favorite saints to intercede for them so that they can live out the Heroic Minute - what a great idea! I plan on starting this tonight - I need all the help I can get!
- Set your alarm for a reasonable time. Although the Heroic Minute is ideally the same time everyday, life happens. Late nights, sick children, special occasions and last-minute deadlines all require us to be flexible and reasonable in what we can expect of ourselves the next morning. It is ok to admit that we need a few extra minutes of sleep and adjust our morning routine accordingly - something that I should have done last night (along with all of the above suggestions.)
What are some of your night time prayer routines? Share them in the comments below!
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