Dear Catholic Exchange:
I have a rather strange question. I am a new mother and through God's gift of my son I have found the desire to become closer to the Lord. I have been more active with my daily prayers and meditations. It is hard, however, to find the time with my new demands and work as well. This is where my strange question comes in: I found that when I'm pumping my breast milk I am simply sitting doing nothing. I have begun to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy while I'm waiting. Is this immoral? I know that we should pray at any chance we get, but would God look down upon this? I personally enjoy the fact that I can get in this novena each day.
I want to be sure I'm in the right.
Filled with God's Love
Dear Filled with God's Love,
Peace in Christ!
While we are called to pray without ceasing, regular prayer is important. "We cannot pray ‘at all times' if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it. These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2697).
Our regular prayer is accomplished within the context of our vocation. All people are called to communion with God. All the members of the Church have the vocation to deepen the grace of communion through lives of holiness and service. This is commonly called the universal call to holiness.
Our vocation is aptly summarized at the outset of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church" (no. 1).
Not only does God call us to Himself, but He has placed in us a desire that can only be fully satisfied by God. As St. Augustine wrote in his Confessions, "our heart is restless until it rests in You." The Catechism further affirms that "[m]an is by nature and vocation a religious being" (no. 44). Accordingly, we were created by God and for God, and God never ceases to call us to Himself. Only in God will we find true happiness and fulfillment (cf. Catechism, nos. 27, 1718).
Vatican II (1962-65) emphasized the call to holiness. In former generations, the assumption (but certainly not the Church's teaching!) was that lay people fulfilled their religious duty by going to Sunday Mass, while the real day-to-day work of growing in holiness was left to priests and religious. But, the Council stated: "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity" (Lumen Gentium, no. 40, quoted in Catechism, no. 2013). Certainly, the way in which one grows in holiness is dependent upon one's state in life, but it will always involve prayer, sacrifice, sacraments, and acts of Christian charity.
I hope that these considerations provide encouragement.
United in the Faith,
Catholics United for the Faith
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