The Longest-Shortest Morning Offering and How to Be at Peace with Distractions in Prayer

I have a morning prayer routine that, on my better days, is lovely and slow and focused. But before I even open my eyes in the morning, I have developed the habit of saying a simple morning offering… because one just never knows how the morning will go. Before I roll over, before my feet hit the floor, before I stand bleary-eyed before my toothbrush... I make sure my day is covered.

There are those days, however, when even that little prayer gets the better of me. I believe I tried to say that Morning Offering seven times yesterday. I just couldn't finish it without wandering into a million separate muddled thoughts. My eyes were too heavy to open but I knew I wanted to get through that one little prayer and kept beginning again and again and again. Finally, I managed to finish but completely bungled all the words. What did I just say? *sigh* So, I gave up.

Instead of giving Him a bouquet of carefully arranged roses, I gave Him a few dried petals…

Lord, I’ve been praying that same prayer for over a decade but I can't say it today. I'll just tell you in a less lovely way and move on. I briefly offered my whole day to him, consecrated myself to the Divine Mercy and the Immaculate Heart of Mary (in an off-the-cuff kind of way) and offered my day for all the intentions and people I wanted to but couldn't particularly recall (YOU know, Lord.). I think the whole thing took 30 seconds.

It was a fine day although I stumbled in a fog through most of it. I got some things cleaned but not most things. I managed to get most of the children through the day without any bruises or scrapes… but not all of them. I consciously thought of God… but not much or often. Dinner was a success… but I didn't get the dishes done. The green juice (for St. Patrick's Day) was a hit… but no one really liked the pudding.

“Love you, St. Patrick”… I mumbled through my mental fog and clutter. But I forgot the Angelus.

I wanted to walk five miles but only walked four and irritated my knee doing it. I tried to read but couldn't focus. I hoped to get to bed early but was still up at 1:00 am. Doing what? I don't know... wandering around in a sleepy, distracted haze.

As I laid down on the same pillow on which I had struggled with that Morning Offering so many hours earlier, I tried to do my delayed examination of conscience. I immediately thought about the dishes and had to begin again. I thought about the dentist and began again. I thought about how I'd rather be a mom than anything I ever dreamed of being as a kid... and had to begin again...and again... and again...

What is it with me today, Lord? I'm as scattered as a snowstorm. But I love you. I love you...and I’ll keep trying…

And I slept.

Some days are low-powered like that. Foggy. Slow. Mildly productive. And it's all right. Good sleep is important and tomorrow is another day. Moms need sleep. I need sleep. A lot more than I had been getting.  In those slogging days, I'll run on adrenaline, grace, and the longest-shortest Morning Offerings ever prayed. And while I stumble on, He'll read my heart and know all the thoughts my mind won't form and all the words my tongue doesn't say.

I trust that He knows. He is Mercy. He made me. And He knows I need some sleep.

The next morning, I prayed a quick and easy Morning Offering and found the rosary that I hadn’t prayed the night before in the middle of my blankets. I returned it to my dresser, knelt down next to my bed, and began my day with focused prayer. I only thought about breakfast once… and about my to-do list a couple times. And maybe the dust bunny by the door for a brief moment.

Fortunately, It’s not a failure to be distracted. It’s only a failure to stop trying. God is not a bean counter but a lover… and prayer is not a box to be checked but a relationship to be nurtured. If today was not your best day, He will be waiting for you in the morning.