Ritual or Death

Hello everyone! I’m writing for the Steubenville conferences.

When a man first begins to work out, he usually does so in a burst of enthusiasm. He envisions his ideal weight and future health. He buys new shoes and a barrel of protein-powder with a man who looks like a Transformer grimacing on its label. In short, he gets pumped. But if his enthusiasm isn’t followed by ritual — by a well-kept routine of stretching, running, and lifting — he’ll cease working out.

Similarly, upon first falling in love, couples surge with enthusiasm for each other, with dopamine highs and and the immense desire to never be apart. (This is often referred to by their friends as the unbelievably-annoying stage.) But if this enthusiasm is not followed by ritual, captured and solidified in the day-to-day routine of communication, touch, gift, encouragement and sacrifice — from flowers, to phone-calls and favors — their love will fail.

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  • Rebecca C.

    This is easily the best thing you have ever written. Thank you.

  • John McNichol

    There is a real difficulty, though, in explaining how ritual in prayer does not take away from your relationship with God, but instead enhances it.

    Our separated brethren have made the very word ‘ritual’ something icky when it’s applied to our relationship with Christ. But as I grow older, I find how these rituals, be it the Morning offering, the Rosary, the Sunday Mass or the novenas I am saying, all add to my life with Christ.

    In a film, the music attached to a scene shapes my mood, and helps me to further appreciate and respond properly to the scene before me. Analogically, On more than one occasion, the words of prayer with my meditation on the mysteries of the rosary have brought the emotional impact of the scourging at the Pillar or the Birth of Christ to me in a way that is new and unexpected. And with that emotional response comes a bonding to Christ in His suffering, joys, glory and luminosity that I had not expected.

    But now, as a result, though I have been saying the rosary regularly since I was a teenager, it has taken until my 40s to understand and appreciate it well enough to look forward to saying it for its own sake, rather than view it as a necessary ‘workout’ for my soul. :)

  • http://veritascibi.com/ Joshua Kingdon

    This…is awesomely awesome. Awesomeness. Awesomely awesomeness.