I've been talking about birthing babies a lot lately, so I thought I'd lighten things up with some spiritual warfare. :) I mentioned in a recent post that I'm trying to prepare spiritually for the big changes coming up in my life as well, and one way I'm doing that is by trying to have more structure to my daily prayer life. I have almost always prayed a rosary each work day in the car, but I'd gotten a bit complacent overall. I was still praying the rosary, but not meditating nearly enough, and not spending any other time in serious mental prayer aside from short daily spontaneous prayers.
Recently, I picked back up a set of devotional books that I've had for years but haven't used in a long time: In Conversation with God, by Francis Fernandez. This is a 7 book set:
Vol. 1 - Advent and Christmas Season
Vol. 2 - Lent, Holy Week and Easter
Vol. 3 - Ordinary Time, Weeks 1-13
Vol. 4 - Ordinary Time, Weeks 14-23
Vol. 5 - Ordinary Time, Weeks 24-34
Vol. 6 - Special Feasts, January-June
Vol. 7 - Special Feasts, July-December
I have 6 of the 7 books, I'm just missing volume 7. I accumulated them one at a time, since it's easier on the budget that way. They're available used from Amazon, but new directly from the publisher, Scepter Press.
Once you find which day we're on in the Church calendar, grab the appropriate volume, find your place, and you'll discover a 5-6 page meditation on the day's Mass readings. What I like the most about these is that the meditations are very down to earth and practical. For instance, yesterday I read about Jesus' life as a carpenter, and what daily work (often boring and repetitive) can mean for our growth as Christians. Practicing charity, offering up small tasks, doing our work well in order to sanctify it properly. Sometimes meditations are too "heavy" for me, but these, though long, are perfect every single time.
The books are fairly compact, and easily toteable in your work bag or purse. Each comes with a vinyl cover, slip jacket, and ribbon place marker. I've been getting a lot out of them.
Armed with an Amazon gift card from Christmas (so dangerous...) I picked up a copy of Abide in my Word 2011, a book of the daily Mass readings for the year. I actually prefer these yearly publications over permanent missals, since it's easier to find your place in them. Plus, I bang mine up pretty good, and these (like the St. Joseph Sunday Missal, which I buy yearly) are inexpensive and then you can recycle and replace them with a shining brand new copy at the end of the year. At any rate, I figured having the Mass readings during the week would really enhance my meditations from In Conversation with God.
I also picked up a new study Bible (actually, it's just a New Testament) from Ignatius Press, which I'll review that when I receive and dig in. :)