So I am somewhat new to the Catholic church - I converted about 5 months ago, but because of severe issues with scrupulosity I sort of rebooted last week, and now I’m trying hard to neither pressure myself nor forget about everything.
However, since I don’t have any Catholic friends or close family, sometimes it’s difficult to keep a healthy balance.
One thing that has been troubling me is the idea of daily prayer. I’ll admit it - prayer is hard for me. I think it’s extremely important and really quite helpful to my religious life, but it’s hard. I have extreme ADHD so it’s difficult to focus, and my daily life has also been so hectic this Christmas season that sometimes it’s hard to get my mind off my life.
I can’t tell, though, whether or not I’m putting unnecessary pressure on myself. I have heard that to not pray daily - to go a whole day without speaking to God - is a venial sin. I’m sure there’s controversy over that. As a result of this, I pray every day, but some days I just can’t convince myself that I’ve prayed enough. Too often I procrastinate on prayer until 11 o clock at night, and by that point I’m really too tired to do a whole lot.
Pretty much my daily routine is to read the night prayers from Liturgy of the Hour. At the bare minimum, I read that prayer. Then often I’ll pray in my own words, rather casually. If I’m too tired to worry, then I just read the night prayer. To be honest, though, I don’t like the Liturgy of the hour prayer much. Most of it is psalms and readings, which are lovely but don’t feel so much like a prayer. Most of all I like to pray in my own words, have a chance to think over things and make connections in my head and kind of just figure out what I’m doing. Often I will give thanks, and then just sort of meditate on the wonders of the Lord, remind myself of His importance in my life, and think on how small the earthly life truly is compared to what is to come. That sort of thing. I like personal prayer better than scripted prayer in that it gives me a chance to really fuse together my earthly life with my spiritual life. I feel like, being rather new to the faith, this is the sort of prayer that helps me to further my spiritual career.
However, also being new to the faith, I only have so much to go on there. And so I feel that I need scripted prayers, because the people who wrote those prayers know what they are talking about much better than I do. I will be honest, I don’t research the faith enough. I’ve considered trying to get into a Catechism class, but my parents don’t like the faith and it would just increase the amount of time they spend making that clear. I know much more about the faith than I once did, through prayers and readings and sermons, and a lot of it from this website here, but I don’t really make much of an effort to directly research it.
Anyways, back to the point. Let’s say one day, it’s 9 o clock at night, I’ve had a busy day, and I’m exhausted. Let’s say I sit down instead of kneeling, and pray in my own words and meditate on all the things I described above. Then I go right to bed. Is that sufficient? Let’s also say that is the only time I pray that day (I’m trying to get in the habit of praying in the morning as well, but I’m still working on that). Is there any sin of neglectance or anything committed? I guess one of the things I’m worried about is making a habit of doing only that, of praying for about fifteen minutes every day and having that be all.
Now that I write it all out, I wonder if I’m being scrupulous again. Or maybe I’m not. I can’t tell.