"Required" devotions

Something has been bugging me lately, and honestly, it’s giving me a bit of a crisis of faith (just a little one). I guess it “nags” at me in a way.

For some reason, it seems to me, that the Church I am going to is “requiring” devotions (which I always though of as personal and optional). For example, a few weeks ago at Mass they passed out pledge cards and asked us to fill them out. On them, we were to pledge two things. -“I will pray the Rosary daily with my family” and the other option was - “I can’t pray the Rosary daily with my family, but I will say a decade a day and work up to it” (or something along those lines). There was no way to decline. The next question was about adoration and was the same basic thing, you could pledge to do an hour of adoration a week or 10 minutes a week–either way, you “had” to pledge to do adoration.

I pray the Rosary daily, but something about having to pledge bothered me. As for adoration, I can’t think of a “nice” way to say this, but that’s not the way I like to pray or honor God. Until I moved here, I’ve never belonged to a Catholic Church that even offered an adoration chapel.

Anyway, I filled out the pledge card, but then folded it and put it in my purse. I didn’t put it in the collection baskets they passed around.

My daughter is in CCD and they required her, for homework, to go to adoration–so I took her. But if they require her again next month, I am not sure what I will do (it falls on a weekend and it happens to be her father’s weekend–the Church doesn’t approve of his lifestyle and therefore, he doesn’t like the Church).

I can kind of see the point of adoration for CCD (since they are studying for First Holy Communion). But again, it still bothers me in a way that they are dictating devotions to families. I am fond of the Rosary and Divine Mercy and I’ve been teaching them to my daughter. I also private do a devotion to St. Joseph daily. So I am not against devotions. But I want to choose the devotions I want to do–not have them picked for me. Then that makes me question if I am disobedient to the Church and then I start having a mini crisis (if I am going to be disobedient to one thing, does that make me a cafeteria Catholic which leads to me thinking “why exactly am I Catholic anyway if I want to pick and choose.”) I just ask the questions to myself, I am not going to act on them. But I don’t like that this is somehow leading me to question my faith. Honestly, it’s stressful.

It’s really no one else’s business but God’s and yours how and when you pray, don’t you think? Isn’t there room for the three styles of prayer, Vocal, Meditative, and Contemplative?

And I also have a fondness for the rosary. However my prayer life is my business. I go through periods of not praying the rosary. Sometimes I have a “burden in my heart” to pray a novena for some particular thing. Other times I only have interior prayer (talking to God) daily. In fact, that’s probably what I do the most. I also love Lectio Divina.

I know one thing. I would have taken the pledge and put it in my purse as well.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

AMen.

Just as a brief answer…

For adults such devotions are indeed private, even if they are strongly encouraged. I don’t particularly find the cards in church to be a problem since no one HAS to fill one out at all. Thus, in effect you ARE able to decline.

For children it is a bit different. Children need to be exposed to various devotions The school is exposing them to adoration. You expose them to the rosary, grace before meals, Divine Mercy chaplet etc…
Once the child is older they can choose those devotions that fit their needs and that they are strongly drawn towards.

Peace
James

JRKH does have a valid point about exposing children to various devotions. If you have an issue with the pledge cards, bring it up with your priest. This could be seen as the Church presuring people to do certain devotions, which it shouldn’t be. There are certain things we must beleive, but as for devotions, well that is your business.

Thanks for the input… The pledge cards weren’t really presented in a way that one would think it was optional though–so maybe I should bring that up with my priest. They were handed out during the homily and we were told the fill them out and put them in the collection baskets. This wasn’t something that was “optional” that one could pick up and fill out as one was leaving Mass. there is a “peer pressure” put on you when others can see what you are doing (or not doing).

I can see JRKH point in regards to children too. To be fair and honest–the part of requiring adoration as homework is stressful for me due to my unique situation as a single mom (not usually thought of when thinking of Catholic Families). It’s probably selfish of me, but I feel it is others tacking one more thing on my already busy/sleep derived schedule (a 7-year-old can’t take herself to adoration after all). My fear is they will do this again next month and me having to try to get her father to take her (whom I’ve already pointed out has issues with the Church). They are pretty strict on what the kids “have” to do to get holy Communion and I hate to have her “fail” CCD and not get First Holy Communion because her father doesn’t like the Catholic Church.

+Actually . . . God’s children in** Old :bible1: Testament** times had clear directions about this type of situation . . . as revealed in the below portions of Sacred :bible1: Scripture . . . making . . . “vows/promises” . . . incurs the problem of possibly . . . breaking . . . “vows/promises” . . . Except in very very serious matters . . . personally I believe making such “pledges” such as the one illustrated in the original post to be unwise . . . and in my personal opinion . . . it truly is an invasion of privacy . . . encouragement to accomplish a beneficial devotion is one thing and can be an excellent teaching reminder . . . vowing/promising to accomplish such is an entirely different matter . . . the holy wisdom of the below :bible1: Scriptures gives great guidance and directions in these matters . . .

. . . :coffeeread: . . .

[INDENT]:bible1: [1] Speak not any thing rashly, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter a word before God. For God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. [2] Dreams follow many cares: and in many words shall be found folly. [3] If thou hast vowed any thing to God, defer not to pay it: for an unfaithful and foolish promise displeaseth him: but whatsoever thou hast vowed, pay it**.[4] And it is much better not to vow, than after a vow not to perform the things promised**. - Ecclesiastes 5:4

:bible1: [21] When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it: because the Lord thy God will require it. And if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin. [22] If thou wilt not promise, thou shalt be without sin. [23] But that which is once gone out of thy lips, thou shalt observe, and shalt do as thou hast promised to the Lord thy God, and hast spoken with thy own will and with thy own mouth. - Deuteronomy 23:21-24[/INDENT]

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Sweet Spirit of our Holy God+
. . . for the Holy Gift of Sacred :bible1: Scripture+
. . . thank you Holy Mother Church+
[/RIGHT]

I probably would have filled out the card but added my own answer of “none of the above” or whatever I thought was appropriate. And I probably would bring it up with the pastor to learn more about his intentions. Encouraging people to pray is certainly not a bad thing, but people pray in different ways and I would encourage them to pray in the way that’s most fulfilling to them. This might have been an opportunity to introduce people to some less familiar forms of prayer.

Here is something that’s always bothered me when Catholic Churches require us to make promises or pledges about things we are going to do in the future: :shrug:

James 4
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”—
14 you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.
15 Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.”
16 But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

So IMO to ask you to sign such a pledge is to ask you to do evil. :confused: I think even if you intend to do the devotion, you should write in the words, “God-willing.” :thumbsup:

Either that or you might try, “God-willing and the creek don’t rise.” :smiley:

Alan

Devotions are private and not required.

Mellowcalico,
If I may ask, was there some particular intention, project or reason attached to the request for devotion? Sometimes a parish will try to put together a devotion or prayer chain or something like that for some particular reason…I just wondered if this might be attached to something in particular.

Another thing that occurred to me as I re-read your OP. I wouldn’t get too upset about how the cards were structured. I has been my experience that when people have an “out”, they will take it more often than not. This is why we so often see the “same people” active in multiple programs. The parish knows who will say yes and who will say no…:shrug:
In the case of the cards, this would apply less to the daily rosary but more to the adoration schedule. The pastor is probably trying to get enough people to sign up for adoration to make sure the time is covered since we are to never leave the exposed sacrament unattended.

Just some thoughts…

Peace
James

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