Have you ever said a prayer, like in Mass or before a meal, and then realized you have no idea what you just said? Have you ever said an “Our Father,” then at some point, not know where you actually are in the prayer? Have you ever said a Rosary and found yourself just counting, not actually praying? If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be at risk for a serious condition called PPS, or “Passive Prayer Syndrome.”
I first realized I was at risk when, in the car, I made the Sign of the Cross, and instead of beginning our usual, “St. Michael the Archangel…” I began with, “Bless us, Oh Lord for these, Thy gifts…” Ohhhhh nooooooooo! It had begun. Out of muscle memory, I started saying the prayer I say at least three times a day before I eat.
What was I going to do? It bothered me so much that it was all I could think about. Later that day, I realized I had said an Our Father and not retained a word of it… It was spreading!
I decided that I had to do something about all of this. During my Holy Hours, I started at the beginning. I took away distractions and left myself with my journal, a pen, the Bible, and Jesus. After this, it got a little better. I was able to focus on the prayers in my heart, but every time I prayed an Our Father, a Hail Mary, a Glory Be, or even prayed The Liturgy of the Hours, I would get nothing out of it. Zip. Nada. Nix.
So what to do to fix it? Go back to the VERRRRYYYY beginning, like kindergarten (or before) when I learned those simple prayers. I broke them down, line by line, verse by verse. I rediscovered the true meaning behind the words I had been reciting for most of my life. I rediscovered and I pondered.
Sometimes, if I feel a relapse of PPS, I redo the steps. I slow down, I pick it apart, and I ponder. It’s really refreshing when you actually are conscious of what you’re praying!
Are you suffering from PPS? If so, take a note from me. There is a cure! Take the time and figure out which remedy works best for you.