“When I started adapting my life to make room for God, I took to scheduling in religion the way that I’d schedule a dinner with a friend, or a movie night. I made sure to leave discrete blocks of time to do religion, whether it was going to Daily Mass at the church down the block or trying to pray the Morning and Evening Office on my subway commute to work.
But it’s been hard to remember to say grace at meals, because, when I’m eating, I’m not in a setting that I recognize as religious. The restaurant I’ve met my friend at may be dimly lit, but there are no smells and bells to signal an opportunity to be sanctified. It’s easy to try to infuse new habits with religion, but hard to hold on to the presence of God when I’m immersed in an old environment, where I have a long habit of just not thinking of Him. But all those new habits are in the service of inviting God in everywhere, even the times and places I’ve treated as secular.
The trouble is, when I’m eating on my own, the beginning of the meal tends not to be strongly marked enough for it to occur to me to pray. As I drift in and out of the kitchen to assemble a dinner for one, I’m usually only half present, holding a book for whatever parts I can get away with using only one hand. It’s hard to make space in my schedule for prayer, when I already haven’t left any slack time for eating.”