Recollectedness.
#1
I struggle to stay focused on my task of being a good Christian throughout the day. My mind wanders, I forget to pray before and after meals (and to be grateful to God in general), I let my passions override my better faculties, I let bad thoughts enter my mind and hang around for way too long before recognizing what my mind is doing... and so on.

I try to set a "prayer schedule" -- a daily rosary; the Angelus upon rising, around noon, and before bed; an Examen in the middle of the day and before bed (I've only just begun this practice this week); mental recitation of exhortations and short prayers when I think to do so in between -- but inevitably the "monkey mind" returns and I get carried away by a stream of consciousness into all sorts of foolish territory. If I am making progress in this area, it's so slow that it seems I'm not improving at all (I've been actively working on this for a few months).

Apart from praying for the grace to be better recollected (which I do, of course), and trying to be patient with myself, I'm curious if there is any practical advice someone may have that I'm missing. It's getting frustrating!
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#2
How is your practice of mortification or spiritual reading? 
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#3
(05-04-2017, 12:09 PM)NemoClericus Wrote: How is your practice of mortification or spiritual reading?

Great question. Probably lacking. I have read (or I'm in the middle of reading) a handful of spiritual books from St. John of the Cross, St. Louis de Montfort, St. Ignatius, and St. Frances de Sales, other edifying books, (and Scripture of course) but it seems like as soon as I put whatever book I'm working on down, I return to a more wordly mode of living and thinking.

I had a relatively productive Lent in terms of mortification, but I haven't done much in that area since Lent ended. Maybe that's what I need to focus on. When I'm in the middle of fasting, I realize what a beautiful practice it is, but if I'm not fasting, it seems like a daunting and tedious thing... actually I feel that way about a lot of spiritual practices (Rosary seems like just some part of the routine, until I actually do it and feel refreshed and refocused).
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#4
My humble advice to you is start regularly praying the psalms, just try to go through them chronologically, then you will become familiar with them, just start with 2 or 3 a day. I find standing while praying them increases attention/devotion. Here's what St. Basil says about praying the psalms:

"A psalm implies serenity of Soul; it is the author of peace, which calms bewildering and seething thoughts. For, it softens the wrath of the soul, and what is unbridled it chastens. A psalm forms friendships, unites those separated, conciliates those at enmity. Who, indeed, can still consider as an enemy him with whom he has uttered the same prayer to God? So that psalmody, bringing about choral singing, a bond, as it were, toward unity, and joining people into a harmonious union of one choir, produces also the greatest of blessings, love.

A psalm is a city of refuge from the demons; a means of inducing help from the angels, a weapon in fears by night, a rest from the toils of the day, a safeguard for infants, an adornment for those at the height of their vigour, a consolation for the elders, a most fitting ornament for women. It peoples the solitudes; it rids the market places of excesses; it is the elementary exposition of beginners, the improvement of those advancing, the solid support of the perfect, the voice of the Church. It brightens feast days; it creates a sorrow which is in accordance with God. For, a psalm calls forth a tear even from a heart of stone.

A psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense."
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#5
Remember your Morning Offering and your prayers before bed. Offer everything up to Our Lord at the beginning of your day and then unite your sleep to His before you go to bed. That way, all your thoughts, words, and actions have been dedicated to Him throughout the day and night. I got this bit of advice from Fr. Paul O'Sullivan's book, An Easy Way to Become a Saint.

I summarized the book's contents here. You may find this helpful.

http://www.fisheaters.com/forums/index.p...=3474176.0
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#6
Good info for me too here, as I struggle with this as well. Any advice on how to handle bad thoughts as OP mentioned?
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#7
(05-04-2017, 02:06 PM)Florus Wrote: My humble advice to you is start regularly praying the psalms, just try to go through them chronologically, then you will become familiar with them, just start with 2 or 3 a day. I find standing while praying them increases attention/devotion. Here's what St. Basil says about praying the psalms:

cut for brevity


That is beautiful advice friend, thank you. The quote from St. Basil is very motivating.

(05-04-2017, 05:27 PM)In His Love Wrote: I summarized the book's contents here. You may find this helpful.

http://www.fisheaters.com/forums/index.p...=3474176.0

That is very helpful. The summary of the book sounds a lot like a detailed expansion of Cardinal Newman's "short road to perfection," which I've got posted up on the wall of my study:

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Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising.

Give your first thoughts to God.

Make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

Say the Angelus devoutly.

Eat and drink to God's glory.

Say the Rosary well.

Be recollected; keep out bad thoughts. (My biggest weakness from this list, hence this thread!)

Make your evening meditation well.

Examine yourself daily.

Go to bed at a good time.
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Great advice from you all, thank you guys so much. Seems I need a bit of a perspective shift -- not to focus so much on recollectedness itself, but to treat it like an emergent consequence of other habits.
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