Once a sage had a cat in his hermitage. Whenever he performed a homa (offering oblations to gods into the consecrated fire), the cat frisked about the fire and gave a lot of trouble to him. So he caught it in advance and kept it under an inverted basket for the duration of the homa. His son who watched this operation for years thought that this cat-catching and cat-imprisonment were vital parts of the ritual itself. So he took great trouble to seek out a cat before every homa and felt happy when he got one which he could keep under an inverted basket in the same room. That is an example of meaningless mechanical repetition. Spiritual effort should not become mechanical repetition of set formulae or execution of dry formalities! Remember, your spiritual endeavours must be to attract the grace of God on yourselves. Your spiritual practices must be accompanied by a sincere prayer from the heart!