Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Little Oratory and Marking Time: Chapter 7

I am so funny with this blog, I really do want to follow through on this summer book study of The Little Oratory but I keep getting interrupted....hmmm....why can't I seem to find the time to blog???

My readers say: Oh Stephanie, we KNOW you are an inconsistent blogger.

You do!?!?!

I love you all!

Chapter 7 is on devotion and, as is the tone of this whole book, it is so gentle. 

As I was reading about guiding our children into morning and night offerings, and specifically about the examination of conscience, I liked this...

"Parents have the delicate undertaking of helping their children enter into the 'interior castle,' as St. Teresa calls it, of their own inner life with God

They also start to have a sense of the day 

as a unit of grace

each day bringing its sorrows and joys."

As I start thinking of entering into our schooling days more seriously....and by seriously I am talking about how I organized some books today...

I have been thinking of the day as unit of grace. I have been thinking about what ordinary in this house looks like.

I really want a holy ordinary. 

I really want to keep to I have to keep asking, "what is the essential?"

What is the heart of the day?

I am SO grateful that God, in His goodness, has truly helped our family know and revere the heart of Sunday. The Sabbath is a solid anchor to order our time around...this Gift of the Eucharist. Then after Mass, after celebrating with our Lord, we seem to know what to do or really to just be. Yes, there is background work to be done, but my friends, it is the action of the Holy Spirit that truly makes it a restful and renewing familial day for us.

It may seem funny to make a "study" of the workings of a day, a unit of time and to try to find the heart of it...and yet, here is Chapter Seven laying out established traditions in our Church to lead us up to our Sabbath, our "little Easters."

Did you know....

Sunday  is devoted to the Resurrection, the Trinity.

Monday: the Holy Spirit

Tuesday: the Angels

Wednesday: St. Joseph ("The day the week turns on. It's no wonder that the wisdom of popular piety put St. Joseph here, in the center of daily life.")

Thursday: the Blessed Sacrament

Friday: Christ's Passion and the Sacred Heart

Saturday: the Blessed Virgin

Had I read about these daily devotions five years ago, after leaving my job as an officer in the Coast Guard, my more product oriented/over-achiever side might have skewed how I read this information and I would have immediately been on crafty Catholic blogs trying to figure out what to "do" or "make" for each day.

Thank goodness God keeps sending me these littles, they really knock the sense into me.

The larger my family grows the more I just want to get to the heart of things.

So, I have simply made up my mind that I can fit this new way of marking time into our "holy ordinary" by finding a fitting prayer for each day. We can say this prayer by our candle. Perhaps I can have a pretty image ready to prop up by the candle. This might be a nice way to start our school day. I MIGHT even see if I can find a small St. Joseph statue for Wednesdays to have on the dinner table as a Christmas gift to myself (ha!). 

Also, unlike the old me, I'm not going to get all mopey if I have a liturgical fail and "miss" a day. Geez, that's missing the essential! Life isn't a SHOW, you simply LIVE things.

The authors mention this "no fuss if you miss something" when they write about the character surrounding each wonderful that there will be a February NEXT year we can celebrate the Holy Family if we happen to have a wacky February or get distracted because life is just happening.

"Using time, we can know we're on track and not missing anything important." BUT.....

"At the same time, we can be fine with letting some things go, confident that they will turn up again. This is a far better strategy than randomly trying to get all the devotions in, which would be impossible!"

Let's always be so gentle with ourselves. 

I like this reminder as I am in my third trimester. Be gentle with yourself Stephanie, you are about to enter "the year of the baby" (Angela - ism). 

LOVE babies and Baptisms
So, I was actually getting unusually high tech (for me) and figuring out my ideal "homeschool" week in my google calender for this impending year (I have never done this will probably last two weeks). I had a tremendous peace as I decided how I want the week to go, I was thinking a lot about the day as a unit of time. 

Are you interested in what I have concluded?

Essentials of school in the morning...reading, math, writing..and wrapping up by lunch.

Ample room for play and sense getting all pouty if we don't get to our history/science/extras done everyday.

I have only three "must get in the car" days out of the seven (excluding Sunday, so really four car days, but we must get in the car on Sunday in order to stay our of the car the rest of that day...right?).

I'm excited!

Aside from these new devotions and having a bit of a feel for how I would like time for more formal learning to be spent, coming back to what the heart of the day is...I am growing more certain that it is just about being together as a family with all our goodness and flaws.

"God's plan for us is family life...The first covenant that God made with man was to establish the family in the order of days. A man cleaves to a woman to make her his wife, so that they might have children and bring all of creation into the order of sanctification.

Thus our daily life is meant to be the normal way that children grow into this relationship with God.

We learn to love by being loved by a mother and father.

This particular father thinks its ok that the birthday girl has a pinata IN the house, as it was pouring outside.

We learn to pray with our parents. Conversation in the family builds this relationship of love, as do all activities that we enjoy together.."

Like getting our first big boy hair cut...

Isn't that beautiful?

Scroll up and read through those quotes a couple of times.

Thank you for reading. 

I hope we stay on this journey together...this journey of purposeful living and seeking the holy ordinary and being open to life.

God Bless You!  

My reflections on my summer reading of The Little Oratory 

Please go here to see and read about other Little Oratories sprouting throughout the world. Please go here to listen to author Leila Lawler speak with Elizabeth Foss about her book!


  1. Beautiful post, Stephanie! It really makes me happy to know that you get the gentle part and the don't stress out part. God is just helping us, you know? It's about this pondering that you are expressing here, and not about some exterior perfection.
    Your family is so beautiful!

    1. Thank you Leila! I just love how everything you have written so far that I have read always leaves me feeling MOTIVATED instead of overwhelmed :) its refreshing!