...and so my summer book study of The Little Oratory has now turned into... a book study. Most of you know my husband is underway at times and I have to be more serious homeschooling with third and second graders, so you forgive me for drawing this book study out....
Also, even if you aren't reading The Little Oratory, the themes are beautiful and worth reflecting on.
From Chapter 8: Praying the Rosary:
"Just as a child assumes his mother will make all the necessary background preparations for something important to take place, so we can be very confident in the Blessed Mother's help. A childlike attitude gets us further along to our goal."
How is your relationship with the Blessed Mother? The above quote sums up very nicely where I am at with her. Although the authors are specifically speaking about the goal of starting a devotion to the rosary in the home, I rely greatly on Mary to help me with my home...period. I am confident in her help. I have attempted at various seasons of my life to keep a consistent devotion to Our Lady, but many times my efforts go no further than keeping a tiny finger rosary on my hands as I do housework.
Housework. The work of the home that just needs to be done, the background work...and Mary seems to remain in the background as I meet these everyday needs.
And yet, the Holy Spirit brings her so clearly front and center in my life at other times. This can happen on her feast days, and wow, especially during Advent, and here I am pregnant thinking of her still.
|My seven year old took this! I love it :)|
There is a part of me thinking, "this would be TOO much."
Isn't that funny? Too much prayer?
But I know my family and I think I'm on to something, because being almost regimented about prayer (we ARE a military family) and saying we "must" do this devotion does more damage than good. This would ultimately be contrary to the spirit of this chapter, the whole book even. Although this book can be read in the span of a few sittings...I feel like the actualization of a culture of prayer in the home will take months, years!!!!
My husband and I have spent the past few years figuring out what we want the culture of our home to look like, since we're the ones that have to LIVE in it. I like to read about Catholic family life and I have had the honor of witnessing real family life in the homes of good friends (and I take notes).
|From Angela's home.|
Hmmm...the culture of a home...what does yours look like?
A few things about mine...
We don't have cable tv (err...except for if the Red Sox are doing extremely well in October...this was the case last year NOT this year. We cave for Thanksgiving football as well).
We like to be outside.
|I watch for now.|
We eat supper together every evening. We attend Mass on holy days and Sundays and we GUARD that Sunday. We are huge fans of Sunday brunch (any brunch really!). We read lots of books and sing. We like white elephant gift exchanges. We rough house with couch throw pillows to a Switchfoot album. We do campfires.
We "school" at home.
That last one is a new one. It IS a little embarrassing to admit. In the past, we seemed to take prayer more seriously during Lent but lighting our prayer candle and saying evening prayer together over the past few months has really stuck.
"Our culture is plagued by explaining. We have lost the ability to allow experience to be the teacher, and we certainly have lost any patience for the kind of learning that comes with practice. We rely on words in a technical way, as blunt instruments for instruction. We don't rely on the meaning inherent in words of rituals, learned over time."
The littles know we wear Santa hats when we decorate our Christmas tree. They know that we light the Advent wreath and sing before supper as we wait for Him. They know that daddy checks the candy after trick or treating and that a "Daddy tax" is due. They know to put a life jacket on before getting into a kayak.
They know when daddy says "Brush your teeth and come pray" there are a few things loaded in those six words: This takes place in our family room. I should grab my book and coloring pencils. I should get a comfy spot. The prayer candle will be lit. I should be calm and quiet.
Justin and I say the prayer without EVER explaining anything. We simply pray and read and have our "sacred silence" together and it happens to involve the children sitting quietly by...listening. Sometimes quiet doesn't happen with one of these:
Note from authors:
"Try not to pay attention to antics or calls for attention. Focus as much as you can on the prayers and saying them reverently. It would be good not to comment on how things went in front of the children. The important thing is that you prayed together."
Prayer has thankfully made its way into the culture of this home. It is VERY simple but it is happening and becoming a ritual...which really evolves over time.
I don't need to say,
"Look at me children. Look! I am getting out a rosary as I sip my coffee. Isn't it so nice to think about the life of Jesus by praying this devotion??? The rosary covers everything. Here let me show you what each bead means. Did you know......blah blah blah blah...."
No show. No explaining. Just start my OWN daily ritual.
I just need to let my children do what they do and
because they are with me and we pass time in community with each other, they might notice I pray the rosary. If I can just sneak in a decade before the next "event" unfolds, it is a good start.
I feel blessed to have had the time to contemplate the Blessed Mother as I am turning my thoughts toward the big work of labor and delivery I have ahead of me. Pray for me? God Bless You!
Chapter 7 Thoughts
Please go here for other thoughts on The Little Oratory.