Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Monday, July 14, 2014

Brief Personal Reflections

At the end of this series of thoughts that I am sharing about children and prayer, I intend to keep an ongoing collection of activities, lessons, and spiritual practices for children and families.  Some of these will be my own activities, lessons, and practices; some will come from other sources.

These activities I have collected, and continue to collect, fall into three categories:

·         Providing a Solid Foundation in Catholic Church Teachings
·         Creating a Catholic Culture in Your Home
·         Offering Opportunities for Silence

I believe in the importance of providing children with a solid foundation in Catholic teaching.  Watered-down teaching doesn’t work, even if it has been done out of the (misguided) notion that Big Issues are too hard for children to understand.  Nor does a watered-down catechism work if it is done to make teachings more compatible with (or palatable for) the secular culture.
I believe in the need for the presence of a Catholic culture.  In some places in the world, or at some points in history, people are or have been surrounded with Catholic culture.  They live or have lived in a society where the liturgical calendar has importance in daily life.  They are or have been part of a community that centers on the Church.  They live or have lived where the eye rests on beautiful architecture, tasteful art, wayside shrines, and the like.  When living in a time or place where this isn’t the case, Catholics (all Christians!) need to work harder at creating such a culture.

I believe in the necessity to cultivate silence in our daily life.  Even the most ardent secularist will admit to our over-saturation of stimulation.  Noise is everywhere: music piped in at stores, televisions in every waiting room, smart phones always at the ready.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-technology.  Media can be used for the good and should be used by Catholics.  My husband keeps abreast of Catholic topics with a variety of podcasts he follows.  On my phone, I have the complete Liturgy of the Hours, an ‘electronic stack’ of books, and a treasury of saints’ quotes I’ve collected.  Still, there comes a time for putting those things away in order to embrace some quiet time.  I believe in making a conscious effort to incorporate quiet time into the daily rhythm of life.

That’s where I’m coming from.  Addressing these three concerns does not provide a guaranteed ‘perfect recipe for sanctity.’ However, these are the three areas I’ve found to be important in cultivating a contemplative life. 

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