Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Monday, June 15, 2015

Parenting and Prayer

We have reached a milestone, my husband and I.

It seems we are once again able to stay in one place during Mass.  No more beating a hasty retreat to the back of the sanctuary with an ornery child.  And while all six have had their share of Moments, Child 6 seems to take the cake.  It took a while, but it appears the bribery of a post-Mass doughnut has finally taken root.  Ahem.
 
Funny how that saying applies here, the days are long but the years are short

5 Tips for Praying at Mass While Taking Care of a Toddler found its way to me via a friend who has two children younger than my youngest child.  Thus, she's still in this.  And those days can be long.

I like the 5 tips, especially "Practice putting yourself in the presence of God throughout your day."  Very Brother Lawrence, right?  Here's Brother Lawrence, from The Practice of the Presence of God:
We must perform all our actions carefully and deliberately, not impulsively or hurriedly, for such would characterize a distracted mind. We must work gently and lovingly with God, asking him to accept our work, and by this continual attention to God we will crush the head of the devil and force the weapons from his hand.

 During our work and other activities, even during our reading, no matter how spiritual, and even during our religious exercises and vocal prayers, we must stop for a moment, as often as possible, to adore God in the depths of our hearts, to savor him even though in passing and on the sly, to praise him, to offer him our hearts, and to thank him.


I had some spiritual direction very recently, in which it was suggested that I be more deliberate in taking the time to do this.

Not only that, I was reminded that I should be seeking God's will in all things.  If you are the parent of a young child, it's true that a prayerful, contemplative Mass might not be in the cards; taking care of the toddler is God's will at that moment.  How many times as a mother have I wished to retreat somewhere with my spiritual reading, when instead I had the temporal duties of life to attend to?  I'm not saying a mother shouldn't ever retreat, whether that means a weekend away, a night out, or a half hour for a run or a soak in the tub.  Even Jesus took some Alone Time.  However, taking the time to luxuriate in a long book may not be possible in certain seasons of life.

Regardless, God hears the prayer you offer up whilst making dinner, driving children to and from activities, being awake in the middle of the night with the child who just won't sleep.  Ever.  I had three years with erratic sleep and very little prayer of the kind I prefer.  It was difficult being in that, but I knew intellectually that God was there.  Now I'm out of it, and I know in my heart that God was there.

I cannot believe there is a tinge of regret that those hard times seem to have gone by so quickly!  Maybe I don't regret the sleeplessness and the inability to read more than a few paragraphs at a time, but I miss the sweet moments of having a very little one about.  The days are long, but the years are short.

Happy milestone! 

I love this photo.  It was not the one that accompanied the article, but it was from the same site.

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