Now that Lent is over, I am finding my spiritual growth is seeking a new direction. This happens every year, so it’s about time I found an outlet.
During Lent, I usually say a daily Rosary. However, this is a real sacrifice not only for me, but for my family - who must do without my work for 20 minutes of uninterrupted time while I pray. I also find the intensity of the Rosary prayer is a little much for me right now to continue indefinitely (yes, I am still quite weak spiritually).
I’m thinking that at least for Easter, I should maybe seek a devotion or set of devotions that can be broken up into small pieces throughout the day, or can be done in public without calling attention to myself so I can do it during my commute or lunch break, to reduce the burden on my family. Because Easter is a season of rejoicing and new life, I would like to focus on something positive or creative for the next weeks.
How about Via Lucis, which is also called The Paschal Way of the Light? It is similar in format to the Stations of the Cross with 14 stations, but they begin at the resurrection and end at Pentecost. They are also generally to be prayed on Sunday. I have found it to be a very worthwhile reflection right now.
only to observe that if you do not give yourself permission to take 20 minutes for prayer each day, you also are telling your family especially your children that whatever work or activity they have going on is more important than prayer, and telling them they do not have permission to take 20 minutes for prayer. I heartily sympathize with the pressure you are feeling with the demands of home and family, but will hazard a guess that the other grandmas here, like myself, wish we had spent MORE, not less time praying when we were going through those years.
the Rosary is the perfect prayer for breaking up into small segments throughout the day, as it has 5 natural divisions that take about 5 minutes each. The obvious solution, especially when things are really hectic, stressful, or emotions are running high , is to take a break, and all pray a decade of the rosary–or just and OF< HM & GB together.
I would second the Divine Mercy chaplet. You can pray it in 10 minutes or less. I would also consider some spiritual reading. Try the Imitation of Christ. It consistes of really short sections that you can read and meditate on in a short period of time.
I prayed on this yesterday, and shortly after praying, there came into my mind two words: “Bear fruit.” I like the sound of that, although it also sounds intimidating. I have few ideas how to accomplish this, although I do have a few vague notions.
So for Easter, I’m going to try and find a way to pour into the world the graces that God has poured into me during the Lenten season. I should probably keep a journal, too, to help me continually move forward and see how I could be a better worker in God’s vineyards.
The difference between your situation and mine, I think, is that I give very little of my presence to my family during the work week - while it sounds like you were able to be with your children most of the day on most days. I honestly believe that continuing to pray 20 minutes each day, after I spend 10 to 11 hours a day out of the house working and commuting, would be an occasion of scandal for my family - especially for my agnostic husband, who has been caring for the children and home (while trying to return to work after two years as an at-home parent) all day and is tired and ready for a break when I get home.
Especially since there are other parts of my life I can offer to God. They aren’t appropriate for intense meditations like the Rosary, or any other visible prayer, because I am in public - it would seem Pharisaical. But I could write, read, offer less intense prayers, or even do work on His behalf.
Thank you for your message! It forced me to consider more deeply why I feel called to find another way to seek God’s grace. Being questioned and asked to think is a wonderful thing, and I do appreciate it.
actually I worked full time during most of the child-raising years, and got two degrees during that time, so I hear you. the fact remains I wish I had spent more time in prayer, both alone and with my kids, during that time. the girls have said more than once they had to learn how to pray with their family, since other than grace, we seldom did it when they were small, except to memorize the basic prayers for 1st communion etc.
your plan to Listen to what you hear is excellent, but I will gently remind you, since you have taken what I said so graciously, is that if you don’t give yourself time and solitude to listen, you will gradually lose the ability to hear Him.
cut the time out someplace else, but if you find yourself unable to give that 20 minutes (an hour would be great but often would take a miracle), you will not “bear fruit” for the rest of your day. you will find yourself running out of steam. If you can get in the groove to protect a solid block of time for solitary prayer, even 10 or 15 minutes, so your family knows that is sacrosanct, you will find it much easier to manage your time in general. and give your kids a powerful example at the same time.
some ways to build in that time–saying night prayers with the children when you tuck them in, also insures some quality time spent with them, something you probably also are struggling with.
prayer at meal-time, or a quick OF or HM before they go out the door to the school bus, or in the car on the way to school or daycare.
a prayer, rosary or praise and worship music CD in the car, for yourself, or on trips with kids.
spontaneous prayers of thanksgiving at the table or after meals (make this short, or take turns, so they don’t get bored).
short prayer together before starting a road trip for a safe journey.
short prayer, spontaneous or HM when you hear of someone in need, ill, death in the family etc, or something on the news, another way to set a good example for your kids.
practice reconciliation, model forgiveness and asking forgiveness, when their sibling rivalries call for it–and let them see their parents ask and receive forgiveness from time to time.
goofy but it works–keep a daily devotional like Word Among Us in the bathroom, sometimes the only time your kids will let you have a couple of minutes to yourself.
you may have to cut into sleep time, reading time, TV time, or someplace else, but you cannot give what you don’t have and you are going to lose it, literally, if you don’t protect your prayers space. don’t have to make a big deal, just turn off the TV, tell your spouse “I’ll be in there in a few minutes” and step out on the porch, or in the laundry room or someplace. DD says she often prays while folding laundry because it is “legit”, the kids run the other way so they are not asked to help, and the rhythm actually helps her. multi-tasking may not be the best way to pray, but hey, whatever works for you.
This is exactly what happened to me. My parents never prayed with us at home (except a perfunctory grace before meals), so despite the fact that I spent twelve years in Catholic schools, I never had much of a personal prayer life, and when I had children of my own I did not know how to introduce prayer to them or share my faith with them. They were almost teenagers when I began to take my faith seriously, and it is very difficult to catch up at that age; I met with a lot of resistance when I tried.
If there is anything I wish I had done better raising my daughters (they are now 22 and 19), it would be to have spent more time praying with them and sharing my faith with them when they were little.
Okay, I now understand 100% where you are coming from! My experience growing up was similar to your girls - I didn’t pray much with my childhood family either. Yet somehow it still didn’t occur to me that you might think I wasn’t doing much other than the Rosary (despite the fact that I grew up with a family with a weak spiritual life). You are absolutely right - you can’t give it if you don’t have it.
A daily Rosary was not my only devotion - it was an additional devotion added to prayers before bed, mealtime grace (when I’m home or when my girls lead it while I’m at work), weekly family Rosaries with our friends (although we gave that up when I joined choir - I’m trying to start a weekly Rosary before choir that my children could come to), and small prayers throughout the day to offer myself and my work to God. So I’m not replacing my entire prayer life, just the part that I specially “carved out” during Lent to make space for a daily Rosary. I didn’t want that space to just get folded back into secular life again, and leave me no better off than I was before Lent started.