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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

During the School Day

#4 In the past, I tried to pray with all the children together before schooling. I found that it drained my patience too
much. Perhaps when my children are older we will be able to do this. We have prayers spread througout the day, so I
don't, per se, begin our schoolwork with prayers.
However, for me, before schooling, I privately say
some prayers for patience. A practice I have been
trying to
cultivate is to think of the seven sorrows of Our Lady
in between teaching my children. So, when I change to
a different child or a different subject, while I am
walking for a new book, run to the bathroom, go to get
a drink, stop to change a diaper, I move on to the
next sorrow. I only try to say 1 or 2 Hail Marys. The
days when I have been able to do this, at lunch time,
I am so satisfied with my morning. The schooling went
well, I did well. But, I have noticed the days when I
get to lunch and say "What have I done!" or "What am I
doing?" with a big groan, are the days when I didn't
think of Our Lady's sorrows.

Now that we have made it to lunch, a new practice this
school year, in addition to the Hail Mary for all
those entrusted to our prayers, is to review
yesterday's gospel as a means of studying Italian. At
least, this is how it started. A Sister from our
parish recommended reading the gospel as a way of
beginning to study Italian. I signed up with the Daily

I receive the Gospel in Italian via email. I print it out and read during
lunch. Before I read it, I ask the children if they
remember yesterday's gospel. We review it narration
style, and I say what words should we look for, for
example: fig tree, fox, buried his talents, fools.
Well, wouldn't you know it, something that started out
as purely academic pursuit has turned out to be of
spiritual benefit. Just calling to mind yesterday's
gospel, helps to imprint on these tender minds the
words of Jesus. This is a great practice, and it can
be done without the foreign language! However, if you
go to Mass each morning, maybe it is better to recall
the morning's Gospel reading over lunch and prepare
for tomorrow's reading at snack time.

When I put the youngest for a nap, I make a
Eucharistic meditation. I keep a book about the
Blessed Sacrament near the chair that I use to put the
littlest one to sleep. I have used St. Alphonsus di
Liguori's Little Visits to the Blessed Sacrament,
Father Manelli's Jesus Our Eucharistic Love, and also
bible passages which speak of the Bread of Life.

"Jesus called his disciples to him and said: 'My heart
is moved with pity for the crowd. By now they have
been with me three days, and have nothing to eat. I do
not wish to send them away hungry, for fear they may
collapse on the way."

Throughout your day, while on your journey, make sure
you avail yourself of this miraculous food, which the
Lord gives us because His heart is moved with pity. He
doesn't want us to collapse in our search for Him.
Make many Spiritual Communions. The simplest Spiritual
Communion is the one described at the breakfast table,
but singing Eucharistic hymns works very well, and is
also very easy: Sweet Sacrament, O Lord I am not
worthy, Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris.... singing while
thinking of the Monstrance or a particular Tabernacle
is making a Spritual Communion. We are called, as
Catholic to make our focus the Eucharist, the Bread of
Angels which sustains our souls.

One of the most helpful images for me, to help me make
many spiritual Communions in a day, is from Father
Manelli's Jesus Our Eucharistic Lord:

"Wherever I may be I will often think of Jesus in the
Blessed Sacrament. I will fix my thoughts on the holy
Tabernacle - adoring Him from where I am, calling to
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, offering up to Him the
action I am performing. I will install one telegraph
cable from my study to the Church, another from my
bedroom, and a third from our refectory; and as often
as I can, I will send messages of love to Jesus in the
Blessed Sacrament." Sevant of God, Andrew Baltrami
(from Jesus Our Eucharistic Lord)

So, I tap my thigh where I have set up my imaginary
"telegraph tapper" so that I can send my frequent
S.O.S. to the Lord. Help! Oh No! Oh My! have all been
frequently sent.

But, this is the way the messages begin. Once you have
remembered to think of the Lord and find yourself in
His presence, it is so easy to say words of love.

When I remember to tap my thigh, I remember to tap my
heart and renew my consecration to Our Lady. Devotion
to Our Lady brings you a very deep love for the
Blessed Sacrament. The Annunciation leads directly to
the Lord's presence in the Eucharist. Our Lady leads
directly to the Lord.

St. Peter Julian Eymard speaks of Our Lady as the
Greatest Adorer. She had the privilege to adore Our
Lord before the world knew of Him, in Her womb. She
also continually adored Him, His entire earthly life,
at the Cross, at the grave, and as She waited,
suffering, for the Resurrection. She never slipped or
wavered, not even an inch in Her adoration. Many times
when remembering my Vow and tapping my heart to
remember Her, I end up tapping a message to Our Lord
in the Blessed Sacrament. I have told my children what
my tapping means. Example is the best teacher.

We have a half hour of adoration a week. We share the
hour with some friends. While at church, I ask the
children to check their telegraph wires, make sure
they are in good shape before we go home.