Now I am seguing into personal prayer, prayer alone
without the children. This is very important. We need
to spend some time, not all the time, but some time,
in contact with God. We have to experience the Divine
patience, if we are going to show patience.
"See above all how with Him each word, each action
proceeds from love...You have not yet understood His
teaching if you have not discovered its source: the
infinite love of His Heart." (My Ideal)
With a set plan to read the Gospel each day with your
children, you have the basis for a conversation with
Jesus as part of your personal prayers. (See the book My Ideal for a detailed explanation of this type of conversation.)
"Go to your room and shut the door, and pray in
secret. Your Heavenly Father who sees all will repay
Try to "leave the dry land and go out to
sea" as St. Teresa of Avila counsels. Close the door
and windows of your senses so that you retreat into
your soul in order to bring it to the refreshing
waters of the Trinity. In this prayer, bring the
blessed Virgin Mary with you. She will keep you
recollected, She will keep you honest, She will keep
you humble. Begin to "sail away" by making an act of
contrition and imagine the Lord. Put yourself at His
feet for the sermon on the mount. Use the scripture
reading you went over at tea time. Use the reading to
discover the deep love of the Sacred Heart. You must
find love. If you hear harsh words, than you have
missed the meaning. (My Ideal)
The mere fact that the second Person of the Blessed
Trinity became man to suffer for us is LOVE. The mere
fact that we have the gospel with His words recorded
is an act of intense love. If the Gospel has a rebuke
in it for you, listen with love. It is to those that
He loves that He chasizes and corrects. Always abandon
yourself to His love in these conversations.
Speak to Him about this reading. Notice His feelings,
His brilliance, His humor, His personality, His
goodness, His Honesty, His Humility, His Greatness,
His Compassion. Sheer power is not as multifaceted as
great power with gentleness and humility. The
combination is awe inspiring. The most rapid way to
make progress in anything is to make a resolution to
do better. Finish your conversation with a resolution
and give the resolution to the Blessed Vrigin Mary.
Otherwise the resolution will be vague.
This should be the most pleasant prayer of the day. Do
not omit it. Make a plan and keep to it. This
conversation could be the secret to waking up early,
before the rest of your household in order to pray.
How many of us could wake up early, at 5 am for
arduous devotions? The most demanding of the day? But,
what if you wake up early because the Lord is waiting
to speak to you, calling you from slumber to awake to
Him? That is not arduous. A little talk based on
yesterday's gospel. You don't even have to read
anything. Just slip out of bed, go to the statue of
the Sacred Heart, kneel down in front of Him, put your
hand over His wounded foot. Begin with the sign of the
Cross and then the Act of Contrition and sail out to
meet Him in your soul.
Now that you are awake and already refreshed, it is
easier to say other morning prayers. Make the coffee,
have a biscuit, and now you have time for a morning
offering, a spiritual communion, a Marian meditation
and the breviary.
A small tip, I was given a CD alarm clock for
Christmas a few years ago. I scoffed at it as too
fancy for me and never took it out of the box, until
recently. It is the BEST! I usually have little
children in my room and I don't want to wake them up
early!! But, with soft gentle music of my choosing,
usually Bach, I can wake up early without disturbing
them. I espcially like Jesu Joy of Man's desiring. The
song itself reminds me that Jesus is waiting to talk
to me. I have also found that trying to wake up 15
minutes or 25 minutes before the kids is not early
enough. It is just close enough to their wake up time
that they wake up also. But, if I wake up about 1-2
hours before them, they don't wake up. This is not for
everyone! If you are expecting or have a newborn, you
need a lot more sleep. I couldn't do this for a long
time, but, as things calmed down, this is what I have
discovered works, at least for the present, while I
still have the grace to do it.
Another secret is to be conformed to the Will of God.
If despite your best efforts, you cannot awaken, then
abandon yourself to His Will as a child would. If you
set the alarm clock and you sleep through it, abandon
yourself to His Will. If your child is up during the
night, this is your Eucharistic Adoration. Think of
waking up to visit the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament
and attend to the needs of your child. The goal is
always to conform yourself to God's Will. If you set
the alarm clock but if you get out of bed your baby
will awaken, don't become disgruntled or petulant.
Stay in bed, conforming yourself to God's Will in
gratitude and go back to sleep. You know the
difference between laziness and conforming yourself to
God's Will. Tomorrow is another day or you can try to
catch up later in the day.
If one evening you peeked into your 5 year old
daughter's room and saw that she had neatly put out
her slippers, robe, a prayer book and her teddy bear
and she was busy fiddling with an alarm clock. She
looks up at you and says "Oh good! I don't know how to
set this, would you help me?" You walk into her room
and turn the clock on and ask her "What are you
doing?" She replies "I want to get up early to say a
few prayers before my busy day gets underway."
Wouldn't your heart be touched? Wouldn't you just
think that was the most tenderest display of piety?
There really isn't much difference in our relationship
with Our Heavenly Father. We need to be like children
if we can enter the kingdom of God. Our Heavenly
Father will smile upon our attempts to wake up early
to speak with Him in prayer. The life of a mother or a
father is very busy, demanding, and tiring. God knows
how hard you are working, but the more demands that
are placed upon you, the more you need God's strength.
Make an offering of yourself to God, prepare yourself
to wake up early. Do a few things before you go to bed
which will make it easier to wake up in the morning:
1. put your clothes near your bed, your slippers, rob,
whatever you like to have.
2. Maybe set the coffee before bed
3. Line up your prayerbook, favorite devotional
picture, spiritual reading, breviary, notebook, pen.
Do all of these as a good will offering to God, as an
act of piety, as a prayer. "O Lord, I want to spend
time with you each morning in prayer. I don't know if
I will sleep through the night, but if I do, I would
like to wake up and speak to You first."