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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Prayer in the Family

Homeschooling, living a Catholic life, and praying in the family can be likened to this image:
Picture yourself at a restaurant near the Vatican, sitting at a table with a crisp white tablecloth, white plates, and the best bread you've ever seen. The waiter is busy pouring out sparkling Pellegrini water while holding a white napkin over his arm. You look over your shoulder, through the glass window you see the dome of St. Peter's basilica. You and your family have been out all day visiting the tombs of the apostles, praying in the shrines, seeing ancient ruins, marveling at ancient science of the aqueducts and listening to the voice of the successor of St.Peter. The day included a visit to the Santa Scala where you were able to kneel on the very steps Jesus Himself fell upon! And now with the day's pilgrimage behind you, you sit with your family, relax, and enjoy the fine cuisine and review the day that has passed.

Think of praying with your family as "the flavors of Rome." You want to bring Rome into your home. When and where do all of you routinely stop your activities ofthe day and get together? It is around the table. Here is the natural place to begin setting up your prayer schedule. We want to keep it pleasant and build up Catholic culture in our home. We don't want prayer to become a burden. Our aim is to have mealtime as pleasant as if we had spent the day in Rome and now we are at a restaurant. We have to be gentle to the little ones, or the ones with little faith. ("We who are strong in faith should be patient with the scruples of those whose faith is weak." Romans 15:1) A few very short prayers beginning each meal will become the foundation of your family's prayer routine.

The old definition of prayer is lifting your heart and mind to God. The prayers do not have to be long in order to bring yourself into the presence of God. Prayer is a gift. It is not a matter of will power, of talking to yourself and self improving. It is a question of giving. Giving of yourself, giving of your life. Prayer should always be an offering. Prayer is the response to what God has already offered to us. He has already given up His life for us. He loved us when we were yet far off. Prayer is a response to God's gift to us. It should reflect the offering He has made first. It doesn't take many words to offer yourself.

For example: "I'm Yours"

Excellent prayer.

It is even better when you pray it consistently.

Luke 18"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said:

'In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'

" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. "

An explanation of the "flavors of Rome":

Visiting shrines and historical sites.and science marvels means homeschooling and
educating your children at home.

Visiting the Holy Stairs, is an image of the times we fail at what we
are trying to accomplish.

Listening to the Holy Father is what being a good Catholic is all about.