We have tea time, with a nice table cloth, usually clean, tea cups and tea pot filled with herbal tea. We begin with a little less than a decade of the Mercy Chaplet, led by my four year old.
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion,
Have Mercy on us, and on the whole world.
Then we make a Marian examination of conscience and review the day. I ask the children to think of one time they did not act like the Blessed Virgin Mary today and to resolve, if the same situation arises, that the next time they will act like the Blessed Virgin Mary. We all say the act of contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of Hell. But, most of all, because they offend You, my God, who art all good and deserving of my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Your grace, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
We pass out the food and try to practice using some good table manners. Once everyone has had something to eat and the discussion seems to wane. I give the warning that I'm about to read the day's gospel: "Get whatever you need, so that you don't have to interrupt the reading."
I use the suggestions from the book
1. Ask the Blessed Virgin to help you understand what
Jesus is going to teach you.
2. During reading tell Blessed Mary the reflections it
3. Keep in mind Jesus is talking to you.
(During the reading of the daily Gospel, if the reading begins
"Jesus said" I cup my ear and lean over, I ask the
little kids to do this too. Jesus is talking, whatever
He says is Absolutely True, absolutely.)
4. Read respectfully
5. Read slowly - not from curiosity
6. What needs reform in your life?
7. Make a resolution, give it to the Blessed Virgin
I just go around the table, asking the youngest or the
shyest to go first. What did you hear today? What did
Our Lady teach you today? What is your resolution
going to be? I am happy to hear anything remotely
similar to the gospel reading or the Catholic faith.
Just going around the table stimulates a discussion.
It really helps to remember and call upon it later. I
find this more effective for me, than if I were to
just read the Gospel on my own. I believe this is the
result of the sacrament of marriage. God is rewarding
my praying with my children.
And after, we pray the Rosary. Snack time is one of
the most important prayer times. There isn't a lot of
pressure on the meal preparation, so it lends itself
very well to prayer. It has also become one of the
secrets of waking up early in order to pray before the
children wake up.