The family that prays together
The family that prays together, stays together.
(Venerable Rev. Patrick Peyton)
This statement is perhaps the best known insight of the Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton. Being miraculously cured from tuberculosis as a young man, he pledged his life to bringing families to pray the rosary. The images on TV of thousands of people in a stadium praying the rosary is one that has stayed with me all of my life. As I reflected upon this statement, I began to see God’s providence in it.
Our loving Father wants every member of the family to be as close to Him as possible. By our faith and our own lived experiences, we know that we cannot survive the battles of life without Him. How we live as family is impacted very much by our own personal prayer because it is in that sacred space that He forms our heart. Then, when we join together as family, we bring that grace into our family prayer.
Christian, become what you receive.
For many of us, we are able to form and stick with a daily prayer routine on the ‘good days’. Perhaps it is praying a favorite short devotion at breakfast, a rosary together in the evening, or sitting before a crucifix telling Jesus the highs and lows of our day. But on the busy days these conversations with God unfortunately can become an after-thought or be forgotten altogether.
Forget God? Impossible! Yet (during my working-mom years) at the end of too many days I realized I didn’t even think of Him. I had habits ingrained in my brain that ensured I could successfully navigate schedule conflicts so as to achieve every goal perfectly. I ran on auto-pilot day after day. The crux of the problem was that I placed these demands upon my time as non-negotiable while my time with my God was optional, something I could put off. When this happens, it unfortunately becomes the model set for the family.
To place Jesus as the center of family life, the parents must first place Him at the center of their own life.
Families, become what you are.
(Saint John Paul II)
Family unity is also very important. Rather than being conflict free, unity is grown through strife and disagreements. Looking around, we see that no families are comprised of perfectly aligned and compatible people! Each is a collection of personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, and sometimes these grind one against the other. It is too common that we try to make ourselves understood rather than trying to understand our family members; this exacerbates the discord that in some families is systemic. We must desire righteousness rather than being ‘right’, and keep in mind we all were created with a heart to love one another in a manner that is special to our family. We seek to build our domestic church with a foundation of love and structures of peace, and we need His grace for this.
One generation praises your deeds to the next and proclaims your mighty works.
Personal and family prayer, along with the Sacraments, form the foundation of love upon which family unity is built. Through one’s vocation of marriage, our vocation of motherhood is a vocation of carrying on our Lord’s covenant with us, His people. It is our faith that illuminates truth which is the path to righteousness and love.
Each family has a distinct heritage and becomes part of that heritage, carrying it forward in their daily lives. By our baptism, our Catholic heritage is our birthright which comes with a duty to conserve it for future generations. Living our faith-filled life now becomes part of their heritage, those descendants of the future. And as we prepare to enter the holidays, what greater gift can we give than the lived life of grace?
I have considered my family. I have prayed and put myself and my family in God’s hands. I know that, if I do what I think God wants me to do, he will take care of my family. (Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, martyr)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊
(Images of rosary crusade advertisement 1940’s and 1.5 million people attending rosary crusade, both from the Congregation of the Holy Cross official website propagating the cause of Father Patrick Peyton)
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