Sunday, July 17, 2005

Why pray as a family?

Mary, our Mother in Heaven Posted by Picasa

The candle is lit beside my Italian statue of the Blessed mother cuddling baby Jesus in her arms. The rosaries have been handed out and Emma is dressed in the remaining ones. With Elsa dosing in my arms, I relax and close my eyes as we begin our family Rosary...

Hail Mary full of grace….

Mummy – can I go to the bathroom…

Yes .. the Lord is with thee

OUCH – you just stepped on my toes, watch it!

Blessed art thou among Women and…

Mummy – Tanny won't stop dancing with Emma.

I open my eyes and feel dizzy as I watch the two of them twirl endlessly as well as dangerously close to the fireplace. My husband clears his throat and asks them to sit.

Nathaniel does while Emma continues to swirl and my heart constricts as she almost topples into the unlit fireplace. The candle flame wavers as if her guardian angel’s wings have swished past it. Emma balances and then topples away from the stones.

"Where were we?" I ask.

We manage to get though almost the next decade without further interruptions and then Elsa wakes and will not settle down to nurse. Clearly she has a huge gas bubble. I stand up to jiggle and burp her while we sort out who gets to pray the third mystery.

'But I wanted to say the third. You ALWAYS get to say the third.'

'Uh uh – Noah said it yesterday.'

I sigh as I watch my clan argue over this momentous decision.
"Guys, guys – stop it! Teddy you say the third, and please remember we are trying to spend time with Mary. We are asking her to intercede for us – Please let’s be a little more polite in front of her. She is taking time to pray with us. Let’s show her a little courtesy, okay?"

We settle down again, and as I rock the baby she finally burps and several kids rush helpfully to grab the closet receiving blanket, towel or whatever will suffice to clean up my arm, now covered in baby spit up. I appreciate the help, but feel so frustrated by this newest interruption.
‘Why do we bother?’ I wondered. ‘Can this possibly be worth the frustration that is burning in my chest and tightening my throat. How many times have we lost focus, how often has someone lost count of their Hail Maries…’

But recently a friend joined us for the Rosary, with all of its customary interruptions and re-starts. He does not speak English very well and I am not even sure if he is familiar with the Rosary, but still he wanted to sit with us and listen as we prayed. When we were finished my 14 yr old daughter Gabriela asked him what he thought. “Did you like the Rosary?’ she asked. I had to translate his answer;

I liked it for many reasons.” He said.

First - it is time with the family spent together. And second during that time they are showing respect to God, and also to each other. It is important that the children learn to show this respect to God. And last, although I have many, many more reasons to like this prayer time – they learn to love God. “ Read more!