Several weeks ago, Kristen from Saint Monica's Bridge, tagged me in a post and asked "How do you pray?" Life was a bit too busy for me to answer that question, but I've been mulling my response ever since. Today I have a bit of free time and I thought I'd finally put down my thoughts.
Who Are You? I'm the wife to Chris, soon to be married 24 years. We've been "together" for nearly 28 years. Wow, that seems crazy long now I've typed it. Funny, when I picture Chris and myself, I still see us as those two naive 18 year olds. It's a shock to look at photos of us now! I am also the mother of 7 kids, ranging in age from 4 years old to 22 years old. I've homeschooled the majority of them for the last 18 years. While I have a degree in Sociology and had been working on a masters in Education, all I've ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. God blessed me with a husband who has supported me wholeheartedly in this. Currently we live in Utah, and have no plans to move again, but we have lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Japan, and Washington DC, having been a military family for the first 21 years of our married life.
What is Your Vocation? Obviously, my vocation has been as wife and mother. I definitely see it as my responsibility in fulfilling God's Will in my life to work towards getting myself, my husband, and my children to Heaven. This is no easy task and one I am constantly seeking His Grace to accomplish!
What is Your Prayer Routine for an Average Day? We begin each school morning by praying the Angelus and an Act of Hope. We make sure to say Grace before every meal, even in restaurants. We end each day as often as possible with a family rosary. These are the set prayers we do as a family each day.
Do You Have a Devotion that is Particularly Important to You or Effective? I'd have to say the Mass is the prayer most important to me. Within the Mass, we touch on every aspect of prayer--Adoration, Expiation, Love, Thanksgiving, and Petition--I find this the best way of giving everything I should to God in prayer.
Do You have a Place, Habit, or Way of Praying? As far as my personal prayer goes, I'm one who attempts to pray throughout my day. Much of the time it may just be a particular meditation upon an aspect of my daily life. I try to make everything I do as a wife and mother an offering, much like Saint Therese's Little Way. I fail at this quite often. Being a wife and mother 24/7 and doing every small thing out of great love is incredibly taxing and there are days where I surely say, "I will not serve." Fortunately, the sacrament of confession helps bring me back around. I also find some of my best prayer time comes during the wee hours as I suffer from insomnia. Sometimes I wonder if it's my guardian angel prodding me to pray during those quiet hours.
Do You Use Any Tools or Sacramentals? I wear a Brown Scapular every day to help me remember who I am and Whom I serve at all times. We have prayers posted throughout the house to help all of us remember to pray throughout the day. During Advent and Lent I use the special editions of the Magnificat. I also love the prayers in the Pieta prayer booklet.
What is Your Relationship to the Rosary? Years ago, when Nadja was about 2, we made a commitment to pray a family rosary every night. Over the years we have encountered varying degrees of success in praying the rosary every night. In general, I believe we succeed 4 or 5 out of 7 nights. Praying the rosary with proper attention and respect is a different story ;)
Are There Any Books or Spiritual Works That are Important to Your Devotional Life? Saint Therese's Little Way, The Pieta, and The Magnificat have all played roles in my devotions. Off and on I've attempted the daily examen from The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today by Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV. One thing I really need to work on is not letting my spiritual devotions slip into oblivion.
What is Your Most Recent Spiritual or Devotional Reading? Holy Week I finished Father Neuhaus' book Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth. It was excellent! I especially enjoyed the section from his time as a correspondent in the Vatican, covering the death and funeral of Saint John Paul II and the conclave which would elect Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope. Currently I'm reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. While not strictly a spiritual work, it contains a considerable amount of theology and philosophy from Bonhoeffer's very Lutheran perspective. My neighbor, who is LDS, lent me the book and we plan on having a nice long discussion once I've finished reading. She took many notes in the sidebars of the pages and I've been keeping notes on my phone for our discussion.
Are There Saints or Other Figures Who Inspire Your Prayer Life or Act as Patrons? Without going into detail, I'd say Saint Monica is the saint I most directly feel connected. Her example and intercession are a big part of my spiritual life.
Have You Had Any Unusual or Miraculous Experiences as a Result of Your Prayer Life? On two occasions, our son, John Paul, was healed of particular ailments due to an intercessory prayer and sacramental. He was healed of club foot as an infant upon a visit to the healing springs at the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Colorado. No joke. He was 9 months old and did not bear weight on the bottoms of his feet, but would flop them over and try to stand on the tops of his feet. The night after we visited the springs he pulled himself up to standing for the first time. At a year old, his severely blocked tear ducts were blessed by a fragment of the True Cross at a healing mass in Oklahoma. The doctors were considering lancing his tear ducts at this point. The night he was prayed over by the priest, his tear ducts began oozing the nastiest pus. 24 hours later his ducts were completely clear and we never had a problem with them becoming blocked again. They both seem like such small miracles, but they left a profound mark on me. If God listens to even to the smallest petitions, he must truly have the deepest love and care for us.
I tag Natalie from Between the Bobseins. I'd love to read how this firecracker approaches her spiritual life! I also tag Chere Mama from News From Hobbiton and Kim from Quilts and Canvases. Both of these lovely lady bloggers are new to my blog role and I'd love to get to know them just a bit better.
Of course, this is just for fun, so please don't feel any pressure to participate. For me, this was a great way to evaluate my current prayer life and I have taken away some things I'd really like to change or better incorporate. Thank you, Kristen!