St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Monday, March 06, 2006

Prayer: If I have no interior life, I have little to give...

So much has been written about prayer, I'm sure I won't say anything new in that regard. But, I will share with you some thoughts and resources that might help support you, motivate you and enrichen your own personal efforts of prayer.

I noticed at my friend Meredith's blog, Sweetness & Light, there is a post regarding praying with children: Daily Prayer with Children, dated March 3; Meredith gives her own schedule of daily prayer life with her children. And I had to chuckle recently while visiting the Catholic Analysis blog as Oswald had posted that while we were waiting for an update from CA, we could visit the Liturgy of the Hours link, saying: "In a way, it is God's blog with a message directed uniquely to you." How true!

I will admit that while I have never neglected prayer in my daily life, in more recent years I have locked more seriously and securely into it, sticking to a regular schedule, (or rule), in my case a "mom's rule" within rubrics of ordinary life. In reading the wisdom of the saints on prayer, there is much to draw from. One might first start to pray: "help me Lord to pray!", if their prayer life has been neglected or somewhat lacking.

I have learned that carved out time during the course of my day, set aside solely for prayer is absolutely essential in my being able to give to those around me. As Fr. Christian Kappes relates in his article: The Melancholic Temperament and the Catholic Soul (Latin Mass Magazine, Fall 2005), "...Every day at a particular time I go to a place where my senses are not highly engaged (little or no noise, movement, etc). Whatever sacrifices I have to make for that time every day is supremely important: only the most necessary things are able to stand in my way. For if I have no interior life, I have little to give to anyone else. The old axiom rings true here: nemo dat quod non habet!" [No one gives what he does not possess]. (I might add that Fr. Kappes articles from the Latin Mass issues of Fall 2005, and Advent/Christmas 2005, on temperaments and prayer life are excellent).

When I began to pray the Liturgy of Hours, it was then I began to become more disciplined in adhering to a schedule of prayer and could feel quite an accomplishment as I was joining with the universal prayer of the Church. Voices together throughout the day communicating with God. I didn't want to be left behind.

Now, finding special time for a homeschooling mother whose children are with her most hours of the day does present its challenges -- but, it can be done. Personal prayer time generally has to happen very early in the morning before the children rise, and/or late in the evening when all have settled back down. But, I have also enjoyed praying aloud the prayers of the hours with our children along with our usual daily devotions, such as the Angelus and family rosary. In this way, our children develop a family prayer life, community prayer life that supports and nourishes the whole Church, as well as individual prayer life that we continually help lead them to develop and nurture.

Lent is such a valuable time to turn within and build up interior life, to allow the fruitfulness derived from that inner life to flow outward; for as Fr. Kappes says, "if I have no interior life I have little to give to anyone else."

Next: fasting accompanied by prayer.

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