Friday, October 3, 2008

A Spiritual Life Amongst the Chaos!

Morning Offering

“The key to a mother’s inner peace is to find that marvelous balance between a prayerful life and her family life. A faithful mother soon learns that, in order to survive, her life should really become a prayer.” The Heart of Motherhood

By God’s grace, a mother makes her life a prayer. We should start our day, when we open our eyes, offering the day to the Lord with either our own conversation with Him or with a morning offering prayer such as:

“Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for this new day, a new opportunity to serve you in my family. Help me, please to be open to your love and grace for me today. Help me to find the joy in my vocation even when I am feeling tired and challenged, so I will have peace in my heart and may radiate that joy and peace to others. Amen” Then the day starts off with the proper disposition. When we pray like this, each of our prayers, works, joys and sufferings throughout the day are thus offered to the Lord.

If it is physically possibly, a wonderful remedy that is a proven model, is to rise early before your children. In the bible, Jesus would go and pray to God before sunrise. This is usually the quietest and freshest part of the day. While you sip your caffeine, read scripture or inspirational material, offer your day to the Lord, sit quietly and open your heart for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. You will be amazed at how excited and energized you will be to start your day with your children and the unexplainable peace and joy that will fill your heart. When your children rise, you will greet them with a smile and a full pitcher of life giving water that you can in turn pour into your children so they can be filled with Christ’s love. I hold my hands up to the Lord every morning and say the following prayer “Lord Jesus, I offer you these hands today. Please transform them into your hands to help love and discipline my children as you would. Please guard me from the evil one and help me to be the mother and wife you want me to be. Please give me your grace and peace. Mother Mary please cover me in prayer and give me your grace and peace. I love you, Lord, and thank you for this day. Amen”

Whether you are able to rise early before your children or you need that extra rest, know that the Lord understands you and knows your heart. If you can physically only make the sign of the cross that is OKAY and that is a prayer as well. Just acknowledging that you need and love the Lord is enough for Him. What are some different ideas on finding time to pray in silence that best fits your personality being a morning person or night owl?

Children’s Morning Offering:

Everyone’s morning routine is different, but something that works for us is when my children rise in the morning and want to watch a cartoon, I put in a Max Lucado video and they love them (not every morning)! Or if you don’t watch TV in the morning, when you get into the car to take your children to school, you can listen to Christian radio. Anything you can do to fill their morning with Christ is a great way to teach them to start their day off in prayer. What are some other ideas on teaching your children to turn to Christ with a morning offering?

Creating a Sacred Space:

Creating a sacred space in your home helps motivate and inspire you to come before the Lord whether it is morning, afternoon or evening. The following are ideas on how to create a sacred space in your home:

  • Create a place in your home that is your “special corner” where you go to pray.
  • Have a comfy chair to sit in.
  • A side table for your coffee and a lamp.
  • Spiritual reading material
  • Candle
  • Focal point-the focal point can be a crucifix, a statue, an antique picture of the holy family. Even a picture or two of your “communion of saints”, your loved ones who are in heaven.

Your prayer corner will also be a place for your children to turn to if they want to pray for someone or having a hard time at that moment in their life. They can go before the Lord in your home and light a candle for their prayer. As a family, you can gather in the prayer corner to say prayers. It will be a constant reminder to turn to the Lord throughout the day and that He is present at all times. It will also help teach your children how to pray and become closer to Christ. Just a reminder that your prayer corner can be chic and design savvy to help go in your home without being too overbearing for non Catholics! What are some fun ideas for designing your prayer corner?

A Mother’s Daily Routine is a Prayer:

St. Frances of Rome, a wife and mother, said, “It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find him in housekeeping.” Saying a decade of the rosary while folding laundry or praying for God’s grace and strength to help you get through the day while changing ANOTHER poopy diaper helps us mothers become closer to Christ. Praying throughout the day helps us to find holiness in our vocation of motherhood. By praying throughout the day in the hum drum tasks of keeping a home and being a mother, we will find contentment and an unexplainable happiness in our challenging self-giving vocation. Place a cross at your kitchen window to remind you to say a prayer as you wash dishes or a crucifix in sight of the rocking chair to remind you to prayer as you rock your precious baby. We need to realize that we can achieve holiness in the midst of serving our family. Although we might yearn to be at the altar begging the Lord to help us through this challenging time in our lives of taking care of little ones day in and day out, holiness and prayer can be found and practiced in our homes, our “domestic churches”. How can we master the task of praying throughout the day so we can grow in holiness and love for our lord?

Praying the Prayer of Action

Saint Catherine of Sienna said, “You must pray the prayer of action, which is the fragrant flower of the soul. A good man (woman) is a prayer.” The best example of Christ we can be to our children is to LIVE our faith. By living our faith, our children will come to know and love the lord and hopefully never choose to go on the wide path but continue on the straight and narrow. How can we teach our children to LIVE their faith?

Other Forms of Prayers for Mothers

Fasting- I believe our life as mothers is a form of fasting because it is a completely selfless job. We can offer up different circumstances for fasting, such as sleep deprivation, difficult days with cranky children, mothering alone whether you are single or husband works long hours or travels. Offer the difficult situation up to the Lord with fasting in prayer for a certain prayer request.

Rosary- The rosary is one of the most powerful prayer b/c you not only pray the gospel but the blessed mother helps you become closer to her son. Very powerful things have happened to people who always pray the rosary.

Homework J

Read Danielle Bean “Making More Time for God” and do the priority assessment.

Read Danielle Bean” Screening Our Influences”

Find a great devotional book for your prayer time in your prayer corner.

Some ideas for spiritual books:

  • Medjugorje Day By Day- blessed mother apparitions and messages
  • The Cup of Our Life- Joyce Rupp (catholic author)
  • The Heart of Motherhood workbook – Donna Marie Cooper Oboyle
  • Our Domestic Church- Donna Marie Cooper Oboyle
  • Any Danielle Bean book is great

The Ordinary Yet Quite Extraordinary Vocation

Inspired by Chapter two The Heart Of Motherhood by Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle

The Child is the beauty of God present in the world, the greatest gift to the family. –Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

How amazing that our lord entrusts us mothers with the greatest gift of this life… to his body and blood! Our vocation is a ministry. A faithful mother, by her loving, diligent example will turn heads and hearts. She will edify others through her strong faith in God and her unfailing dedication to her family. Her selflessness and self giving will be apparent to the individuals around her whom she is influencing and inspiring by her life of love. She may never be aware of this, but our Lord will know. How can we minister to others on the vocation of motherhood and how children are truly God’s greatest gift on earth?

Love and peace begins at home.

Households can seem vary chaotic and stressful at times. Hardly the appearance of holiness, it would seem. Throughout these hectic and sometimes crazy times, a mother often needs to re evaluate what is most important and what task/activity/situation needs to be eliminated to help keep peace in the home. When the home, the vital cell of the family, is in chaos and turmoil, the family will in turn be chaotic. When things seem constantly unpeaceful, chances are there is some part of your life that is not coinciding with the Lord’s Will. We are to do all we can as mother’s to keep life for our children peaceful and surrounded by Love. What situations currently are possibly causing your home life to be unpeaceful and hectic?

Being Servants of Christ

There are many saintly mothers in our midst today, sometimes humbly hidden within our families. Mothers do what comes naturally to them: they love their children; they make their home a strong, warm, secure haven for their families. They set a caring example. A mother’s day, whether a working mother or full time at home mother, we all have the same duties to fulfill as mothers and nurturing our home. Our day is filled to capacity with many ordinary tasks, not important, but rather works of love that may be overlooked or unnoticed. Changing diapers, doing laundry, schedule keeping, house cleaning, planning and cooking nutritious meals are just some of the ordinary tasks in a mom’s repertoire. Although these tasks may seem mundane or even monotonous, they are the nitty-gritty details that keep the family going and together. Mothers perform never-ending labors of love throughout the day, precisely because of the love they possess for their husband and children. A mother’s deep inner faith affirms that a day’s sacrifices and seemingly ordinary tasks please our Lord because they are done with extraordinary love. We are to have a servant’s heart in serving our family. How can we focus more on seeing the beauty of being servants of Christ by humbly serving our family in every day tasks that the world tends to perceive as a “going crazy, mind numbing” job?

Seeing The Face Of Christ In Our Children

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited to me. All these things you did, you did for me” Mathew 25:34-46. When we put a band aid on our child’s knee, look and you will see the face of Jesus. When you are holding your child at night, look deep within and feel the presence of Jesus. When you are giving your child a sippy cup of water, look and you will see you are giving our Lord something to drink. When you are fixing dinner and setting the table tired and worn out after a long day, look around and see you are feeding Jesus and his flock. All of things we do, we are doing for our Lord Jesus. We are His servants performing humble tasks all the while receiving eternal rewards.

Mothers encounter Jesus within our families every day in the sublime mission our Lord has entrusted to them in the heart of the home. He has put the mother in the midst of her family where she, by her word, love, life and example raises up soldiers for Jesus Christ. The next time you are washing your child’s dirty feet in the bathtub and they are splashing water all over the floor, take a deep breath and remember you are washing Christ’s feet just as He did to the apostles the night before he was crucified. And who knows…..the water that is being splashed just might be the Lord blessing you with holy water! So instead of screaming STOP SPLASHING WATER, just make the sign of the cross and say “thank you, Lord”.

Family Is Society’s Primary Vital Cell

“The mission of being the primary vital cell of society has been given to the family by God Himself” (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Vatican Council II, no.11).

What has happened to society is much to blame on the family. We are all to blame in complicating life. What happen to the simplicity and beauty of family life? We think we NEED all of these material goods to make us happy when reality is all that our children truly need is a loving environment at home. Families are not at HOME near as much as they use to be. The home is our children’s safe haven, shelter from the world. The home is where children receive their confidence, their spirit, their love for themselves and others. Whatever we can do as mothers, one of our main purpose is to provide that security in our homes by eating dinner together as a family, tucking our children in bed at night, chasing each other around the house, tickling our children on their bedroom floors, cuddling together and watching movies on a rainy Saturday afternoon, eating popsicles on the front porch, planting flowers in the garden. The home is where the family blossoms.

By remaining simple and focused, dedicated to following God’s will through the vocation of motherhood, mothers can be a radiant example to others and a model for the family in our world today. A genuine assessment is necessary to determine a household’s real needs, without heeding to what the materialistic world dictates. Simplicity is a very good thing. Additionally, less material clutter can help tremendously to focus the heart.

It doesn’t take much to truly create a loving and peaceful home for our husband and children. How can we simplify our lives and focus more on our family?

Love Can Be Tiring

Who said motherhood was easy? When we are pregnant with our first, we are all into the nursery and baby showers and think motherhood is going to be this glamorous lifestyle we see on the movies. Our generation today tends to want to take the easy rode. We want things handed to us and we want to by pass the hard times and immediately get to the good. Great sacrifices and hard times bring great reward. Hopefully eternal reward in our vocation! St. Vincent de Paul said. “let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow.” A mother’s vocation is one of service. Women today think we need to be pampered. What happen to the strong, pioneer women of old? They were truly serving their families by working hard in the fields, keeping their home, bearing several children! And we think we have it hard today? Our lord Jesus, who truly was a King, lived a very humble, modest life. He worked hard as a carpenter and prophet everyday of his life and was tired. Do you think he or his mother Mary were off at the Spas getting pedicures while sipping on wine? Don’t get me wrong, pampering yourself every once in a while is a great thing, but I think women today have gone over board! As you fall into bed tonight rejoice in an honest day’s work that made our Lord so proud. Remember: the work we do is eternal; everything else will turn to dust.

The Vocation of Motherhood

My name is Kim Venneman Cooper and I am a mother of three children three and under. I have recently started Archangel Mother's Ministry at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Colleyville, TX. All of the writings below are to inspire all mothers to become refreshed and rejuvenated in the vocation of motherhood. Everything else will turn to dust, but the work we mothers do on earth have eteral rewards.

May God Bless you in your work as a mother. You only have one chance to raise your chilren and to love them as Jesus loves us. Be good to yourself and to your family and remember to always call on the Lord for help and grace. Our job as mothers is the MOST important job on earth. No degree, no job, no house, no car, no travel experience, no perfect wardrobe will ever measure up to the calling we have in motherhood. WE are servants to our families and how honored and blessed we are for God to have given His greatest gift to us...His children.