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September 19, 2010

That said, it is also important for a mother to understand that the work of making a home is not just practical but essentially sacramental. That is, it has to do with the presence of the Lord in the world, in a specific time and place, a concept that is directly related to the Incarnation and a power that is directly related to the sacrament of marriage. This being the case, prayer is not optional; it is essential.

When babies are very small, it is often possible to pray while meeting even their midnight needs. Concentration is not always possible, and satisfying contemplative silence is often impossible, either because mother is tired or because sickness can be so confusing and even scary; but Jesus is present, hears every word, and accepts a quick look or a fragment of a Psalm. His answering love is entirely faithful.

With older children, it is very different. Their needs increasingly demand a kind of mental attention that would make many kinds of prayer an interruption of the mothering relationship. A glance at Jesus is always possible, of course, but such quick fragments are not enough.

On the other hand, older children are also capable of understanding the meaning of prayer. When the torrent of their troubles has spent itself somewhat, they can (sometimes) be invited to prayer. Not always, of course. If they are in a rebellious frame of mind – children are completely like adults in this matter – they may not be willing to be talked out of it, even for a moment, and howsoever wisely they are urged.

Yet at the same time that children reach for adulthood and perhaps exercise the option to ignore us (!) they reach an age when we may fairly demand that they respect us if we exercise the option to ignore them. This comes up in discipline (more of that later) but also, they must let us pray. They must allow us to have solitude. We must take time for itin an orderly way, as Mrs. Dudley did, and they must learn to respect it.

A mother’s prayer is good for everyone – because it is good for her, and because it is a good example for them.

Her children know their mother is available to them

daily and hourly, even minute by minute

a thousand times every day;

but they learn as well

that God has called her

and that this call is holy

and that they are called

to give her to the One who calls her.

This is what is best for them.


How they give her,

what times and seasons

is an arrangement that changes over time,

but they learn to give her

and she gives herself to God,

who directs her life

since she has invited him to do so.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 20, 2010 12:32 pm

    Mary – (isn’t Mary a wonderful name) – I so appreciate your comments about mother’s and prayers and “mother’s prayers”. Very insightful and needed. Thank you

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