I LOVE this book! If you are Catholic and you have a house, you need to read this! It goes through the liturgical year’s feasts and holidays, as well as the sacraments and daily devotionals, and gives all kinds of trivia, ideas, and tips for incorporating the life of the Church into your home life.
I’m going to talk a little bit about some of her information on daily devotionals in the home, and my take on them, as well as how I’m *hoping* to incorporate more family prayer into our lives. We don’t yet have children, but I just KNOW it will be so much harder to instill in our children the importance of daily prayer if my husband and I have that habit ourselves before we have children. Yes?
Forms of daily prayer:
Daily Mass Readings: This is a wonderful way to stay connected to the life of the Church, even if you are not able to attend daily Mass. Some ideas from Ms. Meredith include — Collecting all reading citations for the week ahead of time, marking the Bible so they are easy to find, or subscibe to a monthly missal (if finances allow) which has everything you need in one place. I personally love the Magnificat; if you do decide to go with a monthly missal, please get a subscription, as it saves tons of money! (You can get a one year subscription to Magnificat for about $40, or you can buy them each month for about $6.00 each. That’s like $30 extra dollars each year!)
Be realistic when starting out about how much time you can devote to Mass readings. She says, “Start slowly to develop both a taste and hunger for daily devotions.”
It will be easier to begin reading Scripture for real if you have more than one Bible in your house, and it’s not sitting on a shelf collecting dust! If you come from a Catholic family, you have probably gotten a new Bible for each and every first Sacrament recieved, which means, unless your’re a teenager, you should have at LEAST 4 Bibles at home. Unpack them and put them in places where you’re likely to pick them up. (I need to dig out all of mine and scatter them around the house — let’s see if my husband notices when he gets home from work!)
As you read, experiment with: Reading silently, meditating on a word or phrase that jumps out at you, in the tradition of Lectio Divina. Act like a lector and read outloud to your family, your pet, your garden!
Prayer Journal: This is, by far, my personal favorite and most fruitful style of prayer. I have kept something of a prayer journal since high school and, I’ve even kept most of them. If I’m feeling particularly spiritually dry, I’ll crack one of those old puppies open and see how God can use my own words to speak to me now. I never fail to be surprised.
One thing I love to do, is pick out my prayer journal! I love roaming the shelves at a craft or fancy paper store, looking for the perfect journal. It has to be just right for me; spiral bound, but sturdy, lined pages, and plenty of space for jotting extraneous thoughts in the margins. I often buy one that is plain on the outside, then decorate it with images of Jesus, Mary, the Saints, or inspring quotes, prayers, poems — anything really, as long as it puts me in the frame of mind of prayer.
I know some people love and live by this form of prayer, and some people can’t really get into it, but I think that it can be important to keep track of prayer requests and movements, and to be able to look back over your life and see the ways that God has blessed you. It will probably be in a way you aren’t expecting, or not when you expected it. But it’s so beautiful to see a written reminder of God’s promises with a prayer journal.
I think a prayer journal can be a good project for kids; when I taught sixth grade, we made prayer journals for religion class. They liked it because they got to decorate them however they wanted (within reason), so it was an art project, but it also gave them a chance to talk directly to God, and to have some silence in which to think, in what is very often a chaotic world.
Rosary: Do I even need to go into the benefits of a family rosary? We try to pray one once a week or so, but this is such an important practice that our family is going to make more of an effort for consistency. A daily decade can be a good practice if a family doesn’t have time for a full rosary. The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is coming up on October 7, and the whole month of October is dedicated to the Rosary. What a great time of year to commit the family to a daily decade, or once weekly Rosary.
I think I’m going to make some Rosaries to give to family and friends for her feast day; maybe we can even have a party! Ok, I’m going to the craft store to buy Rosary supplies as soon as I’m done writing! 🙂
The Catholic Home book gives great instructions for making your own rosaries. I think this could be a great project with kids too (man, I need to get going on the baby-making front!)
There are so many other suggestions for devotions, as well as how to bring the Church year into your home. Buying this book isn’t money wasted! I don’t know if most mainstream bookstores have it, but I know it is available through Amazon.
What kind of devotions does your family do? Is it ever a struggle? (It is for us — so much!) How do you overcome the struggle? I’d love to hear your stories. – =