The Edel Gathering is this weekend and there were some of us who couldn't attend, as much as we would have loved it! Rita over at The Catholic Review: Open Window thought it would be great to host a blog hop wherein we'd have a virtual conference! I loved the idea and thought to share how I keep the faith alive between Sundays, with kids. I'll admit it, I don't always do a bang up job each week. Because work.You'll see what I mean. I brought my youngest Gabriel with me to work today. Finding the time to share the Catholic faith with my children isn’t easily done during the summer months especially when they’re not in school. I work full time from 8:30AM - 5PM Monday through Friday. The time I have with the kids is limited, but I make the best of it. Here's what we do to keep the faith!
- Check in with them about their feelings about their prayer life. Little ones can struggle too and experience spiritual dryness just like adults. Let them know that they’re being heard and share with them how you work through these harder times. For example, I know for sure that Gabriel hasn’t been praying as much as he used to. I asked him why and he gave the usual answer “I don’t know”. Don’t leave it at that, or get discouraged, Mom. I followed up with, well I know that Mary misses talking with you so how about we say some prayers, I’ll do them with you. I showed him the rosary and chaplet in my car, and said that I pray them every day even when I don’t feel like it. A look of shock came upon his face when he heard that Mommy didn’t like to pray all the time. Then I got a little lashing, “You know Mom, it’s important to pray every day and Mary can help because she speaks the heart language. Don’t you know?” You’re right Gabriel, you’re right.
- Be active during Mass (I know Mom’s with sweet babies, this can be tough). I have two boys 9 and 6. Alex, my older son has a Magnifikid! subscription that he uses to read prior to mass should he have any questions or insights (you can order a free sample if you want to check it out!). This doesn’t happen every weekend. You saw my kitchen drawers, and that’s where the Magnifikid’s reside (along with mass envelopes, Aleve, pencils, you know the deal). Gabriel is still learning to read, so he can’t very well have his own Magnifikid, but he can sit right next to Mommy and follow her finger as she reads. Gabriel pays more attention now that he recognizes sight words. At mass a few weeks ago, the following Gospel (Matthew 11:25-30) was read:
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.
Gabriel was able to read the words in bold. He’s reading the Gospel! Mostly – and that keeps him very engaged in the mass. I also can’t help but think as he gets older, he’ll remember Mommy’s curly hair on his shoulder and pointing out words with her finger. We also follow along with the hymnal, especially with Alex as he plays piano and again, I follow along with my finger for little Gabriel. Granted, there are days when they aren’t as attentive or interested, and there are days that I am distracted, and elsewhere mentally. This weekend our priest said something so profound and it’s stuck with me since: We are perfectly imperfect in an imperfect world. Where did he get that from? The Liberty Mutual Insurance company commercials. See how faith can find you anywhere? I digress.
- Put your faith (and theirs) into action. I have been a Lay Dominican postulant for at least 6 months (I took two months off during formation because I was in Italy and my stepdaughter came to visit). My husband also works and there are stretches where he’s traveling across the country. I bring my children with me to my chapter meetings. I pack snacks, drinks and their hand held devices as well. However, they introduce themselves and a couple of times, Alex shared his feelings and insights on the conversation with my Lay Dominican brother and sisters! Of course, you’d have to check with the people running the meetings. My chapter president was all for it. He said they were pro-life. Ha!When we go for walks, we enjoy praying with the intercession of St. Francis. Not only does Alex love Pope Francis, he also loves St. Francis as the patron saint of animals and ecology. We thank God for the pretty flowers, the tree lined streets, squirrels, bunnies and the occasional deer that cross our path and as with special intercession from St. Francis to protect this beauty.We are blessed to live across the street from our church. When I can get out of work on time, and get dinner cleaned up, we go to mass on Tuesday evenings after I get home from work. No matter what, we always visit Mary’s grotto. It’s our favorite place to pray and Gabriel is the Master of Ceremonies, allowing one person at a time to pray to Mary. He’s very protective. Check if your parish has an evening mass during the week, or even spend 10-15 minutes with the children at adoration. This helps them learn that adoration, (and visiting Our Lord) is important. This will test their attention span and you may only get 3 minutes at first. Take what you can get and thank God you had that much!
How do you keep the faith in your family alive between Sundays? Share in the comments. Do you have a blog? With some of our fellow bloggers heading off to the Edel Conference, we thought it would be fun to have our own virtual conference, sharing thoughts on faith and family. See more and link up with Rita at: Catholic Review: Open Window
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