As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Family Offering

This evening, as most evenings, we got together as a family (those of us who were available to pray and not busy building a chicken coop, that is!) to say the rosary.  Lately I can't help but smile at the way our family rosary has changed over the years, and even offer a prayer of relief that, while we are far from perfect, we have definitely come a long way from the many mistakes we made in the beginning.

Allow me to backtrack...way back to when Jeff and I were first dating in our late teens.  I was new to my faith, and as he introduced me to his community of friends I met many holy families who were raising their children in the Catholic faith.  These families became foundational in the way I raise my own children today, and in the way I approach our own family life, and continue to be a resource of wisdom and faith to me.  One such family had older children around our age, and we spent much time at their house.  At 9:00 pm every evening, they had a family rosary.  No matter who was there, at 9:00 pm everything stopped, and everyone joined in the rosary.  It was beautiful, and I knew as soon as I had children, that's what I wanted to do in our house.

But boy - what a big transition it is from a peaceful, beautiful little idea in my mind, to an actual practice with actual children (small children!)  When our oldest was three we began our first attempts.  We launched into it full steam, all ten Hail Marys, all five decades.  Most of the time it was a DISASTER (I capitalized that for a reason - it was horrendous!)  Tantrums ensued on the kids' parts and on ours, and the children were often sent to bed early while Mom and Dad begrudgingly finished the rosary on their own.  Not sure I get quite so many graces from prayers if I loose my temper, scream at my children, slap their hands and plop them into bed halfway through.  It was, however, what we had to offer at the time.

These days bring new challenges.  Older kids who can sit still and be role models for the younger ones, but who are sometimes fidgety and distracting.  We have opted for a shorter, 3-Hail Mary decade instead of the traditional ten (and if the big boys are not here, like on Beaver nights, I only do one Hail Mary with the little ones).  We do what we can, with what we have to offer.  I used to put so much pressure on myself to be the model of the perfect family from day one - I never stopped to think that the perfect families I saw in my teens grew up from small families like mine.  Their holiness came not from doing things perfectly, but from doing them consistently, even when it wasn't easy, from enduring the tough times and offering what they could.

Step by step we are on this journey, and continue to offer what we can as a family.  Someday, maybe it will be an entire, ten-Hail-Mary decade rosary.  For now, it is a shorter one with fidgety children who sometimes say the words silly.  The trials make us stronger, laughing at our failings keeps us humble, and praying every day helps us grow closer to God.  Please accept our simple, imperfect offering Lord, and help us to always seek new ways to give you even more of ourselves.

Prayer is doubly sweet with an angel sitting on your knee

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