Monday, August 17, 2009

The family that prays together...

Do you remember these words? The family that prays together, stays together... This was the slogan of the Roman Catholic Family Rosary Crusade, led by Father Patrick Peyton and begun in 1942. The Family Rosary is still a ministry of the Holy Cross Fathers. In a very fine essay by Timothy Shriver, son of Eunice, the truth of Fr. Peyton's words shines forth. This piece, published in the Washington Post before Mrs. Shriver's death, is a wonderful testimony to her faith and how she handed it on to her children.



My Mother's Heavenly Role Model


When I was a child, May was Mary’s month. My mother demanded that we children convene after dinner and say the rosary every night. We complained, cut corners, giggled, and misbehaved. But for the most part, we did it.

How could I have known that 40 years later, I would be saying the same Rosary with my mother as she lays in bed at 86, struggling for health. Some days, speech is difficult for her and walking impossible. Some days, it’s all she can do to raise her head.

But even on those days, the words of the rosary come easily.

“Do you want to lead Mom?”

“Yes. Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee…”

In the traditional language of religion, Mary is her “devotion.” And for her, Mary became not just an object of veneration but also a guide for how to raise children, how to work, and how to live a life of meaning. Mary is my mother’s role model.

I can understand how many of today’s mothers shy away from such devotions. Many mothers today feel that they should not force religion on their children. Many feel that traditional devotions like my mother’s are out of date and represent the most arcane of spiritual practices. Many emphasize emotions like empathy and compassion instead of devotions like attending church and following rules like the Ten Commandments or the moral codes of religions.

But I can hardly begin to capture how much meaning and purpose my mother’s devotion to Mary has given me. The rosary was my first exposure to the power of repetitive prayer and led me to study the meditative practices of all religions where mantra and repetition form a pathway to silence and peace. Those beads in my fingers still create an almost biological reaction: “calm down” they seem to call out no matter the moment. Move to your center. Be still.
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(read the complete article here)
H/T to NED

Image:
Our Lady of the Rosary by Maggie Mayer

-ConcordPastor

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. I read the article and sent it to my sister. My family had a very large rosary that hung on a lamp in the dining room. Each night we said the rosary as a family. I am a believer in devotions and our Catholic rituals. I wish we could get back to some of them.

Thx for sharing this great post.

Mike J said...

Those devotions helped define who we were as Catholics. The Rosary, 40 hours Devotion,May Crowning, etc. all introduced us to meditative, communal, and scripture based prayer.Passing on those traditions to our young folks is important in developing their identity as Roman Catholics. Sometimes, in our zeal to "fit in" to mainstream culture, we lost our way.

Anonymous said...

Mary is my role model as well.

I love how you said Mary was your mother's "guide for how to raise children, how to work, and how to live a life of meaning." It is the same for me.

Studying the mysteries of the Rosary has lead me to unimaginable peace. No matter how big the problem I can go to Jesus through Mary and the Rosary and realize it isn't as impossible as I thought.

My 82 year old grandmother has always repeated that slogan, the family that prays together stays together many times to my cousins and me. It really stuck with me. Even though I didn't pray the family Rosary as a child, I now pray it every night with my own children.

Susan Loyd wrote a hilarious book entitled, Please Don't Drink the Holy Water - Homeschooling Days and Rosary Nights or something to that effect. She gave a humorous and probably honest description of their "Rosarius Rapidus" or fast paced let's get it over with before the two year old starts performing gymnastics on the coffee table approach. I thought of that book when I read your words stating, "We complained, cut corners, giggled, and misbehaved. But for the most part, we did it." Yours is the perfect description of our family Rosaries. But we do it!!

Often I pray a Rosary privately in the morning then pray another one at night with my husband and children. The morning one is a bit more peaceful.

The Rosary is such a powerful prayer. It is simply amazing. St. Marie Louis DeMontfort in The Secret of the Rosary said that the Rosary is a special defense of the Church, that it is a powerful instrument for the conversion of sinners and victory over vice, and that it is the favorite method of honoring the Mother of God. I have witnessed this all to be true in my own life.

The history of the Rosary contains many powerful military victories as well. Many of these are documented and can be read here... I think it is so encouraging to examine these victories. If praying the Rosary can save entire nations, I can't help but think of how praying the Rosary will bring about blessings and peace in my own life.