Last week I wrote about the bishop’s desire for every parish to promote family prayer during this Year of Faith. In Matthew Kelly’s book Rediscover Catholicism (which we gave to everyone in the parish last year) he has a chapter on daily prayer. He reminds us that prayer is central to the Christian experience. A Christian life cannot be sustained without it. “Prayer requires a daily commitment.”
Kelly tells the story of visiting a grade school where a child, about seven years old, asked him, “Why do you pray?” After considering any number of responses he had the wisdom to ask the child, “Why do you pray?” He didn’t have to think about it. Spontaneously and casually he said, “Well, God is my friend, and friends like to know what is going on in each other’s lives.”
The bishop is asking every family to make a commitment to pray every day. In his letter he mentioned two possible ways of praying. One is the rosary. The other is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In our parish we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament the first Friday of each month. We begin after mass (about 8:30 a.m.) and conclude at Noon. I have received a request that we have adoration earlier for people going to work. During this Year of Faith we will begin adoration at 7:00 a.m. until 7:45 a.m. for those who go to work. You can come at other times to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, too.
There are also a number of times during the week that the rosary is prayed by groups. Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. people gather to pray the rosary together in the Chapel. Sunday morning people gather at 8:00 a.m. to pray the rosary before mass. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday people stay after mass to pray the rosary.
There are many ways to pray. I received a holy card in the mail from the Christian Brothers. On the back was written, “Praying with St. John Baptist de la Salle.” One of the quotes written was “Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.” What a wonderful way to begin prayer together as a family. It reminds us that God is not present because we pray. We pray because God is always present and, as the 7 year old reminded Kelly, “friends like to know what is going on in other’s lives.”
On Saturday, Dec. 1st, the Adult Faith Formation Committee has arranged for the Ignatian Center to come to our parish to do a presentation on Advent and prayer. More information will be coming in the bulletin, but I encourage you to mark the date on your calendar now. It will be in the morning.
During the course of this Year of Faith I will also be putting some different possibilities for ways of prayer in the bulletin. Sometimes we become comfortable with one way of prayer and trying something new can open us to a new experience of friendship with our God.