- Do you pray as a family?

It is not that God needs our prayers; rather, it is we who need God. Jesus teaches us not to stand on street corners and boast about ourselves (Matthew 6:5), but to listen in the silence of our hearts instead. Do we harbor the right intentions when we pray? In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus expresses a profound submission to God's will: 'Not my will, but yours be done.' (Luke 22:42). “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done”—not mine. This represents a cosmic shift away from our own small world, from the individual, from what Western culture often teaches us. The path to God is not found in isolation. You cannot be a Christian by yourself, alone. Take the word 'Marist,' for instance, which symbolizes the union of Mary and Christ. Salvation comes through relationships, both with God and with each other. The Holy Family of Mary, Jesus, and Joseph exemplifies our calling. We are set apart for God. Embracing an active role for God in our lives requires a love for God—a love that resides within each one of us and awakens when we choose to say 'yes' to God's will, in relationship. It's not about a magic wand offering all the answers, but rather about the mystery of God reflected in our own lives. When we pray, we open ourselves to that mystery. “Father, let your will be done, not mine.” Children cannot learn this in solitude. This journey may seem like entering a desert. Prayer can feel like a desert. It might seem tedious. However, it is only by traversing the deserts of our lives that we uncover something previously concealed—the promised land. Our families become beacons of hope and vessels that navigate us through our life's deserts. We learn. Our families become Marist, not just in name but in our actions and lives, following Mary's example, allowing God to work through us. As instruments of Divine Mercy, God's love is poured into each family member. We experience this love through our relationships with one another. Prayer embarks us on this journey through the desert, reminding us we are never alone but always with God.

Yet, this is easier said than done. Finding time each week for family prayer amidst our busy lives is challenging. Our hectic schedules distract us from discovering this hidden treasure, mirroring a desert experience. However, something seems missing. Prayer is the lifeblood of the spiritual life. With the Holy Spirit more active in our lives, streams of living water flow through our desert. This journey is not about counting prayers but about living in the present moment with God, focusing on our intentions. As fathers or mothers, we must assume greater leadership in our families to foster regular prayer together. Do we pray for our prayer life? Only then can we fully appreciate God’s love unfolding in each family member.

Questions for further reflection
  1. Reflection on Prayer and Intention: How does the practice of praying with a family, focusing on genuine intentions rather than public display, impact the spiritual growth and unity of the family? Consider the balance between personal solitude in prayer and communal prayer within the family.
  2. Role of Family in Spiritual Development: In what ways does embracing a Marist approach to life, emphasizing relationships and the example of the Holy Family, transform the individual and collective spiritual journey of family members? Reflect on how this approach fosters a deeper connection to God and each other.
  3. Challenges and Commitment to Family Prayer: Considering the obstacles of modern life, such as busy schedules and distractions, what strategies can families employ to prioritize and enrich their prayer life together? Reflect on the role of leadership within the family to cultivate a regular and meaningful prayer routine.
Reflect on these questions while listening to this song...

Song - Céline Dion, Andrea Bocelli - The Prayer


Final Prayer

Gracious God, as we reflect on the sanctity of family prayer and the journey through our personal deserts, we ask for Your guidance to lead our families closer to You. Help us to find strength in the silence of our hearts, to seek Your will above our own, and to cherish the bonds of love that unite us as reflections of Your divine love. May our homes become sanctuaries of prayer, where Your presence is felt deeply and Your love is made manifest through our relationships. Grant us the wisdom to prioritize this sacred time together, despite the distractions of our daily lives, and inspire us to embody the virtues of humility, submission, and communal faith. In embracing our roles as leaders in faith within our families, let us be beacons of hope and instruments of Your Divine Mercy. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

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08 March 2024

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