Remembering our Mothers
May 20, 2016
A young mother with three children under six tells me that she doesn't pray as much as she should. I ask her how much she thought she should be praying. She wasn't sure, but she just knew she wasn't praying enough. I asked her if she was in some sort of religious order that obliged her to pray on a regular basis. "No" she said, but she just felt guilty about not spending more time in prayer. I looked at her infant child she was carrying and said: "You know every time you clean his diapers or wipe his nose or comfort him, you are praying. Right now God has called you to a very important vocation and every moment you live to fulfill it, you are praying." She looked as if I had just released her from an enormous burden and said: "I never thought of prayer in that way".
Sadly too many of us have been taught that prayer is a time set apart from our normal life duties and we think somehow that when we are up to our elbows in attending to the needs of others that somehow we are messing up and not putting God in the center of our lives. There is something to this thought, but it has to be placed into context. In the Benedictine way of life: "ora et labora" (pray and work) the monks enter into prayer so that they will intentionally enter into their work for the praise and glory of God. They work for God's glory (it can be anything from repairing cars to making furniture or brewing beer etc.) so that they can bring their experiences of encountering God.
So it is for each of us. If one has the leisure to spend some time in quiet prayer; that is great. There comes time in most of our lives that our activities slow down and the demands of others back off and we can spend more time in quiet contemplation of the goodness of God. Often times it grows out of our life experiences and we grow more thankful of all that God has given us. However, when we are young parents whose lives are now centered on the lives of their children, the very activity of caring for their children is prayer. If you are a care giver for a dependent adult your very service is an act of prayer. You may find a quiet moment in the midst of the chaos and that can become a check-in moment with God to remind yourself that you are intentionally caring for those around you for the glory of God. You may be so busy between work and raising kids that you do not have a quiet moment at home, but perhaps in those moments of traveling to and from work, or when you are cutting the grass, you can take a moment to bring yourself to an intentionality of what you are doing for the greater glory of God.
On this Mother's Day let us remember these great women whose very lives are prayer. You share your lives in such a way as to witness to the fruit of all prayer: you give us life! Thank you and God bless you!