I've been in a struggle lately. The thing I've figured out the last few days is that about two weeks ago when things were "good," I was trying to pray a rosary every day. Coincidence? Most probably not. I was also trying to get in some kind of habit of "praying without ceasing." Well, I was ceasing a lot, but I was trying to whisper some prayers during my daily chores. While ironing my husband's shirts, I would whisper things like, "Please, Lord, give my husband confidence when he wears this shirt. Help him to stand up straight (he tends to slouch)". As I would iron the arms of the shirt I would pray that he always be strong and confident. At the yoke of the shirt, I would pray that his burden never be too heavy and that I would be able to help him with whatever burdens he has. Then, in the morning as I would tie his tie for him (yes, I tie his tie, I just always have) I would pray in my head that the Lord keep watch over him while he was away from me and find happiness and fulfillment at his sometimes high pressure job. I think he found me out though because he went to Google something on my phone and up popped my last search about "prayers for ironing." He didn't ask any questions. Maybe he's afraid of the answer? I digress.
Anyway, there were a couple of weeks that I was trying this prayer thing out. Then, the you-know-what hit the fan as it always does. Normal every day you-know-what, sick kids, hectic schedules, family conflict, etc. and I stopped the prayers. I stopped "praying" or listening to the rosary every day. I got mad at God because my Mom still hates me. Then things seemed to tumble out of whack. Life is like that, but I can't help but wonder that for those couple of weeks when things were kind of easy going - was it a result of my attempts at daily prayer?
I'm still figuring it out. I'm thinking I might need to seek some concrete help. Where do you go to learn how to pray correctly? Is there a correct way? I'm wondering if I pray the rosary with an audio aide - does it "count"? Do thoughts in my head while I'm praying count even if they are constantly interrupted - are thoughts even a prayer? If I just read a bunch of prayers, does that count? I'm starting to think I don't know how to pray at all except when I'm told exactly what to do and say, i.e., at Mass. I've learned a little about Lectio Divina. I have a book on contemplative prayer. I've been reading the catechism for a few months, I'm just kind of feeling pretty dumb currently. Is there a how to guide for prayer? A Prayer for Dummies book? I feel so awkward and at times completely ridiculous. Does it only count when I'm in Church, with incense wafting and candles flickering, and sunlight dancing through the stained glass and Him in the tabernacle - just that close to me? That I could do every day.
In the midst of pondering all of these things, I came across this on Twitter from Priests for Life. This will be my prayer for the next couple of days as I've been feeling that I'm neglecting Grace and trying to push her aside to push aside the pain that inevitably comes with the thought of her. I am still trying to figure out how to feel joy for the two children who are making an enormous amount of noise upstairs, while my heart aches for the one who is with Him and not with me.
Prayer of a Mom who Lost a Child to Abortion
by Fr. Frank Pavone
Lord God of Peace,
I thank you for your love for me,
Which is more tender than the love
Of a mother for her child.
I thank you for your forgiveness,
Which is more generous
Than the forgiveness human beings can offer.
Thank you for helping me to know
That I am not my abortion.
Rather, I am your daughter, Beloved and Redeemed,
For whom your Son would have died
If I were the only one who needed salvation.
Save me always
From the menacing voice of useless guilt and the oppressive force of shame.
Rather, lift me up in the light, peace, and grace
Of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.