The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Does my "prayer" count?

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.


  1. I started seeing a Spiritual Director recently and it has helped me immensely in praying and keeping my prayer life consistent.

    It took me a while to find a spiritual director that I trusted though, and ultimately I'm glad I waited until the Holy Spirit guided me. I see a Priest who does not have a lot of spiritual direction experience, but I know he is faithful to the magisterium and that was more important to me than one with lots of spiritual direction experience but who might lead me astray.

    I've heard (and my spiritual director said it sounded good to him) that if you are praying a rosary and don't finish it or get distracted your guardian angel finishes it for you.

    I felt like I had more to add, but my brain is not cooperating. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Oh - and the ironing thing? - that's genius! I just might start ironing my husband's shirts....or not, maybe I'll just do it while I fold his laundry :).

  2. Well, I'm no theological expert, but I've done my share of praying. :) Seems to me you're doing it right. People try to attach too many rules to prayer, when really there are so many ways to pray. Speak to your Father using your own words, or use someone else's. Or none at all; sit quietly in his presence and feel his arms around your soul. A few quick words to a friend you can be sure is always there to listen are just as real a prayer as a long, eloquent prayer in a chapel. Some time back I was lamenting to God that my constant busyness and responsibilities in caring for my family seemed to make it impossible to find any time to pray, except at night when I'd fall asleep halfway through my rosary. I'll never forget what he whispered to my heart. "That IS a prayer." Caring for my family is my vocation, and to live that vocation well is a service to God. To live in constant awareness of God's presence with you is to pray without ceasing. :) Rules have their place, it's true, but Christianity is a relationship. Be careful not to "rule" the relationship to death. (Got my own story on that, too, lol.) Just my 2 cents.

  3. God is interested in you. He wants to hear from you like a friend. You can share your life with Him, good and bad thinks as you can share your life with a friend. God has power to create the hole world. God has the power to be part of our life. Your most important prayer is your life. How you usually do your duties, handle your relationships. "Pray and labor!" as St. Benedict said.
    The good prayers are the prayers you're praying.

    Sorry for my poor English.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Please see good pro-life message here: