I have written about Br. Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God before. I think it's a simple yet profound way to deepen our relationship with Jesus, do small things with great love like St Therese and to grow in virtue while we live out our Faith more consciously. I know I'd like to carry out my vocation as Mom...graciously, with more patience and love, but I inevitably become unravelled, and caught up in my often self-inflicted pressures of family life.
The tasks set out for me in my vocation as a Mom, if carried out with love, are supposed to catapult me to holiness! This is the Mom's School of Holiness.
I get flustered by the needs and demands of my family and the general chaos can be overwhelming. I'd like to carry out all my tasks prayerfully...with grace and patience and gentleness, but I know...and I know my kids would agree....I just can't pull that off. Even if I could get it all done....grace and patience and gentleness slip away pretty fast!
Cooking, cleaning, training, managing, driving, shopping and never-ending laundry can be tedious, thankless and frustrating.
I've had a problem with Practicing the Presence of God, ever since I read my doggy-eared paperback discovered at a used book store...almost 20 years ago. And back then, I wasn't even a Mom yet!
I usually forget the most important part of practicing the Presence of God: prayer.
I do pray...but Brother Lawrence prayed continuously while he went about his simple duties. He was in constant conversation with God!
Everything is better when I remember: I just can't do everything all on my own!
I know I need to ask for help from my husband AND my kids before I enter the realm of I'll-just-resentfully-do-it-myself...but the MOST important help I need to request...is from Jesus and His Mother Mary. Mary knows how to get it all done...connected constantly to her Son.
The problem is that I get so overwhelmed... that I forget to ask. I forget to pray.
But here's my idea: what if I pray each day asking for Jesus and Mother Mary to help me to remember to rely on Him and ask for His Help when things start getting tense? I have on occasion asked Him for a reminder to get myself to weekday Mass or Confession....and I must say...He's very reliable! I will inevitably be prompted to prepare to go to Church, just in time, with minimal neglect of my Mom duties.
Isn't this a great idea? It's a big deal to truly unite our efforts with Jesus and call out to Him, relying on His Strength, not ours....but some of us need to take a step back and ask for help before it gets to the crunch. We need to ask for reminders and prompts to remember to call on Him and I think Jesus (and Mary!) will be more than happy to help us out.
I have found asking for His reminder to pray and call out to Him....has helped me increase my prayer and carry out my vocation with a little bit more patience and calm. I think that this is a big deal...especially having everyone home for summer!
I find that I am remembering to pray more often. A quick little prayer goes a long way to help focus and stay calm. I think as long as I remember to keep asking for His reminders....I could make practicing the Presence of God... a habit!
Imagine the possibilities...of being in constant conversation with God!
Jesus, I trust in You. You want me to draw closer to You, praying more, engaging more, asking for help instead of struggling on my own. Please remind me to call out to You and look to Mother Mary as my model. Please prompt me, remind me and guide me.
Jesus, be my strength, I trust in You.
All I need to do is to remember to ask.
Copyright 2013 Monica McConkey
About the Author
Monica, mom of 5, blogs about Catholic crafts and family traditions at EquippingCatholicfamilies.com. She is an author and creator of Super Saints quizzing cards and over 45 Saint, Sacrament, Catechism and Prayer-packed Craft Kits to help teach the Catholic Faith. The Catholic teaching tools and gifts are available through Arma Dei, the Catholic family publishing company founded with her husband Bill.