Editor's note: Today, we're joined by new contributor Deborah Shelby. Deborah lives with her family in Florida and blogs about parenting struggles and inspiration for a better life from a Catholic mom’s perspective at http://prayerfulmom.com. Welcome Deborah! LMH
Fifteen years ago, when my son was still an infant, we attended a rural parish that was too small for a cry room. When he would get too fussy, I'd leave my seat and comfort him on my shoulder walking up and down behind the last pew.
One Sunday as I walked back and forth with my baby, a brochure rack caught my eye in back of the little church. It had to have been there all along, but I had never really noticed it before. I picked up a couple of brochures and put them in my bag to read at home.
They contained treasure! I read a brochure about the First Friday devotion. How had I never heard of that before? It was never taught to me at CCD classes. I never heard it mentioned at Mass. My parents never taught any devotions outside of Mass.
There were so many wonderful devotions, novenas, and prayers to which I had never been exposed in that brochure rack! I ordered recommended books from the back of some of the brochures.
I read about St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars; learned to pray the rosary better; carried out the First Friday devotion; joined a prayer cenacle; discovered the wonderful Pieta prayer booklet.
The more Catholic books I devoured, and the more I learned about the Faith, the more I loved the Holy Catholic Church!
I realized I'd been living my life without really sharing it with God and making Him a part of my everything, without involving Him in my day to day activities or praying for guidance before any decisions. I just went to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, but without any mindfulness of his Presence, His love or His help throughout every day.
I'd also had no idea of the treasure trove of blessings and graces available to us through the lives of the Saints! I learned more about the Catholic faith in next couple of years than my whole previous life.
I promised myself I'd make sure my children were exposed to as much Catholic culture and tradition as possible, so they could share in these blessings earlier in life than I did.
Here are some of our practices:
- My kids attended Catholic school until it was no longer within my means. (They got scholarships till middle school.)
- We pray together every evening. We talk about anything going on in the world we need to pray about or anyone we know of who needs prayers.
- We go to confession regularly, usually every three months. Every time we go, I put it on the calendar again for the following time.
- Less than once a week we pray the rosary together, and I am trying to get this into a more regularly scheduled practice.
- We pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. (I never knew this practice growing up, and I want to make sure the kids pray for my soul when I pass!)
- We go to Stations of the Cross during Lent.
- My daughter attends middle school youth group at our parish. She loves it!
- We made the First Friday devotion!
- Both kids have gone on religious retreats with their youth groups.
We have so many ministries, devotions, graces and blessings available to us through the Holy Catholic Church! All these treasures were readily available to me, waiting for me to open my eyes and notice them, just like that brochure rack.
Have you had a "moment" that ignited your faith? Was there a specific time or event that made you realize the awesomeness and treasures of the Catholic Church? Please share in the comments!
Copyright 2013 Deborah Shelby
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