Deanna Bartalini recommends three books that will enhance any busy mom's prayer time.
I recall being the mother of little children and working full time ... and the things I have forgotten, my grandchildren are reminding me. I took care of them for 12 days and I could not go to the bathroom alone and had to plan my shower and by the end of the day, “purple” seemed like a totally reasonable answer to “why?” My prayer life suffered. Or did it just look different than usual? Sometimes I felt terrible about it but I did what I could, when I could.
If you are the mom of little ones and feel terrible about your prayer life, please don’t. I am going to guess that you desire to pray for 2 reasons: you love God, and prayer helps you be a better person. The issue is not your desire: it’s your time and energy and ability to focus. I have some books for you. Honestly, these books are a treasure for anyone who wants a deeper prayer life and sometimes gets distracted by life.
Saintly Moms: 25 Stores of Holiness by Kelly Guest, (published by Our Sunday Visitor) one of our Catholic Mom contributors! Kelly pulled together the stories of 25 moms who are already saints or on the road to sainthood. She offers fast facts about each, why they are an inspiration, how they lived out their vocation, trials they overcame, and a prayer to offer.
It is so humbling to read the entries and realize that these saints had trials just as we do. If they did, we can too! Each selection is 5-7 pages, just enough to read before you fall asleep or while waiting in the car line. You will find your favorites, the Blessed Mother and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and some new faces, Ven. Margaret Bosco (as in St. John Bosco’s mother) and St. Gianna Molla.
And if you want to learn more, listen to the podcast interview I did with Kelly!
The next book is Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, a 10-day personal retreat with St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary by Fr. Edward Looney, published by Ave Maria Press. This book aims to make the teachings of St. Louis de Montfort a bit more accessible and to draw us closer to the Blessed Mother and through her, to Jesus. Each day focuses on a different title of Mary, offers a reflection based on a part of St. Louis de Monfort’s True Devotion to Mary, a prayer from Fr. Looney and then a traditional Marian prayer or hymn. If you have been intimated by the thought doing a Marian consecration, this book is a beautiful introduction.
The book is not a strict set of behaviors and prayers, in fact, Fr. Looney says this in the introduction, “You can structure the following ten days in whatever way you like.” He then gives some suggestions, reminding us that the goal is “for an open heart so that God might accomplish his work in us.” His conclusion, “What Now?” offers suggestions as to what to do next.
And finally, a book for Advent! A book with daily meditation, reflection questions, prayers, quotes, space for journaling and beautiful artwork come together in Adore, A Guided Advent Journal for Prayer and Meditation by Fr. John Burns and illustrated by Valerie Delgado, published by Ave Maria Press.
I can’t wait for Advent to use this book. Each week centers on a specific theme: Watchfulness, Preparation, Nearness and Emmanuel. Each day has a quotation from scripture, saint or great teacher, a short meditation by Fr. Burns to read, a reflection question or two and a prayer. The quotes and medications are short but meaningful. The questions offer you a time to think a bit more deeply about your own spiritual life and how to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas.
Each of these books would be a welcome addition to your prayer time. While I am a big believer in reading Scripture and praying in silence, there are seasons in our life when we need more guidance and direction. These books provide that guidance. They are structured in a natural way, helping you to use your prayer time in a focused way. Whether you pray five minutes at a time or for an hour of quiet in Adoration, you will have the spiritual food to grow closer to God.
Copyright 2021 Deanna Bartalini
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About the Author
Deanna G. Bartalini is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast, Not Lukewarm Podcast, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At DeannaBartalini.com she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.