Inspired by the movie PRAY, Marya Hayes considers the importance of a parent's example and gentle nudge in passing along the faith.
We often do things we weren’t expecting to because we were in a position where it was required. As children, we wouldn’t have gone to school out of curiosity or with the intention to learn all that we could. School was required, and for the most part it benefited the vast majority of all who went to school. You have heard the phrase "you get out of it what you put into it." Sometimes we need that shove to give our energy to a project. We are pushed into parenthood because we are pregnant. Maybe we weren’t quite ready when that first baby, second, or eighth baby arrived, but who is? Most of us have become better people because we became parents. We became more self-sacrificing, more forgiving, and more charitable. We also learn who God the Father is just by being a parent.
In addition, going to Mass and prayer are requirements. Why are they requirements? Because they are necessary to develop our relationship with God, and to receive the sacraments. It’s ultimately for our well being. Kids don’t quite understand that yet. For them, it’s just like school until they realize that it benefits them, and that their peace, joy and eternity in heaven is what’s at stake.
One of my children has a learning disability and ADHD. He was the one child who would throw a temper tantrum before almost every Mass. It was difficult for him to sit through the Mass. Now that we have been in lockdown for many months, he has missed the Mass and the routine that we had as a churchgoing family. We tried to do online Mass with the children, but that was quite the rowdy scene.
What’s neat is that this one child requested to go to Confession. That was a first. Unfortunately he asked during the lockdown and our priest was not hearing any confessions. He asked again months later, and it turned out that our whole family was able to do an outdoor, socially distanced confession at our parish courtyard. All of the children obviously benefitted from this. The next thing my son asked for was a Bible. I ordered one for him just two days later. I pray that this will be a permanent turning point for him in his search to be closer to God.
What I am getting at is that he was pushed to go to Mass as a family whenever he was with us. And even though he might not have gone if it was left up to him, it has fed his soul, mind, and heart. It has shaped the person he will become in the future. It provides some sort of spiritual foundation for him.
After watching the new movie PRAY (coming to theaters October 9, 2020), I felt compelled to start family prayer. The movie is about Venerable Patrick Peyton and his profound effect on people through 50 years of calling families to prayer. I feel that Fr. Peyton and God are calling us now more than ever to evangelize, and to pray as a family. Those prayers are necessary because they will strengthen our family in these difficult times.
Although we pray at mealtimes and we go to Mass, that is not enough. We need to set aside 10 minutes to pray together as a family. We need to set the example and model the behavior that our children can bring to their families in the future. We need to build that foundation and reliance on prayer. This is the path to improved relationships. This is the answer to finding Peace in the world. This is the answer to our personal needs. Maybe this movie, PRAY, will give your family that push it needs to start family prayer.
Recently a friend of mind pushed me to seek work as a faith formation coordinator. This is not something I had been thinking about doing. Out of the blue she asked me to pray for confirmation from the Blessed Virgin Mary if this is how I am to serve the church. I am timid when it comes to time commitments because of my own family needs, which seem to be constantly changing. But maybe this is the push. Maybe this is the window that opens my soul to more growth. Maybe this is the change that will affect more lives than just my own. We never know if we don’t push forward and move into that uncomfortable challenge.
I challenge you to bring more prayer to your family. Pray the Rosary daily and see what miracles happen in your domestic church. My husband and I committed to praying a decade of the Rosary every day to start with. We will introduce this to the children again, and gradually increase it. We used to pray the Rosary in the car on the way to school, or any time the children were fighting in the car. This always instantly eliminated the fighting and cleared the mood. I invite you to share how prayer in your family has miraculously changed your family life.
Copyright 2020 Marya Hayes
Images: Copyright 2020 Marya Hayes. All rights reserved. PRAY image courtesy of Family Theater Productions. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Married to her longtime friend and mommy to 3 high energy children, who demand her constant attention, and direction, Marya serves on the board of directors for a Domestic Violence non-profit. When not working, she is working out, taking the family for nature walks and adventures, or at the movies. She lives in Southern California and feels absolutely blessed to enjoy the beauty of the area every day.