Our anniversary: Prayers at our wedding

Four years ago today was a day of excitement, nervousness, joy, and blessings.

With our souls fresh from confession the night before, we made our vows and received the Holy Eucharist for the first time as husband and wife.

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Holy Family holy cards passed out at our wedding to all of our guests.

Our favorite prayers included a memorare to St. Joseph and the 2nd Luminous Mystery, The Wedding Feast at Cana.

Our readings were from Tobit, from Ephesians (husbands love your wives, wives be submissive), and from John (the wedding feast at Cana).

But the most memorable prayer of our wedding was the prayer of Tobias and Sarah that we prayed. We too thanked St. Raphael for leading us on our journey to each other and our vocation.

“Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors;
blessed be your name forever and ever!
Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever.
You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve to be his helper and support;
and from these two the human race has come.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a helper like himself.’
Now, not with lust,
but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife.
Send down your mercy on me and on her,
and grant that we may grow old together.
Bless us with children.
Amen. Amen.”

-Tobit 8:5-7

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Opening to God: A lesson in prayer

It’s hard to write a review about this book. Opening to God: A Guide to Prayer is a short book of only 126 pages, so I practically want to quote every bit of it! Here are just a few things I loved and learned from it. I highly recommend it for anyone–it is written by a spiritual director of many years and many souls (both laity and religious in the U.S. and Philippines and beyond). I already mentioned Opening to God in this post about prayer, but I wanted to share a little more about it (especially as I’ve just reread it).

Opening to God is really a timeless guide to prayer and speaks to every pray-er desiring to encounter God.

Opening to God is a timeless guide to prayer and speaks to every pray-er desiring to encounter God.

1. Fr. Green defines prayer as “an opening of the heart and mind to God.” Each word of this phrase has a special meaning–and most importantly, he wants us to realize and remember that we cannot pray without God first coming to us. He says it better than me, but basically, we don’t pray under our own power, the first thing to realize in prayer is that we open to God, and He comes to us and touches us in an encounter.

2. This book was written not long after Vatican II, and Fr. Green has an interesting perspective, able to see the good in prayer practices both pre- and post-Vatican II. Just as with anything in the Catholic Church, there is always a balance between extremes, and Fr. Green helps us to see that in regards to ways of prayer.

3. Prayer is “irrelevant”–one chapter is about the irrelevance of prayer, while the following chapter is about it’s extreme relevance. Fr. Green enjoys the paradox in this, but he is right. Prayer is not “relevant,” in the way we look for relevance in our modern world. Is it useful? Does it help us get ahead? Do we get what  we want out of it? Well, no. Not as the world sees it. His image in this chapter is of a married couple, if you asked your spouse “how is our love relevant?” It would be a puzzling question–love, relevant? No! It is love because you love one another. So it is with prayer. We’re not praying to get something out of it, we’re praying because our relationship with God is one of love. And that is why prayer is relevant–our relationship with God becomes the foundation of all our life.

4. From praying the rosary, the office, to reading the Scriptures, meditating, contemplating, and taking a walk–Opening to God
provides examples, practical advice, and goals to achieve. I’ll be rereading this book again to continue to learn more.

5. Finally, something that will stay with me the most (and indeed gives an image to something I’ve always striven for), is Fr. Green’s example of a radio or tv. If we want to listen to the radio, we must first make sure our surroundings are quiet, then we must turn it on, turn up the volume, and make sure we are tuned to the right station–only then do we receive the signal being sent. That’s how we pray! First, learn to quiet our hearts, open our heart and mind, clear the distractions, and to tune to hear God’s still, quiet voice–we can only make the environment conducive to prayer, He is the one who makes prayer happen, just as the radio station is broadcasting, we don’t make the sounds happen!

6. Our goal in prayer? Learn to open to God.

This brings me back to the Bible verse I discovered when I was around 11 or 12:

Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.

-James 4:8

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Spirituality as a mother

If your heart yearns for that quiet place within, but you never can find it because of nursing your babies, chasing toddlers, cooking, cleaning, and once in awhile getting to relax–here’s a few ideas of how to regain or find that interior peace that I’ve recently found helpful:

 

Young Woman Praying Beside Baby's Cradle

1. Find a spiritual director: this might seem daunting, but this person can not only give you suggestions, but keep you honest and motivated! Perhaps it’ll be a priest that you know well, or one that you’ve heard good things of from others. Perhaps you’ll find a lay person to whom you can turn for experience and advice. Whoever it is, get started and make regular appointments with them.

2. Read this book: Opening to God: A Guide to Prayer
(this link will take you straight to Amazon to buy it!)

This book is short and easy to understand–but still profound and compelling. With years of experience as a spiritual director, Fr. Green writes this book as a beginner’s guide to prayer which he defines as “a personal encounter with God in love.” With analogies and real life experience, it makes growing in prayer understandable and desirable. (Go ahead and click through my link above – which helps me! Or, support a local business and buy it at Gloria Deo.)

3. Daily Mass: no, not every day just yet, but if there’s a day or two a week when you could make it to a daily Mass, fit that half-hour in and you’ll get an infinite Gift in return. Some parishes offer evening Masses now, that’s been easier for me than getting up earlier in the morning!

4. Adoration: start with just 10-15 minutes once or twice a week. Do some spiritual reading, journal, read scripture, pray the Office, rosary, chaplet, or just bring your thoughts to Him.

5. Journal: for me, this is the best way to collect my thoughts and pray through whatever is on my heart. I simply address the journal entry to Our Lord or the Blessed Mother, and I write my thoughts, and they seem to come together and be answered.

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3