I am attempting to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, something monks and nuns do as well as deacons and some others. The Liturgy of the Hours is a series of prayers that incorporate the Psalms and are said at the same times throughout the day (for the full version, seven times a day). I’ve made it a goal to pray first thing upon waking, 9 a.m. or right after I get the kids to school, Noon and before bed. I work in 3 p.m. when I can.
The as-soon-as-I-get-up-one has been the most challenging as have been the prayers on days when school is out like Labor Day yesterday. I go to our bedroom or the guest bedroom and shut the door, but it’s hard to concentrate with kids playing rambunctiously downstairs or your cat rubbing up against you as you kneel in prayer. I suppose it’s better than not praying, but I get frustrated at my inability to focus on the words due to lack of quiet. It’s hard enough to focus on the words and really try to take in their meaning when it actually is quiet. With any distraction, it feels hopeless.
So what is the answer when I desire so much, “thirst,” in fact, to use the verb often used to describe spiritual longing, for as much prayer and spiritual reading time as I can find? But yet live the life of a lay person, a mother, a wife, a business owner, a cat owner J?
I prayed about it this morning in front of the Blessed Sacrament to Mary and this is what came to me in response. First of all, I am carrying out the work of God as a mother. Wasn’t that Mary’s call? To raise the son of God? So time spent there is doing God’s work in itself. But, also, I found encouragement to wake early, before the house does (even the cat!), where I can enjoy an hour of solitude. Quiet reading. Prayer. Silent meditation. Even 6:30 a.m. mass.
I’ve been working on this morning thing for a while now but it’s a struggle for me. It’s not that I’m a night person, but just that I’m not really a morning person either. But as I cannot seem to find a way to fit it all in to my spiritual satisfaction otherwise, I am going to take Mary’s advice and pray to be awakened early with vitality (at least enough to get out of bed) and the anticipation of what lies before me if I do put those feet on the floor and stand myself up.
I’ve also instituted an hour of quiet on the weekends for my whole family to encourage everyone to understand and value “silence” in this noisy world. I even encourage “no words” for that hour, especially challenging for a 4-year-old who wants to verbalize his every thought. But silence can be powerful and I want them to realize that as they grow up.
Have you struggled to find time for quiet prayer amid life as a mother and wife or father and husband? What has been your solution?