Last month I wrote a call for contemplative families. Now it’s time to begin discussing what that means. Here are a number of my past posts on praying with children, in case you have missed them:
YOU are your child’s model of prayer
Teach your children mental prayer
Mental prayer for adolescents
Sing the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary with children
Create a guided meditation for kids
Meditation for kids: the thankful leper
Teach your kids the one thing necessary
Meditation for kids: Manna in the wilderness
Meditation for kids: Jesus our healer
The powerful Sign of the Cross
As I quote in my temperament books, Pope St. John Paul II wrote about spiritual growth and the family:
What is needed is a continuous, permanent conversion which, while requiring an interior detachment from every evil and an adherence to good in its fullness, is brought about concretely in steps which lead us ever forward. Thus a dynamic process develops, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demands of His definitive and absolute love in the entire personal and social life of man. Therefore an educational growth process is necessary, in order that individual believers, families and peoples, even civilization itself, by beginning from what they have already received of the mystery of Christ, may patiently be led forward, arriving at a richer understanding and a fuller integration of this mystery in their lives. (Familiaris consortio, no. 8.)
What are some ways we can “patiently lead forward” each member of our family?
As parents, we must model:
- Openness to God and His will
- God’s plan for men and women (Theology of the Body)
- Dedication to the sacraments, church teaching, and personal and family prayer
- Gospel poverty, or what some might call simplicity
- The need for the communion of saints, in all its aspects
- God’s patience, love, and forgiveness
- Continual striving for a closer union with God
Let’s begin this week by giving thanks for the blessings we have received. As you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family, look for opportunities to ask grandparents, aunts, and uncles about their faith journeys. Instead of simply asking each person around the table to state what he is grateful for, how about trying one of these questions:
- What’s the greatest blessing God has given you this year?
- How has God shown you His love and goodness lately?
- Who among the relatives has most helped you grow closer to Christ?
- What have you read recently that helped your relationship with God?
- How do you find time to pray every day?
- How do you plan to focus on God’s mercy for the coming Holy Year?
Let’s encourage each member of the family, young and old, to think about his relationship with Christ.
Please share in the comments other ideas you have for fostering your family’s spirituality this holiday weekend. Then share this post with others you think will benefit.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!