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Showing posts with the label Spiritual Exercises

Lenten Exercise for Children

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How's Lent going?

We're coming up to the Fourth Sunday of Lent: Laetare ("Be joyful!") Sunday. Just a bit past the halfway mark in Lent, this rose-colored celebration encourages us to stay faithful to our fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.

Here at the Apostleship of Prayer, of course, our favorite part of that Lenten trifecta is prayer. Our mission is to encourage children to cultivate vibrant, personal prayer lives of their own. The spiritual giant Romano Guardini warned against "empty reciting" in prayer, so the Apostleship of Prayer encourages ways of praying that will grow with young people as they mature.

©2015 APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER

One of my favorite resources for children in 3rd through 7th grade is our "3 for 3 Prayer Experiment." It challenges students to observe three deliberate times of prayer each day for three days, and then reflect on the results. Perfect for a middle-of-Lent prayer boost!

Join me at Praying with Grace for the juicy details…

Let's Hear It from the Children!

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Last winter Pope Francis visited the Roman parish of St. Joseph. One of his remarks there was eagerly snatched up by social media: "Babies cry, make noise, go here and there. But it annoys me when a baby cries in church and there are those who say he needs to go out. The cry of a baby is God's voice: never drive them away from the church!"

Being a mother of five children, I've had my share of those who say my baby "needs to go out." A friend of mine was once asked to leave with her baby--by the priest, during his homily! And sure enough, there are times when an inconsolable child needs a change of scenery so other churchgoers can have a little peace. But children belong in church. Let's bring them on Christmas, the day when God's voice actually became the cry of a baby. Let's bring our older children too, who, crying in their pre-adult way, sometimes protest having to go to church. Let's bring our children to church over and over again, so we…

Let's Hear It from the Children!

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Last week Pope Francis visited the Roman parish of St. Joseph. One of his remarks there was eagerly snatched up by social media: "Babies cry, make noise, go here and there. But it annoys me when a baby cries in church and there are those who say he needs to go out. The cry of a baby is God's voice: never drive them away from the church!"

Considering how much I crave silence, it is with great wonder and gratitude I realize how much I love to hear crying babies and noisy toddlers at church. And I don't mean I just love to hear other people's children cry, making my rambunctious brood seem comparatively docile. No, I mean squalling children help me pray.

Please continue the reflection with me at Praying with Grace. . . .

Things That Make Me Happy

God was lavish with me on Sunday, drawing me close to him through church, music, family, community, and nature. Why would I sabotage his invitation to intimacy, his consolation? I must continue to pray and discern how to help others who suffer, certainly, but the panicky guilt I suddenly felt constricting my heart was a dirty trick. The movement I had noticed all day was joyful consolation; only an enemy would be interested in sucking the gratitude out of me. Once I got that straight, I decided to accept God's gift, gratefully, and to store up the peace for more difficult times that might lie ahead.

Brimming with joy, then, I made this little list of 5 things that make me happy. Maybe they will make you happy too, or remind you of other happy things you've been meaning to thank God for. And now, Things That Make Me Happy:

Find out at Praying with Grace!

Iggy Fever! Gearing Up for the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

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Indifference is great for parents. As I read through the latest issue of The Economist over the weekend, I plunged into an article about helicopter parents that made me remember the Ignatian principle of indifference. The article, titled Cancel that violin class, invites modern parents to relax. I imagined Ignatius reading the article, a secret smile on his lips, shaking his head slowly, as he learned about the savage preferences parents have for their children and the exhausting effort they put forth to make sure their children are playing the right instrument, volunteering the established number of service hours, and getting the necessary grades to enter an Ivy League school. The article cites the advice of Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University: "if parents fretted less about each child, they might find it less daunting to have three instead of two. And that might make them happier in the long run. No 60-year-old ever wished for fewer grandchildren."

But wa…