Family Practices during this time
Since many of us may be spending a lot more time in our homes and in an effort to continue the practice of our faith in these trying times, we recommend some simple steps to facilitate prayer, uplifting discussion, and reflections with our families:
1. Short video or audio (5 minutes or less) reflections on the scriptures, followed by questions that allow for comparison to daily life. For instance, the Gospel for tomorrow is Mt 5:17-19, and includes the line, “…whoever obeys…these commandments, will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” A question could be, “Is this true in our own house? Does the person who follows the rules, or the commandments, bring more peace, or less peace to the house, and why?”
2. Use an app to pray together. Consider Hallow (audio, and free) or Laudate/iBreviary. Hallow includes audio reflections on the daily gospel (lectio divina), the Examen prayer, acts of spiritual communion, the Rosary, and more. Laudate and iBreviary both include the Liturgy of the Hours as well as other resources but may need more introduction and support. This could be used to create a family schedule and rhythm of prayer, which might lend a sense of normalcy to an otherwise interrupted schedule.
3. For families who are looking to go deeper and have more time, they could login to a site like Formed.org and participate in a study program, likewise using it the program to establish a family routine.
4. Start a Novena to your patron saint or devotion.
5. Practice spiritual communion (see below), a good daily practice when we are not able to attend Mass.
6. For families with children:
• Dinner table questions that relate, or relate back to faith: On a scale of 1-10, how was your day, and where did you see God today?
• Is your faith more like ________ or _______? a. Pillow/rock; b. treasure chest/banquet; and roots/wings. This allows children to draw on their experiences, rather than their linguistic ability.
Ultimately, we want to invite you into closer communion with Jesus Christ and not appear as if we are burdening our families with more cares in an uncertain time. You and your family, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are in the best position to make these decisions. Please consider the info above as an offering to help assist you, recognizing the gifts of prudence and wisdom that the Lord has already bestowed upon you.
A Prayer for Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you.
Adaptation of Prayer of Pope Francis during the coronavirus crisis
O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm. You, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen. Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.