Personal Prayer: Mom Talk!

The Universal Catechism defines Christian prayer into three types: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplation (CCC 2699‚Äì2719). Vocal prayer draws our inner self outward to the relationship we have with the Creator, our source and one on whom we depend in need. Meditation involves the imagination, the “eyes of the heart,” by which we penetrate gradually to the inner meaning of the words and images of faith. Finally, contemplation is the prayer of silent union with God, a beginning or foretaste of the life of eternity.

The above description of three aspects of prayer is rather apropos for Mothers’ Day weekend. Prayer and the life of attentiveness between us and God, is similar to our connectedness to our mothers. Indeed, in addition to Jesus’ teaching of God as Father in the Lord’s Prayer, and the prayer of the Spirit he teaches calling on God as Abba, Father, he also uses a number of maternal attributes and images for God. St. Francis of Assisi, as well, instructed the friars to support one another as mothers and sons.

In vocal prayer we make our needs known as well as give thanks.
In meditation, “seeing with the eyes of our heart” we are aware whenever and wherever of the nurturant relationship we have with the source of life.
In contemplation, we live the courage and values in which we have been formed into life.

Being vocal is central to our ability to learn to communicate with each other. Whether we’re whining or in serious contact we learn the manner of being who we are by the words used with us and the words with which we respond. Calling on the phone or praying aloud, we make known our needs with God and with those who form us. Later in life, when roles begin to change, it is time for us to move on and we become involved in a similar response in care of those who have nurtured us. We become the nurturers. Whether it’s our mom, nana, godmother or some other woman who has had a maternal relationship with us, we continue desire to be in verbal contact with them – and so it is with God.

When we are on our own, we make decisions about life by predicating the discernment process with a mental awareness, “What would mom say to this?” “How would mom respond in this situation?” We could call and vocalize the questions, but we begin to be aware of our ability to walk, taught by our mothers, and dare to move on our own.

And when we have achieved something we worked for, or lost something important, we contemplate in silence the bigger picture of the reality from where we’ve come, and to where we are going.

Do that last part this weekend. Contemplate what the “moms” of your life have taught you. Can you see God’s face in her face?

Then go be vocal with her, even if she’s deceased and express your thanks and joy in having known her and received life from her. These are the basic steps of who we are in relationship to our mothers as well as who we are continually becoming in God.

fr. Charles

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