I mentioned before how important it is to have a firm foundation of prayer in your life, especially if you are taking on the additional role as homeschooling mother (or father). If you have a large family (meaning more than four children now-a-days), you will recognize the following conversation: Computer lady comes into my home to see why my computer is moving so slow and notices all of the children around. After mentally counting them in her head, she says, "You have how many children? I don't know how you do it! I only have three children and that is enough for me!" One day I would love to respond: "Yes, I have seven children and the only way I do it is by praying all the time. It's not only me praying, but I try to encourage other people to pray for me, too. Quite often I even pay people to pray for me!" (I've lost track of how many religious orders and groups that I have sent donations to that I have asked to pray for me.) Quite honestly, I know that that is the only reason why I am able to get up every morning, do what I have to do and remain reasonably sane. To the last part of the computer lady's statement, if I had the nerve, I would love to ask her how much she prays. Chances are, not enough. I know when my kids are driving me crazy, it all stems back to a lack of prayer on my part.
The Miles Christi priests (remember the silent retreat?) encourage you to spend 15 minutes of quiet time each day in meditation. They recommend finding a good spiritual book, reading a snipet or an entry of it and then spending the time trying to listen to what God is saying to you. They also encourage you to journal those thoughts. Some books they recommend are "My Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis and "Life of Christ" by Bishop Fulton Sheen. If you have never read "In Conversation with God" I would highly recommend it. It is a series of seven books that cover the entire liturgical year. For each day, there is a wonderful meditation based on a topic covered in the readings of the day. Another great prayer resource is the "Magnificat" magazine. If you read that each day, you get a meditation, info about a saint and you can cover your Bible reading time, too.
To leave you with, here is today's entry from the "Magnificat" that is listed before the Mass readings.
"Queen Esther prostrates all her majesty before the Lord and prays, 'Help me, who am alone and have no help but you.' There is no more perfect human gesture than such authentic prayer. Even in our wickedness we know how to give good gifts to our children. Which means that the inclination to pray is something as natural as our heart. Christ tells us to be true to our inborn need to depend: 'Ask, seek, knock. You will find."
Happy St. Valentine's Day!