by Lois Donahue
Since we are leaving May, the month of Mary, when we celebrate Mothers’ Day and entering June, the month of the Sacred Heart, when we celebrate Fathers’ Day, I thought it might be a good time to think about those without whom there would be neither fathers or mothers — namely, children — and certainly the best way to think about them is through prayer. So let’s remember ALL children as we consider the words which some mother or father might offer in prayer for their own children —-
Your words, “for the Lord of all shows no partiality,” and your example of a father not partial to any of us, his children, taught me something very important about being a parent. As a mother of children who are individually unique, who have different gifts depending on the role you created them to play, who are as human as I am human and who will most likely hurt me as I have hurt You, I needed to learn that my root love for each of my children must be like Yours–without preference. It was You who helped me do that and I will be forever grateful.
What saddens me though, dear God, is that I feel my children, especially my growing-up children, do not believe my love is impartial. When I correct one of them or demand obedience, they forget I did the same to their brothers and sisters. When I give time or attention to another, they don’t remember when they were ill, or unhappy or in any way doing battle with life. That’s when I see the hurt in their eyes–a feeling of being neglected or a longing for affection–and my heart aches. I lie in bed later wondering if any one of them had an equally or, worse yet, a more demanding need of which I was not aware. But, oh God, I have only two arms for hugging, only one demand-cluttered mind with which to make moment-to-moment decisions as to who or what must take priority. Regretfully too, I am often a weary mother, an uncertain mother, an impatient mother.
So I come to You in prayer, asking that You help me be a better mother and help my beloved children to somehow, sometime understand that mine, like all true mothers’ hearts, can only love in equal parts.
Dear Jesus: I wonder if my children still pray. I know they did when they were little because I heard their prayers, but now that they are grown, I wonder and I worry. Please help them to realize that prayer does change things –not just the wonderful, often miraculous, things that happen as a result of prayer, but what can change when they actually begin to pray. I fear that outside of prayer their faith, their belief in You, may waiver because their minds cannot know You in the mystery of the Trinity. That’s why I so want them to know that prayer brings “feeling” to their faith and lets their heart know You far more personally than their mind ever could. Please let them experience prayer becoming presence, Your presence. They so desperately need You present in their lives and to know that from You can be drawn whatever they might need to deal with the demands of day-to-day reality. I beg You, dear Jesus, guide my children to prayer.