Children awake before the alarm clock, get dressed, make the bed, eat breakfast, find socks, feed the dog, get backpack, pack water bottle, turn off lights, get in car, then get out of car to change baby’s diaper, and return to car. In all of the busyness of the morning, putting a spiritual practice in place takes… well, discipline.
Raising children at home and teaching children in school provides many opportunities to establish routines that help them do better academically ,ensuring their schedules and curriculum plans include the best activities for their growth and well being. Often, while putting so much effort into making their plans and our plans, I forget whose we are.
I remembered wise words from a mother of older children: "Have you prayed for your children today? If nothing else, do this." I had gotten into a regular habit of praying and usually asking for their protection. But so far I hadn’t gotten into the regular habit of praying for my children -- each of one of them individually -- so that they can be who God wants them to be.
Likewise, it can be tough to find a prayer that fits your present vocation. A few years ago, I came across a prayer that used to belong to my grandmother. The wording seemed old-fashioned, yet something kept drawing me to it. I was a wife, too -- although in a more modern context than my grandmother. In her prayer, I admired her joyful, unceasing prayer life, and her loving, unselfish and generous spirit. It was more than just praying for her husband; it was how she could live out her mission and vocation. I started by placing this prayer by my toothbrush and would occasionally say it; over time, it sunk in and the routine of starting the day with it was ingrained.
There are many formal versions of the morning offering that can be used to dedicate your day to God.
Here is A Wife's Morning Prayer, the one I learned from my grandmother:
As a wife I beseech thee, O Triune God, make me cheerful, trustful, unselfish, thrifty and an affectionate companion. If I am blessed with motherhood, I ask the additional grace of patience and good example. May our family be modeled upon the Holy Family. Amen.
Another alternative is the classic Morning Offering that many Catholics may know:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month. Amen.
And at Regina Mater, our students pray the Schoenstatt Consecration Prayer during morning chapel before classes each day.
My Queen, My Mother, I give myself entirely to you. And to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self without reserve. As I am your own, my Good Mother, guard me and defend me as your property and possession. Amen.
Whether formal or informal, the intention of any Morning Offering is to align our will to God’s will for the day. God has prepared each day for us as individuals from all eternity, no matter the circumstances. Our response is to live the day as he wills.
What morning offering do you use? We invite you to help your children work on their morning offering in their current vocation as daughter/son, brother/sister, and student. What virtues do they need to do God’s will each day?
What effects have you noticed in your daily life by having a daily spiritual practice?