Redeeming the Times
character of modern civilization is, certainly, shown most clearly in the
kind of daily, weekly, yearly schedules which it tends to impose on us. Consider
the daily program of a typical American family: father rushes off to work
by train or bus or subway or car; the children hurry to school; mother hurries
to get all her housework and marketing finished; as soon as anyone gets home
again, or finishes what he is doing, he begins to think about the next pressing
demand of social or economic life. How little is such a program of hurrying
and worrying designed to foster a sense of the presence of God, how little
to develop the religious potentialities of daily life, or growth in Christian
Or consider the plan of the typical American family's week: the strain of
the five working days, the weekend filled with odd jobs, violent amusements,
and the relaxation of exhaustion. What relation has this to the Christian
idea of the week? Or, again the typical yearly round: school begins for the
children, all sorts of activities begin for the parents, the Thanksgiving
turkey, the Christmas rush, Valentine's Day, winter, Easter bunnies and
chocolate, spring, end of school, plans for a vacation, etc. How can years
that concentrate our attention on such non-essentials do anything but hinder
gradual normal growth in Christian living for either parents or children?
Here, surely, is one of our greatest problems as Christian parents: how can
we give our children the idea of a fundamentally Christian pattern for a
day, a week, or a year, tied as most of us are and must be in so many ways
to the almost completely secular timing of the world around us? We cannot
simply take the pattern of a monastery's schedule, nor can we impose a design
of living taken from another time and place, however Christian and desirable
such designs, in themselves, might be. For we need to give our children at
least the outline of a pattern of life which at once is Christian, and of
our own time and place. The only practical way to go about such a task is,
surely, under the guidance of the Church, to think out the purposes for which
God gave us days and weeks and years as units of time in our lives. The Church
clearly teaches us, by her own official schedule of daily and weekly prayer
and services, of yearly feasts and fasts, that the fundamental time-units
of our lives are meant to have a sacramental meaning and a sacramerital purpose.
If we understand this sacramental meaning and purpose, then, we shall be
able to plan how again under the guidance of the Church, we can make the
most Christian ordering possible under our own circumstances of the days
and weeks and years of our family living.
To begin with the day, then. The Church has always seen in each dawn the
image of our Lord's resurrection and of our rising to true life with Him.
Each day's Mass, in which the great Action of our redemption is re-presented
for us to share in, is the focus, the vital center of the day, radiating
its light and force through all the Hours of the Church's prayer, with Vespers
as its evening shadow, a sacrifice of praise. And Compline shows us that
each night's sleep is meant to be a rehearsal for our death in Christ, teaching
us how, with contrition and hope, to commend ourselves and all our work and
care, with our Lord dying on the Cross into the loving hands of the Father.
Each day, in other words, is meant to be an image of the whole Christian
life, and is meant to help us toward that perfect conformation to our Lord
and to His redeeming action for which we all were made, and for which we
were given the fundamental powers at our Baptism.
What does this mean for our daily family schedule? First of all, surely,
that we should try to see each new day as an image of the resurrection, a
rising to newness of life in Christ, to try to live more perfectly to God,
in the strength of Christ, than we did yesterday. Children naturally begin
each new day quite afresh; they seldom have conscious hangovers from yesterday's
mistakes and faults. Let us, then, in spite of our own morning fatigue and
irritation and the complications of getting a family started on the day's
routine, try to show the children that each new day is a gift from God, that
we want to thank Him for it, that we want to offer everything in it to Him
with our Lord's offering at Mass, and ask His help to use the day all for
Some sort of family morning prayers are usually possible just before breakfast,
at least while the children are small enough to have the same schedules and
be able to eat breakfast together. Let us take this opportunity to give them
a pattern of morning prayer for their whole lives, not simply a routine "Our
Father" and "Hail Mary," but one which will contain praise, joy, offering,
prayers for help and protection.18
Let us also occasionally try to show the children, when occasion offers during
the day's work or play, that our morning offering (or, obviously, our taking
part in the Mass) means a willing consecration of the whole day, that we
meant to share in our Lord's work during the day, and now should not be taking
our offering back by complaints and whining and rebellion.
Then, however we spend the morning hours, there is usually a pause somewhere
around noontime, at least for lunch. The Angelus is the age-old sanctioned
form of midday prayer for the laity, recalling the whole mystery of our
salvation, bringing us back to a moment's peace in the presence of God. While
the children are small enough to have lunch at home, and on weekends and
during holidays with the whole family, let us, then establish the Angelus
as a family habit; again, as far as possible, not as routine prayer but as
an opportunity to be reminded of what the whole day is for. Finally, somewhere
in the course of the late afternoon and evening, some sort of family "evening
song" or praise of God is surely the Christian order. Most families meet
at the supper table. Let us take this opportunity for some short psalm (Psalm
116, for instance) or hymn, or prayer of praise as part of grace before or
after the meal.
And, while the children are young enough to have a set bed time and to say
night prayers in common, let us give them a pattern of night prayers which
will include all the essentials: a sorrow for what has been done wrong and
prayer for forgiveness, commending one's soul and all that one is and has
into the hands of the Father with our Lord's dying on the Cross, in the hope
of rising with Him to new life and strength tomorrow.
The basic plan of a Christian day, then, would seem to be: getting up with
hope and joy and thanks (in our wills at least); offering ourselves (by taking
part in the Mass or, when this is not possible, by a morning offering) to
share in our Lord's work and suffering and death during the day; recalling
ourselves to this fundamental purpose of our day's work and play and asking
God's help to carry it out, at least once during the day; and, in the evening,
praising God for His goodness, and for enabling us by His grace to make our
life and work of some real use and purpose; and, before we go to sleep, handing
ourselves over once more to Him in contrition and hope, with Christ our Lord.
Surely these essentials would not overcrowd a family's timetable, but would
rather serve to weld all the items in the day's schedule into a more peaceful
and purposeful unity. The first step, perhaps, would be for the parents
themselves consciously to try to mould their days on such a pattern; then,
if there are older children, to discuss the whole purpose of a day with them
and see how they think it should be achieved. Then anything "new" would not
be just another thing to do, but seem part of a plan.
With small children, a new season is always a good excuse for starting a
new "practice," like a psalm at supper time, or a new form of morning or
night prayers. The beginning of Advent or Lent, for instance, gives a fine
chance to rearrange prayers and prayer-times to achieve their purpose more
perfectly. (For the sake of avoiding routine, if nothing else, prayers of
all kinds should surely be varied by season as much as possible.)
And when we have established these basic essentials of a Christian day in
our family living, then would seem to be the time to consider how much more
in the way of communal or private prayer, divine office, reading, etc., should
be part of the day's plan, what would truly help each of us and the family
as a whole, to conform ourselves and to be conformed by God's grace each
day to the image and action of Christ.19
The Christian week begins with Sunday, the "day of the Lord," a "little Easter,"
a day of triumph in our Lord's triumph over death by His death, a day of
entering by hope into the happiness and peace of eternal life which He won
for us.20 In Sunday's Mass, the whole Christian people come together to hear
about the mystery of our redemption; to offer themselves to be united with
it; to re-live it with Christ offering Himself through the hands of the priest
and to receive His own life and strength to unite them with Him and with
each other; to make ready for another week of carrying out His redemptive
work in their daily lives.
The weekdays following Sunday reflect and radiate its special light and grace
in their praise and prayers, until Friday brings us to remember particularly
the day of our Lord's death by the prescribed rule of abstinence, and Saturday
begins to end one week and to prepare for a new Sunday, a new beginning in
For most of us, alas, such a program does not seem at all like the actual
weeks we live through. But, if we concentrate on the essentials, we can do
a great deal to make this pattern of a Christian week mould the pattern of
our weeks, so that they may become more nearly in fact the Christian weeks
we want them to be.
We need, first of all, to aim towards making Sunday a day of "newness," a
day of Christian happiness, a day of recreative rest, all centered around
the Sunday Mass; and we need in some way to make the remainder of the week
take its start and tone from Sunday's light and grace, until towards the
end of the week, we begin to prepare for another new beginning.
Toward this sense of "newness," all the week-end cleaning and preparations
(which most of us do in any case) need only to be undertaken not just because
they have to be done sometime, but for the sake of the Lord's Day. And, perhaps,
if we can manage to do such things more in the spirit of joyful preparation
for a feast, the children will take their due share less unwillingly. Towards
making Sunday a day of happiness and re-creative rest, we can also try to
make it the day on which, more than any other, we do special things, or have
the sort of friends to visit, or be visited by, whom the whole family enjoys.
To center Sunday, and so the whole week, on Sunday Mass is, certainly, as
things are now both in the set-up of family and parish life today, the most
difficult part of remaking a Christian week. Sunday Mass just does not seem
like the focus of our lives. But, of course, we know that it is. But there
is no use in not admitting to ourselves the obvious fact that it is only
in the very deepest recesses of our faith that we can center our lives, and
each week of our lives, in the "hurry and get 'em out" type of Sunday Mass
that is, due to many historical circumstances, still prevalent in so many
parishes today--a type of celebration in which the Mass itself is treated
as sacred magic, at which the people "have" to be present, but which they
cannot and need not understand.
It is difficult enough, heaven knows, even when one is free to use one's
Missal and to take silent part in such a Mass, to realize that one has, in
fact, taken part in the greatest Action of a Christian's individual and social
life. But when one has to go to such a Mass with children, one can only pray
that the Holy Spirit will somehow give them a sense of its wonder and the
fruit of its graces, in spite of the hustle and bustle and general unsacredness
of most of the sounds and sights all round.
But there are hopeful indications in many places today of the action of the
Holy Spirit working in the Church to remedy this situation, to find the best
ways and means to make the whole celebration of the Mass once more a meaningful
sign to us of its supernatural reality and action, and to educate us to
appreciate this sign and to take our full and rightful part in the celebration.
The Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy teaches us what our part in the Mass
should be; the same Encyclical and the official instructions and the text
of the restored Easter Vigil indicate that the highest authorities in the
Church want everything possible done to make it easy for us to take that
part as fully as we can.
While, therefore, we are doing whatever we can to cooperate with our pastors
in promoting fuller and more intelligent participation in the Mass in our
parish, while we are also doing whatever we can, with our pastor and neighbors,
to make Sunday Mass less of a chore and more of an opportunity to worship
for other people with families--what can we do at home? We might try, for
example, to find time on Saturday not only for confession as needed, but
also for teaching the small children something about the Mass. On Sunday
itself we might find some time to read, if possible, the whole chapter of
the Gospel from which the Sunday's gospel is taken, or the Old Testament
reading for that Sunday, or the psalms of the Mass. Above all--and this we
could certainly all do without adding anything to our schedules!--we can
try to speak and act as if we realized the enormous privilege it is to take
part in Sunday Mass, never as if it were a chore or merely a duty.
Throughout the week, also, we could remind ourselves and the children, as
occasion offers, of the consequences of taking part in Sunday's Mass. As
a little girl once said: "You offer the whole week to God and you mustn't
take it back." Where possible we could continue the Sunday readings and prayers,
as part of our own family study and prayer life.
Then Friday's abstinence will take its place not as another chore (or as
a badge of loyal Catholicism!) but as a sharing by obedience and some slight
deprivation in our Lord's obedience unto death. And Saturday will begin to
become less of a day of no school, dentists, shopping and amusements, more
a day of happy preparation for another Sunday.
In such simple ways, without adding anything to our schedule, we can begin
to re-fashion our weeks, however hectic they may be, more nearly to the Christian
design. And so we shall be giving our children a basic Christian pattern
of days and weeks, which they can carry out in their future lives under any
circumstances, and a basically Christian way of thinking about days and weeks,
which they themselves can develop, with the grace of God, each according
to his own vocation, towards the building-up, if God wills, of a truly Christian
In the same way, we can study the essential purpose and design of the Church's
year, and of each season and feast, and see how the already existing elements
in our lives can be used or adapted to achieve this purpose, to carry out
this design. Then we can see what we need to add, and what would be wise
and making for family happiness to add or adapt to our family observances
at each feast or season out of the rich treasure house of age-old customs,
and those developed by other families today.21
The purpose of the feast of Christmas, for example, (considering the
Christmas-Epiphany season as one great feast) is, ultimately, to rehearse
and prepare us for the final coming of Christ in glory at the end of the
world. Through Advent, the Church rehearses the preparation of the whole
human race, and of the Chosen People in particular, for the historic coming
of Christ. For our Lord's birth at Bethlehem, in the grand design of God,
was only the beginning of His coming in His kingdom, in the Church, which
will be completed and shown in its full glory when He comes again at the
end of the world.
Now it is by our active love, in Christ, for each other that we will be judged
on that final day of His coming. We prepare most perfectly to welcome Him
then in His glory by welcoming Him now in His least brethren. The Christmas
Masses, in the real order of sacramental grace, and also all the time-honored
ways of picturing and representing our Lord's historic birth in Bethlehem,
are, ultimately, for the purpose of awakening our gratitude and love for
Christ's coming to us as our Head and our Redeemer; so that we will serve
Him better now, in each other, and so, all together, be the readier to welcome
Him when He returns in glory.
All the business, then of Christmas giving and of keeping in touch with our
friends all over the world by cards and presents (activities which so easily
become merely tiresome and commercial) could be re-thought-out in this light,
and, without omitting any of our real duties and obligations, be made a true
and happy service of Christ in each other.
What still survives of the real "Christmas spirit" (and surely there is more
than pessimists admit, even in department stores) is actually a joy in carefree
and happy giving beyond the call of duty; since God's Son became Man, when
we give to each other we now truly give to Him, and in the gifts we receive
from each other, we receive gifts from His love. By re-aligning, then, in
this light, our Christmas customs and Christmas doing, including all the
preparations, we can accomplish a great deal truly to "put Christ back into
Christmas," or, better, to let Him remake our Advent and Christmas according
to His own original plan.
The ideal is to orient every element in our daily lives--prayer, study, work,
play--toward the celebration of each feast or season, to allow the special
light and grace and vitality of each feast and season to permeate every aspect
of our lives. (The word "celebrate" comes from a Latin root meaning "to
frequent," to gather in crowds. So we should gather ourselves and our lives
round the Church's feasts and fasts if we are to celebrate them fully.)
Even from the merely human point of view, to make our humdrum lives into
a succession of celebrations of different kinds would, surely, give them
the color and variety and interest for which every human being naturally
hungers. And since the feasts and fasts of the Church have been planned by
the Holy Spirit for our education and growth in Christ's life, the color
and variety and interest which they give our lives is not merely human, but
No parent can help thinking about all the crimes and follies committed by
very young people today, sometimes even murders. And when we study the published
investigations of such crimes, we see that they were committed largely because
the boys were bored, because they saw no real purpose or interest in their
present or future lives and had been taught no legitimate ways of finding
interest and variety in the course of daily living and so had recourse to
drinking, dope, and unsafe driving in an unending search for easy "thrills."
Such considerations force us to pray for our own children, and all children.
And they also should urge us to try to guide our children toward the
never-failing Source of all the true interest and excitement of life, and
toward making use of all the marvelous means He has given us for making our
daily lives truly interesting and full of variety.
The yearly course of the liturgy offers us also to make the "terrible round"
of our daily duties more purposeful and more interesting. For each year we
are given a new chance to think about the great sacraments whose outward
signs are taken from the ordinary materials and actions of daily life.
Lent and Easter time offer us the opportunity to think about Baptism, to
guide our own and our children's thoughts to the whole idea of water in God's
plan, of what it does for us in daily life, of how God has used it in the
course of history, of how our Lord used it, and of how in His name the Church
now uses it as the medium of our rebirth in Christ.
Holy Thursday, Pentecost, give us the chance to think about Confirmation,
to consider why our Lord chose oil for the matter of this sacrament of maturity
and activity for Christ, why it is used in Ordinations and for Extreme Unction
So we can begin to appreciate from above down, so to speak, the ultimate
value and purpose of all our family washing and cleaning and waxing and polishing
and tidying and decorating; we can begin to see all these actions, so full
of drudgery and fatigue, as means of raising our thoughts and desires to
the wonders of God's life as well as means of achieving the final fruit of
all these wonders, the life of the redeemed in heaven.
In the same way, each Holy Thursday, each feast of Corpus Christi, (as well
as every Sunday of the year) gives us the opportunity to think about and
appreciate the significance of the Bread and Wine of the holy Eucharist,
and to make our own use of food and drink more of a means of appreciating
that true Food of our Christian lives, of preparing us to take part in the
banquet and in the eternal feast of heaven of which it is the pledge.
An element of the greatest importance in this "redeeming of the time" in
our homes, and in fact in every aspect of Christian life and education, is
the element of silence, quiet, the necessary substratum of peace. This does
not mean, of course, that we should aim at making a house full of lively
children as quiet as a convent. But it does mean that we should try to eliminate
unnecessary and purposeless noises from our homes. Children have to shout,
of course, but not all the time, or everywhere; and they need a reasonable
amount of quietness every day for the sake of their nerves as well as their
souls. Let us try to give them the sense, then, that silence and quiet are
quite normal, and that sounds are to be made for a purpose. (Few things,
for example, are less calculated to foster growth of the Christian spirit
than a radio or TV set which is left turned on and simply allowed to make
noise that nobody really attends to, but which prevents anyone from paying
full attention to anything else.)
Real private or communal prayer, happy, intelligent conversation, and all
kinds of joyful noise to the Lord are the fruit of some real silence and
the chance to think. The most active children want and need time to be alone,
quiet in which to think their own thoughts, silence in which to "just think."
Privacy and quiet often seem some of the most expensive of luxuries today;
but let us try to give our children as much of them as is possible. And then
we will find it much easier to cooperate with God's grace in instilling into
both speech and silence, necessary and happy noise and quiet, the spirit
of Christian peace.
But, of course, all these means for sanctifying days and weeks and years,
all the framework of prayers and customs and the orientation of work and
play toward the life of the Church, need to be vivified and made fruitful
by the Holy Spirit, by the personal intercourse of each member of the family
with our Lord and His Father and the Holy Spirit, with our Lady and the saints
and his own guardian angel. Our part, here, is, above all, prayer that God
will show Himself to each of our children and attract them to Himself as
He wishes; and, of course, we know that He is far more anxious to do so than
we could be.
But we can do something to cooperate with His action by encouraging the children
to talk simply and naturally to God about their joys and sorrows or troubles,
not trying to tell them what to say but suggesting subjects for conversation.
Again, we can encourage their cultivating the acquaintance of their guardian
angels, "Why not ask your Angel what would be the best thing to do about
this..." And we can avoid, above all, the error of only suggesting prayer
when the children have been naughty, or as a means of backing up our own
whims, "Now you tell God you are sorry you have been such a bad boy...,"
and the like. When a child has been bad, and has realized the error of his
ways, then is the time to suggest, "Don't you want to tell God now that you
are sorry...," but also, on happy occasions, "Don't you want to thank God
for this lovely day..."22
If we are trying to sacramentalize our daily lives, to live the life of the
Church inwardly and as outwardly also as circumstances permit, then the course
of each day and week and year should offer its own opportunities to teach
the children as much as they are capable of learning about God, about the
truths of the faith. The guide in general to what the children are capable
of understanding and absorbing is, here again, mainly the children's own
interest and span of attention.
If the children are attending a Catholic school and having regular instruction
in religion, our job is to try to make sure that the instruction becomes
concrete and vital in the children's lives. If we are solely responsible
for their formal religious education, we must see to it that our own preferences
do not cause us to omit some essential element of faith or morals, and also
that the children finally obtain the exactly worded and systematic knowledge
of their faith which they will need as part of their equipment.
But our main task, in any case, is so to present the truths of faith to the
children's developing minds and hearts that the children not only assent
to them, but begin truly to consent to them, to incorporate them into their
Here again, obviously we should use above all the means used by God Himself
in His instruction of the human race in the mysteries of His life and of
our incorporation into it, that is, Holy Scripture and the liturgy. God did
not speak to His People in the Old Testament in syllogisms but in figures
and types, and in the very events of their history. And all this is now,
as St. Paul tells us, "for our instruction."
Our Lord did not speak even to His apostles in a logically ordered series
of lectures, but in parables and stories and, above all, by His own life
and actions. So beneath and all around the systematic teaching of the truths
of faith, let us give our children their inheritance of Holy Scripture, the
mental climate of the Bible and the liturgy, which is, precisely, the climate
which fosters the Christian sacramental spirit.
It is by means of loving familiarity with the Bible and with the liturgy
that we best learn how to look at all creation so that it will raise our
minds and hearts to God and to the mysteries of our redemption, that we learn
how to use created things for the love of God. The Bible and the liturgy
are the means of religious instruction which satisfy all the complex requirements
of our complex human nature; they are truly incarnational, because they are
the manifestation of the Incarnate Word. They are inexhaustible sources of
growth in the knowledge and love of God, and nothing can replace them in
the Christian life.
If, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are to any degree successful in our
task of thus "redeeming the time" in our homes, then each day and week and
year of our family life and our children's growth will contribute something
towards giving them the basic pattern of Christian life on earth, the pattern
of living, suffering and dying with Christ in the strength of His already
accomplished victory, working with Him to bring every human being into the
scope of that victory, looking forward to sharing fully with all our brothers
and fellow members of the mystical Body in the fruits of that victory forever
One result of such a training should be that the children do not look forward
as a right to lives of security, ease, earthly comfort and happiness, but
rather to lives of struggle, work, hardship, monotony-- and joy in Christ.
Another result should be that they are not afraid of the thought of death.
No human being, of course, can help that natural fear of death from which
our Lord Himself suffered in the Garden. But we Christians should certainly
not share in the modern unrealistic avoidance of the whole idea of death,
which results in hiding from dying people the fact of their nearness to death,
and in obscuring the obvious fact that we are all going to die and should
make plans for it.
We should take the opportunities offered, then, by the thought of our Lord's
own death, by All Souls' Day, prayers for the dead, burials and funeral Masses
to show the children that death is meant to be the crowning, climactic act
of life on earth, the act by which we finally can complete the offering of
ourselves to God with Christ, the dying to sin and living to God which has
been the main effort of our whole lives.
We can show the children also, beginning when they are quite young, that
the only real horror of death comes from sin, so that they should pray for
the dying and the dead, and begin to look forward and prepare themselves
for the hour of their own death. And we can teach them above all that death
is the gateway to true life, the door to our true home in heaven.
One of the safest and most beautiful ways of teaching the children about
death is to use the Church's own prayers for the dying as a text. For the
wisdom of the Church has constructed these prayers in a perfect balance of
true fear of God and holy hope.23
And if we take such means to give the children some understanding of death
from year to year, we will be preparing both them and ourselves for death
in our own family, or among those who are dear to us. We shall, then, when
death visits our own house, be better able to make it clear to the children
that we are not sorry that our beloved is on his way to the fullness of true
life with Christ in God: what we are mourning is our own loss; what we are
praying for is that his soul may go straight to heaven and that we may have
the courage to go on living in this valley of tears without him.
And, again, as we try to found our daily lives on the true Christian pattern,
we will be giving our children the basis for a realistic and Christian idea
of history. They will have a defense for the future against that false optimism
of our times which sees progress as inevitable ("If thus and so does not
come about, Western civilization will end. Therefore it must come about..."
You can find such a line of argument in almost any speech or pronouncement
about the future of this country, of the U.N. or what-have-you), and the
false pessimism and despair into which such opinion is so easily transformed
at the sight of actual historical trends and events.
Our children will, rather, grow up to see all history as the struggle between
good and evil, in which Christ will be finally victorious, as the process
by which the dough of mankind is being imperceptibly leavened by the action
of Christ in His Church. They will realize that what is visible to us now
is mainly the struggle, the battle, often the temporary outward defeat of
Christ's forces, but that victory is assured, that, though we cannot see
it, the Kingdom of God is actually being built up and will finally come down
from heaven "prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband."
Whatever catastrophe the future may bring, then, our children will have the
assurance of Christian hope, renewed every morning, every Sunday, every Easter
time, renewed above all with every reception of holy Communion, that Christ
has already overcome the world, and that they can overcome it in and with
Him. And they will have learned not so much to dread as to look forward to
the Coming of Christ, whether in their own death or at the end of the world,
and to pray the true prayer of Christian expectation: "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"
1. How is Sunday viewed by the average American? What suggestions can be
offered for a return to "keeping holy" the Lord's Day? What practical measures
within the family should be used to emphasize the dignity and importance
of Sunday? How do we spend our time? How do we dress? How do we prepare the
meal and the house? Would a pagan notice a marked difference between the
Sunday order of the day in a Catholic home as compared with non-Christian
2. What is the significance of the Christmas and Epiphany cycle of the Church
year? What can be done realistically to "restore Christ in Christmas"? How
much of the reform can take place within our own family circle? Does the
story of Santa Claus interfere with the child's grasp of the true meaning
3. Review the author's suggestions for a Christian day. How could this plan
be adapted to meet individual needs of our own families? What are the best
and what are the most difficult times for having family prayer?
4. Discuss possibilities for groups of Catholic couples cooperating on a
religious program to intensify the spiritual life of its members. What are
the opportunities for having a family day of recollection? of making family
retreats? of starting Catholic Action groups for married couples? of family
Communion Sundays? of increasing participation at Holy Mass?
5. Make a comparison of the amount of time and energy spent by family members
in reading daily newspapers, listening to the news over the radio, and reading
popular magazines, with the amount of time given to reading the Bible or
spiritual books. If children can learn dozens of "hit of the week" songs
during the course of the year, would it be possible for them to learn (and
chant aloud) some of the Psalms?
1. What does the author suggest as a prayer pattern for each day and what
suggestions are made for family use of this pattern?
2. What is the significance of Sunday in the Church's week? of Saturday?
3. What is the meaning of the Lent and Easter cycle in the Church year- -and
how can the Christian mother tie the liturgical spirit of this season in
with her housecleaning?
4. Why should there be periods of silence in the home?
5. What is the Christian attitude toward death?
The Christian Pattern
"...You Did It Unto Me"
Training for Life's Work and Play
Redeeming the Times
Attaining Our Ideals