Sunday, November 18, 2007

Prayer



As I was reared in the Catholic tradition, prayer was an integral part of my life.

Every Sunday, freshly washed and laundered, faces shining from the obligatory scrubbing, we headed off, en famille, to visit Holy God. We would pack in, with all the other dutiful souls, and settle ourselves down for an hour of Christian duty with prayer as an optional extra.

The parents would kneel, bow their heads and, spiritually, disappear from our orbit, such was the depth of their piety. I don't know what Molly used to do, but I suspect she used to copy the grown-ups in a effort to distance herself from her pesky siblings. I was more than content to let my eyes wander in fascination at the conglomeration of bodies assembled. Big people, small people, old bodies, new bodies, all arrayed in their Sunday best. Did they think God would be impressed by their finery? I certainly was. The old people, who might, occasionally smile at me or more often than not, glare at me for behaving like a child in the House of God, were the most interesting. They had all kinds of mysterious bits of paper stuffed into their Missals. Some of them had really nice Rosary beads as well. Very shiny and glittery.

Did I pray at Mass? Never. Right up to the time I stopped attending, I don't think I ever once prayed.

For years after, I only prayed in real emergencies. In desperation.

I do pray now.

To me, prayer is about how I live my life every day. Its the overwhelming love and joy I feel when I look at my kids. Its the laughter that bubbles inside of me most of the time. Its the tears that fall sometimes. Its the conversations I have with myself about how I'm doing. Its the conversations I have with Him about how I'm doing .....

Its the excitement and gratitude I feel, for being alive.

7 comments:

Pauline said...

we were raised in the same tradition, you and I rise. like you I found the people around me more interesting than the prayers, though I learned them all by heart and they still pop into my head at odd times. I no longer mean them though, don't believe what they say or in the meaning ascribed to them. now I talk mostly to myself. I've read your conversations with G here on your post and at Lillie's. I've even written one or two myself though G's true identity remains a mystery to me. The happiness, however, is real enough.

sMC said...

I don't believe Faith needs a building or a Service.

And this above all unto thine own self be true and it shall follow as the day the night - thou can'st not then be false to any man. - William Shakespeare.

Lovely pictures, thought provoking words rise.

Ian Lidster said...

I too have such 'conversations' and they work for me, too. They came later in my life, and I am happy they did.

Molly said...

As a teenager I mainly liked going to church because it was someplace you could check out the boys. I wonder sometimes if G will hold it against me that I faked piety for my own ends!

Lee said...

Cheap and effective therapy. I am not religious myself but I recognise the value of prayer. Narrative therapy of sorts, I guess.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I pray but I am reluctant to pray for myself. It feels selfish somehow.

meggie said...

I dont have any religion. For me, living a life as 'good' as you can might be 'it'.