First P: Prayer

About a Spiritual Director

Dear Holly, I am looking for advice about finding a spiritual advisor. I became a Catholic about 9 years ago and feel as though I need more information and guidance than my RCIA classes were able to provide. So how do I go about getting a spiritual advisor? Who can be a spiritual advisor? Any... read more

Struggling with Finding Prayer Time

Dear Holly,I have really searched myself wondering if I’m just putting off prayer or if I really struggle to find a time, and have found the latter to be the case; I would really appreciate any insight you can offer here. I have two children, 2 1/2 and 7 months, who wake up around the same time I do. And though I can get a prayer time in when they both nap, often I want a nap myself, or for whatever reason find myself going from one to the other with no personal time, or the time for prayer occurs so late in the day that I’m exhausted and am able to give so little to it. While the other Ps have their different levels of difficulty, this one in particular demands alone time, which is so hard to come by as a mom of small children. I know that prayer is very important, and that we can hardly put it off until during these childbearing/young children years. I truly do not understand, however, how to make it a consistent part of my life. Is the answer to allow for inconsistent... read more

Evening Catechesis

I had told a few ladies about what our family does for catechesis now – how we have removed it from our school time, and placed 20 minutes of faith reading before our evening family rosary. They still use grade level texts, but it has become more reflective than study related, and we plan to continue this all year round. It has changed how the kids view the religious reading – removing it from ‘school’ and making it instead about ‘life’. And it has also produced a better recollection of the children before prayer. Philip has begun to do his own spiritual reading at this time too, and I get around to mine (in addition to another afternoon period) after working with the littlest ones in Gr 1 and Gr 3. I received this question as a result: Dear Holly,Also I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you said about Catechesis at night. I SO believe in that… making it a part of life… my boys are in public school and I have been STRUGGLING with how to incorporate their Catechesis… right now it is hit or miss. Any suggestions for how to ‘start’ this when they have been used to play/time free time until bed? Also I cannot see my husband buying into this, to be truthful. Four boys ages 1 to... read more

Opus Dei and Motherhood…

Dear Holly,I want to suggest another book for your reading list:-). Scott Hahn writes about his experience and membership in Opus Dei in a new book called Ordinary Work Extraordinary Grace (I’d double check that title)-his style is so wonderful, you can feel the beauty of Opus Dei and it’s nice to be familiar with his voice because I can hear him telling his story-it really hits home. I tell you because the Mothers Rule of Life, for lack of a better way to put this;) is sooooooo Opus Dei-again, I am struck by the confirmation I am finding! I believe you have a patron saint for your book! I, myself, am and have been for the past two years in the midst of a heavy battle with living through a rule, but time and time and time…:) again, it is confirmed for me that this is God’s call to me. Even in one of the pamphlets from the Opus Dei priest, he talks about the Loaves and the Fish!!! Scott also talks about how people balk at the Opus Dei “plan of life”-basically a prayer rule. But he then says his spiritual director helped him to implement each step little by little and he had extraordinary amounts of time to complete things, or experienced an unexpected relief from duties, or became far more productive in the same amount of time, all the while coming closer to God and improving his relationships with family and friends! The similarities are so striking. So, I am praying to St. Josemaria Escriva to help me and I know he will! Also, maybe... read more

The Holy Family Institute

Dear Holly,I am grateful for reading A Mother’s Rule of Life. We have 7 children and we homeschool some of them. Since your book is part of the good press and you are interested in faithfulness to one’s rule of life, did you know that: Blessed Fr. James Alberione (founder of the Pauline family – Society of St. Paul, the daughters of St. Paul, etc.) founded in 1963 the Holy Family Institute for husbands and wives who wish to commit themselves to seeking evangelical perfection in marriage by means of the vows of conjugal chastity, poverty and obedience. In 1993 the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life approved the Statute of the Institute with a Decree: Therefore the members of the Institute should strive to conform their lives to the Statute, and when they obey a schedule – for example the normal times for mass, or the regular family schedule – they merit once because of simple obedience, and twice because of the vows of obedience that they have taken. The Holy Family Institute is the only approved-by-the-Holy-See way for married or widowed people to become part of the religious congregation of the Pauline family. The condition of the members of the Holy Family Institute is secular in the sense that they strive for the perfection of charity in the world, while in a juridical sense they are aggregated to the Society of St. Paul and are part of the Pauline Family, who are dedicated to The Aposolate of the Good Press, Media and Social Communications. The Holy Family Institute is not... read more

Learning to Simplify

Dear Holly,It was so great to meet you this past weekend at the MCH Conference! Thanks so much for coming and sharing your time and gifts with us. We have been meeting for the past year to discuss each chapter of your book and support each other. It has been a tremendous help to me personally. When I first heard about your book from my friend, I was not interested because I had been implementing a schedule for a couple of years with my children. Then I read a review for your book on Spirit Daily and knew I had to read it. What I was looking for was in the last chapter or two of your book when you said God would come in the peace of my soul. I realized God cannot come when there is no peace. And to have peace, I needed more order. I had some order in my life, but not an all-emcompassing order that your rule proposed. One of the areas I need to grow more is in simplifying. I have felt in my soul over the last 6-12 months that God is calling me to simplify my life. I have tried to do this, but still feel I’m “floundering” in this area. I was hoping you might be able to “mentor” us a little more in this area or if you could recommend resources that may... read more

On Becoming Catholic

Dear Holly,I’m a nearly-30-year-old SAHM of two little blessings. I was baptised in the Catholic Church as an infant and went to a Catholic elementary school, but as a teenager and for my adult life so far I’ve been a practicing member of a Protestant church. My husband is also a practicing member. I’ve felt, slowly but surely over the last year or two, a pull back towards my roots. Something about the Catholic faith just resonates within me and feels ‘right’. I’m not sure where this is all heading, but God and time will tell!My question to you as I make this spiritual journey is whether you know of any books or articles that could help me? Ones that perhaps address moving from a non-Catholic to a Catholic faith, or ones about the basics of the Catholic faith (I was especially interested in the types of prayer you told of in an earlier post). I appreciate that you are busy and I’m not expecting a reply straight away. I am, however, eagerly awaiting your MROL book but it’s taking a while to ship all the way to Australia! Sorry this has gone on so long! I just want to add special thank you for the blessing your wisdom has been in my life so... read more

Can a Rule be Spiritually Counter-Productive?

Dear Holly,Thank you for your book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. My question is: Can a ‘rule’ ever be spiritually counterproductive? I have a deep yearning to establish a rule and greater order in my home. My son is four and daughter is 18 months. They are busy and I always feel like my whole day consists of flying by the seat of my pants, putting out fires. While others think I am very orderly (the house usually looks reasonably good) the truth is that there are many things that I KNOW ARE BEING IGNORED. I feel like a set order would help me have a home that serves God and family better AND helps me to be in a more positive frame of mind. My conundrum is that twice I have gone for spiritual direction (two different directors). Both times I got the impression from them that they felt too much ‘order’ or ‘control’ might be spiritually counterproductive. One asked me if I leaned towards a lot of order. I agreed that I do much better with order and planning. But I don’t think I’m a compulsive. I’ve got dust on my furniture (including some bunnies), closets that are a mess, a refrigerator that needs cleaning … all the usual stuff. My prayer time is totally ‘up in the air’ and there are many tasks in terms of upkeep that I never get too. Ditto roomfor personal time. But now I am anxious that by working towards a rule I might be devising my plan instead of God’s plan. I would be grateful for any thoughts you could... read more

New Baby, No Rule, and A Seemingly Losing Battle

Dear Holly,I must thank you for being open to God’s grace in writing this book. I cannot express in words how inspiring it is for me. I am so excited to get started on my rule, and I have started a little on the first P: Prayer. But unfortunately, that little start is really, really small, and I don’t see it growing in the near future. 🙁 We have two children, a 2 year old and a 4 month old. I am struggling to get the 4 month old on any sort of a schedule right now. He is very clingy and needs to be held to get to sleep during the day, and he sleeps a lot – only a couple of 30 minute intervals during the day where I don’t have to hold him. While I have a good baby carrier that I can use, he doesn’t sleep for very long while in it. The best way he sleeps is if I am holding him using my two arms, and then I can rarely put him down without waking him. I am feeling so much guilt because I am neglecting my 2 year old, my house, my husband and myself. I am feeling much guilt also because I feel like I enabled this behavior in my 4 month old, and now it is disrupting the entire family balance. I have read many sleep books from one extreme to the other. Despite thinking that most of the techniques I read about were junk, I tried many of them, but without success. In addition to all of this, for... read more

Lost Spiritual Director – Now What?

Dear Holly,First of all, thanks for all you do with the Mother’s Rule of Life website. I check it often to gather encouragement and inspiration in working on my rule. My question is about finding a spiritual director. I converted from a protestant background to the Catholic Church almost 5 years ago and have gone off and on to the Opus Dei mornings of recollection in my area for that entire time. I have never had somebody who was officially my “spiritual director”, but I would sometimes seek direction from the Opus Dei priest at the mornings of recollection. We recently had a change in priests for Opus Dei and the new priest has a language barrier that prevents him from giving much spiritual direction. We also recently moved to a different area of town and changed parishes. Our old parish has been pastor-less for the last 4 years, so I did not have anybody I sought spiritual direction from there. Our new parish is very large and thriving, but it has made it harder to get to know the pastor well or to develop a relationship with him that would be good for spiritual direction. I’m looking for suggestions on how to find a good spiritual director and how to establish that relationship. Any help you could offer would be greatly... read more
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