First P: Prayer

Re Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary

Dear Holly,I have been considering the idea of total consecration to Jesus through Mary for several years, on and off. I’ve been a Catholic for 16 years now; I grew up evangelical Protestant. I’ve come across the idea of consecration to Jesus through Mary several times, and been intrigued — but hestitant. I think I’ve overcome most of my Protestant baggage on this one, but there is still this niggling doubt. Total consecration to Jesus — no problem! I’ve been trying to live this since I was baptized at 16 (I’m 43 now). Asking for help on this from Mary — again, no problem. Makes perfect sense. And if it was good enough for John Paul the Great, it ought to be good enough for me, shouldn’t it? I guess the thing that I hesitate about comes down to something like this: how do I know that I should do this? How can I know that Jesus wants this of me, in particular? Or do I really even need to know that? If this is something that is really just a logical extension of my baptismal vows, and something that every Christian is somehow called to, then I guess I wouldn’t need a personal invitation, so to speak. But I want to know that this is being asked of me, or maybe offered to me. Otherwise, it seems rash, or presumptuous, or something like that. I mean, just walking up to someone and saying “I put myself at your complete disposal” seems a bit impertinent, unless one has been invited to do so, at least implicitly. Otherwise, it would... read more

There's Joy in A Mother's Rule

Dear Holly,I feel compelled to thank you for your book! I have always wanted to be a wife and mother and I have always been organized. So, when I first read your book I didn’t quite see how it applied to me. I had a schedule/routine, and I had a desire to be home and schooling my children. However, my days were not filled with the ‘peace’ I thought I should be experiencing if I was truly doing God’s will. “OK,” I thought desperately, “time to read that book again…” Working through the questions in your book helped me see that I wanted to be a wife and mother on my terms and be organized according to MY will – not God’s. Since I’ve made the effort to truly live each activity scheduled for me and my family and to offer each segment to God (though I still need to work on this!!!!!!!!!!) things are so peaceful. My husband comes home to a peaceful, joyful family and home, and we are both so grateful for your generosity in answering God’s call to share your Mother’s Rule! I know that as I continue to surrender, I will come closer to Christ, who loves us each so much – what a joy to have this to look forward... read more

"How to Pray" for a Cradle Catholic

Dear Holly,As I started my prayer times when I began my rule, all of a sudden I felt like I wasn’t sure how to pray. I am a cradle Catholic and sometimes doubt what I know. For example this is what I do in my morning prayer time: I have a Catholic Women’s Devotional Bible where I read the days devotional. It gives me a scripture reading and a verse from the reading that is the verse of the day. Then I can also read the church daily readings for the day. I also have a book called “Catholic Mom 24/7 Daily Meditations for Busy Moms” by Tammy Bundy. Here she gives you a short bible verse and a short daily prayerful reflection relating to motherhood. As I read these I go to my desk with computer off and my 2 yr old watching TV/eating breakfast. My 2 yr old has distracted me at times and on the first day it was awful. I honestly felt like God was saying don’t do this now — tend to her. Here I was trying to pray and yet I was also fighting off a 2 yr old to leave me alone??? I was very confused. But back to the prayer. What do I do after I read? Is reading the scripture prayer? I felt lost like I wasn’t done but wasn’t sure what to do next. When you say a rosary , the rosary is the prayer. But when I do the reading and devotionals I feel like I left something out. But I like doing them. When I least expect... read more

What is Prayer With the Will vs the Emotions?

Dear Holly,I am trying to understand the role of the Will in prayer. It’s been coming up a few times since July things that I’ve read and tapes that I’ve listened to..but because of lack of experience and consistency in prayer I don’t fully understand it. It was mentioned in the book “Holiness for Housewives.” The author was making a differentiation between praying with the imagination or images, with the emotions and with the will. I find that my prayer life is mostly emotional and filled with images. From what I understand, from the little I heard and read, the will seems to be the core of the human... read more

"Beginner" in Prayer at Home

Dear Holly,I’m in the very beginner stage with the Catholic faith, so I think I need an extra effort with the first P. My husband is a cradle Catholic (from Africa, I assume the traditions aren’t quite the same there), but hasn’t been practising his faith very actively, at least not during all the time that I’ve known him. I know he prays a lot by himself, but has never considered important to go to the Mass or to confession or to teach the kids or me anything. And I have been even less active, being a non-practising Lutheran. My interest, which has grown larger and larger during the last few years, has made us much more active church-goers etc. But at the moment we really don’t have any family prayer time or anything like that. As for the childrens’ education: The two eldest children do religious studies at school once a week (they switched from a Lutheran group to a Catholic one this autumn), and their new school books have been an interesting read for me too, with some ideas for parents on what to do at home. But I know that really isn’t enough, not for anybody in our family. Any suggestions on how to get... read more

How Do You Pray with Your Husband?

Dear Holly,I have wanted to pray daily with my husband for years, but it never happens. He doesn’t seem comfortable – he even seems reluctant to pray with me. We already do a family rosary, and personal conversational prayer to God with him doesn’t work. How do you pray with your husband – as a... read more

Tithing Norms?

Hi Holly, I have another question for you! While tithing has always been a given for my husband and I, I have started to get a bit confused about what the Church teaches re: its practise. What is the Church’s actual position re: tithing? Right now, my husband and I tithe 10% from his paycheck (I’m a stay at home mom), but I read somewhere recently that you should tithe before taxes and not after; also, I thought 10% was almost an obligational (or at least the recommended) amount for Catholics but when speaking about it with other Catholics, they seemed to say that the percentage is totally arbitrary. Is there a precise teaching to refer to, or is this an issue that is rather... read more

Spiritual Direction – Ways to Grow

Dear Holly,Thank you soooo much for writing this book. It was so encouraging to know that others are going or have gone through what we are going through. Staying faithful is wearing, and we just can’t seem to buy a break financially. But I keep thinking someday we’re going to be fine….My real question is this: I know people who have spiritual directors, and I once asked our priest if he could be ours, but then I realized he is much too busy. How does one locate someone that you feel like you can trust, who has the background to be truly helpful? How does spiritual direction work? I knew nothing of it until about 3 years ago. Thank you so... read more

How Often to Get to Mass?

Dear Holly,I’m not sure where to begin… After years of living in chaos, I started bringing my boys to daily Mass 7 days a week. After several months of that, other circumstances led us to cut way back on that, focusing instead on the family & Domestic Church, etc. When my youngest developed some health issues that were taking up a pretty good chunk of time, things started to go a little crazy again. Last year, after reading your book, I put together a Mother’s Rule for myself & our homeschooling life but then hit a wall when myself & my children all went through illnesses this past winter for literally 2 months where we were barely getting the basics done (and sometimes not even the basics!). Now that we have mostly recovered from that, we are approaching the end of the homeschool year, Spring Fever is running rampant, I have tweaked my Mother’s Rule but still am having troubles implementing it. One of my biggest issues is knowing how often is reasonable for us to get to daily Mass amidst spur of the moment doctor appointments that need to be made and various other needs which arise. Things have been so busy here lately that we ended up not getting to daily Mass at all this week and barely getting all the essential errands done…and I haven’t even tackled grocery shopping for the week. Any... read more

Fasting For Moms

Dear Holly,Can you tell me what recommendations you might have for a nursing mother’s fasting days? I have focused on cutting out sugary and sweet things and just drink water instead of any sodas, juices, etc…and when I’m very brave I try to cut coffee entirely, but by the end of the day, my head is screaming and I can’t function (when I skip coffee, that is)…hoping you can enlighten me a bit on what Our Lady might me calling someone in my situation (I have a 3 year old and a 6 mos. old so far:) to do on days I try to offer some fasting... read more
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