We have reached our final post on our topic of covenant spirituality. We have been discussing the essential nature of prayer for family life. This includes personal prayer, family prayer and liturgical prayer.
Just as personal prayer is essential to the individual’s growth in holiness, prayer as a family is necessary for the family’s growth in love and holiness. This prayer should reflect the rich life of prayer you can find discussed in the fourth pillar of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A family's prayer life should have the character of working toward their perfection in their love for God and one another. Family prayer is that which is offered in common with the husband, wife and children. Prayer time should be a staple of family life so members should avoid accepting obligations that interfere with regular family prayer. Family communion through family prayer is a fruit of the grace of the Sacraments, and it is a requirement for the flourishing of family life.
There is a profound unity among the Church’s various means of prayer, which include the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the celebration of the other Sacraments, other liturgical celebrations, the many popular devotions, family prayer and individual prayer. Mass makes the individual’s prayer efficacious because the Mass is the celebration of the source and summit of Christian life. It is the font of efficacy for all of the Sacraments and this is also true for family prayer. Therefore, for a flourishing life of prayer, every Catholic must actively participate in liturgical prayer. Family prayer and the family’s participation in liturgical prayer are essential elements for the Christian family and they are a natural way to introduce children to personal prayer and to the liturgical prayer of the Church.
A family that does not pray or attend Mass together is unlikely to experience the children flourishing as Christians. All members of the Christian family should attend Mass together, especially on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Parents should endeavor to teach their children to live according to the liturgical calendar, celebrating important feasts by attending Mass, and adopting other special devotions for important saints and other feasts. Parents should emphasize for the whole family, the celebration of each child’s Sacraments. Developing a tradition of celebrating the anniversary of the children’s baptismal day and their patronal saint, which many cultures celebrate as “name day,” might be adopted as a family tradition.