"It is not just individual man and woman that image the Trinity (in the unity of body, soul, and spirit), but in a yet more perfect way men and women together, because together they form a union of love from which proceeds a third person, their child. Thus all three persons in the human family, mother, father, and child, are wrapped with a bond of self-giving love–and in this way they image the Trinity. (Gretchen- The Catholic Company)
"Do you pray together?" The question stopped me mid sentence and demanded a response. When the priest asked me this I was forced to silence. The Confessional is one of my favourite places, not because I am a scrupulous person or a 'repeat offender', but because I recognize my vast sin(s) and my need to reconcile with our Lord and prayerfully reconcile with others.
God is truly full of surprises and I am amazed at how often the Confessional is the very place where He most astounds me. My last Confession was one of these particular moments when out of no where and in no way relating to the topic of my ceaseless ramblings the priest asked that question. I was almost embarrassed to admit that since the birth of Eliana and throughout my pregnancy it had often been difficult to pray regularly with my husband outside of Mass. This had little to do with him and in fact much more to do with me. My husband prefers night prayer and I prefer the dark solitude of the early morning. He was always willing to compromise and I just fell into my own habit of personal private solitary prayer. I always used the excuse of attending daily Mass (whenever we managed to together) as praying together. In my heart I knew the importance and need for establishing a prayer time as husband and wife.
Before humbly answering Father with the right answer I entertained him with a bunch of excuses. Then in the back of my mind I was fully convinced that my husband had been talking to him in his confessions. I was so convinced that I began my response by saying "Well Fr, despite what he'll tell you..." (more on that later)
The priest began to counsel me on the importance of the Sacrament of marriage and the grace that belongs to us intimately as husband and wife. Admittedly I was almost losing sight of this primary role as wife and was being consumed with my new role as mother. The priest reminded me that the grace to be a mother flows from the sacramental grace on our wedding day.
As I sat in the Church following Confession I reflected upon the Trinity and how it truly is the icon of family life. I was able to better understand the role that I have in maintaining and nurturing our very own domestic Trinity.It is a continual outpouring of self into the other as the Father pours into the Son and to the Holy Spirit. The fullness of God's love is manifested in the Holy Trinity just as the fullness of family life manifests in the perpetual 'self giving love' of all persons within the family.
It is through this realization that the family stays united in Christ. It is by striving to fulfill my vocation as a wife that I am a better mother to my daughter and in being a devoted husband that my spouse is too a better father.
I came home from Church on a prayer mission!! I spoke at length with my husband about constructing a routine prayer time together that would be manageable for us. I found out that he actually did not confess to this priest in months, and even though our prayer life had been on his heart he never did share this.
"Do you pray together?" was a prompting of the Holy Spirit from the love of our heavenly Father and Son so that our domestic Trinity could grow in love and serve Him more abundantly. Though it is cliché "The family that prays together stays together". May all families strive to live out their vocation of fruitful love and be as an icon of God in the world. (CC)