Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Transforms Us

I go into the princess' room to tuck her into bed. Her tea table is set for several guests, (some sit on the table). I end up spending ten minutes eating plastic muffins with a duck, an elephant, a mermaid, a fairy, Biddy Baby, and St. Therese of Lisieux.

"Everyone is invited to my party, Mama, because I love everybody," the princess announces serving me invisible tea.

Imagine having her point of view, I think. What could I do, or become if I were that open as an adult?

As part of this project I'm participating in to walk in the footsteps of saints, I've been asked to explore and deepen my prayer habits. Tonight, I notice how my daughter prays, (at four years old).

"Let's say a bedtime prayer." I suggest.

"Okay, Mama. I have this card that I want you to read." She pulls a prayer card out from under her pillow. St. Therese of Lisieux is pictured on the front.

So I read the prayer while she quietly recites it line by line in her sweet little voice. I have this feeling at that moment, watching her press her tiny hands together and look up at the ceiling, that the room is surely filled with angels.

"St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love; ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more. Amen."

"What special favor do you want St. Therese to pray for?" I ask in a hushed voice.

"Um, to help me clean up my messy room." She whispers back.

"Oh, wow. That's a good one." I say, smiling.

Walking down the stairs I'm still thinking about how wonderful her innocence is, how pure her heart is. I want to be just like her when I grow up, I think.

In an effort to increase prayer in my life, I start this secret habit, (which will no longer be a secret after I tell you and the world on this blog). It's inspired by a very holy man, Fr. Emmet Fagan, (the priest who acted as celebrant at my wedding Mass), and my great grandmother, Santa LaCapria, whom I have written about here. The one thing that I always admired about these two people is their peaceful countenance. I would look at them and think, I want to get that serene. How do they do it?

Looking back, I can see that it has everything to do with their prayer habits. Both of these people prayed unceasingly. Fr. Fagan spread blessings like millions of snowflakes everywhere he went. One could clearly see and hear that he was constantly praying for everyone in his path. Likewise, grandma always prayed in front of me. Every night at five O'clock, she'd pray the Rosary, pacing in front of the television. She prayed for everyone on the news.

To emulate these two role models, I start praying for people in my thoughts everywhere I go. For example, when I'm driving, I try to wish every car, every person on the street, blessings. What I discover after doing this for a while is that prayer can be exhausting, distracting, and slightly dangerous while driving. It distracts me from patterns of negative self-talk, from focusing on worries and personal problems. It takes me outside myself, and helps me put my own life into perspective.

The princess is calling me back up to her room. She wants me to turn on her Tinkerbell movie. I do it because I'm one of those Parents Who Put a Television in Their Kid's Bedroom. I press play, and she snuggles down into her covers with a broad smile. Tinkerbell is shooting pixie dust.

"That's special prayers for all the fairies, Mama." the princess says, referring to the sparkling dust.

Downstairs my husband is walking in the door from a long day at work. He hands me a bouquet of mini-roses. I'm surprised, thinking of the prayer the princess insisted we say at bedtime.

"What's this for?" I ask?

"They were selling them at work after the school play, and I thought of you." He explains.

This is how prayer comes full circle.
"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein


Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

So you prayed to St. Therese and you received flowers - weren't we talking about that at my son's First Communion? This is really nice, talking about showering blessings in your path like roses, and trying to emulate your daughter in her sweet innocence that loves all her neighbors in the world.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I'm glad you clarified that. That can be really confusing to non-Catholics and took me a while to really grasp, after being raised non-denominational and doing RCIA.

Loren Christie said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Yes, now that's happened to me twice. It's important to clarify that in prayer, I do not worship saints, but they are thought of as messengers, or souls who will join a person in prayer. It's like asking a friend to pray for you.

Todd Lemieux said...

I love this entry. I am going to link to it. Your story telling has such a great way of drawing you in and then delivering "the punch." That is so great!

Loren Christie said...

Thanks Todd. I hope things are going well for you today.

rhymeswithplague said...

This is a sweet post. In a very real sense, your Princess is the rose from the heavenly garden sent to you with a message of love.

I am not angry with you, Loren. Never was. Just a spur-of-the-moment inappropriate outburst. I should have tried to control myself a little better. Okay, a whole lot better.

Milk Man said...


I regret to inform you that I have been arrested for stealing flowers from a senior citizen a few weeks ago. I can be freed only if I return them. Do you still have the flowers I gave you?

Hell Hound said...

Oh, "snap!" I ate them. said...

Mr. Brague, I agree. The princess is a flower from heaven's garden. :)

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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