Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Prayer for a Little Boy and A Special Ritual, Too

When we celebrated the baptism of my first son, my parents gifted us with a plaque that held a Prayer for a Little Boy.  This prayer (along with the Prayer for a Little Girl, which my folks gifted my daughter upon her baptism) has since been written in my heart and in my chidlren's -- its words both melodic and meaningful.  In fact, lately the prayer has become part of one of my favorite recent rituals with my youngest child Jack.

At least a few times a week lately, I am blessed with time to spend cuddling Jack to sleep for nap or bedtime without interruption from his siblings.   Usually, as I lay holding him, I sing him a special song that I that made up for him shortly after he was born.  Sometimes, I also sing a few traditional lullabies, as well as the Our Father and the Hail Mary.  Almost always I sing the words of the Prayer for a Little Boy to a tune I have made up.

As I sing, Jack sometimes hums quietly along.  More often, though, he simply remains still in my arms, with a slight peaceful smile playing upon his lips and his eyes intent upon gazing at something, which I am not sure I see, but that I sense may be angels or the Spirit.  For during such times, a warm sense bathes my son, and, as his eyes go from gazing, to blinking, to finally shutting in slumber, I am filled with it, too.  I know a great love I can feel, but not express adequately in words.

Once Jack is asleep, with his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm, I marvel at the miracle he is -- and at the miracle each of us is.

All of us are created with love and purpose by God.  Each of us is gifted into a special family that God has selected just for us.  Within that family -- and within the greater human family -- we sometimes get frustrated, upset or otherwise ill-humored.  At these time, the words of the prayer "Lord, while I live, please let me be, from quick and angry passions free..." beg to be heard.   At other times, we are faced with challenges that make us truly call out to make us "strong and brave of heart."  At still other times, we feel called to "do our part" well, maintaining "generous thoughts and happy face and pleasant words in every place." Always, we know that God forgives the wrongs we've done and blesses us -- each and every one.

One of God's blessings to me lately certainly is the peaceful pause I savor when parenting Jack to sleep.  Likewise, I truly believe a blessing God offers Jack at the same time is an understanding of love, peace and prayer that a 19 month old can know, even if he cannot express it in words quite yet.

My Jack is still rather silent at 19 months old.  He has only recently begun to say distinct syllables which seem to communicate meaning as words.  Yet, when I sing the Prayer for a Little Boy to him and for him, I sense there is a deeper language being spoken directly to my son's heart -- one of God's love.  I know that neither the prayer itself nor me singing it to Jack engender such love, but somehow they act as a conduit for it and for that I am so grateful.

Do you sense God's love speaking to you child at times?  What experiences, tools and resources seem to act as a catalyst for that?  Do share!


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