Family prayer has for its very own object family life itself, which in all its varying circumstances is seen as a call from God and lived as a filial response to His call. Joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, births and birthday celebrations, wedding anniversaries of the parents, departures, separations and homecomings, important and far-reaching decisions, the death of those who are dear, – all of these mark God’s loving intervention in the family’s history. These should be seen as suitable moments for thanksgiving, for petition, for trusting abandonment of the family into the hands of their common Father in Heaven.
The dignity and responsibility of the Christian family as the Domestic Church can be achieved only with God’s unceasing aid, which will surely be granted if it is humbly and trustingly petitioned in prayer.
The concrete example and living witness of parents is fundamental and irreplaceable in educating their children to pray. Only by praying together with their children can a father and a mother, exercising their royal priesthood, penetrate the innermost depths of their children’s hearts, and leave an impression that the future events in their lives will not be able to erase.
Let us again listen to the appeal made by Paul VI to parents: Mothers, do you teach your children the Christian prayers? Do you prepare them in conjunction with priests for the sacraments that they receive when they are young: Confession, Communion, and Confirmation? Do you encourage them when they are sick to invoke the aid of the Blessed Virgin and the saints? Do you say the family Rosary together?
And you, Fathers, do you pray with your children, with the whole family, the “domestic community” – at least sometimes?
Your example of honesty in thought and action, joined to some common family prayer, is a lesson for life for your children, an act of worship of singular value. In this way, you bring peace to your home.”
On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, 59-60
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