The Pope is coming to DC today! Pope Francis calls our families "the domestic church" and there is something so thrilling in being a part of something little and yet still being a place where important things happen. Inside my family, human beings are born, and life is celebrated, and people learn how to pray. I do not have have a strong family rosary culture worthy of a short film on EWTN. However, I have created family culture where God is celebrated and acknowledge and sought out in hard times for help and comfort.
The thing I love most about our family prayer life is that its so "us." We read a bit of Scripture at the dinner table because that is a Carmelite tradition. (As a bonus, chewing mouths make for less interruptions.) My kids and my husband are actors. So often my kids will hear a great story and demand to act it out in the narrow confines of our dining room. Now these Bible Stories that I've loved since I was a child are forever linked with my husband and my kid's funny insights and intonations. I love that Scripture isn't a dusty history book, but a story that is inviting. "Putting yourself into the story" is a deep form of prayer. In my house, we do that action with all the silly joy of a Saturday Night Live Skit.
In the morning, my husband and I pray the Liturgy of the Hours together on little beat up folding chairs inside our dark kitchen at 5 AM. There are a lot of places that my husband and I don't fit easily together, such as during home remodeling projects or on long car trips to the beach. Yet we fit so easily together in prayer and we had that easy connection ever since praying together at Mass on our third date in Februrary 2000. When I prayed with my husband it was amazing to think that Pope Francis was praying those same Hebrew Psalms this morning. What are the chances that I'd meet a man who would cheerfully give up sleep, even with a fitful baby in our house, in order pray the Psalms with me? God knows what I truly need better than I do.
When I think about the phrase "Our Domestic Church," I give thanks for all the great prayers that we Benjamins have prayed together. There was that time 5 years ago that I'm pretty certain we only got Teresa out of the NICU so quickly because her big sister Hannah came over to Children's Hospital and held her. To our family, church isn't a place we go. The Church is a family that we belong along with easily, regardless of whether we are having an great day or a hard one.
Thank you for all the Catholics, for all the Christians, and for all the people of good will who have shared their family life with me over the past 8 years. I celebrate all of us, in all of our unique glory. I'm happily praying for all of you when I see the Pope.
(For more reflections on the Pope's visit this week, please from members of the Catholic Women's Blogger Network please check out our "A Walk In Words With Pope Francis.")