Praying together from our homes
The domestic church, that is, the church in the home, is the Christian life we live daily; it is also the prayerful experiences and catechesis that we share in the family and with our friends. These teachings and prayerful moments that are necessary to strengthen our faith, are even more crucial now. But they are also more easily experienced now, since we are spending more time in the home and more hours trying to stay in touch with our friends through social media.
This is the most important period of the Christian liturgical calendar. Hence, for these days, we are proposing traditional prayers, but that were reconceived in a fresh way to reflect the reality of life in Malta at this moment. We hope that they help our domestic churches to gather in prayer and to share and pray with friends through social media.
What prayerful experiences are being offered?
The Via Matris or Way of the Mother is a reflection on the Seven Sorrows of Mary as she accompanied her Son on his way to the Golgotha, and she remembered his childhood and their life together as family. We are proposing this prayer that reminds us of the traditional Our Lady of Sorrows processions in our villages.
The Seven Teachings. This year we cannot do the traditional Seven Churches Visitations of the Holy Sepulchre on Maundy Thursday. Instead, we are offering a contemplative experience to reflect on Seven Teachings that Jesus gave to his disciples on his last night after he washed their feet.
A penitential Veneration of the Cross that can be both a personal and communal examination of conscience in preparation for Easter. This will help us be open to receive God’s merciful grace at this time.
For the Easter season
The Via Lucis, or Way of Light, is fourteen episodes when the Light of Glory, the Light of Christ Risen, was manifested into the world. The period between the Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit on all flesh births the church who is entrusted to be “light” into the world.
How do we pray together as a family?
Find a suitable space in the home, where everyone can be comfortable. Sit in a circle around an icon, crucifix or another holy image. You can decorate with candles or flowers.
The format of the prayers includes a short reading from the Scriptures, a brief reflection, invocations and praying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be (or the Rosary). Parents can read the text from the Scriptures and the reflection that follows, while children can read the invocations and the other prayers. The Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be can be prayed together and recited by the youngest family members if possible. The litany and the concluding prayers can also be read by different family members.
It is important to keep a prayerful pace and not rush too much between one part of the prayer and the other. Silence is important to deepen the prayerful experience.
Music can also help the family pray together. It is suggested that the prayer opens and closes with music. Music, even a short hymn or refrain sung by the family, can also be used between the Stations.
After the conclusion of the prayer, the family can also share how the exerience touched them and spoke to them personally.
Finally, let us not worry too much if this prayerful moment does not go as smoothly as we would hope. We all know that, especially with young children, praying together is not easy. Despite this, let us not lose heart, especially if this is still a new experience for us.
Lastly, there is no limit to how many people can actually share in the same prayerful experience if we open our homes through Zoom, Teams or other technologies. Invite your friends to share in your moments of reflection and prayer.