When it seems useless to pray

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"When it seems useless to pray" by Ebeth (CatholicMom.com)

By Vinicus Vecoso (2005) via Freeimges.com, CC0 Public Domain

Being a mother seems to be a sign that I am somehow bullet-proof. As a child, I often wondered about being a mother. How handsome and wonderful my husband would be with our children. All I wanted to be was a mother and wife; oh sure, there were spurts of wanting to be a rock singer, actress, or a cashier, but all in all, it was being a wife and mother that I aspired to.
For the past thirty-six years, I have been a mom. Through it all, I have taught my children to love God and to believe in His saving gift of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. We prayed and they all made their sacraments under the guidance of our parishes and our homeschooling curricula. Throughout our eight years of home-educating, I was connected with many families online in various places:  learning, comparing notes, and making it a successful experience for our family. All along, my husband was very supportive this time and was the principal, science, and math teacher with his Ph.D. in biochemistry.
Our family went through a crisis with one of our children a few years ago. As the Catholic in our marriage, I led the family to Mass every Sunday, taught our school with Catholic curricula, and myself achieved master catechist certification. To say that my husband has been a supportive partner in my Catholic faith, raising the children Catholic and purchasing Catholic books each year, is an understatement.
During the darkest times of this crisis, I became weary of praying to “deaf ears,” as I put it. This child kept doing things we never fathomed in our minds would do. She was out of control and we were too. (I had to stop and cry for a minute, sorry). OK, so one day as she refused to listen to me beg to stay home, our little 5’2″ daughter stubbornly got into a taxi and left. As the taxi drove away, carrying our baby, I gave her to Jesus.
One Sunday morning my husband found me sitting on the side of the bathtub in my nightgown. “Don’t you need to be getting ready for Mass?” he asked.
“For what, there’s no one there!”
“What?” He’s confused.
“I pray and pray and only want the good for her; I am praying all the time and no one is listening!” I shouted out of complete exhaustion and frustration.
The scientist and searching Christian husband said, “That’s not how prayer works.”
“How do you know?”
“It just doesn’t, that’s all I know. We need to be getting ready for Mass.”
“I’m not going; why should I bother? There is no one up there.”
In shock, he said, “You’re serious? You aren’t going to Mass? Well, someone has to go. I’m going to Mass.” He turned around and went to his closet to get ready.
I got up and followed him, “What, why would you go to Mass? You aren’t even Catholic!”
He said looking at his shirts, “Well someone has to go to Mass.”
I walked away and sat back down on the side of the bathtub and thought, why is he doing this?  In pure resignation, I told him I’d go and got dressed.
Things in our family are constantly changing, including my faith. That morning made me realize that I didn’t want to not have faith.   As a result, I started praying the Rosary every day. Also, my husband and I started reading the Mass readings each day before work at the breakfast table. Most of all, we started praying the Lord’s Prayer together before going to sleep.
Our trials are not over and I still have weak moments when I just can’t pray. In those moments I am just quiet. Jesus doesn’t need my prayers; I need them. Hence,  I needed to continue to grow my faith and relationship with Jesus. He has a plan for me and for our child.
I do know, and must always remind myself, that God is in control of all things. So whether I speak out loud using rote prayers or my own words, or just sit in silence, it’s prayer and He IS listening.

Copyright 2018 Ebeth

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About Author

Ebeth Weidner, a Master Catechist and cradle Catholic who considers herself a Catholic information junkie, writes from her heart about the faith and hope she finds in the Catholic Church. She is the author of “A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars” blog. She is the wife of a research science Professor and mom to 3 great young adults people living on the coastal side of North Carolina.

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