From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, O.F.M., 1927
What, then, is the recipe of happiness for a married person? It is contained in the words of my text: “Blessed are all they that fear the Lord.”
This is the recipe given by God Himself. If anyone knows the way to true and lasting happiness, it is the Lord Who created our heart and gave it its vehement and incessant craving for happiness. He condenses the whole manner of achieving happiness in the words I have quoted.
All other recipes of happiness, divergent from this one, no matter by whom they have been or are given, are false and misleading.
There is but one way for a Catholic couple to become thoroughly and permanently happy, and that one way is the fear of the Lord.
How does a Catholic couple practice and manifest the fear of the Lord?
First of all by worshiping God faithfully. They say their prayers every morning and evening. In their home, which is duly blessed, they pray aloud with the family before and after meals; this, too, when guests are present, let them be Catholics or not. Grace at table always makes a good impression on company worth having.
Outside of their personal prayers, which should by all means include the daily examination of conscience and an act of perfect contrition, Catholic parents will see to it, that the family recite a certain prayer in common, called family prayer.
Not only is each individual member of the family expected to pray, but the family as such should in concert worship God and consecrate itself to Him afresh every day.
Father and Mother and all the children kneel down before the family crucifix and recite together the rosary, or a litany, or some other prayers as a homage of the family towards the Lord.
The best time to perform this prayer will usually be immediately after supper before the family disbands or retires. The prayer need not be long – it should not be so long as to weary and bore the children – but it should be said regularly and constantly by the entire family.
Nothing is more apt to keep the spirit of God and of faith in a family, and to assure it of the Lord’s continual blessing and protection than this family prayer.
And nothing will be more likely to guarantee the perseverance of all the family members in the true Church than this family prayer.
Your children will not remain with you long. Soon they will disperse into various directions. They will be assailed by all kinds of temptations against virtue and religion, and they may for a time grow lukewarm and careless in the practice of their holy faith.
But if in their childhood and youth they were held to take part in the daily family prayer, the remembrance of it, when with father and mother and brothers and sisters they dedicated themselves to God anew from day to day, will haunt them persistently, and give them no rest until they return again to the faith of their fathers and its regular and conscientious practice.
If, therefore, you have not yet introduced family prayer into your home, do it at once. St. Augustine says, that every Christian home is a little parish for itself. The parents are the priests, and the children the members of the parish.
It behooves priests to guide their parishes particularly in prayer; parents have the same office in their homes; and wherever it is well done, it invariably proves to be their most grateful and productive office.
The best time to start this family prayer is at the very beginning of married life.
Our work within the home can be transformed into a powerful prayer. One day of making meals and changing diapers, of reading stories and sweeping floors, when offered up, is worth much to Our Lord. Eventually we will see the merit we have gained doing just the small things….
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