“Raising small children, if it is done with love and generosity, will do for you exactly what private prayer does.” –Ronald Rolheiser, Domestic Monastery
I just read this whole (very small) book in one sitting. Starting with this thought on the first page and continuing throughout, I was reminded of those early years of our children’s lives. I did not always raise them with generosity, and yet I resonate with this idea. Those years of abandoning contemplative practices and snatching at sleep rather than committing to any sort of regular rhythm of prayer were sacred ones because of the messiness and disruption and the way I became more and more dependent upon grace as our kids demonstrated their dependence on me.
So if you are a parent or caregiver for small children, yes, I recommend Domestic Monastery as an encouragement. But even more so I recommend the sentiment within its pages that you are doing the work of maturing in love, which is the only work the world needs.
For those of us without small children in our daily lives, this book is a reminder that we either need that kind of regular proximity to people whose dependence and vulnerability are obvious or we need a practice of regular prayer that draws us out of ourselves and closer to the heart of God. Or both. In all these cases we need, as Rolheiser observes, “a place to learn the value of powerlessness and a place to learn that time is not ours, but God’s.”
More with Amy Julia:
- Small Talk: Learning from my children about what matters most
- 9 Non-Fiction Books I Loved in 2021
- Friday Favorites and AJB Recommends
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