Monday, 23 May 2011

Powerful Prayer Or Sentimental Hogwash?

So we went to see a young family friend receive her First Holy Communion at a Mass in Chiswick on Saturday.

It was the usual uplifting, Catholic set-piece event: a beautiful church; the delighted seven-year-olds at the heart of the Sacrament in their bridal white and Sunday best; parents, family and friends all dressed-up and smiling for what is a very traditional, spiritually-significant celebration.

So far, so comfortably familiar.

But then right at the end one of the parents stepped up to the pulpit and led the congregation in the Parents' Prayer.

It began in the barely-notice-it way that many modern prayers do. Then it got to the last paragraph about being a mum and dad. And I'm sure I wasn't the only one getting a bit misty-eyed. This is the prayer:

And when the work is done
and they are formed and raised and gone,
help us to turn back to you without children
and continue the journey,
wiser, with more understanding of you
and your love for us,
because we have children of our own.

I found it very moving for a minute in there.

Then we left the church, sent the kids to the fair at Turnham Green on their own and went and got happily drunk in the sunshine in Jack and Trish's back garden.

Well, only the last part of that bit is true.

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