Something one of our priests said in his homily a couple of weeks ago got me thinking about a way I could exercise my spiritual duties as father and husband. Father told an anecdote in his homily about a friend of his who set his cell phone to beep on the hour every day to remind him to pray for his wife and kids, wherever he happened to be.
I like that idea. I would like to be able to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day, marking each of the hours of the day with readings and prayers, like religious and priests do. Unfortunately, there just isn’t the time for it. I’m often in meetings or deep in a project and by the time the end of the day rolls around I can’t believe 8 hours has passed.
But this I could do.
So I set up a series of reminders using my favorite to-do web service at RememberTheMilk.com that are timed for each hour. Starting at 9am, RTM sends a notification through their iPhone app to my phone to pray for Melanie. I stop for a moment, say a quick prayer for her needs and intentions and that I would be the husband she needs me to be. Again, at 10, I pray for Isabella, her needs and intentions, and that Melanie and I would be the parents she needs us to be. Then at 11 for Sophia, 1pm for Ben (noon being too distracting with going to lunch), and 2pm for our unborn baby.
Occasionally, I’m talking to someone, or on the phone, or in a meeting when the top of the hour rolls around, but as soon as I can after the hour, I take a minute to pause and pray.
I can’t be with Melanie and the kids every day, all day like I would want, but it’s a way for me to be present with them and to be caring for them even as I go about my workday. It’s a kind of father’s Liturgy of the Hours.
Update: Something I forgot to mention: Last week, Melanie told me that during her weekly trip to the grocery store, she lost track of Sophia at the checkout. Our little 2-year-old had wandered out the doors of the market and a kind woman had come back in to find the mother of the crying little girl outside. I was shaken up hearing about it and Melanie was quite shaken up at the time too. But when she she told me about it later, she mentioned the time of day she got home and got the kids lunch and put them down for naps. I realized then that the incident at the checkout happened at just about 11am, right when I was praying for Sophia. The Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways.