Thursday, September 27, 2012

St. Vincent on Interruptions to Prayer

Do you Mommies out there get discouraged and frustrated with the Liturgy of the Hours (or any prayer or spiritual reading for that matter) because of constant interruptions from little ones? 

Today, in the Office of Readings, St. Vincent de Paul offers all the reassurance we can possibly need. He is referring to the poor that his disciples cared for in the slums of France. But our our little ones are surely the poor in spirit. They keep us feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, instructing the ignorant, wiping noses of the runny, and cleaning bottoms of the dirty all day long. 

 If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer. Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor. God is not neglected if you leave him for such service. One of God’s works is merely interrupted so that another can be carried out. So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember that this very service is performed for God. Charity is certainly greater than any rule.

Back in the day when the chances of  completing morning and evening prayer straight through was a fifty-fifty proposition or less, I liked to imagine the angels would complete it for me. In fact, the church universal completes it for you. Let not your hearts be troubled. 


  1. Well, I can definitely relate to this one. I could not get to any of the masses at all this week due to childcare and homeschooling. It is a comfort knowing that the Church and the angels complete our prayers for us if we are called away for another drink of water, another book, the dolly we can't sleep without, et.c. St. Vincent's comments on charity also recall Augustine's sermon to the bishops in a fuzzy sheepish sort of way: the bishop must do whatever is necessary to find the straying, even if they don't want to be found. They surely above all must follow this rule of charity. Closer to home we might also ask, who are the moms but the shepherds of the straying sheep under our roof? I know my coat is full of burrs and brambles at the end of the day from chasing the wayward in my house.

  2. Maybe I have to go back and read the Augustine again and apply it to myself as a mother!

  3. Yes, well, I guess that was a bit of a muddle with some limping similes. Children are like sheep, and so are grownups, but this does not necessarily place parents in an episcopal role at home. Or, at least, I hope not.

    Actually, I like the liturgy because it is the type of prayer I can stick to when I am being assailed with interruptions.