I was raised as a good Catholic girl. I went to Catholic school, my parents live literally on the same street as our church, I trick or treated at the convent every Halloween (since the nuns were our neighbors, after all), I altar served, I've made all of my sacraments. Yes, friends, I was raised as a proper, old school, Philadelphia Catholic.
Now when I say Philadelphia Catholic, I mean this: a big stone church with high ceilings and a loud organ. Priests who bless you with holy "wooder" (not waahter). Families who are some nationality that generally breed a lot of children at one point or another (Irish ((me!)), Italian, German, Polish...you get the idea) and who pile into the pews most Sundays for Mass. Families who all say the same Grace at dinner and don't eat meat on Fridays during lent.
My Philadelphia Catholics are traditional, to their roots people.
And I love them.
This past Christmas I found myself reflecting on my religious upbringing. Remembering my first confession with the older priest on the altar...and saying the first of many Hail Marys thereafter...
Remembering my first Communion with my short little white dress and my little flowy veil, and actually enjoying the taste of the host. Reflecting back on the prayers I have learned over the years.
And then I started thinking...what was my first real prayer?
Grace. At dinner time.
It's the prayer that, in my neck of the woods, you probably hear first and most often as a child...and probably starting the first night you arrive home from the hospital as your family prays before they eat dinner. In fact, I don't remember a time when I didn't say Grace at dinner (I clearly know there was one, before I could speak). But as far back as I can remember, that prayer has been a staple in my every day life. In fact, Derek and I have always made a point to keep that prayer in our lives. As a newly married couple, we made sure to start our meal with "Bless us, oh Lord"....you know the rest.
And then I turn to my son. My beautiful, smart little boy. And do you know what I realized?
That will probably be his first prayer too. Even now, at dinner, Conner is always silent during Grace. As soon as we bless ourselves, little dude quiets down and observes. And once we say "Amen", he's back to his normal chatter.
Kids are so damn intuitive it's amazing. I love that Conner seems to have his own understanding of our nightly dinner prayer...and I love that he'll share the same first prayer as so many little kiddos do. Grace is certainly a good one to start with.
It's just a little prayer....with a lot behind it.
Until next time.