Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, editor, marketing professional, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of many books, the most recent of which she co-edited with Lisa Hendey: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com and writes online regularly at CatholicMom.com and Integrated Catholic Life. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and children.
What’s the most important work of a mother?
We don’t need to look farther than Mary for our inspiration. We’re told in the Catechism (#965) that
After her Son's Ascension, Mary "aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers." In her association with the apostles and several women, "we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation."
Our most important work isn’t wiping bottoms, making lunches, or managing laundry. It’s not juggling schedules or mealtimes or finances. We can keep ourselves busy to the point of exhaustion very easily, and it’s all too easy to forget, avoid, or just plain neglect our most important work.
And this is true, really, for all women, because we are all mothers in one way or another. My motherhood might involve little people underfoot (and towering over me, as the case may be), but it also involves my godchildren and those people who have captured my heart. There are days when I’ll find that someone just won’t leave my heart, and I’ve learned that this is almost a “call” to pray for them.
For me, prayer is anything but easy. For one thing, there’s the process. How do I keep track of it all? What works one day doesn’t work another. Using technology might be easy-peasy one day and distracting without fail on another. And what about the days when I don’t have time or can’t make time or am just not sure what to pray?
When a friend pointed me recently to the Mother’s Prayer Companion, I felt like it was an answer to prayer. Here, at last, was a resource that was focused on my role as a mother and my need — and call! — to pray for those around me.
Klement was inspired to pull this project together because of her own mother. “When I look back over my life, and I think of the greatest gift [my mom] ever gave me,” says founder Jenny Klement, “was her faithful and unending prayers.” As the child of a praying mom myself, I can relate with that. There are days when I look at my husband and remember my mom telling me, as a young child, that she was praying for my future husband.
“Motherhood has given me the deepest joys I’ve ever known but it has also given me the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced,” she says, and boy, do I ever relate! In fact, I don’t think I’ve met a mom who doesn’t relate to that sentiment.
I was expecting a book, something that would be pretty for the first few months and disintegrate into the well-worn look most of my journals have. (I obviously didn’t spend enough time on the site, looking at the product descriptions.)
What arrived was a three-ring binder with pages for each of my children, my husband, and myself, along with blank pages for other intentions and people I’m praying for. I’m going to be ordering extra pages for my godchildren (while there aren’t specific pages, I’m writing “god” above “son” and “daughter”). The pages are heavy almost-cardstock-weight paper in an off-white hue. The font is even pleasing to the feminine eye.
The whole package is beautiful. It makes me want to sit down with it and relish praying for each of my children and my husband. It also sits so nicely on my shelf, easily tucked away and sturdy enough to be carted around in my bag if it’s one of those crazy-busy-out-of-the-house days.
Each person you’re praying for has a page (children, husband, self). You fill in the blanks with their name, and there’s a spot to insert their picture, too. There are places to insert their specific requests and needs as well.
There are sections for the prayers you pray for each person: praise, thanksgiving, and intercession.
“We worry about so many things. Fear consumes us about so many things,” Klement says of mothers. “We have hopes and dreams and desires for so many things for our children, but so often, those things consume us, and we fixate on those things, and it robs us of the peace and the joy and the freedom that God intends for us to have as Mom.” It also robs the people around us of their peace, and she points to a way around the stressed out normal so many of us take for granted.
That way is prayer.
Klement recognizes the mother’s eye for detail, and The Mother’s Prayer Companion is designed with that in mind. It is truly a companion, a resource designed to inspire you to pray like you have never prayed before.
It’s a life-changing product, and one I’ll be sharing with many others on my gift list in the months to come.