Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ordering My Life to God

A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul

In case you can't tell from the quotes I've posted recently, I found much to value in this book. Mrs. Pierlot is a Catholic homeschooling mother who developed a Rule of Life, similar to that found in monasteries or convents, to guide her daily life as a wife and mother. In the book, she provides practical questions and suggestions for developing your own rule.

It all began when she felt like everything was falling apart. Eventually, Mrs. Pierlot remembered the words of a wise priest who told her about

the Five "P's" of Married Life -- the five priorities of the married vocation:

First P = Prayer
Second P = Person
Third P = Partner
Fourth P = Parent
Fifth P = Provider

The order is important; there is a hierarchy. Prayer (spiritual life) includes setting aside time for prayer, adoration, and the sacraments, as well as study for spiritual growth. Person includes all the daily stuff we mothers must do like showers, but also exercise and time to address mental health. Partner is the time to focus on and develop the relationship with your husband. Parent for the kids. Last (and least), Provider would include a job (to provide money), but also financial stewardship and keeping house.

There are lots of books out there on how to organize your home and schedule your daily or weekly chores. What sets this one apart is how Mrs. Pierlot takes the same approach to scheduling the chores (properly in the place as the least important) to scheduling time for our relationships with God and our families. After giving her own story within each priority, she provides a list of questions that can help walk you through the process of determining what you and your family need to accomplish, what your goals may be and how your time can be focused.

As this quote shows, this is not just a book about how to keep your house clean and dinner on the table. It's about ordering your life about what is most important. As everything falls into place, the vocation of Marriage and Motherhood are avenues to a closer relationship to God.

I did not have time to go through all the questions myself, as I have to return this book to inter-library loan, but I hope to institute some of her ideas in our home. For example, she mentions a realization that she and the kids do not need to be doing the same thing at the same time, so I've been trying to take clothes out to hang on the line while taking the kids out for their outside time. (Mrs. Pierlot sends her kids out to play and has quiet time indoors for prayer time, but my children aren't old enough to be outside without me.)

If you're interested in learning more, the author maintains a blog and website here.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to all Catholic mothers (homeschooling or not). Christian mothers (homeschooling or not) may also find much of value. (The Prayer chapter in particular focuses quite a lot on the sacraments of the Catholic church, but I believe the heart of the meaning can be translated, with the help of a spiritual mentor if necessary.)

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