Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Retreat for Parents: Unleashing Your Inner Psalmist

Mission Viejo, CA: St. Teresa's Catholic Church has introduced a new Saturday retreat for hard-working parents: "Unleashing Your Inner Psalmist".

"We know that parenting is a path of holiness, but parents always ask what they can do in those moments when they are about to lose it with their kids. This retreat provides the answer: put your kids in a safe place--say, watching Veggie Tales--and instead of ramming your fist through the drywall, turn to the Psalms. Plenty of anger, despair, and ultimate faith in God's plan there. And God is the only one who can help, anyway," said Fr. Alberto Garcia.

After reading through the psalms for for a few hours, retreatants will be encouraged to write their own psalm to God as a prayer exercise.

"We've gotten great response," said pastoral associate Julie Bernard. "Some have even sent in sample psalms already. Parents are chomping at the bit to do this retreat."

The parish website provides a sample created psalm to give retreatants the idea behind the retreat.

To the house of David. With lyre and harp.

Oh God, hear my cry!
Let my anger be heeded by you, by you alone!
Let mine enemies be tripped by fallen matchbox cars!
Lo, they are of unclean clothing,
yet I care not; no, care not I.

Deliver me from the wails of toddlerhood,
from the attention span of gnats,
from the tantrums of human tornadoes.
Deliver me from the constant pleas of five year olds,
for pretty ponies, for doggies, for dresses, for cookies,
from those whose center is self and not God.
Deliver me from the demands of seven year olds,
from the one who reasons that a lack of trees does not
hinder making a treehouse,
from the one for wants to learn
how to play an instrument for the school assembly,
by tomorrow.
Help me, my God and my salvation, I am in distress.
We cry together in terrible shrieks
to the one true God,
lamenting the lack of lemonade and hot dogs.

Yet you are my God, the only God,
the One who rescued Israel from the Egyptians,
the One who provided manna when your children wailed.
Send down your manna on this parent, I plead.
I trust your in power and your love to show me the way.


When asked if some of the psalms weren't exactly "peaceful parenting" material, Fr. Garcia said "The psalms are about being honest before God. But if any one or thing is going to be 'dashed against a stone,' we ask the parents to name their evil impulses, such as impatience and anger. So far it has worked out. Plus there is a liability sheet everyone has to sign, so we're covered."

"We'd like people to remember that we are providing free child care and chamomile tea for this retreat," said associate Julie Bernard. "We hope this retreat, like praying the psalms as a means to rely on God, will bring you peace and a break."


(OK, seriously, a perspective check on the challenges of parenting with this beautiful video. This video documents the 99 day life of a little boy with Trisomy 18 as a window into God's presence. Hat tip to Martha, Martha.)


Joshua said...

Hey, so nice to have found this catholic blog of yours, so interesting. I sure hope and wish that you take courage enough to pay me a visit in my PALAVROSSAVRVS REX!, and plus get some surprise. My blog is also so cool!

angelmeg said...

Love the idea of Psalmistry for Parents. I can rant and ask God to smote my children and then tell them I'm praying.

works for me.

mcewen said...

I'm with angelmeg on this one.

Intrepid Mother of the Front Pew Crew said...

Calgon, take me away!

Where do I sign up?

wellbegun said...

As a mother of two who *recently* put my outside-the-home career on hold to focus on my side business and be the primary caregiver of my two beautiful, bright, intrepid, creative, energetic daughters (rather than saying mischievous, loud, impulsive, messy, and tiring), I laughed so hard I cried. Thanks for that!

fineoldfamly said...

My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me continually, "Where is my underwear, and the Star Wars Lego Episode II game, and my cheese sandwich, and my math book, and have you found me any clean underwear yet?"

. . .

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me, as if I had to ask?

Thanks for a laugh.

(homeschooling mother of 4, recent convert, blogger at