On my birthday this year I began a habit of reading or listening to the Bible chronologically in the hopes of reading the Bible before my 30th birthday. It has been a beautiful addition to my life, providing hope, consolation, and joy through so many different circumstances. There are many different reoccurring themes, and one of them is “remembering” the Lord. God knows our hearts can be easily distracted or forgetful, and so he gives us reminders all throughout the Bible to remember him. How do you remember the Lord? Deuteronomy Chapter 6 is a beautiful call and encouragement from Moses to the Israelites on how to live out remembering the Lord in their lives. It is my hope that you can use my reflections below as a guide to remembering the Lord and putting this habit into practice in your own life and with your family.
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. (Dt 6:4-6)
When I think of taking the call to love the Lord with my whole heart, being, and strength, I think of Mary, who so beautifully devoted her life to the Lord, and who also reminds us to “[keep] all these things, reflecting on them in [our hearts]” (Lk 2:19). Mary surely learned this practice and was inspired in prayer by these ancient teachings that had been passed on to her. When I think of loving the Lord like Mary did, I think of seeing God in others, so that in each opportunity presented before me, I embrace it as a chance to love the Lord. Every action, every word, can be a prayer, and Jesus is in every person I encounter. When I joyfully greet my children upon waking, when I take the dog outside for the millionth time that day, when I sit down to pray instead of sitting to scroll on my phone, when I exercise, when I make a lesson plan for my students – all can be given and devoted to God as an act of love.
Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. (Dt 6:7)
This verse is really encouraging to me regarding building rhythms of prayer and love for both me and my children. My husband and I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old, and we’ve learned that even at a young age, it is never too early to hear of Jesus and his goodness. We pray before meals and before bed. We sing hymns as lullabies. We say a Hail Mary whenever we hear emergency sirens. We talk about how God made all living things and we list the things we are grateful to God for in casual conversation. We read stories about Jesus, Mary, and lessons from the Bible. We model asking for forgiveness when we make mistakes. We celebrate Baptismal anniversaries with ice cream and tell the story of their baptism. We find opportunities to keep talking about Jesus with joy and remember him with our children, no matter how simple.
And while no Sunday is ever perfect, we bring our children to Mass with us and use each moment to whisper what we are learning about Jesus into their ears. We may not hear the day’s homily, but we practice a lot of Catholic calisthenics: learning to genuflect, making the Sign of the Cross and walking amongst the statues of saints! Be encouraged that this, too, is teaching your children to remember! The Eucharist is the ultimate remembrance: “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me’” (Lk 22:19). Jesus even tells us to let the children come to him (Luke 18:16)! Be patient with yourself and your children and keep bringing them to Mass, knowing that each memory shared in love will bear fruit in eternity.
When we remember Jesus, we are embracing his love in our life and can more readily share this with others. We can remember with the saints. We can remember in a pew. We can remember wherever we are. A month or so ago, our son’s godfather was pushing him on the swing in our yard. Our son asked him, “Will you push me all the way to heaven?,” and although we knew he wanted to go higher, we couldn’t help but laugh and be filled with joy, because isn’t that remembering? Helping each other and ourselves go to heaven? Don’t forget to remember! Take the time to strive for heaven. Living in the memory of the Lord will not be wasted.