Rudey's Room

Five Finger Prayer

 Let the little children come to me.

 V started religious education classes in September. Every Tuesday night, she is in class from 6:15 to 7:30. At first I sighed at the weekly, two-year commitment that preceded First Communion. This puts us home at 8 p.m., after dark on a weeknight. What about our bedtime routine?

The class would overtake our sacred bedtime hour.

I knew nothing of CCD. My Catholic education was built-in to my uniform-wearing days.

Then we started making an evening of it. We meet another mom + kids prior to class (it’s a girlfriend from V’s public school) and dine out at new and favorite neighborhood spots. The older girls work on their homework and the other mom and I have quarter-conversations while coaxing our younger daughters to just have one more bite, please … please sit down … seriously, this doesn’t work for me … sit down.

It’s our nightly drill, just not at our own houses. We’re in the parenting throes together. It is a sense of community I knew I was lacking – urban mom etc. – but didn’t know how to regulate.

Let the little children come to me.

After the second class, V shared a prayer with me. You may already know this prayer – it’s been around a while – but I thought it was worth a shout out. It’s so lovely in its humanity.

 It is a prayer penned by Pope Francis, when he was Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. The prayer is true to his humble fashion – a man of the people. It communicates to believers in broad-spectrum empathy and touches on real life. Not pomp or dogma.

 For me, prayer is an ongoing conversation with God, so this prayer hits the spot.

 Here it is, Pope Francis’ five finger prayer guide:

Five Finger Prayer

  1. The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation.”
  2. The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
  3. The third finger is the tallest one. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
  4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. It may surprise you to know that it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.
  5. And finally we have our smallest finger, the littlest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

What a simple, yet powerful prayer. Although it is grounded in Catholic tradition, it echoes many faiths. Pope Francis said, “I believe in God – not in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God. There is God.”

I am with him. I practice Catholicism, yet at the end of the day, I believe in God. Simply God.

To me this prayer, speaks to kindness. It showcases Pope Francis’ priority for family – the thumb is for those closest to you – and his love for the poor. (He chose his Papal name after St. Francis of Assisi).

Moreover, the pinkie represents an important lesson in gratitude – by praying for others first, we view our own needs in greater perspective.

My mom often countered our whining with, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who have no feet.” At seven, I thought she was cra-cra. I puzzled, Why are you talking about a man with no feet? I just want to stay up to play Ghosts in the Graveyard ... now I get it.

Let the little children come to me.

It’s a practical prayer that resonates with children. Wherever you go, you always have your five fingers. And to the snarky, it gives a new meaning to giving our leaders the middle finger. But that would not be in the spirit of love, now would it?

Grazie Papa Francis.

Ciao for now.

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