Manliness Archives: Meal Prayer Evangelization Edition
Here is a picture painted by the great artist Norman Rockwell that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on November 24, 1951.
In the picture, we see an older woman, perhaps a grandmother, leading her grandson in prayer. The grandmother and the grandson are traveling, their bags by their feet, away from home, taking a meal in restaurant across from a train station. It is Thanksgiving time, and the women and boy are grateful and giving thanks. They have their heads bowed, their hands clasped in a deliberate act of thanksgiving to Jesus Christ.
Now, note how the various non-praying men are reacting. The two young men at the table are intently watching, fascinated and perhaps a bit surprised at what they are seeing. While they are not joining in the prayer, they are clearly intrigued. Perhaps they are asking, “What is it that would make this old woman and boy pray…right out in public?”
Note the man sitting at the bottom left. He too is watching, looking up from his paper and pausing in the smoking of his cigar to watch those in prayer.
Finally, look at the man standing on the left. He has his head slightly bowed, his face with a look of compassion, moved by the faithful witness of the woman and the boy.
If every single Catholic man led his family in prayer at the each meal, the culture of decay would spring to life. If each Catholic men would quietly but confidently lead his family and others in prayer at every meal taken in public, the world would be transformed.
Perhaps not explosively, perhaps very slowly. When we pray in earnest devotion, making the sign of the Cross, people notice. Some might say, “Look at the show off Catholic.” But many others will wonder, “What is it that compels a man to pray in public, especially when you are supposed to keep your religion in the closet.”
Catholic men, don’t be afraid or nervous about prayer in public. Remember this: Every single time you pray, Jesus Christ Himself is listening. And we can safely assume, He is smiling.
Be men of courage and evangelize today, now, by starting with a commitment to give thanks for every crumb of food you eat.
People will notice. Especially your sons and daughters.