School has started and my kids are starting to get busy. How do I make sure faith is not the last thing on their agendas during this school year?

Throughout salvation history, God has been trying to get this very point across to busy moms and dads. Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew, reminds us, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment” (Mt 22:37-38). How do we make sure that the faith is not relegated to the back burner? We bring it front and center.

Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Reading this Scripture, you realize God should not only be on our kids’ agenda but God should be number one. This is no small task in a world actively competing with God for that number one spot.

Consecration of the Family to the Holy Spirit

     Oh God the Holy Spirit! Bowing before your divine majesty, we come to consecrate ourselves to you with everything that we are and have.

By an act of the omnipotence of the Father we were created, by the grace of the Son we have been redeemed, and by your ineffable love you have come to our souls to sanctify us, communicating your own divine life.

From the day of our Baptism we have become your very own, you transform us into living temples where you dwell together with the Father and the Son; and the day of our Confirmation was our Pentecost when you descended to our hearts with the fullness of your gifts, so that we might live a fully integrated Christian life.

Stay with us to watch over our family gatherings; sanctify our joys and sweeten our sorrows; enlighten our minds with the gifts of wisdom, understanding and knowledge; in times of confusion and doubt assist us with the gift of counsel; so that we do not falter in the struggle or our work, grant us your fortitude; may our religious and family life be imbued with a spirit of piety; and may you move us all with a holy and filial fear to not offend you who are holiness itself.

Assisted at all times by your gifts and graces, we want to lead a holy life in your presence. So today we offer you our family and each one of us in time and eternity.

We consecrate our souls and our bodies, our material and spiritual goods, so that you alone may dispose of us and what belongs to us according to your good pleasure. We only ask the grace that, after having glorified you on earth, our whole family may be able to praise you in heaven, where with the Father and the Son you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

One way to make sure God takes priority is to consecrate our family to God. Consecration means to set something apart for a sacred purpose. This is precisely what we want to do with our families, to set them apart for God’s purposes.

Praying the family consecration prayer at right on a weekly basis is a reminder of the importance we should place on God’s role in our lives.

As the prayer transforms from being just words on a page and becomes words you truly believe, your family life will take on the look of holiness as you recognize God is the beginning and the end for your family life.

Many consecration prayers include phrases describing how God helps us in our struggles, how God walks with us in our joys, how he gives us comfort in our suffering and discernment in our decisions. All of this functions to keep God in the forefront of our lives; it shows us that God is active and interactive.  

There are many excellent consecration prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the Holy Spirit. A quick Internet search will yield one that is appropriate for you and your family. Below I translated the text of a popular family consecration prayer used in Latin America.

Like all good prayer, this prayer to the Holy Spirit grows as we grow. At first, it will seem like one more thing to do on a Sunday evening, but the more we meditate on its words and absorb what it represents, the more we become transformed.

That is ultimately what the Holy Spirit wants to do in us, with us and for us. Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you [the Holy Spirit] to be with you always” (Jn 14:16).

Let us invoke the Holy Spirit to sanctify our families and strengthen us to be true temples of the Blessed Trinity. May our families reflect the light of the Blessed Trinity just a little bit more this school year, acting in the name of Jesus, docile to inspirations of the Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

(Henry, his wife, Dr. Patricia Cabral, and their five children belong to St. Anthony Parish, Milwaukee. Reyes wears many hats as a business owner, doctoral student and candidate in the deacon formation program for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, but he says his most important hat is building his domestic church as a stay-at-home dad and homeschooling his three oldest children.)