There was a time when devout Catholics attended daily Mass throughout the year, but many parishes no longer celebrate anything other than Sunday Masses and perhaps a vigil Mass on Saturday evening. Often it is a matter of a shortage of ordained priests. Many parishes share priests and so even those churches remain locked other than for weekend Masses and Confessions.
Then there is the fact that many people couldn’t attend daily Mass if they wanted to because schedules at work conflict with morning services. For these reasons and so many more, a growing number of Catholics are creating a prayer garden where they can go to reflect, say a rosary, and simply open their hearts to the Lord. If you are looking to create a holy space where you can just be in the presence of God, here are some essential elements to consider.
1. The Importance of a Quiet Area
You may not have the luxury of a large and sprawling lawn and garden, but whatever area you choose should be as quiet as possible. Find a corner of your backyard that is tucked away from areas where the kids play or is invisible to passers-by on the street. Perhaps you have an area where you’ve planted flowers, shrubs, or other decorative botanicals that will somewhat shield you from view. If not, just be mindful of the need for peace, quiet, and solitude.
2. A Statue or Shrine
This is something that non-Catholics don’t quite understand. We have a long tradition of venerating the saints and angels as being specially chosen by God. We find statues and icons to honor them. Contrary to what many people believe, we don’t consider them Gods and we don’t pray to them or the statue as a deity, but rather ask for their intercession on our behalf with the Lord.
We ask them to pray for us. So it is with Mary, Mother of God. Of all women who ever were and ever will be, she alone was chosen to bear the Christ child. A statue or shrine to Mary is perfect, but so too would a statue of your patron saint or one that represents a cause you often pray for.
3. A Prayer Bench
One thing you will need is a garden prayer bench so that you have a place to sit and commune with the Lord. While standing is a sign of respect, it doesn’t lend itself well to a prayer of any length. You might also want to have a hassock, commonly called a kneeler. Many people still kneel to say their rosaries or novenas and there is no greater sign of respect and submission than to kneel before your King.
The one thing you can be certain of is that once you’ve created your special prayer garden, you will find yourself spending more and more time in that quiet place where you can almost hear the voice of God. It is in the stillness of your heart that you hear Him, so make your Catholic prayer garden a place where there is only you and your Lord.