“Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19).
These words, spoken for the first time by God to Adam after he had committed sin, are repeated today by the Church to every Christian, in order to remind him of two fundamental truths–his nothingness and the reality of death.
Dust, the ashes which the priest puts on our foreheads today, has no substance; the lightest breath will disperse it. It is a good representation of man’s nothingness: “O Lord, my substance is as nothing before Thee” (Psalm 38:6), exclaims the Psalmist.
Our pride, our arrogance, needs to grasp this truth, to realize that everything in us is nothing. Drawn from nothing by the creative power of God, by His infinite love which willed to communicate His being and His life to us, we cannot–because of sin–be reunited with Him for eternity without passing through the dark reality of death.
The consequence and punishment of sin, death is, in itself, bitter and painful; but Jesus, who wanted to be like to us in all things, in submitting to death has given all Christians the strength to accept it out of love.
Nevertheless, death exists, and we should reflect on it, not in order to distress ourselves, but to arouse ourselves to do good. “In all thy works, remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin” (Sirach 7:40).
The thought of death places before our eyes the vanity of earthly things, the brevity of life–“All things are passing; God alone remains”–and therefore it urges us to detach ourselves from everything, to scorn every earthly satisfaction, and to seek God alone. The thought of death makes us understand that “all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone” (Imitation of Christ I, 1,4).
“Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die … then there will be many things about which you care nothing” (St. Teresa of Jesus, Maxims for Her Nuns, 68), that is, you will give up everything that has no eternal value. Only love and fidelity to God are of value for eternity. “In the evening of life, you will be judged on love” (St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Maxims: Words of Light, 57).
“O Jesus, how long is man’s life, although we say that it is short! It is short, O my God, since, by it, we are to gain a life without end; but it seems very long to the soul who aspires to be with You quickly….
O my soul, you will enter into rest when you are absorbed into the sovereign Good, when you know what He knows, love what He loves, and enjoy what He enjoys. Then your will will no longer be inconstant nor subject to change … and you will forever enjoy Him and His love.
Blessed are they whose names are written in the Book of Life! If yours is there, why are you sad, O my soul, and why are you troubled? Trust in God, to whom I shall still confess my sins and whose mercies I shall proclaim. I shall compose a canticle of praise for Him and shall not cease to send up my sighs toward my Savior and my God.
A day will come, perhaps, when my glory will praise Him, and my conscience will not feel the bitterness of compunction, in the place where tears and fears have ceased forever….
O Lord, I would rather live and die in hope, and in the effort to gain eternal life, than to possess all creatures and their perishable goods. Do not abandon me, O Lord! I hopein You, and my hope will not be confounded. Give me the grace to serve You always and dispose of me as You wish” (St. Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God 15 – 17).
If the remembrance of my infidelities torments me, I shall remember, O Lord, that “as soon as we are sorry for having offended You, You forget all our sins and malice. O truly infinite goodness! What more could one desire? Who would not blush with shame to ask so much of You?
But now is the favorable time to profit from it, my merciful Savior, by accepting what You offer. You desire our friendship. Who can refuse to give it to You, who did not refuse to shed all Your Blood for us by sacrificing Your life? What You ask is nothing! It will be to our supreme advantage to grant it to You” (St. Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God 14).
“The Holy Family lived in a plain cottage among other working people, in a village perched on a hillside. Although they did not enjoy modern conveniences, the three persons who lived there made it the happiest home that ever was. You cannot imagine any of them at any time thinking first of himself. This is the kind of home a husband likes to return to and to remain in. Mary saw to it that such was their home. She took it as her career to be a successful homemaker and mother.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook
A quick homily on needing a sense of humor during this time along with not just doing the minimum requirements…
I want to thank you all so much for any reviews you have given me on my etsy shop and also on Amazon. I know it takes time to leave a review and so I very much appreciate it! We especially enjoy the pictures!
I just received my Lenten Way of the Cross ✝️ today, the day before Ash Wednesday! incredible. I ordered late, but you mailed it immediately. Thank you!! It is wonderful and already displayed on my kitchen table ready to begin with the family tomorrow! As with everything I have ordered from you, it’s perfect, and it was so beautifully wrapped too! So much ❤️ went into it. Thank you and also, thanks for all your inspiration!
Jeanette is ready for Lent with her Way of the Cross…
The first three on the list have to be drawn on a large sheet of paper, similar to the crib and its roof, namely the mountain, the paths and pitfalls. Its not meant to be the Stations of the Cross, but a Spiritual Lenten Way of the Cross for children. The prayers are adapted from the Advent Spiritual Crib, and from a book called Lent for Children – A Thought a Day, and some I made.
So…get yourself a poster board….or more than one, depending on the size you are going to make the Way of the Cross. Some sharpie markers and crayons can be helpful…..and then draw the part that is applicable to the day as each day of Lent passes! OR use the clipart that Mary has provided here:
This would be our first year, and everyone will draw/create theirs a little differently. The printables have almost three of everything, because I have three older kids who will be getting to have fun with it. If you have one child, you will only need one of everything and if you have more children you might need to print out more.
Some of the images like Jesus, or Mary, or Veronica, etc there is only one, because they are extra special.
The layout is something of the large mountain of Calvary, then there will be the long path, depending on how you draw it, could be steep, could be winding, or a little of both. The rest of the days are draw along the path wherever you want them.
You might start low and each day ascend a little higher, or you might just draw them wherever you think they fit. Some things like the crosses will probably be at the top. The very last day, the tomb, is separate, if you do the printables, and would be off to the side of mount Calvary. Hope this helps. 🙂
(Here is another help along the way…TheLenten Flip Cards available here.)
Here is the devotion:
1 – Ash Weds. The Mountain of Calvary
2 – Thurs. after Ash Weds. Path
3 – Fri. after Ash Weds. Pitfalls
4 – Sat. after Ash Weds. Bugs
1st Week of Lent:
5 – Mon. Dust and Ashes
6 – Tues. Bushes
7 – Weds. Boulders
8 – Thurs. Trees
9 – Fri. Pharisees/Crowd
10 – Sat. Water and Basin
2nd Week of Lent:
11 – Mon. 3 Crosses
12 – Tues. Skull and Bones
13 – Weds. Dark Clouds
14 – Thurs. Incense (myrrh)
15 – Fri. Simon of Cyrene
16 – Sat. Goats
3rd Week of Lent:
17 – Mon. St. Veronica and Veil
18 – Tues. Lambs
19 – Weds. Palms
20 – Thurs. Donkey
21 – Fri. Purple Robe
22 – Sat. Weeping Women of Jerusalem
4th Week of Lent:
23 – Mon. Rope
24 – Tues. Pillar
25 – Weds. Scourges
26 – Thurs. Thorns
27 – Fri. Board with Inscription (INRI)
28 – Sat. People passing by
5th Week of Lent:
29 – Mon. Sponge of Vinegar
30 – Tues. Nails
31 – Weds. Lance
32 – Thurs. Soldiers
33 – Fri. Sorrowful Mother
34 – Sat. Mary Magdalene
6th Week of Lent:
35 – Mon. St. John
36 – Tues. Two Thieves
37 – Weds. Silver Coins
38 – Thurs. Bread and Wine
39 – Fri. Jesus
40 – Sat. Tomb
Beginning of Lent:
1 – Ash Weds.
The Mount of Calvary
Our Dear Lord spends 40 days in the wilderness and even though the mountain is steep, we prepare our souls spiritually and bravely start on the path with Him.
Offer Him your sinful heart as the mountain you will overcome this Lent. Now is the time my love to show. O Jesus dear, thy grace bestow.
2 – Thurs. after Ash Weds.
What path have I walked during my life? If I haven’t gone in the right direction, I will now follow you, dear Jesus, wherever You will go. Help me walk on the path to my true vocation.
May I so live that I will be ready, dear Lord, when you call for me.
3 – Fri. after Ash Weds.
Carefully walk around the pitfalls of temptation. I will be generous with my brothers and sisters and avoid yelling or fighting over a silly excuse or toy.
Jesus, help me to keep temptations out of my heart.
4 – Sat. after Ash Weds.
Watch out for the pesky bugs of distraction as we start the climb up the mountain. I will pay attention during prayers and during spiritual reading, but most especially at the Holy Mass.
Begone! I’ll say, when Satan bids me be lazy or sin. And since I fight for Heaven I shall win!
First Week of Lent:
5 – Mon.Dust and Ashes
I will shake off the dust of perceived injury and not listen to foolish feelings of pride and envy when I realize my life is so short, but Heaven is forever.
Angels, round me everywhere, please keep me in your loving care!
6 – Tues.Bushes
See the bushes growing as weeds? I will keep the garden of my heart clean by performing little acts of mortification, by bearing the cold or sitting and standing erect.
Dear Jesus, Who suffered so much for me, let me suffer for love of You.
7 – Weds.Boulders
When anger seizes my heart like giant boulders, I will remember how meek my Jesus was when He suffered for me. I will avoid harsh and mean words and be kind and gentle to all.
Jesus, help me to be meek and humble like You.
8 – Thurs.Trees
The trees stand so tall and yet one immediately obeyed and bowed its bark to become a humble cross for the King of Kings. I will give up my own will and obey my superiors cheerfully and promptly.
Jesus, I wish to be useful to you; like a steadfast tree, though small, but oh so true!
9 – Fri.Pharisees/Crowd
I will diligently remove from my heart every inordinate desire to be praised. I will help those in distress even if it means I will be laughed at or scorned; I will not join the mocking crowd.
Jesus, I was made for Thee; never let us parted be!
10 – Sat.Water and Basin
Have I gone to confession lately or do I pretend I am good? Dear Jesus, I will wash my sins in the water of my tears and happily do the penance the priest gives me.
Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest sins.
2nd Week of Lent
11 – Mon.3 Crosses
I will renew my Lenten offerings to Our Lord and accept the small crosses He sends me through the day to comfort Him in His sorrowful Passion.
“Thy Will be Done,” I’ll quickly say, as soon as sorrow comes my way!
12 – Tues.Skull and Bones
One day we shall die, shall I be remembered for good deeds or bad? While I still have time, I will cheerfully obey the inspirations of my Guardian Angel and the guidance of my parents.
Jesus, immensely good to me, I want to live and die for Thee!
13 – Weds. Dark Clouds
When bad health and sickness makes me feel so ill and the days are dark and long, I will cling to Our Lady and ask her to bring my misery to Our Lord as a gift to ease the coldness of men’s hearts.
“Remember Me,” dear Jesus. I hope to be in Paradise some day with You.
14 – Thurs.Incense (myrrh)
Incense is a prayer before Your altar, Oh Lord, on the Cross. I will offer extra prayers, as incense, through the day for all those who are not in the state of grace but will die today.
May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
15 – Fri.Simon of Cyrene
I offer my strength to Your service as Simon of Cyrene; help me to use it in the service of others, especially those closest to me.
Jesus accept my service of love; I offer it for those who do not love You.
16 – Sat.Goats
Am I like the goats that kick and butt as I do not finish tasks, but whine and complain and waste my time? I will do the things I do not like without complaining, especially my homework or my chores, and make better use of my time.
Jesus, I need Thy holy grace; to help me every day and place.
3rd Week of Lent:
17 – Mon.St Veronica and Veil
Does my mother need help with the baby or does my sister need help with her homework or does my brother need help to put on his shoes? May I see in my family Your image, Dear Lord, and help them in whatever they need.
As older I grow, my heart must remain; Childlike and humble, if Heaven I’ll gain.
18 – Tues. Lambs
I will strive to be like a lamb, meek and patient. I will not murmur or talk behind my parents’ back when they give me a command.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours.
19 – Weds. Palms
I will be a peacemaker in my home and not start or join petty fights with my brothers and sisters.
O Jesus, give me for my part, a tender and forgiving heart!
20 – Thurs.Donkey
Do I stubbornly cling to a fault and try to excuse it? I will be grateful to God for the love He has shown me by dying for me and remember that my faults put Him on that cross.
Jesus, I need Thy grace all days, to free me from all my evil ways.
21 – Fri.Purple Robe
Many times, my things are scattered here and there and not put away, even when my parents asked me to do so. I will keep better care of my things, like my clothes, books or toys, and make sure to put them away when they should be. I will thank God for what I have and remember others may not have the nice things I do and not take it for granted.
Oh Jesus, I wish my life could be, a hymn of gratitude to thee!
22 – Sat.Weeping Women of Jerusalem
Today I will pray for all the children who have no parents to love them, and especially those children who died before they were born.
Little Innocents, pray to Jesus for me and my country!
4th Week of Lent:
23 – Mon. Rope
Are my companions good friends, who help me to love God more and obey His laws? Or do they tell me I should do things that are not good, like a little rope pulling me away from the Ten Commandments? I will take care to listen to good companions and be a good friend to them.
Jesus, teach me to love you above all things!
24 – Tues.Pillar
I will study my Catechism well so that I can explain my Faith to my brothers and sisters and to anyone who might ask about Our Lord and His Church.
O Thou art mine and I am Thine; Thy cross is both my proof and sign.
25 – Weds.Scourges
Do I forgive quickly and readily, or do I hold a grudge for a long time? I will learn from Jesus to forget and forgive all who hurt and injured me.
O Jesus, give me true contrition; This, today, is my one petition!
26 – Thurs. Thorns
Our Dear Lord is hurt daily by impure actions that drive the thorns deeper into His Head. I can practice modesty in my words, deeds, dress and actions to amend for my past bad actions and those of the world.
Dear Jesus, close my heart to all that hurts You!
27 – Fri.Board with Inscription (INRI)
When I hear Our Lord’s Holy name used in vain, do I join in or keep silent? If I hear His name used badly, I will immediately say a silent prayer in reparation for the insult after all He has done for me.
Dearest Mary, help me praise His name, forever and ever. Amen!
28 – Sat.People Passing By
So many people ignore Our Lord and reject His laws. Do I disregard Him, too, and disobey my parents, whom He put in charge of me? When my father or mother ask me to help, I will immediately do as they ask for love of God.
Jesus, obedient all Your life through, Oh, give me the grace to grow like You!
5th Week of Lent:
29 – Mon. Sponge of Vinegar
Lots of children have nothing to eat today, but I often waste my food or refuse to eat what my mother has prepared for me. At meal time, I will gratefully eat whatever is given me and even if it isn’t my favorite, I will offer it for those who have nothing.
O Jesus, loving from the first, for Thee my longing soul doth thirst!
30 – Tues.Nails
In my thoughts have I been jealous of another or thought something bad about them? I will not give into rash judgments about my family or my friends. Instead, I will think kindly of them and be happy for their good fortune.
My Jesus, I want to please You in all I do today.
31 – Weds.Lance
I will not pierce Our Lord with ingratitude; instead I will thank Him for all the gifts He has given me in my home and family and my Faith.
Oh, I wish my life to be a thanksgiving song, Singing to Jesus the whole day long!
32 – Thurs. Soldiers
I will be a soldier of Christ and learn from Him to silently and patiently bear refusals and disappointments.
Little self-denials win God’s grace and make my soul the leader of the race.
33 – Fri.Sorrowful Mother
It is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and we see Our Mother sharing the torments of Jesus, embracing Him, kissing Him, and adoring Him. Let us hasten to her with pure and loving hearts and under her lovely blue mantle let us hide for a moment of prayer.
O Mother of Sorrows, I grieve with thee, and beg forever thy child to be!
34 – Sat.Mary Magdalene
She was forgiven all her sins by Our Lord because she loved Him so much! I shall be like Mary Magdalene and offer my love to Jesus throughout the day.
Jesus you’ve done so much for me, I’m in your debt eternally.
6th Week of Lent:
35 – Mon. St. John
St. John comforted Our Lady in her great distress. Do I comfort others when they are sad or hurting? If I see someone hurting or sad, I will try to help them and comfort them when they are grieving.
O Jesus, make me very kind, so as to always fill my heart and mind!
36 – Tues.Two Thieves
Every day I choose between two destinies: heaven or hell. Are my habits good habits that help me choose Heaven? I will cultivate habits of being prompt and ready to go in the morning, doing my homework well, helping around the house and listening to my parents right away.
Oh, Jesus make me quick to see, that service which is dear to Thee!
37 – Weds.Silver Coins
For 30 pieces of silver Judas betrayed Jesus. Do I betray Jesus when I do not tell the truth or cause my brother or sister to get in trouble? I will not believe the devil any longer when he tempts me to lie because he will not bring me happiness.
Jesus, give me a loyal heart, where sin will not even have a small part.
38 – Thurs.Bread and Wine
I will offer Our Lord acts and prayers of perfect love for these precious anniversaries: The First Mass and for giving Himself in Holy Communion. Jesus, I thank you with all my heart for this gift of the Blessed Sacrament.
You knew I’d hunger, Lord, for Thee, So you found a way my Food to be.
39 – Fri.Jesus
What can I do today but kneel and watch You and to love You for giving Your very life for me – the price You paid to open heaven for me! I will kiss Your Sacred Feet, nailed to the Crucifix, as a sign that I will cling to You, and hold You, and never let You go.
I love You, Jesus, on that Tree; where you lovingly died for me.
40 – Sat. Tomb
We prepare with Our Lady for the happy moment when Our Lord shall return by going to confession. We have cast the “old man” of sin out and the “new man” will rise with Christ. We ask our angel to guard our soul as they guarded the tomb of Our Lord and we get ready to greet Him tomorrow.
Dear Jesus and Mary, I love you so! Oh be there to greet me when home, one day, I will go!
A couple of pictures of the Lenten Way of the Cross in progress from last year:
The Devil exults most when he can steal a man’s joy of spirit from him. He carries a powder with him to throw into any smallest possible chinks of our conscience, to soil the spotlessness of our mind and the purity of our life. But when spiritual joy fills our hearts, the Serpent pours out his deadly poison in vain. – St. Francis of Assisi
The two 30 day journals, 2 Ladies journals, & 2 maglets are so wonderfully made. The seller was able to put the 2 Ladies journals in book form instead of notebook form. The content was great and the material was high quality- glossy paper, I believe. It was perfect! The seller shipping was fast. Thank you so much!
My daughter is too young for a annual planner, but wants to be like mom. This was a perfect in between! Lovely illustrations and suggestions for young girls to ponder and reflect. ✨❤️
The Catholic Boy’s and Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journals! Let’s keep our youth engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their lives, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them… Available here.
Printable for The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Lenten Journal! Available here.
Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.
Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.
Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.
Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
With Septuagesima Sunday begins the cycle that has for its center the greatest of all solemnities, the feast of Easter. The Christmas cycle and the Easter cycle are like the water and wine at the Offertory when the priest prays: “Grant that by the mystery of this water and wine we may be made partakers of His Divinity, Who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord.”
For in the Christmas cycle we celebrate God having come down among us, clothing Himself with our humanity. This is the cycle of the Incarnation, corresponding to the cycle of the Redemption where we are shown this same Jesus Who “makes us partakers of His Divinity.”
These two and a half weeks–the Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays, and the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday following Quinquagesima–serve as a time of transition for the soul, which must pass from Christmas joys (and through the merry time of Carnival) to the stern penance of the sacred forty days of Lent.
The fast is not yet an obligation, but the color of the vestments is already violet. The Gloria during Holy Mass is suspended, and the martyrology introduces Septuagesima Sunday as that Sunday on which “we lay aside the song of the Lord which is Alleluia.” In medieval times they used to “bury the Alleluia” solemnly in the cathedral and in the abbey churches.
This custom was nearly forgotten, but we came across it again on the happy day when we were privileged to celebrate Holy Mass in the creative and inspired parish of our friend, Monsignor Martin Hellriegel.
There, in a solemn procession, the school children carried a wooden tablet on which was engraved the word “Alleluia” through the main aisle of the church over to the altar of the Blessed Mother where they put it at her feet and covered it with a purple cloth. There it would remain until Easter, when, in a triumphant tone of voice, the priest would intone, for the first time after forty days, a three-fold Alleluia.
This impressed us so deeply that we wished it could be introduced into all parish churches, to make the congregation conscious that Alleluia is the ancient Hebrew chant of triumph with which a victor was hailed after the battle. It is also the chant St. John heard in heaven, as he tells us in the Apocalypse.
This Alleluia has to be suspended in a time devoted to fathoming the thought that we are “poor, banished children of Eve, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.” Only in the Easter festivities shall we again hail Our Lord, the victor over Satan, Who will reopen to us the kingdom of heaven.
In these weeks of the pre-Lenten season, the mother of the family has much to teach her children. She will introduce them to the meaning of the color of violet in church. She will prepare them for the forty sacred days of retreat, and will help them to formulate their Lenten resolutions, which should be written on a sheet of paper and placed on the house altar. It is important that Lenten resolutions do not use the negative approach only, such as, “I won’t do this” and “I won’t do that.”
They should start positively, with “I will use these three books” (this as soon as the child can read); “I will use the time I save by abstaining from television for this and this….” “I will use the money I save by not going to the movies for alms given to….”
It is a precious time, a time for the mother to introduce her children to the three ancient good works–prayer, fasting, and giving of alms–with which we can atone for our sins. It will take root in young hearts, never to be forgotten.
The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday. As we are summoned into church we find the program all laid out for us. Following the example of the people of Nineveh, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, the Church wants today to humble our pride by reminding us of our death sentence as a consequence of our sins.
She sprinkles our head with ashes and says:
“Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The ashes used have been made from burning the palm from the previous Palm Sunday. These ashes belong to the very powerful sacramentals (such as Epiphany water or candles from Candlemas Day).
The four prayers preceding the blessing of the ashes are so beautiful and so rich in meaning that they should be read aloud and discussed in the family circle on Ash Wednesday night.
In our time, when “how to” books are so popular, the Gospel seems most appropriate to instruct us on how to fast:
“At that time Jesus said to His disciples, `When you fast, be ye not as hypocrites, sad, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward, but thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face that thou appear not to men to fast but to thy Father Who sees in secret, and thy Father, Who sees in secret, will repay thee.'”
It is interesting to remind ourselves that fast and abstinence are such ancient practices that they are much older than the Catholic Church, as are ashes and haircloth as means of penance. The pages of the Old Testament are filled with references to sackcloth and ashes (Jonas 3:5 -8; Jeremias 6:26; 25:34; Judith 9:1).
The ancient notions about fast and abstinence compare to our modern Lenten regulations as a Roman chariot compares to a modern sports car.
Let us, first of all, straighten out what is fasting and what is abstinence.
The first has to do with the quantity of food that can be taken, and the latter refers to the kind of food.
In ancient times fasting really was fasting. The first meal was taken after vespers, and vespers were sung at sundown as evening prayer of the Church.
Abstinence in the old times (and the old times reached almost to the days of our grandparents) meant that nothing was eaten (or kept in the house) which comes from animals: no meat, no fish, no lard, no milk, butter, cheese, cream. The Lenten fare consisted exclusively of vegetables, fruit, and a bread made of flour and water and salt.
For our generation the law of abstinence means that all meat of warm-blooded animals and of birds and fowl and the soup made thereof is forbidden. It leaves free the wonderful world of seafood and the meat of other cold-blooded animals such as frogs, turtles, snails, etc.
The fast means that we are allowed one full meal every day and two other meals which, if put together, do not exceed in quantity the full meal.
When I inquired once why the law of fast and abstinence is so much more lenient for us than it was for previous generations, I was told that modern man is much too frail to undergo the awful rigors of the ancient practice. After all, have we not experienced two world wars in our generation which have weakened our constitutions?
That seemed to make perfect sense to me until just recently. I got infected by a neighbor of ours in Stowe with the popular preoccupation of which is the best diet.
Together we searched through a library of books, one more interesting than the other, the sum total of all them most confusing and astounding, however.
Among other things I learned that almost all the ancient and modern sages of the science of “how to live longer and look younger” (they all boast of a tradition going back into the gray dawn of time with the yogis of India) agree on several points:
(1) We are all over-eating–we should eat much less.
(2) We are all eating too much meat, which sours our system, and we absolutely have to abstain from meat for longer or shorter periods every year.
(3) If we could adapt ourselves to a diet of raw vegetables and fruit and whole-wheat bread, that would be the ideal.
(4) And now I could hardly believe my eyes when I read, not once, but in several places, that it would do simply miracles for our constitution if we only would let ourselves be persuaded to undergo a period of complete fast. (One authority suggests three days, others a week, ten days, up to thirty, forty, and even sixty days!)
I cannot help but think sadly: Woe if the Church ever had dared to make such a law or even give only a slight hint in the direction of undergoing a complete fast–for the love of God!
Obviously, modern man, after all, is not too frail to undergo the awful rigors of ancient fast and abstinence. The constitution of man seems not to have changed at all, then. What has changed are the motives.
While the early Christians abstained from food and drink and meat and eggs out of a great sense of sorrow for their sins, and for love of God took upon themselves these inconveniences, modern man has as motive the “body beautiful,” the “girlish figure,” the “how to look younger and live longer” motive. These selfish motives are strong enough to convince him that fasting is good for him–in fact, it is fun.
We ought to be grateful to these modern apostles, whether from India, Switzerland, Sweden, or Wisconsin, because their teaching shows that Holy Mother Church is equally interested in the spiritual welfare of her children and in their physical health. It also should make us better Christians.
It should be absolutely unbearable to us to think that there are thousands of people around us who pride themselves on rigorous feats of fast and abstinence for motives as flimsy as good looks, while we cannot bring ourselves to give up a bare minimum.
And so it might not be a bad idea after all, in fact a very modern one, to go back to the practice of former days and clear our house during the last day of Carnival of every trace of meat and butter and eggs, fish and lard and bouillon cubes, and spend six wholesome weeks in complete harmony with the health-food store around the corner: eating fresh fruit salads, drinking carrot juice, reveling in the exceeding richness of the vitamins we find in raw celery, fresh spinach, and pumpernickel.
I have repeatedly read now that there is absolutely nothing to it to undergo a complete fast. One can even continue one’s occupation, and afterwards (the afterwards can be after thirty days, I was assured) one feels newly born and twenty years younger.
All right, if this is so, let us not be so soft any more. What can be done “To feel twenty years younger” must be possible for our own reason: “that our fasts may be pleasing to Thee, O Lord, and a powerful remedy.” (Post Communion, Ash Wednesday).
The winner will receive these lovely items to add to your Lenten/Book collection!
Just leave a comment by following this link and your name will be added to the “hat”! Winner will be announced next Tuesday, Feb. 6th!
“How beautiful it would be if, during their evening prayer together, there could be a pause such as the one for the examination of conscience during which time a husband and wife would pray silently for the other, recommending to God all the other’s intentions sensed, guessed, and known as well as those that only God the Master of consciences could know. Even more beautiful would it be if they would receive Holy Communion together frequently so that each of them could speak more intimately to Our Lord about the needs of the other, begging not only temporal but spiritual favors for this cherished soul. ” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home http://amzn.to/2sPR32w (afflink)
We’ve heard the term before….Domestic Monastery. I understand the sentiment and I think it is a lovely term that is loaded with possibilities within the home. Personally, my home couldn’t be mistaken for a monastery at any given time.…
The Lenten Way of the Cross Picturesque and Prayer-Filled Cards with Coilbinder ~ Family/Children Activity
Help make Lent more meaningful for you and your family with the Lenten Way of the Cross Cards!
Follow along with your family and prepare your hearts for the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord each year at Lent and Easter using these special picturesque and prayer-filled cards to help keep your mind and heart focused each day There are 41 cards in total.
Keep the cards in a visible spot in your home as a reminder to you and your children.
This journal will lay out some simple activities in which your children will be doing their sacrifices and will have a tangible means of “counting” them for Jesus. You, Mom, will have a place to put a check mark if that the activity is remembered and completed for the day. This journal also includes a place for you to check off whether you are fulfilling your own personal resolutions…your Spiritual Reading, your Family Rosary, etc.
My hope is that this journal may help you stay focused on making this Lent fruitful for your own soul and the souls of those little people entrusted to your care! More details here.
Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.
Now with photographs from the original edition.
Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!
With the help of Maria Von Trapp, you, too, can provide Christian structure and vibrancy to your home. Soon your home will be a warm and loving place, an earthly reflection of our eternal home.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
The Feast of the Purification, Candlemas, is Thursday, February 2nd. If you have the opportunity to get your candles that you will use throughout the year blessed by the priest on that day, make sure you do!
“It was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.” St. John, 1:9.
The story of Erna Bilkau and her so-called Mystic Candles is a tragic yet triumphant one.
Born in Russia, she moved to Germany, where she married a German boy. They honeymooned in America, learning to love the land of hope and freedom. Back in Germany she was separated a few years later from her husband by the war. With her two-year-old son she fled to America.
She was making a modest living for herself and her son when he suddenly became seriously ill and passed away at the age of thirteen. The shock almost drove the mother insane.
For months she walked the streets every night, peeking with aching agony into homes where there were children. Friends tried to console her. To no avail. At last she took refuge with God. She knelt by her bed, and with folded hands asked the Almighty to assist her.
Peace and courage came with her prayer. She put up a crudely constructed altar to the memory of her dead boy, and put upon it two lighted candles. They seemed to give her new hope.
The candles, however, burned down too quickly. She recalled some secrets of candle-making learned from her father. She experimented until she developed a candle that would burn down the center and not burn the outer shell. It gave off a strange mystical glow. She called them her Mystic Candles.
A young couple across the street accepted a few of the candles and found in them the courage to make up the differences that were slowly driving them to divorce. Others wanted candles like them. Others found peace and quiet and courage in having those candles in their homes.
She was swamped with orders. A thriving business developed. In this work she found a release from her overwhelming grief.
Today thousands find inspiration and help in the Mystic Candles of Erna Bilkau, the mother who lost a son.
Inspiring as this story may be, it pales before the ageless, world-wide story of the Catholic candle, which you see glowing upon our altars, which you see in every sacrament except Confession.
Allow me to point out that the candle is one of the oldest and most widely used sacramentals in the Church. It is one of the richest religious symbols or instruments used to express spiritual ideas.
What does the candle mean? Why do we use them? The wax, produced by virgin worker bees, is a beautiful figure of the pure body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary. The wick represents the soul of Christ; the flame represents His divinity, the fact that He was God.
The lighted candle reminds us of Christ’s gospel, the Holy Bible, which dispels the darkness of sin and ignorance; the lighted candle also stands for the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.
For the individual Christian the candle’s flame means the faith that makes us “children of the light”; its warmth and heat show us the fiery tongues of Pentecost, “which does not consume but enlightens.”
When given to the Church, candles signify Christian self-sacrifice. As the burning taper consumes itself, so the Christian should burn up his energies in serving God.
Photo of the Oxford Oratory
Light is one of the most fitting and appropriate symbols of God, who is absolutely pure light. Light is pure in itself; light penetrates long distances and into farthest corners; light moves with unbelievable speed; light awakens and nourishes life in the organic kingdom; light brightens with its brilliance all that comes within its influence.
Holy Scripture makes frequent use of this symbolic meaning:
a. The wisdom of the Son is spoken of as “the brightness of his glory.” Hebrews 1:3. b. And the psalmist exclaims: “Thou art clothed with light as with a garment.” Psalm 103:2.
Light also represents the mission of our divine Lord upon earth. The prophet Isaias (9:2) calls Christ a great light and foretells that “to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death light is risen.” The saintly Simeon declared that He is “a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” To this St. John added that Christ “was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.” St. John, 1:9.
And Christ says of Himself, “I am the light of the world.” St. John, 8:12.
Lights are also symbols of respect. They are used on occasions when we wish to show more than ordinary deference to distinguished personages or to holy things. Even the pagans used lights to show honor to their gods and to prominent personages.
The Catholic Church uses blessed beeswax candles at the administration of all the sacraments that are given publicly, except Confession and in private Baptism, when only water is available.
She uses them at Mass and Benediction and in other church services like blessings and processions. She gives a lighted candle to the newly baptized with these solemn words: “Receive this burning light so as to keep thy Baptism without blame. Keep the commandments of God, so that when our Lord shall come to His nuptials thou mayest meet Him together with all the saints….”
And when that Christian is dying we place a candle in his hand.
It is not that we need their light, although in the early centuries that was their practical use, in the catacombs, in the caves and underground passages where the first Catholics had to conduct their services.
Mother Church has a higher and a deeper reason than that. She uses every possible means for raising our minds to heaven. Among the sacramentals the candle is outstanding.
We love to look at a candle and see in its soft white wax the pure flesh of our Infant Savior. We see the wick penetrating the wax, and representing the soul of Christ.
“The difference between this child and that one is often largely a matter of what he saw in and heard from his parents. His religious response, his sense of honesty, his ability to play with other children and be unselfish toward them, his attitude toward books, his appreciation of the beautiful, his sense of what is right and what is wrong, his quick apprehending of the charming and noble, his ready reaction to music that is good, his approval of heroism and his rejection of evil and cheapness – all these things need to be established in the child’s mind by the parents, who alone can deeply and strong-rootedly establish them!” – Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s
Lovely gifts! Beautiful and graceful, these Religious necklaces can be worn to show your devotion to your Heavenly Friends! Get it blessed and wear it as a sacramental! Available here.
Why do we call Christmas songs carols? And is the Christmas tree a pagan symbol? Were there really three kings? These questions and so many others are explored in a way that is scholarly and yet delightful to read. Enjoy learning about the history of the many Christmas traditions we celebrate in this country!
Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost Hole in medieval churches? How did a Belgian nun originate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament? Where did the Halloween mask and the jack-o’-lantern come from?
Learn the answer to these questions, as well as the history behind our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving, in this gem of a book by Father Weiser.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
The following is some inspiration to make your Epiphany special. There are many ways to do this; Mary Reed Newland tells of her family’s customs. Also included are some blessings that the father of the house or anyone who takes the role of “Leader” can do. These types of traditions not only make the day special with a certain solemnity but they bestow grace on the family.
January 6 is the feast of the Epiphany, the celebration of the Three Kings’ journey to Bethlehem with their gifts; the day the children of the household journey to Bethlehem to take Him the gifts they have made during Advent, and the day the tiny kings join the rest of the Nativity figures in the creche.
They have been slowly inching their way across the mantel with their camel train, nearer each day. We bake a delicious Crown cake for the evening. Crown cake, King’s cake, Epiphany cake – any name you wish to give it – is baked in a tube pan so that it looks like a crown.
We have borrowed Mrs. Berger’s icing from Cooking for Christ, fluffy white and decorated with gumdrop jewels.
From the French we borrow the custom of baking a bean and a pea in the cake, as well as assorted objects of our own inspiration that have symbolisms, entirely invented. The bean and pea were supposed to fall to the king and queen for the night, but we have the bean portend a trip to Boston and the pea tells that you are a princess (secretly, of course).
A button means you will be a bachelor; a thimble, a seamstress. A penny means that you are going to be poor, and a dime, rich.
A ring? You’ll be married for sure. A raisin – I hate to tell you – you’ll be wrinkled. A chocolate bit? You’re sweet. You got nothing? That is to remind you that God loves you. Remember what our Lord said, “Blessed are those who believe and yet do not see.”
These things have only one purpose – fun. One caution: chew carefully.
Next the crowns are cut from aluminum foil or leftover Christmas wrappings. Where there are more than three children, the limited number would seem to pose a problem; but happily there is a possibility that there were more than three kings!
Some say it was assumed that the kings were three because the gifts were three; and some say it is because in Psalm 71, used in the Epiphany Mass, it is stated, “The kings of Tharsis and the Islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts.”
They were probably not kings as we think of kings, for “Magi were Persian pseudo-scientists devoted especially to astrology and medicine.”
The Jews of the Dispersion who had been captured in wars or had migrated to foreign ports to trade had kept their faith, and it was undoubtedly from these that the Magi knew of the expected Messiah.
In the Middle Ages, the kings were given the familiar names Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. The Fathers of the Church interpreted their gifts mystically as symbols of Christ’s kingship (gold), His divinity (frankincense, because it was used for worship in the temple), and His mortal humanity (myrrh, because it was used in the burial of the dead).
As for the attempts of modern astronomers to identify the star as a juncture of comets or as Halley’s or another comet, they have entirely ignored the miraculous nature of the Star of Bethlehem, its appearance, movement, and disappearance.
This may seem to complicate the celebration of the feast of the three kings – who were not kings, nor three. But if not kings by rank, they were kings by faith and noble bearing and persevering determination.
So we arrange crowns for the heads of as many kings as we must crown (visiting kings as well).
Epiphany means “manifestation”: this is the feast of God’s showing His Son to the world. One week after Epiphany we will celebrate another manifestation: when our Lord was baptized by St. John the Baptist, and God the Father spoke from Heaven, identifying Him.
And the second Sunday after Epiphany we celebrate the third great manifestation, heralding the beginning of His public life: the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana, where our Lord showed openly His divine power.
Many blessings are given traditionally on the Epiphany: the Blessing of Chalk; the Blessing of Gold and Frankincense; the Blessing of Bread, of Eggs, and of Salt; and the Blessing of Homes.
There is a difference between blessings given by a priest and the same blessings read by the father or some older member of the family when it is not possible to have the priest present.
But it is a mistake to consider them without efficacy when the layman reads them. By our Baptism we have a share in Christ’s Priesthood. If we are part of Christ in His Mystical Body, and He is High Priest, we share this with Him.
Ours is not the same as the power of the consecrated priest, but it is our right and privilege to ask God’s blessing on the things we use in daily life, and we should exercise this privilege often.
The Blessing of Chalk is usually given by a priest at church. The chalk is then distributed to the people, who take it home to use after the Blessing of the Home.
(Keep in mind that these prayers are originally for the priest, so it would not be appropriate for the leader to make the sign of the cross over anything.)
BLESSING OF CHALK
Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord. All: Who made heaven and earth. Leader: The Lord be with you. All: And with your spirit.
Bless, 0 Lord God, this creature chalk to render it helpful to men. Grant that they who use it in faith and with it inscribe scribe upon the entrance of their homes the names of thy saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, may, through their merits and intercession, enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Sprinkle chalk with holy water.) If this blessing is not ordinarily given at church, perhaps it could be if enough parishioners requested it; at any rate, it may be read by the father or one of the grown-ups at home.
In some parishes, it is a custom for the pastor to bless the homes of the parish from the church doorway, the people reading the words of the blessing at the same hour in their homes, and going in procession from room to room, sprinkling the house with holy water.
At the end of this procession, the father or another grown-up writes over the front door with the blessed chalk the year and the initials of the three kings, separated by crosses; for instance, 19 + C + B + M + 56.
BLESSING OF HOMES ON EPIPHANY
Leader: Peace be to this house.
All: And to all that dwell herein.
All: From the East, the Magi came to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures, they offered costly gifts: gold to the great King, incense to the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. Alleluia.
Now follows the reading of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).
The home is sprinkled with holy water, and following the Magnificat the antiphon is repeated: From the East …
Then the Our Father, silently.
Leader: And lead us not into temptation.
All: But deliver us from evil.
Leader: Many shall come from Saba.
All: Bearing gold and incense.
Leader: 0 Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come unto thee.
Leader: The Lord be with you.
All: And with thy spirit.
Let us pray. 0 God, who, by the guidance of a star, didst this day reveal Thy sole-begotten Son to the Gentiles, grant that we who now know Thee by faith may be brought to the contemplation of Thy heavenly majesty. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.
All: Be enlightened and shine forth, 0 Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and upon thee is risen the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.
Leader: Nations shall walk in Thy light, and kings in the splendor of Thy birth. All: And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
Let us pray. Bless, 0 Lord, almighty God, this home that it be the shelter of health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to the commandments, and thanksgiving to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May blessing remain for all time upon this dwelling and them that live herein. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Blessing of Any Victual may be used for the salt:
BLESSING OF ANY VICTUAL
Let us pray. Bless, 0 Lord, this creature salt, so that it be a saving help to humankind; and grant that, by calling on Thy holy name, all who eat of it may experience health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Sprinkle salt with holy water.)
Last, there is the: BLESSING OF THE EGGS
Let us pray. Let Thy blessing, Lord, come upon these eggs, that they be salutary food for the faithful who eat them in thanksgiving for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee forever and ever. Amen. (Sprinkle eggs with holy water.)
We have neither gold nor frankincense to bless this day, alas, unless we include our “Magi’s Gold” when we bless the food.
This is nothing more than candied orange peel made with the rinds of the Christmas oranges (navel oranges are best, but watch out that the children don’t peel them in little scraps and throw the peel away). Packed in small tin boxes with gilt paper and gilt bows, they are lovely gifts for friends.
All cookbooks have recipes for candied orange peel. Be sure to sprinkle the peel with granulated sugar (not all include this) because it gives it a beautiful jeweled look. Save the sugar that falls off for the tops of cookies.
This is the time of year that you should be able to get some Epiphany Water in your home! It is very powerful (and who doesn’t need some good power going on in their homes)! The blessing of Epiphany water has special exorcism prayers that no other holy water has. Use it often….teach your children the value of it and get them used to blessing themselves with it.
Catholic Hearth Stories are tales filled with traditional, old-fashioned values. They are about everyday situations in the life of a Catholic family…Tales about home, friends, fun, sacrifice, prayer, etc. These are full-color books sure to capture the heart of your children.
It’s Brendan’s birthday and he is fighting pirates, steering ships and wielding swords! He learns of St. Brendan, the Navigator and the pious Christopher Columbus. Life is a nautical adventure for him! Will his daydreaming cause him trouble? What lessons does he learn?
Take a walk through Advent as Celine and her family prepare for the coming of the Baby Jesus at Christmas! You will enjoy celebrating the beauty of the season with Celine as she helps her mom with the special traditions and activities that make the liturgy come alive in their home! Her “peanut gallery” consists of a mouse named Percy and some charming and delightful Christmas Angels!
Filled with inspiration, encouragement, and tried-and-true tips, this book is a must-have for every woman!
The good news is that a beautiful home doesn’t require too much money, too much energy, or too much time. Bestselling author and home-management expert Emilie Barnes shows readers how they can easily weave beauty and happiness into the fabric of their daily lives. With just a touch of inspiration, readers can
turn their homes into havens of welcome and blessing
build a lifestyle that beautifully reflects their unique personalities
enrich their spirits with growing things (even if their thumbs are several shades shy of green)
make mealtimes feasts of thanksgiving and kitchen duty fun
establish traditions of celebration that allow joy to filter through to everyday life
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A beautiful meditation on Epiphany, this Friday, January 6th…
by Father Daniel A. Lord
“Where is He that was born King of the Jews?”
The question, repeated a thousand times along their tedious way through the desert and sprawling villages and nomadic tribes and smug, white-roofed cities, was answered with shrugged shoulders and cynically turned backs, with significant touching of foreheads and frankly contemptuous laughter.
Undismayed, the Magi were drawn forward on their quest by the vague hope of finding a Child.
More than likely they dreamed of palace gates swinging wide to welcome them as grooms swept forward to catch their camels by their tinkling bridles and pages helped them to dismount.
Surely the child of a king would rest upon the softest down, under coverlets of purple damask. Hushed attendants might permit them a glimpse of newborn royalty between the crossed lances of sleepless sentinels. Yet even this glimpse would be reward enough, they felt, for their weary desert road, the tireless swaying of their camels and the night-long journeys in pursuit of a forward moving star.
For here was a Child tall enough to light a blaze in the heavens. In the ancient papyri written for a mighty Cyrus by a Jew named Daniel, they were assured that this was no ordinary child who was born under a flaming star.
Were they at first, even for an instant, bitterly taken aback? Did they almost turn away in disappointment from the dark mouth of this unguarded stable? Probably they caught up their silken gowns as they stepped through cattle pens and sheepfolds to the dark hill cave, unlighted except for the now motionless star.
But when they saw the Child, all of Christmas welled up in their souls. What did it matter that He lay, not on orient silk, but on crackling straw; that an exquisite maid and a dignified carpenter (strange contradiction, to their aristocratic minds, a carpenter with such poise and dignity) were His only courtiers; that the bleak walls of the stable, rough-hewn from the black earth of the hill, were bare of heraldic standards or banners of scarlet and gold; that no sentries flashed repelling swords to hold back intruders?
Faith swept them forward in its high tide. A Child they had come to seek. Yet in all the world there was no Child like this.
He wore His swaddling clothes as if they were Tyrian purple. He lay in a manger that seemed like a conquered world. He opened His tiny arms, and their circle was vast enough to embrace all humanity. He smiled, and the light of a new era dawned.
They had come to find a Child King who was to conquer and save the world. Naturally they had dreamed of a kingship proved by files of palace guards and fluttering choirs of nurses, by carved ebony and beaten gold upon his crib, and breathless statesmen adding his name to the line of royal ancestors — he the heir of their greatness and their petty crimes, their occasional acts of kingliness and their frequent baseness and stupid cruelty and criminal lust. They knew no other kings nor sons of kings than these.
They had not dared dream of a Child whose evident kingship made a palace out of a stable and a throne out of straw heaped for oxen. They had not wildly imagined a sovereign who could conquer because he was without weapons and who won His followers, not by the cold aloofness of power, but by the warm approachableness of His weakness and His love.
Before this Child of the poor these rich men eagerly poured the tribute of their gifts. Before this Infant who contained all that the world needed to save it, these wise men bent submissive knees.
Although the shepherds in their simple ignorance and the Magi in their deep wisdom were unaware of it, around the Child, from the very beginning, vortexed the complete drama of humanity’s best and basest emotions.
He had been welcomed, as every great benefactor of humanity is welcomed, with cruel indifference and rudely slammed doors. Yet, if the doors of earth were barred in His face, the gates of heaven broken open to welcome Him!
Look for traits in his character to appreciate such as honesty, dependability, kindness, and love. When you appreciate these virtues you help him become a better man and strengthen your relationship. -Fascinating Womanhood https://amzn.to/2MUoQk3 (afflink)
Happy 6th Day of Christmas! Below are some inspirational quotes to lend a Christmas sparkle to your day. Don’t stop celebrating and listening to those Christmas songs!
“For Christmas begins and ends with a Child. About the Infant in the manger prophecies are fulfilled, and angels sing, and the poor kneel giftless save for the unpurchasable gift of patient affection, and the rich come gilt-laden, but with a strange humility bringing low their heads, and all mankind is reborn to a new era of grace and hope and God’s revelation of love and graciousness.” -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, Painting by Nellie Edwards, https://www.paintedfaith.net/
We ought to live lives exuding with joy – as though we actually believe that Divinity has come to us in the Flesh as a new-born Babe! We need to spread that Christmas joy to the people around us. -Finer Femininity
Love and friendship are the remnants of the earthly paradise. In this vale of tears, when we encounter so many difficulties, to have people you can call friends is such a joy, such a comfort, such a gift. -Dietrich von Hildebrand
Being a homemaker is one of the best gifts that we can bring to our family. Your joyful presence in the home is greater than any present you’ll find under the tree. – Darlene Schacht
“Be a kind wife. Kind words can have such a powerful impact on your marriage. Speak gentle, thoughtful things to this man you love.” -Lisa Jacobson
This Christmas, let us pray for peace….in our own hearts, in our country and in our world. Let us contemplate the Babe in Bethlehem, may He reign in our hearts so we may receive that peace which he promised to “men of goodwill.”
“It is easy to understand how enraptured children can become at the contemplation of a tiny Babe in a manger. To have God reduce Himself to their own status, to become a child like them, to need a mother, what more could they desire! They feel on a footing with Him. The Almighty is of their stature!” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home
The Christmas season is a season of good will. If we really have in our hearts good-will to men, we shall not only wish every one well, but we shall seek every opportunity to do good to every one, beginning with those at home. It will make us good wives, good mothers, good neighbors, kind, obliging, ready always to lend a hand, to do another a good turn.
To Mothers: “Instead of setting yourself up as a model of wisdom, it is much wiser for you to act the role of guide and confidante. This gives your child a much better feeling of security and fulfills your destiny of mother as well, because your children then find you a real individual in your own right. Personal success and happiness in life come only in the knowledge of our usefulness to others; as a mother, you have this opportunity in your own home at all times. You need not look elsewhere where for it.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook
Reality has a way of wearing the shine off of a once gleaming romance, but don’t let it get in the way of your love for a second! If you haven’t already, you can start by giving up on the question, “What’s in it for me?” and replace the question with, “What can I offer?” Every time that you work through any obstacles with patience, humility, and kindness you are building and strengthening your bond of love. – Darlene Schacht, The Good Wife’s Guide
“There is nothing insignificant in the life which we live within our own doors. There is nothing which is without influence in the building up of character. Let no one think that the history of any day in the life of a home, is not recorded imperishably on the sensitive lives of the children.” -J.R. MIller
“A man feels ‘successful’ when he knows his woman is behind him – no matter what his other accomplishments may be. He needs to know that she believes in him…That she thinks he’s a terrific husband (not perfect – just terrific). A first-rate guy. And, if there are children, that he’s a fine dad too….That she thinks the world of him, even though he might mess up or make mistakes.” – Lisa Jacobson
Our Lady is an attractive example for every wife and mother. Not only was she perfectly devoted to Joseph, her husband, but she was always an inspiration to him. -Fr. Lovasik
“For the families who begin to suspect that they have let their lives get too complicated with worldly cares, too much involved in secular values, too materialistic, living through the year with the Church is the stabilizer, the way to keep to first things first.
And for the families who conceal behind their front doors some hardship or cross, whether a suffering shared or inflicted or borne, the tempo of life in Christ as He leads the Church at prayer through the year is calming, enriching; it brings wisdom, sheds light, gives courage.” -Mary Reed Newland
Each one should seek to make Christmas first in his own heart and life. Christmas is Christlike-ness. The life of heaven came down to earth in Jesus and began in the lowly place where he was born. Is there any measure of that same sweet, gentle, pure, quiet, lowly life in us? It ought to be a very practical matter. Some people get the sentiment of love; but the love fails in its working out in their disposition, conduct, and character. The kind of Christmas a Catholic wants is something that will show itself in deeds.
A Christmas Prayer By Robert Louis Stevenson
Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The laughter of children never grows old! “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a Child Himself.” ~Charles Dickens
The worst Christmas ever…the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
Get ready for the New Year!
…with the January Printable Traditional Catholic Daily Planner! Meal Menu/Homeschool Page ~ Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily Goals/Spiritual Intentions! Available here.
❤️🌹Our first line of defense is the bond we must have with our husband. Besides our spiritual life, which gives us the grace to do so, we must put our relationship with our husband first. It is something we work on each day.
How do we do this? Many times it is just by a tweaking of the attitude, seeing things from a different perspective. It is by practicing the virtues….self-sacrifice, submission, thankfulness, kindness, graciousness, etc.
The articles in this maglet will help you with these things. They are written by authors that are solid Catholics, as well as authors with old-fashioned values…. Available here. Pkg Deal on Catholic Wife’s Maglet and Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet here.
A must-read for the married and those considering marriage! This guidebook to finding a happy marriage, keeping a happy marriage, and raising happy children has been out of print for over 50 years…until now! From the master of the spiritual life, Raoul Plus, S.J., it contains loads of practical and spiritual advice on family life. Have you been looking for a handbook on marriage and raising children that is based on truth? You’ve found it! Available here.
The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God and make us more like Him.
No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart! In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life, a simplicity which in the saints is completely focused on its true center, God.
That’s easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.
For our lives are complicated and our personalities too. (We even make our prayers and devotions more complicated than they need be!)
In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for the even the most tangled lives. Available here.
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Every ounce of energy spent making our Catholic Faith come alive in our homes will be rewarded! This article from Maria von Trapp just pulses with the love of family, of the making of “home”. Mrs. Von Trapp’s quotation pretty much sums it up, “The family who plays together and prays together usually stays together.”
When we lived in Austria, the three greatest feasts of the year were distinguished by two church holidays – Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, Pentecost Sunday and Pentecost Monday, and St. Stephen’s Day after Christmas Day.
We know that the war did away with these second Church holidays, but they still exist in our memory and we always keep them in our house. In Austria the peasants used to celebrate St. Stephen’s Day in a special way, because St. Stephen is the patron saint for horses, watching over their health.
After the Solemn High Mass the pastor would come in surplice and stole and wait in front of the church door with holy water and sprinkler. The horses of the village, beautifully decorated with ribbons in their manes and tails, would now parade before him in solemn procession and he would bless every single one of them.
He would also bless oats and hay, which each farmer had brought along for that purpose; the horses would be fed with the blessed feed, to protect them against sickness and accidents.
According to tradition, St. John the Apostle was once presented by his enemies with a cup of poisoned wine intended to kill him. When the Apostle made the sign of the cross over the wine, however, the cup split in half and the poisoned wine was-spilled.
In memory of this, the Church has a special blessing, the “Benedictio Sancti Johannes.” On the 27th, the feast of St. John, the people bring wine along to church and before Holy Mass the priest blesses it.
At the main meal at home the wine is poured into as many glasses as there are people. Just before the meal begins, everybody stands up, holding his glass, while the father and mother begin the St. John’s Day ceremony.
The father touches the mother’s glass with his glass, looks her in the eyes and says, “I drink to you the love of St. John.” The mother answers, “I thank you for the love of St. John,” and they both take a sip.
Then the mother turns to the oldest child and repeats, “I drink to you the love of St. John,” and the child answers, “I thank you for the love of St. John.” Again they take a sip and the child turns to the next oldest, and so it goes around the table until the last one turns to the father and the family circle is closed.
Some of the blessed wine is kept for days of sickness or of great celebration. If someone in the family is about to take a journey, a few drops of the blessed wine are added to each wine glass and the whole family again drinks “the love of St. John.” Immediately after the wedding ceremony, the newly-wed couple also drinks to each other “the love of St. John.”
The day following St. John’s Day is a great day for the children. This goes back to a medieval custom in monastery schools: On December 28th, the day dedicated to the Holy Innocents, the boys used to elect one from their midst as bishop–“the Episcopus Puerorum.”
This boy-bishop would take over the direction of the abbey for this one day. Dressed in pontifical vestments, surrounded by his schoolmates, he would sit in the place of the abbot and the others in the choir stalls of the monks, whereas abbot and monks moved over to the places of the pupils.
This custom is still alive in many convents and monasteries, where the young ones in the novitiate have the ruling of the house for this particular day.
It also is preserved in many families, where the little ones take the seats of the father and mother and try to play a few little tricks on the grownups as long as they are in authority.
December 31st, the last day of the old year, or New Year’s Eve, finds the whole family in the Christmas Room again.
In the morning there was a Thanksgiving Mass, solemnly starting the day. Looking back over the past three hundred and sixty-five days with their bright and their dark hours, we gave thanks for both the bright and the dark to Him Who knows what is best for us.
In some parts of the old country the people observe a strict fast and abstinence during this day (which in earlier times was observed solemnly throughout Christendom) as a token of its serious, thought-provoking character.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
In our day, however, New Year’s Eve is dedicated to fun and merrymaking.
“Let’s play the handkerchief game!” someone will suggest.
There we all sit in a large circle on the floor. A clean handkerchief is tied up in knots so that it takes the shape of a ball and can be thrown easily through the air.
Hedwig volunteers to go out. Now we start throwing the handkerchief across the circle. We have to keep it going until Hedwig comes in.
At the moment of her entrance, the one who has just caught it will have to hide it, and Hedwig will have to guess where the handkerchief is. She gives three warning knocks at the door, but as we know that immediately after the third she will burst through the door, we are getting increasingly nervous between the second and third warnings. Sometimes it leads to hilarious situations.
The moment Hedwig steps into the room, everyone’s features relax into complete, harmless innocence.
Everyone’s face spells: “Handkerchief? I don’t know what you are talking about, Hedwig!”
Hedwig has three guesses. If she hasn’t found out after the third one, she has to go out again. But this rarely happens. Some people blush helpfully, others look like bad conscience personified, wiggling nervously on the handkerchief they are trying to hide by sitting on it. Everyone–guests, grownups, and children–has to be in on the game. And of course, the one who has been discovered hiding the handkerchief has to go out next.
From long years of experience I know that one should stop every game when it is at its height. Never let it wear thin.
So I suggest “Jump at Quotations” and I’m always met with eager consent.
Last New Year’s Eve the children took three quotations from my little speeches on the stage:
“Are you a tenor or a bass?” “And I am the mother!” “The family who plays together and prays together usually stays together.”
The teams are placed at opposite sides of the room. Each team gets the same quotation. One word of the quotation gets pinned to the back of each player.
At “Go” one may read the word on the back of every other member of one’s team, but not that on one’s own back.
Rule: No oral communication! The winning team is the one that first gets itself lined up in correct order. (Have the words in large-size printing so the “audience” can enjoy the fun too!)
And then there is the treasure hunt. Everyone gets a list of objects that have been placed in plain sight in the Christmas Room. After it has been explained to the guests that the object of the game is to locate all of the “treasures” as quickly as possible and note them down on one’s own list, and after the rule has been stressed that nothing can be touched, the signal to “Go” is given.
This was last year’s list, which by chance I kept:
a cherry (on top of lampshade)
an olive (on a branch of the Christmas tree)
dry noodles (woven into wicker chair)
soap (on piano key)
an egg (in a light socket, instead of a bulb)
lump of sugar (on ceiling light)
toothbrush (over picture frame)
clothes pin (on lampshade)
picture of “Mother Trapp” (pasted on book jacket)
2-cent stamp (on pink book jacket, in bookshelf)
onion (on window sill)
“Cheerios” (in carving of chest)
In the margin of my list I had scribbled, “Funny, how blind people are!”
The time given to find the treasures was twenty minutes. And out of fifty-four participants, only three found every item!
The next game has to be tried in order to be appreciated. It is called a “Smiling Contest.” There are two teams, two judges, two tape measures.
Each judge has a tape measure, pencil, and paper. One person from each team comes forward. A judge then measures the width of his smile and records it (one judge per team).
The next pair come forward and are measured in turn, until every smile has been measured. The judges then add up the total yards of smiles for each team. The higher total wins, and it is interesting to see who has the biggest smile, too. The funny effect is in the two simultaneous smiles, each trying to outdo the other!
Then voices are heard “Let’s sing some more carols!” Invariably Father
Wasner’s voice will interrupt right here “First we are going to sing the New Year’s song!” And there we go “From heaven through the clouds on high.”
The very character of the evening lends itself to gay Christmas songs.
There are many in Austrian dialect dealing with the astonished shepherds who cannot believe their eyes during Holy Night.
As eleven o’clock nears, someone will suggest, “Let’s sing a few lullabies.” They always seem to be the very heart of our carol-singing.
Several are in Tyrolean dialect. Here we give some of our favorites.
Close to eleven o’clock, Agathe and Maria will disappear into the kitchen, soon to return with trays of “Sylvester Punch.” (In Austria the last day of the year is dedicated to the Holy Pope, St. Sylvester, who baptized Constantine the Great, thereby bringing about the dawning not only of the New Year but of a new era; for this reason, the night before the New Year is called “Sylvester abend” (Eve of St. Sylvester).
Red burgundy (count one bottle for six people)
Equal amount of hot tea
Rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. sugar to each bottle of wine
2 cinnamon sticks to each bottle of wine
Pour the liquid into an enamel pot; add the cloves, the thinly pared rind of 1 lemon, the sugar, and the cinnamon. Heat over a low flame but do not allow to boil. At the last moment add the tea. Serve hot.
If there are many children and very young people, it is good to know different fruit punch combinations. Here is a basic recipe, with variations:
1/2 cup lemon juice grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cup orange juice 1 qt. water
Grated rind of 1/2 orange 1 cup sugar
Cook sugar and water for five minutes. Cool. Add juices and the grated rind and any of the following combinations:
It is great fun to try out new variations every year. One starts with lemonade or orangeade and soon the children will go on to pineapple-ade, raspberry-ade….In our family we have something called “Hedwig-ade” because it is Hedwig’s own secret.
After the punch is brought in, we form a circle and everybody raises his glass. Then we say, in a chorus, “Happy New Year.” From there we go up to the chapel, because for the last half hour of the old year and the first of the New Year everyone wants to stand alone with his God. There is much to think back on, much to be sorry for, and how we wish we could relive parts of the old year, because we would do it differently now….
But this has to be commended to the mercy of God with a heartfelt act of contrition. On the other hand, there is so much to be grateful for in the spiritual and the physical order of our life.
This Holy Hour around midnight, starting at half past eleven and lasting to twelve-thirty, is so timed that Father Wasner lifts the monstrance in Benediction at the moment the clock strikes twelve.
Before we had a chapel, we held the same Holy Hour right there at the
Christmas crib, and when the clock struck twelve we got up from our knees and sang “Holy God We Praise Thy Name,” remaining a little while afterwards, each one according to his need.
The last moments of the old year and the first moments of the new year are sanctified by Our Lord’s blessing.
From this Holy Hour everyone goes quietly to bed.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
Although the night was rather short, nobody wants to stay in bed long on New Year’s Day because there is an old belief that everything you do on the first of January is an indication of how you will behave throughout the next year. If you are late on New Year’s morning, that’s bad. You will be late most of the days to come. So every child tries to be his most charming best….
In the liturgy the beginning of the New Year is not commemorated. The Mass texts of New Year’s Day are a combination of three different thoughts: the circumcision of the Infant Jesus, the octave of Christmas, and some texts taken from the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thus there is a great likelihood that the priest once said three Masses on this day.
New Year’s dinner is a big occasion. This is the day of the suckling pig, the little pig being one of the good luck symbols. The family table is decorated with little pigs made of marzipan, chocolate, maple sugar, fudge, or cookie dough. Besides the pig, there is also the four-leaf clover, and, in Austria, the chimney sweep. As the recipe for the roast suckling pig might not be generally known, here it is:
Roast Suckling Pig
Clean the pig carefully. Insert a piece of wood into its mouth to keep it open while roasting.
You may use sage and onion dressing, which would taste more American, but we always use the old Austrian apple stuffing. (We have heard of people there who used to stuff their pigs with sausages, but that is awfully rich.)
Now stuff the pig, truss and skewer it. Make four parallel incisions about four inches long on each side of the backbone. Place it on a rack, sprinkle it with salt and some pepper, brush thoroughly with melted butter, and dust with flour.
Roast for 15 minutes at 480 degrees. Then reduce to 350. Continue roasting, allowing 30 minutes to the pound. If you wish to have the skin soft, baste every 15 minutes with hot stock.
If you want it crisp (we think it is much better that way), baste with melted butter. When the roast is ready, remove to a hot serving platter. Now remove the piece of wood from the mouth, replace with a bright red apple, and insert cranberries for eyes.
Finally crown with a wreath of bay leaves. Be careful to wrap the ears and the tail during the roasting in buttered paper, which you remove only the last half hour. Otherwise they easily burn.
The dessert, after the roast pig, is green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover.
Happy 5th Day of Christmas! “O Divine Word, who became a Child for love of me, teach me to become a child for love of You.”” -Divine Intimacy
Coloring pages for your children….
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Here is a complete guide to mature, responsible, even noble behavior in our complex modern society. Written in the 1930s by a wise Jesuit priest and steeped in the wisdom of the ages, these pages teach the timeless principles that have led countless souls to true success and lasting happiness…. Available here.
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I would be remiss if I did not remind you of this beautiful celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas…..
What I especially like about this practice is that it helps to make the Christmas Season festive after Christmas has arrived…when all the songs have stopped on the radio, the decorations taken down, the tree thrown out and red hearts begin to appear as everyone anxiously awaits Valentine’s Day….ugh.
When my husband and I first started our family we had lots of gifts under our tree. As our family grew the number really grew overwhelming and really meaningless; plus we wanted to do more than just Advent calendars and wreaths and then a pile of gifts on Christmas Day.
In the midst of feeling this way I came across a Catholic blog talking about how they celebrated the 12 days of Christmas. Nothing real detailed: just how they gave out little gifts each day instead of all of them on Christmas Day; spending that time as a family and enjoying each other’s company. So I started searching the internet, pulling together ideas and coming up with a new way; one focused on celebrating Christmas throughout the entire 12 days (through Epiphany) and also linking it to our deep Catholic culture and calendar.
I came up with a plan to focus more on family and our faith and less on THINGS. I would wrap one item having to do with the activity for the day, and we would do that family activity on that day of Christmas. Some of the activities the kids weren’t sure what they were, so they would be guessing all day long based on the vague items in the box. So there was a present for each day under the tree. I tried to link the Catholic Calendar with what we were doing as well. Obviously from year to year the wrapped items change, but as an example of how last year went:
Christmas Day: the kids got to open the one individual gift we gave each of them, the few relative’s gifts and their stockings (if you do St. Nicholas Day then you would not do stockings, obviously!). We always make sure that even though we now have 9 kids, they each have something special from us. It didn’t need to be expensive, but one thing that they really would love.
Dec. 26th: This is St. Stephen’s day. Traditionally, this was called “boxing day” because Catholics would gather together a box of items and donate them in honor of St. Stephen, who was known for his charity. So for this day I would wrap up an EMPTY box and the kids would gather together some “stuff” to give to a charitable organization. We talk about gratefulness and looking outside of ourselves to those who are in need of help.
Dec. 27th: Last year we did “Ice Cream Sundae Day”. I had some neat toppings that we never have and a few types of ice cream. Not a huge focus on the saint of the day (St. John), but more of a fun family activity. I wrapped up 4 different toppings and some cherries in the box. Their guesses of what this day was about were quite cute.
Dec. 28th: The Feast of the Holy Innocents. We said a special rosary for life this evening; but we also just spent time with our kids making Gingerbread Cookies. We made a point to give some to our mailman as well so that the kids would not only have fun, but also serve others who are not always thanked for the every-day things they do to serve others in their occupation. I wrapped up some cookie frosting for this day. This year we will be attending a semi-formal Christmas Dance, so I’ll probably put the kid’s dress shoes in the box instead.
Dec. 29th: Feast of the Holy Family. We did a “coloring” day. I wrapped up some neat, detailed coloring books from Dover. We wanted to focus on peaceful activities and this was one. We made a point to spend much of the day coloring with them and they really enjoyed doing it with us.
Dec. 30th: One of our many December birthdays. So we kept it simple: we boxed up some wall decals as a family gift and the kids enjoyed decorating walls and sharing/trading different stickers among themselves.
Dec. 31st: Today we boxed up a movie and popcorn. The kids had never seen The Hobbit so they were super excited to see that in there. I didn’t just want it to be media; so we also made popcorn balls out of the popcorn and then enjoyed them with our movie that evening.
Jan. 1st: Mary Mother of God. Since today was a Holy Day, I made a feast and labeled it “tidbit day”. We made a lot of little things: olives, cheese, salami, a punch bowl, little crackers, cookies and veggies. We found some unusual items in the international aisle of the grocery store. The kids drank their punch out of fancy glasses and we had little plates. I wrapped up hand-made name tags for the kids, a Christmasy candle for the centerpiece and candy cane napkins.
Jan. 2nd: Feast of St. Basil and Gregory, who were good friends. In honor of that I wrote little thank-yous to all of the kids, telling them how much I appreciated different things about them. I also put notebook paper in the box so they could write to each other. Then at the dinner table we read them aloud to each other and talked about true friendship and how to choose friends wisely, how to be a good friend, etc… We also made a point to pray the 2nd Joyful mystery of the rosary when Mary visited Elizabeth.
Jan. 3rd: My husband went back to work this day so we kept it simple and wrapped up a new board game and called it “Board Game Night”. But it’s also the Most Holy Name of Jesus, so it would be nice to incorporate that somehow.
Jan. 4th: Another birthday here. It’s also St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s feast day. I had wrapped up the apple cider spices and a couple of books we haven’t read in a while that the kids enjoy. We did “Apple Cider” night and made some popcorn & apple cider. We turned on the fireplace and read a couple of new stories.
Jan. 5th: Our gift exchange day. We give each of the kids a few dollars and each picks a sibling or parent’s name out of a hat. We then go in and go shopping; we split the kids between us in such a way so they don’t see their own gifts they are going to receive. I find that when they are allowed to buy each other gifts they get MORE joy out of giving than receiving. I think it’s important for the kids to learn this at a young age, and to think about what their sibling wants, not what they want. The younger ones need help from me in this department. We did the shopping ahead of time but I think it would be neat to make today’s box a hat with names in it. Then we shop, come home and wrap, and then that evening we open up all the gifts. It wasn’t practical for us at the time; so we shop ahead and then put all the gifts in one big box for the day’s opening.
Jan. 6th: Epiphany! Today I wrapped up some Christmas Carols I printed out. We sang Christmas Carols to Jesus and moved the Three Kings so they finally found Baby Jesus. This year we also want to actually PICK UP the blessed chalk from Mass and do the house blessing with it as well!
Every year is going to be different, but the idea behind it is to spend time as a family, teach the kids virtues, and really just focus on celebrating Christmas together with fun activities with more of a focus on Christ and the traditions of the Church. As the years go by I plan on trying to incorporate each feast day with our activity of the day, but that will come with time.
Some other ideas I had that I didn’t use yet but may this year: White Elephant Day (wrap something totally silly, could be combined with St. Stephen’s Day); go to a park, sledding or ice skating depending on weather; Card game night; Make a blanket fort and read a story day; scavenger hunt day; game day with musical chairs and like games. I would love to hear more ideas!!
*Note: Here are some ideas from Linda on the Twelve Days Of Christmas…
I finally did this last year, it was a huge success with the younger children, but my older teens wanted more teen directed activities. This year I am working on trying to incorporate them more. For example, I did a play dough day, not so exciting for my teens lol. Any ideas would be appreciated. Here my ideas from last year, (with Natalies ideas):
Play dough day
Camping inside day
Religious items day
Cotton Candy day
Ice cream Sundae day
Movie, popcorn day
“Be a kind wife. Kind words can have such a powerful impact on your marriage. Speak gentle, thoughtful things to this man you love.” -Lisa Jacobson
Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas With Your Family available here.
This practice of doing the Twelve Days of Christmas can change your family’s Liturgical holiday life!
Why? Because it will help you make the Christmas Season festive after Christmas has arrived for those twelve specific days (with Epiphany as the 13th Day of Christmas). Knowing you have prepared for this season of Yuletide when it actually arrives will encourage you to focus on Advent more thoroughly so that once you reach the climax of that Penitential season..Christmas…you will be prepared to truly celebrate this amazing time of the Church’s Liturgical Calendar!
Each day has an activity and a lovely coloring page dedicated to it. The activities are simple and doable.
At the beginning of the book there is a checklist for the supplies so that you can gather them throughout the Advent Season. Then you will have everything ready to make the Twelve (actually thirteen, including Epiphany) Days of Christmas special!
So, when all the songs have stopped on the radio, the decorations taken down, the tree thrown out and red hearts begin to appear as everyone anxiously awaits Valentine’s Day, you and your family will be joyfully giving the Baby Jesus His proper welcome into this world!
Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand. Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent. Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.
To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?
For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you’ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.
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It is good to remember those who find this time of year hard. I have a dear one who is dying of cancer right now, I talked to another friend who is a policeman, who deeply misses his mother who passed away within this year, those who struggle financially and can’t buy gifts….
This year the sickness has been rampant. I am on the upward swing of being ill and many of my grandchildren have been quite sick. The mothers have been very worried.
Please keep little Esther in your prayers. She has a pulmonologist appointment in January. Meanwhile she is on oxygen frequently and causes nightly concern…
And then, we all are suffering as we watch our Holy Mother Church in pain…
And so many more sufferings. Yes, it is a time of great joy. Yet there is always the cross….
Where are You, God, and How Come You’re Not Helping Out?
I love Christmas time. I love all the rich traditions, the beauty surrounding it, the music, the love and camaraderie of family and good friends.
But I also know it can be a very hard time for some. There are those who are extra lonely at Christmas, they are sick, they are missing someone close to them who may have recently died.
Christmas has a way of increasing that suffering, because the hardship is such a contrast to the beauty and joy of the season.
We all go through hard times. Times where we may find ourselves saying, “Where are You, God, and how come You’re not helping out?”
How many times in my life have I used these words…or at least words of this sort?
We have black times when we pray and pray and pray and our petitions seem to be falling on Deaf Ears. Sometimes we might even find ourselves getting angry at God.
Every time I reacted this way, I regretted it. The dust would settle and I would see most clearly how God was working in that situation or how incredible blessings had followed a very painful situation.
My mom always told me to thank God even in adversity, while going through it…..thank Him when things look so black and it looks like you or your loved ones had been abandoned.
(And my mom suffered tremendously…with 2 sons who died tragically, alcoholism that touched the family deeply and a daughter with severe mental illness…her cup…I mean “cross” runneth over)!
That’s not an easy thing to do…to thank Him through the hard times!! It’s definitely an act of the will.
But I remember the saying that goes something like this, “The devil trembles most when a person gets on their knees in spite of the fact that everything within him rebels .”
So I have learned through the years that, first of all, there will be dark times. That is the way of life. It has its sufferings. Period. We truly wouldn’t want it any other way. It is the Royal Road of the Cross.
I have learned also that these times are special because this is when I am sharing in His sufferings in just a little way…. a way that I know is pleasing to Him.
I also try to think about the many great sufferings of others, the sufferings of the persecuted in the Middle East, (which is something that is hard to imagine in our day and age), those who have had loved ones die during this last year and those who are suffering big things closer to home.
My own sufferings, though real and hurtful, (and God understands that) are nothing compared to these other sufferings. What a great reason to thank God!
I have also learned, finally, to be grateful to God for the difficulties themselves. Days of darkness will come again and I will forget… I will writhe in pain and look for ways to get out of it. I will pray, do extra holy hours or whatever I think I need to be doing. I know these are all good.
But then the light bulb goes off and I remember to THANK HIM for exactly what it is I am going through! I believe this is very pleasing to Our Lord.
I know that, in hindsight, I will be looking back and saying, “I thank You God for that situation and all the good that You have brought from it for me and for others.”
For those times when we may not see the blessings, even in hindsight, those VERY dark times….those are the times we just have to trust and lean on Him.
So whatever you’re going through today, whatever hardships you have during this Christmas season especially, take a moment to thank God for them. Give them as a gift to the Baby Jesus.
The light is always at the end of the tunnel and you don’t want to be guilty for shaking your fist at God. This is one time you DO want to “jump the gun” and “count your chickens before they are hatched.” You want to believe and KNOW that God is the Author of all and will turn this into good for you and for your family.
You want to take a moment to thank Him who is a most loving Father. He sees everything that we are going through. He WILL come. He’s shown us that many times in our lives, hasn’t He?
Remember, He has the hairs on our heads counted. That’s not just a cute cliché, it has a world of meditation in it.
Meditate on it, believe it and live it this Christmas season!
Join me as I read to you the beautiful meditations of the Christmas Child written by Father Daniel Lord in the 1950’s…
Christmas Stories are always fun for children, especially when they focus on the faith and what is important during this wonderful season! In this video, Mrs. V tells three Christmas stories that have little lessons surrounding the beauty of Christmas!
Mrs. V. tells your children a special Advent story….”Philomena received a beautiful gift from her aunt for her birthday in Advent. It was a lovely black and red Spanish mantilla! It was perfect for Christmas and Philomena was excited to wear it for Midnight Mass…..”
Mrs. V. tells your children a special Advent story….”Joseph was of a generous nature, Thomas not so much. When the boys played games outside, Thomas always wanted to be first in the games. Joseph would give up his place to make room for someone else….”