Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Feast Day!

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1746 St. Catherine of Siena

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. ~ St. Catherine of Siena.

Today is her feast day. She was the 24th child! Today, that'd be unheard of ... why, we'd worry that we wouldn't be able to feed the children or have room in the house or send them to college or any number of things. But this child, though uneducated, grew to love Christ and His Church to such a degree she even advised the Pope! She is a Doctor of the Church and some day I hope to read her Dialogue. I tell you, the Church has such a treasury of materials, I can't even begin to make a dent in my reading pile. Sometimes I wonder the things they write about in heaven.

Today's Magnificat had a lovely reflection from St. Catherine on not remaining in the darkness. She writes, "You know that sin can live only in a perverse and evil will. When you know you have a good will, and you know you would rather die than actually offend your Creator, then you must let go of your discouragement and walk by the light of the grace hidden within your soul, the grace God has given you in safeguarding your good will ... I'll say no more. Fly on the wings of deep humility and blazing charity! Keep living in God's holy and tender love."

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Easter 2015

Photo taken from Rorate caeli
As Easter displays have disappeared from shops, so have some churches and some Christians in the Middle East. The latest were students in Kenya, whose names are displayed above. Many remain silent as our brothers and sisters are massacred for their faith. "The stars of 148 new martyrs are shining brightly in the firmament of the Church," begins Roberto de Mattei.   

I remember at the Marian conference last year when Father Casey spoke how we take freedom to practice our religion for granted here. But it won't be for long before religion will be banned from the public square ... unless we fight for it. And the battle lines are going to be drawn on the redefinition of marriage.

The Supreme Court will begin deliberating at the end of the month on this. Pray that reason, justice, moral and natural law will prevail. For we have already destroyed the foundation of the family through the acceptance of divorce, but now the devil goes for God's creation: male and female He created them. The devil wants to destroy the very distinction between male and female, the natural complementarity between them. If marriage is redefined between two consenting people, just think of the implications. Now it's homosexual unions. Next it will be incest, polygamy, and other aberrations. Tell me how this is going to be good for the family, for the raising of children?   

So, with whom will you stand? With Jesus? With everything He taught? Or will you only pick what's comfortable and convenient? Or will you stand against Him, the one Who suffered and died for you? You have free will.

People quote John 3:16 all the time and it is indeed reassuring, but I wish they'd read a bit more. Better yet, all of John because he makes it so very clear that it was as difficult then as it is now to accept everything that Jesus taught, but that's what it takes to abandon oneself to Christ and trust in Him and His plan. By the way, just a little reminder, no matter what is happening in the world, Christ has WON!!! I leave you with John 3:16-21 and Lift High the Cross.

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Gift of Prayer

This little bundle arrived from a dear friend for Easter (of course, it was much more neatly tied). I didn't know what it was, but when I opened it up ... Holy smokes! ... it is a little oratory that I can take with me wherever I go. I love taking this out to my porch with my Bible or Magnificat. I have now added some more saints and the red cloth also is a pocket for holding holy cards. We've not made a Holy Hour at home for a while but it will be nice to spread this out on the coffee table with the censer.

My friend said she got this idea from a book called The Little Oratory. It looks wonderful and I am going to invest in a copy for myself to share with the children as they grow and raise their own families. Sometimes I feel it's too late for us because it's difficult to establish new routines. There's so much resistance. Right now we gather for a morning offering and evening prayers. Michael has added the Angelus before meals. The rosary hasn't quite caught on as a family prayer unless we want to do penance (sorry Mary). We do 15 Aves for Angelic Warfare. But I shouldn't complain. We are so grateful to be able to attend a traditional Latin Mass on Sundays and be able to go to Mass during the week once or twice. And now we have Adoration right on our island once a month. We've instinctively gravitated towards filling our home with art that lifts our hearts and minds heavenward. Our little oratory is perfect as we continue our journey. Thank you my friend!
Your turn. Do you have a special corner where you retreat to pray? If you have children, how do you encourage praying together?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Four Generations!!!!

I'm so honored that Baby's first Easter book is TEN EASTER EGGS!!!! What a delightful photo. I expect next year she might be chewing on the book! Will it last until she learns to count?!!! Oh, the suspense.

I've not seen four generations together very often. But it is a beautiful blessing! Thank you, Mary, for sharing with me.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

I have grown to love him very much and along with Pope Francis, pray for him daily. B16 brought much clarity into my life and thank him for all the wonderful books he has written. Here's a quote from him: Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary.

Happy 88th dear Papa B16. Here is a photo collage from Msgr. Pope that makes me laugh:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ten Easter Eggs and Me in the News

My young friend snagged the last copy of TEN EASTER EGGS at B&N a couple of weeks ago. But not to worry, there are copies at Walmart and Target and of course, Amazon!

It's lovely to know that TEE has done so well. It's risen to among the top ten books in Southern California according to SCIBA (scroll down for children's illustrated). I was in the local news as well. What a fun write-up and I'm learning to do some self-promotion. Introvert-writers, be not afraid!

And although Easter holidays are coming to an end this Divine Mercy Sunday, remember that the Eastertide lasts a wonderful 50 days! So enjoy!!!

We've had a lovely Easter break with visits from family and friends, lots of sleeping in, watching movies, and enjoying our beautiful spring weather. I've done a bit of scribbling in my notebook but I'm starting to really, really miss it and I don't know about you, but I get rusty when I don't write for a few days. I suppose it's the same as playing the piano. A few days off and your fingers are just not so limber. I have been working on my Mozart though and hoping for some cross-pollination.  

So how was your spring break? Do share!

Monday, April 6, 2015

He is Risen!

Easter Vigil is my most favorite night of the year, for it is the night, when all is dark and the paschal candle is lit and the light spreads throughout the church and we remember how we were freed from sin and death. It is the night we welcome the catechumens into the sacred mysteries. It is the night we renew our baptismal promises.

Consider these questions:

Do you renounce Satan?
And all his works?
And all his empty show?

I do, I do, I do.

We must turn away from sin before we can become children of God. For each of us, this can take a varying amount of time. It depends on how deeply we are mired in sin, how much of Satan's lies we believe, and how enamored we are with his glam and glitter. I admit that after I lost my faith, I was so deep in sin that I couldn't even see that I was in the pit. It was really the pureness of our children that gave us the glimmer of light. And the closer I get to the light, the more clearly I see the darkness within my soul. But I tell you, it's never too late to come to the light. There is nothing you have done that is not forgivable. So come and be cleansed in the waters of life.

The next three questions lead us to Light.

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting?

I do, I do, I do, most wholeheartedly. For without these beliefs there is nothing else.

Jesus Christ is Risen Today! Alleluia! One day we shall rise with Him too. May you have a joyous Easter.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sacred Triduum

Lent is over. Was the journey in the desert fruitful for you? I cannot express how many blessings have rained down on our family. I am thankful to God for all of them. It's been a little awkward for me to share TEN EASTER EGGS with kids during Lent, but since I did my visits to Catholic schools, I was able to speak about the real meaning of the Easter egg, how it signifies Jesus dead and buried in the tomb. The kids love the book, counting the eggs and chicks, and coloring pages.

Today we begin the Sacred Triduum, where Christ celebrated Passover with His Apostles and instituted the priesthood. He remains with us in humble Bread and Wine. Tonight, His Passion begins. Tomorrow, Good Friday, He hung on the cross. Pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. God is dead. This could only be possible had God taken on human flesh. Word made flesh!

For this He came down to earth. God so loved the world ... Give it a listen while you look these beautiful paintings by Bouguereau. They capture the serene joy as Mary gives us Jesus and the utter desolation at what had to be done to save us. Wishing you a most blessed Triduum and a very happy Easter.