Congratulations to our winners:
Betsy J (Facebook) - Earrings
William R (Facebook) - Catholic Doctrine Playing Cards
Peg H (Twitter) - Conchita's Diary
I hope everyone had a great weekend. I most certainly did - and I'll be posting more about that later! Sorry this was so late. I had forgotten I wouldn't have my little munch, Vince, to pick the winners until Sunday night! I can't very well have winners without my trusty Winner-Picker, now can I?
So I saw this and my first reaction was "Oh wow... this is awesome!"
Obviously coming from "Catholic Memes" it is an indictment against voting for Obama - seen by many as the popular choice.
However, as I thought about it more, my mind drifted to what Jesus must have felt like during those moments.
He certainly didn't look as pristine and clean, that's for sure.
He'd already been scourged. Flesh was hanging from His Body and His Blood was flowing in rivers over His extremities. He was bruised, sweaty and stumbling. He was breathing hard and heavy. He was in awful pain and burned for any shred of humanity with which to cling.
The crown of thorns dug into His Head. One of the thorns dug into His Eye. His Hands were bound and He was being shoved like a common criminal... like an animal.
And looking out over the crowd that Pilate called forth, He saw no love. He saw no mercy. Instead, He heard over and over "Crucify Him" and each voice echoed humanity down through the ages in each and every sin we've ever committed or will commit.
He heard the voices of the unmerciful - OUR voices - and He felt His Sacred Heart shatter. Here He was, battered, torn, bleeding and broken for love of us, and we arrogantly turn away. We WILLINGLY choose Barabbas just as we WILLINGLY choose sin. And worse, we called down condemnation on ourselves and our future generations with that brutal act of defiance! Oh Our Lord! How He suffered for our salvation! How He must have cringed knowing the extent of what we were asking in that moment...
Yet still His Heart reached out to encompass humanity. He responded to our repeated calls for death and derision with life and love. He returned to us our mercilessness with His Divine Mercy.
This is the type of unexpected and counter-cultural calling we have as Catholics. We are not meant to return like for like. We are not meant to refuse mercy and respond to violence with more evil.
No. We are called to follow the example of Christ, and Christ took the evil He was shown, offered it to the Father, and returned it back to us purified of evil - transformed into Love, Life and Peace.
THAT is our call as Catholics - to take the evil we are given and to offer it to the Father (through Jesus). Once we do this - freely and patiently - we will be able to disperse the returned Love to others.
And this is why we should be grateful for our enemies. Through them we gain gifts to offer to the Lord so that we, in turn, have them to spread to others.
So Delaware just passed a law which effectively outlaw corporal punishment on the basis that child abusers exist.
My question is this: Should we outlaw sex because rapists exist?
I mean, in both instances, we have laws in place that specifically punish folks guilty of child abuse / rape. We are we looking to abolish corporal punishment altogether? Exactly when did the state gain the authority to tell me how to properly discipline my child??
Pardon me, Delaware, but methinks you've just spoiled an entire generation of children. Why? Because most kids are smart enough to realize that with a simple false report to the police, Mommy or Daddy will be at their mercy and can thus get away with being terrible, terrible people.
"You think you can ground me for failing three semesters of math? Yeah right. I can easily call the cops and tell them you've been hitting me behind closed doors and you won't be around to enforce that, will you?"
This is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE idea. Our government's been remarkably good at making those recently.
But yes... should we now outlaw sex on the same grounds?
One of my new favorite people in the world asked me a great question this morning.
We had been talking about using three fingers for the Sign of the Cross about a week ago. It's something a lot of people either don't know or have simply forgotten over time.
However, after talking about it, he's more aware. I told him to look out for the priest at the end of Mass to bless with his three fingers raised because the priest acknowledges that the blessing is actually coming from the Trinity (God) and he is simply an instrument of His Blessing.
My friend then said, "Well why do they use their whole hand when they bless the bread and wine at Mass?"
I said, "That's a great question! They use their whole hand because they aren't really blessing the bread and wine; Christ is."
Since the priest acts in persona Christi, we understand (as faithful Catholics) that the priest, though present, is simply a vessel through which Jesus, Himself, comes to Consecrate.
The priest calls Christ from Heaven to consecrate. Only God can make God. Thus, the priest, being endowed with the privilege and responsibility to call forth Christ from Heaven, doesn't create God from bread and wine. He calls forth Christ and gives himself over to Him for the benefit of his people. Thus, when the priest blesses using all of his fingers, we understand that it is really Christ doing the consecration. It is Jesus who creates Himself in place of the bread and wine.
And that, my friends, is why the hand gesture is different during consecration. THAT is why the priest uses his whole hand. It's because he's allowing Christ to utilize the physical form of his body to enable Christ to pass along His Sacred Blessing.
Ah - to be a priest is to consent to a daily form of the Annunciation. Each time he says Mass, he briefly contains within himself a bit of the divinity that Mary must have acknowledged when she said "Fiat" and opened herself to the mystery of the Incarnation. Her consent to allow God to use her physical body for His greatest blessing parallels nicely with that of the priest sacrificing his physical body to allow God to manifest the mystery of the Eucharist.
And upon completion of this mystery, he (again, in persona Christi) offers this Sacrifice up to God the Father to bear forth salvation (or more rightly, bear us forth to the gift of Salvation). This is why the priest lifts the chalice and patten (or ciborium, I guess). Christ, in the person of the priest, offers Himself to His Father at the Last Supper. It's why the priest suddenly changes to first-person pronouns, too.
Our theology is so deep - so beautiful - that I could happily meditate on it for hours. EVERYTHING is meaningful. EVERYTHING is a reflection of our faith.
Never forget that.
... several new items to the Craft Store. A flower section with really pretty clay beads I found, a new chandelier inspired by my friend, Catherine, and a purple set (earrings, bracelet and ring) inspired by my friend, Aubrey.
Thanks, ladies, for being so "museful."
See what I did there? Terrible pun... terrible, terrible pun...
This is slightly embarrassing.
But I guess mortification is good for the soul, right?
I was talking to a friend of mine this morning about how my Giveaway for Michaelmas has gotten absolutely zero traction. I couldn't figure out why. My other contests have at least gotten some sort of action. This one, though? Zip.
So I asked her, "Why do you think that is? Did I do something wrong? Are my 'prizes' sucky?"
She gave me some interesting feedback that I hadn't thought of before (being new to all this "contest" stuff).
She said that books and cards are seen as "low value." They're "pointless" for us bloggers to give away because they're seen as cheaper than an entrant's information. Folks could easily purchase the book or the deck of cards from Amazon or something for a paltry fee, and they wouldn't have to fork over effort to get them. It's a sure thing, and all they'd need to do would be to give consent because Amazon (or wherever) already had their information.
My blog, however, does not. It doesn't store anyone's information, and getting the items isn't a sure thing (though in this case, it might end up being). They'd also have to see my face on Twitter / Facebook or whatever just to get an entry, and lots of people don't like the added hassle of connecting to yet another pointless page on Facebook.
Hand-made items, like earrings, on the other hand - those tend to do well for blog give-aways because they're personal. You can't get them anywhere else, and it's always nice to own something from a blogger you've come to know through their online musings.
Point taken - I've enjoyed very much the things I've gotten from bloggers who offer unique and beautiful things online.
I asked her why, then, folks weren't entering even if it was just for the earrings. I mean, I've gotten a few orders this past week, and not one of those who ordered entered the contest (so I was confused... people obviously wanted the earrings... but I guess they didn't want to chance not getting a free set?).
She said it was because the chances were greater that they'd get one of the "sucky" items, which cancelled out their desire to enter.
That was interesting. I'd never thought of it that way before. She gave me a lot to think about, and I'm happy for her honest feedback. It makes a lot more sense, especially seeing my stats every day remain about the same, but no sort of "activity."
So my quandry... should I take down the contest early and create a separate one for earrings, or should I leave the original one up in the interest of fairness (since I did say I'd be pulling names on Michaelmas)?
Anyone else have this sort of issue when they've run contests in the past?
Ah well. Even if you haven't, this is good food for thought in case you folks have any ideas of looking to host one in the future. *Grin*
Totally feeling like this right now.
So I've been doing an incredibly bad job of resisting temptation recently.
About three seconds ago, I decided that instead of giving in completely, I should try to go "half-sies" and see if that doesn't work out better.
I had posted a quote up on my FB page last week that I found through a Tumblr (brought to my attention via Deo volente when he posted it to Dymphna's wall). A brief conversation followed which had me at my religious blackboard for a few moments and all has been mostly silent (likely because by this point, most of my friends have me on "hidden" so they aren't forced to suffer through my conservative ramblings).
Anywho, this is what the conversation looked like:
Me: No one ever said following Christ would be easy. He didn’t say, “Come pick up your pillow and follow me.” - Sister Karen of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George
I think this may be my new favorite quote. *Giggle*
Friend K: Did you see the new thing on the news? Now they are questioning if Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
Me: Yeah, I saw this and it's the same argument they've been attempting to make forever. *grump grump grump*
We've got ancient papyrus that mentions Jesus shooting angry laser beams at other kids who made fun of Him when He was a child, too. LoL. I'm not kidding.
There's a reason certain things were left out of the Bible. Not everything was written with the guidance of the Spirit. This would be a good example.
Unless, of course, we're talking about Christ's Bride being the Church (which we're not).
So while I've heard of this on the news recently, I haven't paid it any attention because it's the same tired song that's been sung for a long, long time. No matter how much folks want to believe that Christ was married to Mary M, the truth will always be that He was, from all eternity, married to the Church. It's why He came specifically to lay down His Life for Her.
Which, BTW, was the complete reversion of Adam's refusal to lay down his life for his wife, Eve (which subsequently got them booted out of the garden).
But I digress (as I'm prone to do when theological topics tickle my fancy).
Friend T: well i understand that not everything written down is true but if something wasn't written with the guidance of the spirit, does that make it not true? jesus shooting laser beams is sort of far fetched...but...come on...if you think about the things catholics believe in (water into wine, walking on water, raising from the dead, virgin birth) that's a little harder to believe but we still believe it. then we find ancient text saying a man from the middle east 2000 years ago had a wife and you say its the same old crazy story.
i reread one of those sentences and it has some structural issues but u get the point
Me: Structural issues aside (*grin*), I'm not asking anyone non-Catholic to believe or disbelieve in the papyrus. I'm simply pointing out that no matter how many various scrolls are found that say Jesus was married to Mary, faithful Catholics will never believe it because we know through the 3 Pillars that Jesus - from all eternity - was and is united to the Church. He never married during His stint on earth, and anyone who said so (today or 2,000 years ago) got their information wrong (either intentionally as in the case of heretics, or unintentionally as sometimes happens through human nature). This is why we Catholics believe so strongly in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
He makes sure that heretical / misguided information stays out of our Scriptures because He's got the foresight to see that this issue will keep cropping up every few decades.
And an interesting tidbit for anyone who cares:
The most utilized analogy in the Bible as a whole (this included the OT and the NT) of Christ to His Church is that of the Bridegroom and His Bride.
Not the Good Shepherd leading His Flock, and not the King and His subjects. God, throughout Salvation History, has highlighted the idea that we are not only His Family, but His INTIMATE family. He wishes to know us and love us as two people so closely united that they become one.
This, my friends, is why Catholics hold the Sacrament of Matrimony to be so incredibly sacred... it is humanity's call to emulate God. THIS is why we will fight tooth and nail to ensure that this Sacrament remains faithful to the truth of Divine Nature.
See? There I go digressing again...
That was the end of the conversation. I've even been relatively silent on updating statues and such on account of the focus on Vince's birthday this weekend.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I find this message in my message box this morning:
Friend S: I saw your post about gay marrage and still dont see why everything has to boil down to two men getting married in a church for you catholics. live and let live already. and while your at it, acknowledge that your story book contains just as much fact as my grimms fairytails.
I'll be honest. After reading it, I was HIGHLY confused (and I admit, HIGHLY irritated). "Gay marriage" post? WHAT gay marriage post? I was trying really hard to remember if I'd spoken about marriage at all let along gay marriage last week. The second sentence was my only clue to what post this person was talking about.
Instead of writing back one of my normal fire-brandishing messages, I resisted. I actually typed a terrible response that was more reactionary than I care to admit. I smartly deleted it upon further reflection. However, I can't say I successfully bucked Satan on this one. I half-gave in and simply wrote back that considering my original topic had nothing to do with gay marriage, and almost NONE of the subsequent follow-up had to do with gay marriage, the only one who can rightly be accused of boiling anything down would be him.
I need to go read Shalimar's entry on forgiving and letting go, because I'm all sortsa "I want to punch things" right now...
I loathe having my words twisted into something unrecognizable. I really, really do.
In honor of Vincent's birthday, John and I decided to take him to the Philadelphia Zoo. It was Vincent's first time, and truth be told, so much has changed since John and I were there that it seemed like the first time for us, too!
Unfortunately, however, Vince was not impressed. He pretty much hated everything with the exception of the carousel. I have to admit, though, that the Philadelphia Zoo does boast the most amazing and gorgeous carousel I've ever seen. It's made up of all different animals and the colors are stunning. Their attention to detail is meticulous, and I would've gladly taken photos of the entire thing had I not run out of film.
Ah well. At least we got him to pet a goat. And a sheep! That was about all the excitement we could get out of him.
Luckily, the Zoo was not the only thing we had planned for him. After a quick detour home for his afternoon nap, we came back into Philly for a place called Smith Memorial Play House.
Again, this was another first for ALL of us. My mother had told me about it a few times, but I'd never had a chance to go. Today we were lucky enough to make it, and that place more than made up for the terrible morning we'd all had at the Zoo.
For those of you in the general "Philly's not entirely too far for me" area, if you've got kids, you should make a stop at this place. It's by donation only (and they only suggest $5 for each family who comes in) and they're open 7 days a week. It's a mansion they converted into a huge play center. Each floor has two rooms that are full of all sorts of toys, books, structures to climb over and play with.
The main floor, stocked with a huge wooden train, a huge wooden house and a model city for cars to drive around in kept Vince entertained for most of our visit. When we were finally able to lure him upstairs, he got to play in a kitchenette, stomp over a wooden "bridge" and play with more trucks and puzzles than he ever thought possible.
We took a very brief stop in the library, but he was gunning for the steps, so we took him into the "basement" area which actually houses a raceway full of cars, trikes, and a real working traffic light!!!
Seriously - this place is just too adorable!
However, my only draw-back was the fact that some kids over the age of 5 were beginning to get too rowdy down there. We opted to choose that moment to take a look at the outside playground.
Vince was beyond happy. He was running over hills, climbing up rock structures, swinging on and sliding through tubing, and meeting all sorts of fun little friends.
However, his crowning moment was finding their huge, burlap sack slides.
Made of polished hardwood, this slide is big enough to have four to six adults slide down side-by-side together. It's 40 feet long and the only way to get to it is to walk up this gorgeous "Tree Path" that is lined in wild flowers. John and I must've taken him down that thing a dozen times!
That was really so much fun. His little cheeks were so rosy from playing that when it was time to leave, he didn't put up too much of a fight. I'm surprised he didn't immediately conk out!
Ah well. I'm just glad he had a good time... especially after the bust of this morning's adventure. Tomorrow we'll be seeing some of the family to celebrate both Vince's and his great-grandmother's birthdays. Sure to be fun, indeed!
1 day old - still in the hospital!
Three years ago today I got to meet the blessing I'd been waiting for my entire life.
My little smiling bubble of sunshine.
I still try to measure his growth against the memory of him nestled in my arms that first night in the hospital. His little ear tucked into my elbow... his little face smooshed against my breast... his "bundled" body hugging the length of my arm.
Oh and how he's grown!
Now his head rests on my shoulder and curls into my neck. His arms encircle me and those precious feet dangle well past my hips.
My baby is no longer a baby so much as a little boy, and I'm not entirely sure how that happened!
But I thank God for such a blessing. Each smile, each laugh, each gasp of awe... they're golden little treasures in my heart. Even his struggles, his frustration, and his cries... they're all little jewels that have endeared him to me and marked him as mine.
Today we celebrated amongst ourselves. John and I took him out for a fun dinner and ice cream because, although our family tends to want bigger, more extravagant celebrations, we appreciate our tradition of togetherness. John and I created our little family unit, and we like first dibbs on celebrating the moment we finally became a real family. It's ours - he is ours. And while we love to share him with our families, we do tend to get selfish of him in moments like this.
No worries, however. We'll have the cake and the presents and the family together in a couple days. We don't deprive him of such joy. We do, however, push it off in favor of our unique family-time. John and I both hope it instills in him how much we love and appreciate him. Cake and presents are great, but bonding with the people who love you most in the world...
That's a true celebration. :)
Happy birthday, baby. Mommy loves you more than you know. I thank God for you every day - you are a kiss from God, Himself. Bless you always...
So I hit a road bump with Vince and his potty training. The poor boy refuses to do a #2 on the potty. I'm not sure if it's because he's afraid of splash-back or what, but I just cannot get him to go!
I've attempted leaving him bottomless, I've attempted to leave him in only his underwear, I've tried dropping the poo from his dirty diapers into the toilet to show him that's where it goes, and yes, I've tried the stupid M&M trick that I've heard so much about.
I am failing miserably at this, and I'm honestly contemplating pulling him back from his preschool room until he's more adept at using the potty for BOTH bodily functions.
I just don't know what else to try.
Anyone else have this problem? I've done the Super Duper Pooper song, and we've even got our own little diddy I've sung to him since he was a few months old. Nothing seems to work, and I'm desperate to try something new. If I can't get him to catch on before the end of the month, I'm going to request that he be dropped from the preschooling room because I just don't think he's ready to handle this sort of thing on his own (which they're expecting of him). Honestly, I think it's a bit much to expect a three year old to be able to go to the bathroom independently, but the Director seemed appalled that Vince couldn't wipe himself properly or pull up his underwear well.
Just one of those days where you feel like a crappy parent, I guess. But I'm all for suggestions. ANY suggestions. Thanks in advance. <3
That's right, folks! I've been wanting to do another giveaway for a while, but having been so busy the last few weeks, I haven't had much of a chance. Now that things are beginning to settle down, I wanted to post this before Michaelmas came and went.
This contest will be running through September 29th (winner will be chosen on September 30th). There are a few ways to enter (each counts as a separate entry, so remember to comment completion of each separately):
Best wishes to everyone!!!
***The "Like" buttons below (while great for spreading the word) are not traceable. Please use the links at the top of this page to "Like" MyBrokenFiat's Facebook Page / Twitter.***
So... what can I win?
A pair of my earrings!
And any pair at that (so long as you're willing to wait on the two or three beads / charms that are on backorder)!
I'm looking to spread my little crafty wings so folks know I'm here, and what better way to do that than a give-away? Winner gets to choose any pair from the store.
The Catholic Doctrine Playing Cards are back! I've got a brand new deck to give away. This pack is red in color and full of all sorts of tid-bits, prayers and reminders. These are a practical, fun way of speaking to others about the Faith!
I was given an extra copy of Conchita's Diary. Conchita is one of the seers of Garabandal and she wrote a brief booklet describing her time with Our Lady.
Since it's an extra copy, I figured I'd use it as part of the give-away since so many of you had expressed interest in the Prophecy series I did a few months back.
I read through my personal copy within about an hour. It's very brief, but full of some truly beautiful insights into the love Our Lady has for us. There's even a memory of Our Lady playing hide-and-seek with the children. <3
Best of all, when you're done reading it, you can use the cover as artwork because it's simply beautiful. :) I actually prop my copy up on my bookshelf because I enjoy looking at this rendition of her holding Jesus.
Anyway, a copy is up for grabs!
I'll have Vince draw three names from his favorite bowl and the prizes will be awarded in the order you see here (first name gets earrings, second name gets the deck, third name gets the book).
If you've got questions, let me know. Otherwise, good luck!
I have been incredibly busy the last few days (as you could probably guess from my lack of posting).
Anyway, some good and blessed news!
First, I attended the beautiful wedding of two wonderful people up in NY on Saturday. The 5 hour road-trip was a ton of fun, and the end result of the ceremony and reception will be fond memories I'll always treasure.
The rest of the weekend I spent filling orders and creating new earrings (which I've now posted to the store... mostly).
Also, I was privileged to see one of my best buddies for his birthday as an unexpected bonus. How incredible is that???
And finally, please shoot a prayer of thanksgiving up to God for the miracle of my friend's bike accident.
And yes, I just said the miracle of my friend's bike accident.
While he was on his way to the wedding, he was thrown from his motorcycle at about 80mph. The angels must have been with him, because he ended up walking away with a dislocated shoulder and road burn.
80mph on a highway into a guardrail, and the boy not only survived, he was able to leave the hospital the very next day.
God is incredibly good to have protected him from what could have been fatal. Thank you, Lord, for keeping an eye on him. We like him around. :)
Here are some pictures!
I feel like at one point in time, we've all been guilty of this.
Or maybe you're all just way better people than I am, and I'm the only one who has ever decided to go the route of lazy and cut corners during prayer.
Ever hear the story of the Fatima children who would say their rosaries every day by simply saying the first two words of every prayer down the line? "Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary..." and so on.
I remember reading that story when I was very young and thinking to myself, What a great idea! only to realize a few pages later that Our Lady didn't look too kindly on such half-hearted lip service. I remember then simply feeling like a jerk for having applauded their misguided 'brilliance.'
Anyway, I try to pray one rosary and one Divine Mercy chaplet every day. When I know I'm going to be particularly busy, I've said both Apostle's Creeds (one for the rosary, and one for the chaplet) together, then said 2 Our Fathers and 4 Hail Marys plus another 2 Glory Bes in order to "get them out of the way" so I'm able to focus on the "meat" of the rosary and chaplet later on.
And I wondered... should I be cutting up and reorganizing my prayers like that? After all, we were given them in a certain format for a reason, right?
The way we say our prayers and the order we say them in are significant. As I've always taught my class, EVERYTHING we do as Catholics (from how we position ourselves during prayer to the format and wording of those prayers) has significance.
So lumping stuff together isn't ideal... nor is it proper.
Think about it. Would you want the priest to lump together the Intercessions with the Penitential Rite just because he thought the Mass might go a little quicker that way? Or maybe on his way up during the Procession, he just swiped the bread and wine from the credence table instead of waiting around for the Offertory?
Of course not. We'd be losing some very key expressions of faith should he do any of these things. The same is true when we pray our rosaries and chaplets out of order.
I know I've touched on this briefly in Part 3 of my Rosary series, but it fits today's topic. The ordering of our prayers is another expression - another deepening - of our faith and our understanding of that faith. The ordering calls us to contemplate and rejoice in a rhythmic fashion. Each decade serves to draw us deeper into the picture of God's plan for our personal salvation. Saying the prayers as they're meant to be said is like taking a stethoscope to God's Heart as it beats lovingly for each and every one of us.
Sign of the Cross - As always, be begin our prayers by marking ourselves with the sign of His Victory... His Passion of mercy and love.
Apostle's Creed - We remind ourselves of our faith and renew the promises of our baptism.
Our Father - Using the words of Christ, we call upon God the Father to "give us this day our daily bread." Being in the 'eternal now,' though we are praying within the confines of a finite sphere of time, God is able to know and see these prayers throughout eternity. Thus, though we ask Him for our daily bread on a Thursday in September of 2012, God has foreseen this prayer from eternity. As we pray this before each decade, we unwittingly ask for the gifts each mystery reminds us that He has already bestowed.
Hail Mary - This blessed prayer is Christ-centric.
Glory Be - Again, remembering that God is in the eternal now, when we say this prayer of praise and thanksgiving, we are supposed to be thanking Him for the decade's particular mystery and whatever intentions we had going into that decade.
See the cycle?
Placing ourselves before God, the Sign of the Cross is like us putting the stethoscope to our ears in anticipation of listening to His Heart.
The Apostle's Creed is the tell-tale sign of His Love.
As we motion through the decades, the steady rhythm of petitioning for salvation (Our Father), God's answer to our petition through the various mysteries (Hail Mary) and our subsequent praise and thanksgiving for His active mercy through history (Glory Be) are like the gentle vibrations of Divine Love. Our God is a living God, and His movements are eternally present. Thus, our prayers are eternally present as well.
We'll never know just how far-reaching our prayers are until we get to Heaven and see the 10 or 20 forgotten Purgatory souls we've helped reach the Gates... or the 5 lost souls who would have continued along the path of perdition had you not done a daily offering... or maybe even the terrible accident you helped to mitigate for your great, great, great, great grand-daughter because you piously recited the Divine Mercy chaplet for all sinners past, present and future.
Never underestimate the power of prayer... especially prayers given to us by Heaven in a specific format. These formats are given to us for the holy purpose of helping us to better understand God's Love and Mercy.
So I've been making a much more concerted effort to recite my prayers in their proper order, but I figured I'd post this in the event that anyone else was like me and had attempted to "cut corners" every once in a while.
Just a quick note, but tonight was my first CCD class of the year.
Over half of the students didn't know that Jesus was God. Not one knew how to make the Sign of the Cross properly, and everyone gave me blank stares when I asked who Moses was.
At least they knew Mary's the Mother of Jesus! :)
I love a challenge, but starts like this really make me wonder what is being taught in the lower levels (or at home!).
Ah well. Last year's class was similar, but by the end, they were mini Catholic gurus. Ha. Here's to a new year of education, blessings and fun!
I've had a large crowd of folks come through this particular entry this month. If you'd be so kind, please let me know where the traffic is being directed from - I'd greatly appreciate it!
On the heels of my last post comes this one on genuflection.
Since we were asked to ensure our children understood both the Sign of the Cross and how to properly genuflect, I’m once more utilizing you wonderful readers as my guinea pigs. Many thanks.
Last year, one of my students had slipped a “Why do people stoop when they come into church” question into the Question Box. This had tied in pretty well to a lesson on the Real Presence of Christ within the Blessed Sacrament which we had covered about two weeks prior. So to answer his question, I simply pointed out that the “stooping” motion was really a person touching his or her right knee to the ground in a show of reverence to God who is truly, fully present in the tabernacle.
I then had them practice genuflection as I noticed so many people (adults, too!) who did “stoop” which is probably what solicited the confused question from my student.
Anyway, why do we genuflect?
Most people understand that we’re reverencing God, but why is the act of genuflection an act of reverence to begin with?
Well, let’s take a look at this history of genuflection, shall we?
Even in the animal world, lowering your gaze signifies humility in the presence of someone superior. To conform your entire body to reflect the downward cast of your eyes highlights the significance of your humility that much more. Thus, high-ranking leaders like kings, emperors and dignitaries required (by custom and law) that their subjects genuflect or kneel in their presence.
This reverence translated well into Christianity which was already rich in the tradition of showing humility courtesy of its Jewish roots.
It was (and still is in some customs) Jewish tradition to kneel before the Word of God to kiss the scrolls in order to show reverence to the Divine. The Levites were also known to “fall on their faces” before God in the Holy of Holies in order to show humility and reverence while asking God for His mercy and blessings. To this day there are some Orthodox Jews who hold fast to the practice of full prostration in prayer to order their bodies after their hearts so that they can reflect the utmost humility before the Throne of God.
Thus, this practice translated into the first Christians kneeling to kiss the epistles of the apostles before they were read… to kissing relics… to kissing the rings of the bishops and popes in authority. We Catholics do not simply stoop. We are ordering our bodies after the humility in our hearts so that we can properly pay homage to the God of the Universe.
At least that’s what we should be doing, anyway.
Also, this sign of humility is a sign of subjugation.
For example, way back when, high ranking officials in armies were given foot soldiers who served as human stools (for lack of a better term). They would genuflect before their leader’s horse to allow themselves to be used as a stepping stool so their commanding officer could easily take to the saddle and lead a charge.
When we genuflect before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, we not only order our bodies after what’s in our hearts… we’re also offering ourselves to Him for whatever services He may ask of us.
So that, my friends, is why we genuflect upon entrance into a church. That is why we kneel before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration. That is why the priest and ministers genuflect (or deeply bow) when crossing the front of the tabernacle.
And that’s why you should, too! Please don’t half it. It confuses others (especially children) who see it as stooping. If you’re going to order your bodies after the faith that’s in your heart, make sure your body reflects the true and deep humility that our faith encourages (if you’re able). If a genuflection is simply impossible due to age, illness, etc, refrain from stooping and simply give a deep bow. Even a head nod is better than a lackluster stoop.
The point is to pay reverence and humility to the God of Creation.
I’m getting back to my educational roots on this post, and it’s refreshing as I feel the last few have been haphazard “catch-ups” or “Mom” entries that most people probably find pointless.
Tomorrow night is my first CCD lesson of the season. I’m so excited to meet my kids and get back into the swing of teaching the Faith. One of the things I’ll be tackling tomorrow night is the Sign of the Cross.
Our Director specifically requested that we teach our children the Sign of the Cross because our visiting priest (Fr. Eucharist!) had mentioned it seemed to him that no one did it properly. Embarrassed, she made sure at our catechetical meeting that the teachers made this prayer a priority (along with genuflection) so that the next time Fr. Eucharist visited, we wouldn’t be embarrassed by our improper prayer movements at Mass.
I happily agreed to this since the Sign of the Cross and genuflection are two of the biggest things I harped on last year. I noticed right off the bat that my students were doing it improperly, plus it tied nicely into my lesson on the Trinity being One God in Three Divine Persons. So, here’s my little lesson on the Sign of the Cross for anyone who would like to know why we use this motion to open and close our prayers.
The Sign of the Cross
Using our thumb together with our fore and middle fingers, we touch our forehead while saying “In the Name of the Father.” Then, we use those same fingers to touch our abdomen while saying “and of the Son.” Finally, we touch both shoulders while saying, “and of the Holy Spirit.” Some traditions have you kiss those three fingers while saying “Amen.” Otherwise, you can fold your hands while saying “Amen.”
Now, why do we say / do these things?
Well, we open and close all of our prayers with the Sign of the Cross because we understand that God’s Sacrifice is the one and only offering we can make that bridges the divide caused by sin. In offering the infinitely meritorious Sacrifice of Christ’s Passion, we acknowledge that without God’s Love and Mercy, we are nothing. Thus, we begin and end our prayers with this acknowledgement in supplication and thanks for such love.
Plus, in marking ourselves with the Throne of His Sacrifice (the Cross) we are reminding ourselves (and others) to always unite our joys, sufferings and thanksgiving to Christ.
I have this, and I love it.
Finally, these words - when prayed with the fluid motion of the cross – remind us that God is triune – Three distinct Persons in One God.
This is a concept I’ve described to my class repeatedly as it’s so difficult to grasp… even amongst theologians. Our humanity cannot understand the depth of Their Unity, but we try! During the Crucifixion, we weren’t just crucifying Christ. Father and Holy Spirit were present as well, which is why I love the Trinitarian Crucifix. It reminds us that though distinct, each Person was fully present and actively participating in the Crucifixion of the Son. Our most simplistic prayer is so rich in context!!! It is the backbone of our Catholicism and the truest, strongest root of our Faith.
I could happily write on this prayer for days on end.
Anyway, moving on to the separate motions of forehead, abdomen and shoulders, we have reasons for placing each Person of the Trinity in these various spots. Everything we do and say as Catholics carries incredible meaning… never forget that!
For example, the three fingers we touch to ourselves are indicative of the Trinity. The remaining two (ring and pinkie) remind us of Christ’s two-fold nature – human and Divine.
We touch our heads for the Father because He is the Source of all Wisdom. We touch our abdomen for the Son to remind us that He, springing forth from the Father of Wisdom, became Incarnate in the womb of the Virgin. Finally, we touch both shoulders for the Holy Spirit to remind ourselves that He, having been sent by the Son, surrounds and protects the Church. Finally, we kiss the three fingers that marked us in the Cross as a sign of love and reverence. We also acknowledge it as a sort of “mini-kiss” of thanksgiving to the Trinity (at least that’s what I view it as).
So the next time you make the Sign of the Cross, meditate a bit on the deeper and beautiful manifestations of our Faith that are proclaimed through our simplest form of prayer.
I've finally updated the Craft Store a bit with new styles I'd been working on.
Special thanks to those of you who helped kick off my online selling venture. I appreciate it and John no longer things my "religious blog" is a complete waste of time anymore.
It's the little things... heh.
Anyway, I mailed out the last remaining orders that needed to be filled and am mostly stocked on everything. The Miraculous Medal dangles, however, are just about depleted (one pair left). I'm waiting on a backorder of the centerpieces.
I've had several of you write in to ask about the cat beads. I don't make them. I wouldn't know how to make a glass bead! Ha ha. But yes, they've very adorable and I'm willing to work with you on creating a fun reminder of your furry friends.
I'm also looking into possibly donating 10% of the "Kitty Collection" sales to a local rescue organization. I haven't figured out exactly how to do that yet, but as soon as I do, I'll let you all know!
I'm open to any suggestions and feedback you might have (even if it's unhappy!). I promise not to be personally offended if you want / need to return something for whatever reason. I'm new at this, too, so I'm willing to work with you until you're happy so long as you're willing to give me the chance to ensure those ends!
Thanks so much for your well-wishes and prayers everyone! Blessings!
Hi again! Sorry I've taken such a long time to respond to folks lately. I promise as I get myself more situated in my new job and schedule, I'll be back to e-mailing responses, updating entries, and posting new content soon.
In the meantime, please keep a very special intention in your prayers. Two, actually.
A little boy named Jack passed away very early this morning. He was not yet four, but already had touched the lives of so many people. He was born with a rare genetic disorder that stunted his development (but not his love). His parents had recently moved him to hospice care. They were awakened with news that he might not make it through the night.
By the time they arrived at the hospice, they found their son being cradled by the nurse who held him as his soul returned to Heaven.
Please keep his family in your prayers. Please, too, keep the nurses and staff who are in hospice care wrapped in prayer as well. They must endure so many heartbreaks out of empathy for their patients' families. Their job is not easy - but it is a blessed thing to be called to help usher souls through their final moments.
So yes... please keep little Jack's parents in your prayers. No doubt Jack is incredibly joyous, happy to be running, playing and completely enraptured in the beauty that Heaven offers to his saintly soul. He left this earth with his guardian angel to intercede for his family before the Throne of God. May they find peace in the hope of their eventual reunion.
For more information regarding Jack - and if you feel so inclined as to offer financial support to this worthy family - you can follow this link for more information.
Sorry it's a little lopsided. I took it with my phone. This is the gorgeous image of the Holy Family that I get to stare at every day. It makes me incredibly happy. :) Our Lady looks so beautiful, doesn't she? And little Jesus couldn't possibly have any more love in His Eyes for His perfect Mother. St. Joseph adores from the background the precious God Son as He beholds His most perfect creature.
Ha - love this.
A great first day all around. The office I'm working in is much larger than I had anticipated. Everyone was exceedingly friendly and I was given a bigger tour of the building, itself.
I told my friend that it's like walking around in a museum of religious art. Every floor is full of the most beautiful statues, paintings, stained glass and icons that you can imagine. And the view from some of the rooms? Shoot, man... I'm ridiculously giddy. The only thing that would've made me happier would've been had I smacked into the Archbishop. God was good, though. I don't think He wanted me to die of complete euphoria until at least a month or two in...
Oh man, though - there's a beautiful little chapel on one of the floors that has some really incredible stained glass. In it are the same Blessed Mother / St. Joseph w. Jesus statues that reside in St. Rita's. I was so happy to see them because those are among my favorite renditions.
And though there isn't technically Adoration, I can easily slip away for a few moments during lunch to drop in and say "Hello" (like I did today). I was so excited to be able to do that at the Adoration chapel at St. Rita's, but now I don't even need to leave the building!!! How cool is that???
Oh my goodness... I realize some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now, and you're right - feel free. I completely agree that I'm nerding out and having a mini "fan-girl" moment here, but can you imagine? I get to work for Jesus' representatives doing stuff that directly helps His Church and all while He's UPSTAIRS (and we're not just talking "Heaven" upstairs... He's seriously a few floors up)!
It just doesn't get any better. <3 Please say a prayer of thanks for me tonight! He really is so good! Better than good... He's awesome - in the fullest sense of the word. <3
This weekend was INSANE! I mean that in a really good way, but boy am I tired!!! On Friday night, I crammed about four days of cleaning into a few hours.
You see, with my new job starting on Tuesday, and all the plans I had for the weekend, I really wanted to have the house cleaned and all the laundry completed. Unfortunately, all those wonderful plans fell through when I found out that I'd lost my sitter for Saturday. Now that I would have Vincent, I couldn't do about ten of my "To-Do's" which meant we threw everything out the window and spent the entire weekend having fun.
Good thing I crammed my productivity into Friday night, huh?
Anyway, on Saturday I took Vincent to the farm. He went apple picking for the very first time, and while we were at it, we picked some corn, too! You only live once, kid, and you haven't truly lived until you get lost in row upon row of corn. :) I think he enjoyed the hay ride that ferried us between the various fields. He and another little boy kept grabbing fistfuls of hay to "rain down" onto the floor boards.
After we picked the apples and corn, we found our way back to the market where we picked up peaches. These peaches were HUGE! They were the size of John's fists, and John's got some pretty huge hands. Vincent really enjoyed eating those. At first he refused because I was calling them "peaches," but as soon as I represented them as "apples" he went to town. He's definitely at that stage where trying new things is suspect. *Shakes head* Ah well. Now he eats them just fine... even if I call them by their proper name.
Super late Saturday night I drove down to meet up with my in-laws in Ocean City. Being the last weekend of the summer, I wanted to make sure Vince got at least one more "beach day" before we packed it in.
It was great because friends of the family were also down, and the kids in this family adore Vince. Vince adores them, too, so it worked out really well. They practically took over parenting duties for me the whole of Sunday. He absolutely gloried in their attention! It was so adorable to see them vying for his attention... it really was. :)
Finally, Monday rolled around and it was a little bit of a bust. The weather was dreary, so we weren't able to do much outside. However, I wanted to take Vince up to get photos like we do every Labor Day weekend. John was away for a bachelor party he hosted, so he wasn't able to come with, but I wanted to keep the tradition going and surprise him with photos when we saw him that night.
At first, Vincent was in rare form and didn't want to take them. So I walked all the way home with him and put him down for a nap. After the nap, I decided to try again in the hopes that he was in a more willing mood. I was not disappointed, and we ended up with quite the happy result!
Yes, I realize I allowed my son to get photographed holding a gun. When he was younger, I allowed him to be photographed with an empty bottle of Jack. Please save any and all comments of irritation or snark. My husband likes these photos, and I find them to be a fun compromise considering I refuse to allow guns into the house (whether they be toy or otherwise - no matter how much the husband begs, barters or pleads).
Anyway, it was a fun weekend, but I'm beat! Oh, and we also got Vince a haircut. It was his first time in the chair all by himself. I'm so happy he sat still!!!
So yes... even though I was unable to do the litany of things I wanted to check off my To-Do List before my 1st Day, I think I still did pretty well. Being able to spend time with Vincent doing fun and goofy things beats laundry, floor scrubbing and errand-running any day of the week. :)
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