They sky is absolutely beautiful this morning. Clear, with only a fluffy cloud here or there lazily floating about. It occurred to me that the sky matches a shade of blue I always refer to as "Blessed Mother Blue." It's calm, soothing and rich.
Another realization popped into my head, then. Of course it'd be Blessed Mother Blue. After all, Our Lady constantly protects us, covering us with her maternal mantle. That being the case, when we look up at the sky, all we see is her protective cover draped over us! That thought made me smile.
As I dwelt on that thought a bit longer, another slid in comfortably on its heels. We can only see the sun because of the unique properties of our sky. The sky (atmosphere) offers protection from the full effects of the sun since we, as humans, cannot withstand the glorious power behind that ginormous ball of light. Just as we could not withstand the glory of Christ on our own, the protection of Our Lady affords us the ability to appreciate the graces that reach us, while shielding us from those stronger, more ferocious rays that we are more than deserving of through our transgressions.
She really is the crystal that allows us to look at, study and appreciate God without blinding ourselves in the process. She is the key to understanding the mysteries of God's Love since she lived, expressed and still does express that Perfect Love in harmony with His Will.
Mmmmmm... it was a nice set of thoughts to have this morning. God forbid the day our skies ever lose this brilliant shade of blue. Thank you, Blessed Mother, for your constant intercession.
So tonight I introduced my class to the Rosary. Being October, I thought it fitting.
I had printed out this beautiful image on a large, laminated poster in order to impart the idea that the rosary is pretty much the photo album of Jesus' life, but I quickly realized that the kids (for the most part) hadn't even been introduced to what the rosary was let alone how the mysteries played into the recitation at all.
I was floored!
So we began with where the rosary came from, how St. Dominic codified it courtesy of Our Lady's visions to him concerning the prayers, and the importance of the Hail Mary as a Jesus-centric prayer.
We focused, in particular, on Our Lady's words to St. Dominic. They are so beautiful, and they explain in perfect detail why this litany of "Angelic Salutations" is so vital for the regeneration of faith for humanity. She says to St. Dominic:
When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.
In other words, God began His renewal with the Annunciation. The angelic salutation that the Blessed Mother refers to is Archangel Gabriel's greeting of "Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee!"
I explained to the children that at this momentous event, the Blessed Mother came to understand that she was not only a mother, but the Mother of God! She was chosen to be "blessed among women" as the harbinger of salvation, even before John the Baptist. Her heart at these tidings was full of joy, brimming with gratitude, exaltation and hope that God would bestow upon her a gift so incomprehensible.
For many women, the moment of learning they're pregnant is a happiness incalculable. So when we say the "Hail Mary" we not only call to mind this immeasurably happy time for Our Lady, we call to mind this happy time for humanity as well, because as the Blessed Mother pointed out through St. Dominic, that first "Hail Mary" was the trumpet that sounded the calvary had arrived.
... Calvary ...
Until now, it never occurred to me how fitting it is that Christ died on Calvary. He truly was waging war against evil, and through that "last stand" He gained for us everlasting victory over death itself.
My heart has been humbled by so wondrous a thought.
As usual, I digress (but I thank the Holy Spirit for it this time).
Anyway, upon the Blessed Mother's acceptance of the news the Annunciation brought, Jesus was conceived within her (the Incarnation). So again, through the Angelic Salutation, Mary delivered her "Fiat" which, in turn, drew the Word of God into her womb. Thus, the Hail Mary prayer - ever echoing in thanks this most merciful act of God - is instrumental in helping us "fertilize" the earth. These prayers send a flourish of smiles across Our Lady's face because they remind her of a time so divinely precious that graces overflow in gratitude, raining down on souls as glorious, spiritual nourishment.
So I guess I'll be adding more to my Rosary series, especially for my CCD kids who are so hungry for these beautiful blessings of our Faith. If you, too, are interested in reading more about the Rosary, check out my sidebar and click on the "Rosary" heading under Categories. I've got a 4 part series (which will eventually stretch into about 12-15 parts) that delves into the most basic (and surprisingly misunderstood) understandings of this Advent Psalter.
How I feel - stupid, right? LoL
For those of you who know about my upcoming trip to Jamaica, you know about my insane anxiety about leaving Vince for the first time. I just finished writing up an instruction / thank you letter for my MIL (who will be taking him) that included medical information, parental consent (in case of emergency) and a typical schedule that should be followed so his routine isn't broken up too much by our absence.
UGH! I just about cried while I was writing it. I've been pushing off thoughts of this trip for a long time simply because the anxiety of leaving him was almost too much. Considering we leave on Thursday morning, there's not much more "pushing off" I can do, so here I am. Ha.
Don't get me wrong... I'm excited about the trip as well. I've never been to Jamaica, and John and I are very much looking forward to some fun in the sun. I just haven't ever left my little munch before, and I'm having a mixture of panic attack, anxiety and guilt. Bah...
Oh shoot - come to think it, I need to go find the Church I'll be attending on Sunday.
Ahhh... gotta love the internet. Should be interesting to see the Jamaican flavors that have influenced Catholic tradition. I can't wait! :)
Here's the Church I'll be attending. It's called the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Montego Bay. How wonderful that Our Lord has given us the Eucharist, that we may come and physically be with Him no matter where we are in the world. :) We are a blessed people, indeed!
Oh, and BTW, I guess that means I'll be taking a hiatus from blogging until I get back. No worries... I'm sure I'll have plenty of fodder for the blogosphere by the time I hop a plane back stateside. Ha ha. You're stuck with me for another day, though, so don't get too excited just yet! *Grin*
I dunno how many of you follow PostSecret. I do, and I am grateful for the many good things that have come out of that site. Frank, the creator, opened a public platform for individuals to anonymously connect with others who share similar struggles, pain and hopes. In fact, PostSecret has mobilized many others into anti-bullying, anti-suicide and pro-tolerance movements.
That being said, there have been a few secrets that have boiled my blood (as in: Shame on you, Frank Warren, for posting them). *Warning: This next link is to a card that I've never been able to scratch from my mind, so maybe you should just trust me when I say some of them should never be made public, and instead should be turned over to the authorities). This one comes to mind (from May 2010).
Anyway, the reason I'm talking about PostSecret at all is because this week, they had a wonderful one posted from a Roman Catholic priest. I wanted to share it with all of you. It made me ridiculously happy. I hope to spread the smile your way. God bless our confessors. :)
I love this. :)
I realize I'll probably get some e-mails chiding me for my horrible example with this one. That being said, I think it's important to validate the opinions of others and open the door to discussion on this.
I was never really sure of Church Teaching on children at Mass. I'm relatively certain, though, that all Catholics, children included, are meant to take part in observing Sunday as a day of worship and rest. That being said, I've always been a little unhappy with the thought of taking Vince along to Sunday Masses.
Mind you, Vincent is an extremely well-behaved child (for the most part). He's able to sit on my lap for about 10 minutes at at time, and I can usually keep him content with a book or a small Noah's Ark animal. However, he's 2. He doesn't understand the Mass, and he certainly doesn't understand why he has to sit still when there are so many fun things to investigate (stained glass windows, missals, kneelers, fonts, statues, other people, etc).
As a result, I've tended to leave him home with Daddy. There have been times where I've had to take Vince, though, and I've dreaded them. I end up feeling like I've disappointed God because I'm not able to participate as well as I should. I also then feel like a disgrace as a mother because I haven't been successful at instilling in him the proper patience and reverence that one should show in a church.
Now I realize my expectations are ridiculous. Again, he's 2. He isn't going to be a perfect little angel who knows when to sit, stand and kneel. However, even knowing that doesn't make me feel like any less of a failure, and it reinforces the idea that children his age just shouldn't be taken to Mass. I'd much rather wait until he's 4 or 5. At that point, he'll be able to consistently follow directions, understand consequences for NOT following directions, and appreciate the most basic aspects of the Mass.
In coming to this conclusion (repeatedly), I can't help but feel like I'm doing him a disservice by barring him from being in the House of God. After all, Jesus did say "Let the little children come to me." Doubtful He was only speaking of the good little children who had reached the age of reason. Ha ha. And how will he ever learn if I don't take him and repeatedly impress upon him Catholic etiquette? But still... even understanding these things, I can't help but feel it's not right to bring him when it distracts me, others, and instills bad habits in him that will eventually be hard to break.
I dunno - thus far, Vincent only really recognizes the Blessed Mother and a Guardian Angel who he kisses before bed every night. That's about the extent of religious teaching, though. We'll look at books or I'll say nighttime prayers, but because he hasn't been able to hear them, it's doubtful he even recognizes the words.
Bah - what about you folks? What are your feelings? Even if you don't have kids yet, feel free to take part in the poll. Feel free to expound in the commentary. Thanks!
Father Z recently posted a blog about the tentacles of the Healthcare Bill spreading out to attempt raping Steubenville - a Franciscan University. You can read it here.
I'd honestly not known about this until coming across it on Father's page. No surprise, really. Fr. Z tends to keep me in the "Catholic loop" better than most news organizations. Ha ha. But this particular blog got me nervous.
Folks were railing against Obama because the bill shows a lack of "respect" for religions... especially Christian religions. I think that's sort of incorrect. The fact that this administration is going after one of the leading Catholic Universities in the US with the express purpose of forcing them to "fall in line" with secular sin (parading as mandatory support of abortion, birth control, etc) is proof, in my mind, that the government both respects and (more importantly) fears the Christian religious population.
Well, they're bullying... and as any "alpha" knows, if you want to make an example of someone in order to solicit unquestionable authority and power, you find the biggest, most influential person in the room and punch him square in the face.
If that person falls, the attacker takes over as leader and no one dares undermine or question his leadership. If that person doesn't fall, however, the attacker is gonna have a really, REALLY big problem.
Hence the situation the Government and Steubenville currently find themselves in. The government, knowing how much sway us Catholics have over the success or failure of this new healthcare plan, decided to attack Steubenville. They want to force Steubenville to accept defeat because if they can successfully bully this giant defender of the Catholic faith, all the other smaller Christian institutions will fall like dominoes.
Prayers, folks. Our religious liberties are being siphoned away, all under the guise of protection (through this public health law).
It's been a really, really rough set of weeks. Emotionally and physically, I've just been completely drained. One thing after another has kinda been sucker-punching me. I've been attempting to take it all in stride. I really have. This morning, though, a gasket blew or something.
I had every reason in the world to fly off the handle. And I did. Temporarily. But within moments of me doing that, I went off by myself to simply offer it to God and let Him do with everything what He wanted. It was like a switch went off and everything was calm.
Vincent even went to bed a full hour and a half earlier than normal, giving me a chance to catch up on sleep which had also been really dragging me down.
Just pointing out - in gratitude - that God really does wait on stand-by in the hopes that we'll ask Him for help. And as soon as we do, full of trust in His Providence - bam... all is well with the world.
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