Tuesday, November 26, 2013
“Either we live the liturgical year with its varying seasons of joy and sorrow, work and rest, or we follow the pattern of the world,” writes Helen McLoughlin in Advent and Christmas in a Catholic Home, commenting on the challenge Catholics have of being “in the world but not of the world” throughout the year. She wrote these profound words in the 1950s, but they are even more important today because of the general decline in Catholic family life during the last 40 years. As Catholic parents, we must readjust our priorities and teach our children by living our faith, both inside and outside the home.
“Children love to anticipate,” writes McLoughlin. “When there are empty mangers to fill with straw for small sacrifices, when the Mary candle is a daily reminder on the dinner table, when Advent hymns are sung in the candlelight of a graceful Advent wreath, children are not anxious to celebrate Christmas before time. That would offend their sense of honor. Older children who make Nativity sets, cut Old Testament symbols to decorate a Jesse tree, or prepare costumes for a Christmas play will find Advent all too short a time to prepare for the coming of Christ the King.”
A family’s strong and living faith will become their heritage and a mode to reinforce the religious practices centered in the liturgy by bringing simple practices into their homes, like the following:
Friday, November 22, 2013
Must all women become religious in order to fulfill their vocation as women? Certainly not. But it certainly does mean that the fallen perverted feminine nature can be restored to its purity and led to the heights of the vocational ethos which this pure nature indicates only if it is completely surrendered to God. Whether she is a mother in the home, or occupies a place in the limelight of public life, or lives behind quiet cloister walls, she must be a handmaid of the Lord everywhere.
So had the Mother of God in all circumstances of her life, as the Temple virgin enclosed in that hallowed precinct, by her quiet work in Bethlehem and Nazareth, as guide to the apostles and the Christian community after the death of her son.
Were each woman an image of the Mother of God, a spouse of Christ, an apostle of the divine Heart, then would each fulfill her feminine vocation no matter what conditions she lived and what worldly activity absorbed her life. –Page 52
Friday, November 15, 2013
One dark night fired with loves urgent longings
I went out, unseen, my house being now all stilled
Upon my flowering breast which I kept wholly for Him alone
there He lays sleeping
I abandoned and forgot myself
laying my face on my beloved
all things ceased
I went out from myself
leaving my cares forgotten
Monday, November 11, 2013
Peace is something everyone longs for, but it is not everyone who troubles to find out what brings true peace. "My peace is to be found among those who are humble and gentle of heart; you will find your own peace in the practice of great patience."
As a learner of this practice, I ask what must I do?
"You must at all times pay attention to what you do and what you say, and make it your constant aim to please me (God) alone, desiring and seeking nothing apart from myself. Do not make rash judgments on what other people say or do, and do not involve yourself in matters which are of no concern to you. Keep these rules, and you will have little to trouble your mind.
You must not expect to never feel disquieted or to suffer grief of heart or bodily pain; such freedom from trouble belongs not to this present life but to the life of eternal rest.
Even when you experience great devotion and inward sweetness, you must not think yourself a privileged person for it isn't by these things that the true lover of holiness is known; such things are no sign of one's spiritual progress and perfection."
Monday, November 4, 2013
and trials fall crushingly upon us,
our path becomes steep,
and the music that was in our hearts is quite hushed.
It is then that the tendency is strong to sink slowly back into
the abandoned valley of half-hearted service,
or at least to stand and make no effort to cling to Him
and love Him more and more.
Let us then pause upon the roadside of our daily lives
to gain new strength and vigour from Him Who has weighed each load.
Let us take our hearts, ragged and torn and bleeding,
and place them close to His, that they may be transformed,
that their every beat may be an act of adoration and of love.'
(from Fervorinos From Galilee's Hills, compiled by a Religious, Pelligrini, Australia, 1936, p. 252)
Painting: Johan Edvard Bergh, Skogslandskap, 1853