Sunday, October 31, 2010

Christ the King

Almighty everlasting God, who in thy beloved Son, King of the whole world, didst will to restore all things:  grant in thy mercy, that all kindreds of the nations, torn asunder by the wound of sin, may be subjected to the sweet yoke of his rule. 
                        -- Collect from the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

Bind up the wounds of the church militant, O almighty and everlasting God, that she may continue to fight the good fight and bring the Gospel to every corner of the world.  Perfect her in holiness, that she may assist the suffering souls, and together with them and all the saints who have gone before be united to her King in triumph.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Visit to Church

According to the current Manual of Indulgences, "A partial indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, while carrying out their duties and enduring the hardships of life, riase their minds in humble trust to God and make, at least mentally, some pious invocation."

Baby and I went to church yesterday to make a visit and drop something off for the pastor.  On the way, she pooped.  She had been saving up for about twenty-four hours, so it was overwhelming.  It was on her clothes.  It was on the carseat.  It was all up her back.  I changed her diaper on the back seat of the car, and used every wipe I had to clean things up as well as I could.  Then I closed the diaper, but it seems I closed it too tightly, becuase the poo came oozing out -- on the car seat, on the floor, on the container of wipes ...
So anyway I had one wipe left, reserved to "wash" my hands, so I wrapped everything up in the changing pad and wiped up as much of the rest of the mess as I could, and we went to make our visit.  By this time the church door was locked, but we could see into the church, so I pointed out Jesus in the tabernacle to my baby, and we said an Our Father, and went on our way.

In the morning before all this I made a general intention to gain all the indulgences I could for the holy souls in Purgatory.  So.  I gained an indulgence for all this, right?

Friday, October 29, 2010

7 Quick Takes (vol. 3)

1.  Apparently the devil has no knees.  "... there is a story that comes from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo.  He looked black and ugly, with frighteningly thin limbs, but, most strikingly, he had no knees.  The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical"  (Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy).  There is a wealth of Christian culture and history in this book.

2.  I've been pondering the different ways we see God at Mass.   There are images, like the crucifix and the stations of the cross.  There are symbols, like the altar and vestments.  There are sacraments:  the Eucharist and the Priesthood.  And we are each created in the image and likeness of God.

3.  I am praying for the unity of the church.  Obviously God alone can heal a rift a thousand years old, but since the conversion of hearts in the domain of grace given by almighty God, he alone can heal the rifts in the church both old and new. 

4.  Since the unexpected death of a friend a couple weeks ago, I have a new found devotion to praying for the holy souls in purgatory, and to gaining as many indulgences as I can, both partial and plenary, for their benefit.

5.  In the pursuit of holiness in everyday things, I am gradually building small prayers into my daily routine.  This week I am working on making a morning offering.

6.  Since yesterday was the feast of Ss. Simon and Jude, a second class feast, we used the china for dinner and had dessert and coffee afterward.  Here's a picture of my pretty table:

7.  I recently found some folks who explain very well the reasons for wearing a chapel veil.  It seems it is more fashionable these days to call them mantillas these days. So I ask...
Mantilla With Me

more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Daybook for the feast of Ss. Simon and Jude

Outside my window...
hot and muggy.  Apparently I just thought autumn had arrived around here.

I am listening to ...
Bach.  Specifically the Brandenburg Concertos.  Classical music seems to make my baby happy.

I am thinking...
about all the ways we see God.

I am praying ...
the blessings before and after meals, and making a morning offering.

I am thankful...
for a baby who can spend an hour awake at church during Exposition, and make just enough baby noises that everyone there knows there is a baby in the room, and yet not so much as to be a disruption.

From the kitchen...
Chocolate cherry cake!  It's my very first attempt at a layer cake, and I only made a slight mess of it.

Living the liturgical year at home...
It's a second class feast today, so we will be using the china and having dessert and coffee after dinner.  It's not much, but it's the beginning of a habit of marking the major feast days of the year.

I am creating...
a Christmas dress for my baby.  Considering the length of time it took to make the last one, I think I'd better get started.

The baby will be wearing...
her new dress this Saturday when we go to a special brunch.

I am reading...
Guiding your Catholic Preschooler by Kathy Pierce and Lori Rowland.  I think it's going to be a quick read.
Pondering these words...
"I shall never forget the devotion and heartfelt care with which my father and mother made the sign of the Cross on the forehead, mouth, and breast of us children when we went away from home ...  I believe that this blessing which is a perfect expression of the common priesthood of the baptized, should come back in a much stronger way into our daily life and permeate it with the power of the love that comes from the Lord."
                                    -- Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy

One of my favorite things...
Lemon curd.  I'm still enjoying it.

A picture thought I am sharing...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I just learned yesterday that one of the things I do every day can gain a partial indulgence:  say the blessings before and after meals.  If you say both the blessing before meals and the blessing after meals as a pair and make the intention to gain the indulgence, then you can gain a partial indulgence. 
Find them in English and Latin here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Morning Offering

One habit I have never acquired since becoming Catholic is that of saying a morning offering prayer every morning.  Since this is a habit I would like to teach my children, I need to cultivate it in myself.  Because at this season of my life I stagger out of bed in the morning to go change and feed the baby, I need to associate this prayer with the act of changing the morning's first diaper.

Here's how I'm going to do this:
I've written the prayer large enough that I can read it from across the room.  This way, I can read the prayer either while I'm changing a diaper or after sitting down to nurse.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Thy Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

O God, our refuge and our strength, give ear to the holy prayers of thy Church, O thou, the author of holiness; and grant, that what we ask with faith, we may effectually obtain. 
                     Collect from the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Let us ask with faith that which is consonant with holiness.  May God grant that all our Christian bretheren may be united in the fullness of one faith in one fold.  As the Gradual says:  Behold, how good and pleasant it is for bretheren to dwell together in unity!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

To See God

Tomorrow, my sweet baby, we will go to see God.  Where will we see Him?

When we arrive at the church, we will see the red sanctuary lamp burning, which tells us that our Lord is present in the tabernacle.  Seeing this, we will genuflect as we enter the church as a gesture of reverence because we are coming into the presence of God.

The tabernacle is on the altar, which is also Christ.  That is why the altar wears vestments, which will be green tomorrow.

You will look around at all the other people in the church.  They are made in the image and likeness of God.

The priest, also, is another Christ, and he will wear vestments to match the altar.  When he speaks the words of consecration, he will speak the words of Jesus, in the person of Jesus.  When he touches the host, it is because his hands have been anointed and consecrated for the service of our Lord.  His hands are the hands of Christ.

During the beginning of Mass, before you fall asleep, you will look around at the stations of the Cross on the walls of the church.  These are images of the passion of Christ.

After the consecration, the priest will lift up the host so that we can see it.  That is Jesus.

After Mass, as I kneel behind the back pew making my thanksgiving for Communion, I will hold you as you sleep.  You also are made in the image and likeness of God.

Friday, October 22, 2010

7 Quick Takes (vol. 2)

1.  I'm thinking about Holy Communion this week.  I'm cultivating anticipation and desire in preparation for the Sacrament, and I'm thinking about making a thanksgiving afterward.  I find it harder than I once did to keep the necessary recollection for the kind of thanksgiving I would like to make after Communion -- partly because I have an arm full of baby (which makes reading prayers out of a book impossible), and partly because that baby attracts the attention of others who then decide they want to talk to me.  I need a way to focus my attention.  Please comment if you have ideas.

2.  I'm praying to St. Michael the Archangel this week.  In part, I am asking St. Michael the Archangel to defend us in the battle against principalities and powers and such because of the Collect and Epistle from last Sunday. Because a friend of mine died this week I'm also praying:  "O Lord Jesus Christ, the King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the deep pit; deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell engulf them not, that they fall not into the darkness; but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and his seed." (from the Offertory of the Requiem Mass).

3.  Between a cold and a baby who has suddenly started sleeping like a newborn (up every three hours at night to eat), I have fallen far short of my various resolutions.  Since I seem to be almost over the cold, today I am renewing my efforts, and awaiting with great anticipation whatever new exciting thing my baby is about to do.

4.  On Sunday it will have been two years since my husband proposed on the feast of St. Raphael.  It's hard to believe it has been that long.  On the other hand, it's hard to believe that only two years ago we were living in different cities.  Life has changed a great deal for us in the last two years. 

5.  I read somewhere recently that clutter contributes to migranes.  So maybe if I could get the house clean, I would have fewer headaches.  Or maybe I just need to drink more water (which is my father-in-law's solution to every ailment).

6.  Happy thought:  My baby giggles.  Yay!

7.  Another happy thought:  My husband will be home any minute now, so it's time to take the baby to watch out the window for him.

Find more quick takes at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Holy Communion is the highlight of our day, our week, our life; why not linger awhile to enjoy the intimate presence of God Himself?

When you are given a gift, you are expected to write a thank-you note, or at least to say "thank you" to the giver in person.  If this is what you are expected to do, having received something that is merely material, and therefore passing, is it not much more important to pause and give thanks when our Lord has given us Himself?

If you recived a guest into your home, you would set aside chores and other activities and spend time with your guest.  Why not, then, take a few minutes to entertain our Lord Jesus, having received him in your soul?

Monday, October 18, 2010

St. Luke Daybook

Outside my window...
darkness.  The sun is going to bed earlier and earlier, and the days are noticeably shorter.  I think summer has finally faded into autumn here in the south.

I am hearing ...
the creak of a rocking chair, my husband's soothing murmuring, and the occasional protest from my baby.  He makes up words to baby songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider," and his version is different every time.   Sometimes his lyrics are pretty funny.

I am thankful ...
for a generally happy, healthy, lively baby.  She's just beginning to giggle.  It's impossible to be sad when she's smiling and cooing.

I am thinking ...
about death and judgment, heaven and hell, and trying to temper those thoughts with the mercy of God.

I am reading ...
The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. 

I am creating ...
a new dress for my baby, and a pair of tiny crocheted shoes.

I am praying ...
the Office of the Dead today for an old friend.

From the kitchen ...
fajita beef soup.  It was a hit.  I should make it more often.

Around the house ...
I am slowly making progress in eliminating dust bunnies.  It's taking longer than I had hoped, but I have other things to attend to.

One of my favorite things ...
My engagement ring just got cleaned today, so it is extra sparkly.  It catches my eye from time to time normally, but now even more so, and it makes me smile.

A picture thought I am sharing ...
from The Simple Woman's Daybook

Sunday, October 17, 2010

21st Sunday after Pentecost

Preserve thy family, O Lord, we beseech thee, by thy constant mercy;  that, under Thy protection, it may be freed from all adversities, and be devoted to thy name in the practice of good works.  (Collect from the 21st Sunday after Pentecost)

Devotion is possible only through the protection of God, because we are fighting against principalities and powers and the whole host of the fallen angels who are conspiring to steal our peace and prevent us from doing good works to the greater glory of God.  Let us pray that God will protect us, so that we may preserve (and even increase) our zeal for His honor, and His name, and His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.  May God send his archangel Michael to put to flight the demons who would destroy our peace.
St. Michael the archangel, pray for us.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Tomorrow, my sweet baby, we will go to Mass.  Tomorrow we will rise early, and I  will feed you, if you will let me.  Tomorrow I will dress you in a pretty dress, because it will be Sunday.  Your daddy will put on a coat and tie and drive us all to the Church.  Tomorrow I will wear a chapel veil, as St. Paul says, "because of the angels," and out of respect for the Eucharist. 
Tomorrow you and I will sit together in a pew near the back, not far from the cry room, just in case you need to nurse, while your daddy goes to sing chant in the choir.  Tomorrow the priest will come in and process down the aisle with the altar boys, and then kneel down and intone the Asperges, and sprinkle everyone with holy water while the choir sings "Sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed.  Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow."  It is a reminder of baptism.  Do you remember your baptism?  It wasn't so long ago.
Tomorrow you will watch the priest and servers go up and down the aisle.  Tomorrow you will look at the stained glass windows, and smile at anyone who is sitting behind us, and smile at St. Anthony and St. Patrick if we sit near their statues.
Tomorrow you will watch everything with great interest until you get tired, and then you will fuss, and sometime during the sermon you will fall asleep (just don't tell Father!).  Tomorrow, all during the
Canon, I will kneel on the floor behind the back pew, because there isn't enough room to kneel in the pew and hold you.
And tomorrow I will receive Our Lord Jesus.  I will go and kneel at the Communion rail, with you asleep on my chest, and I will receive Holy Communion, as you also will do when you are old enough to understand.  And my heart will ache because I long for that day, just as today I am longing for tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes

1.  Out of the mouths of infants and sucklings thou hast perfected praise, becuase of thy enemies, that thou mayest destroy the enemy and avenger (Psalm 8:3).  There is a beautiful post on Praying with my Feet about the Communion of the Saints and the union of the church militant with the church suffering and the church triumphant.

2.  And I would do well to remember this when I start getting unrealistic ideas about what I expect of myself. Katherine at Evlogia says, "Humility is knowing who we are and who God is and stopping this silliness of confusing the two. And that thing that we're not doing so well? It just may be that it's not His will or maybe that we're trying to do it without Him. His Hand is outstretched. We just have to be humble enough to grab it and hang on tight."  The link above is to the original post.  It's a good one.

3.  And speaking of Evlogia, welcome home!  I am praying it won't take too long to feel like home.

4.  As for this week's goals:  I haven't prayed Compline every night, but I have more often than I was previously.  I haven't dusted yet, but I have vacuumed.

5.  St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us.

6.  Soft background music seems to have a very calming effect on my baby.  She seems to be much happier and easier to entertain when it's playing.

7.  Now I need to publish this post and go cut out the baby dress I've been meaning to sew.

                                              find more quick takes at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

St. Edward Daybook

Outside my window...
A beautiful sunny day.

I am thankful ...
for a husband who thinks I fill the biblical description of a good wife.  Wow.  Now that's a compliment.

I am thinking ...
that I should start working on Christmas gifts.  I have several coloring books to draw, ornaments to make, and a dress to sew.  I also still need a number of gift ideas.

From the kitchen ...
lemon curd.  yum.

I am wearing ...
a denim skirt and a Saints t-shirt.

I am creating ...
new good habits.  I am attempting to become a virtuous mother and housewife.  I have a long way to go.

I am going ...
to sew a new dress for my baby in dark blue denim and pink floral print cotton.  One of these days I'm actually going to start.

I am reading ...
The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.  I'm really enjoying it.  I particularly love his explanation that the date of Christmas comes from March 25, and not the other way around; and that March 25  is traditionally considered to be the date of the creation of the world, the Annunciation, and the Crucifixion.

I am praying ...
Compline each night, and more of the daytime hours than I have been recently.  It's good to be getting back in the habit.

I am hearing ...
quiet.  The baby is asleep, and she was cranky before she went down, so I'd like her to stay asleep for awhile.

Around the house ...
baby hangers!  I had been wondering for months what to do with the growing supply of wire hangers.  The baby's closet has a lot of hanging space, and this has made it much easier to keep her clothes neat and accessible.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing ...
for more daybooks go to The Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gathering Dust

In my continuing effort to perform my daily duties more perfectly, the next item that needs my attention is dust.  My home has been gathering dust for some weeks (maybe months?).  This concerns me cheifly because some members of my family are allergic to dust, so I really ought to try to keep up with the dusting and vacuuming around here.  So my goal for the week:  seek out and destroy all the dust bunnies.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mess Monday

Sh. Patty over at Sibling Revelries has a great idea.  Every Monday, take a picture of a mess. Then clean it up.  Then take another picture of the nice, neat, clean, organized space.  So without further ado, here's my mess:
It's worse in person, because there are piles on the floor that you can't really see in the picture.  I have a bad habit of putting things down on the nearest available space, and this is the result.

I started picking all this up, and much to my amazement, not only did this corner get clean, but so did several other areas of the house.  So here's the after photo:

Much better.  Now, if I can just keep it that way ...

Sh. Patty is taking a break this week, but hopefully you will be able to link to more messes in the comments.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

20th Sunday after Pentecost

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, unto Thy faithful both pardon and peace, that they may both be cleansed from all offenses and serve Thee with a quiet mind.
           Collect from the 20th Sunday after Pentecost

This prayer for pardon which Holy Mother Church gives to us today in her liturgy, coupled with the Epistle, which speaks of "redeeming the time" and "speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing and making melody to the Lord," makes me think that I ought to make a particular point this week to say Compline.  "Redeeming the time" and "psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles" make me think of the Divine Office.  Prayers for pardon make me think of Compline, with its examination of conscience.  Furthermore, the rhythm of psalms throughout the day always helps to quiet my mind.  We'll see how I do; my resolutins often fall flat, but Compline is where I plan to focus my attention.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How to Make Baby Hangers

What do you do when you have a huge pile of wire hangers that continues to grow every time anything needs to go to the cleaners?  You make them into something useful.  Like baby hangers.
I had a plastic baby hanger like this one, and it seemed to me that the perimeter of this hanger is about the same as a wire hanger.  That means I can fold a wire hanger into the same shape as this one.
So you start with a hanger that looks like this, and then you match the hook up with the one above to determine where to bend the hanger for the shoulders.  If you don't have a plastic baby hanger to work with you could use the clothes you intend to put on the hanger to determine the width of the shoulders.  Then you bend the shoulders, turn the corners of the triangle inside out, and flatten out the bottom ...
and you get something that looks like this.  Shirts and dresses hang on the top, and matching pants or diaper covers can hang from the waist of the hanger.

Now I can use all the hanging space in her closet!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Outside my window... 
darkness.  It's also finally cooling off and beginning to feel a bit more like fall.  It's wonderful not to start sweating the instant I walk out the door.

I am thankful … 
for a healthy baby.  Every day I am amazed at this tiny little person who did not exist a year ago, and now is so full of life.

I am thinking... 
about ways to make our home less cluttered and more beautiful.  I made some progress today, just by picking up, but I still have a long way to go.  After several months of adjusting to life with a new baby, things are a bit messy.

From the kitchen... 
fresh bread!  I generally make all of our bread in a bread machine, and it always smells so wonderful when the bread is baking.

I am wearing... 
a tiered denim skirt and a green t-shirt.

I am creating...  new routines and new habits, one at a time.

I am reading... 
The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ratizinger.  So far, a very interesting read.

I am praying...  the hours of the Divine Office when I rock my baby to sleep for naps during the day.  It finally occured to me to set up my music stand so that I can read the prayers without holding the book, which has a very nice binding which stays open without having to be held open. 

I am hearing...  click, click, click, as my husband trims his fingernails and reads the news.

Around the house... 
the lamps are on and the overhead lights are off.  I started doing this as an attempt to help my baby settle down for the night (it worked beautifully, by the way), but I'm finding it cozy as well.

One of my favorite my new glasses.  I can now read our wall calendars from where I sit at the computer, without squinting.  Now, if my depth perception will just adjust to the new prescription, then I'll be all set!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
For more daybooks visit the Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ordinary holiness

Christ says "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman says "It is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well."

I am very imperfect, and since I am a slow learner in such matters, I am going to attempt to acquire one good habit at a time.  This week my goal is to clear away dirty dishes after every meal, instead of letting them accumulate on the kitchen counter.  By next Monday, I hope to have gained the habit of a clean kitchen.  What ordinary duties could you do more perfectly?

Celebrating Sunday

My mother-in-law says that every crazy man has his theme song.  This is mine, so it will be my first post.

Sundays are special.  Every Catholic knows the necessity of hearing Mass on Sunday, but there's more to it than that.  There's a deeper, wider, more profound richness to the life of a Catholic family on a Sunday.  Sunday is a day set aside for prayer, rest, recreation, and family -- the little images of the Church which God has given us for our sanctification.

In celebrating Sunday, what we don't do is perhaps as important as what we do.  Because it is a day of rest, we don't do work.  In order that others might be free to rest as well, we don't require them to work; we don't shop or buy things (except in cases of real necessity, like a sudden illness requiring medication), because this would require someone else to work to keep the store open and sell to us.  Besides, how can we enjoy a little taste of heaven on Sunday, when we are tied down to the cares of this world, among the first of which are the getting, saving, and spending of money.

Sunday is a little bit of heaven.  The seven days of the week of the old covenant represent time.  The seven days of creation were repeated over and over and over, until Christ came and broke the cycle:  rising early on the day following the seventh day, He opened the door to the eighth day, which is eternity.  Therefore on Sunday, we ought not allow ourselves to be bound to time, but to guard carefully the privelege of the baptized soul to fly to God, and bask in the promise of eternity.