Friday, December 6, 2013

Wonderful Book for Advent

WARNING: I will ramble on this post. A lot.

I found a wonderful new little book for Advent.

Come Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

I have purchased other books for Advent or Lent or other Liturgical occasions/seasons of the year and many times have been disappointed. So many of them are just fluff and no meat. Real meat, that is what I want in a book. Something to nourish my soul, not just pretty words that within the first chapter my eyes are glazing over and my mind is wandering.

Anyway, I had this book in my shopping cart on Amazon for a while and when it got closer to Advent I went to purchase it and it was sold out! What?? This must be a good one! So I madly searched the internet and found it at I think Catholic Online? I'll have to look that up.

So it came and it laid on my nightstand waiting for Advent to begin.

Then came the first Sunday of Advent and did I grab it and start to read? No. Then Monday. Didn't read it. Then Tuesday. Didn't read it. I have to tell you that Advent holds a very special place in my heart. I'm not exactly sure why, but I LOVE it! I almost love it more than Christmas.

I used to be a Christmas-aholic. I mean as soon as the kids started school, I began their Christmas lists and shopping. By Christmas I had such a horde of Christmas gifts it took me days to wrap them, and every year I was still wrapping at midnight of Christmas Eve. I was WAY into the spirit of Christmas! Way. I bought the kids those candy Advent calendars with a piece of crummy chocolate behind each cardboard door. Was that teaching my children the true meaning of Advent? No.

I mean I wasn't a total secular materialist. But close. I did stress the true meaning of Christmas by telling them about Christ, Mary, Bethlehem, St. Joseph. We had a manger all set up. We read books about the first Christmas. They were in public school for heavens sake! I should have taught them much more than I did about the Catholic faith, not just Advent and Christmas! Oh to have do-overs!

When I was little, Advent was my favorite part of the Christmas season. My Mom would put the manger under the tree and I would lie for hours looking at it while listening to Christmas carols on the record player, moving the figures so they were perfectly positioned, making sure a BLUE Christmas light was in the hole in the back of the stable so it looked like midnight and imagining what it was really like in that stable in Bethlehem. It was a constant fight with my brothers who wanted an orange light because they thought it looked more like a star. Huh?  Anyway, I'd be on the floor, chin in hands just looking and loving it, the actual statues and the thought of the story of Christmas, AND the anticipation of Christmas with all it's gifts and festivity. The house was super clean and decorated with our real Christmas tree, little tin foil wreaths with stiff red and green satiny bows hanging on the knobs of the china cabinet and that was pretty much it, but I thought it was BEAUTIFUL!! No lights on the house though; my Dad would not do it (cost too much). It felt like such a joyful time of year. My parents were in a good mood, and our tiny house with seven kids was finally so pretty in my childish eyes for about the only time of the year.

We did not have much money (meaning very, very little). Seven kids (four girls and three boys) shared two bedrooms, the boys' room and the girls' room. Two girls shared a twin size bed as did two of the boys. But it was the way it was. We never knew any different. As we got older, we expanded into a semi-finished basement and a couple more twin beds. There were no toys or gifts bought ever, except at Christmas and birthdays. Other than that, we were never allowed to have new stuff. My dad always talked about not enough money. So at Christmas when we each got about five things, it was as if the sky had opened up and rained presents! It was actually miraculous to me. Every year I waited with unbelievable excitement. Clearly Jesus coming and Santa coming at the same time was almost more than my little brain could take.

All this to explain why I love Advent.

When I became a mom myself, I was determined that my kids would have the perceived bounteous Christmases of my youth and never hear "not enough money". Since in my twenties I had abandoned my faith as so many of my generation have done, I mostly saw Advent as a time of spending money that we did not have so that my kids would have a wondrous joyful Christmas even though we did NOT have enough money for everything I bought. Every year we would go into debt that would take the rest of the year to climb out of or we would pay it off if my husband received a bonus at work. It was not the right way to "do" Advent. Or Christmas.

I'm afraid I taught my kids the wrong lesson, although they seem to have somehow learned to be very giving and a little more sensible than I was about spending at Christmas. But the true lessons of Advent were never taught and they have also gone into adulthood without a faith life. I think they all do deep down believe in God but they absolutely view Mass, prayer and the sacraments as totally unnecessary. I suffer for them on a daily, hourly basis. I suffer for me also for not passing the Holy Catholic faith on to them. It is the most painful thing in my life. The absolute. most. painful.

Anywaaaaay, the book. So here I am finally more mature about money matters and also about what Advent should really be. Every year I look forward to a quiet, deep, contemplative Advent (which usually never happens because life gets in the way) and I always search for a good book to help me get a little deeper into the meaning of this time of year.

I was afraid it was going to be more worthless reading so I didn't even open it, although I really wanted to. Finally on Wednesday of the first week of Advent I opened the book and started to read and OH what a wonderful surprise! It was good. Really good and lovely. It is written by the abbess of a Poor Clare monastery. This also made me leery to begin reading, as so many times have I been burned reading craziness that was produced by nuns who have obviously gone rogue.

But this book is not like that at all. Mother Mary Francis clearly was obviously a deeply prayerful sister who was faithful to Tradition (even though she must follow the new liturgical calendar our of obedience). There are three chapters for each Sunday to correspond to the different liturgical Mass readings from years A, B, and C. Then one reading from the Mass readings for each weekday of each week of Advent. She quotes Latin frequently which is so welcome. Do not be afraid of this. She either explains the meaning of the quotes or you can look them up on Google Translate which is very easy to use. And they are usually very short quotes. I do love Latin though.

She died in 2006 and her sisters loved her and her teachings so much they gathered them all together and had them published. The chapters are all talks that she gave to her sisters during many, many Advents. Each one covers a different topic of self examination in light of Advent using themes from Scripture, Mary, the saints, and of course Christ himself. It's hard to just read one chapter a day.

More later on some quotes from the book.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wheat, Weed, and Patience

Our priest's sermon today was exactly what I needed to hear. The Gospel today was the parable of the farmer who sows good seed and at night an enemy comes and sows cockle (weed) seed over the wheat. No one knows what has been done until the seed sprouts and the workers start to notice that there is weed thoroughly intermingled with the wheat. 

They are anxious and ask the farmer if they should pull out all the weed, but the Master tells them to have patience; let the weed grow along with the wheat. If they should pull up the weed now, they risk pulling out the young wheat and thereby ruining much of the crop. When the harvest time comes, they can then harvest all at once and separate the weed from the wheat. The weed will be bound and thrown in the furnace. The wheat will be gathered into His barn.




Wow! Sometimes the Gospel and sermon just blow me away! 

Lately I've been thinking there are too many wrong-headed people in the world, too many sinners! Why can't God just get rid of all these bad people who screw up my idea of how the world should be?! 

Today I hear "patience". 

The day will come when the Master will separate the good from the bad, the wheat from the weed. It is His job; not mine. My job is to be patient, pray, practice charity, and of course to promote good/fight evil - but only in a spirit of charity. I have to allow God to work. The word patience comes from a French word meaning sufferance, permission and from a Latin word meaning endurance, submission. We patiently submit to Gods will and give Him permission to give us suffering. We endure it out of love and trust that He knows which way is the best way. 

Patience..... patience.... 

God is still holding the world in His hands and his eyes are on all. He will eventually come to harvest and separate. 


Then the priest said that not only is there wheat and weed in the world, but also wheat and weed in each of our own hearts! What?

Yes, that's true, isn't it? 

And although we must work on increasing virtue and decreasing vice, we must be patient with ourselves. Our hearts are human and divine. That will be so until the the end of time. We need to accept our sinfulness with patience because it keeps us humble. God can bring good even from sin. We are to be patient. Pray. Work for goodness in ourselves and in the world, but primarily in our own heart. 

We must be patient

Patience........ahhhhh, yes

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Catholic Knight: America Is Dead

The Catholic Knight: America Is Dead
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Post election greetings from America! Yes, it's true. America is dead, but last Tuesday, it was NOT Barack H. Obama...continue reading.

It is a little long but very worthwhile and Michael Voris's video nails it.....

You see, I love my country very much indeed and it pains me to say this, but I am in agreement with The Catholic Knight on this topic. I love America so much and was so attached to her that I descended into days of agony after the election. 

But suddenly, I saw that, yes, I must release my sentimental attachment to her and look at the bigger picture of God's Will. I can only attribute this sudden lightening of my heart and clearness of vision to a gift of God's grace. He is going somewhere with this and it really doesn't matter where or how He takes us there as long as we adhere to the Traditional Liturgy, the Latin Mass, and practice our faith with great fervor. We need to start this immediately because the churches that offer the Traditional Liturgy will probably begin to go away. In fact, it is this blogger's opinion that they may be the first to be persecuted because they are the true treasure of the Church and speak the Truth most consistently. 

This administration will be the cause of much suffering but those that remain faithful will be strengthened for even greater struggles to come. As Cardinal George of Chicago so prophetically stated:
I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.
This country and it's man-made constitution was good (not sacred, but good) for a time but we stopped defending the constitution and our inalienable God-given rights long ago; so, as we are now seeing, America is temporary, as are all things of the world. Let's keep our eyes, minds, and hearts heavenward and trust. Go to daily Mass as often as possible. Say the Rosary daily. Develop and strengthen the virtues of true charity, faith, and hope. These are the things we can do.

For more on this subject.....see St. Louis Catholic

Also, Michael Voris has a few ideas......Church Militant TV

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday's 7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
My ankle surgery is FINALLY beginning to heal!! I mean, the outside has looked healed for quite a while, but has anyone ever had nerve surgery??? Nerves don't like to heal. They like to continue to torture you for months on end and the only way to shut them up/shut them down is to overload them with sensory input and I'm not talking about eiderdown quilts and cotton balls. I'm talking rubbing with rough towels, the scrubby side of sponges, and velcro (yes, VELCRO!) Also, using vibration beginning with an electric toothbrush all the way to a super-powerful electric body massager and pressing hard. And using your fingers to push on the scar in every direction as hard as you can. And immersing your ankle in buckets of rice, macaroni, and then buckshot while you swish it around. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat. Daily. This has not been fun. But I think I'm finally on the mend.
--- 2 ---
My antivirus software expired and I was informed that the product had been upgraded to a MUCH better version so of course I purchased and downloaded. After rebooting my computer at least 10 times per all the bizarre instructions, it was installed and my computer was slower than molasses. Turns out after an online chat with the company the new version forgets to uninstall the older version which almost brings your computer speed to a dead halt. Problem now fixed.
--- 3 ---
This blog is getting off to a slow start but I plan to write about knitting and my Catholic faith and the state of our Church and culture, not necessarily in that order. I'm a traditional Catholic in love with the Latin Mass.
--- 4 ---
I just this week put my mums in the ground in our front yard. Is this too late? Will it now freeze? I'm in Missouri.
--- 5 ---
My second oldest son is getting married next May in San Diego, CA, ON THE BEACH. After much discussion per phone calls, texts, letters (yes, actual written letters) and emails, apparently I am not the only parent to be distressed about a non-Church wedding. Now his darling bride's parents are putting a little pressure on (yea! I'm not the only bad guy here.) so there will be TWO weddings. One in a church with a priest and a Mass (thank you, God) and the second on the beach. Wow!
--- 6 ---
I absolutely LOVE this weather! Usually at this time of year we are still running the AC. This fall is glorious, especially after the hellish summer heat.
--- 7 ---

I'm not a computer geek at all, so I think I'm screwing up this last take. I'm unable to get my cursor all the way over to the left. Oh, well, maybe it will work after all. I am currently knitting a scarf called the Hyacinth Scarf from the book, Knitting With The Color Guys: Inspiration, Ideas, and Projects from the Kaffee Fassett Studio. It's made with a sock yarn and you carry a strand of Kidsilk Haze. Very pretty! Will post pics soon. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Okay, I know, it's been a while (how's that for an understatement). Lots of reasons, some of which I'll explain later. But for now I am joining Jen Fulwiler on her 7 Quick Takes.

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Day!

Okay, here we go. Currently knitting Alana's from Never Not Knitting Shawl Collared Cowl in Misti Alpaca Chunky in the Cimarron colorway. Loving this yarn and LOVING this pattern! Had a little bit of a bump at the startup buttonhole row but found the answer on Ravelry and also received an answer to my predicament from Alana herself (what great service). Can't wait till it's finished so I can wear it and also can't wait for the temperature to drop lower than the surface of the sun; as much as I love and appreciate air conditioning, I am tired of being cooped up in the house. Well here are some pics of the WIP. I am really a fan of structure and texture and this has both:

The yarn is scrumptiously soft and great fun to knit:

Wonky color on this one but isn't the shape beautiful?

This one I added just for fun. Can you tell what I am having for dinner tonight (or sometime this weekend anyway)? And where I am going this weekend for hubby's birthday?

Thank you for joining me on my first day and maiden sojourn into the blogging world.