Friday, March 26, 2010

Palm Sunday

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, also, called Passion Sunday. It marks the beginning of Holy Week. Holy Week and Easter are the most important times for Christians.

Palm Sunday is a celebration of Jesus entering into Jerusalem.

"When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage  on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an @#!*% tethered, and a colt with her.  Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, 'The master has need of them.' Then he will send them at once." This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: "Say to daughter Zion, 'Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an @#!*% , and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'" The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the @#!*% and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest." And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?" And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee."  Matthew 21: 1-11

This event is told in all four Gospels. The event is celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches, a solemn or simple procession into the Church before the start of the Mass.

In Jerusalem the people were showing honor to the King of kings. This is what we are doing still. Jesus loves us so much and wants to be King in our lives because He loves us. Just like a parent wants the best for their children, so does Jesus want the best for us. So, we honor Him because he has done so much for us, for our good. There is a good reason for remembering the first Palm Sunday and celebrating Palm Sunday today; to show Jesus He is our Lord and King.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"The thoughts of those moved by natural human love are almost completely fastened on the beloved, their hearts are filled with passion for it, and their mouths full of its praises. When it is gone they express their feelings in letters, and can't pass by a tree without carving the name of their beloved in its bark. Thus too those who love God can never stop thinking about him, longing for him, aspiring to him, and speaking about him. If they could, they would engrave the name of Jesus on the hearts of all humankind."

Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Understanding Catholic Mass: #2 Liturgy

Second word I needed to know in my studies was liturgy.

Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek word that originally meant, "a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen."   Its comes from two parts: leitos meaning public and ergo or erxo meaning ,to do. From this we have leitourgos, "a man who performs a public duty.

Liturgy in the Mass means a public act of worship, prayers, ceremonies, rites and sacraments of the Church,
compared to one having private devotions. It has two purposes. One to give honor and praise to God, that is our worship and second to receive grace and blessings from God for us and the human race

There are two liturgical parts of the Mass. They come after the introductory prayers, the penitential rite, the Kyrie Eleison, and the Gloria.  I'll talk more about those later.

The first liturgical part is the Liturgy of the Word. Here we listen to God's word. First the Old Testament, then there is a Responsorial Psalm, a reading from the New Testament letters and then a reading from the Gospels. The readings of God's Word is extremely important and is to be explained to us in the Homily or sermon.  We stand during the Gospel readings to show reverence, attesting to the fact that Christ is present and speaking to us.

The second liturgical act is the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Eucharist meaning "thanksgiving," This was  instituted at the Last Supper when Christ "gave thanks," to the Father and by this fact it is the supreme object and act of our thanks to give to God.

To start out the Liturgy of the Eucharist the gifts of bread and wine, which will become Christ*s body and blood, are brought to the altar.
The altar is prepared.  The bread and wine are brought up to the priest or deacon by one of the parishioners. In the early days of Christianity the bread and wine were brought from peoples homes. So, when you see the person bringing these up to the altar there is a representation of us bringing the gifts.  This is also a time for money offerings and other offerings, such as from the poor, but they are not placed on the altar, they are set aside.

The most important part of the entire celebration begins: the eucharistic prayer. This is  a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification (being made holy). The priest invites the people to lift up their hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving.  The meaning of the prayer is that the entire congregation joins itself to Christ in acknowledging the great things God has done in offering the sacrifice.

Through this prayer the Church calls on the power of the Holy Spirit and asks that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ's body and blood, and that the victim be received in communion be the source of salvation for those who will partake. After that prayer is the Our Father.

I hope that this helps you understand a little more of what happens during the liturgical parts of Mass. I don't claim to know everything about the Mass and the Catholic Church. I have had to study and learn on my own. I went 11 years to a Catholic school but either I didn't pay attention or I don't remember learning this stuff.. Looking and searching out some of this up has helped me. Today we live in a world of information. We can find out so many things by the click of a mouse.  We just have to be sure of our sources. I love learning about God and I find it very interesting and inspiring how some of the things that we do today are so rooted in early christianity and can be confirmed in Holy Scripture and Tradition.

I am leaving a few links here where I received my information.

Understanding Catholic Mass

I decided since there is so much to the Mass to understand and I really don't know very much myself, I would start studying and looking up different things about the Mass. What words mean, why certain things are done and why certain things are just the way they are. I am going to try to make this a new category on my blog. I hope it will help you as I am sure it is going to help me.

I am starting out with the word; Mass

Mass is the  Sacrifice of the Eucharist.  It is the main act of worship of the Catholic Church.  The word Mass comes from the word  missio (sending), from which Christians are sent out to put into practice what they have learned and use the graces they have received in the Eucharistic liturgy.

At the council of Trent the Mass was defined as  "The same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner." The Mass is a truly appeasing sacrifice where  God grants grace and the gift of repentance. It is where He pardons our  wrongdoings and sins, even grave ones. For it is one and the same victim as at Calvary. He who now makes the offering through the ministry of priests and he who then offered himself on the cross.  The only difference is the manner of the offering.

It is a re-presentation  because Christ is really present, in heaven and on the altar, he is able now as he was on Good Friday of freely offering himself to the Father. He can no longer die because he now has a glorified body, but the essence of his offering of His body and blood, soul and divinity remains the same.

The Mass is also a memorial. Christ's death is commemorated not only as a psychological remembrance but as a mystical reality. He voluntarily offers himself, the eternal high priest, just  as he did on Calvary.

 Mass is a divine way of applying the merits of Calvary. Christ won for the world all the graces it needs for salvation and sanctification. At Mass we receive God's graces won at Calvary.

The Mass is a banquet, a celebration. The priest is needed because of his holy calling to pray the Eucharistic prayer and change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ but we are also needed. Our participation is needed and brings glory to God.

When we are at Mass, it is not about entertainment. It is not about how good the music or sermon is, though, those are nice. The Mass is about our coming to Christ, our communing with Christ. It is about what Jesus did at Calvary and continues to do every day, offer himself for us. I think when I remember those things and that I am there to pray and worship,not be entertained,  I find I am participating more fully and am brought more closely to the Lord.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Family Card Game

Here are a couple pictures of a family card game. As you can see everyone who comes along and wants to play is allowed. Problem is the only game the cat wants to play is "Go Fish.".

We love family game nights. The real problem is we get so busy sometimes we don't have them enough.
The cat is definitely part of the family and has to be everywhere everyone else is, but his favorite place to be is by my son.  When Josh is away camping with the scouts the cat will hang out by his room and wimper.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saint Patrick

I love the story of Saint Patrick. My son and I watched a movie about his life last year. It was very good.
It is interesting that Saint Patrick is actually Scottish, born in Scotland. He was captured by Irish during a raid and made a slave, forced to herd and tend sheep. When he was taken Ireland was a land of the pagan Druids. During this time he learned the language and the customs of the people living there.

This was a very hard time for St. Patrick. I am sure he longed to be home, to go back to his family.
He turned to God in prayer. He wrote, "The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

At 20 he escaped after having  a dream that told him to leave Ireland and take a ship home. At first the sailors did not want to take him but he knew it was God's will. He prayed. God opened the sailors hearts to allow Patrick on the ship.

After returning home Patrick had another dream to return to Ireland and walk among them. After studying and becoming a priest and then bishop, Patrick returned to Ireland and preached for 40 years converting many to Christianity and performing many miracles.

He used the shamrock to teach the concept of the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, just as the shamrock is one leaf, three parts so is God, one God but three Persons. I have followed his example and used the shamrock with my son, also.

Saint Patrick died March 17, 461.

Patrick was very obedient to God. May we use his example and do the same, be obedient and draw closer to the God who loves and cares so deeply for us.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Okay, the other day at Mass during the Eucharistic prayer bells were being rung.  They ring them every Sunday as far as I can tell.  At least ways, at our church. I don't think every church does anymore. I think I always had an incling of what they meant but was never really sure. So, I decided to look up the answer today and see why they are rung. I went to two different places. I found answer at Padre and Catholic
For the most part every one agreed that the history of  bells being rung during the time of Latin Mass was to alert the congregation that the consecration was taking place. In other words, the Holy Spirit was doing His work through the priest of changing the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Back in the time of the Latin mass and pre-Vatican II the priest had his back to the congregation and spoke quieter and so it was difficult for everyone to know what was going on. When I think about it,  we are so used today to the priest facing us and mostly microphones so the priest can be heard. I'm not sure if we remember that there was a time when we didn't have the technology we have today and people needed to use other means to alert people to what was going on. I, also, read that many times the churches were very crowded and there weren't pews or enough pews for every one and not everyone could see what was going on. Again, the bells would alert people to the happening event.
One other reason I read on Catholic Answers for the ringing of the bells was it would also alert people who were out in the fields, not at mass, to what was happening. This would give them the reminder to pray and their need for Jesus.
So, why do still use the bells? Well, they are still a good way to keep us focused and remind us of what is happening. It is so easy for our minds to wander.
I find it interesting they are rung three times, in reference to the Trinity.

Decalogue for Daily Living

1. Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively, without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

2. Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

3. Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

4. Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

5. Only for today, I will devote ten minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

6. Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

7.Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure no one notices.

8. Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

9. Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

10. Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for twelve hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

- Bl. Pope John XXIII

I hope and pray I can do this, but I plan with God's help to try.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Discipline Great Teens

I don't know if anyone else has read this book but I am reading this right now and it is so very good. It has so many great ideas and common sense thoughts to help keep you focused,  all coupled with humor to keep you laughing all the way through it.  My son just recently turned 13.  He is a very good boy but he is now a teen. I remember my teen years and now having a teen has certainly helped me to appreciate my parents more. I think that is how it is supposed to be. Maybe that is why we heard, "just wait until you have kids," when we were growing up.
I also discovered that Ray Guarendi has a website where you can purchase other books he has written and listen to broadcasts of his radio show, The Doctor is In.
I haven't read any other of his books but I have to say I am truly enjoying this one and hope to find time to listen to some of his broadcasts.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cookbooks and Binders

The other day I was searching for recipes and found some very good ones. It is helpful when you are able to print out the recipe from a printers version on the website. I was able to do that with some. I have a binder I keep all my recipes in. I try to keep it organized as you would find a cookbook organized according to the type of food you are looking for: breakfast, dessert, main dishes, etc.

I keep my binder recipe book in a kitchen cupboard. That way when I need a tried and true favorite or am looking for something new I can look through the book.

I have many cookbooks at home. Some of which I purchased myself and others were gifts. I use some of them, others just sit in the cupboard. I think it is because they have few recipes that interest me or they are not so well organized or even maybe they do not give enough information. Maybe it is eye appeal. Some of my favorite cookbooks are Make-a-Mix cookbook or Fix It and Forget It, but my favorite is my binder which I have set up myself from finding recipes online or in Taste of Home magazines or recipes handed down from family and friends. Recipes that are usually a big hit are ones from my mother-in-law who besides being a good cook has already served these recipes to her son, my husband, so he already likes them.

A couple other favorite books are a couple of oldies but still goodies. One is Better Homes and Gardens and the other is the Betty Crocker cookbook. My mom always used Better Homes and Gardens and I too have found it very helpful with every day cooking and kitchen help. The same for the Betty Crocker cookbook. Both of these books have many good recipes and explain everything so well.

I am not the best cook. I am trying to make an effort to improve. I think after a while the same recipes get a little wearing and you are ready to try some new ones. Some of them your family likes, some of them they don't. What is really interesting is when one likes it and the other doesn't. In that case, I think if the cook likes it that becomes the deciding vote on whether to serve it again.

Dear Lord help us to educate our family for your glory.

"Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among children. Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs."--Gravissimum Educationis (one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council)

Helping and Loving Our Neighbor

Corporal works of Mercy
Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Visit the imprisoned

Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Admonish the sinner

Instruct the ignorant

Counsel the doubtful

Comfort the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently

Forgive all injuries

Pray for the living and the dead

Good Samaritain