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Archive for the ‘Chruch’ Category

Eli has enjoyed playing priests for as long as I can remember.  He received a homemade mass kit from my MIL a couple of Christmas’ ago and it is still being put to good use!  Today however, saw a progression in his mass… he included the homily!!!  The homily (not related at all to the readings!) was about how God created the universe in seven days. He worked for six days and rested for one.  Therefore we work for six days and then take a day of rest, the sabbath.  Wow, I was inspired to have a rest, but unfortunately we are plodding through some stuff today, including a newly tweaked routine of activities.

Gubbs finishes Kindy this year and I wanted to use these holidays as a trial run of homeschooling three kids.  I have homeschooling two down, but three will be more of a challenge!  I did want to start at 9am this morning, but how could I interrupt mass for mother initiated morning prayer???  So, we are starting later and I get to have a bit of computer time (interrupted by receiving communion), and my kids are praying and learning in their own natural way. Oh how I love being able to go with the flow 🙂

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The Catholic Church is often viewed as a bit of an ogre when it comes to it’s teachings on sex.  Pope John Paul II gave a series of homilies (sermons) in the 1970’s on what is now coined ‘The Theology of the Body’.  Truly a revolutionary and refreshing gift to the church and to the world…  Here’s an article written by Christopher West who is a public speaker on Theology of the body.  He brings to light the Church’s teaching on contraception.  The wisdom and depth of how the Church views sex is always a reminder of why I trust the Church to lead me in my faith.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Church has always taught, teaches now, and always will teach that the only method of “birth control” that respects the language of divine love is “self-control.”

People will often retort, “C’mon! That’s splitting hairs! What’s the big difference between rendering the union sterile yourself and just waiting until it’s naturally infertile? End result’s the same thing.” To which I respond, what’s the big difference between a miscarriage and an abortion? End result’s the same thing. One, however, is an “act of God.” In the other man takes the powers of life into his own hands and makes himself like God (see Gn 3:5).

It truly is a Church for life, right from the very beginnings of a couple’s union in marriage….

For the full article

http://www.christopherwest.com/article4.asp

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Holy Week 2009

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends at the Easter Vigil mass.  For us, it is a week when we can immerse ourselves in the passion of Jesus, grow deeper in relationship with Christ and begin to heal ourselves through His resurrection.  Having been privileged to visit the Holy Land and actually see where these events would have occurred, this week is the highlight of my faith year.

Palm Sunday

Jesus enters Jerusalem with the greeting and splendour of a king.  People lay palms and cloaks on the road as Jesus rides a donkey through the gates of Jerusalem.  We attended mass and the kids enjoyed getting palms (folded into crosses) and olive branches.  they then proceeded to play ‘Palm Sunday’ during the week, waving palm branches and singing!

Holy Thursday

This is the beginning of the Easter Triduum – a three part liturgy- that takes place over Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.  We had a Seder meal as a family.  This year we introduced a bit more structure into it.  We began with the reading from Exodus 12:1-20.  Then Eli asked the traditional Jewish Passover questions which explains why we eat the food presented.  We then ate dinner and Derek read the account of the last supper from Matthew 26:17-30.  We then broke bread and shared wine.  After dinner and dessert, we read about the washing of the feet and talked about the meaning of this action.  We then proceeded to wash each other’s feet (which was actually heaps of fun!).

We then got dressed in white (liturgical colours) and went to mass. For us this mass is quite a big celebration as it commemorates the first institution of the Eucharist and priesthood.  The priest washes the feet of twelve of the parishioners and then they in turn wash the hands/feet of the congregation.  It is a beautiful ritual and celebration of Christ’s actual mission for us, to become servants to others.  After mass is celebrated, the altar is stripped and Jesus (present in the blessed sacrament) is taken out of the church to an altar outside (called the altar of repose) where we are invited to pray with Him as the disciples did in the garden of Gethsemane.  Derek and I didn’t attend the prayer at the altar of repose this year, though it has been an incredible experience in previous years.

Good Friday

We woke up to Jordy throwing up and Zeek with diarrhoea- yay Gastro hit our family!  At first I was frustrated and annoyed.  I had planned for a very reflective day, fasting, Stations of the cross and then having ‘Jesus food’ (nuts, figs, grapes, cheese, dates, bread) for lunch before heading to Veneration of the cross (the Good Friday part of the Easter Triduum).  We were then going to have some homemade hot cross buns and complete Easter presents for the rest of the day… you can see why I got upset and frustrated!!!!  Well, I stayed home while Derek took Eli to Stations, then Derek, Eli and I had some lunch, then Eli and I went to Veneration.  We (well those who were participating in food – if you know what I mean!)had hot cross buns for dinner and then we went to bed.  It turned out to be a lovely day (except for the continual cleaning side of things!).  Derek and I both got to go to services with no little kids, so we actually got to focus on prayer rather than trying to juggle family members!  Eli and I sat right up the front of the church and I could answer all the questions that arose.  Oh yes, and the hot cross buns were delicious!

Easter Saturday Vigil Mass

I have to say, that if you ever get the chance to go to the Easter Vigil mass at New Norcia – then do it.  It is beautiful, perfect, the way that mass is meant to be celebrated.  It is so rich in symbolism and celebration.  It begins at 4am, in the dark .  It ends 2 1/2 hours later, in the new morning light.  A real experience of coming from darkness into a new Easter light.  This year we attended the vigil mass at our parish, which began at 7:30pm and ended at about 9pm.  Eli and Gubbs were both baptised at this mass (in different years of course) and it is always nice to reflect back to those times when our family was still small in size!  Jordy was still not 100%, though holding liquids successfully, so she slept through the mass.  She did wake up bright and cheery at the end when our priest mentioned easter eggs (and then ate hers when she got it!).  Zeek was quite freaked out by the whole easter egg thing.  The egg he got was cold and he kept touching it then turning and hiding from it!  By Easter Sunday, he knew what to do though!

Easter Sunday

The kids woke up early and did the traditional hunt for eggs.  They were most impressed by the footprints the bunny had left behind (we forgot one year and have paid for it since!).  We then had icecream for breakfast which has become a family tradition over the last few years.  This year, though because of the gastro, we had pancakes as well!!  Derek then took the older boys to the park for lunch with his family and then we had dinner with my family.  I got to stay at home with two sleepy children and enjoy a very peaceful day!

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I have been reflecting a lot on sin during the last few weeks.  The reason? Because Eli is going to do his first reconciliation/penance/confession (whatever you wish to call it :-)) and because it is the season of lent.  I want him to understand what sin is and the effect it has on his relationship with God and others.

Derek gave Eli a explanation  which has become a real teaching point in our lives.  It is about the origins of the word ‘sin’.  Apparently  ‘sin’ was used as an archery term meaning ‘to miss the target’.  Such a beautiful description.  That God wants our arrows to hit the target every time, but that sometimes we miss.  It is not the end of the world though, because we can always go and pick it up and look for the target and aim again. We can always pick ourselves up, ask for forgiveness, look to God (the target) and try again.

The kids and I extended the description to explain the root of sin.  Where does sin begin? With us of course, with our attitude, our heart.  It begins with the person holding the arrow.  I have been asking the kids to ‘change their attitude’ a lot lately.  I knew this phrase didn’t really mean anything  to them and so I explained it to them as I was helping them to aim better toward their target so that they may be more likely to hit it.  If their ‘attitude’ had continued along the same path, then they were going to miss the target.  They had to choose to change it though, so that they could aim better and not miss (sin), Mummy can only remind them!

And so how do we learn to aim better???  By being in relationship with God and Jesus, by participating in the sacraments (especially reconciliation), by reading God’s word, by letting the Spirit live in us and through us, through communion with the target.  The lives of the Saints give us an example of how to aim and hit the target.

Gubbs held the door open for me today.  As I walked through  he said “Mummy I hit the target didn’t I”.  Yes Gubbs, by using kindness and consideration for others, you did hit the target – bulls eye!!!

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A lovely Act of Contrition

I read and I liked.  Possible choice for Eli to memorise.

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Your Son, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen

This is the one Derek and I were given…

Oh My God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you.
Because you are so good, and with your help,
I will try not to sin again.
Amen.

This is the traditional Catholic one….

O my God,
I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins
because I dread the loss of heaven
and the pains of hell,
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace
to confess my sins, to do penance,
and to amend my life.
Amen.

And in Latin…

Deus meus, ex toto corde poenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum,
eaque detestor, quia peccando,
non solum poenas a te iuste statutas promeritus sum,
sed praesertim quia offendi te,
summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris.
Ideo firmiter propono,
adiuvante gratia tua,
de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique occasiones proximas fugiturum.
Amen.

Thanks to Wikipedia!

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Advent 2008

The things we do to prepare for Christmas…..

Advent Calendar

My wonderful Mother in law made us this calendar a few years back and it is terrific.

  • We have a puzzle that we stick onto the wall.  Each day we add a piece to the puzzle until it is completed with Mary and baby Jesus on Christamas day.  We have also had a poster with stickers on it (with a sticker in each pocket).
  • Each day I have a excerpt of the Christmas story up until the birth of Jesus.  In years gone by we have done it until the Epiphany (visit of the three wise men), but this year we plan to do the twelve days of Christmas and so we will do the wise men then.
  • We also have a beautiful knitted nativity set that we set out as a lead up to Christmas.  This year we are only going to include Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the animals before Christmas and then Shepherds and wise men after.
  • This year we are doing a program called advent rainbows.  I bought ribbons of different colours and we have put the colour of the day into each pocket.  Each day at dinner we read the reading that goes with the colour and then tie the ribbon onto the Christmas tree.  Something different and fun!
  • Craft activities and special events are scattered through the calendar on appropriate days.  We make decorations, go for a drive to look at the lights, read certain books, make cards/presents, cook etc.
  • Treats are included along the way.  These are usually chocolate frog, lollies, fruit bars, anything special.

Advent Candles

We have a set of advent candles and a wreath (that we make as a craft) on our table.  The church prepares for the Four Sundays leading to advent. Three candles are purple, one pink and the Christmas candle is white and decorative.  There is lots to reflect on using these candles as a centre point. As a young family, we basically light the candles, that we are up to, during dinner and say a prayer specific to that week.  As the kids get older, we will reflect on the people of advent and possibly more into the virtues of advent using the candles as a focus point.

Crib for Jesus

This year, about a week before Christmas, we will try to make a crib for him.  I’m undecided if we are going to make it this year (like with wood!) or use the same cane wahing basket we have used in the past, but I am going to fill it with a bit of straw.  The kids then have to pratice their virtues and do good deeds for others to ‘earn’ straw to make Jesus’ crib more comfy.  Jesus (the doll!) will arrive after the Christams eve mass.  We’ll see how this goes!

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