Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Monday, February 28, 2011

Seeking the Sacred in Secular Decor

We are preparing for Lent in many ways around our house.
As for me, I'm always looking for ways to do a little "liturgical decorating," ever seeking the sacred in secular decor, especially on a budget!

I found these items in the Target Dollar Section:
~A mini styrofoam Easter egg wreath and
alphabet stickers~
I used the stickers to spell out the 3 main components of Lent:
~Pray, Fast, Almsgiving~
(The stickers were not very sticky so I had to pull out my glue gun)
There are many things you could probably do with this cute little wreath but I decided to use it for a Lenten Candle Ring.  
I just love how a secular decoration can quickly be transformed into something a little more sacred.
+I tried to stick with purple, being the liturgical color of Lent+
I had a round platter on hand and added purple Easter grass (from the Dollar Tree);
 Then I placed the Lenten candle ring down on top of the grass.
The final touch was a purple jar candle that I already had on hand for the center.
May God Bless your own Lenten Preparations!
**May you let your little light shine this Lenten Season...**
And may you find little sacred treasures a long the way. ~ Catholic Crafts and more!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Relic of the "Apostle to the Apostles"

This is stop # 2 on Hubby's Birthday and Ancient History Field Trip!
Our first stop was a visit to an Egyptian Museum, located about a 2 hour drive from us, as we are studying ancient history here at home. We found it providential that a relic of St. Mary Magdalene was being hosted by a church just 10 minutes from the museum that day.  The holy relic of Saint Mary Magdalene is currently on tour here in California.  The grand purpose of the tour is to share holiness of the relic and to tell the story of the saint who is recorded as the first witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  What an amazing blessing and experience for our whole family!
St. Mary Magdalene is often referred to as Apostle to the Apostles.  Tradition has it that some years after the Crucifixtion, Mary Magdalen was imprisoned.  On release she and other close followers of Jesus were cast out to sea on the shores of Palestine in a boat without sails or oars or supplies.  The boat miraculously came to shore on the coast of Gaul (France) in a town near Marseille.
After preaching with her companions and converting the whole of Provence, Mary Magdalene retired to a mountain cave, known as Saint Baume (meaning holy aromatic oil).  Here she spent the last thirty years of her life in solitude.
Many pilgrims still visit the cave, there in France.
A letter of authenticity from Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon reports that the relics were hidden at the time of the Saracen invasions and rediscovered in 1279, and have been venerated without interruption ever since.  Shortly after this discovery, Pope Boniface VIII published the pontifical bull for the establishment of the Dominicans at Sainte Baume (the cave) and St. Maximin, (town of the Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene-20 miles from the cave).  The Dominicans have remained guards of the relic ever since.
The holy relic is a portion of the tibia of Saint Mary Magdalene, enclosed in a glass reliquary.
At one point we were the only pilgrims in the church other than a French Dominican Priest, Father Francois Le Hegaret, whose duty it was to be guarding the relic at all times.  This time alone was quite special and allowed me to take this many photographs without disturbing any other pilgrims.  I felt so incredibly blessed to have these moments to be in the presence of this amazing saint, visionary and leader of the early Christian Church.
This is only the second United States tour of the relic.
I love this photo with St. Mary Magdalene's holy relic, seemingly at the foot of the cross, as she was at Our Lord's crucifixtion.
There was so much to her story that I learned today, much of it I never really learned or heard before.  Paula Lawlor wrote a fascinating book that can be found in the gift shop here.  This is what the book looks like:
I didn't realize that in 1969, the Catholic Church clarified that Mary Magdalene's image as a reformed prostitute is not supported by the text of the Bible and it revised the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar, and now her feast day is  celebrated with the gospel of the Resurrection where Mary Magdalene was the first to see the Risen Lord and was told by Him to go and tell the apostles.
Here are a few other links to the story:
I was pleasantly surprised that 3yo Angel Baby really "got it."  Normally she is so active and loud but she displayed complete natural reverence which was a miracle in itself!
I knelt before her with some mighty prayer intentions...
St. Mary Magdalene, please pray for us!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ancient History Day

Today is hubby's birthday and a great day for a field trip!
~First stop was an Egyptian Museum~
Most of our kids loved touring this tomb...But Angel Baby thought it was "too creepy."
Great art work inside the dark tomb!
A real mummy, estimated 2,500 years old!?
Army Dude thought it was "cool" and not "creepy."
Golden Sarcophagus and Mummified Baboon
 Ancient Egypt
Queen Nefertiti Bust
First Paper
Copy of the Rosetta Stone
Model of Ancient Mesopotamia and Babylon
And our journey continues onward!
Next stop...Off to see the holy relics of St. Mary Magdalene!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Love!

~Happy Birthday to my sweetheart~
*February 23rd*
What a precious baby his Father and Mother got to were blessed to adopt!
He is courageous.
He is strong of heart.
He works hard for his family.
He is #1 Dad to our bunch of blessings and a man of God...
He is my hero!
Happy Birthday Love!
May St. Polycarp always intercede for you and watch over you...
God Bless you and hold you close.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pumping It Up for Lent

 I can feel my heart and soul yearning for Lent.  My internal alarm is going off after the downswing of Christmas flung me into a period of hibernation.  The weather and illness often brings us down, doesn't it?  I know this time of year is notorious for slumps of all kinds.  But I am thankful for the Spirit who is gently nudging me.  It's time.  It's time to game-up again.  It's time to poke my head out from the darkness of my winter hole and engage.  My soul has been lazy...It needs more spiritual exercise...
It's time to pump it up!   
The countdown to Lent is on...Only 17 more days.

I like to bury myself in all of the Catholic book catalogs that come this time of year...There are so many choices in books and tools to make a spiritually successful Lenten Journey.  I like these catalogs much better than the secular ones that fill my mailbox in November and December!  It's a breath of fresh air to concentrate on the reason for a season without commercialism like the junk that tries to rob "Christ"-mas.  But even so, the choices in these religious catalogs can also be overwhelming.  I personally like to have recommendations before I spend [limited] money.  

I just read a wonderful review about this book to use as a Lenten (Home) Retreat.   It caught my eye because I first heard about it from Anne's post over at Imprisoned In My Bones.  
The review from The Catholic Company reads:
"Endorsed by EWTN hosts Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, this do-it-yourself retreat combines the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius with the teachings of Sts. Therese of Lisieux, Faustina Kowlaska, and Louis de Montfort.
Traditionally, Catholics make a three-fold Lenten sacrifice:
1)Prayer; 2) Fasting; 3) Almsgiving.  When you make this retreat during Lent, you fulfill your Lenten sacrifice completely.  The retreat is made by reading-in a prayerful spirit, of course, and it can be made individually or in a group.  Very effective and remarkably inspiring!"
OK, I'm sold!
I spoke with hubby and he's up for it too.  We will also be including our 17yo. so excited about that.

We like to have a Family Meeting prior to the change in liturgical seasons.
This planning meeting is like our team huddle before the next play.  It really prepares our bodies, minds and souls to be fruitful and (hopefully) better FIT for the battle...
Looking forward to that where we will be setting our family goals and forming a spiritual "workout"plan for Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, pumping it up for Lent!

How are your Lenten plans going?
I love Melanie's Homestead and Bread post, asking "What about More?"
Looking forward to sharing Lenten faith, hope, and love!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Golden Chair of St. Peter Fruit Salad

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter is February 22nd...

To commemorate the day when St. Peter held his first service in Rome, I made this yummy winter fruit salad at named it the "Golden Chair of St. Peter Fruit Salad."  I posted the recipe over at Catholic Cuisine.  Be sure to stop over and give it a try!

It was really easy to carve a chair out of a pineapple.
I just skinned it first...
And then carved a wedge to make the chair:
Then I mixed the fruit salad separately and placed it all in the same bowl.
It doesn't exactly look like the real chair in the picture...
But it was fun to do!
Intercessory Prayer to St. Peter
O God, who hast given unto Thy blessed Apostle Peter
the keys to the kingdom of heaven,
and the power to bind and loose:
grant that we may be delivered,
through the help of this Intercessory,
from the slavery of all our sins:
Who livest and reignest world without end.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"All For" a Nun Run!

I am so excited about this opportunity that Lena from JOYfilled family is coordinating...
It's a Nun Run!
This falls perfectly upon my path, as I have been attempting to get "Fit For The King," Christ the King, that is.
Last Fall, I was inspired by Mamas Movin With Mary and got back into running.  I ran a  5K in December, the first in about 10 years.
Recently I have also discovered the Rosary Workout which has also enhanced my goal to be 
Fit For The King, through Mary, Our Leading Lady!
I'm thankful for this opportunity to continue on my journey... ALL FOR.
"I thank you Lord, with all my heart."~Psalm 138~
Please join in as a "Shadow Runner"...

Run/walk with Team ALL FOR!
We will be participating in the 2nd Annual NUN RUN 2011 - March 12, 2011.
NUN run in desert
The Nun Run will be held in Tempe, AZ.  It will benefit the Our Lady of Solitude Monastery and the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (Mother Angelica’s Order) in AZ.
Team ALL FOR will be participating as a Shadow Team and will NOT be running in AZ.  As a member of Team ALL FOR, you will run wherever you are are and participate as a Shadow Runner.
You can select to run a 10K Run, 5K Run/Walk, or 1 Mile Walk.  Isn't this a great idea?  Even though we can't all get to Arizona, we can still support the Poor Clares and the King of Glory, through His Most Holy Queen Mother.

Click Over To JOYfilled Family to register!  I'm looking forward to being part of Team ALL FOR and hope you will join us too!
"If I fly with the wings of dawn
and alight beyond the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand hold me fast."~Psalm 139: 9-10~

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Almost Anticipation

This is almost like a Wordless Wednesday post...But with a few words.
I just love these photos of my oldest (age 17) and youngest (age 3).
All siblings have unique relationships but there's something about
observing your teenage son spend time (voluntarily) and express tenderness towards his baby sister.  It warms this mother's heart.
I admire from afar with "almost anticipation" about him leaving for college.
I feel God preparing my heart for his absence...
These next 18 months will fly by.
I pray for these tender moments to linger in my heart...
There are no words to describe the "Almost Anticipation..."
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