Our Family Ties with Saints Anne and Joachim

Many years ago as a small baby I became a member of the Catholic Church, baptized as “Jennifer Ann” in St. Anne Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. Being named after the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus always felt as a special privilege. As time has passed, my relationship has grown from simply understanding St. Anne as a patron saint, to understanding her role as special family member of Christ and how she interceded for my vocation as a single woman, now wife and mother. There is also a special closeness when I think of the role of grandparents in our lives, and it will deepen even further when (or if) I become a grandmother.

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy explains that

it is always useful to teach the faithful to realize the importance and significance of the feasts of those Saints who have had a particular mission in the history of Salvation, or a singular relationship with Christ such as St. John the Baptist (24 June), St. Joseph (19 March), Sts. Peter and Paul (29 June), the Apostles and Evangelists, St. Mary Magdalen (22 July), St. Martha (29 July) and St. Stephen (26 December).

Now Saints Anne and Joachim do not appear on this list because they are not mentioned in the Bible, but they played a large role in our salvation history. It is a fact of life that a human being must have parents, and usually those parents become grandparents at some point. The Church understands and values the importance of family and family relationships. We have already experienced a few feasts (like the Visitation and Birth of St. John the Baptist) that illustrated the closeness of family ties. The family relationship is key with our relationship with God, as Abba/Father, and Jesus as our adopted brother. The family relationship is used as imagery throughout the Scriptures, but the emphasis of Jesus with his physical family on earth is also beautifully reflected in our liturgy.

It is looking at these family ties that help us understand and pray for intercession from this saintly couple. (Read the rest at Catholic Culture….)

Mary and Martha and our Place in Bethany

I had not planned a vacation, but the past couple of weeks became a vacation by default with health concerns and funerals and family events. I hope to be back more in the swing of writing, especially as the Church celebrates some of my favorite saints at the end of July.

Within a week we celebrate the memorials of St. Mary Magdalene (July 22) and St. Martha (July 29). The true identification of St. Mary Magdalene is not quite clear. The Greek Fathers gave her a separate identity than Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus, but most Latin Fathers say she is one and the same. Father Saunders explains the confusion, but ends by agreeing with the Latin Fathers. I am in his camp – I have always thought Mary Magdalene was the sister of Martha. The Church places the two saints’ feast days so close to each other, treating them as they are sisters. After all, if Mary chose the better part, where is her separate feast if she is not Magdalen?…. Read the rest at Catholic Culture

Feasts of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

The final weeks of June are full of multiple feasts, including several solemnities. If you are one for adding dessert to celebrate special feast days, this time can be hard on the waistline! We end this week with the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus which falls the third Friday after Pentecost and the following Saturday is the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Having just celebrated my six month anniversary of my open heart surgery, these feasts that focus on the hearts of Jesus and Mary have taken on new dimensions for me, and I couldn’t let the days go by without giving a little mention of these feasts….Continuing reading the entire post at Catholic Culture

Mid-summer Feast

Merry Christmas! I know it’s not December, but June 24, Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, is often referred to as “Summer Christmas” because it is exactly six months from Christmas.

The cult of St. John the Baptist, the Precursor of Christ is very ancient, which makes this such a multi-faceted feast both in the liturgy and traditions connected to the feast. To touch on a few highlights:

A Birthday Celebration

The only other births that are celebrated in the Church's Liturgical Calendar are the birth of Jesus on Christmas, and the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8th. Jesus is the Son of God, so He is always without sin. Mary was immaculately conceived, having no original sin and staying sinless throughout her life. Church tradition states that while in St. Elizabeth's womb, upon hearing Mary's voice, John the Baptist's soul was cleansed of original sin as he leapt for joy. The Church celebrates St. John’s birth and death, but usually saints' feast days are celebrating the day of their death, marking their birthday into heaven — the first day of their eternal reward.

….Read the entire article at Catholic Culture….

Getting to Know St. Isidore and the Agrarian Life in the Liturgy

Isidore the Farmer by Ade Bethune

Isidore the Farmer by Ade Bethune

Of all the saints on the calendar, St. Isidore the Farmer ranks as one of my favorite saints. (I rarely can narrow down to only one favorite, but I will say he is included in my “Top 10″.) I’d like to have a garden statue dedicated to St. Isidore. I’ve only seen St. Francis and St Fiacre, so it might be a novel idea. I have often thought that he would fit wonderfully nearby my vegetable garden. I’m merely a girl that has lived in cities and suburbs all my life, so I know it may sound strange that I identify with a farmer. But perhaps we all should? Read the rest at Catholic Culture….

Review of “The Little Oratory”

The Little OratoryMy review for The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home by David Clayton and Leila Lawler is live at Catholic Culture.

I wanted to add a few more reflections on the book.

Continue reading

Basking in the Easter Joy

GRÜNEWALD, Matthias ResurrectionResurrection by Matthias Grünewald from Isenheim Altarpiece.

Of all the resurrection art, this is my favorite depiction of Christ rising. It’s because of the light shining right through Christ. Christ IS the light, Christ our Light. It makes me think of the theory of the imprinting of the Shroud of Turin, that there was some magnificent light, almost like a nuclear blast that would imprint that image. And this painting puts that into perspective.

I didn’t plan on waiting until Thursday in the Octave of Easter to post, but here I am. Frankly, Holy Week does wear me out….I mentioned that in my Holy Week Preparation post. Now we are in the Easter Season! He is alive! Jesus has conquered sin and death! There is less frenzy and more of recalling and enjoying. I wrote a post on ways to spread the rejoicing over 50 days at Catholic Culture. I know this must be a general feeling of relaxing, because my stats have gone way on views.

20140425-002606.jpg Continue reading

Podcast recommendation

As we are gearing up for Holy Week and Easter, I wanted to recommend The Lanky Guys podcast, The Word on the Hill, particularly this week’s podcast on Palm Sunday.

The podcasts are focused on giving insights to the Sunday readings. Their description:

The Lanky Guys (Fr. Peter Mussett and Scott Powell) are two utterly brilliant and charmingly witty Catholic theologians who host the wildly popular podcast, The Word on the Hill, which attempts to tie together all of the readings from the Sunday Mass.

They generally run 45 minutes, so I start listening in small segments before Sunday. It really deepens my prayer having this food for thought on the readings.

Two thumbs up recommendation!

Four More Days….

…until Holy Week. I’m not ready, but then I never am. I look at where I have failed this Lent. I have been very weak. But, as my spiritual director reminds me, there is always room to begin again, and this last week can be marked with great intense work.

Still, I am the little child who climbs into Jesus’ lap. I tell Him how he knows how weak I am. I can’t do any of this on my own. I ask him to please carry me and walk me through all the hard things of my day.

I just wrote a long piece at Catholic Culture: Holy Week Preparation. It’s long. Did I mention it’s long? But it’s good for me to write it all out to understand why I’m always tired at Easter. It’s a lot. Even if I were to only do the Liturgical Preparation and attend the liturgies, I think we would still be tired.

This week I tested my oldest son on some of his allergens. He is allergic to eggs, wheat and dairy, with dairy being his worst. He is near the age where he should be starting to outgrow the allergens.

Report:

  • He tried bread that had eggs, and he had no reaction.
  • He tried two saltines and had a delayed reaction (itchy mouth).
  • We had pancakes that included eggs and no reaction.

He was disappointed the wheat didn’t work, but I was so proud of him because he didn’t throw a fit or cry, but very grown-up.

Our final test on the egg will be eating them straight. He’s eager to try.

He couldn’t stop talking about the pancakes. He was just thrilled. And I’m thrilled, too.

And why do I put this on a Holy Week post? Because I am hoping to find some recipes that are wheat and dairy free, but can use eggs. You don’t know hard it is to make baked goods without eggs. It’s just a crumbly mess.

I dislike testing recipes in Holy Week, but I think it’s the best way. If you have any suggestions for recipes, please let me know. I think in particular I’m looking for Hot Cross Buns. The recipe can have sugar, it can be with almond meal or other paleo flours or other flours, it also can contain oat flour. I can substitute milk with almond milk. Butter I usually substitute with coconut oil.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Holy Week and Easter

Palm Sunday is four days away. You could probably tell by my posts that I’m finalizing our plans for Holy Week and Easter. I have updated my top bar with Lent and Easter. Somehow all my Easter posts were missing.

I have also added a new category, Printables. I have not linked all my posts yet, but it might be helpful to have that category, and then subcategories depending on the liturgical season.

It is still a work in progress in updating my blog, but I have promised myself to not take on any new project until Holy Week is a distant memory.

Below is a compilation of my Holy Week and Easter related posts.

Various Posts for Reading, Planning, Triduum

EASTER

Easter Eggs

Easter Vigil

Prayers

Crafts

Recipes

Prayers and Hymns for the Easter Season is similar to my Lent for Children Daily Display, O Antiphon Prayer Companion, and Christmas Prayer Companion which incorporates our favorite liturgical tools, an easel binder (or this one which is more expensive, but more durable and expandable) which we use daily at the table to highlight different thoughts for the liturgical seasons or feasts. The Easter season “Daily Display” which has a page for the week with Sunday’s Gospel (this is Year A) and artwork and antiphon and prayers for the week. The antiphon can be used before any prayer of the day, and the family prayers can either be used for morning and/or evening prayers, or meal prayers. The section in parentheses is for meal times. The artwork is full-color art images.

PrayersEasterSeasonpreviewEaster Season Display Year A 2014

The second is a little booklet with black and white images, the prayers from the daily display, plus the Collect Prayers from the Sunday Masses, and also the lyrics to some key Easter hymns. This is paginated to print double-sided, and then fold and staple into a booklet. This is for everyone to be able to read along during family prayers. Print the first two pages on cardstock for a nice cover.

Easter Season Booklet Year A 2014

 

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