Thursday, June 30, 2011

Feast of the Sacred Heart in the Domestic Church

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.

Plans are underway here at Spes Unica for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart this Friday.

My husband and I have been reading a very helpful book on Catholic parenting that promotes experience as the best way to educate children from birth to age 6 (it's an older edition of this book), and the first experience they know is love. How important it is then to mark this day commemorating God's great love!

If you already have an image of the Sacred Heart enthroned in your home, today is an ideal day to renew your family's consecration. This day should be a time for family prayer and Mass attendance, if possible. Consider having a simple celebration for family and friends (I'll be making heart cookies and some iced red tea).

Some further reading:
*Joseph Ratzinger's memories of returning home on the feast of the Sacred Heart in his autobiography Milestones
*The Trapp family's devotions to the Sacred Heart, including a family feast day conclave
*Cardinal Burke's reflections on the scriptural basis for devotion to the Sacred Heart
*The history of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Our Lady's University
*The Sacred Heart Apostolate

Celebration hints
*Margaret Mary's tips for rolled cookies
*Making a heart shaped cake with no heart pan

Image source

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In keeping with the drawer-organizing theme...

Apologies for the animated gif, but it does get the idea across well.

I recently ran across this product online, and while it might cross the line into OCD territory, I can't help but appreciate the simple genius of it. It's available for $25 at The Container Store, though I'm pretty sure some sturdy cardboard and packing tape would also do the trick (and be custom-sizeable for your drawers!).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Drawer organizers for a dime

While Therese was organizing her bobbins, I was tackling the sea of clothes that was my infant's dresser. I had seen an ad for beautifully papered inserts in a ladies' magazine, and recreated my own using decorative self-adhesive shelf paper and cardboard (the panels of a disposable diaper box were the perfect size.) I finished the edges with colored duct tape.

I organized the clothes in the following categories:

-long sleeved tops/onesies


-short sleeved onesies

-mix and match bottoms

-sleep apparel

Socks and hats are stored separately in baskets, but one could certainly include compartments for them as well.

I folded the clothes so that no sleeves, collars, tails, etc were loose, and placed them in the drawer like files in a cabinet (open side down). All pieces for an outfit were rolled inside the top. This has eliminated tangles and toppling. Outgrown apparel is immediately removed from the rotation.

If I was doing this again (especially for a child who picked out their own clothes) I would use two thicknesses of cardboard for added stability. But what a difference this has made!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dare all thou canst, thou hast no song worthy his praises to prolong

This morning, when "I will raaaiiiiiisssse him u-up on the la-aast day" wasn't quite the meditation I was hoping for*, my beloved Francesca came to the rescue with the words of the Corpus Christi Sequence from her North American College Manual of Prayers.**

Sing forth, O Sion, sweetly sing
The praises of thy Shepherd-King,
In hymns and canticles divine;
Dare all thou canst, thou hast no song
Worthy his praises to prolong,
So far surpassing powers like thine.

Today no theme of common praise
Forms the sweet burden of thy lays-
The living, life-dispensing food-
That food which at the sacred board
Unto the brethren twelve of our Lord
His parting legacy bestowed.

Then be the anthem clear and strong,
Thy fullest note, thy sweet song,
The very music of the breast:
For now shines forth the day sublime
That brings remembrance of the time
When Jesus first his table blessed.

Within our new King's banquet-hall
They meet to keep the festival
That closed the ancient paschal rite:
The old is by the new replaced;
The substance hath the shadow chased;
And rising day dispels the night.

Christ willed what he himself had done
Should be renewed while time should run,
In memory of his parting hour:
Thus, tutored in his school divine,
We consecrate the bread and wine;
And lo - a Host of saving power.

This faith to Christian men is given -
Bread is made flesh by words from heaven:
Into his blood the wine is turned:
What though it baffles nature's powers
Of sense and sight? This faith of ours
Proves more than nature's discerned.

Concealed beneath the twofold sign,
Meet symbols of the gifts divine,
There lie the mysteries adored:
The living body is our food;
Our drink the ever-precious blood
In each, one undivided Lord.

Not he that eateth it divides
The sacred food, which whole abides
Unbroken still, nor knows decay;
Be one, or be a thousand fed,
They eat alike that living bread
Which, still received, ne'er wastes away.

The good, the guilty share therein,
With sure increase of grace or sin,
The ghostly life, or ghostly death:
Death to the guilty; to the good
Immortal life. See how one food
Man's joy or woe accomplisheth.

We break the Sacrament; but bold
And firm thy faith shall keep its hold;
Deem not the whole doth more enfold
Than in the fractured part resides.

Deem not that Christ doth broken lie;
'Tis but the sight that meets the eye;
The hidden deep reality
In all its fullness still abides.

Behold the Bread of angels, sent
For pilgrims in their banishment,
The bread for God's true children meant,
That may not unto dogs be given;
Oft in the olden types foreshadowed;
In Isaac on the altar bowed,
And in the ancient paschal food,
And in the manna sent from heaven.

Come, then, good Shepherd, bread divine,
Still show to us thy mercy sign;
Oh, feed us still, still keep us thine;
So we may see thy glories shine
In field of immortality.

O thou, the wisest, mightiest, best,
Our present food, our future rest,
Come, make us each thy chosen guest,
Co-heirs of thine, and comrades blest,
With saints whose dwelling is with thee.
Amen. Alleluia.

*I realize this is Scripture, and as such the text is infinitely valuable. I just don't find this particular song promotes meditation. It could just be me though.

**It's very likely you can get a copy of this wonderful prayer book from your local Catholic book store, but it's also available online from a variety of sources. The Church Ladies highly recommend it!

You can hear the Corpus Christi Sequence chanted here.

Image credit: Eucharist in Fruit Wreath by Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What can I make with

Fresh bay leaves?

A friend who is an avid gardner gave me several dozen fresh bay leaves from her garden. They are beautiful- very comparable to citrus leaves in size and color, and much larger than store bought bay leaves.

He who trusts in his riches shall wither,
but the righteous shall flourish like a green leaf.

[Proverbs 11, 28]

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Friday, June 24, 2011

From this morning's homily ...

"St. John the Baptist presents a great examination of conscience: How today have I 'prepared the way of the Lord?'"

A reminder

Today and next Friday are both solemnities (Nativity of St. John the Baptist and Sacred Heart, respectively). So, whatever your normal Friday penance is, feel free to suspend those and celebrate these two great feasts!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Thousand Words

I don't know where he got it, but I found it on Fr. Z's blog.

Bobbin Holder

This weekend, I mentioned getting creative. It's hard to do that (efficiently, anyway) if you're not organized, though, at least a bit. So, after spending over half an hour untangling my bobbins (I wish I had a before picture), I decided I'd better prevent this from happening again, and came up with what you see above. The box was the packaging for an old necklace (I think an Altoid tin might stand in here nicely). I cut strips from a a cardstock piece of junk mail for the partitions; it was a good movie-time activity.

The only thing I think I'd change is to make the partitions only half the height of the bobbins, so I could pick them up more easily. All in all, though, I'd call it a success, and free at that!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pie in a jar

I just ran across the most darling idea for a housewarming/new baby gift, or just to have around for yourself: Single-serving pie in a jar (fancy-schmancy lattice optional, though this would be a great time to practice).
Details at the link, but bottom line: make your favorite pie crust and filling, assemble in short, fat half-pint jars, vent the crust, and then freeze until you're ready to use. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.

I'm thinking this would be a great option for when you've gone berry-picking or scored big at the farmer's market and feel like doing something other than preserves.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A thought for the weekend

Considering this quote in the light of Catholic theology (i.e., that we are all meant to conform ourselves to God, who is the Creator) ought to give you more than enough to ponder for the weekend.

Myself, I've been feeling quite creative lately; something about the change of seasons always does that for me. I have a nearly-finished Father's Day present on my sewing machine, along with a shirtdress for summer dinner parties; several less-worn items in my closet are slated for reworking or embellishing to get them back into the rotation; the sprouts in my little garden are starting to look promising, and I'm hoping to tackle some home improvements in the near future.

What creative things have you slated for the coming week?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer weekend project

Taylor Marshall and his kids built this charming and simple outdoor shrine to adorn their garden. What a fun project for your family or for any kid's group looking for a woodworking lesson!

(I'm terrible at embedding video, so just go to his site to watch. I'm guessing you'll be delightfully distracted by the other stuff you find there anyway.)

UPDATE: If you're looking for ways to improve your woodworking skills, or looking for a fantastic experience for your scout troop, church group, or school group, (and live in the midwest), contact St. Joseph's Kids' Carpentry. Joe and and two boys have been exhibitors at the last two MN Catholic Home Education Conferences and you couldn't meet a nicer guy. He can tailor the event for the needs of your group and I'm sure it would be a memorable experience for everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day Nine

On the last day of the novena we meditate together on the two great hymns, Veni, Sancte Spiritus and Veni, Creator Spiritus. Through our previous discussions, these texts are seen in a new light, and the repeated Veni, veni (“Come, Holy Ghost, come”) really rises from longing hearts. And when, during High Mass on Pentecost Sunday, priest and community kneel down at the solemn text of the Gradual, Veni, Sancte Spiritus, we feel the miracle of the first Pentecost repeated in our hearts, filled by the Holy Ghost in response to the intensity of our Veni.

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

Image source

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Daily Spiritual Companion

I found this lovely little volume while at a conference last weekend at the Adoremus Books booth. It's tooled leather cover caught my eye right away, and it's just as nice inside with two-color printing and a ribbon bookmark.

There is a page for each day featuring a Saint, a prayer, and a place to write birthdays and anniversaries. This would be a great welcome-to-the-family gift for a new bride (provide a list of significant dates for her), or just a nice place for any Church Lady to keep track of days too important to forget. Birthdays are often easy to remember, but I love to celebrate Sacraments dates as well, and tools like this are pretty essential memory aids for me.

Available from the wonderful folks at Adoremus Books in four color choices for under $10!

Pentecost Novena: Day Eight

The eighth day of the novena is dedicated to the “Fruits of the Holy Ghost” as they are enumerated in St. Paul — especially the first three love, peace, and joy. On this day we always call to mind the admonition of one of our dearest friends, Reverend Father Abbot, to take the word of Our Lord literally, that “by their fruits thou shalt know them.” In every individual soul, in every family or community we should watch whether the fruits are the fruits of the Holy Ghost, whether love, peace, and joy prevail.

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day Seven

The Gift of Wisdom, finally, seems to sum up all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, just as charity sums up all His fruits. If we ask throughout all our days for the other Gifts of the Holy Ghost and cooperate with them, if we examine our conscience every night about the use we made of them — wisdom will grow in our hearts. This wisdom has nothing to do with ordinary human intelligence, with knowledge learned in schools and from books. One doesn’t even have to be able to read and write in order to become wise. Once in a while one meets an old lay brother or lay sister, an old farmer in the country, or some bedridden person, who may not be learned in the eyes of the world, but may impress us deeply by a true wisdom expressed in all simplicity.

At the end of the seventh day we have all renewed our conviction that we cannot lead a truly Christian life without the special aid of the Holy Ghost, that we have to ask for it as we start each day, and be faithful to it as we go through the day. Children, with the generosity of young hearts, are remarkably responsive to this suggestion.

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day Six

When we come to the Gift of the Fear of the Lord, there is always someone to raise the argument “This I don’t understand. That is the spirit of the Old Testament, of the chosen people who were trembling before Jehovah so that they said to Moses, `You go up the mountain and talk with Him — we are afraid.’ But the New Testament teaches us to say `Our Father,’ and Our Lord says, `I don’t call you servants any more, I call you friends!’ One isn’t afraid of one’s father or one’s friend! What do I need the Gift of Fear for?” It is then that something very tender and beautiful comes to light. If a person loves another one very much, you may often hear him say: “I’m afraid to wake him up, he needs his sleep”; or, “I’m afraid to disturb him.” In other words, love is afraid to hurt the beloved one. The Gift of Fear should lead us to a state of mind which makes us afraid to sin because it would hurt Him.

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day Five

The Gift of Piety does not sound particularly attractive, until we realize that it infuses our hearts with a special kind of love, directed toward everything belonging and related to God all persons consecrated to His service — the Holy Father in Rome, bishops and priests, missionaries, nuns, and lay brothers — and all things set aside for God only, such as church and altar, chalice and monstrance, vestments, and the sacramentals in our home — rosaries, holy water, medals. This precious gift also makes us eager to devote time to the service of God. It helps overcome morning laziness when it is time for Mass. It makes us want to visit our hidden God once in a while in church. In other words, it instills the interest for the supernatural in our souls. How could we do without it!

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day Four

The Gift of Fortitude helps us to overcome our own will. This may start with such seemingly small matters as jumping out of bed the moment we had intended to do so; with giving up smoking or candies and cookies for certain times; with keeping silence when we might have a sharp answer ready; with doing little things for others at the cost of our own comfort; and it may lead to the ultimate test — aiding us in joining the thousands of contemporary martyrs who are called to lay down their life for God. Again, a gift that is needed throughout the day!

[Around The Year with the Trapp Family]

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day Three

The third evening is devoted to the Gift of Counsel, which helps us to distinguish, in every moment of our life, what is the will of God. This gift we also need when someone turns to us for advice. It is most necessary to parents and teachers, priests, and all persons in authority. But above all it should help us to make the right choices in everyday life — even in such minor matters as “Should I do my homework now or later? Should I see this movie or not?”

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day Two

The second evening is devoted to the
Gift of Understanding, which is extended to us for the understanding, with mind and heart, of revealed truth as we find it in Holy Scripture and the liturgy, and in the breviary. This gift we need for our hours of prayer and meditation. It fulfills the Lord’s promise: “The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things” (John 14:26).

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Pentecost Novena: Day One

On Ascension Day begin the nine days of waiting and preparing, together with the Apostles and Mary, the coming of the Holy Ghost. These are the days when families should discuss the “Gifts of the Holy Ghost” and the “Fruits of the Holy Ghost” evening after evening. As I look back over the years I marvel at how different these discussions were every year, always full of surprises, partly because there were different people participating — guests of the family or new friends of the children — who do not ordinarily hear the workings of the “Gifts of the Holy Ghost” discussed around the family table.

We devote one whole evening to each one of the gifts. First is the Gift of Knowledge, offered to help us in our dealings with inanimate and animate created nature, with things and people. It teaches us to make use of them wisely, and to refrain from what is dangerous for us. As we consider a typical day, we discover that this gift is needed from the very moment of awakening, when we have to part from the created thing “bed.”

The younger ones discover that the Gift of Knowledge helps them to remember that they have to make use of such created things as the toothbrush and the shower. In fact, there is hardly a moment of the day in which we do not have to make decisions about using something or dealing with somebody, and when we do not need the immediate help from the Holy Spirit to carry us safely through the day.

[Around the Year with the Trapp Family]

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ascension Thursday

“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
[Acts 1, 11]

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for June, 2011

General Intention: That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God.

Missionary Intention: That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities numerous missionary vocations, willing to fully consecrate themselves to spreading the Kingdom of God.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all our associates,
and in particular for the intentions
of the Holy Father for this month.