Call Me Catholic

Question: How Does One Begin Praying the Breviary?

I received a question the other day, which I’ll post below with a few of my thoughts.

Question:

Kim, I am inspired by your daily recitation of the liturgy of the hours. What prayers of the Divine Office do you pray everyday? I had bought compline books and wanted our family to pray that every evening but that has not happened yet. Any suggestions for getting started?

First of all, thank you, dear Reader, for the question, which I’ll break into two.

Question #1: What prayers of the Divine Office do you pray every day?

Our family uses the Roman Breviary from Baronius Press. These books are excellent because they have Latin and English side-by-side.

But we didn’t begin our marriage praying this breviary. In the beginning we prayed the red Christian Prayer book, which I’m sure many of you are familiar with. A few years ago, however, we made the switch to the Roman Breviary for various reasons. (Mostly, we wanted to pray what the Church had been praying since time immemorial, not just since 1976, and we wanted its fullness.)

The Roman Breviary has all the traditional hours in it, which is why it’s a three volume set. Now, if I actually prayed all those hours, I wouldn’t get my work done. Therefore, I only pray two: Lauds and Compline.

As you frequent readers of the blog will know, the older children join my husband and me in praying Lauds every morning, but just my husband and I pray Compline in the evening, after the family rosary. My husband, however, prays more. If he’s up early, he’ll do Matins, and then, in the late afternoon he prays Vespers on his work break. The other minor hours, like Terce or Sext, might get prayed during Adoration some time during the week, but sometimes not. It’s just nice that they’re there as an option.

Here’s where Wednesday Lauds begins…

Question #2: Where should one start?

So, let’s say you own a breviary or some Liturgy of the Hours book and are wondering, where to start? I’d suggest beginning with whichever hour makes the most sense for you and your schedule. Of course I think it’s best to begin and end each day with prayer, so perhaps Lauds and Compline might be good options, but anywhere is better than nowhere.

Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of making it a priority.

Lastly, Satan hates families that pray together. Therefore, you’ll be sorely tempted to not do it. Therefore, do it! This is especially important for those of you with children, for whether you know it or not, you’re modeling how a life of prayer is done. You’re children see you, and your actions matter. If they see Dad every morning, day in and day out, praying Lauds, chances are, they’ll pray Lauds, especially if you provide them with books and invite them in. On the contrary, if they see Dad hurriedly rushing out the door every morning, neglecting his prayers, they will understand that this is not important.

And finally, don’t be overwhelmed by the whole thing. The breviary can be a complicated book to navigate. If you feel drawn to it, just dive in and don’t worry about missing a feast day or some special commemoration. God sees your heart and will be pleased with your efforts.

If, however, you’re looking for more information on the Roman Breviary, I strongly recommend reading Pius Parsch’s book The Breviary Explained. My husband couldn’t put it down.

And Just For Fun…

The Eldest is learning how to play the organ.

Every Friday, during practice, her younger brother throws himself at her feet (literally) and watches those pedals move. Of course he begs to play too, and she willingly obliges from time-to-time.

Lovely view, no?

Life is Worth Living

Your Good News?

It’s blueberry season here. The other day we spent some time in the dew picking lovely blueberries.

I can tell you, these little girls mostly just ate them. It was Blueberries For Sal all over again – kaplink, kaplank, kaplunk.
We made blueberry crisp later on and ate the whole thing.

If you’ve been down lately or bothered by the state of the world, take your children, hold them by the hand, and go for a walk. The world is still a magnificent place and full of great beauty.

If you need an adjustment in your perspective, watch this short video by Patrick Coffin.

The other day, I caught this one talking to Mary and giving her hugs. It reminded me that I ought to do the same.

Blessings on your Friday!

Call Me Catholic

Rosary Rally for Fr. Altman

We attended, as usual, Fr. Altman’s 11:30 TLM this morning.  As we pulled up, a half an hour early because the boys were serving, we noticed the crowds milling about outside–men in suits, ladies in dresses, veils blowing in the wind, and little children running everywhere.

Of course we expected a larger crowd, as the Rosary Rally was later in the afternoon, but this was something!  Since moving to the area, today’s Mass was the fullest I’ve ever seen it.

Prior to Mass, I had to take the 2-year-old to the bathroom and was met with a fifteen minute line, which was interesting.  A woman from Colorado had driven all night with her family and was apologizing for her red eyes.  Moms from Montana were straightening out their dresses.  An old lady from northern Wisconsin was chatting with some Minnesotans about stumbling upon Fr. Altman and thanking the Lord for his courage and witness.

Well, anyway, we eventually made it back to our pew for Mass–it was a beautiful High Mass with all the bells and smells and eight altar boys.  I thought the Collect was especially striking:

Let Thy continual pity, O Lord, cleanse and defend Thy Church: and because it cannot continue in safety without Thee, may it ever be governed by Thy goodness.

And how was Fr. Altman’s homily, which was not live, due to restrictions put forth by Bishop Callahan?

It was short and surprisingly, nonpolitical.  He seemed tired, and my heart went out to him, as I have some idea of how this week went for him.  The office was bombarded with phone calls, emails, and letters–most of which, I understand, were positive and encouraging, but the few that weren’t, were vile and disgusting.  New measures of safety were taken this last week, and anybody who was paying attention at Mass will have noticed a few gentlemen monitoring the activity of all present.

In any case, after Mass I found myself visiting with a young lady from Chicago.  She and her father drove here to support Fr. Altman and were presently on their way to the Rosary Rally, where Fr. Heilman would be leading the community in prayer.  We, too, were loading up the van and driving straight to the Cathedral, for what kind of crowd would we find there?

We weren’t disappointed.  We parked a few blocks away and followed the dads and moms and teenagers and babies and grandmas and grandpas and you-name-it.  The crowd wrapped around the Cathedral block.  When Fr. Heilman showed up, cheers and clapping erupted on both sides of the street and everyone attempted to move closer.  The local TV/News station filmed it all.  I think they were about the only ones wearing masks.  And there certainly wasn’t any social distancing.  (We’re all family, right?)

Fr. Heilman spoke movingly about watching Fr. Altman’s videos and feeling, sensing in his gut that here was something.  This was truth–finally!  He knew he had to back Fr. Altman.  He compared our whole insane situation in the Catholic Church, with its very few courageous leaders, to those brave men who sacrificed their lives on the beaches of Normandy.

Indeed, he told the story of his sister-in-law’s father, who fought on those beaches and survived.  That man found himself in the chapel of a bombed-out palace.  As he was crawling to safety, he came across a large crucifix, which was lying on its face.  He reached out, turned Jesus over, and something fell out of the skullcap.  He thought it might be something important, so he put it in his pocket.  Later, back in the States, he found that he had saved a relic of the True Cross.

At that moment, Fr. Heilman unveiled that very relic.  We fell to our knees, and then Fr. Heilman began reciting the rosary.

I’d like to say it was a deeply prayerful moment for me, but alas, I have seven children.  One was digging in the gutter and another was piling leaves on someone’s car.  A drone was humming overhead videoing the whole thing.  Others with video equipment were strolling about, filming the crowds.  And my knees ached from kneeling on concrete.  (I’m such a wimp.)

Nevertheless, I was happy to be there–happy to support Fr. Altman.  May more priests find the same courage to speak out.

Here we are, meeting up with friends, in front of the Cathedral.
Entering the crowds.
Fr. Heilman reveals the relic of the True Cross, saved from WWII.

Lastly, if you haven’t had a chance to watch Dr. Taylor Marshall’s recent interview with Fr. Altman, click HERE. It’s excellent and worth your time.

Life is Worth Living

Rainy Days

It has been raining here for the last 3 days. This gets to be a bit much for someone unfortunately affected by coldness and wetness and cloudiness. Blech.

The children, however, don’t mind the rain as much. Here they are, between rainfalls, fascinated by all the water.

Then add to the perpetual dreariness of the weather the state of our culture…ah, not an uplifting combination, especially for those of us following the plight of Fr. James Altman.

Many of you know that he’s our pastor here in Wisconsin. If you think of it, remember him in your prayers, as he’s being harassed with truly vile and despicable emails and phone calls, as he becomes internationally known for his courageous stand against Democrats. (See HERE for his inspiring video.)

Thankfully, not all the publicity is negative, however. Bishop Stickland of Tyler, Texas, has publicly supported him. Praise God. I understand there’s to be a Rosary Rally at the Cathedral in La Crosse this Sunday at 2pm to show support for Father, too. We’ll be there.

Again, may God and His Holy Angels protect St. James the Less Parish, Fr. Altman, and the surrounding area.

So, what am I doing today, in these Dark Times?

Naturally, we’re doing our normal prayers and school work for the day, but then, we just had to take an hour off this morning. We drove in the rain to a local coffee shop and bought cappuccinos, for who doesn’t like something hot on a cold, dreary day? We delivered one to my husband, who greeted us with a big smile. Then, we drove home and blasted Maria Van Trapp (Julie Andrews) singing I Have Confidence. It was an uplifting drive.

Prior to all the rain, we spent a few hours at one of our local apple orchards picking apples, eating apples, and running through the corn maze. Perhaps if the rain clears, we’ll go again this weekend.

Enjoying Van Lin Orchards.

I learned how to can tomatoes a few days ago. It was a messy, but fun ordeal. My mom instructed me and my sister-in-law on how to make pasta sauce, salsa, and stewed tomatoes. Thank you, Mom!

My sister-in-law is peeling tomatoes. I was chopping peppers and onions to boil with the pureed tomatoes.
Here’s our “Stockpile” in the basement. Notice the jars of canned tomatoes; they’re 3 deep.

Anyone else have any ideas for pleasant outings or doings?

P.S. WordPress changed many settings on me the other day. Please excuse any editing issues, as I work my way through a new system. Ugh! Technology.

Motherhood & Parenting

Should One “Stockpile?”

I’m not one to hoard things.  I’m not one to have an over-stuffed pantry.  I’m not one to buy extra food or supplies of anything, mostly because I hate clutter.

But I’ve been forced to rethink this, as I do my weekly grocery shopping and notice that certain items have been sold out week after week.  Not only is rice and Cream of Chicken Soup almost always sold out, but there have been other things missing at times too–toilet paper, peanut butter, spaghetti noodles, chicken, bread, tampons…goodness, the list goes on.

I suspect it’s likely different from place-to-place.  Those cities where rioting, looting, shooting, and burning aren’t happening, perhaps aren’t seeing a shortage of supplies.  I don’t know.  Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin, however, the supply chain seems to have been shaken a bit.  I suppose because people have been shaken a bit.

I wonder if the cultural situation will get better or worse as we move nearer to the election?  I think worse, especially if Trump wins.  (Please God, let him win, though.)  Those who are opposed to Trump seem to be very angry, and I mean, angry to the point of destruction.

So, as I look around me, I think Fr. Goring is right–it’s likely prudent to gather a few items to last a month or two, or maybe even 3, as Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God is suggesting.*  And to do it now.

What Am I Gathering?

First of all, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Don’t hyperventilate about gathering food, water, or supplies.  Honestly, it does cause me some anxiety, as I’ve got a family of 9 to feed, but God knows.  He’s in charge.  I think of Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”
  2. That said, Noah spent how long building an ark and gathering supplies while onlookers scoffed and partied?  Or how about Joseph in the Old Testament spending 7 years gathering grain for Pharaoh to feed his people during the subsequent famine?  This may be one of those times.
  3. As far as what to stockpile, I would suggest buying only those items that you currently eat or use.  Don’t buy a bunch of rice if you’ll never eat it.  (What if one doesn’t need the extra food after all?)  Rather, purchase those items you will use.  For example, we love oatmeal, noodles, and peanut butter.  It wouldn’t hurt us to have an abundance of those items around.
  4. How about water?  We’re not buying water, but rather filling each empty milk jug we consume with water and putting them in our garage loft.  (We drink about four gallons of milk a week.)  I will continue to do this until the cultural situation looks better.
  5. Don’t break the budget.  Only spend what money you can without putting your family in a tight spot.
  6. Lastly, do you live in a major city where rioting has already occurred or might occur?  Do as Fr. Z always recommends, have an escape route.  Where are you going to go, should mobs truly begin destroying everything around you and the city is burning?  It wouldn’t hurt to talk about it, even if it’s a scary thing.  Remember, God gave us brains to use, but in the end, He is in charge.  He loves you so much and will only allow that which is good for your soul.
  7. Lastly, lastly…Go To Confession!  The Sacraments matter.  You know this.

I’d be curious to know your thoughts on these things?  Or any ideas, questions, or concerns you might have?  For, it’s all new to me.

*Mother Miriam just gave a talk at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe last weekend wherein she told everybody to, “Wakeup!”  We had better note what’s going on around us.  It’s madness, and one ought to be prepared for a 3 month disruption of food supply.
Motherhood & Parenting

Quick Update on Paul: Giving Thanks

Paul’s surgery went very well.  He’s got a new valve installed in his side to regulate the flow of spinal fluid.  We’re hoping this does the trick, and we need not visit another ER for a long, long time.

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Paul is awfully sore where his two incisions are located, but otherwise, he’s happy and itching to go home.

Thank you for the prayers.  Indeed, we feel very blessed.

Only a Year Ago…

It was only a year ago that we were here…where Paul was experiencing all kinds of heartbreaking problems.  God has taken us a long way on this mysterious journey, and we are so thankful.  It has been nothing but a blessing for our family.

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Paul about a year ago – weak and unable to move from incessant vomiting, seizures, bradycardia, and pain.

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Motherhood & Parenting

Another Surgery For Paul

Dear Readers,

If you have a spare moment, would you consider a prayer for Paul?  The area surrounding his spinal catheter has filled with fluid, again.  He’s undergoing surgery right now to test a new pressure valve, which sits near his rib cage to regulate the flow of spinal fluid.

Paul’s doctor just came into the pre-op room and prayed with him and my husband.  He asked Jesus to heal Paul and to bless the endeavors of his surgical team.  What a blessing–to have such a doctor.  May the Holy Angels guide the hands of Dr. Ahn and the entire medical staff.

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Right before being whisked away to the OR.  You can see that he’s in good spirits.

Paul is praying for his twin brother and his older sister, as they will begin school tomorrow without him.  His twin brother is taking it especially hard to be in a new school without him, but if all goes well, Paul will join him on Monday.

I hope to offer an update later tonight or tomorrow.

Homeschooling

Holding Onto What Matters: The Making of a New Schedule

School officially begins for our family next week.

Not that we ever really quit doing school, but that we will be transitioning from Summer School to, well, School.  This just means that instead of Tea Parties, Badminton Binging, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, it’ll be Art & Tea Time, Badminton Sessions, and more Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  (And other great books!)

And Math and Latin and Writing, Grammar, Poetry…

Each year tends to be a bit different, though, as the children continue to grow and require more academic attention from me.  Naturally, we reassess each year to see what needs to be done for their education without sacrificing the Culture of our Home, which is a beautiful thing.

We never want to be so busy as to not put First Things First.

This means that Jesus needs to remain King of our Home, and we need to spend time with Him.  Lauds in the wee hours of the morning amidst flickering candlelight must never go away.  Dinners in the evenings should find us together listening to the stories of the saints.  The prayers of the rosary should rise like incense before our icons.  Finally, the children should fall asleep with Dad’s blessing on their foreheads every night.  These are the things that matter the most.

All else–school work, extracurricular activities, household matters–comes Next.

This year our family will be making a great change as the three older children will no longer be homeschooled, but will attend a small, private school.  The remaining four children will still be homeschooled–well, the youngest can hardly be expected to do anything “educationally” constructive, except by ways of playing dolls and dress-up, which I suppose is an education in itself and not to be laughed at.

But this will be a great change for us, and one in which we’ll want to be careful not to suddenly become too busy.  Brick and Mortar Schools have a tendency to do this, as there are a plethora of activities, clubs, and sports that one can be involved in, even in this Modern Feardemic.  (At least here anyway.)

This is why our family has decided, for this year anyway, that one activity per kid is enough.  For example, the Eldest is taking piano and organ lessons.  She doesn’t get to do Running Club or be in the Singing Schola, even though those are good things.  It’s just too much running around for us.

The boys* all belong to Troops of St. George, wherein they go camping and learn about the great outdoors, and this is enough for them.

Sometimes less is more.  For it is easier to remain in the arms of Jesus with less baggage–less stuff–tearing one away.

A New Schedule

For those of you who are interested, I’ll post our new schedule below.  Sometimes it’s helpful to see how other large families are organizing their day, if only to give one an idea or two.

Remember that all families are unique and different, though.  This is just what works for us.  You’ll see that I’ve given specific times, but that doesn’t mean I walk around with a whistle and a clapper.  No, these are just general times.  If you have any questions, be sure to ask.

May God bless your 2020 Academic Year!

2020 Academic Year

6:00–6:25am:  Mom Computer Work

6:25-6:50am:  Lauds with all 4 Big Kids

6:50-7:20am:  Mom Shower, Laundry In, T Piano Practice, J Math with Dad, Older 3 eat Breakfast and Pack Lunches

7:20-7:30am:  Dad & Older 3 Depart for Providence Academy, Little Girls Dressed & Set Table

7:30-8:30am:  Mom Makes Breakfast, Bible Reading & Poetry

8:30-9:00am:  Mom Cleanup, J Piano, T Math

9:00-9:30am:  Midmorning Prayer & Latin

9:30-11:00am:  J Grammar, T & G Set Table, Switch-out Laundry

11:00-11:30am:  Lunch with Audible, Cleanup: J Wash, T Dry, Mom Sweep

11:30-12:00pm:  Mom Read Aloud (History)

12:00-1:00pm:  Quiet Time: Mom Prayer, Nap, & Tea

1:00-3:00pm:  T Phonics & Spelling, J Writing & Rhetoric, Art & Tea Time with Drawing & Cursive

3:00-3:45pm:  Pickup Older Children

3:45-5:00pm:  Dinner Prep, Mom Goes For a Run

5:00-5:15pm:  Greet Husband

5:15-6:45pm:  Dinner & Cleanup: M Wash, M Dry, P Sweep, J Garage Detail, Mom Laundry

6:45-7:30pm:  Free Time

7:30-7:50pm:  Rosary

7:50-8:00pm:  Children PJS, Teeth, Prayers, & Blessings from Dad

8:00-8:30pm:  Compline, M Piano Practice

8:30-10:00pm:  Mom & Dad Be Together

 

 

*The boys also serve the Traditional Latin Mass, which technically is an activity too.  So, perhaps we’re violating our Rule of One?
Monthly Picks

August Picks

As the days of summer are flitting away, our family is enjoying a little Shakespeare.  In fact, we’ve taken Fr. Z’s Sonnet A Day Challenge and are simply doing that–reading a sonnet a day.

As you may know, Shakespeare’s first twenty or so of the 154 sonnets feature the same theme: they’re all an attempt to convince a selfish, vain young man to get married and have children.  O, what perfect poetry for our culture!

August Favorites:

Favorite Collection of Poems:  Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Favorite Audible Purchase:  J.R.R. Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham.  We do also have this short story in book-form featuring other Tolkien gems, but I wanted an audio version for our trip last week.  We were not disappointed in this version read by Derek Jacobi.  It was so entertaining, our children were laughing out loud.  In fact, we all were.

Best Option For Running Gear?  You know, I like to jog a mile or two every day, and I refuse to wear just leggings.  Or shorts for that matter.  I like Capri Skirts.  I recently purchased these for running.  I love them.

Best Newspaper:  The Remnant.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  This newspaper is a must.  It’s so important to have sane news coming into your home that is not necessarily shouting out of a screen.  If you don’t have a subscription, you’re missing out.  It’s worth it, if only for Michael Matt’s column.  (This week’s edition featured an article outlining the dangers of mask-wearing.  Oooo, so controversial.  Love it.)

The Girls’ Favorite Coloring Book:  Late Victorian and Edwardian Fashions, naturally.  Those Dover Coloring Books are great.

And finally, for a little humor…

Best “News” Story:  15-Passenger Vans Sold Out Nationwide…HERE!

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Book Review

Book Review: Dorothy Sayers’s Strong Poison

First of all, a business note:  I’ll be on vacation for a few days.  Deo gratias.

Secondly, with sigh, the area around Paul’s spinal catheter is beginning to swell again.  If you think of it, remember him in your prayers.  It would appear to be only a matter of time before he’s in surgery once again.   Fiat mihi secundum verbum.

And now for delightful Summer Reads…

After finishing Dorothy Sayers’s Gaudy Night and loving it, of course I would immediately want to read Strong Poison (and Busman’s Honeymoon.)

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Gaudy Night could be my favorite book of the year.

Now, if you haven’t read Gaudy Night, quit reading this blog post right now and go read that.  Then come back to this post to see if Strong Poison is for you, because I have One Big Qualm with it.

Strong Poison

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This book is naturally going to be interesting to those who have read Gaudy Night, as it’s the backstory of Harriet Vane’s infamous trial, as she’s accused of poisoning and killing her then live-in boyfriend, Philip Boyes.  This trial and Vane’s immoral history are alluded to several times in Gaudy Night.  It was rather informative, therefore, to actually read about it.

Perhaps I should have mentioned that Sayers wrote Strong Poison first, then Gaudy Night?  But I’m not sure reading them in that order would be captivating, for I think Strong Poison isn’t as good.  Certainly I love Sayers’s wit, and the glimpses of immature Lord Peter Wimsey falling hard for Vane are so enduring, but as I mentioned above, I have One Big Qualm with this book.

My problem is that Miss Climpson, an undercover employee of Wimsey’s, decides to play the part of a soothsayer or a spiritualist in order to obtain information to free the innocent Vane from prison and the death sentence.  By doing this, Climpson leads multiple false seances, pretending to invoke the dead, while also manipulating an Ouija Board.

Now this is a Bad Idea; it’s downright dangerous.  This is the world of the demonic–just ask any exorcist.  In fact, these kinds of behaviors open one to demonic oppression or possession.  One would want to stay as far away from such things as possible.

To be fair, Miss Climpson does voice her concerns, and it would appear that her conscience does bother her, but in the end, she goes through with it.  One could maybe conclude that while Sayers doesn’t like the practice of deception to reach into this evil world of spirits, she too, however, would be willing to go through with it?  I don’t know.

But I do know that that chapter alone is the reason why I couldn’t recommend this book to anybody who does not understand the seriousness of the matter.  Let me repeat myself–only a mature reader ought to read this book.

Strong Poison otherwise was a delightful read.  One gets a clearer picture of Vane’s transformation from a girl willing to practice “free love” to a woman beginning to realize the foolishness and shallowness of such behavior.  In the end, Vane wants something more, but needs time to heal, which Lord Peter Wimsey just doesn’t understand until Gaudy Night.  

So, what am I bringing on vacation to read?

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Busman’s Honeymoon, naturally, as it follows Gaudy Night.  I’ve started it already and have had to force myself to put it down, or I won’t have anything worthy to read on the beach.  I hope to write a few words on it later next week or so.

Motherhood & Parenting

More Questions: Fear of Childbirth & Age of Confirmandi

I received two more questions the other day, which I’ll post below, as they’re good questions and interesting, too.

Question 1: Age of Confirmandi?

Hi Kim! Thank you for blogging!

It looks like some of your new confirmandi are pretty young.  How did you determine their readiness, and did you experience any resistance from the church because of age?

Response:

Thank you for the question.

Yes, it would appear that my children are young according to many bishops’ later age requirements for Confirmation.  (My children were confirmed at ages 13, 11, 11, 9, and 7.)  The Roman Rite, however, clearly states in both the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see paragraph 1319) and the Catechism of the Council of Trent (look under heading “Confirmation” and flip to the paragraph on “Proper Age”) that one need only reach the age of reason, which is stated at 7, prior to receiving Confirmation.  And that’s it.

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Consider owning both Catechisms–Trent and JPII’s.  Well, the Baltimore Catechism is great too.

Any bishop worth his salt will not deny anyone Confirmation, so long as he or she has reached the aforesaid age of reason.

Think of the Eastern Church, which does Confirmation immediately after Baptism because they wish to emphasize these Sacraments of Initiation and not to delay in distributing sanctifying grace.  Remember, Baptism gives one sanctifying grace and opens the doors to Salvation, while Confirmation pours out more sanctifying grace with the additional 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  And both leave an indelible mark on the soul.

The question is then, why would anyone want to wait on this?  Either you have that grace and that beautiful mark on your soul or not.  And does it matter?  Yes.

The problem is that many Catholics in the Church see Confirmation as some sort of “graduation,” and so we have Catholics wrongly asking, “How do you know if your child is ready for Confirmation?”  Are we ever “ready” for any Sacrament?  Look, we do not ask our babies if they are ready for Baptism, and we do not ask them if they’re ready for Confirmation.  Naturally we prepare them as best as we can, but this is not some test.  Rather, we desire an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and we’ll do everything we can to continue their education then and afterwards, forever and ever.  Amen.

Shoot, I’m still learning about Confirmation now at the ripe old age of 38.

Secondly, dear reader, you asked if our family received any opposition to receiving this Sacrament because of age?  Not in this diocese–the diocese of La Crosse, WI.  (May it please God to preserve our bishop for a long time.)  But I’m fairly certain I would have met with a silent storm of opposition in my prior diocese.  In the latter case, one can only politely ask and pray.  Or seek the Sacraments elsewhere.

In the end, either these things matter, or they don’t, though.  If it were me–and it does pertain to our family too–I’d get these things done.  Now.  I’d ask myself, What did our bishop and priests do during all this Corona Madness Shutdown?  Did they close your Churches and quit administering Sacraments?  If so, what makes you think they won’t do it again, come Corona Version 2.0 this Fall or Winter?

As my father, an eminently sensible farmer, says,  “Make hay while the sun shines, Honey.”

Question 2: Advice for a Fearful Mother About to Give Birth?

Kim, do you have any advice for fear of childbirth? As a bit of background, I’m due any day with Baby #6. I’ve had 5 amazing natural births, and yet I’m here and TERRIFIED to give birth again myself. (Needless to say, I feel rather silly…) I’m trying to approach it from a spiritual standpoint, and yet a terrible anxiety remains. Have you ever experienced this, and do you have any advice?

Response:

First of all, congratulations on Baby #6!

Now to the question and a full disclosure: I personally have not experienced fear or anxiety for an impending labor and delivery.  This is likely because I emphatically dislike being pregnant, and so when labor and delivery come around, I couldn’t be happier.  In fact, I love it.

But you are not silly for struggling with these thoughts.  There are mothers–good mothers too–who do fear childbirth and for all kinds of reasons.  I think it’s natural to anxious about the whole thing.   I mean, it is rather a painful experience after all.

The question I’d ask myself is, what is the cause of my anxiety?  Am I afraid of death?  Am I afraid of the baby dying?  Am I afraid of the pain?  Or is it something else?  If you can pinpoint where the anxiety is coming from, then it might be possible to come up with a few ideas.

If it’s death, perhaps one could find a few pertinent scripture verses on the fleetingness of life or on the glory of heaven?  Or, if it’s pain, consider an epidural or some medication to take the edge off.  You mentioned that you’ve done all natural births, but perhaps this time God wishes otherwise?  (I had a dose of Nubain during the last labor and delivery.  See HERE for those details.)

In any case, the Divine Mercy Chaplet might be a good option for you to pray daily.  Or if you enjoy reading, check out St. Faustina’s Diary, which is all about trusting in Jesus and doing His will amidst pain and suffering.

Lastly, I’ll ask a question to the readers.  Are there any mothers out there who have experience with anxiety in childbirth?  If so, please consider sharing any ideas in the Comments Box below.

Call Me Catholic

What to do with Confirmation $$ ??

Many of you readers know that our five oldest children were recently confirmed by Raymond Cardinal Burke.  O glorious day!

I’ll post a few pictures below for a brief recap…

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The Eldest, just confirmed, making her way back to the pew at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Hard to see anything here, I know.

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Cardinal Burke giving The Youngest a blessing afterwards.

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Our whole family after receiving a blessing from His Eminence.

As the dust settles from last week and indelible marks remain on the children’s souls for all of eternity, there was only one item yet to be taken care of…

What to do with all that cash their relatives so graciously bestowed upon them?

Hmmm…what would you do, if you were given some cash as a child?

Without parental intervention, our children would likely have done one of two things:

  1. Shoved the cash into their piggy banks.  (Not a bad idea.)
  2. Biked over to the local grocery store and purchased ridiculous amounts of Mike and Ikes, Cherry Nibs, and Peanut Butter M&Ms.  (Fun.  But a bit of a waste.)

Fortunately, we had a plan, should any cash find their way into those Confirmation cards.  All the children–except The Eldest as she already owned one–purchased Latin Mass Missals, and they’ve arrived in the mail!

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Here they all are.

Their names are written on the front of them, and we keep them on this bookshelf in the living room for easy access.

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We’re very thankful that the older children can have their own missals, as we feel it’s important to begin familiarity with it as soon as possible.  There are wonderful things to learn about the Mass in these books too.  (For those of you who may be unfamiliar, the books have Latin on one side and English on the other with explanatory notes.)

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Here’s a shot of the pages directly preceding the prayers of the Mass.

But what about The Eldest, you might ask?  What did she purchase with her extra cash, since she already owned a missal?

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The Eldest’s 3 volume purchase, which sits on her bookshelf in her room.

She purchased the Roman Breviary, which was certainly more expensive.  Fortunately for her, she had saved up her piano money from the spring and summer.  Now she will be able to pray the responses during Lauds, which begins around 6:25am in our household.

Hopefully in a year or two the boys will be able to purchase their own breviaries too.  These books are very beautiful.  We find it edifying and inspiring to pray the ancient psalms of the Church day in and day out, and we look forward to the boys praying them aloud.  As it is now, they sit quietly with us and are either silently praying in their hearts or dozing in the candle light…

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Thank you to all the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncle who contributed to the children’s Holy Book Fund!

And most especially, thank you to everyone who prayed for the children on that most memorable day!