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Candlemas and Crayon Wreckers

Yesterday was Candlemas, February 2nd, which is sometimes referred to as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or even the Presentation of Our Lord (in the Temple). It marks the fortieth day since the birth of Jesus and the end of the Christmas season.

Last night, during the Confiteor, at St. James the Less parish.

Prior to Mass, there was a special blessings of candles. If you’d like a detailed explanation of the great symbolic beauty of this blessing and Candlemas, click HERE for Fr. Z.

Our family loves this holy day. Why? I can think of 6 reasons:

  1. Most of the church’s lights are left off, with only one illuminating the altar.
  2. Every candle the church owns is lit and flickering mysteriously.
  3. Every person, old enough to reasonably hold a candle, gets one.
  4. There’s a procession with innumerable altar boys and acolytes and the rest of us holding our candles in clouds of incense while the choir chants beautiful antiphons in Latin.
  5. Prior to the procession, father blesses, incenses, and sprinkles with holy water everyone’s candles that had been brought from home and placed on or near the St. Joseph altar. (We had a big box blessed for use in our home.)
  6. Did I mention we get to hold lit candles nearly the whole time?
Beginning of the Procession. The rest of the servers and acolytes are already in the aisle. The whole congregation filed after father and processed around the church in candlelight.

Kids naturally love this, but so do adults. If you ever get a chance to attend one, jump at it.

Broken Crayon Syndrome and Crayon Wreckers

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a problem that this household has. It’s called Broken Crayon Syndrome.

Let me explain. The other day the Little Girls brought to my attention the lack of pretty crayon colors. In other words, we only had “ugly” colors left: green yellow, peach, and apricot. All the “pretty” colors were used up and gone. You know, like pink and purple.

Unused, ugly crayon colors. Therefore, these crayons have an especially long lifespan.

Since I’m an attentive and obliging mother, I dutifully bought a new pack of 24 crayons a month or so after the lodged complaint. Naturally the girls were very excited to use the new crayons, and sat right down to color. Now, no coloring books could be found, nor could any clean, white paper, but that didn’t bother them. Undaunted, they just took some cardboard out of the garbage can and hacked away.

Until, SNAP! Broken crayon. SNAP, SNAP! More broken crayons. SNAP, SNAP, SNAP! Broken crayons everywhere! In their race and excitement to color, they just broke the crayons. But what’s worse, they didn’t even care! They could still use them. Ah!

But I cared about those broken crayons–those lovely pinks and purples and blues! What a shame. What if I happened to want to color? It does happen every now and then. (Ok, fine, it doesn’t, but still.)

How long do you suppose that blue lasted? Oh, about 3 seconds for one Crayon Wrecker to smack away at that piece of garbage you can see there. And note the broken purple in the box.

What a bunch of Crayon Wreckers.

I caught one Crayon Wrecker red-handed, coloring on some cardboard. Guess how long that crayon remained intact? Oh, .2 seconds.

Good thing she’s cute.

And willing to use broken crayons because I’m not buying new ones for at least a year. I don’t care if we’re only down to “ugly” colors.

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Is Your Home Blessed?

Last January we moved 600 miles to a new home in a new state. Within a day or two, literally, I called the Church’s office and scheduled a home blessing with our priest, Father Altman. He came out within a few days and prayed the traditional blessing for homes and doused the place with Holy Water. And I mean doused every nook, cranny, and closet. Then he celebrated a TLM in the living room.

The place had been thoroughly sanctified.

This Fall, however, I noticed a few “Black Lives Matter” signs showing up in the neighborhood, along with those “We Believe” signs, wherein such slogans as “Science is Real” and “Love is Love” ramble on in rainbow colors. I thought about our 1 acre yard that hadn’t been blessed. It made me uncomfortable.

So, a few weeks ago, I called the Church office again. Would Father mind coming out to bless the yard, our two Mary statues, and a Jesus statue?

He came out on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and blessed an entire canister of salt and a container of Holy Water in Latin, according to the Old Rite with all the sweet exorcisms. Then he prayed from the Rituale Romanum, and we processed around the perimeter of the whole yard and sanctified the property. He ended with celebrating another TLM in our living room.

Blessing the yard.
Prayers after Mass. (The boys served.)

Dear Readers, if you haven’t had your house blessed, you should really get it done while you can. Don’t delay on something so important. And if your priest will do it, ask for the Old Rite. It’s richer. Do the homework and compare the prayers; you’ll be astonished at what was left out in the later Book of Blessings.

If you’d like more information about the use of Latin or English, click HERE for Fr. Z’s explanation. Or, if you’d like to hear Fr. Altman explain the difference in blessing Holy Water according the Old Rite and the New in an interview with Patrick Coffin, click HERE and skip to 1 hour 28 minutes.

Most Popular Posts, 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.
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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A Word About the Present Crisis

The present crisis in the Church is disgusting.  I’m sure you’ve all read about it.  I mention it because I’ve come across something refreshing.  It’s a homily given by Fr. Robert Altier.

When I came back into the Church in 2003/2004, Fr. Altier was instrumental in deepening my understanding of all things Catholic.  I took his classes then being offered at the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul.  He was fantastic.  My friends and I had him over to our house to bless it according to the Old Rite.  It was powerful.

This priest says it like it is.  When’s the last time you heard a homily like this?

Click HERE for it at Fr. Z’s blog.

If you’re up for it, drop a line in the comment box.  Let us know what you think.