Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Teaching Moment


It's a sad time, a time of Interregnum. But it can also be a good time to teach our children, be they homeschooled or otherwise, about the office of the Pope. As a side benefit, we can learn some things ourselves.

At the blog Shower of Roses you can find an awesome lap book study unit on all things Papal. My kids and I made this lap book and we all learned tons.

I bought and downloaded one of the ebooks books she recommended, Who is the Pope? A Very Short Book for Children by S.G. Mancini and we found it to be extremely helpful in completing the lapbook.

Here's our lapbook as the girls work on it.

 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Saint Faustina and Jesus, Our Ocean of Mercy


Right after I bought SaintFaustina's diary, somehow, I couldn't get into it. But upon picking it up again, a couple days ago, I began enjoying it right away.
 
Saint Faustina slips seamlessly from prayer to narration about events in her life and back again to prayer. It's a meditative read. When I first began, I was in a more informational mindset, like how I'd be if I were reading a history book. Her diary is something else. It's really a story of a saint and her deep relationship with Christ.

Here's one of the many beautiful passages from Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of SaintMaria Faustina Kowalska.

O Jesus, eternal Truth, strengthen my feeble forces; You can do all things, Lord. I know that without You all my efforts are in vain. O Jesus, do not hide from me, for I cannot live without You. Listen to the cry of my soul. Your mercy has not been exhausted, Lord, so have pity on my misery. Your mercy surpasses the understanding of all Angels and people put together; and so, although it seems to me that You do not hear me, I put my trust in the ocean of Your mercy, and I know that my hope will not be deceived.

Whenever I read this passage, the song "An Ocean of Mercy" by the Catholic rock band The Thirsting runs through me head.
 
 
 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Newest Catholic Metal Compilation


I'm thrilled to tell you about the newest Catholic Metal compilation Praising Him Loudly: Volume2! It contains 17 songs from several Catholic Metal bands.

Catholic heavy metal music? How can that be? Well, I'll tell you. It's music that celebrates Jesus, his holy mother Mary, the Sacraments, and the faith and teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. Oh yeah, and the music happens to be metal.

As I listen to these songs I am struck by the variety of musical expression. Within the umbrella term "metal" are subgenres such as "industrial" and "thrash." I'm not an expert on the finer points of metal music, but I'll tell you something, every song in this compilation has energy and emotion. It's as if each one is a prayer cried out from the very hearts of the musicians.

Head over to Catholicmetal.com and give Praising HimLoudly:Vol.2 a listen. While you're there, check out Praising HimLoudly: Volume 1 and Via Crucis: The Way of the Cross, which is great for a very fervent Stations of the Cross meditation- perfect for Lent!

For that matter, all of these collections are wonderful for Lent, especially if, like me, you want to narrow your music listening down to only Christian music for Lent. That's all I have on my mp3 player right now, and 95% of it is Catholic metal. :)

Amazing Artwork for Praising Him Loudly vol 2
 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Confession


Michelangelo "Crucifix"
 
Whether it's been a month, a year, or a decade since your last confession, it's probably time to go again. I remember when I returned to the Catholic Church, after having been away for years, I had a lot to confess. It was scary and I was embarrassed, but it felt like a huge weight was taken off me and replaced by such love and forgiveness, I cried.
 
I found a couple of resources for you to help you make a good examination of conscience. That means to examine your past behaviors and figure out where the sins are hiding, like old dust bunnies wedged in the cracks of your soul.

This Examination of Conscience, from EWTN, focuses on Faith, Hope, and Love.
This one from the Fatima Network focuses on the ten commandments. It also has other goodies such as a prayer before confession.

If you are currently engaging in an ongoing sin, such as having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse, or your marriage isn't valid (maybe because one of you is divorced) then you won't be able to receive absolution or receive Communion. You may want to check out the Pope's (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger) work "Worthiness to Receive Communion."  But do make an appointment to talk to a priest. He can counsel you, talk about annulling a past marriage, etc. While you're there, ask him to bless your Rosary. Then use that Rosary!

To learn more about annulments, check out the little booklet by Jimmy Akin "Annulments: What You Need to Know."

Rosary
If you're use a Rosary app, such as iRosary, should you ask the priest to bless your iPad?  Hm... I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask.
 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Get Fit, Spiritually and Physically



I've been trying to get fit, both health wise and spiritually. It occurred to me that one can take the same approach to both goals. Let me explain what I mean.

The Nutrition Diva, on her podcast, gave one tip that basically said to imagine the fit and healthy person you'd like to be. Ask yourself what food and exercises choices she would make, and do those. This way you're making lifestyle changes, not crash dieting. So, you can ask yourself each day, what would a good and holy person do regarding prayer, Mass attendance, Reconciliation, TV viewing, annoying family members, etc.? 

I think concrete goals are more helpful than vague resolutions. "Praying more" or "exercising more" aren't as measurable as "pray the Rosary every Friday" and "go to the gym every Saturday." You can start modest, then add something new at the first of every month.

The Nutrition Diva says that where you're heading is more important than where you are. Good advice for not growing discouraged. My mom always gave us this advice growing up; "You can only get there from here."

You can hear Nutrition Diva at her site: http://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/