A Better Lent Than Last Year

Over at The Catholic Gentleman, Mr. Guzman has a post on 7 Ways To Have A Good Lent. Check it out, cause it is solid awesomeness. Also on that page is a link for a worksheet, which can help you make … Continue reading

Discouragement and keeping the faith in this time

With the synod going on in Rome and all of the disparaging reports coming out of it, I feel extremely discouraged. This is not like my usual self. On most days, I am joyful, eager to do God’s Will, and full of energy. The past few days have left me very worried and sick about the division among the cardinals. So instead of wasting all my time on worrying, I made a list of little phrases and thoughts to encourage me and keep me going. I would like to share them with you.

-Have courage!

-The Church has survived this far.

-Christ will not abandon His Bride and leave Her to the wolves.

-Fidelity…fides…faith…

-Be hopeful.

-There are still some who defend the Truth.

-“Christ will guard His own!” St. Agnes

-The bishops and the Holy Father may not have a solid plan of attack, but God does!

“Remember, I am with you always until the end of time.” Matthew 28:20

-Pray and fast, giving glory to God.

“…and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

-Trust in God’s plan.

-“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

-Keep busy serving the Lord.

-“Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Psalm 23:4

-Love beyond limits, imitating Christ.

-Thank God and praise Him for His goodness!

-Be a saint every minute of the day.

Also, this.

 

My new patron saint

Dina_Belanger

Learning about new saints is a fun little pursuit of mine. I try to learn a good deal about the saints because  while their lives were not perfect examples, they show us how to rise above the cultural and secular expectations and become holy. That is my ideal.

Anyways, my latest “find” is the Canadian nun and mystic known as Blessed Dina Belanger. You can read her whole story here (the site I have linked to is devoted to the stories of mystics and is faithful to the Magisterium). I find her story interesting for a number of reasons:

1. She was Canadian, like me.

There aren’t a lot of saints (or beatified persons) who were born and raised in Canada, so I find the stories familiar, in a way. When they mention the cold of a winter night or a city in a nearby province, I can sort of see the story playing out in my mind. It becomes familiar in that way and I don’t forget it.

2. She had a temper, also like me.

Just getting it out there: I had an awful temper when I was younger. As a baby I would scream for quite a long time without quitting, and as I got older (being the oldest) I got a little spoiled. So now I also have a holy person that I can relate to in this respect.

3. She chose “death rather than defilement”. 

When she was admitted to the Sodality of Our Lady she took the motto “Death rather than defilement”. This shows what a strong will she had, just like many of the other young saints of the Catholic Church. And finally…

4. She was a pianist.

There have been many saints and holy people who have played an instrument or sung a good deal during their life, but I think Bl. Dina Belanger is different. She didn’t just play piano for a few years. She persevered and became a very accomplished pianist (I can say this as a pianist who has read about her credentials. St. Cecilia is invoked as the patron saint of musicians, but I think that if she is ever canonised, Bl. Dina Belanger ought to be the patron saint of pianists. Just my two cents. 😉

So may God bless you and Blessed Dina Belanger pray for you!

A Psalm for Advent

Out of the depths I call to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, mark our sins, Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered.

I wait with longing for the Lord, my soul waits for His word.
My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak, let Israel look for the Lord.
For with the Lord is kindness, with Him is full redemption,
And God will redeem Israel from all their sins.

Psalm 130

Another anniversary…

Today is another special day for me. Not only is the Solemnity of All Saints; its my anniversary with Jesus.

On October 31, 2010, after almost a year of doubt and disbelief in God, I was struck by how much He loved me, even when I didn’t deserve it. I decided to come back into the fullness of the faith and follow Jesus. So the very next morning I started out by praying the Rosary and asking Mary to pray for me, and almost every day since then I have prayed the Rosary. I also promised God that I would remain pure according to my state in life, practice virtue (especially charity), and I would always strive to do His Will. As time went on, I gradually started adding more and more prayers to my daily routine, so that now I pray and read the Bible for almost an hour a day.

After a few months of praying a daily Rosary and a couple of other prayers, I started to see changes in myself. I went to Confession more frequently. Before that decision to follow Jesus, I would only go to Confession two or three times each year, but once I saw myself for who I truly was (a sinner), I realized how much I needed His mercy. Another effect was the desire to learn more about my faith. A new family had started attending Mass at our parish, and I learned that they attended Mass in Latin occasionally. Prior to that, I had never even heard of such a thing! So I looked through all of the Catholic books on our bookshelf, researched on the computer, and found a few answers. One of the websites where I found the most information is Catholic Answers Forum. I met lots of wonderful people on this forum who attend the Latin Mass and could give me a few answers to my questions. Soon, I saw that there were many other things that I didn’t know about the Catholic faith, like that the USA has more holy days of obligation than Canada, and that Saint Therese’s parents were beatified. I will freely admit, though, I still have lots to learn.

God has greatly blessed me, both in the past three years and on this special day. He gave me the life and strength to rise early and praise Him, the sunrise this morning was absolutely glorious, and most importantly, He has given me the hope of seeing Him in heaven someday. Praise the Lord!

Homeschooling, Catholicism, and Self-Control

Well, today concludes our second full week of homeschooling. Everything has been going pretty smoothly: the kids have been pretty good at helping out with keeping the living room tidy and giving me a hand with kitchen clean up, the meals have been on time (mostly), and laundry isn’t piling up yet. The schooling part has been going well, too. The 10 year old has memorized a Tim Horton’s commercial, the 8 year old has learned that two plus four is NOT seven, the six year old has learned that lots of the male saints are shown as being bald, and the three year old has learned to make the sign of the cross. Oh yes, and they have learned a few academic things, too. 🙂 I’ve learned a few things in the past two weeks as well; and that will be the main focus of this post.

Controlling yourself can be such a pain. Yes, that’s what I learned. In the schedule that I made for our homeschool year, I wrote down that I would be waking up at 5:45 to do my own schoolwork before all of the kids woke up. Things such as this always look so much easier on paper. I found it quite hard to wake up at that time, and I still do, but knowing that there is a good reason to get up helps motivate me. I have discovered that you can still see the stars quite clearly at 5:45, so I can see part of God’s beautiful creation before moving into the business of the day. Waking up at that time also helps me to work on self-control.

Self-control, painful as it is to build up, is a great virtue. It combats most of the seven deadly sins with great effectiveness. It is especially helpful in eradicating gluttony, sloth, and lust. Once these sins have been weeded out, it becomes easier to grow in holiness and love of God. That is why self-control is so important in the life of a Christian.

Well, that’s my post for this week. Now that my life isn’t quite so busy I will be posting more frequently on here. Until the next post, God bless!

Back to the home school…

A couple weeks ago, most of the ads we heard on the radio or saw on TV and the Internet were for “back to school” stuff. All of the flyers had pictures of brightly coloured notebooks, backpacks, and pencils, along with smiling, happy children. The half page newspaper ads for the local schools show pleasant teachers and neat classrooms that have lots of colourful posters. It makes going “back to home school” seem dull or even (gasp) boring!

“No, you don’t need a new math book. Theres stuff that you can do in your sister’s old book.”
“Its time for daily Rosary.” *to which the reply is often* “Mom, do we have to pray it again?”
“No, you cannot do your schoolwork in your room.”
“No movies until the schoolwork is done and music is practised.”

I don’t know about other houses, but in my house the kids sound just like this (yes, they call me Mom, even though I’m their older sister). They dread routine, bore easily with math, and would rather be watching an episode of The Waltons that they had already seen a hundred times before. So what does one do with children like this? How will you teach them anything if they don’t want to learn? How will you get them into a routine if they hate to obey?

Last school year, we didn’t learn much because both parents were out of the house during our prime schoolwork hours; that is, 9 AM to 11:30. And after lunch, who feels like doing schoolwork? The other thing that led to our lack of schooling was the absence of routine. When I was younger I dreaded routine and hated when Mom tried to implement it in mid-October or whenever we started schoolwork. I fought with her for a long time over that one little thing. Eventually she gave up and our household has had a lack of structure and routine ever since. Earlier this year however, I realised how much more can be accomplished in a home if time is managed with wisdom. Those socks in the giant tote tub that need sorting? They can only be sorted when someone has time to do so. The mess of grocery lists, dirty dishes, small toys, and compost on the counter can only be cleaned off if someone has the time to deal with it. When one of the kids needs help with schoolwork, their mom is usually the one to help them, but she first needs to have the time to help them. This is why managing time wisely is important. In the past couple of months I have been working on the schedule that works for our family, shows a record of all the daily and weekly tasks that need to be accomplished, and is a little different each day (so that none of us are bored to death). Today, for example, was baking day. My sister and I baked a few things after schoolwork was finished, and she enjoyed it thoroughly. Plus, we now have something delicious to eat for dessert during the week.

Wise usage of time also leads to a more faith-filled home. In our house we are hardly ever able to pray as a family, and when we are, it is greeted with moaning and complaining. To fix this, I threw morning prayer and evening Rosary into the schedule in hopes that we might grow in faith as individuals and as a family. So far everything seems to be going alright. For the first couple of days the kids were complaining about morning prayer, and they still complain about praying the Rosary, but I can see that the little ones are beginning to like that short bit of time that we spend together in prayer. By praying more as a family and teaching children the importance of prayer in the life of a Christian, it shows them what prayer truly is and why we need to pray.

Well, that sums up the first little bit of our homeschool year. I will be updating this page next week (if all goes well) about self-control and the homeschooling life. Until then, take care and God bless!