A ‘new’ miracle of the flowers celebrating 682 years!

 

First, Happy Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton! She is one our saints from Wreath Two. May she encourage us to greater perseverance in 2019!

Now, back to the reason I write – DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THE MIRACLE??

Miracle of the Flowers

And, while I certainly don’t know everything about flowers I thought I knew the miracles related to flowers – Juan Diego, Elizabeth of Hungary, and of course, the showering of roses from our patroness, St. Therese. I had no idea of this wonderful miracle involving a blackthorn.

Reading of it makes me wish I were able to add it to another wreath, but what virtue? In reading story, I am lead to think of protection which is not a virtue so much as an attribute of God and our Mother, Mary, who watch over all of us. Perhaps you might think of blackthorns the next time you feel vulnerable. The Blessed Mother will be there for you just as she was for Egidia Mathis.

 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Any resolutions planned?

 

Today at Mass, my deacon asked about our New Year’s resolutions and how many, in just one day, we had managed to break. As we laughed, he reminded us that the only resolutions that really matter are those that help us get to heaven. He challenged us to take a look at what we hoped for 2019 and make sure a better faith life was on the list.

His suggestions are simple – pray a bit more, read Scripture a bit more and love a bit more. There are so many resources on-line, apps, etc. to do each of these so you probably don’t need any help but in case you do, here’s what we are doing.

We are replacing the Hail Mary with the Memorae in our evening prayers. Without wanting to cause scandal, its history is powerful and changing up our evening prayer routine keeps the everyone engaged a bit better.

Matt and I are reading just one psalm a night before we fall asleep. We’ve started at the beginning but I plan on skipping the sad ones, those that speak of abandonment, fears, etc. for awhile. I want to fill my spiritual tank with those reminders of God’s love and mercy first then we’ll start adding in those that speak of our human frailty and sinfulness.  With 150 of them, we’re covered for almost 1/2 the year planned.

As for the loving, I’m taking that one moment at a time trying to hold my tongue, count to five, breath deep and ask the Blessed Mother for greater patience (so far, so good!).

We’ll also be praying for you each day of 2019 that you and your own garden of Little Flowers and Blue Knights never forget God’s love for you.

(FYI – the photo is from my own creche resting on my fireplace; enjoy!)

 

Eutrapelia – I feel vindicated :-)

I know that when eutrapelia made our Wreath III list, a number of you scratched your head – whaaat is eutrapelia??

I even got a telephone call from a Mom who was convinced it wasn’t. I don’t think my sorry attempt, even name dropping Aquinas and Aristotle did little to sway her. I hung up feeling drained and down-hearted, the exact opposite of eutrapelia.

I know I did do the research, I spoke to several smarter-than-me people about adding it to our wreaths. It seemed perfect to have Mary and Martha illustrate the point that there is a time and place for everything from sitting at the Lord’s knee, to serving others, to playing! But, over the years, at times replaying the telephone call in my head, I would wonder.

Then this weekend I saw this:  We need more eutrapelia!  over at the National Catholic Register.

Seeing the title was enough to lift my heart and make me laugh! I felt vindicated. Author Kathy Schiffer’s words are perfect for the season. Hey, it might even inspire some folks to make New Year resolutions to bring a little more pleasantness into their lives or at least reduce the amount of coarse humor their eyes, ears and souls are subjected to through social media.

For me, it felt like a early Christmas present. I felt that old conversation’s painful memory loosen its hold and melt away. I felt as light as a dandelion’s puff floating through the sky. Thank you, Lord for the reminder – “A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)

 

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

As you head off to bed, perhaps these words from our Blessed and gentle Mother will give the same peace they must have given to St. Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

“Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you, Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you…”

Our Lady of Guadalupe, please pray for us!

Final Jeopardy Category? Catholicism — Do you know the answer?

The final Jeopardy category last night (11/29/18) was Catholicism and the question was:

A liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the Sunday closest to the feast day of this “first apostle”?

The answer was, “Who is Andrew?”

While none of the contestants got the answer right, Alex was quick to point out that Andrew’s feast would be today! Pretty neat.

Happy Feast of St. Andrew, the first apostle!

In the gospel of today we meet those first apostles mending their nets (Mt. 4:18-22). In other words, they were taking the time to do the mundane, seemingly simple work of maintenance that would ensure the success of their endeavors. They knew that if they didn’t take time to mend their nets, taking a thorough look at the tools of their trade, checking for loose spots, closing the holes and so forth, their next trip out might be a disaster.

Do we ever take time to mend our nets? Check out what we use every day to ensure the success of our labors? I am not talking about our kitchen bowls or even the tires on our car. I’m talking about the real work of our lives – knowing, loving and serving God and sharing that love with everyone around us. What tools do we have to help with that?

Perhaps our prayers need a dusting off or a switch up? Maybe attending a different Mass time? Trying a Rosary via an app or youtube? Is there a book you’ve been meaning to read but keep putting off?

In other words, if you are feeling as your nets are coming up empty, check for some holes or loose spots and Advent is the perfect time to do this. Already, I’ve got some new ideas for how we’ll be celebrating Advent in the Wonderful, World of Watkins. I am thinking of retiring some too familiar practices (we’ve used the same Advent calendar for years) and focus only on a Jesse Tree which often gets neglected at my house.

Do you have any ideas you would like to share? How are the nets at your house? I know other Behold clubs would love some suggestions or links to help their efforts to be ‘fishers of men’ to be both effective and fun!

What are you thankful for? I have such a long list!

 

There is much to be thankful here at the Wonderful World of Watkins. Since I’ve last been able to post, our life has been full of much to celebrate.  Good friends and family members had babies and my sister and a best friend even got their first grandbabies.

We’ve even had a few minor miracles including the news of a healthy baby for one of our co-op families when there were worries of the opposite, and medical tests that came back with good news for a different family.

Most importantly, we were given the gift a major miracle when a daughter walked away from a car accident which the state trooper said she shouldn’t have. No one was injured and the only car lost was her own. With mere bruises and stiffness, she has learned a difficult lesson. Our prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God for His gracious blessing on her behalf continue each day.

On a much lighter note, my daughter Kathleen and her entire NET Team will be having Thanksgiving at my home! This will be an extra 10 mouths in addition to my own large family but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

There is also you, your families, your teams and all you are doing in the garden to raise the next generation of saints one virtue at a time! Many thanks for all of you.

Be assured of our prayers this Thanksgiving! As you go around your table listing what you are thankful know that I’ll be doing the same and thinking of you and your families.

(On a much more serious note: Please be sure to talk – one more time, to even your most stubborn children – about the real dangers of distracted driving.)

 

 

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Is it dark where you are?

Darker than normal? Darker than usual? We can blame some of it on daylight savings time now that we have fallen back, but perhaps it is something more.

While I love getting that ‘extra hour’ of sleep, I do not like how dark it gets now. At my house, the darkness seems to drop like a heavy curtain on a stage; the dusty, black velvet signaling the show is over and it is time to go home or, in my mind, off to bed.

But, I can’t. The clock tells me it is only 6:00 p.m. and my family still has to clean up dinner and the kitchen, catch up with Matt and his day of work, plan the next day, evening prayer and on and on. So, we fight against the dark and keep going until our to do list is done (or mostly done).

This same is true when the darkness is inside our soul rather than just outside our windows. There can be times when we feel trapped behind heavy, musty, old, moth-eaten stage curtains. We slog on, fight against the dark but we just want to go home and hide under the covers until springtime comes. Since we can’t do that, what is the answer?

Turn on the lights!

In my house, daylight savings is when my fireplace is ready to roar with flames that both warm the house and bring it beautiful light. We dust off the light bulbs, find all the cobwebs, and switch on those lamps that were unused throughout the summer. Ah, more light in the home always lifts my spirits and makes getting the work done much easier.

As for my soul, I need to bring more light there as well. “I am the light of the world”, Jesus tells us in John 8:12. So, when my soul seems a bit dark, weighed down by my sins or the sins of the world, I know it is time to get more Jesus in there. Confession is first on my list to remove the dust and cobwebs. I turn to sources of light set aside during the summer such as daily reading of the Bible and recommitting to prayer with Matt before falling asleep. These small actions lift my soul and remind me that the darkness runs when confronted by the light of the world.

 

“the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” John 3:21

It is the week of All Souls – Nov. 1-8

 

I was feeling a bit low as I did not find time to post anything over the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, two of my favorite feast days (admittedly, I have a lot of favorite feast days) so I was very happy to read this article from Patti Armstrong which reminds us that we can celebrate this for a whole WEEK!

Help Free to Souls from Purgatory

My own family makes a practice of visiting the five cemeteries around my town (4 of which are actually Catholic!) and we’ve got Confession scheduled. It’s not too late for yours!