Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Andrew-Christmas Anticipation Prayer

Happy Feast Day of St. Andrew!

One of the Advent calendars our family is using this year includes the following beautiful prayer. Following the prayer is a suggested instruction for praying it.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouch safe, oh my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Blessed Mother. Amen.

It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.

+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

... to all of my dear readers!

Just taking a quick break from preparing what I can today for tomorrow's feast. Well, I did take a break this afternoon to play Monopoly, of all things, with my 8 year-old. That was a couple of hours ago. My good hubby relieved me a bit ago so I could get back to my kitchen, and now they're battling it out. Our son, I think, would never tire of playing the game.

My cranberries are prepared and in the fridge. I love standing over a simmering pot of these red little beauties and listen to their pleasant popping as they are transformed into a delicious spiced sauce without which I just can't serve a turkey.

I have one pie half-made, just waiting for a crust to cool. I still need to mash my sweet potatoes for the sweet potato casserole which is good enough to call dessert, and chop celery and onions for stuffing, then I can relax this evening! In the morning we'll get busy again. I say we because that same good hubby will be at my side in the kitchen all Thanksgiving morning, helping me with all the rest of the preparations.

It will be just us and my father-in-law, as our Thanksgivings have been since marriage, except when my mother-in-law joined us too, may she rest in peace.

So very much to be thankful for: Faith, Family, Friends, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

God bless you all this Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What We've Been Reading

Early this year I began reading The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, to the boys. They loved the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he, along with a band of dwarves, heroically fought and defeated the dragon Smaug on the Lonely Mountain. Having once taken my boys to the land of Middle-earth, our obvious next read-aloud would be Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy.

We spent all spring and summer journeying with Frodo and Sam, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, Gandalf and the rest, as their once intact fellowship, became broken and spread out, but nonetheless persevered as with one heart to defeat the evil Lord Sauron of the dark land of Mordor.

The boys enjoyed each book, but their enthusiasm to listen to the tale each evening was further bolstered by the fact that they knew they would be allowed to watch Peter Jackson's film version of LOTR only after we had finished reading it.

And so, having finished Return of the King about the time the new school year started a couple of months ago, they have watched the movies several times. Each Sunday they have their choice as to what they will watch for their 'Sunday Night Movie', something they look forward to all week. Perhaps needless to say, any of the three movies in the LOTR trilogy have received top billing for some weeks now. But that's okay; I don't mind knocking Star Wars out of first place for a while!

Just a few nights ago we started Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. The boys are familiar with the story, having watched the movie at their grandma's house, the version with Jason Robards playing Grandfather. It is a touching story, and I think we're all enjoying the book as much as, or more than, the movie. (Yes, the boys saw the movie first on this one!) Heidi is a very endearing character, and even the boys, who are going through an 'eeewww, girls!' stage right now, are pulling for this little heroine. They always beg for one more chapter, so we're speeding through it.

On their own, the boys have recently discovered Henry Huggins books, by Beverly Cleary. They are loving reading them! Henry's sign on his clubhouse door which reads 'No Girls Allowed' immediately struck a chord with them! They were also surprised and pleased to read about landmarks with which they are very familiar from visiting my home in Washington (state). The other day my youngest was quietly reading when he called out to me and said, 'Hey, Mom, listen to this!' He proceeded to read to me about their huckleberry picking on Mt. Hood. Ms. Cleary, the author, grew up just outside of Portland, Oregon, and she incorporates local names and places into her books. As a friend of mine said, next time we're out that way, we'll have to go find Klickitat Street in Portland and show the boys where the stories 'took place'.

As for me, I haven't picked anything up since I finished Dracula a couple of months ago. As much as I want to, being back at it with homeschooling, keeping up with every other daily task about the house, family life in general, on top of spending time reading with the boys, it seems my own reading time is swallowed up.

No complaints though. All too soon the years of homeschooling and evening read-alouds will be but a memory, and I'll have all the time in the world to pull my books off the shelf. I know too that by then I'll look back fondly on these days and years and wish them back. With that thought, I will cherish every turn of every page I read with them today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November - The Month of the Holy Souls

There are so many beautiful posts out there in Blogdom about the Holy Souls. Check out St. Louis Catholic for one very nice piece on Suffering Souls. It gave me pause to think again of loved ones and friends who have gone on before me.

The Month of the Holy Souls has very personal meaning for me this year, having just lost my dad. There is much that I can do for him and indeed for all the Holy Souls, by way of prayers, and penances on their behalf.

We all bear crosses, some are visible, some are unapparent to others, but they all have eternal value if only we will offer them up. If we imagine our loved one being released into the light of Eternal Beatitude in the presence of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother, in part due to our own offerings and prayers, does it not make the cross-bearing here on earth more meaningful, more tolerable?

Offering our sufferings is but one way to help the faithful departed though. has a very nice list of many charitable acts we can do for them. Click here and scroll down.

Remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory especially this month!

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Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.