Friday, December 26, 2008

St. Louis De Montfort's Prayer to Mary

***Wow! This says everything my soul cannot find the words to say and more! I urge you all to find a quiet moment and pray it from your heart.

St. Louis De Montfort's Prayer to Mary

Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father! Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son! Hail Mary, faithful spouse of the Holy Ghost! Hail Mary, my dear Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sovereign! Hail my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul! Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am all thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently thine. I now give myself wholly to thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If thou still seest in me anything which does not belong to thee, I beseech thee to take it and to make thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine. Destroy in me all that may be displeasing to God, root it up and bring it to nought; place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee.

May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind; may thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination; may thy continuous sight of God fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine; may thy virtues take the place of my sins; may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine to know Jesus and His divine will; that I may have no other soul but thine to praise and glorify the Lord; that I may have no other heart but thine to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotion or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privilege to see God clearly; it is thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the right hand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons; it is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as thou willest.

Such is, O heavenly Mary, the "best part," which the Lord has given thee and which shall never be taken away from thee-and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was thine: to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures; to suffer joyfully without human consolation; to die continually to myself without respite; and to work zealously and unselfishly for thee until death as the humblest of thy servants. The only grace I beg thee to obtain for me is that every day and every moment of my life I may say: Amen, so be it's all that thou didst do while on earth; Amen, so be it's all that thou art now doing in Heaven; Amen, so be it-to all that thou art doing in my soul, so that thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity. Amen.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 ~ The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Note: These Sunday & Holy Day Gospel Reflections are written so that mothers may prepare for Holy Mass in advance either as a small group or individually (especially since we are so often necessarily distracted during Mass itself).

Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel. ”The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted — and you yourself a sword will pierce — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. ”There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.


This Advent, like never before, I finally grasped the concept that the Jewish people were waiting a very, very long time for their Savior, just like Simeon. My children and I were able to reflect on the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, reminding me of this time of preparation before Jesus was born. Sometimes, we might feel we are waiting a very long time for Christ's Second Coming, and I am grateful that is part of the point of Advent.

Simeon and Anna wait along with all of God's people for hundreds and hundreds of years. Some of God's people apparently became disillusioned with their wait, but not Simeon and Anna. Simeon is described as a righteous man who was intimate with the Holy Spirit. Anna was a prophetess, also intimate with the Spirit of God, and known for non-stop prayer and fasting.

My prayer and fasting is certainly not non-stop, but I do long desperately to be more intimate with the Holy Spirit. Like the Jews waiting for Christ, however, I sometimes become disillusioned, which results in a distance from God, marking my prayers and sacrifices almost robotically, certainly without a true sense of the Spirit.

It is during such times of darkness (whether they last for days or months) that I eventually realize I, too, am waiting for the light. I must continue to empty myself, so that when I am ready, the Holy Spirit has room to dwell. I believe these times of purification are pleasing to the Lord, and interestingly, they are the easiest times for me to completely surrender to His will.

Like Simeon and Anna, we wait, but for the Second Coming. While we wait, we must believe that He will come and be ready at any moment, like those virgins waiting for the bridegroom who bring extra oil for their lamps. Our sanctification comes through how well we prepare for Christ's Return, how intimate we are with the Holy Spirit now, and how fully we allow Him to fill our emptiness.

The Holy Season of Christmas gives me an opportunity to reflect on how prepared I am for that final day of judgment. Jesus Christ was born and is here among us, but He will come again. In what ways am I failing in my preparations for Him? How can I be sure no prayer or sacrifice is wasted? What do I need to do to help my family become a holy family, modeled after Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, ready for Christ to come?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chore Charts

By special request, I am posting my children's chore charts, or what we use as chore charts. The first one is for my 3 yo ds; the second one is for my 6 yo dd. We only have morning chores, right now, because I am not a morning person and need them. At one point my daughter had a noon chore list and an evening chore list (like Mom), but I have not updated them in a long while. I admit my children should and could be doing more housework, but I need to be consistent with getting my chores done, I think, first of all. I will work on that and keep you posted!

The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

I can't hold it in any longer! I HAVE to share this treasure a friend shared with me this year (thank you, M!). File this idea away for next Advent! My daughter and I are reading The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder that we borrowed from the public library. Each day in December, leading up to Christmas, you read one chapter. Below is the description from the book jacket:

"In the corner of a dusty old bookstore, Joachim discovers a magic Advent calendar. When he opens the first door on December 1, a small piece of paper falls out. On it is the beginning of a story about a little girl named Elisabet. One December many years ago, Elisabet follows a white lamb straight out of Joachim's town and on to an amazing journey. She travels back through time and down through Europe to be present - along with the Wise Men and the shepherds, and other familiar figures - at the birth of Jesus. Each of the twenty-four windows in the calendar hides another chapter in Elisabet's story, along with illustrations. Through the mysterious calendar, Joachim and his parents get a new sense of the Nativity story and the meaning of Christmas. But they also start to wonder: Who was this Elisabet and where is she now? On Christmas Eve, all the pieces of this puzzle come together. Using his historical insight and playful imagination, Jostein Gaarder has created a unique and exciting holiday story for the whole family. Beautifully illustrated by Rosemary Wells, The Christmas Mystery will make a wonderful permanent addition to the literature of Christmas."

So...the whole story is about this girl who travels across Europe and back through time (simultaneously) with some angels and other "travellers" to Bethlehem. But, it is also about a modern Norwegian boy, Joachim, and his family who discover this story and make sense of it (originally written in Norwegian). We're not done yet, but I can tell the ending will truly be beautiful!

The reason I have to share it with you (particularly if you use a Charlotte-Mason style curriculum) is that every day is an opportunity for some incredible learning! Because they travel across Europe, they identify the cities and towns through which they travel. The modern dad even gets out a map and starts tracking their journey, and the family sometimes grabs an encyclopedia or the Bible to look up an event or person. Plus, because they travel back in time, they go through historical times and places, giving details about customs and events of those times. Can you see this becoming an amazing journey for your students?

I definitely want to buy this gem for our home library and use it exclusively as our curriculum during several Decembers. When we start doing a Century Book, this will be amazing to mark the times the travellers journey through, but a timeline might be a simpler start. I hope to find a bigger map of Europe to use and track their journey, as well. Each day includes geography and history, besides some Biblical events and the wonderful literary technique of a story within a story. It's all there! The trick is not reading ahead, which my daughter has done a couple of times.

The awakening of faith the family demonstrates is wonderful in building the anticipation for Christ's birth and travelling to Bethlehem along with them. May your Christmas be blessed, and may your children travel to the magic of Bethlehem on that Holy Night!

Side Note: My son and I are reading Advent Storybook by Antonie Schneider, which my daughter and I enjoyed last year (and she still begs to sit in on the readings this year). It also has one story a day for Advent, but is simpler, following a small bear on his journey to Bethlehem.


In our family, we decorate our tree on Christmas Eve. It usually goes up at the beginning of Advent and waits with us, helping to keep Advent simple and peaceful. The celebration begins when we place the Baby Jesus in the manger of our nativity scene. Then, we light the lights and add the ornaments. This year, however, the children could not resist decorating the tree a few days early with stuffed animals, toys, and dress up!

December 25 ~ The Nativity of the Lord (Mass at Midnight)

Note: These Sunday & Holy Day Gospel Reflections are written so that mothers may prepare for Holy Mass in advance either as a small group or individually (especially since we are so often necessarily distracted during Mass itself).

Luke 2: 1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


There is one message for me this Christmas ~ Humility. Simplicity. Surrender.

When the decree went out for all to be counted, St. Joseph packed up Mary and went on his way. He obeyed the law whether it was convenient or not. He wasn't even married to Mary, but he took her with him, to fulfill what was prophesied. To me, this shows a tremendous respect for authority, a hint of the respect St. Joseph had for the authority of God, and reminds me to surrender myself to His will as humbly as St. Joseph whether it is convenient or not.

When they finally did get to Bethlehem, there is no room at the inn. Was Joseph upset? Did he complain that they had traveled SO far and demand a bed for his betrothed? I don't think so. He humbly accepted what was given to him, a dirty, smelly, damp cave where the Savior of the World was born. We have all imagined that night, giving birth in the hay, nursing among the animals. It is far from what we would expect, but it is exactly the way God planned it to be.

The shepherds in the fields hear an unbelievable story. Angels appear and explain that the Savior has been born, but the sign will be that he is wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in manger. Can you imagine the confused looks on the shepherds' faces? It's like saying, God has been made man, and He is in rags in a feeding trough. But, those shepherds believed. Perhaps in blind faith, they went to worship Him in all of His Poverty and Simplicity.

Christmas should bring us great joy, as the angels declare. We should deck the halls and feast and be merry! Just don't forget that Jesus Christ came to save you and me as a helpless newborn baby in a barn in the middle of the night.

A Child Is to Be Born!

For most of my life, my relationship with God has centered on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and personal experiences of the Holy Spirit. Lately, I have been led to a greater understanding of God the Father and now, as we approach Christmas, of the Christ Child.

My son gave me a hug this morning and nearly knocked me down with affection. Did Jesus hug Mary this way? I think, he did.

Both of my children know the best way to get my attention when I am busy is to say, "Mom," wait until I look at them and say, "I love you." How often did Jesus say this to Mary and did her heart melt as mine does each time? I think, very often and yes.

My daughter, after eating two portions of dinner last night, being told there was no dessert that day, and being asked if she had room for any more food, said, "I think there is room for, not a chocolate coin, but something the size of a chocolate coin." Was the child Jesus's sense of humor that adorable? I think, absolutely.

Today, when you look at your children, picture the Christ Child. The Master of All Creation came to redeem us as a tiny baby, a small child, a growing boy, and a young man before He spent three short years as a man teaching and preaching. In this simplicity and humility, He showed us His love.

Prepare your hearts. Make room. A Child is to be born!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hello Again!

The coming of the Christ Child has inspired me to offer everything to Him in humility, just as He came in humility and died in humility. I believe my passion for writing is a gift, and right now, I am not taking any risks with it. I'm burying that talent instead of investing it.

So, here is my you, dear readers. I will share openly what is on my heart for a while and see how it goes. My goal, as stated in my sidebar, is to glorify God and encourage other mothers to embrace their daily crosses as love offerings for Jesus.

I believe mothers have a very specific and sacred role in our world, as St. Therese's quote in my page header attests. It is our duty to surrender ourselves to that role and become who God created us to be.

Rejoice in His Coming! Our Savior is soon to be born! Bless you!