Friday, December 29, 2006

Coventry Carol

Feast of Saint David

This is a traditional English carol written in 1534. It is about the killing of the babes under the age of 2, the Holy Innocents, by Herod. Their feast day was yesterday. To go along with the carol is a beautiful slide show of medieval illuminations of the Nativity and the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Media Piece on the Traditional Latin Mass

Feast of Saint Gowan of Wales

From the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest's website:
Fox News reporting on Traditional Latin Mass
Cable channel Fox channel aired a piece on the Traditional Latin Mass on Christmas Day, during the Fox Report. The segment commented on the growth of the Traditional Latin Mass, focusing on the Institute's Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago. The same piece was broadcast on local Fox channels in Chicago and St. Louis.
Below a link to the videoclip. Availability varies; try refreshing or try later if not viewable at this time:

I thought it was positive. It showed some of the Mass in Chicago, interviewed a parishioner, & Monsignor Schmitz. One of my favorite parts was when the reporter said "Where the priest faces God and not parishioners" - where the priest faces GOD - usually people say something about the priest having his back to the people.

There was one dissenter - McBraindead, err... I mean McBrien. He said something about how people can't fully participate in the Mass if they don't understand the language, and that following along in the missal is like going to the opera & reading the text........Consider the source. I guess he seems to forget there is a missal, in the vernacular for the Novus Ordo too.

Now this is a dress!!!

Feast of the Holy Innocents

One of my favorite pastimes is design. I am always designing in my head (mostly clothing), alas.... rarely do the designs go any further because of lack of time (read - busy homeschool mom). As a result, I sometimes loose out on new trends. But this is one trend I think I will leave alone - even I am not this creative. The Pantalaine people can have it all to themselves. I will say one thing, for $349, it had better be warm! For more, ummm... more creative items, see their other designs. You have to give them credit for encouraging love of your neighbor!

Monday, December 25, 2006

What a GLORIOUS Day!!!

Feast of the Nativity

I just had to share my evening/morning!

Was I at the TLM? Pretty darn close! I went to the local Novus Ordo for midnight Mass, as I did not think it wise to be on the highway (the TLM I attend is an hour away) by myself with my children in the middle of the night. First of all there were NINE servers - ALL BOYS/MEN! 2 are seminarians. 4 were in red & 5 in black. Father was wearing a Biretta and a traditional vestment - in fact, the decorative part was salvaged from a century old vestment & made into a new vestment by the Oblates of Mary.

Mass had some similarities to the High Mass at the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). There was more Latin than usual, & much was done in chant/polyphony. Father made sure everyone knew to kneel (not just bow) during the Profession (well, my children & I do all the time). You know the part in the TLM where a server blesses the faithful with the incense? That was even done - it was second nature for me to stand up for it, then I realized no one else was, but they quickly followed my cue. There were more similarities, but I cannot think of them right now. One of the seminarians helped distribute communion (at this parish, we only receive under one species, and only one Extraordinary Minister is used, and only if really necessary.)

OK, while all of this was very nice, that is not why I am so joyful! I truly felt the Holy Spirit tonight! Yes, I know He is always with me, but I have had a long dry spell (I know some saints have written of this.) During the Gloria, this feeling came over me - so overwhelming I cried & had to hold onto the pew in front of me. I do not seek out these experiences / do not go to Mass to "feel good" or be entertained, but when this happens, I accept it as a gift. I am joyful because God became Man so that we might be saved!



I wrote the above in the wee hours of the morning, so please forgive me if it rambles. Blame it on lack of sleep (though I did not feel tired at the time as I was so pumped from Mass) or the zeal I felt.

BTW, my daughter took a picture of me today, and I put it on my profile (look on the left sidebar). Not too bad - perhaps I have a budding photographer on my hands?!?!?!?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Miracle just before Christmas!

Feast of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

I got this email from a dear friend. I will let it speak for itself.
Please feel free to comment & praise God with us, or share a miracle of your own!

This is a very long mail, but it is literally God's hand taking over - as you'll see..........
As you all know my gran has basically been on her death bed for the past 2 weeks. Last night her pulse dropped to 10 and the nurses called my mom and her brothers and told them to come in as she would not make it to midnight - there was nothing more her dr could do. My mom and uncles got there and were sitting with my gran in ICU when this man walks in out of the blue and introduces himself as Dr Basson. He said that he was checking on one of his patients he did a heart transplant on that morning and that one of the nurses had mentioned my gran to him - would they mind if he gave a second opinion. They agreed that at this stage they had nothing to lose and said OK. He sat down, read her file, asked tons of questions and finally did a quick check-up on my gran (who by this stage was not aware of anything going on around her anymore). He disappeared for 15 min and when he came back, told (not asked) my mom and uncles that an ambulance is waiting to rush my gran to another hospital so he could put a temporary pacemaker in - everything was arranged. (Bit of background. My gran was in a private hospital and was now going to a state hospital. Here in SA a state hospital is seriously 3rd world. Understaffed, broken equipment, dirty, etc. My gran's medical insurance would however not pay for this procedure as they considered her too high risk. It would cost about $30 000 to have it done in the private hospital and $10 000 to have it done in the state hospital.) Dr Basson assured my now very shocked and concerned mom and her bros that he would be with her every second, he himself would do the procedure and he would transfer her back to the private hospital as soon as she could travel. He also said he would waiver all his fees, cutting the cost to about $8 000. He assured them that this was her only chance - she would be dead within 2 hours without the op. She might not survive the op in hear weak condition, but he felt she had a 30% chance. My mom and her bros said OK. 30 min later she was being rushed into theater with Dr Basson in the state hosp. Another 30 min later Dr Basson appeared all smiles and casually asked if they would like to go and see my gran before she took the ambulance back to the private hospital. My now totally overwhelmed mom and her bros walked into the recovery room where my gran was sitting up in bed, with a nice pink colour to her face (not the blue/grey of the past year), sipping tea and demanding to know just what was going on as she remembered nothing other than falling asleep in her old hospital room and now waking up here! She was transferred back to her old hospital room (where my mom swears the bed was still warm) and is now scheduled to receive a permanent pacemaker this afternoon from Dr Basson (the cost of which is included in the original price - apparently they always put a temporary one in first to check for compatibility). She will be discharged in the next 2 - 3 days and he assured us that her quality of life will be what it was 5 years ago. The admin people at the hospital have also been negotiating with the medical insurance all morning and they have now agreed to carry 50% of the cost - which means we (her family) have to come up with $4 000. The hospital administrator came and saw my gran this morning as well and told her that because she was "such a good girl" they would shave another $500 off the cost! My mom only found out this morning too that Dr Basson is in fact one of the top heart surgeons in the world. He is booked for months ahead. Thank you God for the nurse who mentioned my gran to Dr Basson, thank you for Dr Basson who has not become so famous and popular that he has forgotten what being a dr is all about, thank you that he was there last night, thank you for the admin people at the hospital for making the financial burden so much lighter with their endless pestering of the insurance and through their own generosity. And thank you for all the prayers (especially from you ladies at MK)! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Praise be to God!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

When do you open your Christmas gifts?

Feast of Saint Olympias

There was a discussion amongst some Catholic moms I am friends with, about when we celebrate by opening gifts. I am one of those who opens gifts on the Epiphany (rather, my children open my gifts to them on that day, they get gifts from the rest of the family on Christmas Day). I do this because that is when Jesus gets his gifts (and they only get 3, just like He did). It is a tradition I started in my family. Also, I don't really decorate until the Christmas season starts on Christmas Day, & it stays up until it ends - this way we remember when the Christmas season really is.

I think it is important families have their own family traditions, as long as they are in keeping with the Faith of course. Whatever day gifts are opened does not matter - only that we know WHY we do it.

One of my friends had an excellent post on this subject, which she gave me permission to share

It seems that there has been a lot of discussion about WHEN we should be celebrating least the present part of it (at least I hope that's the only part that is meant....I hope that there is SOMETHING being done in the way of celebration). I admire those of you who are trying to get away from the consumerism and keep the focus on Our Lord. It's very hard to do on a regular basis, let alone this time of year. But I don't think it's correct to make it seem that this can be the ONLY way to do things.

I think that no matter WHEN you open presents, it's very difficult in this world to keep sight of what is right and true. In most cases, even if you decide to open those presents on a different day, that act in of itself will not force a child (or anyone else for that matter) to focus on the Incarnation. This is something that we, as parents, MUST teach first. And this is an ongoing three year old doesn't have a full understanding of WHY we celebrate Christmas entirely. He DOES think an awful lot about toys and presents and food, etc. But this is HUMAN. Sure, I could transfer it to another day, but he is still going to think very much in human terms until he is actually able to put things into the perspective it needs to be in. This is how people learn. Christmas needs to be taught that it's a special day (and I know that everyone here wants to do that). But the *specialness* of the day comes first, because they really don't understand the WHY when they are little. You can't really teach a 2 or 3 year old what the Incarnation is and have their full can talk about it, and how Baby Jesus is God and became a baby for us, but at that age they really are not going to comprehend it's meaning entirely (and before anyone jumps down my throat for this, I DO teach my children about this and consider it to be absolutely crucial, but I DON'T expect them to GET it. It's like teaching the Hail 2 year old can say it almost flawlessly, but he really doesn't get what the whole thing means, kwim?). But a small child, despite the fact that he or she can tell me Who's birthday it is, doesn't really care as much about that as the doll or drum they are going to open up on Christmas or Epiphany morning. And the fact of the matter is if I changed the externals to a differing day, my smaller children will associate THAT day with the presents and other wonderful things. This is why I never transferred our gift giving to Epiphany...not because *I* was into the consumerism, but because I didn't want my children to think that Epiphany was more important than Christmas. You have to understand that small children especially (and beyond, unfortunately, when the Faith is not ever taught) judge things by the externals. If there's a fun game on a certain day, or a special type of food, or presents to open, that ends up being their reasoning behind whether or not a day is special.

With small children, they DO focus on the presents, because THAT is the thing they can see. Of course, we as Catholics tell them from infancy about the Incarnation, and how wonderful that is. But in the end, their little minds can't always comprehend that part because it's not necessarily something they can see or touch. But if you have externals that set that day aside, making it something out of the ordinary, that shows them that there is something more about this day. At first it may be about the presents, or the games, or the cookies, but later on, when they take a really good look at the creche and see what's going on at Mass, they KNOW there is something more. It's not wrong, per se, for them to think like this, it really just shows their humanity. For example, my children don't look at the last day of the week as "Saturday" OUR house, it's "French Toast Day" because it's a special time of the week that we do something extra for breakfast. They also know that the REASON why we have this special extra is because it's Our Lady's day (Saturday traditionally has always been for Our Lady, like Friday is for the Passion, Tuesday for the Eucharist, etc.)> But while most of hem could tell you that it's Our Lady's day, really, they're way more excited that we're having french toast. The flip side to this would be those that don't have the Faith at wouldn't matter WHEN they celebrate because they NEVER focus on Jesus anyway. It all has to do with Faith in the end. If you teach your child from the beginning what Christmas truly means, it won't really matter when you celebrate because they'll know WHY despite it all. If you've ALWAYS made Jesus the focus, then it will just come as second nature for them when they are old enough to understand why He is the focus. And yes, I do really believe that they can do this after a full day of opening presents (although I think what's being forgotten here is that Christmas isn't really a DAY but a season, which STARTS on December 25th, not on January 6th).

Fr. Feeney, when he would talk to ANY child, could almost always count on the fact that he would think Dec. 25th was the greatest day of the year, whether he knew about Christ or not. And starting from THAT point, it was easy to get into the REAL greatness of that day.

But if it wasn't for the presents and feasting on Christmas day, it would be much harder to get across the REAL greatness. Because Christmas is celebrated the way it is, the entire world STOPS on this day, and that in of itself is a GREAT grace, because eventually someone of good will will ask WHY does the world stop on this day.

Think of the graces that one receives for just WONDERING, let alone the graces they receive when they ask WHY. So when relatives decide to celebrate by giving presents on Christmas, couldn't that instead be used as a tool? To give to THEM in return, the WHY?

This got really long, and I apologize for that. I'm not trying to go off on all of you who celebrate on I said at the beginning, I admire you for the reasons you are doing it. But I've felt quite a bit since this topic has been started that many here feel it is almost impossible to keep Christmas centered upon Christ when you open presents and do other things that may not be "Christ centered" on Christmas day. That those of us who do things this way are somehow doing it wrong. You can look at many secular families and this more than likely is true, but I'd wager to bet that if THEY transferred Christmas to Epiphany, it wouldn't make them think of Jesus any more than they did on Christmas to begin with. Those that are filled with consumerism most often are not religious anyway, and could care less why they are getting presents. But I know for a fact that if you were to talk to any Catholic family that is TRULY living their Faith that opens presents on Christmas, they would know exactly WHY Christmas is special. I know my children know, and we've always done things in the way we do now. Finbar may not get it entirely, and he may be really excited about those presents, but I keep plugging away knowing that one day he WILL get it. And one day the presents and other externals won't matter quite as much, as his Faith matures and he has a better understanding of that tiny baby who is God. Until then, I'm happy that he at least understands that there is something special about Christmas day (or Epiphany day, or whatever), even if that something special has quite a bit to do with presents.