Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St. Andrew

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, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of 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

Some Additional Felt Ornaments

     I wanted to post a  picture of some additional felt ornaments I made to go with our Mary Hidden in Advent Jesse Tree lessons.  Pictured are the burning bush (Moses), an ear of corn (Ruth, and yes, I do realize that the corn is anachronistic, but oh, well!), chalice (Joseph in Egypt).  The children and I made them with scrap felt, a few beads and Tacky glue.  You can use your own scraps and your imagination!  Have fun!  I do think the Jesse Tree Kit actually has a burning bush, but for some unknowable reason we only had half of our ornaments here in Delaware, so we are making the missing ones as we go along.

ETA:  I made a different kind of Mary ornament today than I demonstrated below.  I got the idea from
this craft tutorial at D. Blumchen.  I just used what I had on hand, which was one small tinsel style pipecleaner and kitchen tin foil, but I like the idea:

     I think next time I'm at Michael's, I'll get a few more tinsel pipecleaners and some glitter and sequins.  This was fun to make!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Photo to Share

The Value of Sameness


   New! Improved!  Revised!   The constant flux of our society...nothing remains static in this world of ours.  We seek out new experiences, new places, new thrills. The very notion of "exotic", so highly desirable to us thrill-seeking 21st century nomads,  means nothing more or less than "unfamiliar".  Yet, to understand our lives, to be fully human, we must have sameness.  The day must have its routines or it degenerates into a stressful random walk.  The year must have its seasons, its times of rest and renewal.  And we must have the anchor of the familiar, too.  Our repetitive moments  fasten us securely to our own lives and thus to God as we travel through time.
     A young child sits through Mass.  He learns the always-the-same order of the liturgy. Sometimes he sleeps, at peace with God.  Sometimes he sings or prays.  Week after week the routine begins to plow deep furrows in the soil of his heart.  The words of consecration and prayer are breathed in as naturally as the air around him.  Phrases of Scripture are planted within.  The sameness becomes a part of him, as much as his arms or legs.  It is ingrained not only in his soul, but in the very biology of the neural contacts of his mind.
     As a young man, he rebels.  He wanders into a far country, partying and carousing, forgetting his heritage of faith.  But one day, he walks into a Church.  Mass is being prayed, and he remembers the flow of it, the words of consecration, the prayers to the "Almighty and Ever-living God."  The sameness calls to itself within him, to someone he was and is and is to become. He is drawn back to understand himself, his past, his God.
      He becomes old.  His life is passing away, but the steady song of the liturgy remains the same.  In the heart of its faithfulness, old yet ever new, he more and more deeply comprehends his God.  The same words that spoke peace to him as a child and  repentance to him as a young man, speak strength to him now.  Because he knows the form of worship as he knows his own image,  the deep meaning under the form is revealed to him.  He does not need to wonder what will be said or when.  He is not constantly distracted by variety and novelty.  He can plunge beneath the form to the level of meaning.   The silence of sameness allows him to enter into his own life at all ages-- child, youth, man-- identifying and remembering vividly his own reactions, feelings, and hopes.  The silence of sameness allows him, too, to enter the presence of God in a profound and simple way.  
     We clamor for change; we demand excitement.  We are no longer at peace with either God or ourselves.  Perhaps if we could reclaim the value of sameness, we would have enough silence in our lives to find that peace.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Background Noise

     My young boys keep up a steady conversation...with themselves, with me, with "mid-air".  Not a quiet, whispered murmuring, soothing in the background, but a loud rumble punctuated with emphatic shrieks and shouts.  The intermittent pounding of running feet wakes me in the morning and the repetitive questions of my sweet African Lion escort me through the day.  Even as I type now, he is standing by my side asking me questions about whales and dinner.  I'd like to be able to write a thoughtful, insightful essay, but honestly I can't even remember what I sat down to type in this post.  It has been driven from my head by the background noise of my life.
     Sitting here typing and listening to them, my eyes fall upon a beautiful needlepoint icon of Christ "written" (icons are not made or painted) by a dear priest friend of mine.  In His hand, He holds a page from the Gospel of St. Matthew: "Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you.  Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart:  and you shall find rest to your souls." (Douay-Rheims)   (here, teenage daughter comes by to talk, phone rings with distant relative, adult children drop by, life keeps on happening with ever increasing frequency and insistency). 

***sound of time passing......

Five days later, I am back posting with you.  The commotion still swirls, but inside of the hurricane is the still eye...where He carries all my burdens.