Seton Magazine :: 8 Simple Ideas to Inspire Your Plans for Lent

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So . . . let’s admit it. Sometimes, it’s just a little hard to be truly excited about Lent. Our human nature doesn’t exactly jump towards mortification, does it? (Mine doesn’t, anyway . . .)

So, where do we even begin to make Lent a fruitful and holy season? How do we get a fresh perspective on Lent and make it special and effective in our spiritual lives, and in our homeschool, this year?

Here are eight easy ideas to get us started!

Read the rest here 🙂

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My Favorite Spiritual Weapons for the Catholic Home

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I know . . . I already quoted this fabulous excerpt from The Screwtape Letters last year, but . . . it’s just too rich not to dive into again 🙂 Here’s the context I gave back then, followed by the quote itself:

The scenario? His nephew Wormwood’s “patient” has recently fallen in love with a young lady; Screwtape is so demonically disgusted and repelled by her that one can only begin to guess at her virtue.

And then, as if proclaiming his hatred of her to Wormwood were not enough, he goes on to describe her home with equal, and surprising, loathing:

“Then, of course, he [the patient] gets to know this woman’s family and whole circle. Could you not see that the very house she lives in is one that he ought never to have entered? The whole place reeks of that deadly odour. The very gardener, though he has only been there five years, is beginning to acquire it. Even guests, after a weekend visit, carry some of the smell away with them. The dog and the cat are tainted with it. And a house full of the impenetrable mystery. We are certain (it is a matter of first principles) that each member of the family must in some way be making capital out of the others–but we can’t find out how. They guard as jealously as the Enemy Himself the secret of what really lies behind this pretence of disinterested love. The whole house and garden is one vast obscenity. It bears a sickening resemblance to the description one human writer made of Heaven: ‘the regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence.’”

In that post, I excitedly went on about how this was the perfect description of a Catholic home, particularly in terms of war and battleground:

Family life, by itself, is hard; family life that strives for holiness is even harder. It requires a deeply Sacramental way of living; it needs constant cooperation with God’s grace; it requires starting over every morning, family prayer, mutual charity and unfailing forgiveness, sacrifice, respect, authentic chastity and openness to life, and a real, unbending secession from the perversions in our society. As difficult as these things are, they are precisely what make the Catholic home the last battleground, the final stand in the war between Heaven and Hell–they are precisely what will help to win it for Christ the King.

And later on that year, I wrote an article about how to make your own little sanctuary, which worked nicely (I thought, anyway) with the analogy of the Catholic home being a church in miniature.

But in terms of the Catholic home being a battleground? Recently I’ve been mulling over a list of my favorite spiritual weapons inside the Catholic home–and why they’re my favorites.

But first, why all this talk of spiritual weapons? Because the Catholic family, along with the entire Church, is at war: war against the pervasive spirit of the world . . .  war against the flesh and our concupiscence and all our fallen tendencies . . . and war against the devil, who prowls like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us. It’s a threefold war and the direst we’ll ever be in.

However, the interesting thing is that our particular battlefield in the home is usually littered with shoes, dirty clothes, toys, sibling arguments, and drinking straws that weren’t thrown away. Which can be slightly annoying, enlightening, distracting, or exhausting, depending on the day. (Or maybe all of these are present every day. You decide which.)

And while all these home-y paraphernalia can be avenues for grace, especially in how one deals with them (yes, even the drinking straws) . . . it’s really good to have reminders of the actual transcendent nature of the supernatural battle we’re fighting as Catholic families on our battlefield of a few hundred or few thousand square feet of carpet and matchbox cars. (And matchbox cars are just not transcendent . . . I’m sorry.)

Many of these “reminders” are sacramentals . . . and they are truly necessary for the Catholic home, as both reminders and weapons in this battle!

Permit me to tell a story before I go any further . . .

Once upon a time, a young person visiting our old house commented to me and my sister (I could only have been about thirteen), “Um, you know, it would be kind of hard for you if you decided to change your faith while living here.”

While he was most likely left a little agnostically uncomfortable by the unabashed Catholic-ness of our home, (“My heavenly days, they’ve even got a crucifix in the guest bathroom, and a saint calendar on their pantry door”), you could easily translate his statement into, “Um, you know, it would be kind of hard for you if you decided to stop fighting the war while living here.”

After all, all this dear fellow could see was sacramentals. Ev-ery-where. However, what he didn’t realize was that he was speaking to soldiers and commenting on how, because of the presence of so many weapons, it would be hard for us to change our battle-oriented minds to any other persuasion as long as we were in our Catholic home.

And although he probably didn’t realize it, he was eloquently witnessing to a very important truth. Whether you look at the Catholic home as a church in miniature, or as a battleground, the appearance of your home has to witness to who you are. This is where sacramentals, along with our orthodox lifestyles, can come into very effective play.

Now . . . before I continue gushing on about my favorite sacramentals, in the context of spiritual battle in the Catholic family, I think should clearly define what a sacramental is. To this end, I shall resort to the ever-helpful Fish Eaters:

{A} sacramental is a sacred sign that signifies effects obtained through the Church’s intercession. While all of the seven Sacraments are Christ-instituted and always do exactly what they signify ex opere operato (“from the deed done”), sacramentals are usually Church-instituted (though some are Christ-instituted). They work through the power and prayers of the Church (ex opere operantis Ecclesiae) and, subjectively, ex opere operantis, that is, through the pious disposition of the one using them. Sacramentals drive away evil spirit, and when piously used, remit venial sin and prepare the soul for grace.

Sacramentals can be material things (blessed objects, such as scapulars, Rosaries, Crucifxes, medals,  Holy Water, etc.) or actions (the Sign of the Cross, genuflection, prayers, the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, etc.). Note that only a priest has the power to bless an object and make it a sacramental. Lay Catholics are free to bless objects, even using the prayers priests use — and we do so often in blessing our children, blessing meals, blessing Advent wreaths or Mary Gardens, etc. — but our blessings act as “mere” pleas to God. Priests alone have been given the power to bless with a guarantee, as it were, and it is they and they alone who can take a new Crucifix or Rosary and turn them into sacramentals with the power and prayers of the entire Church behind them.

Now, without further ado, here are my five personal favorite spiritual weapons/sacramentals for the Catholic home:

  1. Blessed Crucifixes ~ The Sign of the Cross

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To be even more precise, a crucifix above each doorway, or in every room . . . don’t hold back!

I joined the crucifix and the Sign of the Cross together for my first item, because looking on the crucifix should always inspire us to make the Sign of the Cross . . . often!

The need for multiple crucifixes in the Catholic home, and the need for making the Sign of the Cross frequently, really needs no explanation . . . but I’ll leave it to St. Jean Marie Vianney to explain anyway 🙂

“The Sign of the Cross is the most terrible weapon against the devil. For this reason, the Church displays images of the cross so that we can have it continually in front of our minds to recall to us just what our souls are worth and what they cost Jesus Christ. For the same reason, the Church wants us to make the Sign of the Cross ourselves at every  juncture of the day: when we go to bed, when we awaken during the night, when we get up, when we begin any action, and above all when we’re tempted . . . .

“Fill your children, my dear brethren, with the greatest respect for the Cross, and always have a blessed cross on yourselves. Respect for the Cross will protect you against the Devil, from the vengeance of heaven, and from all danger.”

-from his Sermons

As Catholic families, we need to have the Cross fixed in front of our eyes every day. The Crucifix unfailingly reminds us that, in our daily battles, It is our only hope, our only victory.

2. Blessed Images of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts.

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The blessed images of the King and Queen of the Universe strengthen the combating Catholic family. What soldier wouldn’t lift his head and firm up his heart at the sight of the banners of his Lord and Lady? What group of besieged fighters wouldn’t rally to their King’s and Queen’s flag?

The blessed images of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts are weapons of encouragement, strength, and morale for the Catholic family. The Two Hearts are the banners around which we gather to renew our daily strength, in good times and in bad.

They’re the emblems of our hope; they are the two Rays of light that penetrate into our vale of tears. No Catholic home should be without them!

The Church, the Spouse of Christ, is born from His broken Heart, which is the gate made in the side of the ark for the salvation of all mankind. Out of that door grace flows incessantly as from a sevenfold stream, that we may wash our soiled robes in the blood of the Lamb.

from the Hymn for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RCDM, pg. 723)

Mary was created immaculate, and therefore the grace of God streamed into her soul without check or hindrance. Her sinlessness, her heavenly purity, directed every action, every movement to God. Her Heart was the pattern and model of all virtues, of all purity.  “Blessed are the pure in heart!”

-from the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (RCDM, pg. 1373)

 

3. Blessed Statues

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Please tell me you’re obsessed with familiar with Lord of the Rings? 🙂

Towards the end of the film The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn (a king in exile), while riding down the River Anduin with the remaining Fellowship members, looks up and beholds the Argonath: two towering monuments carved into the shape of old kings, bordering each side of the river. They mark the entrance into the realm of his people.

Upon seeing them, involuntary awe filters across Aragorn’s face. “My kin,” he whispers. And only the next day, he fights an unexpected, brutal battle on the shores of the same river with valor and courage.

In my humble (Tolkien-infested) opinion, this is a perfect depiction of what religious statues do for the Catholic family.

Every Catholic family should keep blessed statues of the saints in their homes for veneration and contemplation. These statues are battle monuments–or, to be more correct, monuments of victory. The saints are our heroes, the soldiers who have gone before us, bravely, and who have been victors in this great spiritual battle, whether they were young or old, man or woman, priest, religious or lay person.

Being able to look on something as concrete and lifelike as a religious statue reminds us that the Blessed in Heaven were truly flesh and blood, and at the resurrection of the dead, they will be again.

Nothing says it better than the 1962 Missal:

One of the joys of eternal salvation will be the ravishing society of all the other citizens of heaven, who are now praying for us to join them.

Yet we should remember that when we beg for “some part and fellowship” with the Apostles and Martyrs, that we are accepting to share also in their labors, sufferings, and combats–in their daily offertory.

(Image from EWTN Religious Catalogue)

4. Holy Water

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Holy water is a must-have in the Catholic home. My parents bless themselves and my siblings each night with holy water (which we obtain from our parish), and although we have numerous lovely holy water fonts around our house (I think a total of four or five . . .), we try to make sure that at least the one in our living room actually has holy water in it. (I know, I know . . . a holy water font with holy water actually in it? What an idea!)

We try to remember to bless ourselves when we’re leaving home, or coming back, or when we’re in special need of grace. (Yes . . . those moments.)

St. Teresa of Avila stated emphatically:

I know by frequent experience that there is nothing that puts the demons to flight like holy water . . . As for me, my soul is conscious of a special and most distinct consolation whenever I take it. Indeed, I feel almost always a certain refreshing that I cannot describe, together with an inward joy that comforts my whole soul.

5. The Rosary

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I do hope you felt this one coming 😉

Yes, there are abundant reasons for the Catholic family to pray the rosary together . . . and so many things that make it seem almost impossible to pray together on a regular basis!

But let’s not forget . . .

The rosary is the scourge of the devil. (Pope Adrian VI)

The rosary is a treasure of graces. (Pope Paul V)

The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, Who so loves His Mother. (St. Louis de Montfort.)

The rosary is the weapon. (St. Padre Pio)

I think that says enough in itself 🙂 Every Catholic home should have this great prayer, this great sacramental, in its armory.

So, if as Lucia dos Santos revealed, “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family,” let’s not hesitate to secure our homes and families with these (and many other) powerful weapons, and to use them with frequency, zeal and devotion. Let’s not forget that our homes are the battlefield, and that we have an urgent mission to spread that “deadly odor” of grace near and far, until it drives all evil things away and opens the door for Love Incarnate to enter in.

Of Patron Saints . . .

Out of the multitude of things I love about the Catholic faith, having patron saints is pretty near the top of the list 🙂 After all . . . the reality of having certain holy intercessors, chosen out of the entire Communion of Saints, to protect and guide me through their prayers, and to set forth their example to me, is quite powerful!

Thanks to my date of birth, the name I received at Baptism, and my Confirmation, I have four patron saints (plus a gratuitous amount of others that I’ve “adopted” over the years, but that’s for another post . . .). Having just celebrated my Name Day (see below), I was inspired to briefly share them here, and, of course, to make them the patron saints of this site!

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Our Lady of Lourdes

Looking up towards the grotto {Bernadette} saw some movement among the branches, then there floated out of the opening a golden cloud, and in the midst of it was the figure of a beautiful young girl who placed herself in a small niche in the rock, at one side of the opening and slightly above it. In the crannies around this niche grew stunted vines and shrubs, and in particular a white eglantine. Bernadette, staring in fascination, saw that the luminous apparition was dressed in a soft white robe, with a broad girdle of blue, and a long white veil that partially covered her hair. Her eyes were blue and gentle. Golden roses gleamed on her bare feet. When the vision smiled and beckoned to Bernadette, the girl’s fear vanished and she came a few steps nearer, then sank reverently to her knees. She drew her rosary from her pocket, for, in moments of stress, she habitually said her beads. The mysterious being also had a rosary, of large white beads, and to quote Bernadette’s own account: “The Lady let me pray alone; she passed the beads of the rosary between her fingers, but said nothing; only at the end of each decade did she say the Gloria with me.” When the recitation was finished, the Lady vanished into the cave and the golden mist disappeared with her.

-from EWTN.com

Being named Mary was one of the best things that ever happened to me; I have the Blessed Mother not only as my Mother, but as my namesake and one of my special patrons!

However . . . as Our Lady has quite a few titles, quite a few feasts, and quite a few apparitions (putting it lightly) . . . it makes choosing a patronal feast day/Name Day a tiny bit difficult. Fortunately, my parents took that decision out of my hands and decided on Our Lady of Lourdes to be the special feast on which we celebrate my Name Day. (Don’t know what a Name Day is? Read this and then make plans to celebrate yours/your family members’! You should at least make a cake.)

Why did my parents choose Our Lady of Lourdes? My closest-in-age sister has a February birthday, but her patronal feastday is in August (the feast of St. Clare). As my birthday is in August, my parents decided to let my Name Day be in February, to where we bookend one another . . . I have some pretty smart parents. 🙂

“I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Psalm) My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works to the King.”

-from the Introit for The Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary at Lourdes

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St. John the Baptist, Forerunner of Christ and Martyr

St. John cannot be commonly imitated by youth in his total retreat from the world; but he teaches what are the means by which they must study, according to their circumstances, to sanctify that most precious age of life; what they must shun, in what maxims they ought to ground themselves, and how they are to form and strengthen in themselves the most perfect habits of all virtues. Let them consider him as a special pattern, and the model of innocence and of that fervour with which they must labour continually to improve in wisdom, piety, and every virtue.

-from Butler’s Lives of the Saints, 1866

St. John the Baptist is one of my birthday patrons . . . and what a patron to have. The last of the prophets; the Forerunner of Christ; the saint sanctified by Christ while still in the womb; the cousin of the Messiah who tirelessly urged repentance and conversion of heart; saint who died through his zealous and fearless words, which defended holy marriage as God intended it.

As a writer who relies on words, and most of all, as a young woman passionate for Catholic truth especially in regards to marriage and family, it’s only becoming clearer to me why God destined St. John the Baptist as one of my special heavenly intercessors!

“I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed; I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved exceedingly. (Psalm) It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High.”

-from the Introit for The Beheading of St. John the Baptist

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St. Sabina, Widow and Martyr

She was a rich widow lady of high birth, and lived in the province of Umbria in Italy. She had a servant called Seraphia, a native of Antioch in Syria, who was a zealous Christian, and served God in the holy state of virginity. The religious deportment of this virtuous maid-servant had such an influence over the mistress, that she was converted to the Christian faith; and so powerfully did the great truths of our holy religion operate on her soul, that her fervour and piety soon rendered her name illustrious among the great lights of the church, in the beginning of the second century. The persecution of Adrian beginning to rage, Beryllus, governor of the province, caused Sabina and Seraphia to be apprehended, and the latter to be beat to death with clubs. Sabina was discharged out of regard to her quality and friends; but her zeal procured her the crown of martyrdom the year following.

-from Butler’s The Lives of the Saints, 1866

St. Sabina, my other birthday-patron, was a recent discovery . . . and I’m fascinated by her! What an amazing story. As with many of the early Roman martyrs, the details of her life are few, but a few are all my imagination needs 🙂

We’re very familiar with the blessed Virgin Martyrs, such as St. Agnes, St. Cecilia, St. Lucy, etc., but female martyrs who were married, or widowed, are fewer in record. I have to admit how delighted I am that I have as my patron saint a woman, once a wife, who was in charge of running a large household, and who converted to Christianity and exhibited the greatest courage and piety in the last years of her life.

Her servant, St. Seraphia, was probably busy with home-oriented tasks all day. It may be very likely that St. Sabina, after her conversion to Christianity, would meet with her servant and they would discuss their faith in secret while both sharing in ordinary chores. Together, they may very well have been cases-in-point of St. Stanislaus Kostka’s words, “I find heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms.”

“The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I have understood Thy testimonies, O Lord: I have seen an end of all perfection; Thy commandment is exceeding broad. (Psalm) Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.”

-from the Introit for Commemoration of St. Sabina, Widow and Martyr

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St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Virgin

On October 5, 1938, a young religious by the name Sister Faustina (Helen Kowalska) died in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow, Poland. She came from a very poor family that had struggled hard on their little farm during the terrible years of WWI. Sister had had only three years of very simple education. Hers were the humblest of tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or the vegetable garden, or as a porter.

On February 22, 1931, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared to this simple nun . . .
“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'”

-from EWTN.com

Well, I’ve already written over at Catholic Exchange how I came to (unexpectedly) choose St. Faustina for my Confirmation patron, and how she continues to inspire me, so I won’t repeat here. But needless to say, she rounds out my list of patron saints in her own wonderful fashion 🙂

“All the rich among the people shall entreat Thy countenance: after her shall virgins be brought to the King: her companions shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. (Psalm) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.”

-from the Introit for Mass: Vultum Tuum of a Virgin not a Martyr

P.S. The images of all the above icons, except St. Sabina’s, are from MonasteryIcons.com. My siblings and I are hoping to eventually purchase the icons of all our patron saints from this site and hang them in our bedrooms . . . though it might take a while 😉

The Veil on the Shelf

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So . . . I bought a chapel veil last weekend.

From the online pictures, it just seemed perfect. There were little roses embroidered on it. It was ivory, rounded, lacy and feminine. (It’s highly possible that the traditional Catholic girl’s most frequent impulse buy could be categorized as the chapel veil she saw today. But I digress.)

I tend to drag my feet before buying anything (born saver), so I consulted my almost eighteen-year-old younger sister, who was on the other side of our bedroom. “Do you like this? Would you like to share it? We could share it.” (Somehow the thought of sharing it made it seem less of an impulse buy to me.)

She liked it.

“We could even wear it for our betrothal veil!” (When, of course, we’re actually getting betrothed.) “And our wedding veil!” (Similar caveat.) “We could share it and make it some sort of heirloom one day!”

It’s highly possible that the traditional Catholic girl’s most frequent dreamy application of the chapel veil she saw today is her Betrothal Or Wedding Veil. Or maybe it just doesn’t take much for my sister and I to talk about weddings. (We were in the most intense discussion about Galileo and Democritean atomism last week and somehow wound up talking about weddings. But again, I digress.)

In spite of our hypothetical plans for the veil, however, we were still planning on wearing it pretty frequently to Mass while still single young ladies. After all . . . that’s what a chapel veil is for.

Anyway . . . to continue my rather wandering saga. The veil arrived yesterday. I bundled up in my dad’s zip-up sweater and tramped down our long driveway, through the trees, to the roadside mailbox. The wind was cold. Eventually I arrived back in our steamy warm kitchen, panting from having fended off our euphoric dogs and from introducing cold air into my allllmooost well lungs. Mom was worried that I might relapse into this stubborn cold virus that everyone’s caught–but I had to get the veil.

In the nearby living room, my sister was sitting by our pitiful youngest sister, who was suffering from a fever. But the former grinned and mouthed silently, “I want to see it!”

So without further ado, I pulled apart the impossible stretchy, clingy plastic package with the glue flap (do you know what I’m talking about? That kind!) and pulled out the veil . . . and . . .

 . . . it was a different veil.

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It was pure white (no embroidered roses) and beautifully laced. Actually, it was so pure white and so beautifully laced that it pretty much looked entirely like something you would wear to a wedding.

I realized it was another veil I’d seen with my sister, but had decided against getting. Now, however, upon closer inspection . . . it was gorgeous.

When you buy something, and await something, and receive Something Else, it’s an interesting feeling. Like getting a different flavor of ice cream packed into your cone. You close your eyes, lick with a shudder of anticipation, and then your eyes fly open and you exclaim, “Oh! Strawberry.” But . . . you slowly realize you enjoy strawberry just as much. (Sorry. I digress again.)

Similarly, my sister and I examined this snowy white, very lacy chapel veil with something between impartial evaluation and growing reverence. “You could send it back,” Mom suggested.

“I know . . .” I agreed with Classic Reluctance.

I went and tried it on.

Then my sister tried it on.

We looked at one another and grinned. I tend to think that an unexpected event often hints at God’s will. Thusly, if I’d received a different (equally priced) veil than the one I’d ordered, well, then, it might mean I should keep it.

“Let’s just save this for both our betrothals and weddings,” one of us said after a moment. (I can’t remember who . . . my sister and I might as well share brains, we have so many of the same thoughts.)

We agreed. Yes, in a burst of heedless spontaneity, we decided to make this the veil we would both wear on our betrothal and wedding days. (This morning, our youngest sister asked pointedly: “Well, what if you have a double wedding?” I selflessly answered that, since I’m the oldest, I would wear it. But I love how younger siblings always contest and sharpen your logic.)

But this isn’t quite the end of the saga . . .

You see, each night my sister and I pray the Litany of St. Joseph for blessings on our future husbands (if we’re called to marriage, as we feel we are), and that Our Lord’s beloved foster father would protect them and bring us together in God’s time. It’s a precious tradition to both of us and has brought us closer to St. Joseph, as well as helped us to trust God more with our future.

And something about the arrival of this unexpected veil dropped a new idea in my mind . . .

. . . and ended up becoming a simple St. Joseph’s altar in our room.

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(Sorry . . . a terrible flash picture edited to make it look a little less terrible. Not sure it worked. Oh, well.)

Granted, it’s only fabric yellow flowers, a candle, our veil (safely in its bag), and a holy card of St. Joseph . . . but it means something to us. (I have a larger image of St. Joseph that I want to print out and frame, so you might get a glimpse at our updated altar at some point in the future.) But however it looks at the moment, from now on, we’ll pray our nightly litany kneeling in front of it (and hopefully we’ll light the candle if we can actually remember to bring up a lighter . . .). Our future betrothal/wedding veil sits on the altar as a sign of our personally consecrating to St. Joseph our current virginity and our future (hopefully!) Catholic wifehood.

It’s definitely simple, and it probably will seem girlish and a little too spontaneous . . . but hopefully it had something to do with the Holy Ghost. This way, when those completely special and grace-filled days for my sister and I finally arrive (in which we will NOT be talking about Democritean atomism), we won’t have the smallest chance of forgetting the saint who protected us and brought us (and our husbands!) to that moment.

St. Joseph, safeguard of virgins, ora pro nobis!

P.S. If you’re a single Catholic lady, or a mother/sister/relative/friend of one, please feel free to imitate or to share with others, if you’d like to. No copyrights are attached 🙂

UPDATED: Within five minutes of having read this post, my dad gave my sister and I his old statue of St. Joseph for our altar! With a few minor adjustments, it now looks like this:

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Thinking about this blog . . .

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So . . . as the title of this post vaguely hints at, I’ve been thinking about this blog. 😉 I sat down this morning and thoughtfully/prayerfully pondered why I’m writing here {which was probably a good thing . . .}, how I’m writing here, and whether or not I should share a little bit more about my story in order to put all of these endless Benedic words into context . . .

. . . and the answer was a pretty prompt yes 🙂

So, without further ado, here are the ramblings which I came up with, and now inflict on you!

Even though I love writing {inordinately} and have been scribbling down stories {with plots of varying worth} since I was ten years old . . . I’ve always had a bigger dream. A tremendous, ambitious hope for my life for as long as I can remember. It’s a little staggering and maybe a bit pretentious {considering my many flaws}. When I announced it to my 8th grade PSR class, it got a few sniggers, but I didn’t care. We’re told to dream big, so that’s what I’ve done.

I want to be a stay-at-home Catholic wife and homeschooling mom; of the homiest, happiest, and most traditional sort.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. And even during the ongoing spiritual discernment of my later young adult years; even when I contemplate the truly amazing beauty of the vocation to religious life and listen for that possible Divine call to it; that whisper in my heart hasn’t gone away, but rather, only become clearer and more insistent and captivating.

I’m in a slightly interesting situation because, having completed my high school education at home (yes, homeschooled all my life!) and gotten my hands on that coveted diploma several years ago, I decided not to go to college, but instead to prepare physically and spiritually for this most likely domestically-oriented vocation of mine, sniff around, help my parents at home, do odds and ends, and see where God leads me.

And . . . it’s been a beautiful journey!

Apart from my ongoing writing publications, I’ve gotten to do other amazing things like becoming a Laundry Queen {yes, they exist}, flexing my cooking skills {well, whatever skills I have…}, tutoring my siblings in math and Latin, learning Gregorian chant, building marvelous friendships, buying new mantillas on impulse, babysitting adorable kids who perpetually stick crayons in my mouth, talking incessantly about theology and culture, and truly burying myself into what it means to be a traditional Catholic.

But anyway, with that having been said . . . with my eyes and heart looking towards eventual wifehood and motherhood, it might not be a huge surprise to hear that I haunt Catholic homeschooling mom blogs as a way to learn {and daydream} until God sees fit to bring me into my vocation. Apart from my own mother and the amazing Catholic mothers I know personally, these ladies are my heroes. Some young women might follow Taylor Swift, but I follow the Catholic mom who writes about her messy kitchens and last-minute name day celebrations, baptisms, spit-up and homeschool curriculums. I guess these blogs are part of my preparation-curriculm, so to speak. 😀

And since I can’t yet have a “homeschooling mom blog” of my own {how I await that day!} . . . I think Benedic, Domine, Nos is becoming my “a-traditional-Catholic-girl-who-wants-to-be-a-homeschooling-mom-blog” blog. If that makes any sense.

Here, since the beginning, I’ve been hungry to write about the beauties and graces, the essential importance of a Catholic family rooted in the home and striving for sainthood. And, of course, it’s also where I link to my off-site articles, just to keep things organized and slightly professional looking. 🙂

But across these first few months of starting up this site, I confess I’ve still been finding my footing and trying to nail down my guiding principle {if you will} as to what I share, in what tone I share it, and why I’m writing here. {That’s probably been more than apparent!}

And in trying to nail these things down, I came to a little realization.

When writing, it can become easy to take yourself and your passions very seriously. {At least, it’s very, very, very easy for me to do this.} An idea catches you up, and you pound and pound the keyboard until you’ve expressed it in the best and most convincing way you’re capable of. In today’s either noncommittal or irreverent culture, this passion and earnestness is an absolute necessity when it comes to expressing, and arguing for, the truths of our Catholic faith, and of traditional Catholic family living.

But I recently realized that, in my thirst for truth, I’m equally moved and inspired by joy, humor, honesty, and confessions of everyday ordinariness. The little, personally opened windows into the laundry room and the messy family den inspire me as much as the passionate articles about the necessity for holy families if we’re to redeem anything in our fallen culture.

In fact, they’re really twined together. I think we all need both kinds of writing.

So, I’m going to try even more to spread both kinds of writing around here at my own site: a healthy combination of the lighthearted reflections, the personal musings, and the deep thinking 🙂

I’m eagerly looking forward to lots of new posts, many new thoughts, and the eventual day not too many years from now where Benedic might just possibly become an actual Catholic homeschooling mom blog . . . but until then, always and everywhere, Fiat, and Deo Gratias!

(P.S. I also posted these ramblings under my “About me” tab . . .)