Ice, snow, no electricity, no water, schools, churches and business shut down. The recent week-long Arctic blast was the start of a Lenten season that I have never experienced before. The freezing temperatures presented many challenges for us in Texas and other southern states that rarely experience such frigid weather. However, being shut in with no place to go and minimal distractions turned out to be a blessing! My prayer life was more focused, plus I had more time to write, which was something I was longing for.
You see, weeks before Lent started, I came across a Catholic children’s literature writing contest that really grabbed my attention. My faith and children’s literature are two of my passions, and I desperately wanted to participate! However, I knew that it would be near impossible to take on this challenge because along with working a full-time job (that does not have to do with writing), I had a deadline for another major writing project due the first week of Lent, and I just flat-out would not have the time.
Then the winter storm came.
With lots of unexpected spare time, and a pencil and notepad, I snuggled up was able to scratch out a first rough draft of a poem to submit to the contest. Each day brought more revisions and new drafts. Ash Wednesday passed with no power and water, but I kept writing. Just before it was time to submit to the contest, our electricity came back on! Not only was I able to submit my poem for the contest, but I also was able to meet my other writing deadline! God is good!
I hope you enjoy my submission, The King, and be sure to check out the host of the contest, Theresa Kiser, as well as the other wonderful authors that took part. I wish you all a blessed Lent!
Within a cave of winter cold,
A newborn King gets gift of gold.
The babe is our Lord,
Who escaped the sword,
Because his dad does what he’s told.
The King grows up and fasts and prays,
Within the desert, forty days.
Temptation then came,
But he beat the game,
Because he minds The Father’s ways.
The King does heal and teach and feed,
He’s hailed with palms; beaten with reed.
The crowd screams, Yes, kill!
Then his blood does spill,
Because of fear and hate and greed.
The King is slain and put in grave,
By everyone he came to save.
And though he is dead,
There’s nothing to dread,
Because he rose and us forgave!
Within a Lent of winter cold,
Let’s rend our hearts; do what we’re told.
We’ll fast, and we’ll pray,
Forgive the wrong way,
And give The King our gifts of gold.
The liturgical season of Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas. Here are 4 facts about this four week long season.
1) First of all, it is rarely 4 full weeks long! Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, and depending on what day of the week December 25th falls on, the season of Advent could be as short as 22 days!
2) The word advent in Latin means “coming.” It is a season to prepare for Christmas-when Christ’s first coming to us is remembered; AND it is a season to prepare for His second coming at the end of time.
3) The most common symbol for Advent is the Advent Wreath. The circle of evergreen represents everlasting life. The gradual lighting of the four candles, one on each Sunday of the Advent season, symbolizes Christ, “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21).
Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles symbolize the prayer and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday which is a time of rejoicing, because it is the midpoint of Advent, when preparation is now half over and Christmas is close.
4) Advent…A “Little Lent?”
Both Western and Eastern Churches used to observe Advent with the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Giving alms to the poor and increasing our prayer life are still common today, but fasting has fallen by the wayside in the West, though the Eastern Orthodox and Easter Catholic churches continue to observe a strict Advent fast. This tradition of fasting is something to prayerfully reconsider undertaking.
An Advent Prayer: Dear God, be with us and guide us as we wait and prepare for the coming of your son-our savior Jesus. And may the light of His presence bring peace and joy to our hearts.
November 1st is All Saints Day when many recall their favorite saints. It is easy to place these virtuous men and women on a pedestal and think you could never achieve sanctity. Some people say, “I’m no saint” like it is an unreachable goal. The fact is that we are all called to be saints.
“What are we supposed to do?” This question arose recently in a small group discussion with some of my family and friends. We had decided to get together (via an online meeting) to try and make sense of the unsettling things that have been happening in our country and beyond. As Christians, we pondered the classic question of what would Jesus do? We knew prayer was a definite answer. In addition to prayer, we also felt a need for action.
OK, for the small percentage of people who are actually born today (May 31st) this happy birthday wish might make sense, but the rest of you might be wondering about this joyful greeting. Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, also known as the birthday of the Church – not the church building – but the people who are the Church.
Christ promised his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit to help them after he ascended into heaven, and on Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, they were granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These “birthday gifts” from the Holy Spirit were pretty amazing! Continue reading →
I learned the beautiful prayer “Hail, Holy Queen” as an adult, by hearing it prayed by others in prayer groups and on EWTN’s broadcast of the Rosary. I’ve always thought of it as referring to the state of our life here on earth before we see Jesus in heaven (“…show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus…”). I see it in another light now because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading →
We are in a time when we cannot go to our normal place of worship and celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the rest of our church community. Yet the third commandment tells us that we are to keep holy the sabbath day! It has been suggested that we watch Mass online or on TV. This is a wonderful opportunity for the domestic Church (which is the family) to delve deeper into the beauty of the Mass.
Below are suggested tips for reverently viewing Mass from home. Be sure to read them all well in advance and have the children help get things ready. Most all the tips are very kid-friendly, and they will truly enjoy the Mass much more if they help prepare! Continue reading →