suffering

Into the desert

Lent is almost here again.

I can still feel the pancakes from our EARLY Shrove Tuesday breakfast digesting in my stomach :). Curly sue and Fuzz are finishing theirs off for morning tea while watching an episode of Mister Maker. The elder two Β wish they had not eaten theirs in one sitting :).

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The rain is pouring outside, the wind roaring and whistling down the chimney. It is a bleak day. Autumn is here doing its best to remind us that winter is just around the corner.

And as I take a moment to gather my thoughts, I am struck by the stark beauty of the season upon us.

Lent strips everything back like the stormy wind outside.
It exposes our weaknesses and failings.
It makes us vulnerable and in need of protection.
We find our hearts seeking shelter, seeking the warmth of Gods merciful embrace.

Lent opens our eyes again to the brutal, humbling reality of the Cross

Allowing us to pick up our own with renewed vigor as we walk beside Christ.

Lent is not pretty or comfortable.
It is inconvenient and long.

Through the season of Lent we are painfully, beautifully moulded into a better likeness of Christ.

I have come to LOVE Lent!

As today is the last day before it all begins, I have been making preparations. Below is a list of what our wee family will be doing. Feel free to use any ideas as most of mine are inspired by others πŸ™‚

Lent in our Home

Hubby, Myself, Sunshine (9), Master Luke (6), Curly Sue (4) & Fuzz (2)

– Family prayer table covered with a purple sheet and simplified. Room made for Lenten prayer focuses. Crucifix left uncovered.

– Lenten chain – a paper chain made up of a purple link for each day (a different colour for Sundays) before Holy Week. Each link has something written on it to do. Each day you break open the link for the day and action what it says. I got this idea from a range of pins on Pinterest :), but below is the list I have created for our family πŸ™‚

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  • Ash Wed: Bury Hallelujah (make a sign with the word Hallelujah on it), seal it in a plastic bag and bury it πŸ™‚ You get the symbolism
  • Thurs 6th – Trad feast of St Perpetua & Felicity (watch DVD from Catholic Heroes) and talk about sacrifice and love
  • Frid 7th – Stations of the cross (great colouring in ones online)
  • Sat 8th – Temptation cookies (bake cookies and place them somewhere prominent to cool. Kids can’t eat them until Sunday. Discuss temptation πŸ™‚
  • Sun 9th – Confession and Mass (feast of St Dominic Savio)
  • Mon 10th – Make a tomb scene (pinterest has HEAPS of ideas!… not sure which one we will use yet :))
  • Tues 11th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet (these happen to fall onto the same day for us with our outings!)
  • Wed 12th – Memorise the Act of Faith
  • Thurs 13th -Fill a bag of toys/clothes to donate to SVDP
  • Frid 14th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 15th – Acts of service around home
  • Sun 16th – Confession and Mass
  • Mon 17th – St Patrick’s Day
  • Tues 18th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 19th – St Joseph
  • Thurs 20th – Make a get well parcel for Great Grandma
  • Frid 21st – Decide on and make a meatless meal for the family
  • Sat 22nd – Family Sabbath meal (as a child my family used to have a very simple Sabbath meal each Saturday night to welcome in the Sunday. I’ll post about this closer to the time :))
  • Sun 23rd – Confession & Mass
  • Mon 24th – Trad feast of St Gabriel
  • Tues 25th – Feast of the ANNUNCIATION Β (other activities as well as bring flowers for Mary statue and visit Jesus in Adoration)
  • Wed 26th – Make a salt dough crown of thorns and nails
  • Thurs 27th – Make up a food parcel for SVDP (St Vincent de Paul Society)
  • Frid 28th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 29th – Acts of service at Grandparents home
  • Sun 30th – Confession & Mass
  • Mon 31st – Make stick puppets for Holy Week (stay tuned!)
  • Tues 1st April – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 2nd – Write thank you letters to Priests
  • Thurs 3rd – Visit the local Zoo – talk about the significance of Jesus the Lamb of God and see the donkey’s (weather permitting!!!!) … otherwise we will use toys and books at home πŸ™‚
  • Frid 4th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 5th – Sabbath Meal with friends
  • Sun 6th – Trad PASSION SUNDAY – Confession & Mass (religious pictures/statues put away or covered with purple tissue paper)
  • Mon 7th – Finish making puppets
  • Tues 8th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 9th – Watch an Easter MovieΒ (this is a fave… “the Miracle Maker”… need to find a DVD copy as we don’t have a VCR anymore! :))
  • Thurs 10th – Make prayer cards to give out as gifts on Palm Sunday
  • Frid 11th – Make an Easter parcel for an old lady the children now
  • Sat 12th – Feast of St Gemma Galgani
  • Sun 13th – PALM SUNDAY

– Fasting from meat and only simple meals on Fridays

– Listening toΒ Lent in Ephesus , a BEAUTIFUL CD of music for Lent πŸ™‚ ( I got mine off Itunes)

For me personally I am doing the following:

– No Facebook πŸ™‚
– Skirt/dress a day…. Aghhhh! This one I’ve been unsure about but it would be VERY challenging for pants loving me… So therefore probably very beneficial πŸ™‚
– reading some of St Alphonsus Liguori’s work and A Thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp
– rising before 6am to pray

I pray that this wonderful, graced season will bear much fruit in your life and in the life of your family.

Remember all is naught if there is no charity in our hearts! πŸ™‚

“Do everything in Love!” – 1 Corinthians 16:14

Blessings!

Ruth xxx

BEHOLD the wood of the cross on which hung the Saviour of the world

I love the image of Christ crucified.

It is an image that confronts your eyes with graphic suffering, insults your mind with it’s injustice, breaks your heart with a sorrow no person can contain and ultimately makes you fall in love with A love like no other!

Being Catholic born and raised, I have been surrounded by the image of Jesus on the cross. I have gazed upon our Lord, I have examined his broken body in close detail, I have kissed his head and feet a thousand times.

Is this not just an image? Can veneration of a crucifix be right?

I watched, deeply moved today as I saw Sunshine, Master Luke and Curly Sue kiss the feet of Jesus on the crucifix during our Good Friday service. The took their turns with such devotion and such seriousness! Curly Sue gave him a real smacker of a kiss :). They knew that what they kissed was made out of wood and resin, but the action was that of love for Jesus. They kissed his feet because they knew that their Lord and God had done something SO great for them and had suffered so much to save them that the least they could do was venerate his broken body.

The crucifix does not turn ones soul away from God and towards itself…. how could it?

It speaks only of Jesus and leads only to Jesus!

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“When you are alone in your room, take your crucifix, kiss its five wounds reverently, tell it to
preach to you a little sermon, and then listen to the words of eternal life that it speaks to your heart; listen to the pleading of the thorns, the nails, the precious Blood. Oh, what an eloquent
sermon!” St Paul of Cross

May God bless you all as we journey through the night into the glorious light of the Risen Lord!

Ruth πŸ™‚

I am women, hear me pray!

I have been inspired and blessed tonight by a beautiful group of women!

As we shared tonight about prayer and setting time aside to spend with God, conversation once again turned to birth and labour. We all had a chuckle as try as we might conversation so often leads to that particular topic.

The truth is… birth is a rite of passage, an unbelievable experience however you go through it, that changes the women you are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For 9 months you carry within you a new, completely unique and wonderful human being with the potential to do an infinite number of beautiful things! You are a tabernacle of life…. radiating the love of a Creator God who has allowed you to take part in his creation!!

Birth involves suffering! They come hand and hand…. suffering and new life…….. just look at nature! Look at the hard times in your life and the fruit that those times bore when you emerged from the ashes!

When I was preparing for labour with my fourth child I decided that I would take on the suffering head on! I knew the kind of pain…. I knew I could get through it…. I knew that at the other end I would hold in my arms a precious gift beyond compare. But this time I would PRAY…. not Roar! I would take each contraction and offer it up as a prayer for someone or something… I wanted to make my suffering a prayer.

Well… it still hurt πŸ™‚ and I still had moments but I prayed through each contraction as if my life depended on it! What I didn’t expect was the grace I felt flooding my soul when my big “Fuzz” was born! It almost felt sacramental…. like I had been to confession! My heart felt so united to God and I felt such peace and joy….

God has made us women for a purpose! For those to be blessed with children, He gave you the strength, courage and wisdom to embrace birth and be transformed yourself! You not only give birth to a baby but your soul can itself be renewed and given life through uniting yourself to the suffering of the cross.

Anyway :)…. I was inspired tonight! Thank you to my lovely prayer group and your generous hearts! Thank you to all women who choose life and choose to suffer so that God may continue to bring life into our world!

Let our prayer be for LIFE for LOVE and for courage!

Blessings

Ruth