Week in Review: Week IIReading
I am really falling behind here! Still reading the same things mentioned in my review Week I in addition to the many blogs I enjoy frequenting (which I probably enjoy frequenting too much, otherwise I would have finished a book by now!). Next, I really want to get into writings by early writers and those by various Popes (Humanae Vitae, Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth series...). That may be biting off more than I can chew right now, but it is good to have plans.
1. I recently discovered the blog Like Mother, Like Daughter and absolutely love it. I have already bookmarked some posts (like this one) for future reference. The writing is done by mothers and daughters who offer their input on household activities, child-rearing, wedding preparation, Lent, education (and on and on) in very personable and straightforward voices. I feel like I am sitting down with a close friend or wise matriarch when I read the posts. It is such rich and valuable stuff to read if you're like me and totally into all of the things aforementioned.
2. This post, as referred to me by Father Z, whose emphasized and comment-added version is also worth a look. I absolutely love this topic. On a broader note, it strikes me as more than a little odd that society dictates that women should act and be treated more like men, but then it wonders why men seem to still be scumbags. Why can't I be regarded as equal to a man and still be treated like a lady when I go out? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that acting as if there is no difference between men and women will allow men to do exactly what women say that want: be treated as nothing different. It won't make men appreciate your beauty or help you navigate large puddles or pull out your chair. I could probably say more about this: maybe a later post...
3. Oh my word. This post by Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas. I thought I couldn't get more sappy about having a family after last week's post, but this did me in. It is an absolutely lovely reflection on becoming a mother. If anything boggles my mind, it is the love parents have for their children. We should be floored by such thoughts concerning our Heavenly Father: nothing can make us worthy enough to be valued by Him but for the fierce love He has for His children.
Check Your Calendar
Lent! It's happening this week! I have yet to even decide which service I will be going to that day (luckily, the parish on my University's grounds has so many services: I love that!), but I have made a bit of progress with my plans. At RCIA last week, the coordinator gave us handouts on Lent. Back in the 6th century, Catholics abstained from meat, eggs and dairy products all of Lent. This practice led to the custom of making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (I am trying to get some people to join me in this. Who doesn't love pancakes?) to use up animal products, and then to the giving of eggs at Easter. Crazy cool, right?
The handout also talked about three levels of mortification: Level one, in which one gives up something that is not sinful, but may be a habit one wants to eliminate (watching T.V., using social media, playing video games, etc.); Level two, in which one gives up something that is an occasion of sin, that is, something that causes you to sin or be tempted to sin (going out leading to drunkenness, sexual sins, etc.); Level three, in which one gives up something that is neither a sin nor habit, but which you enjoy for the purpose of exercising greater devotion (walking instead of taking the bus, baking, smelling flowers, etc). Levels one and two are concerned with giving up things which one should give up; level three is concerned with giving up things which one does not need to, but does out of love for God. Mortification from level three can be offered for conversions or for the souls in Purgatory.
No one is obligated to give up something from each level, but consider participating in all three levels. Every sacrifice can bring you closer to God or be offered to God for a specific intention. Throughout Lent also, U.S. Catholics (18-59) are to fast on Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) and Good Friday (the day Our Lord suffered and died). This fast allows one full meal and, if necessary, two small snacks which together do not add up to the full meal. Abstinence from meat on Fridays (as on all Fridays of the year! Did you know?) is expected as well as almsgiving (giving money to the poor, giving more than usual during Offering).
|Probably my favorite Confession image of all time. So good...|
Also, also: go to Confession! Ash Wednesday's cross-formed ashes remind you that one day you will die (momento mori, y'know?): what better way to recognize that mortality than to be absolved? (Is that not a direct connection? You will die one day, so you don't want sins, especially mortal, still attached like leeches to your body, do you?) Going to Confession is also a good way to make yourself ready, presentable and clean for Easter (kind of the same idea as before). If you haven't gone in a long time, still go! Or maybe you have never gone. Not to worry: it is not as truly terrifying as one, no matter how panic-ridden, expects it to be; not at all so when compared with the indescribable joy and thankfulness that wells up in your soul after leaving. It is truly the best gift anyone this side of Baptism can experience. Make a good examination of conscience and confess each sin in kind and number (two notes: only mortal sins must be confessed, but it is not a bad practice to confess venial; if the number is too large to accurately count, a report of frequency--once a week, every day for two years--is an acceptable alternative to super-human memory).
If you are inexperienced with Confession, there are several articles and even phone apps (which do not substitute a real Confession!!) which guide one along in the examination and Confession process. Unless your priest is Padre Pio who knows what you did last Summer and knows you intend not to confess it, you should have a kind a patient priest willing to help (drag?) you along properly. At my parish, the act of contrition is even typed out and taped to the Confessional, so much is done to help you. Make sure to stay for Father's absolution (that is what actually forgives your sin) and assignment of penance, which is best done directly after leaving so it is not forgotten (penance often includes prayers, like the Our Father or Hail Mary). Father may also give advice, which is not penance, which helps you to avoid certain sin. My parish's Monsignor told our RCIA class that if a man has been a priest for two years, he has probably heard everything. Nothing will shock him and he is bound by the Seal from revealing anything confessed to him.
Go to Confession.
I was able to spend this Saturday afternoon with my sponsor, M, and her husband, H. We had some lunch and discovered that M and I were probably fraternal twins separated at birth. We have so much in common: aspirations of motherhood (she is actually several steps ahead of me, what with being 18 weeks along. It is absolutely exciting. That child will have one of the sweetest yet hawk-eyed mothers possible, which is perfect.), enjoyment of Latin Mass, mantillas and skirts, dislike of mushrooms, unfortunately exaggerated timelines of wearing braces, unruly curly hair and a love for natural peanut butter. We talked about Marian apparitions, our families, their marriage (how they met, when they married, that sort of thing), food, Councils, our discomfort with shaking hands during Mass and plenty else. I will definitely have to spend more time with them with the remaining months I have in this area. They are beyond kind and informative conversationalists.
I am learning some French for my Paris trip! I would like to at least try to communicate, if only in the simplest ways (a step above pointing and smiling at least. Oi.). I can say numbers and some family words. Let's see where that gets me in purchasing macarons....
|This little guy is pretty helpful.|
I am now in the fifth week of the semester and assignments and midterms are coming at me like snow would if this Winter were behaving like a proper Winter (but that also means ice, so I ain't even mad). Posts may be a little infrequent (or if they are, I either have found a Time Turner or am neglecting class work :/), but I will be trying to post very frequently to track my Lenten experience (seven weeks to Easter Vigil! Whaaat?!). Is there a patron saint of papers and exams?
Hope you all have a lovely Sunday!