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Domestic Church Ink Slingers Kasey Lent Liturgical Year

My Liturgical Suitcase: The Penitential Psalms

My Liturgical Suitcase
I never felt a weight associated with the liturgical seasons until I had children.

From the moment I held my eldest son, I knew I had the grave responsibility to raise him as a good Catholic in a world that, at times, can be a very hostile and cruel place.

Selfishly, I also wanted memories.

I wanted the cookie baking, card making, St. Nicholas shoes filling, Easter basket earning memories of a home that was built on the shoulders of a Catholic tradition.

The issue was that I wanted traditions that I hadn’t been raised with myself and I was floundering in the Pinterest perfect social media posts of bloggers and friends who had already found their secret sauce.

I was also a hormonal new mom looking for purpose and I was drinking deep from a well of insecurity.

So naturally, I tried everything.

I handpainted Jesse Tree ornaments.
I baked traditional Easter cookies that my baby couldn’t even eat yet.  
I spent hours looking for an Advent wreath that would fit on our tiny apartment table.
I agonized over the Masses I missed because of sleep deprivation and nursing troubles.

And ultimately, I felt like a failure. There wasn’t a way to do everything and be everything in the throes of early motherhood.

And then a streak of real life happened.

It started with a nasty bout of flu during the Triduum.

A pregnancy that made it difficult to enter our church because of the incense.

And recently, two Christmas seasons that were spent with very ill grandparents.

This past year, my sons and I flew across the country to be caregivers for my mother-in-law who had fallen ill during chemotherapy.

No tree.
No gifts from us.
And a church that felt foreign.

I cannot say this was ground zero. I will not lament over an important duty. It was the only right decision.

But it did break me.

It disconnected me from the constant stream of expectations I had built up for myself.

It gave me a suitcase with actual limits and asked: “What are you bringing with you?”

After essentials, there was room for three things: my Bible, my missal, and a cross to hang over the door.

As Christmas approached we were no longer hanging hand painted ornaments on a lighted tree branch. We weren’t singing Christmas carols or baking cookies. But we were returning to scripture every day. We were together and I could breathe into a season of hope in a time when I felt very alone.

For Lent, I have decided to simplify my season routine again and to focus on reading scripture with my children. My husband introduced me to the seven penitential psalms and I thought their history was worth sharing.

These particular psalms are grouped together not only because of their expressions of sorrow for sin but also because of their association with the seven deadly sins. They have often been interpreted as a type of spiritual ladder in which the reader embraces a separate virtue as he or she reads each psalm. Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly assigned them as such:

Psalm 6: Fear of Punishment
Psalm 32: Sorrow for Sin and the Desire for Confession
Psalm 38: Hope of Grace
Psalm 51: A Love of Purity and Mercy
Psalm 102: A Longing for Heaven
Psalm 130: Confidence in Divine Mercy
Psalm 143: Joy  

However, the grouping of these psalms extends much further back than Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly’s. St. Augustine of Hippo mentions them as early as the 5th century and is said to have had copies of them posted near his deathbed. Up until 1972, minor orders and those that received tonsure were assigned these psalms as part of a daily prayer practice.

Personally, I am planning to focus on one each Sunday of Lent, with hopes that I will reflect and re-read them during the weeks leading up to Easter. We are also holding on to our family fasting traditions, but I will be taking this time to reassess my general approach to liturgical living and to define the limits of my proverbial “suitcase.”

What am I bringing with me?

With Lent here, I have given myself more permission to look up from my daily “to-do” list. It’s been a hidden gift. I have had time to truly reflect on the talents of my friends.

Each of the Catholic ladies in my life has a beautiful and unique suitcase of their own- different shapes, depths, colors, and filled with different essentials. I have crafty friends that build Lenten roads that span the entirety of their house, friends that dig into their prayer life with saintly devotion, friends that attend morning Mass every week, friends that bake traditional breads, and friends that host every single person that is without a home regardless of their budget or chair count.

Truly, I am blessed with their example.  

Whatever you fill your suitcase with, I am honored to be traveling with you towards the same horizon. May you have a blessed and fruitful Lent.

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Advent Catechism Christmas Crafts Domestic Church Faith Formation Homeschool Ink Slingers It Worked For Me Liturgical Year Mary Motherhood Parenting Raising Saints

Ten Liturgical Activities for Advent

This article would actually apply for any Catholic family, not just home educators as it deals with liturgical activities for Advent.  

Today in the United States of America we celebrate Thanksgiving.  As I thought and thought about what I could possibly write about without boring you (and really, who is online on Thanksgiving?), I thought the one thing I am most thankful for is being Roman Catholic. With that came to mind the thought that we are beginning a brand new Liturgical Year!  This time of year is SO BUSY and our lives seem to go on overdrive.  It is rather exhausting at times and reminds me of when we used to do “vacations” to theme parks- wake up, go, go, go, crazy, repeat!

A couple of years ago we decided to END the craziness in our lives during Advent and refocus on the birth of Christ. For starters, we don’t decorate for Christmas until the 24th.  It is rather convenient that my family lives in Florida and my husband’s lives in Virginia, so we do not need to leave the house for anything on the 24th and love it!  One of the things I did was create activities which were meaningful for my small children.  I think at the time they were 12, 6, 5, 3, and 1 when I made this.  This little kit is free and available to anyone with this link. I hope it will bring peace and calm to your Advent! Please make sure that you share this Catholic Sistas link if you want to share the files with others (versus sharing the files directly with them).  Thank you.

LOGO Advent

Here is what is included in this printable liturgical kit:

1. REFLECT: A form letter to Baby Jesus, listing things the child will be thankful for and what they plan on working on during Advent:

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2. WORKS OF MERCY. This page is a Christkindl activity, they get to do random acts of kindness (anonymously) for someone else in the family:

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3.  ENJOYMENT: Some fun coloring pages. One of the Holy Family and one to learn about the Advent Wreath.

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4. CRAFT & SHARE the FAITH: Here is a craft activity to share the faith by making big Advent candles that get “lit” when they weeks continue.

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5. PRAYER. Make an Advent Prayer chain to pray for a different person or thing each day of Advent.

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6. CALENDAR: Learn about the Advent season by creating your own calendar.

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7.  VOCABULARY: Have the children learn some Advent vocabulary words.

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8.  PUZZLES. Help the Holy Family get to Bethlehem.

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9. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS:  When “caught being good”, your child adds more “hay” into the manger for Baby Jesus.

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10. MATH PUZZLES.  In addition to vocabulary, why not add some Math into the activities?  Here the children make “puzzles” out of the pictures of the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, and the Holy Family then glue them down on the right order or sequence to remake the picture.
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To access the entire file, please click on this link:

Advent – Liturgical Activities for Catholic Children

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Advent Christmas Domestic Church Ink Slingers Liturgical Year Misty

20 Great Things about Being Catholic

  1. Who needs Stephen King or Paranormal movies when you have real-life martyrs?

    We’re friends with the REAL Saint Nicholas–the Catholic bishop who lived in the 4th century, whose generosity served as a model for Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Sinter Klaus, and all the other secular knock offs.

  2. With multiple weekend Masses, you can go to church AND still sleep in on Sunday morning.
  3. Our kids don’t need to watch horror movies for thrills and childhood nightmares; they can just read stories about how our martyrs died instead.
  4. We have a saint for every cause and occasion. Sore throat? There’s an app(arition) for that. Work as an elevator operator? There’s an app for that, too.
  5. We get to keep our Christmas decorations up nearly two weeks later than the rest of the world.
  6. We have so many feast days there’s no end to the excuses for a party. (A month ago, my family had a birthday party for St. Augustine, complete with Algerian food.)
  7. We have confession, the cheapest and most effective form of therapy.
  8. We gave the world the Bible (even if half the world uses it against us).
  9. We can believe in evolution AND God.
  10. We get two mothers and one of them is Queen of the Universe.
  11. Women are considered “God’s masterpiece.” (You notice He stopped after creating us.)
  12. The Incorruptibles–what’s not to love about saintly corpses that don’t rot?
  13. Yep, my daughter is a nun and my son-in-law is perfect. No, I mean REALLY perfect.

    We get the world’s only perfect son-in-law when our daughters become nuns.

  14. Babies–they’re a good thing.
  15. Sex–it’s a great thing. (Those looking for the meaning of life, just click on the link.)
  16. There’s no such thing as pointless misery–suffering actually has a purpose.
  17. We’re friends with spiritual heavyweights such as St. Peter, St. Ambrose, and St. Joan of Arc in THIS life, not just the next.
  18. The fruit of the vine is a blessing, not a curse.
  19. Candles, incense, liturgical colors–every new season of the year is a new feast for the senses.
  20. We get to witness (and experience) a miracle at every Mass–a piece of bread and cup of wine becoming God himself. It doesn’t get any better than that, folks.