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Annette Domestic Church Faith Formation Ink Slingers Motherhood Vocations

Sanctifying the Ordinary

Sanctifying the Ordinary

I have been changing diapers for the last 14 years of my life- a task that I first approached with a mix of apprehension and excitement as a new mom. It wasn’t long though before it evolved into a task I often dreaded, and I’m not ashamed to admit I sometimes begged my husband to complete for me. It always seemed that the baby in question would need changing at the most inopportune moments – when I was about to leave to work, in the middle of Mass, while I was helping an older sibling with homework, and it sometimes involved me changing outfits as I was heading out the door, or changing the baby again after I had already done so. It was a task that, I’m ashamed to admit, I would fulfill begrudgingly, because I had to, because I was the mom. There seemed to be no end in sight. I have five children, and right when one was getting out of diapers, another baby was arriving.

A priest once told me that there is sanctity in our ordinariness. God calls us to holiness right where we are, even in the midst of changing diapers. Going about my daily duties as a mother gave me a myriad of opportunities to serve the Body of Christ, beginning with my family. I had never really realized how all the “chores” I have to do on a daily basis serve a higher purpose. Every day, God gives me the opportunity to perform the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. I feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, several times a day, sometimes all day with so many kids in the house. I instruct the ignorant as I homeschool my children and help them understand what happens in the world. I counsel the doubtful when I answer their questions or boost their confidence. I admonish sinners when I warn them about the consequences of their actions. I attempt to bear wrongs patiently, something that is often challenging for me. I forgive offenses willingly and comfort the afflicted every time that I break up an argument and deal with the “he did this, and he did that.” We pray together as a family, for each other, for our world, for our friends and relatives, for our leaders, for the living and the dead.

Tasks Can Transform Us

Changing diapers, a task I loathe, is a task that has the power to transform me, to strengthen my spiritual journey. St. Therese of Lisieux reminds me of this. In her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, St. Therese details how she regularly performed tasks that she did not necessarily enjoy, like peeling potatoes or doing laundry while another Sister splashed dirty water on her. Instead of complaining or acting annoyed, like I sometimes do, St. Therese would thank God and embrace the “treasure” that God had bestowed on her. My vocations as a wife and mother, and all the sacrifices and tasks that they entail, are truly treasures God has given me. They are my road to sanctity, and through the little everyday challenges, I have the opportunity to grow closer to our Lord and experience the joy that comes from fulfilling God’s will. I begin my day with this Morning Prayer written by St. Therese:

Morning Prayer by St. Therese of Lisieux

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest
works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting
them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.

O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly
Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may
one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity.
Amen.

Sometimes it’s easy to believe the lie that you have to do something extraordinary to serve God or become a saint. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 25:40 that “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Every diaper I change, every right I wrong, every mouth I feed, every tear I wipe is a chance to serve Jesus. What a different attitude I would serve my family with if I remembered His words. For now, I’ll welcome every opportunity that God gives me to serve, whether it be in little ways or big ways, and pray that the Holy Spirit may guide me in finding joy in all things.

Categories
Books Colleen Prayer Reviews Sacred Scripture Spiritual Growth

Sacred Fire: Practicing Devotion to the Heart of Jesus – A Book Review

sacredheart“Sacred Fire: Practicing Devotion to the Heart of Jesus” by Philip Michael Bulman is a book that encourages devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus while explaining the “what” and the “how” of this devotion in a very plain, practical, yet inspirational way. Bulman does an excellent job tying in the ancient devotion with the writings of the saints, including St. Gertrude, St. Margaret Mary, St. Therese of Lisieux, Teresa of the Andes, and St. Faustina. He also explains the different elements of devotion and various ways the devotion can be lived out in one’s daily life.

At the beginning of each saint chapter, there is a mini biography and an explanation of the time period in which the saint lived as it is relevant to how devotion to the Sacred Heart was practiced at that moment of history. For instance, in St. Therese of Liseiux’s time period of the late 1800s, France was still suffering from Jansenism, that is, a strict emphasis on humanity’s sinful nature and God’s justice, without regard for God’s mercy. Therese combats this heresy by her devotion to the Sacred Heart, which focuses on the merciful love of God for each and every human in this world. Not only does he express how the devotion to the Sacred Heart is central to these saints’ lives, but the book is replete with their quotes. Many passage from the diary of St. Faustina, especially, are noteworthy and express the passionate love Christ has for us.

sacredheart2The devotion to the Sacred Heart can be ignited in many ways: the ways outlined in the book include receiving the Eucharist, praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart, and making acts of reparation to the Sacred Heart. The author explains each of these in detail while giving concrete examples of ways to increase this devotion. He breaks the Litany down, line by line, and gives the Biblical citations for each piece of the Litany.

One aspect of the book that I found very useful was the section on Scriptural references to the Sacred Heart. A common objection to any sort of Catholic devotion that many Protestants have is that it is not rooted in the Bible; Bulman refutes this objection by pointing out many instances in the Old Testament where there are references to God’s Heart, as well as many lines in Psalms that prefigure the Crucifixion and Christ’s love for mankind. The New Testament, too, is filled with Scripture indicating the properness of a devotion to the Sacred Heart, especially John’s encounter with Jesus at the Last Supper. While this book is explicitly Catholic with the extensive discussion about saints and the Eucharist, it is a good tool to learn how to explain devotion to the Sacred Heart to a non-Catholic, on a Scriptural level.

This is not a book to devour all in one sitting; it is a book that should be read slowly, savored, meditated upon, one chapter at a time. It is an excellent choice for someone who wants to know and love Christ better but isn’t exactly sure where to start – begin by reading a chapter and simply reflecting on the the Scripture verses and the words of the saints. Even one who is well-acquainted with the devotion will have much to ponder upon and learn from this book as they desire to grow spiritually.

“…Jesus reveals his Heart as a lavish fountain of salvation for sinners and saints alike. His Heart pours forth a constant shower of graces, and each of us can drink freely of the life-giving waters that spring in torrents from this heavenly source. Indeed, Jesus longs to bless us so much that His charity moves Him to reward us for holy desires alone.” (p. 37)

{I received a copy of this book to review; all opinions expressed are my own.}

Categories
Giveaways

One last rally for Christmas shopping giveaway – HUZZAH!

Do you get tired of giveaways? 

If so, you need to look away. And you might want to stop reading our blog because I LURV me some giveaways. This time of year is SO much fun from my end because the one thing I enjoy doing is promoting and advocating for businesses I really like. And when they’re Catholic, so much the “bettah!”

This is going to be our final giveaway before the madness of Christmas shipping sets in. Don’t worry…we will be resuming some more AMAZING giveaways after the new year.

Onto the details. Have you heard of Catholic Child before? They are an online company that specializes in children’s toys and gifts. I’ve been shopping with them for over five years and have thoroughly enjoyed what these amazing gifts have done for our children’s love of the Faith. I sometimes joke that there isn’t much I haven’t bought for my kids from Catholic Child. One of the things I appreciate about their store is that the catalog is broken down in several simple, easy-to-find ways. If I want to shop by age, easy peasy, quick as a drop-down menu and I’m good to go. Do I need a gift that is appropriate for a particular sacrament? No problemo. There is a quick and easy drop-down menu for that, too. If I need something that is perfect for whatever liturgical season {Advent & Christmas, Lent & Easter} they have the items categorized for ease and convenience. When I stumbled upon their website years ago, I felt like it took the guesswork out of spending hours perusing various items, and if you’re like me and a bit of a “business shopper” you appreciate the streamlined nature of their website.

So..I bet you’re excited to know what is being given away for this last giveaway of 2011!

We have TWO gifts for you to choose from. The first is…

a bundled gift of the St. Thérèse plush doll and the St. Thérèse prayer pillow case. In our house Santa brings religious gifts and last year he brought two of our kiddos the prayer pillow cases, the St. Michael the Archangel and Hail Mary pillow cases. They have been well-loved and held up wonderfully. We also have the St. Thérèse doll as well and she has been a favorite in our family for years.

 

The next giveaway is perfect for anyone who loves to collect nativities, playmobil toys, or plays with the nativities with their children {or, hey, even by yourself is fine, too. ;-)}

We have bought several nativities from Catholic Child, but this Nativity Play Set With Wisemen by Playmobil is one that catches my eye and I may need to order one after reading what they have to say about it:

The fun begins when your child opens the box and discovers over 50 pieces to bring the Nativity scene to life. Just imagine the gleam in your child’s eye when he or she spies these figures and their delightful accessories that make Playmobil so popular:crowned, gift-bearing wisemen and their tasseled camel, a shepherd and his fleecy flock, a cookpot warming over a fire, kittens curious and cute, Baby Jesus in a hay-filled manger to set near the cardboard stable, and Mary, Joseph and so much more. The Mary figure stands nearly 3″ tall. This well-constructed play set is the kind of toy that children eventually outgrow, but never wear out. Ages 4-10.

So, the real question is – how do you enter to win?

 HOW TO ENTER

To enter this giveaway, you must do TWO things:

  1. you only need to enter ONCE, but you will receive two entries. you tell me where you want your two entries to go. for example, write which prize you want to enter the drawing for – “one entry for the St. Thérèse bundle and one entry for the Nativity Play Set With Wisemen by Playmobile please!” OR “two entries for the St. Thérèse bundle!!” OR “two entries for the Nativity set!” – THEN you need to…
  2. answer the following question in the combox section of this post: What Advent traditions do you observe/celebrate?
Confuzzled on how to enter? Here’s a couple of sample posts to help you out. I know I appreciate visuals!! 🙂

OR


That’s it!!
THE RULES
One post per person, please.
No entries after 3 p.m. Central Standard Time Monday, December 5, 2011.
Two winners will be selected at random and announced Tuesday morning.*
Good luck, everyone!!
*Be sure to stay tuned to see who wins so that you don’t delay claiming your prize!