Can’t Have A Cow

It is two in the morning and I can not fall back asleep so I’ll share with you what woke me and made me laugh.

My three year old, Joanna is asleep in my bed when she sits up and says in her sweetest “please do this for me” voice…

Mama Mama, please don’t keep the cow.

Me (Not fully awake yet): What did you say?

Very cute, head tilted while tucking a stray curl behind her ear, three year old: Please don’t keep the cow.

Me (Sleep confusion giving way to “oh she is dreaming” insight): Okay, I won’t.

[FYI we don’t have a cow]

Joanna: It keep biting me.

[Long pause. I try not to laugh out loud since she is obviously upset with this non existent biting cow]

Joanna: Aunt Sussie have a cow. She have a girl cow and a boy cow.

[She really does too, that isn’t just a dream]

Me (Being naughty encourages the silliness): Yes she does. Did you say the cow was biting you?

Joanna: Yes, outside our house.

Me: Were you petting it?

Joanna sounding sadder as she answers with a frown: No him not let me.

Me: Go back to sleep. I love you.

Joanna: But I want to sleep next to you.

Me: You are next to me.

Joanna: Oh

🙂 Life is full of opportunities to laugh around here.

Memorizing Catechism

This is something I have not done right for my children. It is great motivation to start and reminds me of what happened to me as an adult one Sunday at Mass. From Father Z’s Blog:

Some years ago I had an experience which confirmed for me the value of the old-fashioned methods of catechism: long and hard practice, memorization, and repetition.  I was called to a hospital to assist in a patient’s difficult death.  I gave the man Last Rites and talked with the family as they struggled with the reality of the end of the earthly life of a loved one.  A daughter of the dying man had been estranged from her faith and her family for a long time.  She was beyond her life’s middle years, which clearly had been pretty rough.  She was bitter and cursed life, fate and God for the cruelty of such an end as her father was experiencing.  She shouted at me, “Why did God make us if this is all there is?”  I responded asking, “Why did God make you?”  She became very still and stared at me.  Then she said, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”  I continued, “What must we do to save our souls?”  On cue she responded with something that she hadn’t perhaps thought of for decades, “To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity. We must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.”  “Did your father do that?”, I asked.  “Oh, yes…. oh yes.”  She had obviously been taught very well as a child.   One can imagine that she was at times forced to study and to learn, to repeat over and over what at the time seemed boring and pointless.  She had been drilled at school by the Sisters, whom these days we see mocked and abused in the media by ungrateful cads who benefited from their dedication.  More importantly, she had parents who fulfilled their obligations to see that she learned her faith.  I imagine they had to work hard to make her work hard.  Her father had done his duty to give her what she needed when the battle was joined.  Whatever they all did worked.  In the moment of truth, by the grace of God and the help of her guardian angel, the gift her dying father had given her years before was rediscovered and put to its proper use.

Many people today criticize the old method of education by memorization and repetition.  They say that children just wind up mouthing things they do not understand.  On the other hand, while they might not understand it at the moment, one day they will be ready for it and they will have it because it had been given them.  Countless soldier and sailors, for example, griped (and gripe) about their training.  Many Marines entertain homicidal thoughts about their drill instructor.  But when that Anchor, Globe and Eagle is finally pinned on, not a few Marines return to their DI and shake his hand and thank him for what he gave them.  In later service, when the time comes for that single skill or tool or piece of knowledge to be used in its critical time, it is there.  It gleams with purpose.  Polished and tended, it is tried and true.  We of the Church Militant are pilgrim soldiers and, if we are going to reach our goal of heaven, we need training, sacrifice, and leadership.

Going to catholic school in the eighties left me with lots of “I’m okay, You’re okay” fluff, but very little substance. By the time I was a teen and my faith was challenged I had little in the way of answers already planted to harvest from. I do remember once an adult friend of a my friend’s parent mockingly asked me what it is I actually believed in as a catholic. I was caught off guard and without thinking began to recite the creed. She cut me off after a few lines and walked away. The experience made me grateful to have some response and humbled me because it was the first time my faith had been challenged in any real way and I had no other words to speak. Soon after my slow fade from the church was complete. I didn’t think about it again until after I had returned to the church some years later.

I enjoyed writing as a teen and often would write typical teen poetry about the meaning of life and why we exist. All of them seemed to be missing something. They were feel good fluff and I knew it. The “Why do we exist?” question faded from my thoughts as adult responsibilities grew. It was during a homily that the priest speaking to the older members of the church began to reminisce about memorizing catechism as a kid under the direction of the sisters who taught in the catholic schools. He asked the crowd, “Why did God make you?”. In unison the crowd replied, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”

For me the simple and obvious statement was a  light as bright as the sun. It was a “duh” moment. I remember thinking I had wished someone told me that as a kid. There was an answer to the question, it wasn’t meant to be a private interpretation of whatever philosophy I wanted to align myself with. There was such beauty, strength and comfort in that simple answer. My first lesson in the importance of memorizing Catechism profoundly altered the foundation my faith and perspective is laid upon, for this I am very grateful!

*Thank you Christine for the excerpt.

Wednesday Night Mass

candle-200x300Shortly after we moved here four years ago we began to attend Mass on Wednesday evenings. It was an incredible blessing. There was something so special about sitting in the church surrounded by many of the people that were essentially the core of the church ministries. It occurred to me one evening sitting there with my husband and children that we were part of the church’s future. We were going to be the next generation to help fill the positions in the ministries that serve the community. The idea scared and excited me all at the same time.

When chaos entered our lives and my husband left, Wednesday night Mass did too. It was too painful to sit and watch the older couples I once thought we would become hold hands and pray together. The reminder of the empty space in the pew and our family was too much for me.

Last summer the kids and I went to daily Mass while a visiting priest was here and able to offer the opportunity. The effect of those Masses profoundly changed me. In many ways it was a peak of spiritual battle for my family and I already see just how important it was for the children and I to take part in the blessing. Even though daily Mass was positively changing my family I still couldn’t bare the idea of going to Wednesday night Mass without my husband. Until Father Arnaldo returns this spring we won’t have daily Mass and I have become more and more aware that I need more time in His presence then just Sundays.

Last Wednesday with what I can only assume was the Holy Spirit’s prompting I decided to symbolically reclaim my family’s role in the future of the church and take back a bit of my life that satan tried to destroy. We went to Wednesday night Mass. It was wonderful even if the babies made it exhausting.  It was a very real way to tell evil it wasn’t going to take the faith of myself or of my children in its attempt to destroy our family. Later that night I told a friend my thoughts about the Mass situation and the wanting to still have my kids know they were the next generation the church was depending on.

On Saturday the babies were very fussy and a couple of the kids were complaining of stomach aches. I told the children we were not going to be able to make it to Mass on Sunday. They were disappointed and Paul told me he had been asked to light a candle during Mass (he couldn’t remember why and I didn’t even know he had been asked). I felt bad, it seemed important to him and he has been especially struggling lately with feelings of loss. While I would miss it, I was determined to somehow get him there. My wonderful older children came to the rescue of their brother. Lucas and Amelia both said they had no problem being dropped off at church so I could stay home with the wee ones and Paul could still light his candle.

Sunday morning I woke up to a lot of laughing and running around.  If the kids felt well enough for all that raucous then they were well enough to attend Mass. So off we all went. Woohoo! Turns out that Sunday was the ministry fair. During Mass a candle was lit for the past members who served in church ministries by one of the original members of the parish. A second candle was let by a current ministry member for those serving now. Then, by name, my son Paul was called to the alter to light the candle representing the “next generation” to serve in the ministries.

Of course I cried.

God is good!

Silly Sarah Saying

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Talking to herself while putting on her sandals for morning Mass Sarah (4.5yrs) said, “Oohhh, I put my shoe on the wrong foot and I look like a kook. I’m not suppose to be a kook, I’m a lady.”

 

 

 

2009_08_18_dailymass_kookjojo1

UPDATE: Speaking of kooks…Joanna insisted on wearing a bright yellow sock to Mass today. She had been wearing it since the day before. Not sounding that kooky…well then, please notice she is only wearing one!

From the Mouth of Babes

…who renderest the iniquity of the fathers to the children, and the grandchildren, unto the third and fourth generation. Exodus 34:7

…And Jesus said to them: Yea, have you never read: Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise?  Matthew 21:16

The baby in my womb has been a huge blessing. The miracle of another eternal life created in part by the love of Jason and I, is an incredible gift and reminder of what God is going to restore and strengthen.  Our family is His! 

He is going to use this trial to break the generational cycles with in our families caused by the “sins of the father” for our children. Yes our children our suffering, but if we cooperate with God they will also witness the greatness of God and the miracles He performs when we are faithful to His call and will, and stand firm in faith that He keeps His promises.

One of my greatest desires is to impart on my children a dependence on God that until now I did not really have. We must find our strength in God and always turn and trust Him to meet our needs.

My eldest daughter, age ten wrote two songs today which express this lesson on where we should go for comfort and strength. I hope as she grows older and the world offers her other outlets (drugs, sex, false religions or the arrogance of atheism, etc) that she remembers this time and Who it was that she once leaned on. God’s grace is flowing abundantly over us during this dark and difficult time even when we turn it away or fail to recognize it. He has not left our side.

I Need a Hug
by Amelia

Jesus I need a hug.
Jesus You love me.
Won’t You give me a hug?

I need a hug.
I would like to see You.

Jesus I need a hug.
Will You comfort me?
I need it.

I need a hug.
You are the only one who can help me now.

Jesus I need a hug.
Can I have one from You?

I need a hug.
I need it now.
I need it from You.

I Need You Now
by Amelia
(She mentioned it is short and is suppose to be repeated three times 🙂 )

I need You now for I am hungry, thirsty and lonely.
Won’t you help me now?

I need You now for Your Body, Blood, and comfort.