|The Virgin Mary Reading by Walters. Here are the posts |
from 2013 she might recommend to you.
‘Tis the season for reviewing the old year. How did you advance towards God this year? Do you remember those blog posts that really struck you at the time, or have you forgotten them? Here are some reminders of how you can grow closer to Christ, taken from my blog posts over the past year.
1. Read the Gospels
If you want to advance towards God, you must learn to love Him. Read what He revealed about Himself. Need more motivation to read Scripture?
Here are 10 Reasons Catholics should read the Bible.
2. Stop making excuses for missing prayer
You’re not going to grow closer to Christ if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices to spend time with Him.
Read 7 Ways to make time for prayer.
3. Ponder God’s Word in your heart
This follows from #s 1 and 2. It’s a particularly Carmelite way of honoring Mary.
See Mary pondered all these things–do you?
4. Choose to become a saint
St. Thomas Aquinas told his sister that the way to become a saint is to will it.
See the details: Can you become a saint by sheer will power?
Read the rest of the list at Contemplative Homeschool.
|The Angelus by Millet. In past centuries, Church bells rang three times day to signal |
everyone should stop what they were doing and pray.
St. Paul urges us to “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But what does this mean? How can we practice it? When we reach a high state of the spiritual life, we will be in constant communion with God (see, I am assuming we are all going to make it that far). But in the meantime, we can form habits that help us pray throughout the day.
When two people fall in love, they want to spend as much time together as they can. Not only do they go out on a date very evening, they also contact each other during the day. When I was younger, we would call each other or send emails. Today, couples might text each other. Just to hear the other person’s voice or read his words of love would keep the smile on the loved-one’s face for hours.
We need the same kind of contact with God. Our “date” with God is our daily time set aside for nothing but prayer. But we should also talk to God throughout the day. At first, this might be difficult. It might even seem strange until we have formed the habit. We should remember that our little ways of connecting with God are acts of love.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.
Two Girls Praying By Emil Munier
Are you a contemplative? Some people, faced with this question, would answer an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Perhaps they are saints, at a high stage of union with God. Or perhaps they practice Eastern (as in Hindu or Buddhist) forms of meditation that they equate with contemplation. Some would call themselves contemplative because they are thoughtful and quiet. The rest of us might answer, “No.” Since we are not saints, we wouldn’t dare think of ourselves as contemplatives in the proper sense.
Nevertheless, everyone, no matter his stage in the spiritual journey or his vocation, can live a contemplative life.
A contemplative life is a life ordered toward union with GodIf you have read The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila, you know Teresa divides the spiritual life into seven stages, which she called mansions. (To be completely accurate, she says that a soul goes back and forth among these stages, rather than proceeding from one to the next in a straight line.) Supernatural contemplation begins in the third or fourth mansion. But contemplative living can begin at our first conversion, even in childhood. Contemplative living prepares us to receive God’s gift of supernatural contemplation.
Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.
D lights the first Advent candle a few years ago.
Advent is here and with it our six-week break from homeschooling. Instead of doing school work, we do an activity each day preparing for Christmas. Some are distinctly religious. Others are not. Here are some ideas for activities you can do with your family.
Learn and sing Advent hymns
Sunday at Mass, D was amazed that I knew many of the verses of O Come, O Come, Emanuel by heart. Well, that was the only Advent hymn I learned in Catholic school, and I don’t recall singing any other one at Mass in the 70s and 80s. It wasn’t until I started praying the Divine Office as an adult that I learned some of the beautiful hymns I had been missing. Here are some you will want to learn along with your kids, if you don’t know them already:
People, Look East. This song by poet Eleanor Farjeon helps you to see all the preparations for Christmas–including setting a merry table–as preparations for Christ. This is a good one to start your Advent.Wake, Awake, the Night is DyingCome, Thou Long-Expected JesusO Come, O Come Emanuel. Sing this one beginning December 17, when the Church prays the O Antiphons.Behold, a Rose of Judah. My personal favorite for Advent, save this one for the last week or two before Christmas.
Read the rest of the ideas at Contemplative Homeschool.
Instructions for Parents I recommend that you meditate on Luke 17:11-19 in your own prayer time before presenting it to your kids. If you’re not sure how to do this, look at last Thanksgiving’s meditation. Talk to the Lord about it from your heart. Ask Him to teach you to be truly grateful, and to lead your children towards thankfulness.
Next, read and discuss the passage with your children. Use your favorite children’s Bible. Define any words they may not know. (I have highlighted some words in the meditation you may want to define before praying with them.)
Choose one or two of the optional activities at the end of this post to help them dig deeper into the meaning of the passage.
Finally, read the meditation aloud to them, pausing for several seconds to a couple of minutes after each of the first two paragraphs. Ask them to repeat the final prayer after you, sentence by sentence.
This meditation works best with children ages seven to ten. For younger or older children, see the variations. It is especially appropriate for those making their First Confession this year.
Read the meditation at Contemplative Homeschool.
Italian artist Dario Gambarin took six hours to plow the likeness of Pope Francis in his parents field in Castargnaro, Italy.
The artist chose Pope Francis as a subject as Mr. Gambarin was inspired by the Pontiff’s call for a worldwide day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria on September 7th.
|Field Artist Dario Gambarin |
Gambarin relies on his innate sense of proportion and his tractor driving capabilities to create his field art. The image can only really be appreciated when flying near Verona.
This type of art is deleted after a few days so the field can be cultivated for the new sowing of seed.
May this act of artisinal agriculture remind us that “Love Liberates” as the world prays for peace in Syria.
h/t: The Telegraph
[originally posted on DC-LausDeo.US]
Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
This response at Mass seems to me to sum up the whole spiritual life. It provides wonderful material for meditation.
I am not worthyOn my own, I cannot please God. I can only vaguely know His character. He had to reveal Himself to me through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the teaching authority of the Church. He gave me parents who were loving enough to have me baptized and teach me the faith. He continues to show me His design for my life. All this is a pure gift which I could not merit.
But I have found the Christian life to be a constant battle. I fall every day. I repent, make resolutions to be good, then sin again. God’s purity is so beyond me. His holiness is a burning fire that I would never dare approach.
Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.