Candlemas (Presentation of the Lord)

“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,”and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel,and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted(and you yourself a sword will pierce)so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” Luke 2:22-38

Image by Collinson (1878) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, formally known as “Candlemas.” In many cultures, the Presentation the Lord used to be the official ending of Christmas; therefore, one of the traditions for this feast is to light lots of candles and decorate with greenery.

For some lovely explanations and  meditations on this feast, here are some websites to check out:

Fisheaters

Churchyear.net

New Advent

celebrating candlemas

catholicculture.org

americancatholic.org

about.com

Today’s feast is also a good lead in for this month’s devotion: The Holy Family. It is good for us, as Catholics, to imitate our families after the Holy family. It is good for us to pray to the Holy Family, asking them to bless our family and help us in our needs. You can go here for some prayers to the Holy Family to get you started.

2018 Goals – January Update

In 2017, I did an experiment and didn’t make any goals for the year. My focus was on scheduling the things I wanted to do. However, it was pretty much a bust. 🙁 Don’t get me wrong, the scheduling part was great and I did get a lot of “stuff” done. The problem was that I felt scattered most of the time and unfocused.

This past year was a bigger challenge than 2016 and I didn’t think that was possible. And, not having specific goals left me feeling unhinged a lot of the time. I need structure. Goals give me that structure and allows me to have boundaries and white space. I also missed the accountability of not posting my goals online. It gives me incentive and have been told from readers that they like reading about the goals.

2018 Goals Update January

Image by condesign (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

This year, I am going to combine the scheduling with the goals. I have 12 goals for different aspects of my life and I will be taking some time today to schedule those goals into my calendar (in bite-sized chunks). My hope is that by combining them both, I will have a scheduled yet focused year. I am also posting them here for the accountability and will give monthly updates about how I am doing.

Here is how January went down:

PERSONAL GOALS

1. Read at least one chapter of the Bible each day (On track with this. Working my way through Genesis)

2. Cut out sugar and dairy for at least 8 weeks (fast Wednesdays & Fridays) (Mostly good. I’ve had some slip ups but still doing better than I had in a while. Now that my birthday month is over, I will be more strict.)

3. Read one personal book per month (fiction, self-help, spiritual, etc.) (Killing it! Read two books in January and halfway done with two others.)

MARRIAGE GOALS

4. Go on one date with Michael per month (January date done.)

5. Send Michael (and Andrew) at least one love/text note per week. (Done every week for Michael missed a couple for Andrew. I need to be more mindful of this.)

FAMILY GOALS

6. Read one book out loud to Andrew per month (I have been reading the Acts of the Apostles out loud for his Religion class. I also read one short book to him.)

7. Go on a family vacation (Have been discussing this with Michael working out the details and plan.)

8. Pray with Andrew daily (daily devotional book before or after school) (Done for January.)

FINANCIAL GOALS

9. Rebuild emergency fund ($1,000) (Not started yet.)

10. Save at least $10 per week (Done for January.)

BUSINESS GOALS

11. Launch two courses/programs this year (Still working out the details for these.)

12. Do at least 2 FB lives per month (aiming for weekly!) (I’ve had some tech issues but have done a couple of these. Need to be more consistent.)

Have you made any goals for 2018? If so, do share in the comments! I would love to support and encourage you in any way I can! How are you doing with your goals? Do share!

The Conversion of St. Paul

Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,  went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.”  Acts 9:1-9

(Read the rest of Paul’s conversion here)

 

Conversion of Saint Paul

Image by eugeniu (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Today is the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. What I love most about this feast is the message of hope. I’ve said this before: where there’s life, there’s hope. There is no one beyond God’s reach, even the most “lowliest” of persons. Look at Saint Paul (Saul, before his conversion), a fierce persecutor of the early Christians. Jesus touched him in a powerful way that transformed his life forever. And his conversion changed the world in many ways, ways that affect us to our own day.

God CAN touch those we love. God WANTS to bless those we love. We must keep on praying and trusting that one day our those we love who are from the Lord will return. He probably won’t knock them off a horse as He did with St. Paul, but He can touch them in a powerful way, even if that way is gradual. God’s ways are not our ways and so we just need to trust in Him!

By the way, If you are looking for ideas on how to celebrate this feast with your family, there isn’t much on the web. I did find this link to coloring pages that your kids can color, maybe while you read the story of St. Paul’s conversion to them. (Non-Catholic link, but there is nothing objectionable that I can see, at least not this page.)

Here are some other links to learn more about this feast:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Catholic Culture

Women for Faith and Family

P.S. Here is a wonderful prayer that I found over at Our Beautiful Catholic Faith. It is directed specifically to non-Catholics, but it is very much applicable for our fallen-away Catholics, too:

Prayer for a Loved One’s Conversion to Catholicism (Colossians 1:9-14)

O Father, in the name of Your Son Jesus, and in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit,
with the knowledge of Your will,
I ask that You fill null with the knowledge of Your will through ALL spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Enlighten this precious child of Yours, dear Lord!
Teach this dear one to live in a manner that is worthy of You,
so as to be fully pleasing to You,
full of good works bearing good fruits and ever growing in knowledge of You.
Strengthen this lost lamb, dear Lord,
with every power of Your Holy Spirit,
in accordance with Your might, for all endurance and patience,
with joy, giving thanks to You O Father!
Make Your child fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in the Light.
Deliver this beloved one from the power of darkness
into the kingdom of Your Beloved Son, Jesus,
and transfer null into the kingdom of Your Beloved Son, Jesus,
in whom is redemption and the forgiveness of sins.

Amen!

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Pst: Are you struggling with your faith or making time for prayer? Want accountability and support in taking your faith life to the next level? I can help. Get on my calendar and let’s talk.

A Rough Week and a Crash!

Boy, when it rains, it pours. Last week we found out that my Aunt Carol passed away. She wasn’t particularly sick that we knew of so even though she was 70, the death was unexpected. 🙁

Then a few days later, my computer crashed – as in having to do a complete system restore kind of crash. Thankfully most everything was backed up so what I did lose, I didn’t need or it wasn’t too important.

The worst part of the crash was not being able to blog or access my email list. I have my phone and a tablet but I had trouble accessing certain things with them. I think I will figure it out as soon as I can in case this happens again. And, i am thinking I may have to suck it up and get a new computer. Not that getting a new computer would be much of a hardship!

Be assured, whether I get the chance to get online, that you are in my prayers!

The Baptism of the Lord

HAPPY FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD. Here is a very good article about this beautiful feast day.

Image by Juan Fernández de Navarrete (circa 1567) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Happy Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord!

The Christmas Season is coming to a close. Tomorrow is the Baptism of the Lord and the “official” ending is the Presentation (February 2).

But today we celebrate the day the Three Wise men gave homage to our sweet baby Jesus. For information about this lovely feast, go here.

3 Wisemen

Image by elicesp (2017) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

My Goals for 2018

(Piggybacking off of yesterday’s FB live about spiritual goals, today I am sharing my other goals)

In 2017, I did an experiment and didn’t make any goals for the year. My focus was on scheduling the things I wanted to do. However, it was pretty much a bust. 🙁 Don’t get me wrong, the scheduling part was great and I did get a lot of “stuff” done. The problem was that I felt scattered most of the time and unfocused.

This past year was a bigger challenge than 2016 and I didn’t think that was possible. And, not having specific goals left me feeling unhinged a lot of the time. I need structure. Goals give me that structure and allows me to have boundaries and white space. I also missed the accountability of not posting my goals online. It gives me incentive and have been told from readers that they like reading about the goals.

2018 Goals

Image by condesign (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

This year, I am going to combine the scheduling with the goals. I have 12 goals for different aspects of my life and I will be taking some time today to schedule those goals into my calendar (in bite-sized chunks). My hope is that by combining them both, I will have a scheduled yet focused year. I am also posting them here for the accountability and will give monthly updates about how I am doing. (Any encouragement or push would be much appreciated!)

So, without further ado, here hare my goals:

PERSONAL GOALS

1. Read at least one chapter of the Bible each day

2. Cut out sugar and dairy for at least 8 weeks (fast Wednesdays & Fridays)

3. Read one personal book per month (fiction, self-help, spiritual, etc.)

MARRIAGE GOALS

4. Go on one date with Michael per month

5. Send Michael (and Andrew) at least one love/text note per week

FAMILY GOALS

6. Read one book out loud to Andrew per month

7. Go on a family vacation

8. Pray with Andrew daily (daily devotional book before or after school)

FINANCIAL GOALS

9. Rebuild emergency fund ($1,000)

10. Save at least $10 per week

BUSINESS GOALS

11. Launch two courses/programs this year

12. Do at least 2 FB lives per month (aiming for weekly!)

Have you made any goals for 2018? If so, do share in the comments! I would love to support and encourage you in any way I can!

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P.S.: In an unrelated note, I want to remind you that today is the First Friday of the Month.

Holy Name of Jesus

Today is the optional memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. As Catholics, we know that the name of Jesus is holy and powerful. But, chances are, you may not know that we have a full day just to venerate His Holy name. Well, now you do. 🙂 Here is a little information about this memorial:

Holy Name of Jesus

Image by Didgeman (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, ‘Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in His name this man stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’ There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Acts 4:8-12

Traditionally, in the Catholic Church, January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. The memorial has been celebrated in the church since the 15th century on a local level and was extended to the whole church in 1721. This memorial of the Holy name of Jesus is a wonderful feast that is officially celebrated on January 3rd. Sadly, especially with the conclusion of Christmas/New Year’s, it overlooked and that is why I make a point of mentioning it every year. 🙂

So many people use Jesus’ name or “God” in such a casual (and sadly as a curse) way. We have gotten away from remembering that God is all holy. His name is sacred. We must use His name with reverence and love. Let’s let today be a reminder to always use Jesus’ name with intention and purpose – not casually or without thinking.

For more information, here are some resources about and devotions to the Holy Name of Jesus for the month of January:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Wikipedia

Prayers in honor of the Holy Name

Fisheaters

About.com

Devotion to the Holy Childhood of Jesus

Today is the memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen but I don’t think they will mind if I usurp their feast day to talk about the Holy Childhood of Jesus. 🙂

Infant of Prague

Image by Vassil (2008) via Wikipedia, the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

One of the things I like to do each year is grow in my understanding and appreciation for the many traditions (with both the “big T” and “little t”) that are held dear in our Catholic Faith. I know for myself, I can take for granted all riches and graces and beauty of our faith. So in that vein, I want to share a little about the devotion to the Child Jesus.

January has always been dedicated to the Holy Childhood of Jesus. It is a devotion that dates back to the 300’s AD – and even earlier.

I confess that I never had any particular devotion to the Childhood of Jesus; however, I do remember my Aunt Pat giving me a statue of the Infant of Prague. She always said that if I kept a dollar bill under the statue I’d always have money. (Is that because there’s always a dollar under the statue or because the Lord is watching over me, or a little bit of both?!) I still have that statue and it sits on the dresser in my bedroom. I see it every time I enter the room and it makes me think about my Aunt – and this devotion.

As I searched for information about this devotion to the Holy Childhood, I didn’t find tons; nevertheless, if you’d like to explore the history and practices of devotion to the Childhood of Jesus (and the Infant of Prague), you can check out the sites here, here and here.

I also found a prayer that I sometimes use as a novena. If you would like to do the same, here it is:

O Jesus, Prince of Peace and King of the Universe, you chose to humble yourself and come into the world, not as a powerful ruler, but as a helpless infant; grant us the grace of humility and gentleness before you and our brothers and sisters. Grant, too, O Lord, that we may always strive to achieve the virtue and innocence of your own Holy Childhood. Instill in us a growing faith you, O Lord, and the strength to resist temptation in a world which so widely rejects you. Look upon us with compassion and forgive us our sins. Fill our hearts with kindness and understanding, especially for children, the aged and those we dislike or who dislike us.

O Jesus, who so loved children that you admonished us, “Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven,” grant us a child-like faith and purity of heart. Give us the grace not only to pray fervently, but to help spread your Gospel by deed as well as word. Amen. (from Franciscan Mission Associates pamphlet)

(Found the prayer here.)

Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us (And a Little New Year Gift)

I want to wish all of you a truly Blessed and grace-filled New Year. Whatever this new year may bring, I pray that you be filled with all peace and joy and comfort in our Blessed Lord.

Image by Jan van Eyck (1425) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Today isn’t only the first day of the New Year but also the beautiful Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Churchyear.net explains this  lovely feast this way,

When Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God we are not only honoring Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God incarnate, but we are also honoring our Lord, who is fully God and fully human. Calling Mary “mother of God” is the highest honor we can give Mary. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace,” the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace” This solemnity, falling on New Year’s Day, is also designated the World Day of Peace.”

For more information about this lovely feast go here and here.

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As we begin the New Year, and make resolutions and such, I would like to encourage you to make a priority this year. To help you pray in union with our Catholic faith, I put together a list of all the major (and not-so-major) saint and feast days. It is in pdf form so you can print it out and keep it somewhere handy. Then each month, week or day, you can see what feasts and devotons are being celebrated at any given day. There is no opt-in required so go ahead and download the pdf here: http://www.simplecatholicliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Saints-and-Feasts-in-2018.pdf