Saint Andrew and the Christmas Novena

Today is the feast of Saint Andrew, a wonderful and powerful saint. He was a great Apostle and missionary of the Lord. He is mentioned several times in the gospel. In fact, he brought Saint Peter to Jesus. I love that Saint Andrew told Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) after only one encounter! Of course there were ups and downs in his relationship with the Lord, but after the Resurrection and St. Andrew receives the Holy Spirit he becomes a mighty instrument for the Lord!

Image by unknown author (13th Century) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Image by unknown author (13th Century) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Saint Andrew died a martyr on a cross that was in the shape of an X. He was not nailed, but bound, to the cross and suffered for two days before finally passing to the Lord. Saint Andrew is the patron of fisherman and the countries of Russia, Scotland, and Greece. He also has the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena named after him.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

The Saint Andrew Christmas novena starts today, November 30, and continues until Christmas day. The prayer is very short and simple. All you have to do is say the following prayer 15 times a day, every day from now until Christmas. (I promise you, it only takes a few minutes.)

“Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of his Blessed Mother. Amen.”

By the way, you don’t have to say the prayer 15 times all at once. Some years I do, but some years, I break it up and say the prayer five times in a row, three times a day. I just added it to my prayers before meals. Some years, I break it up and say the prayer two times a day (7 times and then 8 times). Also, don’t be scrupulous if you miss a day or two, I’ve done that, too!

You can get a printable version of the prayer here. No opt-in required.

Resources

Here are some links to peruse and get to know Saint Andrew better.

AmericanCatholic.org

New Advent

Catholic.org

SaintAndrew.us

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Tweetable: Saint Andrew and the Christmas Novena

Saints and Feast Days in December 2016

Wow. Just wow. There are only a couple more days left before December. I am so NOT ready! Well, ready or not, here it comes, right?! And, of course, with a new month comes a new set of saint and feast days – the last one for the year.

Image by artemtation (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Image by artemtation (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Saints and Feasts

December 2: First Friday Devotions (optional)

December 3First Saturday Devotions (optional)

December 3: St. Francis Xavier, priest (obligatory memorial)

December 6: St. Nicholas, bishop (optional memorial)

December 7: St. Ambrose, bishop & doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

December 8: The Immaculate Conception (solemnity, holy day of obligation)

December 9: St. Juan Diego (optional memorial)

December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe (feast)

December 13: St. Lucy, virgin and martyr (obligatory memorial)

December 14: St. John of the Cross, priest & doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

December 21: St. Canisius, priest & doctor of the church (optional memorial)

December 23: St. John of Kanty, priest (optional memorial)

December 25:  Nativity of Our Lord Merry Christmas! (solemnity, holy day of obligation)

December 26: St. Stephen, the first martyr (feast)

December 27: St. John, apostle and evangelist (feast)

December 28: The Holy Innocents, martyrs (feasts)

December 29: St. Thomas Becket, bishop & martyr (optional memorial)

December 30: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph (feast)

 December 31: St. Sylvester I, pope (optional memorial)

Other Dates to Note

Every Saturday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

December 7: Pearl Harbor Day, 1941 (USA)

December 21: Winter Begins

December 26: Boxing Day (Canada)

You can print out a pdf version of this here (no opt-in required).

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Tweetable: Saints and Feast Days in December 2016

5 Ideas for Advent

Can  you believe that Advent begins on Sunday, November 27?? That is only 2 1/2 weeks away! That’s not a lot of time to think about how you want prepare spiritually for Christmas.

In the past, I would get so caught up with the material preparations of Christmas that I would get overwhelmed and lose focus on the the meaning of Christmas. I would get stressed, lose sleep, and generally just wish that the whole season would be done and over. (Sound familiar?)

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

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

Then, a couple of years ago, I decided it was time to take stock and make some decisions to help me focus on the purpose of Advent which, of course, is to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The changes made a huge difference for me and so I will follow the same plan.

Now, for me, preparing for Advent (or Lent) isn’t necessarily about adding more things to my schedule. It is about making the most of my current schedule…So here are the 5 things I plan to do this year:

I. Take Care of Most of the Material things early.

Yes, I am one of those ober-organized people who like to do things in advance. 🙂 For Instance, I already have my shopping list and my card list written. I also hope to have my cards ready to send out by the time Advent starts and some of the gifts purchased. If all goes well, I should be done with all my Christmas shopping before the second week of Advent!

As for baking, I plan to do some baking early and freeze it all. Most baking goods, especially cookies, freeze really well. However, for some items, I will have to wait to last-minute so they are baked fresh. 🙂

II. Go to Daily Mass Twice a Week.

In the past, I would commit to go to daily mass and fail every year. It just isn’t realistic for this time in my life. Therefore, for this year, I am going to commit to going to daily Mass twice a week. That is definitely doable.

III. Fast Twice a Week.

Fasting isn’t just for Lent! Technically, Advent is a penitential season and this was especially true pre-Vatican II. In fact, the Church still encourages us to fast regularly all throughout the year even though it is not an official precept of the Church.

There are many benefits of fasting and I have wanted to get into this practice for a while. Therefore, I figure Advent would be a great time to finally get started. I will be fasting Wednesdays and Fridays.

IV. Use an Advent Calendar and Advent Wreathe.

Of course, the Advent Calendar and Advent Wreathe are perfect activities to do with children. I will do the Advent Calendar with Andrew each morning and light the Advent Wreathe candle during each meal as a family.

V. Journal.

If you know me, you know writing is in my blood and I journal regularly. In fact, that is one of the reasons I started creating journals in the first place. It may sound crazy but having my own little space to write out my thoughts, dreams, and struggles is important to my spiritual welfare. Writing is my preferred way of communication and it is how I best “talk” to God. Can you relate or is it just me?!

Last year, I created an Advent journal but it was too late to actually use for the Advent season. So, for this year, I will actually be using the journal I created. What I like most about the journal is that it is simple and has a lot of lines and writing space. Each page has a scripture verse that (sometimes loosely) correlates to the daily Mass readings and then lines for writing. It is not a guided journal but some days I will use the scripture as a starting point for prayer and some days I will just write for the heart. It also includes blank pages for drawing and/or pasting and has a section for prayer requests.

If you are interested, you can find more about the journal and purchase it here. Also, for a limited time, I am offering the PDF version of the journal for only $5 bucks! It is regularly $10 so it is half-price but it won’t last long. The sale ends on Friday, December 2, 2016.

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For more ideas for Advent, here are 10 Ways to Make Advent Meaningful and an Advent Meditation.

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Tweetable: 5 Ideas for Advent

Advent Prayer Journal for Women Cover

Saint Andrew, Pray for Us!

Saint Andrew, Pray for Us!

Image by unknown author (13th Century) via Wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

Today is the feast of Saint Andrew, a wonderful and powerful saint. He was a great Apostle and missionary of the Lord. He is mentioned several times in the gospel. In fact, he brought Saint Peter to Jesus. I love that Saint Andrew told Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) after only one encounter! Of course there were ups and downs in his relationship with the Lord, but after the Resurrection and St. Andrew receives the Holy Spirit he becomes a mighty instrument for the Lord!

Saint Andrew died a martyr on a cross that was in the shape of an X. He was not nailed, but bound, to the cross and suffered for two days before finally passing to the Lord. Saint Andrew is the patron of fisherman and the countries of Russia, Scotland, and Greece. He also has the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena named after him.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

The Saint Andrew Christmas novena starts today, November 30, and continues until Christmas day. The prayer is very short and simple. All you have to do is say the following prayer 15 times a day, every day from now until Christmas. (I promise you, it only takes a few minutes.)

“Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of his Blessed Mother. Amen.”

By the way, you don’t have to say the prayer 15 times all at once. Some years I do, but some years, I break it up and say the prayer five times in a row, three times a day. I just added it to my prayers before meals. Some years, I break it up and say the prayer two times a day (7 times and then 8 times). Also, don’t be scrupulous if you miss a day or two, I’ve done that, too!

(You can get a printable version of the prayer here. Subscribers go to your page to download printable.)

Resources

Here are some links to peruse and get to know Saint Andrew better.

AmericanCatholic.org

New Advent

Catholic.org

SaintAndrew.us

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Tweetable: Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Christ the King

(Repost with some changes)

Christ the King

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

Wow! Yesterday was the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical calendar. It’s hard to believe that we will be heading into Advent next week! Where has the time gone?

“At the name of Jesus every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: JESUS CHRIST IS Lord.” Philippians 2:10-11

Yesterday, the Church celebrated the feast of Christ the King. It is the day that we celebrate and acknowledge the all-encompassing authority of Christ over our lives. To find out more about this awesome feast, go here.

As we transition into Advent, like many of us, I have been thinking about what I want to do to prepare for Christmas this year. In light of today’s feast, here are some questions I am asking myself:

  • How have I grown in my relationship with Jesus this year?
  • Am I growing in trust and surrendering my will to His?
  • In what areas of my relationship with Jesus do I need to improve?
  • How has my prayer life been this year? Am I taking time for the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and other devotions?
  • Am I actively participating in the sacramental life? Am I fully participating in the Mass? Confession?
  • What can I do this year to make Advent a true preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas?

As you prepare for the Advent season, I pray that Christ will truly be at the center of your heart, that you may grow in His Love, and that you will be guided by the Holy Spirit throughout the season and always. 🙂

Tweetable: Christ the King

 

Saints and Feasts in December 2015

Since next week is the solemnity of Christ the King and Thanksgiving, and I won’t be doing much (if any) blogging, I thought I would get a jump start and send out the saints and feasts for December a little early.

Don’t you just love December! I know there is a lot of work and stress that goes into the holidays but we have to make time to remember what the holidays are about: Jesus! Besides Christmas (of course), there are some lovely and wonderful solemnities, feasts and memorials that I hope you won’t be too busy to overlook.

In addition, to make December even more special, December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, begins the Holy Year of Mercy! No doubt this will be a year of great grace!

Saints and Feasts in Dec 2015

Without further ado, here are the most notable dates for December:

Saints and Feasts

December 3:  St. Francis Xavier, priest (obligatory memorial)

December 4: St. John Damascene, priest (optional memorial)

December 4: First Friday Devotions (optional)

December 5: First Saturday Devotions (optional)

December 7: St. Ambrose, bishop & doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

December 8: The Immaculate Conception (solemnity, holy day of obligation)

December 9: St. Juan Diego (optional memorial)

December 11: St. Damasus I, pope (optional memorial)

December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe (feast)

December 14: St. John of the Cross, priest & doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

December 21: St. Canisius, priest & doctor of the church (optional memorial)

December 23: St. John of Kanty, priest (optional memorial)

December 25: Nativity of Our Lord, Merry Christmas! (solemnity, holy day of obligation)

December 26: St. Stephen, the first martyr (feast)

December 27: The Holy Family (feast)

December 28: The Holy Innocents, martyrs (feasts)

December 29: St. Thomas Becket, bishop & martyr (optional memorial)

December 31: St. Sylvester I, pope (optional memorial)

 Other Dates to Note

Every Saturday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

December 7: Pearl Harbor Day, 1941 (USA)

December 21: Winter Begins

December 26: Boxing Day (Canada)

I pray you will have a blessed and holy Advent leading up to Christmas, filled with joy and family.

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Tweetable: Saints & Feasts in December 2015

Image by artemtation (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Weekly Goals

Set GoalsHappy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception! Our Lady is the patron of America under this title. May she pray for us and bring us to Our Lord! Now, here is how I did last week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Create Christmas shopping list and Christmas card list. (Just didn’t get to it…)

3. Spend at least 10 minutes reading with Andrew.

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00 am.

5. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and prayer every morning.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Finish final draft of Senior Seminar I paper and submit.

8. Finish Anglo-Saxon final paper and submit. (Finished rough draft, final is due this Wednesday)

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Write and post book review of A Love Undone. (Read the review here.)

10. Work on the other website I am creating.

This is my plans for this week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Create Christmas shopping list and Christmas card list.

3. Spend at least 10 minutes reading with Andrew.

4. Clean out Andrew’s room and get rid of some junk!

Personal Goals

5. Get up at 6:00 am.

6. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and praying Advent devotionals every morning.

7. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

8. Finish Anglo-Saxon final paper and submit.

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Write and post book review of 20 Short Ones.

10. Continue working on the other website I am creating.

Now it’s your turn. Share what you have going on this week in the comments, or join us over at Money Saving Mom with your own goals.

Weekly Goals

Happy December. I can’t believe Christmas is only a few more weeks! anyhow, here is how I did last week:

Set Goals

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Do some holiday baking with Andrew.

3. Take some time to just be “in the moment” to enjoy being together as a family – both on Thanksgiving but each day of the week, too.

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00 am. (I let myself sleep in a few days!)

5. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and prayer every morning.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Finish final draft of Senior Seminar I paper and submit. (almost done!)

8. Write rough draft of Anglo-Saxon final paper to bring to class workshop.

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Write and post book review of An Amish Second Christmas. (Sweet book. Read the review here.)

10. Work on the other website I am creating. I can’t wait for this to launch! It is something very different from I’ve ever done before. :)

Here are my plans for this coming week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Create Christmas shopping list and Christmas card list.

3. Spend at least 10 minutes reading with Andrew.

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00 am.

5. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and prayer every morning.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Finish final draft of Senior Seminar I paper and submit.

8. Finish Anglo-Saxon final paper and submit.

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Write and post book review of A Love Undone

10. Work on the other website I am creating.

Now it’s your turn. Share what you have going on this week in the comments, or join us over at Money Saving Mom with your own goals.

Book Review: Forever Christmas

Forever ChristmasFrom Book Description:

“Andrew can’t remember the last time he spent Christmas away from work. the end of the year is crunch time for literary agents. But when your career is your life, your life starts to suffer…beginning with your marriage. When a heart-wrenching accident in a Christmas Eve snowstorm jars this high-powered agent from his obsession with success, a Christmas miracle will give him a second chance at love, life, and gratitude, but only if he can put aside his own ambition and learn to appreciate each moment.”

My Comments:

Forever Christmas is the typical, feel-good novella. The characters are charming and relatable, the writing is good, and the plot is just what you would expect, for the most part. And, of course, it pulls all your heart-strings so you keep turning the pages. I can easily see this book being turned into a Halmark Channel special. (I mean that in a good way!)

My favorite aspect of the book is how it reminds the reader what is truly important: people, not things. It is something that we all need to be reminded of, especially nowadays, in our materialistic, rat-race world. For so many people, Christmas is nothing more than giving the latest and greatest “thing” that happens to be on the market. There is no real understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.

There is one thing about the book I didn’t like. The ending. I didn’t like it AT ALL. I mean, I think I get why what happens happens. But, it pretty much blew the book for me because it just isn’t realistic. Yes, I believe in miracles, and I know God can do what He wants, but the ending just flat out rubbed me the wrong way.

Having said that, over all, Forever Christmas is a sweet, lovely book. If you are looking for a short, feel-good book to get you into the Christmas spirit, this book would make for a very good choice.

I give the novella three (3) stars.

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(Linked to Sunday Snippets)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Here’s how I did last week:

1. Pray at least one decade of the rosary each day and St. Andrew’s Novena.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Pray over devotional for bible study I am participating in.

4. Blog at least twice. (Sort of. I’m counting the goals post.)

5. Write review for “Biff and Beckas Stupendous Vacation.

6. Finish both research papers and upload them to class dropbox. Man were they tough! I hope I did well.

7. Work on final project for Health, Healing and Laughter class.

8. Work on final paper for Christian Tradition.

9. Study for exams!

Here’s my goals for this week:

1. Pray at least one decade of the rosary each day and St. Andrew’s Novena.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Blog at least twice.

4. Write review for “Biff and Beckas Stupendous Vacation.

5. Work on final projects for Health, Healing and Laughter class and Christian Tradition class.

6. Study for exams!

7. Decorate for Christmas and get tree.

8. Finish Christmas cards and send them out.

9. Work on special project. (More info to follow in a few weeks. 🙂 )

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!