He is Risen!

Happy Easter! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! We went to the Easter Vigil for Mass and it was beautiful and spent Easter Sunday with my husband’s side of the family.

How was your Easter? I hope it was a wonderful day. BUT, don’t forget, Easter isn’t over. It is just beginning! In the Catholic Church, the Easter season is 50 days. Lent, the penitential season, is 40 days but Easter, the rejoicing season, is 10 days more. 🙂

Therefore, during this glorious time, let the joy of Christ’s resurrection penetrate your heart and soul. 🙂

Resurrection

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

For God So Loved The World…

As we head into the Sacred Tridium tomorrow, I want to encourage you to take some time (even just a few minutes) to reflect on God’s love for you.

For God So Loved the World

It is a powerful thing to realize the deep love that God has for us – for you – and not just in your head but with your heart. GOD LOVES YOU with an infinite love. A love that surpasses all understanding. Jesus suffered horribly and died on the cross for YOU. He wanted so much for you to be with Him, in the Blessed Trinity, for all eternity, that He was willing to do anything to make that happen.

And guess what? It doesn’t stop at the Crucifixion. Jesus rose and has forever conquered death and hell! He did all this for YOU. He wants YOU to have an abundant life! He doesn’t promise that it will always be easy but He will always be with YOU.

May you and your family have a truly grace-filled and blessed Sacred Tridium and Easter!

10 Things to Love About Spring

Here in NJ, it feels more like Fall than Spring. In fact, it seems as if we are having a colder Spring than we did during winter! Still, Spring is here and I love it! I may have a new appreciation for Autumn, but spring is still my favorite season of the year. Just for fun, I am reposting my reasons why:

10 Things to Love about Spring

Image by Kapa65 (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

1. The weather. I realize that we in NJ had a very mild winter this year, and it is cold right now, but that isn’t going to stop me from enjoying the warmer, lovely spring weather. 🙂 As cold as it, we have had some glorious days to remind us that warmer days are on their way.

2. The sandals. Finally we can free our toes from the clunky, closed in shoes and sneakers worn all winter! I have a couple of pairs of really comfortable sandals and flip-flops I can’t wait to get on my feet.

3. The longer days. Once we get over the jet lag of losing an hour, isn’t having the extra light in the evenings wonderful? I admit, it’s harder to get Andrew down to sleep on school nights, especially now that he is eleven. Who wants to go to bed when it is still light out? Not me!

4. The flowers. I love all the flower gardens that will be popping up around the neighborhood soon. Some people do a fantastic job creating elaborate flower gardens. In the apartment building I live now, there are some creative tenants who do a great job decorating their patio/balcony.

5. The planting. Speaking of gardens, another thing I love about spring is planting tomatoes, basil and other herbs. Granted, I can’t do much where I live; however, I am hoping to do some pot gardening this year.

6. The smells and sounds. I absolutely love the smell of freshly cut grass (sorry to all those with allergies)! My apartment complex has landscapers come once a week to cut the grass and I love it. Also, soon people will be using their grill, and the smell of barbecue will be in the air. Finally, the salty smell of the ocean will become more prominent and the other spring smells are so wonderful. 🙂 Additionally, now that spring is here, more people will be getting outdoors and we will start hearing more sounds of the laughing children, people having a good time, etc. There’s nothing like it!

7. The Easter Triduum. Easter came early this year (March 2016) but it still was after the official start of Spring! We know that the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Saturday evening Easter Vigil) is the most Sacred days of the liturgical calendar. I love participating in these liturgies, and my favorite is the Easter Vigil. I love the Exsultet, especially when it is sung!

8. The fruits. Yes, I know we can get many fruits year-round, but let’s be honest, they aren’t the best tasting. Have you ever had a strawberry right off the vine? Scrumptious! Spring is also the season for apricots, cherries, and rhubarb. Yum.

9. The veggies. Spring is the season of one of my favorite veggies, asparagus. I also love artichokes, beets, radishes and fresh peas, all of which are in season during the spring.

10. The hats. Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days of Easter bonnets. I love hats and wear different hats all year-long. The light, colorful floppy hats that start coming out in spring are so much fun to wear! 🙂 And they are practical, too. Those floppy hats and visors keep the sun off the face to prevent burns and skin cancer.

Now it is your turn. What are your favorite things about spring? Do share!

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Tweetable: 10 Things to Love About Spring

Mercy Bible Study: Session 2 Reflection

Happy Easter! I can’t believe that Lent is over and we are already into Easter but it was so early this year. And, it’s not very often that Andrew’s birthday comes after Lent since his birthday is March 31!

Mercy Bible Study Session 2 Reflection

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

Now, what did you think of the session 2 bible study? It wrestles with why/how God withholds or grants mercy. This is tough to answer because we certainly cannot understand the mind of God. Father Mitch points out how many people and cities were slaughtered while the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land.

In talking about the judgement against Israel’s former rulers, Father Mitch says that their judgement comes from “the lack of mercy shown to the Lord’s heritage, Israel” (pg 38). He goes on to say, “the nation that does not show mercy to the defeated Israel will find no mercy from God” (pg 39).

Those are strong words and they brought to mind the words from the Gospel, “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you” (Matthew 7:2)

Of course, God is not a tit-for-tat God who keeps nitpicking track of every action and word we say and do against another person. However, how we treat others does matter. It matters a great deal and the scriptures that we read for this session show us that in a big way.

When Israel was held captive by the Babylonians and others, they were treated cruelly and mercilessly. Their rules showed no mercy and thus received no mercy when they were finally conquered. From the lens of our world view, it seems so harsh and it is hard to understand why God would not only allow, but demand the destruction of those people. However, the world was (obviously) very different back then. The society was a physically violent one and the only think I can think of to reconcile this is that God accepted them where they were at, used it to bring them forward.

We see a progression in the bible, and in our own lives. The understanding of God, and of His mercy, had to grow, albeit, slowly until Jesus shows us the true mercy and love of God. And, we are still growing in that understanding.

This was a tough session to work though. What about you? What struck you about this lesson? Do share in the comments.

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Tweetable: Mercy Bible Study: Session 2 Reflection

Easter Blogging Break

In order to enter into the solemnity of Holy week and celebration of Easter, I will be taking a small blogging break. I will be back into full swing on either Monday, March 28 or Wednesday, March 30.

God bless!

Easter Blogging Break

Saints and Feast Days in March 2016

We are near the end of February and you know what that means? We are heading into March! [Why, yes, I am a master of the obvious, thank you! LOL!] There are some fun saints and feast days in March (think St. Patrick and St. Joseph) and even better, we have Easter to look forward to.

Saints and Feasts March 2016

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

Therefore, without further ado, here is the list of saints and feasts:

Saints and Feasts

March 3: St. Katharine Drexel, virgin (optional memorial, USA)

March 4: First Friday Devotions (optional)

March 4: World Day of Prayer

March 4: St. Casimir (obligatory memorial)

March 5: First Saturday Devotions (optional)

March 7: Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, martyrs (optional memorial)

March 8: St. John of God, religious (optional memorial)

March 9: St. Frances of Rome, religious (optional memorial)

March 17: St. Patrick bishop (optional memorial)

March 18: St. Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop & doctor of the church (optional memorial)

March 19: St. Joseph, Spouse of the BVM (solemnity)

March 20: Palm (Passion) Sunday

March 24: Holy Thursday

March 25: Good Friday (fast & abstinence)

March 26: Holy Saturday

March 27: EASTER SUNDAY

Other Dates to Note

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

March is traditionally dedicated to Saint Joseph

March 6: Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 13: Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 13: Daylight Savings Time begins

March 20: Spring begins

March is also special to me because it is the month of Andrew’s birthday. 🙂 I can’t believe he is going to be eleven. How did that happen?!

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Tweetable: Saints and Feast Days in March 2016

Guest Post: How to Make an Easter Resurrection Cake

Editor’s Note: This yummy-looking guest-recipe from Alvina Lopez is a re-publish from a couple years ago. At the time, I didn’t get the recipe published in time for Easter so I am re-posting it today, several days before Easter for those who missed it. 🙂

Easter is this Sunday, and what better way to help celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ then by preparing a resurrection cake in His honor? This delicious cake, which is appropriately in the shape of a cross, is fairly easily to make. If you’re pressed for time, substitute the homemade cake batter and frosting we have listed below for a box cake mix and store bought icing. If you don’t have steady hands, you may also opt to use a cross cake mold instead.

You will need: 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan, toothpicks, spatula, electric mixer, 2 mixing bowls, and food coloring: red, yellow, blue and orange.

Cake Batter Ingredients:

• 1 cup butter
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 4 cups sifted cake flour
• 4 tsp baking powder
• 1 1/3 cups milk

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until it is softened. Slowly add in sugar, and continue to beat until creamy mixture develops. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract and salt, continuing to beat the mixture. Mix-in flour and baking powder. Add milk. Continuing beating until the batter is creamy. Immediately pour batter into your greased baking pan. Spread evenly to edges. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before turning it over onto a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cut the cake into a cross shape: cut out 3 inch squares from the top two corners of the cake, and then cut out 6 x 2 inch squares from the bottom corners of the cake.

Butter Cream Frosting Ingredients:

• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1 cup butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp whipping cream

Directions: In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together on low speed until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and whipping cream, continuing to beat on medium for an additional one minute. Add one drop of each food coloring and stir. Frosting should now be brown.

Frost the cake with a crumb coat first—This is a thin layer of frosting that helps capture loose cake crumbs. Then frost the cake in its entirety. Using a tooth pick (or fork), make vertical lines in the frosting to mimic grain lines—this will make the cake look like it’s made of real wood.

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Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.

(P.S. Interested in guest posting here at Simple Catholic Living? I’d love to have you! Take a peek at the guest post policy and then get in touch with me. 🙂 )

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (March 23, 2013)

Not much by way of posts this week but here’s what I’m sharing over at RAnn’s blog This, That and the Other Thing:

Weekly Goals

A Little Inspiration

Book Review: Winning the Discipline Debates by Dr. Ray Guarendi

P.S. I won’t be blogging during Holy Week so that I can enter fully into the mystery of this sacred time. I wish all of you a blessed Holy Week, Sacred Tridiuum and Happy Easter!

Egg-tastic!

We colored eggs right before Easter Sunday:

Easter Eggs in bowl

Easter eggs in bowl 1

Andrew and Eggs

(Linked to WW.)

Wishing You a Blessed Tridium and Easter!

Risen Christ

I’ll be taking a blogging break so I can fully participate in the Holy Tridium and enjoy our Easter (spring) break. I’ll get back into normal posting either next Thursday or the following Monday.

I pray that you enter fully into the Holy Tridium and have a truly Blessed and Holy Easter Season!

God bless!