Write 31 Days Challenge – 31 Days of Prayer!

Do you remember when I wrote that I was going to cut down on my blogging schedule? Well, it looks like I will be writing {almost} for the next 31 days. LOL!

write31days2016

After some reflection, I have decided to participate in the Write 31 Days writing challenge. I participated in this challenge last year on my other blog; however, this year, I feel lead to take the challenge here on Simple Catholic Living.

And, the focus of this challenge will be prayer.

Therefore, for the next 31 days, I will post a prayer of some sort *{almost} every day. Some prayers will be traditional prayers, some will be lesser known prayers, and some will be prayers that I write from the heart. I will link to each day’s prayers here for easy reference.

Why am I doing this?

If you spend any time here at Simple Catholic Living, you know prayer is important to me. I’ve mentioned this before: prayer is essential if we are to live a Christian life. It is the foundation of our relationship with God. Without prayer, our relationship with God will be mediocre, at best or nonexistent, at worst.

Besides that, the world desperately needs prayer. It needs God. Sometimes, it seems like the world, and everyone in it, has gone completely nuts. And, the only effective way to have a real and lasting change is through prayer. Jesus says that with the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains. I truly believe that, with prayer and faith, we can make a difference in this world.

Will you join me? Each day, come back to the blog for a new prayer. Or, save this post and come back to it daily. Like I mentioned above, I will link to the day’s prayers here so they are all in one place. Together, let us pray for ourselves, our loved ones, and for everyone.

God bless.

Day One: St. Therese

Day Two: Glory Be

Day Three: Guardian Angel

Day Four: Saint Francis

Day Five: Healing and Protection

Day Six: Saint Bruno

Day Seven: Our Lady of the Rosary

Day Eight: The Hail Mary

Day Nine: Lectio Divina

Day Ten: Thanksgiving Prayer

Day Eleven: Armour of God

Day Twelve: Prayer for Daily Neglects

Day Thirteen: Our Lady of Fatima

Day Fourteen: Abandonment to God’s Providence

Day Fifteen: Saint Teresa of Avila

Day Sixteen: Pray for Peace

Day Seventeen: Saint Luke

Day Eighteen: Saint Paul of the Cross

Day Nineteen: Our Father

Day Twenty: Prayer for Patience

Day Twenty-one: Saint John Paul II

Day Twenty-two: Saints & Feast Days in November 2016

Day Twenty Three: Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Day Twenty-Four: Act of Faith

Day Twenty-Five: Act of Hope

Day Twenty-Six: Act of Love

Day Twenty-Seven: Prayer Before a Crucifix

Day Twenty-Eight: Saint Jude

Day Twenty-Nine: Prayer for Vocations

Day Thirty: Prayer for the Deceased

*I may or may not post on Sunday. I try to honor the Lord’s Day as much as possible so unless I have the opportunity to pre-post, there will be no live posts on Sundays.

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Tweetable: Write 31 Days challenge – 31 Days of Prayer!

31 Days of Prayer

Image by Foxy_ (2012) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

How to Prepare Ahead for the Lord’s Day

I didn’t plan on doing a series on this; but, after explaining why honoring the Lord’s day is important and offering some ways to honor the Lord’s day each week, I thought it would be a good idea to share some ways you can prepare ahead of time to make Sundays the special day it was meant to be.

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

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

Before I go on though, I want to reiterate that celebrating the Lord’s day isn’t about following rigid rules. Charity trumps all. You may not be able (or want) to follow these suggestions. Pray about it and let your heart guide you in how to prepare and celebrate the Lord’s Day.

Preparing your soul:

Before preparing anything else, try and spend some time preparing your heart and soul – especially for participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Confession. “Back in the day” Mother Church encouraged her children to go to confession (or the Sacrament of Reconciliation) weekly or every other week. Now, we are encouraged to go at least monthly. In either case, if you need to, write in your calendar so you make the time to go.

Familiarize yourself with the readings. Before you go to bed the night before or in the morning, take the time to read through the mass readings for the day. Better yet, take some time to read the readings with your family and talk about it together.

Take a few minutes to recollect yourself. I know how hard it can be to get everyone ready and out the door just to get to mass on time. But, if you can manage to get to the church a few minutes early to settle the kiddos, and recollect your spirit, it may make a difference in how you approach the sacrament.

Preparing your home:

Errands. We are all busy, I get it. But if at all possible, try and get your errands out of the way during the week during the week and/or Saturdays. By the way, this includes food shopping. As a matter of fact, you may find shopping easier at other times when it’s not so crazy anyway.

Cleaning. If you have a system where you do cleaning jobs during the week, you’re ahead of the game. Otherwise, if have to do your cleaning on weekends, do it Saturday. Enlist the help of family members to make the job faster.

Prepare as much of your meals as possible. When you can, do all or most of your chopping and preparing Saturday night. Put together one-dish meals that you can bake off at dinner time or get everything you need to through in the slow-cooker Sunday morning. And don’t forget to set the table the night before to make breakfast time a little easier, too. 🙂

Preparing your person:

Clothes. Get everyone’s (including yourself) clothes out the night before. This will give you the chance to do any ironing (if you even do that anymore!) you may need to do and make getting ready for mass a little less stressful.

(I may be speaking to the choir here again, but there’s a lot of people who dress down, as if they are going to a sporting event or wear clothes that’s rather too low-cut or inappropriate for being in Jesus’ presence. Do dress accordingly for being the presence of the Almighty and Holy God.)

Get enough rest. As moms, most of us are ready to drop by 9 or 10pm. But, there are those who are night owls or for whatever reason stay up extremely late – hopefully doing something fun! However, I don’t need to remind you how important it is to be as refreshed and alert for participating in the Eucharist (as much as the little ones will allow you!). So, try to get in a good night’s rest if you can.

I hope you find this mini-series helpful and get you praying about how you can the Lord’s Day special. And do share any ideas you  may have about preparing or celebrating your Sundays in the comments.

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Tweetable: How to Prepare Ahead for the Lord’s Day

Ten Ways to Honor the Lord’s Day

Yesterday I talked about why honoring the Lord’s Day is important. Today I would like to suggest some activities you can do as a family to honor the Lord’s Day:

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

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

1. Go to church. Yep, I know I’m probably preaching to the choir (pun intended!) to most people reading this. But, sometimes, even faithful Christians need a reminder that participating in the Eucharist is the paramount expression of our faith. We can get lazy. We can make excuses.

2. Pray as a family. If you don’t have a daily family devotional time (or have become lax in praying as a family), Sunday – this one perhaps? – would be a great day to start. Praying the rosary or Lectio Divina would be a great place to start.

3. Visit the sick or shut-ins. I know from personal experience from having worked in several nursing homes over the years that there are a lot of lonely people (with no or little family) stuck in their homes or nursing homes due to illness or age. A short visit to someone who has no family could make his or her own week, let alone day!

4. Visit with extended family. It’s not always easy to get everyone together for a meal during the week; but Sundays shouldn’t be too hard – even if it’s just once or twice a month. 🙂

5. Go to the park.  Or for a bike ride. How about a game of frisbee or football? Weather permitting, have a picnic. The point is: get out of the house and have some fun as a family!

6. Go on a pilgrimage. You don’t have to travel to Lourdes, France or travel hours to some popular shrine. An internet search will probably bring up several lesser known shrines you can travel to as a family.

7. Make Sunday meals special. Good china isn’t just for Christmas and Easter, you know. 😉 Why not put a nice table cloth on the table and set it with some nice china? Put some nice candles out and play some nice background music to make a nice atmosphere in the room. (Be realistic with this. Obviously you don’t want to put out breakable china in the reach of little ones. Maybe just use “nicer” plates?)

8. Plan a special meal or dessert. Without going crazy(or exhausting yourself with making an elaborate six-course meal), it may be nice to plan a more special meal or festive dessert. Let it be something that you ordinarily wouldn’t make.

9. Play games or read together. I’ve often talked about our love of games and the latest books we are reading, and for our family, Sundays gives us more time for these activities. Sunday is a great day to finally get out that game you’ve been wanting to play for so long

10. Rest. If your family is like mine, taking a nap may be out of the question; but, maybe you can cuddle up with your little ones. 🙂 It would be a great time to just chat and rest with them.

I’d love to hear your ideas! What do you do with your family to honor the Lord’s Day? Please share in the comments.

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Tweetable: Ten Ways to Honor the Lord’s Day 

Why Honoring the Lord’s Day Each Sunday is Important

For a long time now, I have felt called to make a greater effort in honoring the Lord’s day. All of us are busy, I’m no exception. School (homeschooling or not), work, and obligations crowd our days and often our evenings. We make the effort to pray, to keep our hearts and minds for God, but it’s not always easy. Well, it’s not easy for me at least.

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

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

As I was praying about this,  I was reminded of the three months I spent in France when I was discerning a religious vocation. One of the things that struck me the first few weeks I was there was that almost everything shut down on Sundays. The churches were open, of course; but, aside from an occasional grocery store everything was closed (except for hospitals, the police, etc.).

As I reflected upon that custom in France, it wasn’t the act itself I was impressed with; but the meaning behind the custom. It was a reminder that Sundays are important. Remembering God, dedicating a day to Him is important. God IS important. Honoring the Lord’s Day IS important.

Scriptural Reasons:

Honoring the Lord’s day is important because God Himself said so. 🙂 Here are a few scriptures to reflect upon in regards to the Lord’s BibleDay. There are several more so I encourage you to do your own scriptural study on the meaning of the Lord’s Day.

Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the seventh day He rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. ”

Exodus 31:15 “Six days there for doing work, but the seventh is the sabbath of complete rest, sacred to the Lord.”

Acts 20:7 “On the first day of the week, when we gathered to to break bread…”

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

You can find what the church teaches about the Lord’s day in the Catechism in numbers 2168-2195, which you can read here. I will just quote the “In Brief” that comes at the end of each chapter of the Catechism:

2189 “Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Deut 5:12). “The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord” (Ex 31:15).

2190 The sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.

 2191 The Church celebrates the day of Christ’s Resurrection on the “eighth day,” Sunday, which is rightly called the Lord’s Day (cf. SC 106).

 2192 “Sunday… is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (CIC, can. 1247).

2193 “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound… to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body” (CIC, can. 1247).

2194 The institution of Sunday helps all “to be allowed sufficient rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives” (GS 67 § 3).

 2195 Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day.

Other Reasons:

Praise
Now that we have laid the foundation of why the Lord’s Day is important; I want to mention a few other reasons celebrating the Lord’s Day is important.

It’s a “mini Easter”. Sundays are a reminder of Jesus’ victory over death and our re-birth. They are a reminder of the first Easter and although they aren’t quite as big as the “official” Easter we celebrate, they are no less a day to remember that great victory won by Christ.

 It’s a day of rest. Well, it’s supposed to be! How many of spend our Sundays doing errands, cleaning, or car pooling to sports?! But the Lord has given us a day of rest because He knows we need it! We need a day to recharge our mental and physical batteries, so we can do the work He has called us.

It’s a day to give thanks and glory to God. Again, the Lord knows we are busy so He wants us to spend one day remembering HIM. It is a reminder that He is in charge. That He is God. That He loves us and wants us to grow in our relationship with Him. He doesn’t need our thanks and praise, but WE need to give Him the glory that is His. Praising HIM lifts US up, renews our spirits and helps us grow in our love for Him.

It is a day to grow in Charity. Honoring the Lord’s day helps us open our hearts and eyes to others around us, so that that we can love them with Christ’s love. Sundays are a good day to reach out to those who need us.

Tomorrow I’ll offer some things you can do to honor the Lord’s Day.

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Tweetable: Why Honoring the Lord’s Day Each Sunday is Important

(Scripture verses come from the Saint Joseph Personal size edition of the New American bible, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York 1970, 1986)

Answering the call

For a long time it has been in my heart to begin a blog. However, up until now, the timing wasn’t right. So here I am finally writing my first post. 🙂 I hope that my writings will be a blessing to others, especially to other Catholic home-keepers like me.

As you can see, the appearance of the blog still needs to be tweaked and added to, so please bear with me as I get everything in order. I really wanted to launch the this today (Pentecost Sunday), so I will continue to to tweak the appearance as I begin writing.  (Just FYI, I won’t be regularly blogging on Sundays, as one of the ways I honor the Lord’s Day is not working on the computer. As a matter of fact, I am actually writing this post Saturday night. 🙂 )

Tomorrow (Monday), I will share some pictures of our preparation/celebration of Pentecost. Other things that will be discussed/shared here will be our Catholic faith, womanly issues, homemaking, being a help-meet to our husbands, raising/homeschooling our children and whatever else the Lord puts in my heart.

To learn more about me you can go here or to learn more about the purpose of this blog here. Have a question or comment? Don’t hesitate to email me at carol (at) simplecatholicliving (dot) com or fill in the form on the contact page.

Happy reading and God bless you!