Friday, October 23, 2015

How We're Making a Catholic Family (in 7 Quick Takes)

Sometimes I feel more like a convert to this faith than a revert. Case in point, I said my *first* Rosary last night. First! I mean, I've had the Hail Mary memorized for a long time and all the other prayers too, but I've never strung them together while contemplating the appropriate mysteries... ever. It was eye-opening. (And I've never been so aware of my pride as when doing so: "Oh wow! Look I'm doing this! I'm actually doing this!" "I'll totally have to write a post about that insight I just had." Et cetera et cetera et cetera...)
But my point was/is... the Catholic tradition is DEEP and there is so much that I've either never heard of, or only ever just touched on. So when the husband and I decided to come back to the church, we started looking at how we were going raise our family Catholic. So far this is what we've come up with:
- 1 -

Weekly Mass. At least this one was a no-brainer. However, that doesn't mean it's been easy. How can it be with a 3 year old and a 9 month old? But to make it work, we bring lots of snacks for the 3 year old, a couple books, and every once in a while, the 8 year old cousin. The cousin is especially good at getting the 3 y.o. to go to the children's liturgy. (Which can we take a moment to appreciate the children's liturgy?! Neither my husband nor I ever had that growing up, and I think it's just so neat. To me it's the best of both worlds: the children are with us for the majority of the Mass, but we also get a wee break to actually hear the Word and homily. Now to just get the Spitfire to attend it more... ;) )

- 2 -

Catholic media. Books, radio, web, podcasts... you name it, I've been on it. This is where I definitely feel like more of a convert. Truly, it's like a whole new world has been opened to me. Who knew Catholics write their own books/blogs/news? *winky smiley* It seems a little silly to say that now, but prior to this year the only (and I mean only) Catholic writer that I knew of was Fr James Martin, SJ (and not a bad one to start with, if you're like me and don't really know any). On the flipside, I feel I could provide you with at least a soundbite opinion for every Christian (non-Catholic) writer out there. Probably the inevitable result of spending one's childhood in the Family Christian Bookstore, but I digress.
It's been through Catholic creators (my catch-all term) like Matthew Kelly, Scott Hahn, Kendra Tierney, Bonnie Engstrom, Heather Renshaw that we are starting to find our family's place in this Catholic world.  So for them, I am grateful.

- 3 -

Catholic art. "Why should this even be a thing?" you may ask. And to be honest, this is really a work in progress still, as decorating anything (cakes, cards, walls) is not my strong suit. But I think what you hang on your wall shows people what you value most. Is it pictures of family? Places you've been? Beautiful landscapes? Fine art? Plus, you only put the things you enjoy looking at on your wall. So, decor not only communicates something about you to others, but it also adds a positive note to your life and day by looking at it. Our first piece of Catholic wall art was my great aunt's crucifix (or maybe cross?) that we hung up in our office (now make-shift baby room). When she died it was one of the few things that went unclaimed... not that I blame anyone in my family for that. It is, shall we say, different? When I look at it, I imagine her praying beneath it. So I couldn't bare the thought of it going to Goodwill, or worse, the dump.  So I brought it home with me and now it watches over the little dude while he (sometimes) sleeps.
Next came this print from Audrey Eclectic that I love. And most recently, I won another print from her as well of Saint Therese of Liseaux! I don't know where to hang that one though... maybe in the wee girl's room?
My hope, though, is that we will eventually have a space dedicated to displaying art that lifts our hearts and minds to Jesus... a little altar or oratory, if you will. It's on the to-do list.

- 4 -

Celebrating the Liturgical Year. Another work in progress (I was going to include a link here, but um, this is exactly what my blog is all about... so feel free to click around and see what we've done!) Already I know more about some saints than just their names as a result of trying to celebrate their feast days. For this, I rely heavily on the Carrots for Michaelmas and Catholic All Year blogs for inspriation/direction. Right now, we're really just doing what they do. But I think that as we continue to do this, we will find saints that we have a particular affinity to, and ways to celebrate that work for us.
Of course, the next big season coming up is Advent and for that a friend and I have a Jesse Tree project in the works. (Sure hope I'll be able to get my part done before Advent begins! November 29th if you're curious)

- 5 -

Catholic Prayer. Hmm.... this really should have been #2 after going to Mass, huh? Because prayer is important! But as I mentioned before, Catholic prayers (like the Rosary) are still pretty new to me. Words like "Morning Offering" and "Divine Chaplet" are still just that... words signifying things I know nothing about. Yet. Again, file this under "Working On It."  One thing that I have done though is join a prayer group called  Right now we're doing the Novena to St Jude (the saint of "lost causes") and it's been such a consolation. Also, I think I'm beginning to see answers to the prayers I've made during this novena; and when you see answered prayer, it's such a faith builder! (Which is probably the point?)
Also, since October is the month devoted to the Rosary, I feel like I should give a shout out to the app that helped me pray the Rosary for the first time: Touch Rosary. A quality app that is free! Amazing to think someone put all that time into making this app and is not asking for any money from it. (And I'm not being paid to say that either.)

- 6 -

Family Traditions. We have two small traditions: prayer before meals and also lighting a candle at dinner time to pray for our friends and family. I love how my daughter gets excited about lighting the candle and saying who we're praying for. She will even remind us to pray for certain friends if it looks like we're forgetting! She also gets very excited about blowing the candle out at the end of dinner - for which we keep reminding her that *everyone* needs to be finished with dinner before we do that (and everyone includes her!).
A note about the picture above: the block on top of the napkins is actually a prayer cube from the Iona Community. It's one of our favorite things to offer children when they eat with us ("Here, you can pick the prayer we will say for grace today.") This was something the hubs picked up on our adventure there, and I'm so glad he did.

- 7 -

Your thoughts? I'm sure there are myriads of other things out there that we can (and maybe should) do. What do you think we've missed? Or what are some things that you do with your family? I would love to hear them. And thank you in advance for your comment!

From our family to yours: thanks for reading! :)
This was my Seven Quick Takes for the week. Kelly is still running her Link-tober fest, so hop on over there to see more. And to answer her bonus question: last week's 7QT looks to be the most popular with a whopping 151 views (as of today... and truly, that number is staggering and proves that it's not just my mother who is reading this blog. Cool. Thanks again.)

1 comment:

  1. These are great Sara!
    It's amazing how much the blogging world has improved access to ideas for living the Catholic faith. I find it much more like having a massive, helpful moms group than physical moms groups have been.