Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Shrove Tuesday, for your prayer arsenal

I have become more mindful of the sin of taking the Lord's name in vain. How prevalent it is, and not easily corrected, unless the person is already religious of mind. I do not pretend to understand the fullness of the application not to take the Lord's name in vain. I can, however, attempt to make amends for its occurence by offering my praise. (Usually I'll try to do it quietly, so as not to draw attention. I'm talking about people who drop OMG--spell it out--at every effusion. They would only roll their eyes and tune you out if you said, "I'm trying to make reparation for your sin of blasphemy.)

This is from Holy Face Devotion, a prayer of reparation for the sin of blasphemy:

May the most Holy, most Sacred, most Adorable,
Most Incomprehensible and Ineffable Name of God
Be always Praised, Blessed, Loved, Adored and Glorified,
In Heaven, on Earth and under the Earth,
By all the Creatures of God,
And by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
In the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

The prayer above is a mouthful, and it's hard to say all of that under your breath fast, so often I will simply say something like, "Praise be to Jesus Christ" or "Blessed be the name of Jesus," or the Jesus prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Perhaps you could resolve this Lent to make this simple prayer more often, especially when the vocabulary of the world reminds you that it needs your prayers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Sympathize

"The old grey donkey, Eeyore, stood by himself in a thistly corner of the forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thougth about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, 'Why?' and sometimes he thought, 'Wherefore?' and sometimes he thought, 'Inasmuch as which?'--and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about. So when Winnie-the-Pooh came stumping along, Eeyore was very glad to be able to stop thinking for a little, in order to say 'How do you do?' in a gloomy manner to him."

Monday, February 13, 2012

A little bauble for your Valentine's Day

I think "The Quiet Man" may be my favorite John Wayne movie. If you like it, too, you may know that it was based on a short story by Irish writer Maurice Walsh. It went through at least two variations, one of which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, and another which is available in this anthology.

This is the original version of "The Quiet Man." It's a gentler "Quiet Man," a lilting love story, and quite different from the movie (starting with the names):

"I want to see Ellen settled in a place of her own," said he.

Shawn's heart lifted into his throat and stayed there. But that steadfast face with the steadfast eyes gave no sign and, moreover, he could not say a word with his heart where it was.

"Your place is small," went on the big man, "but it is and no load of debt on it, as I hear. Not much of a dowry ever came to Knockanore, and not much of a dowry can I be giving with Ellen. Say 200 pounds at the end of harvest, if prices improve. What do you say, Shawn Kelvin?"

Shawn swallowed his heart, and his voice came slow and cool "What does Ellen say?"

I haven't asked her," said Big Liam. "but what would she say, blast it?"

"Whatever she says, she will say it herself, not you, Big Liam."

But what could Ellen say? She looked within her own heart and found it empty; she looked at the granite crag of her brother's face and contemplated herself a slowly withering spinster at his fire corner; she looked up at the swell of Knockanore Hill and saw the white cottage among the green small fields below the warm brown of the heather. Oh, but the sun would shine up there in the lengthening spring day and pleasant breezes blow in sultry summer; and finally she looked at Shawn Kelvin, that firmly built, small man with the clean face and the lustrous eyes below steadfast brow. She said a prayer to her God and sank head and shoulders in a resignation more pitiful than tears, more proud than the pride of chieftains. Romance? Well away!

Shawn was far from satisfied with resigned acceptance, but then was not the time to press for a warmer one. He knew the brother's wizened soul, guessed at the girl's clean one, and saw that she was doomed beyond hope to a fireside sordidly bought for her. Let it be his own fireside then. There were many worse ones - and God was good.

Ellen O'Grady married Shawn Kelvin. One small statement and it holds the risk of tragedy, the chance of happiness, the probability of mere endurance - choices wide as the world.

Don't worry. You still get a donnybrook out of it!

I couldn't decide whether to give it to you for St. Valentine's Day, or St Patrick's Day, or midway between the two. So here it is, a day early, and you can decide whether to curl up and read it with somebody tomorrow, or file it away for the day when everyone is Irish! Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Roughhousing with Dad

I remember a time when I was a new mom, talking with another new mom. Both of our baby girls were a year old. She mentioned the differences between her and her husband playing with the baby: "She's good with me, but with her dad it's a whole different level of fun." I agreed. We moms could coax endless coos and smiles from our precious babies but the cackling and belly laughs?
Those were for Dad when he threw them up in the air.

Then I had more kids, most of them boys. And they started growing up.

Oh, the battles. Sword fights. Kung fu. Dog piles on Dad. Hand-to-hand mortal combat. Well, almost. They all have fun but sometimes they just about to give me a heart attack. That's why The Importance of Roughhousing with Your Kids is such a good read.
We all want kids who end up like Atticus Finch–moral, upright, compassionate. That’s exactly why you need to body slam your kid every now and then.

When we roughhouse with our sons and daughters, they learn boundaries and the difference between right and wrong. If they start hitting hard, aiming below the belt, or becoming malicious, you can reprimand them and then show by example what’s appropriate roughhousing behavior.

Also, roughhousing teaches our children about the appropriate use of strength and power. As I mentioned earlier, when we roughhouse with our kids, we often take turns with the dominant role. Because we’re so much bigger and stronger, we have to handicap ourselves. The implicit message to your child when you hold back is: “Winning isn’t everything. You don’t need to dominate all the time. There’s strength in showing compassion on those weaker than you.”
There's lots more--go read it.

I long ago learned not to sweat much of the rough play that goes on in our house. That doesn't mean I don't think they could benefit from a little maternal moderation every now and then. I mean, we have hardwood floors upstairs, people. Right above my living room. So, I threaten to shut down the game, and Dad will say "Okay, guys, we're scaring Mom," and everyone will good-naturedly (I think) go on their way. Hey, I'm teaching them to advocate for the weak, right?

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, visit SouleMama and leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Because I can't resist it myself...

...here's another giveaway for you to get in on, too. Sarah has a slew of books to help get you through February, and all she wants you to do is read! Go check it out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trying to plan your prayer life? Heh, heh... Read this

Frank from Why I Am Catholic brings his Marine-instilled understanding of tactical speed to bear on the practice of prayer:
By now you’re thinking Frank, what has this got to do with prayer? Well, you aren’t doing it enough. And you spend way to much time preparing to pray too. It happens to me sometimes, but not so much.

Maybe you think it’s complicated. Or you’re not ready. Or you don’t know how, except you do know the Our Father. Or maybe you think you don’t have time. I can’t pray the Rosary at work, you say. No time, no privacy. Too busy, you are. Yes…too busy to pray. Maybe you think you can only pray in the parish sanctuary? I don’t know.

But I do know this. If you have found yourself making these excuses, then the Devil is using his ability in the operational tempo department to put your soul in jeopardy.
Read the rest here.
I have to attest that I have been using the tactic--the longer, more complicated version--recommended in Frank's post more and more regularly. Believe it or not, it is good for every situation.

Lent is coming, after all.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sign the petition

...to rescind the HHS contraception mandate. I was one of the first 500 to sign (she said proudly) but I'm a little late posting about it. No matter. Most of my readers have probably heard of it anyway. It's still important to spread the word, though, so carry the torch if you can! It's almost to the necessary 25,000 signatures, but read here about why you should keep it going.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Call it Downton Abbey for Kids

There have been a couple of YouTube videos making the rounds of clips of Maggie Smith's best sayings as the Dowager Countess of Grantham. While I was watching them, one of my boys came in and said, "Hey! It's the girl who plays Professor McGonagall!"

Putting all of those one-liners together reminded me of this bit from "The Happiest Millionaire":


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