Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Our Lenten bulletin board. Purple strips – Sundays in Lent. Pink for Laetare Sunday. Red for Passion Sunday. Gold for Holy Week ( yeah, I know..). Pics for Feast days, Confirmation anniversary, birthdays, wedding anniversary, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday…

How should we respond to the invitation to conversion that Jesus addresses to us in this time of Lent? How can there be a serious change in our life? First of all, we must open our hearts to the penetrating call that comes to us from the Liturgy. The time of preparation for Easter is a providential gift from the Lord and a precious opportunity to draw closer to himk, turning inward to listen to his promptings deep within. Pope John Paul II Lenten Message 2001. Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II
Concede nobis, Domine, praesidia militiae christianae sanctis inchoare jejuniis: ut contra spiritales nequitias pugnaturi, continentiae muniamur auxiliis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Grant us, O Lord, to begin with holy fasts our Christian warfare: that, as we do battle with the spirits of evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I am thinking about liturgy this Lent. Not sure why but, as I read my St Andrew’s Missal, daily this Lent, well, then, I start to think about Mass.
And prayer. And the Faith.
Lex orandi, lex credendi (Latin loosely translated as the law of prayer is the law of belief)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: The Church’s faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles – whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]). The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.
And I found the below online, from a Foreward to True Development of Liturgy – reflections on the the shape of the liturgy after Vatican II
Some practices which Sacrosanctum Concilium had never even contemplated were allowed into the Liturgy, like Mass versus populum, Holy Communion in the hand, altogether giving up on the Latin and Gregorian Chant in favour of the vernacular and songs and hymns without much space for God, and extension beyond any reasonable limits of the faculty to concelebrate at Holy Mass. There was also the gross misinterpretation of the principle of “active participation.” Archbishop Ranjith (secretary of the Congregration for Divine Worship)

Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem ( Mark 10:33)….Christ also invites the men and women of today to “go up to Jerusalem.” He does so with special force during Lent, which is a favourable time to convert and restore full communion with him by sharing intimately in the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. Pope John Paul II Lenten Message 20001, from
Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II
Some of our reflections for Lent. This book, with a basket of possible Lenten activities and alongside our Lenten centrepiece, sits on our dining table. Silent, visual Lenten reminders. And reading. And things-to-do.

And so this is Christmas

So this is Christmas.
And what have you done ?
Another year over
and a new one just begun.

No, it is not Christmas. But it is Shrove Tuesday. Pancake Day. Fat Tuesday. The day before the start of Lent.

Lent always seems to creep up on me, with its scariness and its joy. We seem to have only just finished Christmastide, to have barely settled into Ordinary Time. And then it is Lent.

Scary. Scary when I sense the rapid passing of time. Scary because I take the time to recollect, to do penance, to challenge – me. This is hard.

Joyful because the extra prayers and spiritual reading and devotions like the Stations of the Cross make me feel closer to God, build my faith.

On and off, all day, I’ve thought, with a surprised start each time, Oh, yes, this is Lent. Tomorrow. Ash Wednesday. And then the lyrics of John Lennon’s song come to my mind.

And so this is Lent..
…and what will I do?…
Another season over…

I made pikelets today for French class and for work meetings . Pikelets = mini pancakes..And we devoured pancakes with ice cream and fruit (and vodka cruisers for adults) after Mass tonight. With a gathering of candles on the table, and Singstar, to celebrate Pancake Day.

We also created a Lenten centrepiece, for our dining table liturgical year strewing. Something I thought of last night, lying awake, not sleeping…A quiet reminder..Unspoken words….A violet circle ( violet – Lent; circle – crown – crown of thorns) with the words mea culpa in silver cardboard ( my fault – sorrow for sins) and our violet Lenten candle in the middle. To be swapped for a rose candle on Laetare Sunday.

May every family and Christian community use well this time of Lent, therefore, in order to cast aside all that distracts the spirit and grow in whatever nourishes the soul, moving it to love of God and neighbor. I am thinking especially of a greater commitment to prayer, lectio divina, recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and active participation in the Eucharist, especially the Holy Sunday Mass. With this interior disposition, let us enter the penitential spirit of Lent. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Causa nostrae laetitiae, accompany and support us in the effort to free our heart from slavery to sin, making it evermore a “living tabernacle of God.” With these wishes, while assuring every believer and ecclesial community of my prayer for a fruitful Lenten journey, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing Pope Benedict’s Lenten message


Bondi Beach

A visit to Bondi.

On the feast of St Peter Damian. A special saint friend of mine. Because he is the patron saint of insomniacs. St. Peter Damian (+21 Feb. 1072), Bishop and Doctor, Cardinal, was a great reformer. In 1823 he was declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XII.

Grant us, we beseech You, Almighty God,eagerly to follow the examples and counsels of blessed Peter the bishop,so that, preferring nothing to Christand always intent upon the service of Your Church,we may be guided through unto the joys of light eternal.

We prayed at a Sung Latin Mass, at St Anne’s in Bondi, a votive mass for St Anne. Hey, my middle name is Ann!

A Votive Mass, that is, a Mass for some private devotion or in some special circumstance, may be said, when the occasion is of great private or public importance, on certain week-days on which no Feast is kept (ferias) and on Feasts of simple or semidouble rite. The Church permits the celebration of the Mass of any Saint as a Votive Mass. Of course such Votive Mass can be said only when the rubrics permit.

And we had a very nice lunch at a cafe at Bondi Beach.

Bondi Beach is located in the suburb of Bondi, seven kilometres from the centre of Sydney. Bondi is believed to be an Aboriginal word meaning the sound of breaking waves. There are Aboriginal Rock carvings on the northern end of the beach at Ben Buckler and south of Bondi Beach near McKenzies Beach on the coastal walk.
Bondi Beach is approximately one kilometre long. The width of Bondi Beach averages 50m at the north end, widening out to 100m at the south end. It is the widest beach in the Sydney region.

religion, Unschooling

Strewing art..Blessed Giovanni da Fiesole

A little art rabbit trail.

In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland the protagonist follows a white rabbit through a tunnel, into an alternate world, learning about the mores of this alternate world….By extension, wandering down a homeschooling, learning rabbit trail would be following something , a topic, an idea, and ending up in a new world, so to speak, where one learns something new and sees something new…..

We follow rabbit trails all the time. Some long and involved. Some for five or ten minutes.

This morning’s rabbit trail, after my workout and before breakfast, resulted in strewing art. Art books on the dining table. An art print as background on a computer.

Sweaty and tired after the puke-in-a-bucket workout, I turned the page in our Saints book on the dining table and found out it was the feast day ( February 18) of blessed Giovanno Angelico – the Dominican friar and painter Fra Angelico.

I have always enjoyed the use of colour by this Renaissance artist. So we read a little about Fra Angelico, grabbed some art books and our Faith and Life series to look at prints and we did some internet research..

Blessed Giovanni da Fiesole (Fra Angelico) was commemorated on February 18. Born as Guido di Pietro in 1386 or 1387 in Vicchio, Tuscany. He entered the Dominican Order in 1407 taking the name Brother John of the Angels. Fra Angelico (Angelico meaning ‘Angelic’ in Italian) was a Dominican friar renowned for his artwork.

The artwork of Fra Angelico continuously shows the goodness of creation, and this is exemplified in his many representations of the Annunciation.

Fra Angelico’s greatest complete work was his “Life of Christ,” a series of thirty five paintings in Fiesole. They began with the vision of the Prophet Ezechiel and ended with the lovely “Coronation of the Virgin”. These pictures hint to us that Brother John of the Angels was a capable theologian and a Scripture scholar.

He was also a devoted son of St Dominic, whom he loved dearly and never tired of painting.Fra Angelico was beatified 3 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and in 1984 the Pope declared him patron of Catholic artists.

See more prints and more information at The Artcyclopedia.

Rabbit trails before breakfast..learning that is not planned but happens..with interest and enthusiasm…as breath.

There is no difference between living and is impossible, and misleading, and harmful to think of them as being separate. John Holt


Only women bleed….

..Alice Cooper…

Only women bleed..but men suffer hormonal disturbances, too, you know.

I can attest to that. I live with males. Have male friends. And have talked at length recently with friends, honest talk, about marriage and men.

Again, there is the assumption that women are hormonal but men are moved more by logic. But the truth is men are as hormonally driven as women. In fact, men have a number of hormonal cycles:
1) Men’s testosterone, for instance, varies and goes up and down four or five times an hour.
2) There are daily cycles with testosterone being higher in the morning and lower at night.
3) Men have a monthly hormonal cycle that is unique to each man, but men can actually track their moods and recognize they are related to hormonal changes through the month.
4) We know that there are seasonal cycles with testosterone higher in November and lower in April.
5) We know about hormonal cycles with males during adolescence, but also the years between 40 and 55 have what we call male menopause or andropause.
6) Finally, we know there are hormonal changes in men going through Irritable Male Syndrome, related to stress in a man’s life.
“What we’ve found is that one of the primary symptoms is denial. That is, men think the problem is anywhere other than in themselves.”

Irritable Male Syndrome

I do not understand why some people are saying that women and men are exactly the same, and are denying the beautiful differences between men and women. All God’s gifts are good, but they are not all the same. As I often say to people who tell me that they would like to serve the poor as I do, “What I can do, you cannot. What you can do, I cannot. But together we can do something beautiful for God.” It is just this way with the differences between women and men.

God has created each one of us, every human being, for greater things– to love and to be loved. But why did God make some of us men and others women? Because a woman’s love is one image of the love of God, and a man’s love is another image of God’s love. Both are created to love, but each in a different way. Woman and man complete each other, and together show forth God’s love more fully than either can do it alone. Mother Teresa

Learning From Life and From Books

Books usually play a big part in our unschooling.

I think this just reflects dh and I. We are readers. We read a lot. We read a lot to the kids. From the time they were babies we took them to haunt libraries and to hang out at bookstores with us. We listened to audio books in the car. We bought books.

The boys grew up covered with books.

And so their unschooling involves books. By choice. By strewing. By life.

Jonathon, son number four, was recently accepted into liberal arts college. He had to write an essay as part of his entrance requirement. In his interview on Thursday, the Dean of the College said he really liked Jonathon’s writing style and asked what had he done for English..Now, those on the interview board obviously knew from his application that he had been homeschooled..Jonathon said I read a lot. The Dean asked Jonathon what he had read – Jonathon talked about a lot of authors in general and more specifically about F. Scott Fitzgerald, P. G. Wodehouse, James Thurber..

Jonathon was really into playing and crazes as a kid, dress ups and arts and crafts as a small child, then cowboys, then soldiers, then James Bond, then Star Wars, then art and music and always books. All these books have helped him write.

Right now, Anthony is into Isaac Asimov. And Star Wars roleplaying guides. And The Cricket in Times Square. Reading Cricket this week, lead him into an internet search on New York City.

Thomas is reading Alexander Dumas . While flicking through The Dangerous Book For Boys . Which sent him to another book, one on D-Day, as D-Day is mentioned in the Dangerous book.

Dangerous also had us in fits of laughter today. Thomas shared bits from the section on how to impress girls…Find a heavy object. Surreptiously check you can actually lift it before showing off your prowess to the girl…

Alexander is reading short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Discussing ideas. With me, as I share my thoughts my reading, on Grahame Greene.

Books become part of who we are, how we live, how we learn. I know my childhood was formed by books and movies. Just as our unschooling is being formed by many things, including books and movies.


Valentines Day

Want to know more about St Valentine?

Read Wiki.

The feast day of Saint Valentine, priest and martyr, was included in the Tridentine Calendar, with the rank of Simple, on February 14. In 1955, Pope Pius XII reduced the celebration to a commemoration within the celebration of the occurring weekday. In 1969, this commemoration was removed from the General Roman Calendar, but Saint Valentine continues to be recognized as a saint, since he is included in the Roman Martyrology, the Catholic Church’s official list of saints. The feast day of Saint Valentine also continues to be included in local calendars of places such as Balzan and Malta, where relics of the saint are claimed to be found.

Our Valentines Day customs? From the Catholic Encyclopedia ~

The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine’s Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens. Both the French and English literatures of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries contain allusions to the practice.

We went to a Latin Mass. Anthony made a cake . With Smarties placed in a heart shape on the frosting. I made one of dh’s favourite meals – beef curry with vegetables, dhal and pappadums.

I also gave dh a gift. A DVD. Not very romantic, I know, but it is a DVD he has wanted for awhile. Munich. Besides, it was nicely wrapped in a glittery, sparkly, gift bag..

Combining the secular ( the commercialism of a Valentines gift) and the sacred ( Mass)…with learning ( our reading above).