Life

Making Devil’s Food Cupcakes

On the feast of the Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael..St Michael cast the devil into hell..so it is our custom every year to make Devil’s Food Cake in memory of heroic St Michael!
On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said:
May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.
Saint Michael the Archangel,defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -by the Divine Power of God cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

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Life

From my missal today

Gospel. Matthew 10. 34-42 Feast of St Wenceslaus

The summary goes…The following of Christ demands on occasion cruel separation from those we love, but those who decide to do so become one with Him.
An excerpt from the Gospel..38 And he that taketh not up his cross and followeth me is not worthy of Me.
Wow. This whole concept of following Christ, taking up one’s cross, of separation, keeps haunting me.

It is a process, isn’t it? Part of life..maybe now..maybe tomorrow.But it’s there.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Let him deny himself..
This is like taking a diet from the world. Denying yourself? Have you ever heard of that? We know about dieting, that is denying ourselves from certain foods that keep weight on, but denying ourselves? Do we know what that is all about?
This last week, I have returned to more serious dieting.
Denying myself some foods.
Not that this is a cross. But I have to admit that saying no to extra food, feeling a twinge of hunger, is good for me when it comes to developing self discipline.
Awhile ago, someone who cares for me shared their wish that I would lose more weight. More weight? Well, I lost about 38 kg over a four-five year period. Have kept that weight off for about a year or so . Have a healthy BMI but it is still a weight that is at the higher end of the healthy BMI.

This pic was from 38 kg ago….

After Easter, this year, I tried stepping up workouts and eating mostly healthy. I lost 1 kg over the last three months. My doctor was pleased -she said most people who lose weight regain it and I hadn’t. But that person-who-cares and myself weren’t happy.

Let him deny himself.
This pic is now…a healthy weight..but can I be thinner?
Let him deny himself.
Could I deny myself a little, lose another ten kg, make someone else happier with me? It is a form of denying oneself for another. Isn’t it?
I bought some Weight Watchers magazines.And thought – s#*@ – if they can do it, so can I. For my even better health; for fitness; for another; to learn even more self control and self discipline; and, yes, vanity prevailing, to look better.

Walking, jogging, instead of Taebo. Counting WW points. I lost a kg this week. Only nine more to go!

Let him deny himself.
Sometimes, practicing self denial and self control in little things, helps us to develop virtues, for when we are really tested. Then, with God’s grace, we can take up our cross and follow Him.
1810 Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God’s help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them. ..from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
religion, Unschooling

On the Feast of St Pio

St Pio of Pietrelcina. September 23.

What did we do?
Good works.




Prayer

“I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because … these things … you have revealed to little ones” (Mt 11,25). How appropriate are these words of Jesus, when we think of them as applied to you, humble and beloved Padre Pio. Teach us, we ask you, humility of heart so we may be counted among the little ones of the Gospel, to whom the Father promised to reveal the mysteries of his Kingdom. Help us to pray without ceasing, certain that God knows what we need even before we ask him. Obtain for us the eyes of faith that will be able to recognize right away in the poor and suffering the face of Jesus. Sustain us in the hour of the combat and of the trial and, if we fall, make us experience the joy of the sacrament of forgiveness. Grant us your tender devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. Accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage toward the blessed homeland, where we hope to arrive in order to contemplate forever the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Pope John Paul II – Homily at the Canonization of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, – 16 June 2002

Cooking


Anthony made lasagne for dinner
..while mum was out for a birthday dinner with friends. Italian food .

Life

On Christian Prayer

Alexander and I are studying a unit towards certificates in religious education/adult formation leadership/youth ministry. (Check the apropriate box. )

Our first unit is on Christian prayer.

As I mentally argue my way through the required readings, playing Devil’s Advocate as I tend to do when studying..a habit learned long ago, at a girls’ secondary school and then at university..as I argue intellectually, I also discuss ideas..with Alexander and any of the other kids who happen to be around. And I pray. More.

Pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17).

St Paul tells us to pray without ceasing, to make our lives a prayer, to practice the awareness of the presence of God in our moments of life.

It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking. St. John Chrysostom

One way to do this is through set prayers, at set times of the day.

Set prayers? Formal prayers, prayers that take us out of our ego centric, self centredness. That remove us from the circumstances in which we find ourseves and force us to think of God, of others, of whole realms of prayer, of types of prayer, of different people and areas that need prayer, of sins of omission.

Formal prayers that join us to other Christians, praying these prayers; to Christians in the past; the communion of saints, the community of the church.

Formal prayers that help us avoid shallowness but that act as a form of spiritual training..so we are not stuck in our ruts and comfort zones of prayer but are forced, if you like, as a physical trainer forces and challenges one to try new workouts, forced to pray, to think differently, to try new spiritual exercises that may be challenging or uncomfortable..at least at first.

And it helps to think of pegs in our day. Activities to which we can peg prayer, as a habit. Items or objects to which we can peg prayer.

Like praying the Angelus at lunch time. Or having a small object, a cross or rosary beads perhaps, or a holy card , or an open Bible or prayer book, on the counter or on the desk or on the table, or a religious icon as a computer background, so each time we glance at it, we remember to pray. To think of God. To pray without ceasing. To develop an awareness of the presence of God.

Years ago, two friends and I agreed to peg, well, um, Kegel exercises to our praying of the Rosary. ( Gosh, the things I mention on this blog!).

We can turn this around and peg prayers, short prayer aspirations or ejaculations, like Lord, you know that I love you ( John 21:15) or Thy will be done! (Fiat voluntas tua!) or Domine Iesu Christe, Filius Dei, miserere me peccatorem! (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!) Luke 18:13..we can peg these prayers to activities like answering the phone, turning on the computer, checking text messages, hanging out laundry…or to a workout, like praying during my jog this morning.

Prayer is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2564)

Prayer like this unifies or integrates our faith and our life.

They are one and the same, aren’t they?
Even when I play Devil’s Advocate.

The point of using these prayers — and other long, complex, and formal prayers — is, first of all, to take advantage of “best practices”. They are magnificent, beautiful, and compelling, and obviously they worked (i.e., God took notice of them), or nobody would have bothered writing them down for posterity! We use these prayers for the same reason that we read classic literature: there is a timeless beauty and value to them such that they survived the Darwinian process of history — survival of the fittest. blogoslovi

Life

Don’t Obsess

I was told something this weekend. Something I needed to hear. About accepting myself while still trying to be better. That maybe who I am is okay; I don’t have to be like another; I can prayand work on my weaknesses, yes, but some of what I perceive as weaknesses are really just me.

Striving for perfection, with the grace of God. Remembering that there are different ways, different paths to perfection; that God made us all differently.

So, I sit here feeling somewhat hungry. Cutting back on food in order to lose some more weight. And I remember the spiritual advice of this weekend. Apply it to my weight loss and fitness endeavours.

As the author Lisa Delaney , of Former Fat Girl, says ~ It is not an option to obsess.
To obsess about food. To obsess about wishing I was the quiet, gentle type of woman.

It’s not an option to obsess. About anything.

I know it is hard to believe when you’re in it, but I know that with every attempt to lose the weight, get healthy, start exercising–success or non-success (i will not use the f-word!)–I learned something about myself. What made it harder, what made it easier, which foods I could live without, which fitness routines I absolutely couldn’t stand. And all of that knowledge helped me, in the end, become an FFG. ( Former Fat Girl)

I have blogged a bit before about forgiveness, about our need to give ourselves a break when we don’t meet our goals. If we truly believe this is a journey, a process, that should make it easier to look at our stumbles as lessons that will make us stronger and smarter when we wake up tomorrow. Know that I still struggle with this, too, in all aspects of my life. I struggle to get past every less-than-perfect moment in my life … every lapse of memory …, every slip of the tongue …., every inadequacy…Every extra slice of pizza … sneaky bite of chocolate … fingerful of icing. It’s almost a physical process to shut out the urge to dwell, overanalyze, relive these little moments. Sometimes, I visualize myself pushing closed the door to a huge vault, shutting myself off from those super-self-critical thoughts. It’s another INO moment: It’s Not an Option to obsess. Former Fat Girl