Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Day of Thanksgiving

Yesterday (February 27) was a special day for the whole family because we celebrated 2 occasions:  Roadrunner's 7th birthday, and our 14th Wedding Anniversary.  For us it was a day of tremendous gratitude and thanksgiving to Our Loving Lord for all the undeserved gifts He has been lavishing us and our whole family over the years.

To celebrate the day, we all spent sometime in adoration before the Lord, exposed (late afternoon), and we attended Holy Mass in the evening.  Dinner out with close family friends followed and when we got home we gathered 'round Roadrunner and his birthday cake and sang him a hearty Happy Birthday.

Last week, to mark our anniversary this year we sat for our family portrait which we like to do every so often.  We all enjoyed the exercise as it usually involves dressing up for the occasion and trying to look nice in photos that we will be keeping together with memories in years to come.

taken early evening before heading to the studios

Our Wedding Anniversary Prayer

Loving Lord Jesus, we thank You for giving us another year together.  We thank You for sustaining the precious love that we have for each other, and for strengthening the bonds which draw us closer each day.  We thank You, not only for the joys we have known together, but also for the pains that You allow us to face in order to fortify us in spirit.  Most of all, we thank You for the wonderful gift of faith that has enabled us to grow together and come through the trials we encounter. 

Loving Lord, we ask pardon for any shortcomings on our part:  for the times when we do not cooperate with Your grace:  for being unforgiving or unwilling to ask forgiveness, for justifying our faults when we fall short of doing our best in the performance of our duties in our vocation and state of life, for failing to look to You as our Sole Saviour in everything. 

We especially pray for our son (Roadrunner), whom You sent us 7 years ago as a very special gift to show Your love and faithfulness to our family.  We thank You for the privilege of being parents to him and to the rest of our children.  We pray that he may grow up in Your image - in all he thinks of, says and does.

Dear Mother Mary, we thank you for guiding us toward your Son.  We entrust our children to you, to love them and always keep them under your mantle.  We ask for your powerful intercession and help so that they may be nurtured and formed into the kind of people they were created to be.  We pray that they may be given the grace to discern God's will and purpose for their lives, and for them to have the generosity of heart so that in response to God's calls, like yourself, they may always say "Fiat voluntas tua!."  Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2012

First Confession / Communion Resource Found!

We were very excited to have received a promotion from Pro Multis Media (another good Catholic Resource Shop online) about an upcoming audiovisual aid scheduled for release in the next few weeks:  the "Our First Communion DVD"  based on a book by Msgr William Kelly published in 1925.

Because we have a First Communicant this year (Roadrunner) I have started pulling out our available resources for First Communion /Confession Preparation.  This will be such a great addition to it. 

Apparently, Pro-Multis Media are taking pre-orders  now for the DVD, so we've put in our order as soon as we received their promotional email a couple of days ago.  Apart from our first communicant, we are all very much  looking forward to when it is finally released and when we receive our own copy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ash Wednesday 2012

Wow, Lent has crept up on us so quickly.  I know I keep going on about time flying by and that I never seem to get on top of things, but I swear - we have not even put all our Christmas decorations away!!!  (Yup that tells you a lot about my organizational skills, but with another bub on the way and a handful of kids running around, etc..   hmm excuses, excuses..)

Ash Wednesday came and went without much preparation from us, I'm ashamed to say..  (We even missed out on doing anything for Shrove Tuesday!  :(  But because we did quite well last year, the kids did not need much to remind them about the why's and how's of Lent.  I only had to pull out the materials we used and put them in position and voila!  they knew what to do.  Thank God, indeed.

Our Ash Wednesday was highlighted by evening Holy Mass at St Stephen's Cathedral, getting our foreheads crossed with blessed ashes, and also receiving Jesus sacramentally - which we will need in order to strengthen us in this time of great calling.  Although we wanted to spend a holy hour with our Eucharistic Lord, we could not locate our swipe card for the Villa Maria Adoration Chapel, sad to say, so we were not able to get access to the carpark or the chapel (which is closed after business hours - for security reasons.)  But one of our resolutions this season is to bring ourselves back to Wednesday evening holy hours, so we hope to either find the card or procure a new one in time for next Wednesday.

As aforementioned, we are using the same materials as we did last Lent with minor adjustments, one of which being that on the big cross we put the words "Our Sins Nailed Him to the Cross"  in order to emphasize that Jesus suffered severely and died a most horrible death because of OUR sins, and that every offense and transgression we commit, knowingly or otherwise, hurts Our Lord.

Our "Crown of Thorns and Nails" centrepiece now sits on our dining table (with the 2nd set on Our Lady's altar, just as they were last year) and so is our "Lenten Share" jar for almsgiving. 

Although it is only the start of Lent, the children have managed to pin up a few "sins" on the cross already.  (When I become a little more organized - hopefully not much farther into the season - I'd like to get multicoloured pushpins so we can allocate a colour for each one - only to let that particular child be aware of his/her need to make more effort to avoid making the "wrong" choices.  Having said this, they all seem to be enthusiastic about doing good deeds to pull out thorns on Jesus' Crown and making some sacrifices to earn "jewels" to adorn our Lord's Crown of Resurrection come Easter time.

"Prayer Charts" have been brought up as a good Lenten material because our 2nd grader, Roadrunner, went through it during one of his Religion activities.  Hence, in the next few days the children will have their own prayer charts organized to post in a conspicuous area to aid them in enriching their prayer lives.

Webster also proposed to make Lenten Resolution Mobiles, much like the ones they made a couple of years ago, so we plan on getting those done in the next few days, as well.

As always and like everyone else, we are faced with so many struggles, seemingly moreso during Lent, which present us with obstacles in fulfilling our resolutions and promises to Our Lord.  But with the help and intercessory prayers of Our Blessed Mother and our patron saints, we shall be aiming to persevere in our efforts.  With Lent being such a wellspring for graces, we cannot possibly pass up this opportunity to avail ourselves of such gifts from Our Loving Lord.


Tuesdays and Thursdays in Lent

O Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Mother of God, and my most loving Mother, humbly prostrate at thy feet I dedicate myself to the compassion of thy Sorrowful Heart, which was plunged into such an abyss of woe and humiliation, and at the same time was such a prodigy of meekness, of patience, of charity, and of all virtues. O beloved Mother, this sacrifice of thy Heart was offered to show me the inestimable price of humiliations, to teach me that I too must take up my cross and follow my Jesus in the way of suffering, which is the true way to Heaven. Alas! until now I understood it not, and instead of following Jesus, I separated myself from Him, to run after honors and pleasures. Henceforward it shall not be so; I will follow Him, bearing whatever crosses He may be pleased to send me; I will imitate thee, the true model of invincible patience; I will accept tribulations with Jesus and thee, to be united with Him Crucified, and with thee, and that the more, because my sins were the cause of thy sufferings and His.

But thou knowest, my enemies never cease from attacking me and laying snares before me, to lead me astray from the royal way of the Cross. Do thou, therefore, O tender Mother, strengthen me, sustain me, and ever keep before me both thy sufferings and the example of thy fortitude. Obtain for me that I may ever have a lively faith, a firm hope, and an ardent charity, and that, being comforted by the remembrance of thy Sorrows, I may willingly accept the chalice of my tribulations, thus faithfully and cheerfully to accompany Jesus in His Sufferings. And in the great passage from time to eternity, do thou assist me in a special manner; deign to come with Jesus to mine aid; obtain for me that I may invoke thine and His most sweet Names, saying with my lips and my heart, "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I die with Thee in peace." Amen.   (Silent reflection... three Hail Mary's)

O Mother most Sorrowful, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Lady of Lourdes

Today we remember Our Lady of Lourdes and how she appeared to the poor, uneducated peasant girl St Bernadette Soubirous this day in 1858 to exhort people all over the world to be vigilant in prayer and penance.

Hubby and Webster had gone camping for the weekend, but we chose to stay behind to join the celebrations for Our Lady's feastday.  Except for Bobbles, the 3 other kids had dressed in white for the occasion as we were requested earlier to get them to join the children's group in the procession. 

Recitation of the Holy Rosary then Holy Mass preceded the procession which commenced at the St Stephen's Cathedral and concluded at the Villa Maria Adoration Chapel. 

At our chapel, before leaving for St Stephen's Cathedral

After Holy Mass, the procession starts.

Titos Boyet, Ben and Leo carrying Mamma Mary's float
Blue balloons for Mamma Mary

With Ate Janet..

"Have we much farther to go??"

With Ate's and Kuya's at Villa Maria
Back home, we watched the movie "The Song of Bernadette" and later on the kids got into some colouring-in of pictures of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernadette.

Quotes from St Bernadette Soubirous:

"I must die to myself continually and accept trials without complaining. I work, I suffer and I love with no other witness than His Heart. Anyone who is not prepared to suffer all for the Beloved and to do His will in all things is not worthy of the sweet name of friend, for here below, love without suffering does not exist."

"O my Mother, to you I sacrifice all other attachments so that my heart may belong entirely to you and to my Jesus."

From this moment on, anything concerning me is no longer of any interest to me. I must belong entirely to God and God alone. Never to myself."

O Maria, sine labe originali concepta, ora pro nobis, qui confugimus ad te.