Monday, March 26, 2012

..And the Word Was Made Flesh!

What an important feastday we celebrate today:  The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 9 months before Christmas, the Birth of Our Lord. 

The Annunciation is a wonderful testament to the very special bond of purest love between the Blessed Mother and the Holy Trinity; for when God the Father asks this lowly maiden to be part of His plan, she says Yes. Upon her response, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, the Miracle of miracles happens:  God the Son becomes flesh in her womb, THEN the course of humanity changes.

From the beautiful prayer the Angelus, we call to mind the scene where the Archangel Gabriel, sent by God, appeared to a humble virgin.  The angel declares to Mary that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God, and she abandons herself  fully to His Will.

In today's world this mystery is as relevant as ever: God proposes to Mary, His creature, wanting her consent and cooperation in His plan of man's salvation. (Typical of God never imposing anything on His human creatures, which is why we have His gift of free will.)  Ever being resigned to God's designs and always making God's will her own, in spite of her self doubts, Mary gives her unhesitant and unconditional FIAT (yes).

What a true and beautiful manifestation of CHOICE, of free will. At the very moment Mary says yes to God, the Spirit of God overshadows her and the Word becomes incarnate, Flesh of her flesh - the little Baby that is to become the Saviour of the World!

This is a far cry from today's sad, corrupted, adulterated interpretation of CHOICE, particularly in the abortion market where parents are deceived and made to think that whether or not they bring into the world God's gift of life is their right to decide.  Thus, countless lives are senselessly annihilated under the guise of "CHOICE."

As we celebrate the event, we praise and thank God for this very significant occasion in man's salvation history.  We also pray for the necessary grace so that, like Mary, we will always be disposed to say "yes" to God, and through our resignation to His will, He will work wonderful miracles. 

We also particularly remember the victims of abortion..

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe above as left by the Virgin Mary herself on the tilma of her  visionary, Juan Diego - a poor Aztec-Indian convert to the Catholic faith.  It is said that in this image Our Lady is depicted as being pregnant, indicated by the black sash she wears - which among both the Indian and Spanish  people means pregnancy.

Holy Mother of God and of the Church,
our Lady of Guadalupe,
you were chosen by the Father for the Son through the Holy Spirit.

You are the Woman clothed with the sun
who labors to give birth to Christ while Satan,
the Red Dragon,
waits to voraciously devour your child.
So too did Herod seek to destroy your Son,
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
and massacred many innocent children in the process.

So today does abortion killing many innocent unborn children
and exploiting many mothers
in its attack upon human life and upon the Church,
the Body of Christ.

Mother of the Innocents,
we praise God in you for His gifts to you
of your Immaculate Conception,
your freedom from actual sin;
your fullness of grace,
your Motherhood of God and the Church,
your Perpetual Virginity
and your Assumption in body and soul into heaven.

O Help of Christians,
we beg you to protect all mothers of the unborn
and the children within their wombs.
We plead with you for your help to end the holocaust of abortion.

Melt hearts so that life may be revered!
Holy Mother, we pray to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart
for all mothers and all unborn children
that they may have life here on earth
and by the most Precious Blood shed by your Son
that they may have eternal life with Him in heaven.

We also pray to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart
for all abortionists and all abortion supporters
that they may be converted and accept your Son, Jesus Christ,
as their Lord and Savior.

Defend all of your children in the battle against Satan
and all of the evil spirits in this present darkness.
We desire that the innocent unborn children
who die without Baptism should be baptized and saved.
We ask that you obtain this grace for them and repentance,
reconciliation and pardon from God for their parents and their killers.

Let there be revealed, once more,
in the history of the world the infinite power of merciful love.
May it put an end to evil.
May it transform consciences.
May your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart
reveal for all the light of hope.

May Christ the King reign over us,
our families, cities, states,
nations and the whole of humanity.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary,
hear our pleas and accept this cry from our hearts!

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Protectress of the Unborn,
Pray for us!

Happy feastday of the Annunciation!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Poll Results: Answered Prayers?

Great news to wake up to:  the Queensland election outcome saw LNP's landslide victory, winning a massive majority of seats (i.e. 75) over ALP - a mere 6!  Thank God indeed for this historic event, especially as our state bids buh-bye to ALP, with its members being well known pro-abortion/Emily's Listers. 

As Catholics, we have to realize that anybody who does not have  the right perspective or a warped view on LIFE cannot possibly have the right perspective on anything else.   Hence, government leaders cannot have this kind of mentality, lest they govern the state/country with a seriously distorted or misplaced value system.

I am personally unsure of Campbell Newman (Queensland LNP leader and Premier-elect) and his stance on abortion and other moral issues that concern families, but for now, I am just thankful that the openly pro-abortion Anna Bligh is out of the highest office in the state.  Thank God for that.

Loving Lord, we thank You for Your hand in the election results.  We pray for the newly-elected government in the state - that they be able to govern with integrity and righteousness, and keep their commitment to the sanctity of Life, marriage and the family.  We pray for them to legislate with firm allegiance and faithfulness to moral law, Your holy laws, which are higher than any other law.  We pray that they discharge their duties honestly, and lead the state, and therefore the country, toward an era of lasting peace, profound respect for life, and true justice.

May God's name be praised, now and forever!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An Earnest Prayer for Queensland

Today is the 2012 Queensland State Elections.  But because hubby was going to be unavailable, to attend to a pressing matter out of town, we both chose to pre-poll yesterday.  It goes without saying that we voted PRO LIFE (and stayed well away from candidates known to be among Emily's List), which - we are fully aware - is our moral obligation as Catholics. 

Hopefully come Sunday morning, we can all wake up to an election result that would be tantamount to the state moving forward to a future where we can feel much more secured, where the interests of the family as the basic unit of society are protected, and the rights of individuals, especially the defenseless,  are upheld and safeguarded.

Today, being THE DAY, driving around with our little bumper magnets (below) we were hoping to have influenced and moved other voters into serious thought about how important casting a pro-life vote is. 

May God's will prevail - in the state of Queensland, in all other states of Australia, and the whole world!

Loving Lord Jesus, we beseech you to grant our earnest prayer for our beautiful state of Queensland:  for the triumph of a government that will commit itself to justice;  one that we can trust to work tirelessly to protect the sanctity of marriage and family, one that will be protective of the dignity of each human life - from start to finish and therefore honour and support the human rights of EVERY individual - rich or poor, old or young, born or unborn.  This we ask, with the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.  Amen.

Laudetur Jesus Christus in aeternum!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy "St Isidore the Farmer" Day!

Today, in the traditional calendar, we commemorate the life and faith of St Isidore the Farmer, patron of farmers and patron saint of Spain.  (St Isidore is also one of the patron saints of one of our boys, Bobbles.)

(To watch the video below, please press the PAUSE button on the mixpod at the very end of this page)

Prayer to Saint Isidore the Farmer

Dear Isidore, you know how normal it is to cultivate the land for you were employed as a farm laborer most of your life. Although you received God's help materially through Angels in the field, all farmers are aided spiritually to see the wonders God has strewn on this earth. Encourage all farmers in their labors and help them to feed many people. Amen.

Litany of Saint Isidore

Litany in honor of St. Isidore the Farmer, patron of farmers and workers. This litany can be prayed in conjunction with the Novena to St. Isidore.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Isidore, pray for us.
St. Isidore, patron of farmers, pray for us.
St. Isidore, illustrious tiller of the soul, pray for us.
St. Isidore, model of laborers, pray for us.
St. Isidore, devoted to duty, pray for us.
St. Isidore, loaded down with the labors of the field, pray for us.
St. Isidore, model of filial piety, pray for us.
St. Isidore, support of family life, pray for us.
St. Isidore, confessor of the faith, pray for us.
St. Isidore, example of mortification, pray for us.
St. Isidore, assisted by angels, pray for us.
St. Isidore, possessor of the gift of miracles, pray for us.
St. Isidore, burning with lively faith, pray for us.
St. Isidore, zealous in prayer, pray for us.
St. Isidore, ardent lover of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.
St. Isidore, lover of God's earth, pray for us.
St. Isidore, lover of poverty, pray for us.
St. Isidore, lover of fellowmen, pray for us.
St. Isidore, most patient, pray for us.
St. Isidore, most humble, pray for us.
St. Isidore, most pure, pray for us.
St. Isidore, most just, pray for us.
St. Isidore, most obedient, pray for us.
St. Isidore, most faithful, pray for us.
St. Isidore, most grateful, pray for us.

Jesus, Our Lord: we beseech You, hear us.
That You would vouchsafe to protect all tillers of the soil: we beseech You, hear us.
That You would vouchsafe to bring to all a true knowledge of the stewardship of the land...
That You would vouchsafe to preserve and increase our fields and flocks...
That You would vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth...
That You would vouchsafe to bless our fields...
That You would vouchsafe to preserve all rural pastors...
That You would vouchsafe to grant peace and harmony in our homes...
That You would vouchsafe to lift up our hearts to You...

Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.
From lightning and tempest: deliver us, O Lord.
From pestilence and floods...
From winds and drought...
From hail and storm...
From the scourge of insects...
From the spirit of selfishness...

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Let Us Pray:

Grant, O Lord, that through the intercession of Blessed Isidore, the husbandman, we may follow his example of patience and humility, and so walk faithfully in his footsteps that in the evening of life we may be able to present to You an abundant harvest of merit and good works, Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's up!

For a while now I had been wishing to have a blog design makeover.  For one thing, I wanted to change our family photo in the header into one that included Bobbles.  While at it, I also wanted to throw in several elements here and there for that personal touch and to make the page more "me."  I also thought that incorporating beautiful old Catholic devotionals and magnificent sacred pictures off old holy cards from the glorious past would go a long way in encouraging and inspiring, not just me and my my family, but hopefully other people who might happen to find themselves in our page.

Painstakingly searching for just the right stuff (i.e. graphics, etc) and collaborating with Michelle, the designer who put everything together, paid off dividends and we're all loving the results!  Definitely well worth the effort and expense, as it has turned out to be a wonderful representation of what I wanted to have on the page.  The way it is now,  it really does - to me -  feel just like.. home.

Thanks, Michelle!

Ad majorem Dei gloriam, et animae salutem!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy St Joseph's Day!

Beautiful videos dedicated to St Joseph.  To watch or listen, please make sure you hit the PAUSE button on the mixpod at the very end of this page.  Enjoy!

Sancte Joseph, familiarum columen, ora pro nobis!

ST PATRICK: Shepherd of the Emerald Isle

Last Saturday was St Patrick's Day.  But because we had gone camping for the weekend we did not get much prepared for the celebration.  The most we could do was packing some green clothing to get into some sort of "spirit."

For our little "celebration" we planned a simple, easy to prepare St Patrick's-themed morning tea which consisted of pancake stacks shaped into shamrocks and topped with green-stained sugar and dessicated coconut mixture sprinkles.  We also had ripple chocolate biscuits with shamrock-shaped cookie icing, and also some green lime, kiwi and melon jelly cups which were readily available from the local supermarket.  All in all, we had a pretty nice, St Paddy's Day - even their little Franklin-the-turtle toys got into the green mood.  Well...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Sight

If you've been pregnant a few times, you tend to be a little bit blasé about the next times.  Albeit never without care, caution or sensibleness, of course, I am much like that with this pregnancy - which is why I had not sought any medical care until I was around 20 weeks into it (a couple of weeks ago)- something that my doctor was not very impressed with, but I also told her that I have 5 kids at home; and blah, blah, blah..

This week I finally had my first ultrasound, though a little late than required, but my rationale was that everything was going well, so I felt no sense of urgency.  (Told you I was blasé...)  Besides, I thought, if they do happen to find that there was any abnormality with the baby, we would seek the requisite care for it and would very much keep it, no questions about that.  Thankfully, solely by God's goodness, everything checked out perfectly - according to the sonographer - which we were all very pleased with.  What the children could not wait to find out was whether we were going to have a boy or a girl.  They'd been talking (even sometimes arguing) about wanting a brother or a sister.  But today they finally found out.  Looks like we're having a girl!

We got mixed reactions from the children, as the boys clearly wanted a baby brother and the girls wanted a little baby sister.  After talking the boys into the realization that this little baby is a blessing from God and that it is a great gift that we do not deserve but were freely given, and that if we reject it (her) God will be very sad; we now have 2 very eager, excited and potentially protective big brothers!

The following photos are of the actual sonogram done this morning.  After all that was said and done, we have all definitely fallen in love with our little baby - at first sight.

Well, all is well that ends well.  Praise the Good Lord indeed, now and forever!

Prayer of an Expectant Mother

Almighty God, in Thy wisdom Thou hast entrusted to me another soul to rear for Thy honour and glory.  It is a great responsibility.  I am proud and a little afraid, but I trust in Thy fatherly goodness and the intercession of the Mother of Jesus, who knew all the hopes and fears of one who expects a child.

Dear God, give me courage and fortitude when I need it.  Let my child be born strong and healthy and with the disposition for wanting to become a Saint.  Good Saint Elizabeth, cousin of our Lady and mother of John the Baptist, pray for me and this child to come.

Mary, most pure Virgin and Mother of God, I remind thee of the blessed moment when thou didst see for the first time thy newly born Child and folded Him in thy arms.  Through this joy of thy maternal heart, obtain for me the grace that I and my child may be protected from all danger.

Mary, Mother of my Saviour, I remind thee of the unspeakable joy you felt when, after three days of painful seeking, thou again didst find thy Divine Son.  Through this joy, obtain for me the grace to worthily bring into the world the child He didst create for me and his/her father.

Most glorious Virgin mary, I remind thee of the heavenly joy that flooded thy maternal heart when thy Son appeared to thee after His Resurrection.  Through this great joy, obtain for my child the blessings of holy Baptism, so that my child may be admitted to the Church, the Mystical Body of thy Divine Son, and to the company of all the Saints.  Amen.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Travel Update

Yesterday was the 3rd Sunday of Lent, and with only a few weeks to go before Easter, one asks:  Just how am I going in my Lenten Journey?

I don't know about others, but speaking for myself when I resolve to make changes in certain aspects of my life, I find it rather hard to stick to resolutions and resist slip ups here and there, particularly during Lent.  However I take comfort in the thought that Jesus not only showed us He fell a number of times on His way to Mt Calvary, but that He got up as many times - to keep going.  Truly, the way to a renewed life is only through THAT journey, the Way of the Cross which, with the loving and abiding grace of God, will always lead to death to ourselves, then after which comes New Life in Christ!

Some days ago we reconstructed the children's Lenten Resolutions mobiles and hung them up in the study to serve as constant reminders of what they hope to achieve this Lent in the way of spiritual advancement.  In our discussions about these useful tools we established that they represent their promise to Jesus as each picture depicts a virtue that they would like to develop with the help of God's grace.

We were also delighted to have rediscovered Sacrifice / Good Deed Beads as another helpful instrument for earning graces this season.  Back in 2006 I made several sacrifice beads as baptism favours to give away to friends and family who joined us during Curlytops' baptism.  (St Therese is regarded as the one who gave us the sacrifice beads and with Curlytops being named after her, we chose it as our giveaway / keepsake for the special occasion.)  From the batch that I made back then I found 3 left over, so I just had to make one more for Bright-eyes.  Thankfully, the children have shown a lot of enthusiasm about these Sacrifice Beads and we're hoping and praying that these will really help them strive for goodness and virtue this Lent.

In addition, each child also received their own "My Lenten Offerings / Easter Eggs Chart" where 40 ovals or egg shapes are labelled with good deeds.  The aim is for them to achieve at least one of these good deeds per day, after which they can colour and decorate the egg.  At the end of Lent (i.e. come Easter), they will have 40 colourful eggs!!

On the the homefront, prayer time is going well - especially because we've been able to get ourselves back to Eucharistic Adoration, at least weekly which is really helping us in our struggles this season, and even the challenges we face as a family in general.  Daily Mass continues to be a challenge due to several variables each day, and these days apart from Sunday Mass, we try to get to Friday evening Masses followed by Confession then Adoration /Benediction; and also on special feastdays in the calendar. 

Overall, we are happy with how we are going, though we could probably do more.  Limited by different things, we would have to be resigned to the fact that God calls us to be prayerful, sacrificial and charitable first and foremost in our immediate neighbours (i.e. family), so this is an ongoing challenge for us - especially with the everyday tests we face - individually and as a family.


by St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori -- Mondays in Lent

O my afflicted Mother! Queen of Martyrs and of Sorrows, thou didst so bitterly weep over thy Son, Who died for my salvation; but what will thy tears avail me if I am lost? By the merits, then, of thy Sorrows, obtain for me deep contrition for my sins, and a true amendment of life, together with constant and tender compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and thy Dolors. And if Jesus and thou, being so innocent, have suffered so much for love of me, obtain that at least I, who am deserving of Hell, may suffer something for thy love. "O Lady," will I say with St. Bonaventure, "if I have offended thee, in justice wound my heart; if I have served thee, I now ask wounds for my reward. It is shameful to me to see my Lord Jesus wounded, and thee wounded with Him, and myself without a wound." In fine, O my Mother, by the grief that thou didst experience in seeing thy Son bow down His head and expire on the Cross in the midst of so many torments, I beseech thee to obtain for me a holy death. Ah, cease not, O Advocate of sinners, to assist my afflicted soul in the midst of the combat in which it will have to engage in its great passage from time to eternity. And as it is probable that I may then have lost my speech and strength to invoke thy sweet name and the Holy Name of Jesus, Who art all my hope, I do so now; I invoke thy Son and thee to succor me in that last moment; and I say, Jesus and Mary, to Thee I commend my soul. Amen. (Silent reflection... Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

COCONUT WATER: A Much Healthier Alternative

In our household we've always had fruit juices or water, never softdrinks.  I'm very happy to say that none of our kids have taken to drinking carbonated, sugary drinks; and that the only time they might have a sip is if we were at a place or gathering where there is nothing else to drink but those. 

Nevertheless, fruit juices - no matter how much they are advertised as being fresh or sugar free - are never guaranteed to be additive-free nor fresh.  And then there's that all-important question of whether it is made from organic fruits or disease-causing, genetically modified franken-fruits!  So really, although we try to stay away from softdrinks, we are still not entirely happy with giving our children these purchased fruit juices.

Recently, however, we've been doing some research into coconut oil (prompting us to make a major shift from using extra virgin olive oil to extra virgin coconut oil); and from the same suppliers, I tried other coconut products including their "coconut water" which I quite liked - both in terms of the taste and the reported benefits.  We don't buy it very often, however, because 5 x 300 ml bottles sets us back $17.50 plus shipping costs because it is only available online, thus far.  This means 1 bottle costs about at least a hefty $3.50!!

Today, though, I was in our local organic grocery store and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they now stock coconut water.  And what's more, along with a few different brands, including the one we previously used, I came across "Coconut Essence" in huge cans of 520 mls for $2.99, so I decided to load a few cans into my trolley.  But on my way to the counter, my jaw nearly dropped to see that they were being sold in cases of 24 cans for 60 bucks!  Wow, this means each huge can only cost $2.50 compared to the small bottle for $3.50!  Needless to say, I grabbed myself a whole case, resolving to go back in a day or two for a few more.

Up until today, fruit juices (purchased from the store, although there was a time I would not let the kids drink anything other than juice that I squeezed myself!) constitute most of our beverages at home, but I am definitely very pleased to say that this will change, much sooner rather than later - for the better.  Compared to those reconstituted, processed, additive-loaded (and who knows what else!), supposedly healthy "fruit" drinks, I would certainly go for coconut water for its several nutritional benefits, even if admittedly, they will cost a tad more.  Oh well, at the end of the day, it is such a small price to pay for the family's better health.