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.