21 Dec 2014

Burn This Straw and Change It

'My soul is poor and bare of virtues,
the straws of so many imperfections
will prick You and make You weep;
but O, my Lord, what can You expect?
This little is all I have.
I am touched by Your poverty...
Jesus, honor my soul with Your presence,
adorn it with Your graces.
Burn this straw and change it
into a soft couch for Your most holy body....'
(continue here)




(quote from St. Pope John XXIII)

Secret Cynics

Advent is a time of waiting. But how do I wait?
Do I wait stoically or with joy? Do I wait like a child, a child who trusts that his daddy will keep His promises or has life’s disappointments left me jaded and closed off to any spiritual surprises?

Come to think of it, how many of us actually expect to receive any joy on Christmas morning? When we are secretly cynical, we will not receive a thing, not a crumb of Light because we lock the door to our hearts. Then, we will cement our cynicism in place for another year.
As we wait, secretly longing for the dark, empty places within us to be flooded with His light, we should look to our children to teach us how to wait for the Christ Child to be born anew in our hearts. They trust and believe the words of both their earthly and heavenly Fathers. Think of a young child, eyes twinkling, barely able to sit still and contain his excitement because he knows that his dad will never give him a stone instead of a loaf of bread. No wonder Jesus tells us,
“I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 18:4
 I can be an open window for the Holy Spirit and become one of many counterpoints of spiritual light to push back the darkness.

Gideon, Gabriel, Mary, and Guts


(From John William Waterhouse, via FineArtAmerica.com, used w/o permission.)

This morning's Gospel reading is Luke 1:26-38. That's the bit that starts with....

...This comes a little after an account of Gabriel's interview with Zachariah, Luke 1:10-20. That's when Gabriel personally delivers God's response to Zachariah's prayer: and Zachariah demands proof.

Zachariah got proof, all right. He wasn't able to talk for for months. That didn't stop until he agreed with his wife about his son's name: in writing. Elizabeth's name for the boy was John, the same name Gabriel had specified

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Review of St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton


"It may be an excellent thing that cracks should be filled up, but preferably not by somebody who is himself cracked." -G.K. Chesterton

This quote comes from a description of when St. Francis, so full of indignation about his father, Pietro Bernardone's business, completely strips his clothing and goes begging in the streets for building materials for an obsession he has with mending the wall in the city.

It is not just any wall. It was the ruins of the Church of St. Damian, an altar and a place he had become accustomed to praying at. He worked, collecting stones and food along the way, until it was finished.

Is it any wonder that my understanding of St. Francis of Assisi was skewed by the watching of "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" in high school? As I began reading this work by Chesterton, I kept thinking to myself.. wait, wait, wait... I thought St. Francis was the guy who was really into Donovan? After throwing things out the window, he prances around all emotional and naked and stuff? Is it any wonder that a snippet on wikipedia or a 1970's rendition of his life could easily lead you into thinking he was sort of a stupid guy, or at least somewhat flighty?

"This sense of the great gratitude and the sublime dependence was not a phrase or even a sentiment; it is the whole point that this was the very rock of reality." - G.K. Chesterton

Was he a sentimental animal-lover, as many statues and artistic renditions or children's books would have us to believe? No. St. Francis was actually a very intelligent man. His rock was Christ. He was a poet. He was in high standing in his hometown (I have been to Assisi; it is beautiful!) In fact, he was somewhat of a prince of the 13th century. His mother felt he was too prince-like for her care.  He was of high status, and also an accomplished swordsman, and he "delighted in all the exercises of chivalry." (see chapter 3: St. Francis the Fighter). He attempted to go to war, but after some time in prison, a sickness brought him home, and so he re-interpreted his dreams of fighting to mean engaging in the spiritual battle of ministry to lepers of Perugia.

Prince-like though he may have been for the 12th century, he was not popular.

read the rest at tacywilliamsbeck.com {picture a skyline}

20 Dec 2014

Where do you Meet Jesus Each Day?


Starbucks?  Mass?  The Park?  On a Walk?  At the Adoration Chapel?

We each need a place, a physical place, to meet Him.  As Catholics, we should meet Him and see Him in everything we do and in every word we say, thus we are evangelists, and we serve Him.  Yet, even Jesus went up to the mountain or to a quiet place to pray to the Father.

I have a special place where I meet Jesus daily.  Yes, I go to Mass daily, except, like today, when I couldn't get out of my drive way because of yesterday's storm, but it's not there that I meet Jesus in "Our Place." I am an adorer at Church when Jesus gazes at His children from the Monstrance, but that's not where I meet Jesus.

The place I meet Jesus daily is in my living room, on the love seat, across from the couch that my dog occupies.  I meet Jesus in this spot everyday.  Even if I'm sick, I seem to find my way down to this love seat.  It's here that I open my heart to have a conversation with Jesus, our brother and Savior.
Read More at:: His Unending Love

'Let it be with me according to your word. ' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Advent, Year B

The Annunciation, El Greco, 1595-1600 Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest, Hungary 
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)  Gospel Luke 1:26-38  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The Annunciation, Gerard David, 1506 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York [Web Gallery of

The Incarnation by St John of the Cross

Then He summoned an archangel, Saint Gabriel: and when he came, Sent him forth to find a maiden,  Mary was her name.   Full post here.

Happy Christmas, Happy Anniversary

Otto_Greiner_Betende_HändeThe Year 2015 is the anniversary of what was perhaps the greatest of the reforming councils. In the same year that Magna Carta was set to reform the political and social institutions in England, the Fourth Lateran Council was set to reform the political, social and spiritual institutions in the Catholic Church. Its unprecedented success was due to the new mendicant orders – the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Carmelites and the Austin Friars, led by saints like St Francis of Assisi, St Dominic, St Anthony of Padua, St, Thomas Aquinas, St Angela of Foligno and so many others. They all inspired the clergy and laity alike to turn back to prayer to enable the Holy Spirit to work through them to return Christendom to the simple Christian spirituality that had once inspired and then transformed a pagan empire into a Christian Empire a thousand years before. Back to prayer was the message that they all both preached and practised so successfully. So that their example should inspire us to do likewise today, I offer this practical blog to you, to be followed by others in the forthcoming year.... read on
 

Merry Christmas

Wishing a Blessed Christmas to all my readers

A Christmas Birthday - Does A Christmas Baby Get Cheated?

Christmas Day photos
Would my Christmas Baby always think that his birthday is special or would he feel cheated?
Finding out our baby was due on Christmas Day thrilled me beyond measure, but being due on Christmas Day and actually having a  baby on Christmas Day are two different things, and I couldn't help but think, "Really, who has a Baby on Christmas? Certainly, I couldn't be lucky enough!" 

However, Christmas morning rolled around, and it became obvious that this would in fact be the big day. The cramps came closer together; the pain became more intense, and I knew we had to go. 

At the hospital, we were greeted by a Jewish doctor wearing antlers and a Rudolf nose. 

To read the rest, please go to Single Mom Smiling.
Thank you for joining me. I wish you a 

Very Merry Christmas

and, if your birthday also happens to fall on or near Christmas Day, a very 

Happy Birthday! 

to you as well!

God Bless...

19 Dec 2014

The Prayer of Silence

“Be still, and know that I am God!
    I am exalted among the nations,
    I am exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10


Encounter the silence,
The silence becomes a prayer.
Focus on God,
and God alone.
In the silence, 
fill your heart 
with God who lives.
Find Him in the quiet of the day
and the dark, sacred night.
Let Him fill your soul
with His wondrous Love.
He speaks in the silence.
Listen.
He speaks to your heart.
Listen.

His love is a prayer,
a gift to you.
Encounter the silence.


Read More at::  His Unending Love

A Christmas Message from Father Francis Maple

FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE
PLEASE CLICK HERE

The Thrill of Hope

 
One of my favorite lines from the hymn "O Holy Night" is "the thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices..."

After all the cookies are eaten, and gifts are unwrapped, and the memories of the festive celebrations are images on our photos and in our minds, what remains is the hope that is at the heart of our Christmas celebrations.

Read more reflections on "The Thrill of Hope"...
 

Spotting a Diamond (?) Planet, Searching for Life

Kepler spotted its first planet since mission planners found a new way to hold the robot observatory steady, earlier this year.

Scientists at the Nordic Optical Telescope didn't discover 55 Cancri e: but they're the first to observe the super-Earth from Earth's surface. The planet is too hot for life: but 55 Cancri f is another matter. I'll get back to that.

Other scientists are fine-tuning how we can search for life in the universe....

...Before getting to 55 Cancri e and the search for life in the universe, I'll be rambling on about billions of planets, Genesis, and the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. Feel free to skip ahead to Planet-Spotting: Nordic Optical Telescope's 'First.' Or take a coffee break, go for a walk: whatever you feel like....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Mark


Every Catholic Priest that walks the Earth had a mark placed on him at his conception for the Priesthood.   This is a gift by God as a reflection for what God did for Mary in her womb, because every Priest is her son.  The Priest is not immaculate, but only marked as one chosen for the Priesthood.  This is not a guarantee that he will become a Priest, it is up to God whether or not he is called later. 

I am sure that there are a few Priests walking the earth that were not called, although they are very few.  But the Priest, whether called or not will always carry this mark as being chosen to the Priesthood from conception.....


To Read More...CLICK HERE!

18 Dec 2014

Be an Everyday Evangelizer. Share your faith with these FREE creations this Christmas.

Be an everyday evangelizer!  Share the real reason for the season with these free creations.  No matter  whaat your profession is... blogger, secretary, warehouse worker or retired.... use these free images  to share your faith.  Twelve are sized for use as cover images on your facebook page. They could also be used as headers on a blog.    Here are two of the twelve...




I have also created companion images sized for instagram  sharing or other social media purposes.



To see all  twelve images, please visit me on my Blog - EmbeddedFaith, or on Cyndi Canva. Wishing you a most blessed Christmas.  

Journal Prompts for your prayer Journal

1) Father, I love You…

2) Jesus, Thank You…

3) Sweet Lord, Teach me…

4) Holy Spirit, Inspire me…

5) God, Hear me…

6) Lord, I know You know this…

7) When will things change, Lord?

8) We Praise You…

9) I am nothing.  You are my all!

10) Inspire me, Lord,

Read more at:: His Unending Love

Pregnant During Advent

I discovered Advent is a special time for pregnant women when two of my pregnancies were during this season. I really did identify with the pregnant Mary. For one thing I was relieved I did not go to the hospital, huge, uncomfortable and ready to deliver on the back of a donkey! I try to be grateful for big mercies. One Advent baby was born on Christmas Eve and the second, my youngest child, on Jan. 7, still in the Christmas season.
We had just moved to our new farm with a larger house since I was expecting our ninth child. The oldest children attended a small Catholic school with 10 grades from junior kindergarten to grade 8.
One day in December, the  priest led an Advent reflection in the gym and asked the children,
“Who is waiting for  the birth of a new brother or sister this Advent?”
Five hands went up.
“Oh, my isn’t this wonderful”, the priest exclaimed, “So many of you are joining in with Mary, waiting for the birth of a baby!”
Then a voice yelled out, “No Father, those are all Juneau kids with their hands raised!”
 Mary must have experience what all mothers experience the moment Jesus was born, but I imagine her joy was even more profound as all the 
angels rejoiced around them. continue

I met St Joseph in Manila

The Dream of St Joseph,  Georges De La Tour, c.1640 Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes,

Gospel for 18 Dec: Matthew 1:18-24
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife. Full post here.

17 Dec 2014

'Merry Christmas' from Japan


St Nicholas Resuscitates the Children, Bon Boullogne, Musée Ingres,
Montauban,France[Web Gallery of Art]

A priest-friend in Canada expressed his thoughts about the present and coming liturgical seasons in a recent email: It’s Advent again. It’s too bad that the beauty of Advent is lost in the Christmas hype. Sometimes I think that we should give Christmas back to the pagans (from whom we hijacked it) and join the Oriental Churches in celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 6.
I'm not quite sure that it would be practical to attempt that, though the Church should consider restoring the Epiphany as a mandatory holyday of obligation throughout the Church. It is such on the universal calendar of the Church but the reality is that in so many countries the bishops have opted for a Sunday celebration of the feast, thereby, I think, diminishing its importance. 
Full post here. 

Dear Santa

I've never written a letter to Santa before.  This is my first one.

You can read it at Being Catholic ... Really.


Pennies from Heaven

First, thank you to all who are praying. I cannot believe the outpouring of love that my middle of the night heart cry has received. God bless you all.

I wrote this after my father died. God has always made His presence known during the hardest times. Yesterday, as I was getting back into my car after dropping my two oldest at a friend's home, I found a penny outside my car door that wasn't there when I had gotten out. It reminded me once more of this story, and I had to share.

Pennies from Heaven
The day my father died was a warm and sunny late spring day.  I awoke
to the phone ringing over and over with my cell phone signaling text
messages simultaneously.  With my heart and soul I knew there was a
problem.  When I finally was awake enough to answer the phone, my
sister calmly recounted the events of the early hours and pleaded with
me sincerely, but sternly, to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
 I at first thought of taking a shower and making the kids breakfast
but then her words sunk in and I quickly dressed and coaxed the kids
to do the same.  I hurriedly called a friend to watch them for awhile
and then piled my two little ones into my car.

Read more on Veils and Vocations.

New on the Blogroll: Catholic Bloggers Network

There's a new item on the blogroll:


I added "Advent: Another Year of the Long Watch" to this year's Catholic Bloggers Advent Linkup.

Their 2014 Catholic Bloggers Blitz is another good idea: but I don't remember participating.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protector of the Unborn

Continuing our focus on Mary this Advent, on this, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I’m writing a bit about her story. This should be of interest to all because under this title, the Blessed Mother is the patroness of the Americas, both north and south. In addition, she is relevant today when abortion is an acceptable practice, for Mary appeared to Juan Diego as a pregnant Aztec woman. click to continue

A Very Special Prayer Request

I have a couple of posts that I am writing, and I apologize that it's been a few days since my last post, but I have a favor to ask. My mom's health is failing. After an almost six and a half year long goodbye, it seems that her time really is getting short. Brain cancer always wins in the end. There are so many emotions right now. I pray for a swift and easy death, but it is hard to wish her gone. However, she is suffering so, and it is selfish to want that to continue for the sake of continuing.

Source


God has been filling my heart and mind with memories of my mom.

Read more at Veils and Vocations, and please pray and share.

16 Dec 2014

What Christmas Shows Children About Self-Esteem

Children are hungry for affirmation. Children are desperate for love, for family, for an understanding of their place in the world. Children who lack these things grow up hating themselves and wanting to disappear, or forcing others to pay attention to their outrageous displays of addiction or terror. The truth about Christmas provides all the affirmation we need: the only reason we exist is because our God created us out of love; and when we forgot this, God proved his love by becoming one of us.

Relentless headlines tell us about school shootings, suicides, rampant drug use, epidemic STDs, teenagers joining terrorist groups. . . . This is not God's plan for us or for our children. And we don't begin to address the crisis by telling children how great they are. We free our children by showing them how great God is.

Read more at Praying with Grace.

Mary did you know?


New Member Tacy Williams Beck



Tacy Williams Beck is a wife and mother living in  Chattanooga, Tennessee. She is a recent convert to the Catholic Church (Easter 2011), and credits St. Therese of Lisieux and Thomas Merton as being most influential in her conversion.  In addition to reading, sewing, and baking,and she and her husband Stephen love learning more about their Catholic faith everyday. They have 3 girls, aged 6,4, and 2, and one boy age 1.  Tacy also writes about their journey as parents and converts; she writes at tacywilliamsbeck.com and realhousekeeping.com. Thank you for reading!

15 Dec 2014

Fathers, Daughters and St. Thérèse by Nancy HC Ward



An interview with Connie Rossini, author of Trusting God with St. Thérèse.

Connie gives practical advice for overcoming fears and frustrations that hamper our relationship with God. I asked her about her father-daughter relationship as compared to that of Louis Martin and his daughter St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

Nancy: Thérèse was blessed with parents who were “more worthy of heaven than of earth.” Thérèse had a special relationship with her father, who called her, “my Queen.” She formed her image of God from her father who never denied her love, affection and care. How did your father-daughter relationship compare to this?

Connie: In some ways, my relationship with my father when I was growing up was miles apart from the relationship between Thérèse and Louis. I am very quiet and reserved. As a child, I was also timid. My dad, in contrast, was outgoing and frank. He was also the primary disciplinarian. My mom often said, "Wait till your dad gets home!" I grew nervous around him. I avoided talking to him about any serious subjects.

In my book, I tell how my dad left me home alone when I was about five. When he returned about an hour later, he didn't show any sympathy for my fears. So that didn't help my relationship with him or God.
Read the entire interview at JOYAlive.net



Fun and Easy Ways to Put Christ Back Into Your Christmas!

It is easy to get caught up in the seasonal frenzy and forget that Christ is at the center of Christmas; so here are ten great ways to put Christ back into Christmas!
  • Purchase cards that say “Merry Christmas” as part of the message; don’t settle for “Happy Holiday” cards! And if it has been a while since you’ve sent Christmas cards, make this the year you start again. Christmas cards with a personal note are a great way to put Christ back into Christmas.
  • Lots of people have service jobs that we often take for granted. Decide which person (or people) you would like to notice at Christmastime and purchase some small gift. Maybe purchase a set of pretty, padded hangers for the school bus driver or a gift card for a coffee shop for the mail carrier. Make sure a Christmas card is included with the gift!
  • This year make sure you have a nativity set for your most used room in the house. The crèche doesn’t have to be large or expensive. A small, inexpensive one put on a pedestal serves the purpose of remembering what Christmas is really all about. Be creative: use a cake pedestal as a platform! 

14 Dec 2014

That Wondrous Interruption

 
For some of us, the activities of Advent and Christmas can feel like an intrusion. Day to day life is more or less put on hold by an urgent need to shop and wrap and plan. Chairs and tables are displaced by, of all things, a tree in the middle of our house. There is no time to do ordinary things, as everyday life is seriously disrupted for weeks on end.  It can seem like a major interruption.  

A few years ago, the truth of it hit me.  This is what Christmas has been since the instant of the Incarnation: an interruption.  Please stay with me here, because our first reaction to the word “interruption” could be negative.  But interruptions are often quite positive, and this Interruption was the most positive of them all. 

Think of it.  Mary was living a quiet, hidden life.  She was betrothed.  Then one day an angel appeared to her, and with that Holy Interruption Mary’s life was changed forever, as was Joseph’s, as was yours, as was mine.

As we know, there was a Birth.  There were shepherds tending their flocks, and again an angel appeared.  A night of sheep-watching was interrupted.... (continue here)  


 

Suicide, Sin, and Dealing with Depression

Like I said last week, 'tiz the season to be frazzled. It's also a time of year when folks get together with family, including folks like Yogi Yorgesson's "goofy relations:"
"...After dinner my Aunt and my wife's Uncle Louie
Get into an argument; they're both awful screwy
Then all my wife's family say Louie is right
And my goofy relations, they yoin in the fight.
Back in the corner the radio is playing
And over the racket Gabriel Heater is saying
'Peace on earth everybody and good will toward men'
And yust at that moment someone slugs Uncle Ben....
"
("I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas," via eLyrics.net)
Oddly enough, December is generally a month with the fewest suicides each year in America. ("Holiday Suicides: Fact or Myth?," Injury Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (December 31, 2013))

Digging a little deeper, I noticed that those 'December suicides' statistics may or may not include murder-suicides: the sort of thing I talked about in "Psycho Santa's Slaying Spree - The Catholic Connection," back in 2008. That's not quite another topic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

'O felix culpa; O happy fault.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B

St John the Baptist, Donatello, 1438
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said,“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,  the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
Mary, Queen of Heaven, Master of the Legend of St Lucy, c.1485-1500
National Gallery of Art, Washington [Web Gallery of Art]
Here in the Philippines we will begin the the Misas de Gallo, also known as Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo Masses, the novena of pre-dawn Masses leading up to Christmas, or Tuesday the 16th. These are votive Masses in honour of our Blessed Mother and in thanksgiving for the gift of our faith. The Spanish word 'Aguinaldo' means 'gift' and in this context refers to the gift of faith.   Full post here.

13 Dec 2014

Introducing A Vibrant, Catholic Children’s Magazine Appealing to REAL Kids

If you ever dreamed of a Catholic magazine which would capture your children’s interest immediately yet hold it as they delved deeper, look no further than St. Mary’s Messenger.
 
This attractive magazine, for 7-12-year-olds, entertains as it deepens faith at the same time.

Everything from the colour scheme, the layout and quality of images to the fascinating interactive fun pages tell me that professional staff, who also understand children, put this publication together.
 



The editors and writers must be parents and/or teachers because they  know what appeals to real kids. Kids can smell a phony, pious publication a mile away, but the tone of St. Mary’s Messenger is direct and unpretentious with a  vibrant spirituality that connects with real kids.

December 13: Saint Lucy

St. Lucy by Francesco del Cossa
National Gallery of Art
Washington D.C. 

History

Saint Lucy’s name means “light” and she wanted to serve Jesus and bring His light into the world. However, her mom, who was not a Christian, wanted her to get married to a certain man. Some legends say that Lucy prayed God would cure her mother of a sickness she had for a long time, and when He did, her mother believed, too. But the man Lucy was supposed to marry got angry and turned her into the government for being a Christian. When the soldiers came to arrest her, they thought they’d just pick her up and carry her away, but God made her very, very heavy so they couldn’t. 

Activity

Even though Lucy lived in Syracuse, the people of Sweden have adopted Saint Lucy – or Saint Lucia as they call her – for their own. Every year on December 13, girls dress up like Saint Lucy in white robes with a red sash and wear wreaths  with white candles on their heads. Then they bring breakfast rolls and coffee to their families. Here are instructions for making a Saint Lucia crown out of paper. If you want to make traditional Swedish Saint Lucia buns, here’s the recipe. (It calls for saffron, which you should find at any grocery store, If you can’t you can substitute 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric and ½ teaspoon of sweet paprika for every ¼ teaspoon of saffron.)

Saint Lucy, pray for us!

More reading for parents: