Monday, October 29, 2012

The Rosary with Kids

I have been pretty quiet. Between a large to-do list and lots of thoughts brewing away, I find myself avoiding most of my cyber world. One, I am plain too busy, but also, when my thoughts swirl I tend to seek out the quiet and the routine of home.

However, one thing I wanted to share before the month was out is praying the Rosary with children. Right away I will tell you that I have a hard time praying the Rosary every single day and even more so with the kids. Even though I know I should pray it every day. And even though I have read and heard of so many benefits of praying a family Rosary. It's been a work in progress.

From the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary earlier this month. 
We made an edible Rosary using fall-themed M&Ms.

In the past I have tried doing "fun" Rosaries (like coloring pages) or praying a single decade with the kids, but it never stuck. The "fun" activities can be overkill and/or too much work for me, and the single decade prayed felt like the prayer was incomplete. So, for this past month, I changed the way we are praying the Rosary, and it has been working as a learning tool on our way to praying a full Rosary.

Instead of praying full decades, I decided to pray a "full" Rosary except only pray one Hail Mary instead of ten per decade after having read this tip somewhere (how I wish I could give credit where credit is due!). Over time I will add more Hail Marys until we are back to the full ten per decade. In addition, I put out images of each mystery (here is a beautiful 8x10 set that we have) and use the meditations from the Rosary lapbook we created last year. As I pray with the kids, I use this shortened version to pray for my kids (for example, for my kids to grow in faith, charity, or whatever each mystery calls for).

Another idea I want to try is a bead by bead meditation as I personally find it easier to stay focused in prayer versus praying ten Hail Marys back-to-back.

One huge bonus of doing this is that it keeps the Rosary fresh in my mind and I have been better able to pray a Rosary of my own later in the day, usually as I nurse Miss Z down for bed. If I get a chance, I like to listen to an audio Rosary with meditations while I do my nightly kitchen clean-up.

How do you pray the Rosary with your child(ren)?

Critter and Miss Bear made these simple decade rosaries.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Year of Faith: some resources + International Week of Prayer and Fasting

For my Catholic readers, I am sure you know that tomorrow starts a Year of Faith as declared by Pope Benedict XVI, but I suppose there is always a chance someone's missed the word... In reality, it is slightly more than a year, beginning on October 11, 2012 and ending on November 24, 2013, the Feast of Christ the King.

I am not going to go into the details as you can do a search and find so much to look at. Instead, I will share some resources that I have found or someone has shared with me.

First, I plan on using this handy little Bible study to go along with the Year of Faith. I enjoy reading my Bible when I first wake up so this will be a nice addition and one that is easily added.

Receive pieces of the catechism in your email every day. By the end of the Year of Faith you will have read the entire catechism. Now, that sounds extremely easy to do! Sign up now!

Here is a page full of info from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and another at Catholic Year of Faith.

One last item I wanted to share does not have to do with the Year of Faith but looks like an awesome way to refocus on prayer with these goals in mind:
  1. Bring a conversion of nations.
  2. Build a culture of life.
  3. Create peace throughout the world.
All are invited to join the International Week of Prayer and Fasting (IWPF) - at the individual, the parish and even the national level. All are welcome (prayer always is, right?). Some ideas (list provided by another mom):
  • Fast  (can be anything from food to television to internet use, etc.).
  • Pray the Rosary daily.
  • Attend Eucharistic Adoration.
  • Recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily.
  • Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus.
  • Attend Holy Mass daily.
  • Perform Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
This is IWOP 20th anniversary! As a result, they are doubling their prayer days to 18 (starts October 20th and ends November 6th), which consists of two novenas. Check out their site and sign up!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Little Prayer

I receive Saint of the Day in my email through Today's saint is Blessed John Henry Newman. I loved the prayer they included that he wrote and wanted to share though it does seem more of a quote than a prayer.

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.

I have a mission; I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons; He has not created me for naught. I shall do good—I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace while not intending it if I do but keep his commandments. Therefore, I will trust him.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Feast of St. Faustina

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Faustina, who brought us the message of Jesus' Divine Mercy. The kids and I did a little activity to learn about her, and again, she is another saint I want to know more about, and to read her diary.

I found some great printables from website. We read a brief life of St. Faustina for kids from the Little Book of Saints, volume 1. And then, I used printables from The Divine Mercy site to explain the vision of Jesus that St. Faustina had, as well as a little intro into the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the graces given if prayed, and finally, a picture to color as I prayed a chaplet with the kids.

I really love how simple it is to incorporate our faith into all we do. And, I really love praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

"I have found that the greatest power is hidden patience. I see that patience always leads to victory, although not immediately; but that victory will become manifest after many years. Patience is linked to meekness." ~ St. Faustina, from her diary, page 541 ~

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

"Offer your bodies and take up His holy cross and follow His most holy commands even to the end." ~ St. Francis of Assisi ~

"Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall enjoy everything." ~ St. Francis of Assisi ~

Today the kids and I went to a local shrine (dedicated to our Sorrowful Mother). I had multiple reasons for going: confession, mass - to offer up the mass for the souls we are praying for as well as for the thanksgiving of another year of marriage (as well as the grace to make it through another year!), and to enjoy the beautiful day we were blessed with. It is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi so I thought it appropriate that we were outside, enjoying nature, and we went on a St. Francis statue hunt of sorts - though a tired baby made us leave earlier than I would liked - and we saw plenty more than St. Francis!

Immediately the kids were drawn to the statue of St. Michael the Archangel standing a little way outside the chapel.

All the fallen leaves were irresistible, and soon a pile was formed.

Which finally led to this...

"Oh, how glorious it is, how holy and great, to have a Father in heaven!" ~ St. Francis of Assisi ~

"Sanctify yourself, and you will sanctify society." ~ St. Francis of Assisi ~

Ooh, I just love moss, how soft and squishy it is!

Isn't this grotto of St. Bernadette/Our Lady of Lourdes beautiful?

Lookee what we scared up along the way!

Back at home, I wanted to read the book, St. Francis: a Life of Joy by Robert F. Kennedy, but ran out of time. I did have enough bits of food to throw together an Italian dinner (a dairy-free lasagna of sorts along with some gluten-free French bread to dip in herb-infused olive oil).

Our St. Francis figures (Skipper shows an affinity towards this saint - the statue on the right is his). The "apple" tree in the background is Miss Bear's. She cut grass and added apples using a do-a-dot marker and counted the apples as she went. This was all part of "Fall" week.

You know, after reading through some quotes of St. Francis, I realize that I have only ever read "cutesy" stories, prayers, and quotes about or from him. There were some very stern portions. The quotes definitely piqued my interest in learning more about this popular saint! I pray you had a happy feast day!

Song of Saint Francis

Since God is love,
I'll sing His song.
With God above
I will be strong.
With God within, 
What else need I?
While God shall reign
Can my song die?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tea with the Angels

To celebrate the Feast of the Guardian Angels, the kids had their annual "tea" with the angels this afternoon (after a long but interesting field trip to a local wildlife rehabilitation and educational facility). This simple celebration is always a hit.

I had some vanilla cupcakes in the fridge which the kids thought just as good without the frosting! For the "tea" we used some yummy apple cider. We prayed the Angel of God prayer and I read the book, My Guardian Dear: a Story of the Angels -- Mi Angel de la Guarda, Un cuento acerca de los Angels by Miriam Lademan and Susan Brindle.

A Mother's Prayer to the Guardian Angels of her Children

I humbly salute you, O you faithful, 
heavenly Friends of my children! 
I give you heartfelt thanks 
for all the love and goodness you show them. 

At some future day I shall, 
with thanks more worthy than I can now give, 
repay your care for them, 
and before the whole heavenly court 
acknowledge their indebtedness to your guidance and protection. 

Continue to watch over them. 
Provide for all their needs of body and soul. 
Pray, likewise, for me,  for my husband, 
and my whole family, 
that we may all one day rejoice in your blessed company.