Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Catholic Meme

Merry Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas! And an anticipatory Happy New Year!

I thank the blogger at
for the basic material for this post.

I was a bit short on ideas. Not because I didn't have ideas, but because I have too many of them!

And I learned what a 'meme' is. It's the name for those quizzes people pester their friends with!

Here goes...


1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus? I have become a fan of the Divine Mercy Chaplet over the past few years. I rarely miss a day. I also say the short prayer "O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine". I also say the Fatima Prayer as part of the Rosary. In place of a usual Act of Contrition, I say "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner".

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer? The Rosary. I was a late-comer to this, but say it daily now.

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal? Sometimes. I have a two year old who grabs and breaks chains, so currently I avoid them. When I can, I wear a crucifix and a couple of medals: Miraculous, and St. Cecelia.

4. Do you have holy water in your home? As a general rule - yes. Our font (stoup) is frequently found dry, but we usually have Holy H2O somewhere in the house.

5. Do you 'offer up' your sufferings? Usually. As one who lives with fibromyalgia, offering up suffering is not too far from my consciousness. I often wonder if that's why I have give me something to offer up.

6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays? Seldom. We tried to foster this devotion at our chapel, but due to the erratic nature of military life and the rather inconsistent availability of chaplains, it didn't go far.

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How frequently? Occasionally. The priest who just left us would have Adoration a couple of times a year. We have rarely gone to other parishes. I am not aware of Perpetual Adoration in our area anywhere.

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or Sunday morning Mass person? We usually go to the 11am Mass, but if the children have an activity (and we try to avoid Sunday morning 'activities') we will attend another parish on Saturday evening. I will usually attend Sunday anyway without our children, as we have commitments there.

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime? Always...even in restaurants or when we are guests at another's home.

10. Favorite Saint(s)? St. John Vianney, St Therese of Lisieux (who is related to my dh and our children), St. Joseph, St. Michael, St. Cecilia...

11. Can you recite the Apostles Creed by heart? Sure! In Canada, we have an indult to use it at Sunday Masses. As a rosary person, I use it there, too. I can do a fair job on the Nicene Creed, but it's rough. We are supposed to use that one on feasts, like Christmas, but it isn't always done. A friend recently decided to use the Nicene Creed with his Rosary, in order to learn it better.

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day? I say prayers of my own concocting. I rarely use aspirations.

13. Bonus Question: When you pass by a automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved? When we remember.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christ vs. Robin Hood

Allow me to digress in my very first line.

THANK YOU to the host of CBC's early weekday morning spot. She has just finished speaking to the film critic, Jesse Wente (which I may be misspelling). He was talking about the Nativity Movie that has just come out. He said it's goodness. What a surprise. How could it be anything BUT predictable?

He referred to Jesus being "immaculately" conceived. As I was gritting my teeth through his chatter about the movie, the hostess actually explained that the Immaculate Conception referred to the birth of Mary! She is correct, but I've never heard a correction like that! The reviewer agreed and then went on to say that Mary's "sister" was pregnant with John the Baptist. Oh well. I guess we can't really expect accuracy from our national radio station.

The reason for this blog is an 'essay' by a woman on the Christmas season. She maintained that despite the growing complaints about people not saying "Merry Christmas" but things like "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays", we do not really celebrate Christ's birth.

She says that we cannot celebrate Christ's birth and have Santa Parades, or buy gifts. If we were truly celebrating Christmas, she opines, we would collect money for the poor, be ecologically aware, help at soup kitchens...

When did Christ become Robin Hood? Jesus is the one who said that the poor would always be with us. He is the one who, when the woman anointed him with expensive nard, chastised those who said she should have given the money to the poor instead of spending it on the ointment for him.

Jesus did help the poor. Remember the woman with the hemorrhage, or Mary and Martha when their brother died. He also recognized that he was worthy of adulation. Did not the Wise Men bring the young Christ gifts that could be seen as rather useless to a young child?

I won't mention the religious origins of Santa Claus, as that origin is rather far removed from what we see today. I will mention that Christmas IS the time when many give to the poor. They volunteer at soup kitchens and shelters. They ensure that their Christmas tree is chipped and composted at the end of its life...and decorate their own biodegradeable Christmas wrap.

Is commercialism rampant at Christmas? Yes, I think it is. I made a decision many years ago not to take my children to the mall at this time unless I had no choice. We put Santa in his place. Does this mean we do not celebrate Christ's birth? No, it doesn't. I will say that many who keep the season do not celebrate Christ's birth. It may be choice or ignorance. But many many people DO celebrate Christ's birth. We go to church...sometimes several the course of a couple of days. We also go to church every other Sunday. We also donate, volunteer, and try to walk gently on the Earth.

It does not have to be one or the other. My family and friends do a lot of volunteering at Christmas. We sing in choirs, we proclaim the Good News at Masses. In a way, we are like the woman who anointed Jesus instead of giving money to the poor. We volunteer to celebrate Jesus. There are other times when we will volunteer for the poor.

I once heard it said that in the process of keeping Christ in Christmas, we often end up keeping him ONLY in Christmas. It is the one time of year when many who do not recognize his sovereignty any other time suddenly find it very important to go to Church.

A friend of mine tells a joke about the miracle of the flowers. A man runs up to the priest and very excitedly says he's seen a miracle. The priest is intrigued. The man explains that last time he was in church, the flowers were lilies. Now, they'd changed to poinsettias!

I invite anyone reading this to take note of Advent this year. It starts on Sunday, December 3. Prepare yourself for Christmas as well as you prepare your home!

God Bless