When my feeble life is o’er And time for me will be no more Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom dear Lord, to Thy shore. (Just a Closer Walk With Thee, Anonymous)
One of the things I love about going to an Extraordinary Form (of the Roman Rite) Mass every Sunday is the great depth of the old liturgical calendar. We recently entered the season of Septuagesima, which begins three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. Since in the old calendar the Christmas season extends to Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Our Lady, it is helpful to have this time to transition from Christmas cookies and music to the austerities of Lent. Septuagesima reminds me that I want to have a good, holy Lent in which I acknowledge my own sinfulness, seek to make reparation, and renew my dependence on God…
The quiet beauty of the morning before the kids were up. I love tulips.
1) This week I have resolved myself to February and a lingering winter. We have been mostly at home because we have not really had any place we had to go. I have been tackling projects that I meant to do last February, like put curtain ties on the bedroom windows (instead of clothes pins) and getting some extra wall decor up. I have also been taking on some chores that I usually neglect because of the effort and time they take. And my nesting has led me to do things like order baby diaper covers and make a registry of things this baby is going to need. So, these quick takes are mostly about the house.
2) I had a little date with my double oven and Norwex cleaning products. I could not get every spot, but it is much better and shiny:
I then took on the rest of the kitchen deep cleaning. I think I need to work this into my weekly schedule, like doing one kitchen chore a week so that I don’t put it off for six months and then wear myself out in a week trying to get it all done.
3) My father’s father was a photographer, and last winter I spent an evening with two of my aunts going through photographs and taking my favorites home. I have been meaning to hang them for awhile. We don’t have a lot of common area wall space (that is not in the play room), so we only put two things up for now.
The first is a picture of an old man reading in a really nice room. If you want to see the photograph well, you are going to have to come over and see it yourself.
The second is a series of photographs of a house that seemed inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is probably near Los Angelos somewhere since that is where my grandfather got his art degree. We are really enjoying having some original and good art on our walls, and I like that it is done by my grandfather.
4) L asked for a painting of her name patron saint for Christmas to hang in her room with her name cross stitch (made by her aunt). G was given a Romanian style painted glass icon of her name patron saint at birth, and it has been hanging with her cross stitch for years. For L, we found a poster print of a painting, and finally hung in her room the other week. With the plan for the bunk bed, we decided to put all four framed items on one wall. I think it turned out really well, but you will have to come see it for yourself.
5) To add to Lent for the children (in addition to our Lent wreath and stational churches) we decided to do a bean jar for charitable deeds and a crown of thorns for sacrificial deeds. Since they are all below the age of reason, we have to remind them of it and tell them when they have done something worthy of it. They also look nice.
A certain girl likes to have her saint statue “talking” to Jesus or Our Lady.
6) The girls and I planted some basil seeds this week. It is supposed to be ready to harvest in 60-90 days which will put us in April. My thought is that we could transplant the basil to the garden after the last frost, and then start another set indoors to have for next fall and winter. Gardeners, does it matter how old basil is when you plant it outside?
The basil pots are covered in plastic until the seeds sprout.
Our mini rose bush and parsley are thriving. We have been using the parsley on various dishes, and it is acting the same as our parsley did last summer. The more you use it, the thicker it grows.
7) I will leave you with a few gems from the girls:
G (almost 6) at the end of quiet time the other day: “I was just finishing up my prayer time. It took me longer than normal today. I said a Hail Mary, an Our Father, a St. Michael, and then made up some prayers to Jesus.”
L (4), when I brought her toys into her quiet time (after her “sleeping time”): “I was singing about when I should get my toys. I was also singing Jesus songs. I sang a song to the monsters about how Jesus died on the cross so that we could go to Heaven.” Me: “What did the monsters think of that?” L: “I don’t know. They did not say.”
F (2) all the time: “I have to go potty. No, I don’t have to go.”
After all the great family things for Advent (the wreath, Jesse Tree, calendar, etc), Lent can seem like a bit of a let down. Plus, you are suppose to be doing penance and fasting. But seeing as we are only two weeks from Lent it is time to start getting ready!
Over the course of our marriage, we have come up with two things that we really like for keeping us focused on Lent as a family: a Lent “wreath” and following the Stational Churches of Rome on a map. Lent “Wreath”
This “wreath” was inspired by the Tenebrae (meaning “darkness”) service of the last three days of Holy Week. The prayers at the service are Matins and Lauds for those days, but it also includes a ritual extinguishing of candles. After each set of prayers one candle is extinguished so that the prayer ends in darkness and silence. The first time I ever went to a Tenebrae service I was struck by the beauty of the prayers and the symbolism of the lights being put out as Christ is placed in the tomb.
I wanted to imitate Tenebrae in our home throughout Lent, so I decided to make a Lenten centerpiece with six candles, one for each Sunday of Lent. We pray prayers from Tenebrae each Sunday and extinguish a candle each week. The rest of the week we just light the appropriate amount of candles for that week. Leaving none lit during Holy Week.
The main part of the Lent wreath is the cross trivet. I purchased ours from here. The cross holds six tea candles perfectly to mark the six Sundays of Lent. I have a PDF of the prayers for each Sunday for your use here. Really you can use whatever for your centerpiece. The main idea is the six candles. Lenten Stational Churches
Normally, when one thinks of “stations” during Lent, one thinks of the Stations of the Cross. These are wonderful for praying with during Lent. We decided to include another type of station into our observation of Lent: the Stational churches of Rome. The Pope used to celebrate Mass in a different Roman church everyday for all of Lent; there are also stations for other liturgical seasons. The Pontifical North American College still follows the tradition of attending Mass at each of the stational churches. There is a more detailed history of the tradition on their site. Since we are not in Rome (though maybe we will be blessed with a Rome semester at some point), we mark the stations on a map.
Here we have our giant laminated map of Rome. M bought this during our visit to Rome while we were studying abroad. It is pretty neat and has a lot of the churches marked already. This map looks like it includes the necessary parts of Rome and it comes laminated.
The New Liturgical Movement had posts on the Stations a few years ago which I used to compile a list and photos of each stational church. I also made another document that has teeny tiny photos with the comparable number from the first document. These I printed, cut out, and “laminated” in clear packing tape (I like to think of that as being resourceful). If you are interested in trying this out, feel free to use my documents.
I think they are pretty cute!
Compared to a pen in size.
Every day of Lent look at the above linked document of the stational church, and read about the church from our Lenten volume of Dom Gueranger’s Liturgical Year. (St. Thérèse of Liseux and her family used his works) If you do not have this volume, following the posts at the New Liturgical Movement would work, or many 1962 missals of the Extraordinary Form Masss also mention the Stational Churches.
Here it is with our traditional St. Andrew Missal.
We use this map in the St. Andrew Missal to find the location of each church and then stuck them to the map with sticky tack.
It is neat to “travel” around Rome during Lent, especially knowing that the NAC seminarians and priests were actually celebrating Mass at the stational church each day. The kids loved gazing at the map, looking at the pictures of churches, and discussing how the martyr saints died. __________
I hope these ideas help you and your family observe Lent more fully! Let me know if you have any questions. I would love to help!
Also, I am thinking of adding an activity for the kids when they make a sacrifice or do a kind deed, but I have not looked for any yet.
1. This is the last weekend of my husband’s winter break. His school has a January term, in which teaching is voluntary, so he has been researching and class prepping since we got home from the the girls call, “our travels.” We are really going to have to live it up this weekend. It is nice when the semester starts because it helps us establish a better routine. We have been pretty good about home schooling, but getting up for morning Mass has been a struggle. We have been pulling the tired pregnant lady card when the alarm goes off, and while it sounds legitimate, the mornings we do get up I am just fine.
2. The weird thing about this semester is that once finals are done we will be at the due date for this next baby. We have not had a new baby in over two years so it will be a family adjustment. I think it will be easier than the transition to three. When F was born, G was not even 4 and L was almost 2. It will be much different with a 6 year old, a 4.5 year old, and a 2.5 year old, who all play well together.
3. Speaking of a 2 year old, potty training is still going on. It has improved greatly over the weekend from the small accidents we were having last week. The only question is when to stop awarding her with chocolate every time.
4. We finally employed our Ikea greenhouse. We planted our amaryllis from M’s aunt and found some potted herbs at Trader Joe’s. Now I need to get around to planting some basil and find another good indoor flower to get us through until our bulbs come up outside. I really like the greenhouse largely because it is easy to move the plants if we want use of the whole table and it mostly keeps the little hands away from the plants, unless they get a desire for some fresh parsley.
5. We have been spending our last two evenings watching movies about St. Francis of Assisi. The first, Francesco directed by Liliana Cavani, I recommend never watching; it is just not worth your time and really does not portray his life well at all. Cavani does not grasp St. Francis or his motivations whatsoever. The second movie was The Flowers of Saint Francis. It is based on several episodes from the book The Little Flowers of St. Francis, and it embodies Franciscanism beautifully. The neat thing about it is that the director, Roberto Rossellini, used real Francisca friars to play the part of the Franciscan monks.
6. Today, in the old tradition of the Christmas season, we took down our Christmas decorations. F finally got to indulge her toddler desire of taking ornaments off the tree for as long as she desired. I really like the rhythm we have around our Christmas celebration. Taking down the tree listening to Christmas music was an appropriate end cap to our putting it up listening to the same music in December. Tomorrow is Candlemas, the Presentation of our Lord, and we are going to celebrate by having crepes, which is another traditional food. Today also happens to be Septuagesima Sunday, which means buried the “Alleluia” until Easter, and we are 70 days from Easter and less than three weeks from Ash Wednesday.
7. Finally, for people like my sister who like to see it, I present my 22 week bump (and my new favorite, super soft sweater that I found on clearance last week):