Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas is Coming...

The snow keeps on comin'!
I vacillate between great joy and a bit of depression and sadness.

I love Advent and the sense of anticipation it engenders in me. The readings at Vigils are beautiful and powerful. The prayers at Mass are exceptionally rich, it seems. I love having the Advent wreath on our table and lighting the candles at dinner time. 

And then there's the liturgical life of our parish...which is impoverished. 

This year, there will be no night-time Mass. Not at midnight, not even at 10pm, not even at 8 pm. Nope. Just the 4:30pm Mass on Christmas Eve, which in past years has been billed as the "Children's Mass". I don't think it is called that now, but I also don't think it has changed any. That Mass is usually packed, and I'm sure there are quite a few "Christmas-and-Easter" Catholics in attendance, as well as non-Catholics from the local community who like a little entertainment on Christmas Eve.

Our choices for Mass, then, are the 4:30 Mass (Nooooooo. I cannot bring myself to attend.), or the Sunday morning 9:30 Mass. That one will include plenty of guitar-strumming, though one can always hope the tambourine will remain silent.  The bishop will be at the Sunday morning Mass for sure, and probably the 4:30 as well, though I don't know for sure. 

That leaves us with the 11:30am Christmas Mass at the mission church. Well, maybe they won't be playing CD's this time; in the past, they have just sung standard Christmas carols. But I'm telling you, if they break into "Feliz Navidad" (because the Hispanics, ya know), I will be this close to walking out. Though I probably won't. Or if I do, I'll return when they are done.

Maybe I sound like Scrooge. Bah, humbug! Well, if you have a lovely Christmas Mass to attend - hopefully one in the extraordinary form - then please say a little prayer for me! I will sing the Office in my little chapel and try to focus on that. I will also sing the propers for the Christmas Masses, just because I can, even if there is no Mass to go along with them. Singing Gregorian chant almost always lifts my spirit!

Well, maybe things will be different next year.  But for this year, Merry Christmas to all of you who read this! 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

Monday, December 12, 2016

An Anniversary in Advent

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the anniversary date of my profession of my  
personal private vow. This year was my 10th anniversary of that vow. However, since the vow is personal and private, the celebration of its anniversary is also private - but still significant, I think! 

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the Marian feast on which I usually renew my De Montfort consecration to Mary, as well. I first made that consecration before I was even Catholic! A friend recommended the devotion to me, lo, these 15 years ago. And that means that next Easter will be my 15th anniversary of being received into the Church. 

Even though I've renewed the Marian consecration every year, I must admit that some years I am perhaps a bit lackadaisical in keeping up with the readings and prayers over the 33 days of preparation. This year, probably because it was in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of my vow, I was determined to pray and read with extra effort at attention, reverence and devotion.  And I was given a great consolation in the form of a deepening of my devotion to and appreciation of Our Blessed Mother.

We've had quite a bit of snow here
 in the last week.
This photo is from a few days ago...
there's more now. But you get the idea.
Another great consolation came to me in my own vocation as mother: my daughter went to confession last Saturday! I was so relieved, as she has missed Sunday Mass a few times with no excuse whatsoever, and I had been nudging her toward confession for months. We also went to Mass together that night, at with some additional urging, she received Holy Communion...for the first time in I don't know when. She was so reluctant, though...and I said, "It's not supposed to be torture!" But to her, she said, it was, because she feels angry and resentful towards our parish priest. Well, I can relate to that!  In the end, she overcame her distaste of the minister in order to receive the sacrament, and I am sure it did her good! I noticed that the next day her mood was the best it's been in a long, long time.

This whole escapade with my daughter made me sad, too. I'm sad that I didn't do a better job of catechizing her...but you can only give what you have, I didn't have as much to give her when she was young as I do now. She is not as willing to receive it now, though; I hope that will change. I am also sad that our Church doesn't do more to catechize all of us. Everything is so watered down. Our faith happens on Sunday, for most people, it seems; even in my own family! Case in point: since I was out of town and didn't give reminders to my husband and daughter, they both completely forgot about going to Mass on December 8! My husband was pretty embarrassed by his omission, but both husband and daughter defensively justified their mistake by saying "I didn't mean to". My spiritual director pointed out to me, though, that there is a "sin of negligence". The more we are attuned to the liturgical rhythm of our life in Christ, the less likely we are to forget a holy day of obligation, it seems to me.

And...the private pizza with which we celebrated the anniversary of the private vow:


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Advent!

I like Advent! There are many parts of the Divine Office that I love - like singing "Conditor alme siderum" at Vespers, and just having a whole different set of antiphons for each Sunday. Then there are the readings at Vigils, and the constant message that "He is coming!" And when we get to the O Antiphons...O! O! O! I love those! 

I'm off for an overdue retreat this week. Oh...and by the way, I have gone to the Saturday night Mass the last two weeks, and it is much more bearable! Last night, I actually could pray.

Happy Second Sunday of Advent from my chapel to yours!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!