by Joanna Bogle, Catholic Family Australian Magazine
On March 25 we celebrate the Annunciation—the day on which Mary was told she was to be the Mother of the world’s Redeemer.
Why March 25? Because it is exactly nine months before Christ’s birth celebrations on December 25.
Everything in the Church’s calendar makes sense. When Mary heard the message of the Angel, she was also told that her cousin Elizabeth was to have a child and was indeed already in her sixth month of pregnancy. So count three months on to complete the pregnancy and you come to June—now we celebrate the nativity of St John the Baptist, on June 24.
The old name for the feast of the Annunciation is Lady Day. In an age which fails to respect unborn life, Lady Day is a day for honoring Christ in the womb of His mother, for celebrating the Incarnation and remembering that when the Word was made flesh, it was as an unborn baby.
Do you know that beautiful prayer, the Angelus? It is said at noon. Some churches still ring out an Angelus bell. You are meant to stop what you are doing for just a couple of minutes, to recall the Incarnation and thank God for it.
- The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
- And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
- Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
- Be it done unto me according to Thy Word.
- And the Word was made flesh (genuflect or bow your head)
- And dwelt among us.
- Pray for us, 0 Holy Mother of God.
- That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech thee, 0 Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Death be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through Christ Our Lord Amen.
(Note: we know of several homes where the Angelus is recited. What a beautiful custom to restore in your family)
Devotion to Mary in the Middle Ages was responsible for forming attitudes towards women in Christian Europe. The idea of chivalry was formed around it: in honoring Mary, men honored, in a sense, the whole female sex.
Women were no longer to be regarded as slaves or playthings for males. They must not be associated with degradation or regarded merely with sensuality. Instead, through Mary, women were to receive a sort of homage, a huge respect.
Manners, good taste, and the concept of mutual courtesy were all associated with this. It lingers still in the old ideas about a man taking off his hat to a lady, offering his seat to her in a bus or train, opening a door for her, rising when she enters a room.
In denouncing all this, as both males and females (but, alas, especially females) have done in recent years, we have denounced a precious part of our heritage.
Waffles (wafers, gauffres, it’s all the same word) were eaten rather generally on feast days, in much of Europe, starting at least in the twelfth century. But they were eaten especially on the Feast of the Annunciation.
In some places the crumbs were buried in the fields. The prayer was clearly that Mary, who was blessed on this day with fruit, would bless the harvest of the farmers.
Here are Swedish waffles for the Annunciation.
Light and crisp, these make excellent dessert waffles.. They are traditionally eaten with whipped cream and cloud-berry preserves. Cloud-berries are first cousins to our raspberries.
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, well chilled
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 3 tablespoons melted sweet butter
Whip the cream until stiff. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the water to make a smooth batter. Fold the whipped cream into the batter. Stir in the melted butter.
Heat the waffle iron. (If it is well used, it will not need to be greased). Fill the grid surface about two-thirds full of batter. Bake until golden brown.
Place on a rack to keep crisp while you make the rest of the waffles.
Yield: about 8 waffles. (recipe from “A Continual Feast” by Evelyn Birge Wilz).
Build your husband up in your children’s presence. It is up to you to assure he is a hero in their eyes. They should know why he works so hard….and that it is the reason for the roof over their heads and the food on the table. That time when Dad arrives home needs to be a highlight in their day! -Finer Femininity 💕
Celebrate the Faith with your kids all year round!
For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.
Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.
Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.
Let Mrs. Newland show you how to introduce even your littlest ones to God and develop in your growing children virtues such as:
- The habit of regular prayer
- Genuine love of the Rosary
- A sense of the dignity of work
- Devotion to Mary and the saints
- A proper love for the things of this world and for the things of Heaven
- Attentiveness at Mass
- Love for the Eucharist
- An understanding and love of purity
- The ability to make good confessions
- And dozens of other skills, habits, and virtues that every good Catholic child needs