Beware….You are about to have a photo overload! I had my phone ready this year and so…..pictures! I thought you’d enjoy them…Click on the first picture to view the gallery…
UPDATE ON BABY CHARLOTTE:
When the doctor first came to us after Charlotte was born, she told us that the baby would probably not make it. When I asked her if there was any chance, she said that she believed in miracles…
Well, we have watched the miracle unfold!! All the results are in from the tests, including the MRI. All of them have turned out to be…perfectly NORMAL!!
Z is feeling “worlds better”, too (as she put it)!
We know the power of prayer and we have felt your prayers, encouragement and support along the way….and we are very grateful!
Colin and Z are getting a Triduum of Masses offered by Father VanderPutten in Nigeria for all of you and your intentions. God bless you!
Death is such a scary subject….especially for children. Often I pray that Our Lord will take away the unhealthy fear of death from all of us, my children, grandchildren, etc.
We had a dear boy in our parish drown in the Kansas River about ten years ago now. It was devastating to all concerned! What was truly heartrending was to see the dad on the bridge for weeks, praying, looking, pacing, because they could not find his body!
My kids were truly disturbed about this. Even though they knew that it was just his body, they thought of their dear friend still in that icy, cold and unfriendly river. That is when I had to come up with some simple analogy on how to deepen their understanding of death.
I told them that our bodies are like a suitcase. The real important stuff is what is inside, the suitcase is only holding what matters most ….the “feeling, understanding, spiritual” part of us.
Our friend’s soul is like what is inside that suitcase; it was the important part, and it had quickly flown to where it needed to be…..purgatory or heaven. It was not in the river. The suitcase was just the outer cover…..
That seemed to help. And it was a growing experience for all concerned.
On another note, did you know you receive a partial indulgence for a soul in purgatory on ANY day of the year that you pray the prayers for the Holy Father and a prayer for the dead in a cemetery? We pray the Eternal Rest Prayer every time we pass a cemetery but it is good to stop there, too, to gain the indulgence!
Pray for and to the Holy Souls in Purgatory! They are very powerful with God!
The children had never been to a funeral before, nor attended a wake, nor had any personal acquaintance with death.
Then in November, the month of the dead, someone dear to our neighborhood hood left this life to go to God. They had prayed for her through a long illness. Their first concern was: “Did she go right to Heaven?”
Children always give you the point at which to start. A subject may have a dozen approaches, but the best one is by way of their questions.
We would like to have said, flatly, yes, she went right to Heaven. She had suffered much, uniting it to Christ’s suffering. She had lived a life of prayer and sacrifice, had received the last sacraments and the final blessing with its plenary indulgence.
Her last few months had been an excruciating trial, and she had lain weeks longing for death, accepting suffering, but ready to welcome death. She wanted to die on Saturday because it was our Lady’s day, and our Lady granted her wish. It would be easy to say yes, she is surely in Heaven.
But even when you think so, you can never say that you know. It is God’s secret, and no one here knows.
But there is comfort for the living in what we do know: how the Church prepares us for death; how she prays for us after death, and the real possibility that we may “go right to Heaven” if we try very hard.
Haven’t we just celebrated the feast of All Saints, the glory of those who did? True, some among them entered by way of Purgatory, but they are there in Heaven nevertheless, and they confirm us in high hope.
Death is a touchy subject. People who do not know the Church (and some who think they do) accuse her of being “too mournful about death.” Perhaps this is because she is so candid about man and his origin -dust. She knows he will return to dust.
She knows that he inherited Original Sin and is weak, that the Devil is clever; and she does not admit the impossibility of going to Hell.
She knows that Purgatory exists, and hurts, and that man was created for Heaven but may refuse to go there.
She admits what everyone must admit: that wherever he is going, there is only one way to go there: to die. Death is a doorway we must go through. How else can the spirit leave the body behind and enter eternity?
For Catholics, the idea of death ought not to be mournful. There is natural grief and loneliness for the bereaved families and friends, of course, but God mellows these with time.
If death is otherwise mournful as an idea, as something to think about – or avoid thinking about – it is because we look at it from the wrong direction. We should be seeing it as the middle step, not the final step: life, then death, then God.
It is God for whom we are created. By way of death. He is where we are bound. This was the spirit of our neighbor’s death. It accounted for the tranquility of her family’s grief, their hopefulness, their ready resignation. Entering their home, where her body was returned until time for the funeral, our children saw death for the first time as they knelt beside her and prayed.
“But, Mother” – this was in a whisper – “you said she might even be in Heaven with God. But she’s not. She’s here asleep.”
You see? You are sure you have made it clear about the body and the soul, and not until such a time do you discover that you haven’t. Not until such a time, either, do you see how truly the Church speaks of us as creatures with souls that will not die.
Our bodies are the least of us. We could not talk about this at the moment, but we did when we got home.
“That wasn’t her, dear. That was just her body. She has really and truly gone to see God and, we hope, to be with Him immediately in Heaven.”
How to explain this once and for all and put confusion to rest?
“You close your eyes.” He did. “Now think a thought about yourself.” He closed his eyes very tightly, and thought, and said, “I’m thinking about myself.”
“That is you, dear, that part that can think about itself, know who he is, say to me, `I’m thinking about myself.’ That is truly you, the you that will not die. Your body will die one day, and it will be carefully put in the ground, and the people will say, `He has gone to see God.’
They will be right. When our bodies finally die, the part of us that is soul and lives forever goes off to see God.”
“If she would make herself of all earthly beings the most delightful and necessary companion to her husband, she must study him,—his needs, his moods, his weak as well as his strong points,—and know how to make him forget himself when he is moody and selfish, and bring out every joyous side of his nature when he is prone to sadness.” -Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, The Mirror of True Womanhood. 1893
Baby Charlotte Update
From Z (yesterday): So the Drs. just came and spoke to us, they couldn’t do the MRI this morning cause she wouldn’t lay still! The little stinker kept squirming around. So they will try again this afternoon. EKG came back perfectly normal, eye exam perfectly normal, the EEG did show some abnormal activity but not necessarily seizure activity either. She will probably remain on the seizure medication even when she goes home. The MRI will tell us more so we still don’t have the whole the story yet. Time will tell. We will get to hold her in about an hr!!!!
On a side note: Z was admitted back into the hospital yesterday. The pain she was experiencing was enough to have the doctor put her on antibiotics for possible infection. She will not be able to see Charlotte for a couple days. Please continue to pray…Thank you!
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Reflections on Purgatory By Rev. F.X. Lasance. A Complete Prayer-book Including Special Prayers and Devotions in Behalf of the Poor Souls in Purgatory Imprimatur, 1922, 442 page book. Originally printed by The Benziger Brothers. A Rare and Unusual Book! It is hoped that this book will cultivate a special devotion to the holy souls in Purgatory. This devotion, while it solaces the Holy Souls, in whose behalf it is directly exercised, is eminently pleasing to God, and beneficial to ourselves. It is hoped that the “Reflections” contained in the first part of this little book will stimulate the pious reader to make frequent use of the prayers and devotions which are found in the second part for the solace of the suffering souls in Purgatory.
This is an excellent prayer book.
Originally published in 1908 by the venerable Benziger Bros., this book has everything–all the basic prayers, litanies and Order (now known as Extraordinary Form) of the Mass. It also has excellent meditations for Eucharistic meditation and prayers for reception of Holy Communion.
The distinguishing feature of this prayer book, however, is that it is chock-full with helpful meditations and inspiring quotes for living the full Christian life. Father Lasance was obviously a very wise man and a holy priest. -T. Berry
I gave this talk to a group of girls. It would be a good thing to gather your children around and read it to them. 🙂
OR I can read it to them myself….
Today I am going to talk about the very vital virtue of obedience.
Stop to think about this for a moment.
Do you want to please God or do you want to please the devil?
I think that’s a pretty easy question for good Catholic children to answer and this is why I have chosen the virtue of obedience today. This virtue pleases Our Lord very much.
I am a wife and a mother. My first duty is to God. My second and very important duty is to be a good wife and a good mother. It is what God wants for me and I need to pray to become a better wife and mother, I need to read books that help me to become better and I need to avoid the things that may harm my path in being a good wife and mother.
You are children. You are different ages, it is true, and all of you have a first duty, like me, and that duty is to God.
Your second and very important duty is to love and honor your parents. You do this by being obedient. You need to listen to and obey your parents. You need to pray for this and avoid things and people that are obstacles in your path of being an obedient young lady.
Your parents love you very much. They are good parents. They are worthy of your obedience. Even if they were not you would have to obey them in everything but sin. You don’t have to worry about this part because your parents are good parents and will not ask you to sin.
Obedience is a virtue that Jesus loves very much! St. Augustine says it is the mother and root of all the virtues and St. Bonaventure says it is a ship in which one sails to heaven. When you die don’t you want to be on the ship that sails to heaven?
You are a young lady and obedience is very important to learn now. When you become a young woman and choose a vocation, whether it be the religious life or a wife and mother obedience is a very important virtue for both of these vocations.
The more you learn to be obedient now, the easier it will be later in life and the sweeter your life will be.
St. Francis de Sales says that he who is obedient will live sweetly and will be like a child in the arms of his mother, free from worry and from care. That’s a pretty awesome promise!
Even if you see faults in your parents (and you will see them because they are only human) you need to always show respect.
The fourth commandment does not say to honor a good or a perfect mother and father, it says to honor your mother and father. Period.
St. Thomas Moore was the Chancellor to the King. He had the second highest position in the country! He had his aging father living with him and when St. Thomas was called out on business of state, before leaving the house, he would get on his knees, kiss his father’s hand and ask him to bless him.
He was a grown man, he was Chancellor to the King and he still showed such love and respect for his father! How much more, as children, you need to show love and respect to your parents!
Think about Our Lady for a minute. When she was young she was happy, cheerful and she was obedient.
When Little Mary was out getting the water at the well or playing or doing an errand, her mother, St. Anne, would miss her because Mary made their home happy.
If you are gone does your mother miss you? Do you make your home happy? If your mother is glad and relieved when you are gone you have some work to do!
When the child Mary was called by St. Anne she came right away. She dropped whatever she was doing, no matter what it was and went to her mother.
This makes me think of the convent. Let’s imagine this.
The sisters are quiet. They work and they pray. Once a day recreation time comes. They get their sewing out and sit with the other sisters. They chat, they tell stories and they laugh. One of the sisters is telling a very interesting tale about her life when she was small. The sisters are all smiling and enjoying it. Suddenly the bell goes off to call the nuns back to work! The nun who was telling the story stops mid-sentence and does not continue. Oh, she so wanted to tell the rest of the story but she knew what obedience was. She lays down her sewing and goes back to work! What an example of wonderful obedience!!
When the child Mary was called in the morning, she jumped out of bed the very first time! It’s not a very good way to start the day if you lay in bed and make your mother call you more than once. I don’t think disobedience is a good way to start the day, do you?
Mary was not fussy about her food. She ate what was put in front of her.
St. Anne didn’t have to ask Mary to set the table. If Mary thought that it needed to be done, she offered to do it before she was asked.
Most importantly, and this is what makes obedience sweet, she did all these things with a smile….a cheerful heart. Why? To please God.
How many of these things that Mary did are you doing?
Do you come right away when your mother or father calls you? Do you jump out of bed the first time you are called? Do you eat what’s put in front of you without complaining? Do you offer to do things even before you are asked? And most importantly do you do them with a cheerful heart?
Obedience is not just doing your chores when you are told to, though that is very important. It is also the attitude of the heart.
When your mom or dad calls, you should answer respectfully. Be careful of the tone of voice you use. Make sure it is not impatient and rude. You should never show signs of an ill-mannered girl by sighing and rolling your eyes when your mom and dad are talking to you.
There is one quote in the Bible, and remember that the Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God, that has a very beautiful promise attached to it. The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother that you may live a long, full life in the land that God gives you.” Who doesn’t want a long, full life??
And just remember your angel is always with you. He’s always helping you to be good and obedient. Do you pray to your angel? Are you listening to him?
You may have friends who are not obedient. They may tell lies and call names. They may make fun of people. You need to be a good example to help them. The very first way you can be a good example is to be obedient!
Is being obedient hard at times? You bet it is! Does it always makes sense? Is it always fair? No, sometimes it seems like it isn’t.
There is a special story about St. Francis of Assisi and the brothers at the friary. Even now, every year the brethren plant a cabbage in the garden and let it flower to remind them of this story. St. Francis told two young brothers to plant some cabbage plants upside down. One did, but the other knew better and planted his right side up. St. Francis asked the second brother to leave the monastery, for, he said, it had been a test of obedience, not of planting cabbages.
Then there is the story of St Therese of the Child Jesus. She was in the convent and her Mother Superior told her to go and water this branch….a branch that looked completely dry and dead! And she told her to water it every day!
Did that make sense to St. Therese? No, it didn’t. But she did it anyway. Every day you could see St. Therese out in the sister’s garden watering this twig. Maybe even some of the sisters were smiling to themselves because it seemed so silly.
One day St Therese went out to water it and was so surprised to see a beautiful bloom on that old, dead branch! Our Lord, to show His blessing and how pleased He was with her obedience, made that lifeless branch bloom for her!
So, no, obedience is not always easy. You must pray for grace each day. Don’t forget your morning and night prayers and don’t forget your rosary. God is good and gives us all things that are good for our souls. So if we pray for the virtue of obedience He will surely give it to us!
And if we are obedient life will be sweet!
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Here is a little prayer on obedience:
Dear Jesus, You are God’s Beloved Son and You obey Him completely, even if it meant giving Your life for all of us. Help me to live like You, trusting and obeying the will of the Father, through my parents each and every day. Help me increase my faith, that I may obey them quickly, fully and lovingly. Teach me to obey them for the right reason, which is simply because I love You.
You can print out this prayer card sheet, cut them out and give one to each of your children and all the children who visit, your neighbor children, the children you sit behind in church, etc. 😀
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“I insist that it is every woman’s duty to know, or to acquire some practical knowledge of housekeeping, so that she may be ready for any emergency. Her fitness for it will be a perpetual source of satisfaction to her, for there is nothing more self-satisfying than to feel that one is capable; it gives confidence, strength, and self-reliance.”- Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893 http://amzn.to/2slSTay (afflink)
Baby Charlotte Update
From Z (yesterday): We haven’t heard back on her EEG or EKG and the MRI will be done sometime later today but the Dr doubled her food intake so now she’s getting 24mls every 3 hours (for reference there are 30 ml in an oz.) She is all smiles and very content, she’s been sleeping most the morning. They took off the smaller EEG monitor to prep for the MRI so it’s lovely to see her with fewer wires and tape and such! I kissed her head and inhaled her sweet, baby scent.😍 And it’s obvious she’s in love with her daddy already.😊
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Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.
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As a family we know very little about singing except how to sing. We have a modest collection of albums, and we can read music well enough to pick out tunes with one finger on the piano.
There’s the radio (pretty carefully supervised), and a little sheet music we’ve bought, and some we’ve been given.
Our friends who go to the Trapp Family Music Camp have sung for us the things they learned, and given us help with our attempt to interpret chant notation. And our school music supervisor, who teaches charming songs at school, gave us a lovely Huron Indian carol (which the neighborhood children are learning for the next carol sing).
Then there are the books of Christmas carols and the songs in Laughing Meadows, the Grailville song book, and there are many fine American folk songs recorded.
All these things satisfy the appetites of children for good songs, and vastly minimize the temptation to pick up the sophisticated and often very vulgar lyrics of popular music. Even in homes where radio and TV are carefully supervised, it’s futile to think children can be kept from hearing these tunes and memorizing the lyrics, but we can help them form judgments about singing in the same way as we can about dancing, by having them sing what is good to please God.
Several years ago, a popular recording star had youngsters all over the country singing with her, “Lover, it’s immoral, but why quarrel with our bliss?” And we wonder why youth centers with their supervised dances to such music as this don’t help as much as we had hoped to keep the barriers to moral danger intact.
A voice is a gift from God, and we can teach our children to listen not only to songs, but with reverent wonder to voices, and to judge whether the voice and the song are reflecting any of the glory due to God, who gave the gift.
Listening to fine recordings of great choral music can help them develop a sense of the anonymity which should mark group singing, where soloists are a distraction rather than an addition to all-together singing the praises of God.
And we discover now and then that fine operatic recordings communicate to them audibly ideas they have struggled to put into visual form.
Such is the Whistling Aria from Boito’s Mephistopheles. After debating which of the pictured forms of the Devil was probably most like him, hearing that eerie whistle dart about so diabolically left no doubt in their minds as to how he sounds and how fast he gets about.
When children sing all their songs for God and sing together often in our families, they’re creating, just as surely as when they use their hands to draw or their bodies to dance, and our homes are warmer and more full of love for the harmonies we’ve created with our voices.
Acting should be part of a child’s creative activity, too, because it’s such a happy way to learn, to develop his observation of the nature of simple things and explain in a combination of all the arts the many things children want to explain.
Little children love to act out spontaneously the things they see around them, like a chair, or a table, or a clock, or a cat; and little boys profit enormously from special occasions for indulging their animal spirits.
John does a magnificent imitation of a goat chewing her cud — more goaty than even the goats. When this is his contribution to a session of “What am I?” the screams and howls are lovely satisfaction for the goat in him and he behaves better in public for it — well, for a few days, anyway.
One year on Mardi Gras, we had family charades to describe what fault each one would give up for Lent. This is a good way to make fun of yourself, admit your weakness, and face up seriously to the kind of mortification that would be most important for you.
One child came in chewing on a thumb. Another slugged imaginary playmates with such abandon that we were moved to great compassion for the real playmates. Another carried a pillow and a dinner plate, symbols of the two daily chores most repugnant and most successfully avoided.
One grown-up came in jawing silently and wagging a finger this way and that, and another grown-up said, “Oh! I was going to do that!”
We were properly overcome to see our faults displayed publicly, and as not one act was greeted with any dissent, it was a penitent group who wagged their way to bed that night, well aware that Lent had come just in time.
Charades are never-ending fun for children; I’ve never heard them say they had too much of them.
Puppets they love, too, and they’re easy to make and use. Our easiest puppets have been hand puppets, made with stuffed socks, faces painted or embroidered, costumes designed from leftover scraps of material, yarn, beads, buttons — anything that’s around.
We’ve had them for liturgical feasts, such as Epiphany, the three elegant Magis with jeweled crowns, oriental hairdos and robes, and for ordinary Punch and Judy shows, and one for Thumbelina, made with a really live thumb.
Our stage is an old threefold screen. We took each panel apart, slip-covered it with sprigged yellow calico, cut a square window in the middle panel for the stage and tacked gray flounces with red ball fringe across the top and sides for a curtain.
Rehinged so that the wings fold back, it’s easily stored away when not in use, and even portable when we want to lend it to other puppeteers. Friends of ours devised a stage with two deep flounces to tack across the top and middle section of a doorway, with a space open in between for the performers.
Even tiny children can maneuver hand puppets, and the illusion is so complete that all they need to do is wag the puppets to a folk song or a Christmas carol in order to carry their part in a family entertainment.
One of the reasons puppet shows are especially successful with small children is that they submerge their self-consciousness in the antics of a tiny little person they do not identify with themselves, and the laughter of the audience never seems to be directed at them — a puzzlement many small actors find it hard to understand when they appear in person.
Songs such as “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” which the audience can sing with the puppet, are a great success.
Graduating from these to reciting nursery rhymes and little poems provides plenty of material for small fries who are not able to memorize lines of plays or carry on dialogues between two puppets at once.
Older children can write their own scripts and invent stage business that they’re sure is hysterically funny; for these it’s especially profitable to suggest tableaux and simple recitatives relating to the liturgical feasts.
“We can change the world within our own families. We do not need heroic deeds, exceptional intelligence or extraordinary talents. Every day, our daily duties, our interactions with our family, our living out the Faith in the small ordinary things, will be the thread that weaves the beautiful rug that future generations will be walking upon and building upon….” Finer Femininity
Baby Charlotte Update
It took 12 hours for the warming process in order to get Baby Charlotte up to normal body temperature.
Colin and Z were able to spend a good part of the day with Charlotte yesterday. They have not been able to hold her yet but it was lovely to see her little eyes open!
She had several tests done yesterday (a brain scan was one of them) and we are awaiting results.
Maybe today will be the day they can take their little bundle in their arms….
In case you missed the comment yesterday evening, here is a message from Z:
I can’t express enough my heartfelt gratitude to you all for your love and prayers. They have meant so much to me and Colin. We don’t feel alone in this! Our baby Charlotte is so perfect and beautiful and strong, every moment with her is an honor and a joy. Thank you all for everything! You are in our prayers as well.
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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.
Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.
Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.
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Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them, O Lord….
Let us remember our beloved dead always, but especially this month dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory.
If we remember the dead, they will intercede for us. Their prayers are very powerful, indeed.
“By assisting them we shall not only give great pleasure to God, but will acquire also great merit for ourselves. And, in return for our suffrages, these blessed souls will not neglect to obtain for us many graces from God, but particularly the grace of eternal life.
I hold for certain that a soul delivered from Purgatory by the suffrages of a Christian, when she enters paradise, will not fail to say to God: ‘Lord, do not suffer to be lost that person who has liberated me from the prison of Purgatory, and has brought me to the enjoyment of Thy glory sooner than I have deserved.'” – St. Augustine of Hippo
Don’t forget to make a trip to the cemetery each day from November 1st to November 8th. You gain a partial/plenary indulgence (under the usual conditions) for a soul in purgatory on every day you do this!!
This is the little cemetery that is about a mile from our home. We are fortunate that we discovered it, tucked away, hidden and obscure. We have made many a trip there in November… getting stuck or slipping into the ditch, through rain, snow and biting winds,…..as we kneel to give relief to one of our faithful departed.
In these first days of November, there have been times we have been headed to bed, sometimes with PJ’s on, when one of the kids looked at us wide-eyed, “We haven’t gone to the cemetery yet!”
Out come the housecoats and slippers as we pile in the van to tear over to the little graveyard. The kids can’t bear the thought of a soul in purgatory, waiting all day to get relief, only to have us forget about them!! They know the value of a plenary indulgence for these souls!
And if we have a house-full of guests (not unusual), the whole menagerie joins us, piling into vans and cars, some scratching their heads wondering what the hubbub is about, and finding they learned something new about their Faith.
So, do remember the souls in purgatory. There are many other ways to give them relief, if we can’t make it to the cemetery. We should pray for them always but this is the month to really focus on them!!!!
One day we will be in their place……
From The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland
November is the month of praying for the dead; so this proposes discussion. We want the children to pray generously, boldly, not only for “our dead” but for all the world of the dead.
Strangely enough, this is their way if they are left to themselves. Rarely are they content with our conventional phrasing, “relatives and friends and all the souls in Purgatory.” They care about so many and want to name them by name.
I was icing a cake one day, and one of the boys was watching hungrily.
“Who’s he?” he asked, pointing to Paul Revere on the sugar package. So I told him the story of Paul Revere.
“Boy. He was pretty brave to do that. Is he dead?”
“Yes. That happened a long time ago.”
That night at prayers we listed our intentions and our dead, and he added, “And Paul Revere, in case he’s in Purgatory.”
Yes, Paul Revere, and Rudyard Kipling, because he wrote the Jungle Book, and the Just-So Stories, and Kenneth Grahame because cause he wrote Wind in the Willows, and Beatrix Potter for Jemima Puddleduck and Peter Rabbit.
They pray for Stephen Foster because they sing his songs, and all the ones who wrote their favorite music; for the Brothers Grimm, of course, and Hans Andersen.
Then there is Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, and all the dead in the cemeteries (for whom we pray when we drive by cemeteries), and the dead in the newspapers, and the accident victims.
Add to these the bad dead, like Stalin and Hitler (whom they do not even know except from history books or, now and then, grown-ups’ conversation), and the dead who have died without Baptism, “because we hope they got baptism of desire,” also the dead of the terrible persecutions, and the bad Indians who martyred the Jesuits, the dead in our floods, and of course the dead who have no one to care about them or pray for them.
The listings could go on all night, just as the lists for All Souls Day could go on all day.
But this is good, because we don’t know about the dead. If they are in Heaven, our prayers will be used for someone else, and if they are beyond saving, our prayers will be used for someone else.
Always, we must remember how much God loves souls and how dearly He paid on the Cross in order to save them. Charity is not just for this world. It extends to the world where so many we have loved, and God has loved, must wait and endure purification, “as though by fire.”
Masses, prayers, sacrifices – all must be encouraged for the dead. Blessed John Massias used to sprinkle holy water on the ground, saying that it was an efficacious devotion together with prayers for the souls in Purgatory. His story Warrior in White, by Mary Fabyan Windeatt, is a good read-aloud aloud story for November.
In the Canon of every Mass, there is a special memento for the dead, so we can remind our children the night before and on the way in the morning to make their Mass intention for the dead. We can encourage them to sacrifice in order to give an offering for a Mass for the dead.
We can remind them after they have been to confession that for the few moments it takes them to make the Stations of the Cross or to recite the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament and pray for the intention of the Holy Father, there is a plenary indulgence applicable to the souls in Purgatory.
We can faithfully attend Forty Hours’ devotion, parish Holy Hours, or whatever devotions our parish holds by which we may give praise and honor to God and succor to the dear dead.
Above all, let us not fail to teach our children that death is one of the punishments of Original Sin. It was not part of God’s original plan.
If Adam had not committed Original Sin, we would have gone to God in some other way. Now we go through death.
We receive the gift of human life from God at conception and the gift of sacramental life from Christ at Baptism. Death is our opportunity to give life, our life; not merely to lie helplessly and let it be taken from us, but to offer Him with a willing heart this life we received from Him.
We are free to make it our own surrender, in order to go to Him and glory.
An interesting tidbit:
Poland does not celebrate Halloween, but Poland sets its cemeteries ‘on fire’ and – believe me – those cemeteries are the most beautiful places to be at the beginning of November.
1st November- All Saints’ Day and 2nd November – All Souls’ Day are days when almost everyone visits graves of their family members. The gravestones are decorated with colorful chrysanthemums in full bloom (in Poland those flowers are associated with this particular occasion) and millions of grave candles (zniczy), which symbolize the presence of God and reminds of the prayer that has been said in a moment of reflexion for those who passed before us.
This Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day roots in a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven and the living.
Those days are national holidays in Poland. This special time of the year creates a very melancholic atmosphere full of spiritual contemplation about those who are not with us in this world anymore.
If you are planning a trip anywhere in Poland at the beginning of November – make sure to have a look at how beautiful and full of light are Polish cemeteries.
“The mother is the domestic figure par excellence. In teaching your child the meaning of unselfish love you will achieve a greater good than almost any other accomplishment of which human beings are capable.
You are the most important person your child will ever know. Your relationship with him will transcend, in depth of feeling, any other relationship he probably will ever have–even the one with his marriage partner.” -Catholic Family Handbook, https://amzn.to/2LJ48Vu (afflink)
Update on Baby Charlotte:
She is very stable, hardly needs any oxygen support. She gained a little weight because she was not peeing. She is peeing well now, so kidneys are working. Today at 5 pm they will start the warming process, which takes 12 hours. After that she will have testing and be monitored. If things look good at that point, Colin and Z will be able to hold her.
Mom is in pain and her blood pressure is quite high at times but then goes back down. They are planning to release her today, if all is well. Colin and Z are looking into somehow getting accommodations close by so they wouldn’t have to travel in order to be with Charlotte. (They live about 35 minutes away from the hospital).
Thank you for the prayers… please keep them coming! ❤️
They are starting to bring the baby’s temperature up today at 5:00 p.m. This is crucial and will tell more of what to expect. We are going to start a nine hour novena to the Infant of Prague at 9a.m. CST. if anyone would like to join. (Praying this prayer throughout the day at any time is efficacious!)
If you would like to help monetarily you can go here.
We are overwhelmed with your generosity and your support in the prayers that have been lifted up for Z (Mom) and Baby Charlotte! So…I wanted to update you on the little bit we know right now. Your prayers are such a comfort!
Z’s note to you…
I am just so overwhelmed by all the love from my family and friends around the world. No cross is too hard to bear when you have so many people lifting you up!! ❤️
Z seems to be doing as well as expected. They are struggling a bit to keep her blood pressure down. The word has been that she may get out of the hospital on Monday.
Friday…All Saint’s Day:
When Z was pushing, the doctor and the nurses (3 of them) saw that the baby’s heartbeat dropped way down. When they couldn’t get it up, they “literally” ran her bed to the emergency C-Section room. The doctor said Z went under anesthesia at 1:01 p.m. and the baby was born at 1:02 p.m!
Z had a very large rupture of her uterus and therefore, the baby was deprived of oxygen and blood flow.
The doctor came in to Colin and myself and had a very grim prognosis. She said most babies do not survive and if they do, they have huge problems. When I asked if some cases turn out all right, she said that miracles happen…and she has seen some.
So…that is what we are praying for!
Right now the baby is undergoing something called “Cooling Therapy”. Here is the explanation….
Quote from HIE Help Center.
There is one established treatment that can minimize permanent brain damage from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). However, it must be given very shortly after birth/the oxygen-depriving incident in order to be effective (ideally within six hours). This treatment is known as hypothermia therapy, but it has many other names, such as “therapeutic hypothermia,” “cooling therapy,” and “neonatal cooling.” Hypothermia therapy involves cooling the baby down to a temperature below homeostasis to allow the brain to recover from a hypoxic-ischemic injury. Typically, the target temperature is about 33.5 degrees Celsius (92.3 degrees Fahrenheit) (1). There are two ways that hypothermia therapy can be administered: using a cooling cap for “selective brain cooling” or by cooling the baby’s entire body (“whole-body cooling”). Either of these options can be effective; the choice to use one over the other is dependent on what protocols are in place and what equipment a particular NICU has (2).
By Monday night Charlotte should be done this part.
Then the rewarming…
After therapeutic hypothermia, the baby must be rewarmed slowly in order to prevent reperfusion injury. The AMC PSO suggests that the baby’s temperature should be increased by 0.2 – 0.5 degrees Celsius, until it reaches 36.5 degrees Celsius. Because there is an increased risk of seizure activity during rewarming, doctors should also consider EEG monitoring (2).
Z has only seen her baby once….for a very short time. We will try to keep watch as much as we can with Little Charlotte.
Once again, thank you so much for the prayers.
I will continue my regular posts and give you any significant updates. The prayers mean so much. God bless you!
In your charity, please pray for our son and daughter-in-law, Colin and Elizabeth (better known as Z) and their precious little newborn, Charlotte Rose. Z had to have a C-section and suffered a severe uterine rupture. She is stable. Baby Charlotte may not pull through….
Colin had Epiphany Water with him and we baptized the baby with it. She is in another hospital right now going through what they call a “cooling therapy” for 72 hours. She is a beautiful baby and was 10 lbs. 9 oz. when she was born.
We almost lost Z. But she is stable now.
I will update as we know more.