Archive for the ‘Feast Days’ Category
Hi lovelies xx
A really quick Sunday night post just to share a custom order for some button flowers that I made yesterday. There are two sets of flowers, one in multi pastel shades and the other in plain pastels. The plain ones are going off to their new home tomorrow. These have become very popular for embellishing things, and I’ve used them to decorate my little crocheted bags. As you can see I haven’t sewn in the ends yet but by the time they leave they’ll be all tidied up. [Click on any photo’ to see it enlarged.]
Happy Mother’s Day to all you ladies out there who Mother someone, whether that be biologically or just through the love of someone you care for in a maternal way. May you all be blessed.
Today is also Laetare Sunday in the catholic faith. This falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent and it is a day of rejoicing [Laetare meaning, to rejoice] and the Priests and Deacons wear rose coloured vestments. It’s a day when we can relax a little from our Lenten rigours [such as they are 😉 ].
The children in my class were having a lesson yesterday [last day of term] on the meaning of Easter. What [who?] we remember and celebrate on which days, and why? One of them asked how we knew it was true? [Good question!] The class teacher explained it was all down to faith. Faith and love are the basis of everything within Christianity and most other religions too if I think about it. The above piece of scripture immediately came to mind, the perfect response to such a question. The bible holds the answers to most questions if you approach it with prayer and an open heart.
The photo’ above illustrates how I experience my faith. The trees are there in the distance, just out of reach. On some days you can see them clearly, they’ll be bathed in sunlight and comfortingly evident, strong and stable. On other days they will be shrouded in mist and difficult to make out, with no clear definition and slightly surreal and dreamlike. Faith, for me is just like this ~ on a good day it’s clear, tangible and strong, and I’m confident of my journey and direction. On a misty day it’s difficult to be sure, I feel uncertain and weak in my resolve and the path ahead is unclear.
As we approach Palm Sunday I wonder if Jesus was having a ‘clear’ day or a ‘misty’ day as he returned to Jerusalem? How was his resolve [faith] in this, his last earthly week? He could be forgiven for feeling uncertain and fearful. I am grateful for his example and I strive to hold fast to my resolve on those difficult days. So, faith is indeed being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see . . .even on a misty day.
Peace and blessings
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, the moment when the angel Gabriel visits Mary to tell her that she will conceive and bear a son who she will call Jesus. The gospel [for this year A in the liturgical calendar] is to be found HERE. This is always a good time to remember and become [re]inspired by Mary’s deep and unshakeable faith. It is not a blind faith as she has questions for Gabriel, but on hearing what God has in store for her, she exhibits acceptance and trust. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV
Here we are in the hiatus between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. I like this week ~ time to relax with that certain smugness that only a woman who’s ‘done’ Christmas for another year can enjoy. A time to take stock and reflect over the year gone and think about the year to come. I don’t do resolutions but I do like to consider what I’d do differently in the year ahead and what, if anything, I’d like to achieve.
Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the Holy Innocents being all the baby boys murdered by order of Herod in his bid to kill the baby Jesus and be the One and Only King ~ no dilusions of grandeur there then. This piece of scripture has always horrified me and I find it difficult to think about the pain and suffering. There have been many equally horrific incidents over the millenia but my mind is drawn more recently to the shooting of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. These are our modern day Holy Innocents….children killed without a thought or a care. Parents left traumatised, siblings left lonely, relations and friends left feeling sad and unable to ease the suffering of those they care for. When I think about that day, those twenty little lives, it all feels like such a meaningless act of violence, such a total waste of life. As the mother of a 7 year old boy I find it very difficult to think about it at all in too much detail if I’m honest.
As the news broke I wondered where God was in all of that?? Was He evident to anyone at all?? Initially it appeared not but then as the news items became more detailed it became obvious that amongst all that mindless carnage there were glimmers and sparkles of His Spirit. It shone through the teachers and staff who protected their little charges so bravely even at the cost of their own lives. Those first on the scene who must have had to dig very deep emotionally when searching the school. The prayers of all the community. The parents who supported each other with a hug or a loving word or deed. The complete list of God-led acts of kindness and bravery will never be known but the one thing I know beyond all doubt is that the list is long and distinguished and that even when all seemed Godforsaken, if you looked very closely you could see little chinks of His Spirit shining through the actions of others.
May all those affected by this tragedy feel the loving arms of God around them and may the souls of those lost rise up once again in the light of Our Dear Lord for all eternity…..
Boxing day [also the Feast of St Stephen] is always a strange day here. I always think of it as the calm AFTER the storm. I have grown to seriously dislike the pressure of Christmas Day itself. I’ve been doing Christmas dinner for the masses for 30 years++ now and I find the whole being tied to the kitchen for 3+hours thing very tedious. By the time the food is on the plates my appetite is spoiled for any of it and I rarely eat much. I also don’t like the fact that all this culinery domesticity takes me away from very precious playing time with Ethan. I admire these women who blossom under the strain of ‘producing Christmas’ but I also wonder if they really do enjoy it or whether it’s just done out of duty or expectation and through gritted teeth? The last two years I have been openly honest about my dislike of cooking the Christmas fayre. I have no problem with cooking per se, in fact I usually enjoy it immensely, but it’s my time away from Ethan on this special day that I resent. Next year I resolve that things will be different ~ mind you, I said that last year.
So, here we are at Boxing Day and I’m in a contemplative mood ~ sadly Ethan does not spend BD with us so no one to play with 😦 . That aside, the day feels nice, unhurried, pressure free. There is a fridge full of food already cooked and prepared for whoever fancies it and I can pretty much do as I please. My thoughts can finally turn to the real meaning of Christmas which also gets pushed from my thoughts on THE day and replaced with cooking times and vegetable preparation. Did God intend that we women all become Marthas on Christmas Day, busying ourselves for the benefit of others without a thought for ourselves or Him? Or did He intend that we be more like Mary and take a moment of time to sit at His feet and listen awhile if only to refresh our spirits? There is a place for a bit of both I think. Obviously there is a real need to invite in all those who would otherwise spend Christmas alone and to bring family together. However, if the hostess with the mostess ends up buckling under the stress and strain of it all and is left with Grinchlike tendancies, feeling resentful, tearful and exhausted there is something amiss. Next year I shall strive to achieve balance even if that means no huge Christmas meal. I shall list what is important, ignore all the human expectations and do what God expects for a change.
Today is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate and give thanks for the Holy Trinity that is God the [our] Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It’s always rather tricky to explain to people who ask that these are all the same God manisfesting in different forms ~ a bit of a ‘buy one, get two free’ offer. I always think that it depends on need as to which you relate to the most. God is who we speak to, who we pray to, who we rely and call on. However, when the people really needed something more tangible He came in human form as Jesus Christ to transfrom the world with His love and teachings. That wonderful event was recorded in the New Testament for people for all time to draw on and use as a guide, a means of hope and comfort when doubt creeps in as it surely does for all of us at some point.
Then, all too soon, Jesus left us and God saw what a huge gap this left in the lives of the faithful both then and for the future. So He came again as the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and minds. Our spiritual sat-nav guiding us toward Him if we just listen with the ear of our hearts. The closer you grow to Him, the clearer His voice. . . . first a whisper in the silence and then the familiar voice of a friend walking towards you; ever closer, ever nearer until He stands by your side and, in the warmth of His love, you walk on together . . .
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Today is the feast day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Celebrating the day that Mary [who had just found out she was carrying the Son of God] went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, wife of Zacharia, who despite being well on in years was pregnant with John the Baptist.
Whether catholic or not one cannot help being inspired by Mary. Her devout faith and courage in the face of what must have been a very difficult time. Experiencing things that placed her firmly outside the boundaries of her Jewish faith and must have threatened her relationship with Joseph.
I have always looked at Mary as a kind of older sister figure, someone to aspire to and to emulate. She has to be one of the most interesting women figures in the bible and one who fuels my imagination repeatedly as I follow her journeys each year during Advent and Lent, trying to imagine what she must have been feeling during those incredibly emotive times.
The passage in the Luke that relates to the Visitation gives us The Magnificat ~ Mary’s Song and it is truly beautiful. It is prayed daily during the Office of Vespers and it always moves me. . .
46 And Mary said:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me –
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants for ever,
just as he promised our ancestors.’
Luke 1:46~55 NIV
Today is Pentecost when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. That moment when the Spirit descended upon the twelve apostles giving them the gift of speech [tongues] so they could go out and spread The Word to all nations.
The gift of the Holy Spirit was/is not unique to the apostles. The day we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we all receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, it comes and dwells within us, fills us and stays with us on our journey. It is that little voice from deep within, it’s that feeling that something is wrong, it’s that feeling that something is Right and Good.
The apostles were told to go out and preach to all nations, to spread the teachings of Jesus, to continue the good works after His death. When we receive the Spirit we too are called to share this gift with others, it’s pretty pointless if we just keep it to ourselves and don’t put such an amazing gift to good use.
This doesn’t mean that we have to start travelling abroad to spread God’s word, although for some this is their calling as missionaries or aid workers etc. For the majority of us this just means sharing daily the hope, love, joy and peace that we carry within us. Loving our neighbour and trying to shine the light of Christ into the world as best we can, even on those dull days when we feel more like a spent match than a beacon for Christ. [I have alot of those kind of days 😉 ] I always think that on the difficult days my light shines brighter ~ it’s almost like the Holy Spirit recognises my rather pathetic efforts and comes through beaming with support and encouragement. A bit like I opened the gate with my good intention and He enhances that thought and effort, no matter how jaded the attempt.
So, on this Pentecost Sunday share the light that dwells within you because it’s just waiting for a chink of opportunity to coming shining through.