A Special Third Order Announcement

I am skipping the #goodenoughmom link up this week with my girl Charity. I don’t do this lightly, however. I have a special announcement that could only be shared today.

As you know, I am being received as a Novice with the Lay Dominicans. This means that on the Feast of St. Dominic (or August 8th) I am officially in! Granted, I have two years of study and presentations before I make temporary promises, then another year after before I make final promises. I know it’s a serious commitment on my part, but I keep looking at it from their perspective. They have faith in me, that I will remain committed for that long. For me, this faith in my faith, touches the deepest parts of my heart.

What’s the announcement? I had to choose a saint name that I will formally undertake to signify that I’m starting a new life, in a spiritual sense. Choosing a saint name also helps me have a saintly model to strive towards and also to have their prayers, for me, in heaven. I did some research and thought about it for a while. I even looked up Dominican saint names to choose from, and sure enough, I finally landed on one that I knew instantly that I should take.

A Special Announcement via @fillpraycloset

St. Mary Magdalene is Protectress of the Dominican Order and is referred to in Early Christian writings as “The Apostle to the Apostles”. In Luke 7:36-50 She washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, kissed them and anointed them with ointment from a fine alabaster box. Jesus, knew how sorry she was for her sins and forgave her – much to the Pharisees chagrin. From then on, she was the most faithful of disciples. She was with him when he was crucified, weeping and the first to look for him at the tomb and saw He wasn’t there.

In a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great he says:

We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.

St. Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of women, penitent sinners, people ridiculed for their piety and contemplatives among others. Today is her feast day. See why I had to post this today? Mark 15:41 tells us that women “followed Him and cared for his needs” The disciples were supporting the ministry while women, St. Mary Magdalene being one of them, probably helped with preparing meals and looked for places to house them. She was preparing soft places for Jesus to lay His head, I imagine. She was probably worried for His well being, had He eaten enough? Was He getting enough water? Did He have enough time to pray in solitude? Her every thought, I imagine was Jesus. She lingered before his tomb, distraught when she found He wasn’t there. She turned around to hear someone ask her why she was weeping? Turned out that “gardener”, that person, was Jesus, comforting her as He had when he released the 7 demons she was possessed with.

Spangler and Syswerda of Women of the Bible write:

The risen Jesus had appeared, not to rulers and kings, nor even first of all to his male disciples, but to a woman whose love had held her at the cross and led her to the grave. Mary Magdalene, a person who had been afflicted by demons, whose testimony would not have held up in a court because she was a woman, was the first witness of the resurrection. Once again, God had revealed himself to the lowly, and it would only be the humble whose hearing was sharp enough to perceive the message of his love.

I chose her because I am the lowly, and God found me with limp arms, unable to carry my load any longer. He knelt before me and looked up at me, it was the only way he could see into my cast-down eyes. I can remember the night when I cried out to Him. I didn’t know that that’s what I was doing. How this cry would forever change my life. But it has. When I pray the morning prayer, it’s this Psalm specifically (one of the penitent psalms) that I identify with:

From Psalm 51
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment.

St. Mary Magdalene, keep me humble. Keep me always lingering on Our Lord, for it is there that He will come to me, and comfort the weathered wounds of my heart.

Luke 7:47
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.

3 Ways to Keep Faith Alive Between Sundays (with Kids)

The Edel Gathering is this weekend and there were some of us who couldn’t attend, as much as we would have loved it! Rita over at The Catholic Review: Open Window thought it would be great to host a blog hop wherein we’d have a virtual conference! I loved the idea and thought to share how I keep the faith alive between Sundays, with kids. I’ll admit it, I don’t always do a bang up job each week. Because work.You’ll see what I mean.

I brought my youngest Gabriel with me to work today. Finding the time to share the Catholic faith with my children isn’t easily done during the summer months especially when they’re not in school. I work full time from 8:30AM – 5PM Monday through Friday. The time I have with the kids is limited, but I make the best of it. Here’s what we do to keep the faith!

  1. Check in with them about their feelings about their prayer life. Little ones can struggle too and experience spiritual dryness just like adults. Let them know that they’re being heard and share with them how you work through these harder times. For example, I know for sure that Gabriel hasn’t been praying as much as he used to. I asked him why and he gave the usual answer “I don’t know”. Don’t leave it at that, or get discouraged, Mom. I followed up with, well I know that Mary misses talking with you so how about we say some prayers, I’ll do them with you. I showed him the rosary and chaplet in my car, and said that I pray them every day even when I don’t feel like it. A look of shock came upon his face when he heard that Mommy didn’t like to pray all the time. Then I got a little lashing, “You know Mom, it’s important to pray every day and Mary can help because she speaks the heart language. Don’t you know?” You’re right Gabriel, you’re right.Full of Grace: 3 Ways to Keep Faith Alive Between Sundays (with Kids) @fillpraycloset
  2. Be active during Mass (I know Mom’s with sweet babies, this can be tough). I have two boys 9 and 6. Alex, my older son has a Magnifikid! subscription that he uses to read prior to mass should he have any questions or insights (you can order a free sample if you want to check it out!). This doesn’t happen every weekend. You saw my kitchen drawers, and that’s where the Magnifikid’s reside (along with mass envelopes, Aleve, pencils, you know the deal). Gabriel is still learning to read, so he can’t very well have his own Magnifikid, but he can sit right next to Mommy and follow her finger as she reads. Gabriel pays more attention now that he recognizes sight words. At mass a few weeks ago, the following Gospel (Matthew 11:25-30) was read:

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.

Gabriel was able to read the words in bold. He’s reading the Gospel! Mostly – and that keeps him very engaged in the mass. I also can’t help but think as he gets older, he’ll remember Mommy’s curly hair on his shoulder and pointing out words with her finger.

We also follow along with the hymnal, especially with Alex as he plays piano and again, I follow along with my finger for little Gabriel.  Granted, there are days when they aren’t as attentive or interested, and there are days that I am distracted, and elsewhere mentally. This weekend our priest said something so profound and it’s stuck with me since: We are perfectly imperfect in an imperfect world. Where did he get that from? The Liberty Mutual Insurance company commercials. See how faith can find you anywhere? I digress.

  1. Put your faith (and theirs) into action. I have been a Lay Dominican postulant for at least 6 months (I took two months off during formation because I was in Italy and my stepdaughter came to visit). My husband also works and there are stretches where he’s traveling across the country. I bring my children with me to my chapter meetings. I pack snacks, drinks and their hand held devices as well. However, they introduce themselves and a couple of times, Alex shared his feelings and insights on the conversation with my Lay Dominican brother and sisters! Of course, you’d have to check with the people running the meetings. My chapter president was all for it. He said they were pro-life. Ha!When we go for walks, we enjoy praying with the intercession of St. Francis. Not only does Alex love Pope Francis, he also loves St. Francis as the patron saint of animals and ecology. We thank God for the pretty flowers, the tree lined streets, squirrels, bunnies and the occasional deer that cross our path and as with special intercession from St. Francis to protect this beauty.We are blessed to live across the street from our church.  When I can get out of work on time, and get dinner cleaned up, we go to mass on Tuesday evenings after I get home from work. No matter what, we always visit Mary’s grotto. It’s our favorite place to pray and Gabriel is the Master of Ceremonies, allowing one person at a time to pray to Mary. He’s very protective. Check if your parish has an evening mass during the week, or even spend 10-15 minutes with the children at adoration. This helps them learn that adoration, (and visiting Our Lord) is important. This will test their attention span and you may only get 3 minutes at first. Take what you can get and thank God you had that much!

Full of Grace: 3 Ways to Keep Faith Alive Between Sundays (with Kids) @fillpraycloset

How do you keep the faith in your family alive between Sundays?  Share in the comments.

Do you have a blog? With some of our fellow bloggers heading off to the Edel Conference, we thought it would be fun to have our own virtual conference, sharing thoughts on faith and family. See more and link up with Rita at: Catholic Review: Open Window

Full of Grace: 3 Ways to Keep Faith Alive Between Sundays (with Kids) @fillpraycloset

#7QT What it’s Like to be Married to Me

Lately, I’ve been more scatterbrained, and while I can usually keep it all on the DL, I’ve been messin’ up and my husband is noticing. By that, I mean, I’ve been laughing at myself a lot this week. I thought, why not have him tell you what it’s like to be married to me, just this week. I have to say, I crack up when we’re with friends talking and the subject of my “supreme organizational skills” comes up. I leave you in his hands.

#7QT fillingmyprayercloset.com

— 1 —

She leaves all of the cabinets open in the kitchen. This one is partially my fault, she clocks in at 4’11 and I, at 6 feet. I put things on high shelves because I can reach them. Sometimes I forget how little she is. She gets me back though and our house looks like it was visited from the director of Paranormal Activity.

— 2 —

She fills water bottles and glasses,  and leaves them all over the house. I always feel like I’m in the movie Signs. Remember the M. Night Shyamalan movie where they find out that water causes the aliens pain? Is that why she leaves them all over the house? A potential alien invasion?? Lately, she fills her water bottle for work, leaves it on the counter beading and dripping. I have to know if this is something ceremonial or if she thinks I’m just really thirsty.

#7QT What it's Like to be Married to Me #marriage #funny via @fillpraycloset

— 3 —

She never puts things back where they belong. When she can’t find it, she claims it’s in a “safe place”. Very recent case in point.

#7QT What it's Like to be Married to Me #marriage #funny via @fillpraycloset

Why would there be nail polish remover in the wine rack? I’ll tell you why, she was polishing her nails and wanted a glass of wine. She took the wine, and replaced it with the nail polish remover and thought to herself, I’ll bring that back up when I go to bed. But that never happens. So I just sent her this picture and let her know that she also put raw sausage meat in the kitchen cupboard. You know, her “safe place” that makes sausages not safe to eat!

— 4 —

When she walks in the door after work, she leaves a trail of destruction in her wake. She drops everything: shoes, purse, work bag, lunch bag, both smart phones, chargers, keys and cardigan  – completely ignoring the shoe rack, shelf, hooks and outlets for said items. Ever step on an iPhone charger? Those small ones? OUCH!

— 5 —

She makes me take BuzzFeed quizzes that she and her friends are doing on Facebook, then gets mad at the results. What can I say, I know more states than she does. She’s the creative one, right? Just the other night, she asked me to take a personality quiz. I asked her why – and she said that she wanted to know why we react and behave to certain situations the way we do, see how compatible we are because she is an ENFJ and…I stopped her and said, so wait, you don’t already know how compatible we are?! Here, I’m an IDRC (I don’t really care). She snorted at that one.

#7QT What it's Like to be Married to Me via @fillpraycloset #ENFJ #marriage #humor

— 6 —

Paper is everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love that she’s writing and reading books to review and really just doing what makes her happy. But the paper! It’s everywhere. We are currently at 5 drawers (that I know about) with lists, clippings from magazines, old pictures, plastic baggies with paperwork from school, you name it. And she needs all of it. Just in case. She knows what each drawer contains and when it gets just full enough, she “sorts” through them. She’s trying though, and now there are file folders in these drawers with papers inside along with the usual stuff that’s already in there. Need a pen? It’s in there. Need a paper clip? No problem. Looking for a cure for the recession? I’m sure she’s compiled a list and it’s in there too.

#7QT What it's Like to be Married to Me via @fillpraycloset #ENFJ #marriage #humor

— 7 —

She’s won’t watch national news. She’s sensitive, you know? She says she prefers to watch local news, where the big story is how the farmer grew an 800 pound tomato or the estimated delay from the water main break on MacArthur Rd than keep up with murder rates, big corporate layoffs, political debates and Wall Street market closings. So I keep up with the national and global stuff. She’ll sit across from me on the couch and ask “What do I need to know this week?” Sometimes, she tries, and gets all excited when she reads a headline (from weeks ago) off to me – that I already know. Because, like I tell her, I’m informed!

Border @fillpraycloset #catholic

I know, I may sound like I’m annoyed, I’m not. All of this really makes me laugh and appreciate just how unique she is. Granted, the open kitchen cabinets thing freaks me out. It would freak anyone who isn’t looking for that “open concept” look. But then, she does stuff like make rice and beans with chicken (my favorite) when I’m expecting Chef Boyardee, or helps me to plan a BBQ with my co-workers this weekend, creating lists like this. She’s pretty awesome. Maybe I’ll take a quiz for her. Who am I kidding? No I won’t.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Who’s Turning the Pages

On this day, last year, I was in the middle of CatholicMom’s Lawn Chair Catechism Series. For today’s Throw Back Thursday, I thought it would be good to reflect on where I was just a year ago.

The question I tackled was this one:

In your own faith: To believe in a personal God is to believe that God truly will meet us in prayer. It can be difficult to evangelize when we ourselves are going through a “dry spell”, or struggling with some spiritual question. Do you have difficulty trusting that God will show himself to those who do not yet possess the faith?

Absolutely not. When I first answered this, I wasn’t completely transparent about the subtle nuances and struggles affecting my unequally yoked marriage.

It was my husband I was talking about when I said I was “little flowering” it. For me, that meant focusing on my love for God and resting in the comfort of knowing that everything else would flow from that. More concretely, this meant showing kindness, forgiveness and mercy no matter what was going on in my life. This was hard. I lacked the confidence to share my faith openly in my home. I wasn’t familiar with how comfortable my husband would be. That was a really long process. It’s not that my husband was flagrantly adamant that I not talk about faith or God at home. This was all me.

#TBT Who's really turning the pages via @fillpraycloset #faith #unequallyyoked #marriage

As my first vocation is wife and mother, I wanted to be true to that God-given vocation and love my husband through this metamorphosis. I wanted him to feel confident knowing that I wasn’t going to smack him with a bible every morning (I do keep scapulars under his mattress and Sts. Michael and Christopher medals in his work bag – thank goodness for hidden pockets!).

This transition on both our parts, this growing, if you will, happens in every marriage whether it’s faith based, there’s a career change, a new baby, a parent moves in, you name it. The point is, to allow God to be there with you. Once you let go and realize that there’s really three parts to your marriage: you, your spouse and God (talk about a Trinity!) you can lean into uncomfortable conversations knowing full well that you’ve got back up. I am still the only bible my husband reads and that’s really ok, I know that God is there, turning the pages for him.

Where were you this time last year? What were you thinking, feeling, seeing and being? Share with us in the comments.

Happy TBT to you!