Friday, February 26, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Somehow I think I got the better end of the deal! Well, then we have to consider that Dad had to work. Hmmmmm. Choices, choices!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
Why we receive the ashesFollowing the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told
"Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return."
Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.
The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins -- just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days' penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.
The AshesThe ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the ritual of shriving, when the faithful confessed their sins to the local priest and recieved forgiveness before the Lenten season began.
As far back as 1000 AD, "to shrive" meant to hear confessions. (Trivia note: the term survives today in the expression "short shrift" or giving little attention to anyone's explanations or excuses).
Historically, Shrove Tuesday also marked the beginning of the 40-day Lenten fasting period when the faithful were forbidden by the church to consume meat, butter, eggs or milk. However, if a family had a store of these foods they all would go bad by the time the fast ended on Easter Sunday. What to do?
Solution: use up the milk, butter and eggs no later than Shrove Tuesday. And so, with the addition of a little flour, the solution quickly presented itself in... pancakes. And lots of 'em.
Today, the Shrove Tuesday pancake tradition lives on throughout Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia, but is most associated with the UK where it is simply known as Pancake Day with a traditional recipe, although these can be as varied in the UK as there are British households.
In France, (as well as here in the US - or more famously - in New Orleans) it's known as Fat Tuesday which kicks off the Mardi Gras festival with wild celebrations just before the austere Lenten season.
In Sweden, Fat Tuesday translates to Fettisdagen, and in Lithuania it's Uzgavens. In Poland, traditional celebrations take place on a Thursday a week before Ash Wednesday and so it's Tlusty Czwartek, or Fat Thursday.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Whew - what a busy day yesterday! We left the house at 8 AM to make it to Mass only a wee bit late. Of course donuts and coffee afterwards are a given. OK - yes, I admit to whispering in little girl ears that they won't get a donut if they can't be quiet! So far, it has worked.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Yup - it has happened. Our youngest son is toooooooo old! He turned 16 this week. Absolutely not possible! He chose to have a quiet family birthday day, then next week celebrate with a friends party. Actually, he and a friend are going to have a birthday party together. Here. Overnight. Fortunately, both IBoy and MissE have a GREAT group of friends, and we never mind having a ton of them over. You couldn't ask for a nicer collection of teens!