“…Accept Children and Bring Them Up According to the Law of Christ…” Part 2

This second part posted at Worthy of Agape last week, but I was out of town and unable to share and link it until today. Enjoy!

 

I last talked about accepting children in marriage in part 1

9658613409_76d52d0d49_b…and now I’m back to keep talking at you about raising those children!

The first few years are easy, right? Get married, have babies, enjoy the bundles of sweetness in the midst of sleepless nights and piles of laundry… And then the sweet little souls God’s blessed your family with are old enough for school and an education.

This education is where “bringing them up according to the law of Christ” enters the equation. It is not enough to send your child to the parish Sunday School program, or even to a Catholic elementary school. Oh no, my friends. There is so much more to raising our children in the faith. Not all parish schools are teaching the truths of the faith as strongly as we’d hope, not all Sunday School programs are going to hook your kids and guide them well. Many do, but it is NOT the job of the schools to be the primary–ie first, most important, best–teachers of your children, especially in the faith. That is OUR job, as parents, to be the “first school” of the faith.

Continue at Worth of Agape!

“…Accept Children and Bring Them Up According to the Law of Christ…” Part 1

  I’m so delighted to be guest-posting on my dear friend Amanda’s blog while she’s honeymooning! Her series on the questions of intent and marriage vows is lovely, and writing this post to share has been fun. We do, after all, have some experience in this topic. 😉

 

Marriage isn’t just something to do when you love someone and think they’d be swell to live with for the rest of your life. Not even close! I’ll let you know, I love my husband. He is swell. But we don’t always get along, we don’t always have the same ideas about how to raise our family, we don’t always speak the same language, we don’t organize things the same way. Marriage is not always swell! But it is worth it. Marriage just so happens to be one of the various vocations to which a person can be called. It’s a vocation, because it’s a call from God on how best to live our lives and serve Him in this world. Do it well, and we hope for a place in Heaven alongside our spouse (and kids!) for the grand feast and perfect joy that comes with being united finally with God.

The Church has a few things to say about marriage and what is important. She teaches these things because, well, Jesus gave us the Church to guide us. The “rules” are in place to guide us, teach us, help us as we learn to live in the love of Christ.

It’s a big deal. And so, the things which a couple must understand and consent to–the things the Church has to say about marriage–are also a big deal.

One of them has to do with children.

Read the rest on Amanda’s blog!

 

Currently {3}

Thinking about:

Just exactly how do I figure out, and then follow, God’s plans for the day to day details. You know, staying joyfully on top of housework, handing on the faith to my little brood of children, getting yummy and wholesome meals on the table before 6:30pm meltdowns… All while staying somewhat on top of laundry, sweeping, lunches, diapers, homeschool lessons, showers, time to talk with Fence, lift a few weights here and there (who am I kidding?! The most workout I’ve had in weeks was a half mile run to the park with the kids yesterday)…You get the idea. I’m thinking how to be the best *me* in the life God has given me.

Reading:

I’m always reading Lisa Hendey’s “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms”, “Something Other than God” came last week and I’ve started it, and the blog Simply Convivial has me hooked at the moment. She has started a sweet new series about happy housekeeping. It sure fits with what’s on my mind lately!

Listening to: 

I’ve pretty much been listening to Fence’s crazy mix of tunes, since I haven’t been turning on my own playlist. He has classic rock, 80s, Christian pop, rap…it’s interesting.

Watching:

bloop…bloop…bloop…

“24” is back on (starting last night). We actually had the kids in bed in time to watch it. My verdict? Meh. The first hour didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat. When it finished, we watched “The Time of the Doctor”, which is the final Matt Smith as The Doctor episode. Doctor Who is just so fun to watch, and even though it was *so weird* at the beginning of the new series (those first few Christopher Eccleston episodes–weird), Fence and I have really enjoyed it together. I’m always a little sad when the Doctor changes. They’re each so clever and witty and fun!

Thankful for:

Health. I believe we are finally, finally on the way to everyone being healthy.

Wishing: (goals for the week)

We have a First Communion at the end of week, and family will be here to visit! So many goals with this: get the house ready, menu prepped, decorations finished…but more importantly, I hope we’ll all be in a joyful mood to celebrate with and support Sweet Pea on her special day. Her godparents might even make the visit! Her godmother is pregnant with their 3rd baby, so depending on how she is feeling, they’ll make the hour-drive down to support Sweet Pea. That would be *so* special for her! 20060723baptismgodparents

I can’t believe it has been almost 8 years since her baptism! Our baby girl is growing up into a beautiful daughter of the King, with such a sweet heart and soul, and honest questions. It’s been a delight to be by her side this year as we prepped for her First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.

Also, Mother’s Day is this weekend, so I need to finish up the special things for my mom and my mother-in-law. It will be a lovely, joyful weekend!

A Mama Collective

A Bigger Deal than the First Day of School: First Holy Communion

Any of you have young ones preparing to receive their First Holy Communion this spring? Are you excited, or dreading, the shopping for white dresses and nice suits? Wondering if you should buy shoes now, or wait a month just in case feet grow? Planning the party? Making invitations?

Are you preparing your child at home, or sending them to the parish program to prepare? Are you praying together at home? Planning a family trip to the sacrament of Confession a few times before the Big Day?

Are you anticipating the day with excitement and letting the excitement rub off on your child, or grumbling that you won’t be able to sit close enough for good pictures?

Yes, that was a lot of questions! I don’t often play 20-questions…but these all seem important to be asking ourselves (myself).

I have a daughter preparing for First Holy Communion, and each day my excitement for her grows. M is our 2nd child to prepare for the sacrament, but she’s the first one I have prepared at home. We are part of a great parish, and our children are enrolled in the parish RE program, but they have left sacrament preparation up to the parents. They do provide books and support if needed, as well as a sort of retreat and interview at the end of the preparation time. The books they’ve provided are good–true to the official Church teachings, and child-friendly, but when I read through the books last fall for Penance, I just felt there had to be something better. In other words, this homeschool mama and former RE director just doesn’t love the books they gave us.

I polled some other experienced homeschool moms, and decided to look into the materials provided by Catholic Heritage Curricula. They are just fabulous. My daughter and I have been having great discussions about the Mass while she assembles a Mass book with prayer cards. I read to her from one or two books, which talk about the sacrifice of the Mass, the importance of the Eucharist, and how we can best prepare now for First Holy Communion, and be prepared for every Mass.

Like I said, my excitement grows each day. As I teach my daughter, my love for the Mass and Eucharist grows. Our Savior comes to us, physically present and full of life-giving Love at every single Mass! Imagine! No matter how we’ve been acting, no matter how distant we’ve become, no matter if it is our 1st, 78th, or 1,000th Communion, Jesus is anticipating being with us, with open arms, just waiting for us to welcome him with open arms and heart. As a parent, I know the joy and anticipation of being welcomed by a child when I arrive home after being away…I know the joy of being welcomed by my parents when we visit…just think–how much more does Jesus anticipate us, and how much more joy and love He has to share with us when we receive Him (worthily!) in the Eucharist!

If only our longing for Him equaled His longing for us.

It dawned on me the other day, that there are many important “growing up” and “coming of age” days which we plan for, anticipate, and celebrate in our children’s lives. Pinterest is a great tool for things like birthdays and first days of school…and yet, it can also be a burden. How much time we mothers can spend searching for the perfect table-scape, perfect decor, perfect food…for these passing days which are fun and great to celebrate, but aren’t nearly as BIG as First Holy Communion.

I mean…WOW. Being united with our God, our Savior, the One who loves us more than we can ever know, more than any person on earth can ever dream of loving us…for the first time! Take a second and just *try* wrap your head around it.

First Holy Communion is a much bigger deal than a first birthday or first day of school.

I say we take back the importance and celebration, and make it worthwhile! Let’s spend time, first of all, praying for and with our children preparing for this great sacrament, and joyfully look forward to it with them. Read about the Mass together, talk about what the Eucharist is, and share any stories you have of profound experiences in Adoration or at Mass. Go to daily Mass together if you can. Go at least once to the sacrament of Confession as a family, before First Holy Communion. Talk about (or learn together) Eucharistic miracles. Then, don’t feel guilty spending time planning a great celebration for your child! Of course, this isn’t all about the party after Mass…but the party should be a continuation of the joy of being in Communion with Christ.

Overwhelmed? Here are some of my favorites for First Communion.

first communion faves

1-For gifts from Mom and Dad before the event, how about a lovely new hair clip from Lilla Rose? They come in many sizes for little girls, fine or thicker hair, and moms, too. (Link is for a blogger friend’s website)

2-Or, a new custom rosary for your son or daughter? I just love the combinations Allison has, and the many options for cross and holy medals! For girls, you can also ask about rosary bracelets.

3-To read before First Holy Communion, as a family, “The King of the Golden City”. We are reading this right now, as a read-aloud a few times each morning. It is a lovely story about a little girl and her relationship with the King (Jesus), who guides her on the journey to The Golden City (Heaven).

4-Also a good read before First Holy Communion, the “Little Catechism on the Eucharist” explains details of the faith, the sacrament, and has stories of Eucharistic miracles, too.

5-Dresses can be hard to find in local stores, as I found when we were shopping for Miss T two years ago. Then we found the website flowergirldressesforless.com. Two years ago, and again this year (just tonight!) we found lovely dresses for a reasonable price. Be sure to follow their measuring guidelines!! My girls are on the petite side, but not so petite that at age 7 they regularly wear a size 4 dress. But, following their measuring guides and sizing guides, that is the size of dress we ordered. It worked out perfectly two years ago. There are enough options for all kinds of budgets and styles, so take a look! They also have veils and headbands.

I could go on and on. Check back soon for more, I hope to share some other things we are doing to prepare spiritually, and to plan a simple, yet meaningful celebration for such a special event!

{linking with Moxie Wife for 5 Favorites!}

Books with Kids: “The King of the Golden City”

March is here, and it’s time for a new book in our house! In January and February, we read new books. They were great stories of our patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, and of the angels. This month, we’ll be rereading “The King of the Golden City”, by Mother Mary Loyola.

The King of the Golden City” is an allegory, showing the relationship between a young child and Jesus, as a way of sharing with children what it is like to receive Jesus into our hearts and souls in Holy Communion. We read this a few years ago, when Chickadee was preparing for First Holy Communion. This year is Sweet Pea’s turn, and I’m so excited to read this again with her and the whole family. My hope is to excite her about making her First Holy Communion, and open her mind and heart to the beauty and joy of a deepening relationship with Jesus. I hope it will also renew the love for the Eucharist in Chickadee, and encourage the boys to look forward to the day they are old enough for receiving the Eucharist, as well.

When I was buying books to prepare Sweet Pea for First Holy Communion last fall, I learned about a study guide available for parents to use with the story. I thought it might be nice to have some supplementary ideas of discussion to unpack the story with, so I went ahead and bought it. Last night I finally spent some time reviewing it, and I’m looking forward to using it. There is more to the study guide than I think we’ll be using (I am looking to simplify our lives right now, and too many study ideas is just overwhelming), but they are fabulous ideas to enrich the story and deepen even our adult appreciation of the Eucharist. Each chapter has topics to read about in the Catechism (for the kids, we’ll look at the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, which has concise answers), discussion topics, Scripture verses, suggestions for growing in holiness, and quotes from Carmelite saints. It is so rich! I think by the time we read and study this with our 5th, we will still be learning more.

Tomorrow we will begin with the first chapter, and I’ll check back in soon with some of our family book study activities and discussions.