Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family


December 3, 2007

Further Advent-ures…

The mantle is a work in progress…

The Advent wreath was completed on Saturday…

The remaining Advent preparations are going well, although I believe the Jesse Tree may fall by the wayside…after coloring all of our ornaments, we still haven’t managed to attached them to their frames nor have we set up the actual tree itself. I think we’ll just stick to reading about the symbols and follow our traditions of the past.

With so many lovely feast days to celebrate (Feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Nicholas, St. Lucy) it is sometimes hard to remember that the season of Advent is penitential. A time to “make straight the way of the Lord”. A time to prepare our hearts for the coming of our infant King.

May the Lord, our God, grant me the grace to prepare interiorly so that I may experience to the fullest the loveliness of this Holy Season.

May you all be blessed!

A Nativity Advent-ure

The slips have been drawn, and this year’s cast of characters have been assembled.

Every year, for the past several years, our family has endeavored to emulate the virtues displayed by the various “characters” of the Nativity of our Lord. Slips of paper containing the names and virtues of each are folded and placed in a hat.

The toughest role? Definitely the Blessed Virgin Mary. My son, Gawain, was most anxious to be Mary because he says “it’s easier to be good.” Ouch. I’ve often dreaded drawing that particular slip because of the high standards expected of Our Lady!

Emily, on the other hand would only be satisfied if she could be the Christmas Star, because she “wants to be the leader…(sniff, sniff)

I, on the other hand, have managed to draw every single year without fail the “donkey.” Docile, humble beast of burden…bearing all things patiently. sigh….

Nonetheless, these are the slips as they were drawn:

The Christmas Star
: Mom
Virtues: Provide a steady light to guide the weary pilgrims. A source of guidance and illumination

The Angel
: Gareth
Virtues: Proclaims the “tidings of great joy”. A source of inspiration. Obedient to the will of God.

Blessed Virgin
: Gawain
Virtues: Meek, humble, modest and pure. Full and complete obedience to God. Holiness.

St. Joseph
: Galahad
Virtues: Humility, leadership and humble trust in God. Chastity and patience

The Shepherd
: Arthur
Virtues: Leadership. Listens to God. Kindness to the “lambs.” Goodness.

The Lambs (2): Emily and Clementine
Virtues: Docility, innocence, obedience and trust.

The Ox: Dad
Virtues: Hardwork and diligence. Patience and sacrifice.

The Donkey: Charlotte
Virtues: Humility and docility. Patiently bears the burdens of others

I’ll keep you posted on our progress…this is one of our favorite Advent-ures!

The little things…

A surprise visit from my dear daughter, Caitlin, has necessitated a bit of a “blog fast.” Who has time for the computer when a beloved daughter visits from another state?!

The visit was much too short, though Christmas is just around the corner and we will see her then.

During her brief stay, we paid a visit to our priest at the rectory. As Caitlin and Father were talking, I was privileged to overhear another unrelated conversation that I would like to share (no deep dark secrets, I promise!):

The door bell rang, quite loudly, and a parish volunteer (a dear friend and incredible woman) quickly answered the door. Though I could see neither my friend nor the visitor (a homeless man), the conversation was completely audible.

“Yes, may I help you?”

(a kind voice, full of respect, humility and good cheer): “Yes mam, someone on the street mentioned that you might have candles here…I sure could use one, if you have any left.”

(in the sweetest, most charitable tone imaginable): “Oh, yes, indeed! Let me get you one…is there anything else you need?”

“They mentioned you might have a blanket…it sure is cold tonight, and with the sleet and all, it would sure help me to stay dry.”

“I’ll be right back with a candle and a blanket! (brief exit) Here you go…is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Oh, mam…you have no idea how much this helps! God bless you for this…it makes all the difference!”

“God bless you, sir…keep warm!”

“I will now…”

Such little things…an old blanket and a partially used candle. And yet they make all the difference.

Father has been providing used blankets and candles to the homeless for quite sometime. A little light and a little warmth…barriers against the cold, dark nights experienced by the homeless poor.

A few moments after the gentleman (and he was a gentleman) left, another volunteer answered the door for a young woman in search of a sandwich.

The same charity offered with such dignity and kindness. The same good cheer and grateful reception by the hungry young woman who may or may not have had a place to lay her head…

How often we hear the words: “I wish I were rich…oh how much I could help the poor!” Such noble sentiments…but wealth is not necessary! Old blankets, candles, sandwiches…used gloves, mittens, hats and scarves! The cold months are so hard.

Well…off to the garage. I have a few old blankets and candles to get together. I’ve meant to do it so many times. Those sweet voices are ringing in my ears:

“Oh, mam…you have no idea how much this helps! God bless you for this…it makes all the difference!”

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