May 2016

From the time they are a year old and eager to mock me, I encourage my children to genuflect before the altar.  They normally start out not completely facing Jesus, but as they get older, they do look for the tabernacle before genuflecting.  Now that my younger ones have older children to follow, it is so wonderful to watch from the pew when an older child is helping the younger one genuflect.  Genuflecting helps them to know that they are in the holy presence of God.  Although they do tend to forget this 5 minutes or less after genuflecting, it’s a great start.

Today, I came across the story of a saintly young girl, Alexia Gonzalez-Barros in a book called Saintly Youth of Modern Times by Joan Carroll Cruz.  In her story, her mother watches Alexia genuflecting reverently and when asked about it, she tells her that, “I tell him things Mommy!  Like I say, ‘Jesus, may I always do what You want!'” I am very inspired by this young girls little prayer.  I plan to teach my children this prayer as they genuflect.

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This past week, I was privileged to be a part of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Pentecost ceremony for 6 to 9 year olds.  I wanted to share what I saw and found beautiful.  The children were gathered around the prayer table.  The table held a long candle holder that held 7 red tapers of equal height and the Bible.  The catechist solemnly proclaimed the reading from the Bible (Isaiah 11:2).

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, 
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and strength,
the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.

After a short pause, she handed out small paper cards each containing a gift of the spirit with it’s corresponding meaning to seven children.  They were short and simple.

Wisdom  To value what is important
Understanding To see clearly what is stated
Counsel To understand God’s way
Strength To go on even when it’s hard
Piety To humbly delight in the Lord
Knowledge  To learn more deeply about God
Awe of God To recognize God’s greatness

Each child with the card were invited to come up front one at a time and read the name of the gift and it’s meaning to the group.  The catechist pondered with the children what each of them meant.  The catechist lit one of the candles and invited the child to place his/her gift of the spirit card under the lit candle.  It was so beautiful to see the all 7 candles lighting with their corresponding gift cards underneath.  After a moment of pause, every child was called by name to come up one at a time and choose a gift they would like to pray for.  They each received a candle that was lit from the candle with the corresponding gift they chose and placed in front of it.

I enjoyed watching the children as they chose the gift they wanted to receive and ponder on the meaning of each gift.  What a beautiful way to teach the children about the gifts of the spirit and to desire them.  This would be easy to use/adopt in the family especially this week while we are praying to the Holy Spirit for his seven gifts.

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Today, the 41st day of easter, the day after the great feast of Ascension starts our preparation for another great feast, the Pentecost.  Feast days have great graces associated with them.  Pentecost is a great time to ask for the gifts and fruits of the spirit.  Priest at our local church encouraged us all to start the novena today to prepare for Pentecost.  So let’s prepare together for this feast by praying the novena for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Novena to the Holy Spirit

 

 

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