Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Them's the Rules

So much to update you all on! But that's not what's happening today. TODAY, I'm just popping in with this post that has been in my drafts folder for three years, because I just happened to reference our family rules in today's Blessed is She devotion and awoke to a flurry of emails demanding (politely) to know ALL of our family rules.

So, here they are . . . 

1. When People Give us Good Advice, We Listen.

This is the rule that reminds us that if someone else reminds us of the rules, we should listen to them. It's weird and convoluted, but somehow necessary. 

2. If You're Doing It Really Hard You're Probably Not Doing It Right

This one is a bit counter-intuitive, right? But I really think it's true. In our family, it MOSTLY prevents children from Hulk-baby-ripping handles off of things by pulling them the exact wrong direction, or deciding to crowbar something open with a table knife, rather than, say, turning the lid. I think it applies more philosophically too, though. While there is a time and a place for great effort in the face of continued difficulties (like, say, math homework), in my own life, I've found that the things I was fighting the hardest to do were just not God's plan for my life, and that when I cooperate with God, things go more smoothly.

3. How Could You Make Our Baby Happy?

x1000 per day. I'm all about challenging toddlers and little and big kids. I'm all about NOT being held hostages to their whims, demands, or preferences. But if the baby wants a thing, nine times out of ten, I say let him have it. And I say other kids have to let him have it. The fatal flaw in this rule is that at some point, the old baby will not be replace by a new baby and could end up completely insufferable.

4. Little Kids Do What Big Kids Tell Them

A big part of what makes our big family work is the enforcement of a hierarchy among the kids. We give the big kids authority over the little kids, and when the little kids don't listen, the grownups back the big kids. If you want to be able to shower, or run a quick errand alone, or leave older siblings to babysit for the evening, enforcing a kid hierarchy is key. 

5. Tyranny Will Not Be Tolerated

But of course, fallen natures and all that, the big kids will not always wield their power gently and graciously. This rule allows the little kids recourse if the big kids need reigning in.

6. If You Can't Work and Talk, Don't Talk

I love to see my kids laughing and chatting and hanging out. I just wish it didn't happen almost exclusively when they were supposed to be doing the dishes.

7. Oh-Kay Mama

This one is probably the one that gets repeated most often, as a reminder of the preferred response when I ask/tell a kid something. Okay Mama is NOT their natural response. But the rule helps.

8. If a Toy Causes Unhappiness, it Goes Away

This is part of our policy that people are more important than things. Toys that cause fights, or tears, just Go Away in this house. I'm not going to referee turns. Either they can figure it out for themselves, or I have to get involved. And if I get involved, it goes away. Not for any set amount of time, I'll just put it up on a high shelf, or take it to my closet, and then put it back in the playroom when I think of it.

9. What are YOU doing to help our family?

So, some of them aren't "rules" so much as "things I say all day long." Take this one for example. You're probably going to hear this if you are, say, standing leaning against the counter while other folks are doing the dishes, or laying on the couch staring at the ceiling for no particular reason.

10. No whinin,' no cryin,' no beggin,' for food, and you carry your own coat.

This is the rule that begat ALL the rules. My mother-in-law said this to her kids. And she says it to mine. And I say it to them too, if they ever have coats, which is almost never.

11. Cryin' Babies Go to Bed
You guys already know this one. It has a whole blog post.

12. Whistling is an Outside Activity

This one isn't the end of the world. But, we just find that the comfort of our home and the productivity of its occupants is increased by there not being ANY whistling inside the house. They can go outside and whistle all they please. I think it's okay to insist upon a certain level of volume inside.

13. Don't Rush Off to do a Job I Gave to Someone Else

Kids don't love getting assigned chores, right? Right. But, somehow, they DO love to rush off to do something I asked someone ELSE to do. Why? WHY? I don't know. But having this rule keeps my kids from pushing, tripping, and elbowing past one another in their rush to do someone else's job. They're such weirdos.

14. Sit in a Seat That Someone Isn't Sitting In

Another one that seems like it shouldn't be necessary, yes? But it really, really is. There are enough seats on our couch for everyone to sit and watch a movie. There are enough chairs at our table for everyone to sit and eat dinner. But nothing looks better than a seat momentarily vacated by a sibling going to grab a drink. And maybe you've been bickering with that particular sibling all day, but NOW if you don't get to sit next to him by squeezing into a spot that means you're mostly sitting on top of your sister, you'll JUST DIE. But then . . . so much unhappiness. So we have this rule.

15. Don't Take Your Pants Off Without a Plan

And here it is . . . the rule that launched a couple dozen printables.

I think it's good advice for kids and grownups alike, ya know?

We were getting a lot of: 1. Take pants off. 2. Realize you don't have any pajamas in your drawer. 3. Kinda pull shirt down, come out to the living room where we have company over to alert mom to the pajama situation.

But NOW, we have a rule.

Acceptable plans around here include: "1. Take off pants. 2. Get in bathtub," "1. Take off pants. 2. Put on pajamas (that are RIGHT THERE)," and "1. Take off pants. 2. Use as floatation device." But that last one only works if you happen to be wearing sailor pants.

16. What does God do to complainers? He sends snakes to bite them.

Really, I just love this one. I love it so much I wrote a blog post about it AND a reflection at Blessed is She about it. My kids know this one so well, that now I don't even have to say it. I can just hiss and poke them with two fingers. And THEY KNOW.

17. Is that a tool, or a toy?

I don't know about yours, but my kids are always messing with stuff they ought not be messing with. So we have this rule to help little kids (and big kids who need reminding) learn to distinguish between things that should be played with and things that should just be used for their intended purpose.

So . . . Scissors: okay for cutting paper. Not okay for putting in your mouth to make your cheeks poke out funny. Oven mitt: okay for moving a hot pan. Not okay for having a puppet show. Rubber mulch: okay for walking on, or falling upon from a great height. Not okay for filling your pockets or winging at your sister.

18. Don't look at me when you're talking to him.

This one is just tattling, disguised as not tattling.

We have a family rule that before you come to tell mom or dad, you must take up the issue with the person with whom you are having a problem. Or, if you see someone breaking a family rule, you're to remind him and give him a chance to stop before you involve mom and dad.

But, unfortunately, that rule necessitated this rule, because a lot of the "reminders" ended up being shouted right past the offender, right to me.

19. What do we say when someone helps us? (thank you, not: I WANNA DO IT!)

This one has always been directed mostly at the one to three year old set. But I currently have a seven year old who is terribly offended at assistance of any kind and still needs reminders.

It is a fact of life that toddlers need help for many, many things. But most of them do NOT want that help. My toddlers all want to "do it aself." That's great. I love that. I'm a huge fan of encouraging independence, even in toddlers. But sometimes we just need the hand washing or unbuckling to happen this decade and there will need to be help. So, when the shrieking begins, I remind them of the preferred response.

20. Three times is the limit, for singin' stuff, sayin' stuff, and doin' stuff.

Much like whoever makes The Fast and the Furious movies, my kids believe that if something was good once, it will be good fifteen times. But, I think WE can agree that that just isn't true. Three times is plenty for that novelty song about a duck at a lemonade stand or that knock knock joke.

21. Unless it's dangerous or destructive, you're just tattling.

That's two anti-tattling rules in this list. But, MAN do I hate tattling. So, there ya go.

Basically our rule is that the kids should make every effort to handle things amongst themselves. They are Team Kid and we are Team Grown Up, and they should be trying to take care of each other, and address problems between members of their team without involving us.

However, if it's dangerous or destructive, I want to know about it.

22. No. No screaming.

I can't abide shrieking. I just can. not. So, we don't allow shrieks of anger or frustration or glee. You can BE angry or frustrated or gleeful, you just can't scream about it.

So, if there is screaming, there is one warning, then there is a trip to the corner or the crib, depending on how old you are. It's pretty effective . . . eventually. Even with really stubborn kids.

Images for rules 9-15 are in this post.
Images for rules 16-22 are in this post.

And here are the rules in action!

Quick Book Update

Amazon is being super weird about my book.

laugh evil devil photo LaughEvil.gif 

They have shipped from the printer. I have copies in hand. Ignatius has copies in stock and is shipping them out. I am assured by the folks at Ignatius that more than enough books to cover pre-orders should have arrived at Amazon warehouses. But, Amazon is saying 1-2 months delivery. I have no idea what's going on. I have no control over it. But I really don't think it's true. It's got to just be a glitch, and they'll realize that they have the stock and ship them out this week. That's what I think. Buy I'm not in charge of Amazon. If you want to cancel your Amazon pre-order and purchase the book from Ignatius, I'm sure Ignatius would be grateful, as Amazon pockets 40% of the list price.

And this deserves its own post, but the Fiat Conference was absolutely amazing, despite THUNDERSTORMS in Los Angeles! Thank you so much to our wonderful speakers, and vendors, and my tireless family and fellow organizers, and the amazing soul who generously donated a professional tent to be installed the night before the event. See you all next year!

Finally, the 2019 Liturgical Year Wall Calendars are now available in two designs, you can order them here.

As with all my printables, you are welcome to save the images to your computer for your own personal use. You may print the images and / or upload them and have prints made for your personal use or to give as gifts. (These are sized for 8x10 or square but will print well up to 16x20.) First click on the image to bring it up in a new window, then right click on the image to save it to your computer. You may use my images on your blog, just please link back to my blog. If you would like to sell my images, please contact me first.

 For LOTS MORE free printable prayers, check out my Pinterest board.

And for downloadable images featuring prayers, saint and Bible quotes, catechism snippets, and much more, check out my Etsy shop: Printable Prayers. I also accept custom commissions!


Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Sackcloth and Ashes Rosary Challenge

I thought this would be a good time to check in with everyone on our #sackclothandashes campaign. And add a little bonus challenge!

Don't know what Sackcloth and Ashes is? See here, then here.

The response to this campaign has been really and truly humbling and heartwarming. I am so glad to be doing this with so many of you.

I got to chat with Timothy Putman last week on his Outside the Walls Podcast, about how all this came to be. You can hear it here:

#199: Kendra Tierney — #SackclothAndAshes, Our Role in Addressing the Abuse Crisis

And Catholic News Agency has a great piece about many reactions of lay Catholics, including #sackclothandashes.

What lay Catholics are doing in the face of the sex abuse scandal

First and foremost, if you haven't joined us already, please do! Sackcloth and Ashes is forty days of penance by Catholics as an act of reparation to God, and as an offering to the individuals, families, and communities who have suffered as a result of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The suggestion is prayer and fasting, but exactly what prayer and fasting looks like for you will be determined by your particular circumstances. When in doubt, ask a trusted spiritual advisor. Many of us started on August 22, and will finish on September 30th. But you can start anytime. Begin today! Or give yourself some lead time and begin on September 15th, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

The bonus challenge is: Say a Rosary.

Not THAT challenging, right? But there's a twist. It's not just any Rosary. It's a supercharged SUPER ROSARY.

I think we all know that the Rosary is a recommended practice for Catholics. But did you know that, if you do it right, saying a Rosary can get you a plenary indulgence?!

Here is is, from the 1999 Manual of Indulgences:
§1 A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who
1° devoutly recite the Marian rosary in a church or oratory, or in a family, a religious
community, or an association of the faithful, and in general when several of the
faithful gather for some honest purpose;
2° devoutly join in the recitation of the rosary while it is being recited by the Supreme
Pontiff and broadcast live by radio or television.
In other circumstances, the indulgence will be partial.
The rosary is a prayer formula consisting of fifteen decades of Hail Marys preceded by the Our Father, during the recitation of which we piously meditate on the corresponding mysteries of our redemption.
Regarding the plenary indulgence for the recitation of the Marian rosary, the following is
1. The recitation of a third part of the rosary is sufficient, but the five decades must be
recited without interruption.
2. Devout meditation on the mysteries is to be added to the vocal prayer.
3. In its public recitation the mysteries must be announced in accord with approved local
custom, but in its private recitation it is sufficient for the faithful simply to join
meditation on the mysteries to the vocal prayer.

For more on indulgences, see this post:


That's right. A plenary indulgence. Full remission of the temporal consequences of sin, applicable to yourself or a suffering soul in purgatory just for saying a Rosary. Here's exactly how you do it:
  1. Be a baptized Catholic, not excommunicated, and not in a state of mortal sin at the time of the actions taken for the indulgence.
  2. Be free from all attachment from sin, even venial sin. This doesn't mean you don't ever sin, or that you don't have habitual sins that you confess again and again. It's that you cannot love the sin.
  3. Have the intention of gaining the indulgence.
  4. Make a good confession, and receive absolution, within three weeks before or after the action for the indulgence. (One confession is applicable to multiple indulgences, but not more than one per day.)
  5. Attend Mass and receive Holy Communion, ideally on the day on which you are seeking the indulgence, but up to three days before or after is acceptable.
  6. Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. The usual prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father are one Our Father and one Hail Mary.
  7. Recite the five decades of the Rosary (this is actually 1/3 of a FULL Rosary, which is the recitation of the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries, but any ONE set of five mysteries is enough for the action of the indulgence).
  8. Say all five decades at once, without breaks in between.
  9. Meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary while saying the prayers.
  10. Say the prayers devoutly.
  11. Say the Rosary alone in a church or oratory, or together anywhere with friends or family.
We can do that! To give you a little time to prepare, let's do this TOGETHER next Saturday, September 15th, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. 

To participate, sort out any excommunications and get to confession anytime between now (or two weeks ago) and Sunday, October 7th. On the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15th, recite the uninterrupted five decades of the Rosary in a church or oratory, or anywhere with friends or family. And that's it! Then just keep carrying on with your acts of reparation knowing you have consoled God, and his Sorrowful Mother, and the suffering souls in purgatory.

And, pro tip, you could theoretically gain this indulgence every single day for the rest of your life, if you made a habit of monthly confession, and daily Mass and communion, with prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, and an uninterrupted five decades of the Rosary in a church or oratory, or anywhere with friends (who are honest) or family (these can de dastardly, it would appear).

It's a habit worth starting.

And if you're reading this on September 8th, Happy Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary! Today would ALSO be an excellent day for a Rosary.

If you've been doing Sackcloth and Ashes, how has it been going? Any questions or concerns?  Who's up for adding this little Rosary challenge to the mix? Let me know in the comments.

Related reading:






Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Scandal That Just Won't Stop: Sackcloth and Ashes II

One of my intentions for the forty days of prayer and fasting for  #sackclothandashes has been that ALL of the evil in our Church that has been hiding in shadow will be brought into the light. . . . But I did not expect this.

I respect the Church as an institution and the many, many good priests and bishops who are upholding their responsibility to sheperd their flocks. I echo the words of Joshua from today's first reading, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Here's what's happened now. On the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, the day that we began our movement of prayer and fasting, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio, released the following testimony. I saw it for the first time last night.

It's long, but I encourage everyone to read the whole thing. News articles summarizing it really don't do justice to the scope and breadth of the report. It is just one man's testimony, but it includes an extraordinary amount of detail, and he indicates that many of those he names as able to corroborate his story are willing to go on the record as well.

There is a lot of information in this testimony. But the most surprising and disturbing and saddening, is the claim that on Archbishop Vigano's advice, Pope Benedict had placed severe sanctions on Cardinal McCarrick in 2009 or 2010: "Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance." Those sanctions were lifted by Pope Francis in 2013, despite Pope Francis' knowledge of the allegations against McCarrick, and McCarrick became free to again abuse seminarians and influence important appointments and policy decisions in the United States.

It's a real gut punch.

First and foremost, there is no excusing these acts. Not the abuse, certainly. One can argue that fifty years ago, perhaps, there was a lack of understanding on how to treat people with disordered sexual desires, and that bishops were acting in the way that they thought best. But that wasn't the case ten and twenty years ago, and we are seeing that the cover-ups continued. From local bishops perhaps all the way to the Pope. It's not okay. It is a great and grave failure of individuals and the Church hierarchy.

At the same time, it would not be right to believe that any of this is new. Priests have proven themselves just as capable of failure as anyone else since the very first moment it was possible. Jesus instituted the sacramental priesthood at the Last Supper, and the table wasn’t even cleared before one of the priests had become a traitor, unworthy of his post. Sexual abuse is, unfortunately, not a rare tragedy. We can see the rotten fruits of the sexual revolution throughout our current culture.

We heard in the readings at Mass today, Jesus' question to us. Will we stay with him despite scandal and outrage? And the verse that follows the reading, is his acknowledgement that even his handpicked disciples will fail him, and us.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?       --John 6:67-70

As devastating as it feels, as devastating as it IS, I take solace in two aspects of this. The first, is that it is a good thing that we are shining a light on this and other sexual scandals. We do not want evil hiding in the shadows. As painful as this process is, it’s worth it to begin the process of healing for the individuals, families, and communities who have been affected, and to protect future generations of children and adults from suffering the same abuse. Secondly, as backwards as it sounds, I am comforted by the fact that the Catholic Church has been scandal-ridden for . . . ever. We’ve had bad priests, and bad bishops, and bad popes, and bad regular folks in the pews throughout the last two thousand years. And the gates of hell have not prevailed against us.

As Cardinal Ercole Consalvi is reported to have asked Napoleon Bonaparte, when the French emperor threatened to crush the Church, "If in 1,800 years we clergy have failed to destroy the Church, do you really think that you'll be able to do it?"

If we believe that the Catholic Church is the One True Church, that the Eucharist is the True Presence, we are stuck with it. We must say with St. Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

So, here I am and here I will stay. Wounded, bewildered, but Catholic.

God hears us, and suffers with us. The first reading, from Ezekiel, on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, leaves no doubt that God's justice waits for those shepherds who betrayed their flocks and their Lord.

The word of the Lord came to me:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel,
in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds:
Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who have been pasturing themselves!
Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?
You have fed off their milk, worn their wool,
and slaughtered the fatlings,
but the sheep you have not pastured.
You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick
nor bind up the injured.
You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost,
but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd,
and became food for all the wild beasts.
My sheep were scattered
and wandered over all the mountains and high hills;
my sheep were scattered over the whole earth,
with no one to look after them or to search for them.

Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
As I live, says the Lord GOD,
because my sheep have been given over to pillage,
and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast,
for lack of a shepherd;
because my shepherds did not look after my sheep,
but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep;
because of this, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I swear I am coming against these shepherds.
I will claim my sheep from them
and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep
so that they may no longer pasture themselves.
I will save my sheep, 
that they may no longer be food for their mouths.

For thus says the Lord GOD: 
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

It is perhaps too early to know for sure how grave was Pope Francis' sin. It's possible that deep political and ideological differences made him unable to see the truth because of who communicated it to him. But it's clear that we have not received the protection and leadership we deserve. It's clear that we must call for the resignation of some of our Church leadership.

I am turning more than ever to the support of good Catholic priests and religious, and my solid Catholic community, online and in real life. I am convicted more than ever that the Sackcloth and Ashes movement is exactly what we need. It's never too late to join in. And we must not give up hope.

As Archbishop Viganò said in the closing of his testimony:

Even in dismay and sadness over the enormity of what is happening, let us not lose hope! We well know that the great majority of our pastors live their priestly vocation with fidelity and dedication. It is in moments of great trial that the Lord’s grace is revealed in abundance and makes His limitless mercy available to all; but it is granted only to those who are truly repentant and sincerely propose to amend their lives. This is a favorable time for the Church to confess her sins, to convert, and to do penance. 

I know many of us are also wondering about practical issues. The questions I've received most often are these.

1. Should I let my children be around my priest?

We the faithful can and should protect our children around priests the same way we would around any other people. We need to avoid the clericalism that helped get us into this mess. Priests deserve to be treated with respect by virtue of their consecrated office, but that doesn't mean blind trust. We get to know priests before our kids are alone with them. We teach our kids to trust their guts and to ALWAYS come to us if the ever feel uncomfortable and to RUN AWAY if necessary.

2. Should I continue to support the Church financially?

As for donations to the Church, each family must make their own decision there. If we don't give, Catholic schools and parishes will close. Bad ones, perhaps, but good ones too. I'm intrigued by the idea of a tiny underground Church, meeting in dusty catacombs and secretly in people's houses like in the early days of the Church. The Church would survive like that if necessary. But it would break my heart to see our buildings sold off and put to other uses. It would break my heart to see good pastors lose their parishes and their flocks. So, we continue to give. I believe that our archdiocese has implemented good policies to help prevent abuse and coverups. With that, we don't feel the need to hold our donations back.

3. Must I pray for these sinful priests?

It's always okay to start where you are most comfortable. Pray for good priests and bishops. Pray for the whistleblowers. Pray for the children and young adults who suffered at the hands of predators. Pray for their families and communities. Then, my trick is always to pray, "God, if you want me to do this, help me to want what you want."

To everyone reading this. I know how hard it is. I can't think of anything in my life that has disappointed me more. But know that our continued faith in the face of these repeated tragedies is a gift from the Holy Spirit. We must pray and act and persevere.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Sexual Abuse, Sackcloth, and Ashes: Meeting Scandal with Acts of Reparation

We find ourselves again rocked by scandal in the Catholic Church. On Aug. 14, a Pennsylvania grand jury released its report on an 18-month investigation into seven decades of clerical sexual abuse allegations in six Pennsylvania dioceses. The details are sickening and devastating.

I’ve been thinking about and praying about it ever since (although I would have much preferred to avoid it). As a mother, as a Catholic, as a person with a platform, how do I respond to . . . this?

I spent time talking with other moms, other writers, other Catholics. We all wanted to stop feeling so helpless. We all wanted to channel our outrage. We all wanted to make this better in some way.

Others, including Bishop Barron, Bishop Morlino, and the USCCB have made concrete suggestions for how the magisterium will address the issue of suxual abuse and cover-up. That is good and necessary. My husband wrote an email to the USCCB, voicing his concerns and offering his assistance, and received a prompt and personal reply. I talked to our children about sexual abuse. But now, we want to suggest something else. Something real and important beyond letter-writing that WE can do.

Based on the words of Daniel 9:3: "I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes," and the longstanding Catholic concept of making Acts of Reparation, my friend Bonnie Engstrom and I have written this statement . . .

"We are Catholic, faithful to the Magisterium and disgusted by the abuse and cover-ups that have plagued the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. We are heartsick over the 1000+ victims of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania and all the other boys and girls, men and women who have been sexually abused by priests and further victimized by the bishops who covered up these crimes. We pray for justice for the victims and their families and communities. We believe in the Catholic Church, founded by Christ and sustained by the Eucharist. We are one body in Christ. As such, we invite you to join us in observing a forty day period of prayer and fasting as an act of reparation to God for these sins. From the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, through the month of September, we will join our sorrow with Our Lady of Sorrows, and make daily sacrifices appropriate to our own circumstances for this intention."

We decided to champion a campaign of Acts of Reparation by the faithful. We decided that we would personally pledge to observe a period of prayer and fasting, and we would invite other Catholics to join us. The response has been humbling and heartening. Catholic bloggers, artists, podcasters, reporters, and social media content creators all immediately wanted in.

We hope you will join us as well. In consultation with a spiritual director if that's possible, you decide on a plan of prayer and penance that works for you, and observe it from August 22 through the month of September. You can publicly pledge to join us by commenting here or on social media, or by sharing this post or any or all of these images on your own blog, social media account, or chain letter. You can print the images and put them on the fridge. Whatever you want. You can share your own words and/or images using the hashtag #sackclothandashes You can also participate privately, if you prefer.

Here are some more details.

What Acts of Reparation are:

By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures. We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ's Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labours, and trials to those of Our Lord "and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ" (Colossians 1:24). We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

In layman's terms, that means that we believe that God is hurt and offended by sin, and that we can console God and make up for those sins in some way by our prayers and sacrifices.

What they are not:

Just to clarify, because we know this is a struggle for some of us. We make acts of reparation as a gift to God not as a service to particular sinners. If your grandma got attacked by a mugger, you would rush to her side and spend time with her. You’d go out and buy things to replace what was in her purse. You wouldn’t do that for the mugger’s benefit. Doing it wouldn’t lessen his culpability. Hopefully you could also one day bring yourself to pray for him and wish for his conversion. But doing something to lessen the hurt of your grandma is something different than that entirely.

What you can do:

We will be observing this forty day period as a time of increased prayer and penance, like another Lent. Beginning on August 22, the feast of the Queenship of Mary, we will ask Our Lady to bring the gift of our sacrifices to her son. The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. It also includes the fall Ember Days on September 19, 21, and 22. (More on those here.)

Consider adding prayers to your daily routine, like the Morning Offering:

Or the Chaplet of Reparation, recommended by Our Lady to the children at Fatima.

Or another Chaplet of Reparation, known as Offering the Precious Blood for Priests, found in In Sinu Jesu.

(meant to be prayed on ordinary rosary beads)

Incline (+) unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Alleluia. (DURING LENT: Praise be to Thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory.)
ON THE OUR FATHER BEADS: Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish or spot, in reparation for my sins and for the sins of all Thy priests.
ON THE HAIL MARY BEADS: By Thy Precious Blood, O Jesus, purify and sanctify Thy priests.
FOLLOWING EACH DECADE: O Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and earth is named, have mercy on all Thy priests, and wash them in the Blood of the Lamb.

Consider fasting, a little or a lot. From meals, from snacks, from sugar or caffeine, from technology. The Catholic Gentleman has some great thoughts on how and why we should fast.

Know that if you are suffering, you are not alone. Know that there are thousands, millions, of Catholics praying for you. Know that your own prayers are important and efficacious. It is my hope that doing this together will console the heart of Jesus and heal our own sore hearts.

By request, here are the images with a white background, easier for printing.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Compendium Update, Liturgical Living for June, and Coloring Pages!

This is from the introduction to the (forthcoming) Catholic All Year Compendium, that I wrote for the pitch I submitted to the publisher, back in 2015:

"Sometimes all you really need is a little enthusiasm and the willingness to give things a try. The easiest way is to start when your children are young enough to be dazzled by even your less successful endeavors. Case in point: I stood in my kitchen one Friday afternoon, looking at a slightly runny red gelatin heart, decorated with orange segments and pretzel sticks, sitting somewhat off-center on a cake plate. It was supposed to look like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but it had looked better in my head—less oozy. My four-year-old daughter, however, took one look at it and gasped in wonder at its beauty. She called the other kids in to see it. They agreed that it was awesome but could use some whipped cream.

So that’s what we did. We put some whipped cream on it. Over dinner, we talked about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and her visions. We talked about the burning love that Jesus has for each one of us and the pain that he suffers because of the sin and the ingratitude of mankind. Then we ate the weepy heart. And now my kids can’t imagine a feast of the Sacred Heart without one. That’s what living the liturgical year looks like in our home."

I've read through it SO MANY times through the writing and editing process and I finally went back and found my photo of that jello heart.

I still shake my head, NOPE, looking at it. 😝 But the kids are looking forward to having another one next Friday. There's really no accounting for them.

And . . .  <looks around nervously, knocks on wood desk, slowly types> . . . I - think - I'm - done - writing - the - book?

Crazy. It has been nearly three years that I've been writing this book. Which is just preposterous. It's hardly the great American novel or anything. But it does feel like an accomplishment, and a few other things were going on during the process: I was pregnant with baby number eight, packed up to move, accidentally had a baby at home, sold the old house, moved, entered the exciting world of construction supervising and do-it-yourself remodeling and feeding a family of ten from a makeshift kitchen in the garage, found out I was pregnant again, got super morning sickness, got better, fell off a ladder while painting and broke my tailbone, had a kid hospitalized after a freak accident, somehow got the first draft written, it was 600 pages. Had another baby, continued fixing up the house, cut the book down by a couple hundred pages, redid hundreds of quotes and footnotes, went through copy edits, then content/fact-check/heresy-checks, added a few new feasts, and updated others with new stuff we've been doing, and just submitted it (with 113 feast days covered in 360 pages), I think for the last time!

They're telling me it will be out Fall 2018. 😍

So . . . speaking of June, the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let's look at a few of the feast days this month. Including the TWO MEAT FRIDAYS! 

June 3 The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ a.k.a. Corpus Christi (Sunday, solemnity, holy day of obligation)
TO DO: read John 6:52–59; make a Eucharistic procession (plenary indulgence); recite the Act of Spiritual Communion, recite the “Tantum Ergo”; begin the practice of making the sign of the cross whenever passing a Catholic church; make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament

June 8: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (solemnity)
TO DO: publicly recite the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (plenary indulgence); 
TO EAT: It's a Meat Friday! And you can make your very own red Jell-O heart. Just think, three years from now you could almost have written a book about it, too!

June 9:The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (memorial)
TO DO: recite the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loreto)
TO EAT: Leftover jello?

June 13: St. Anthony of Padua, priest and Doctor (memorial), patron of lost items, lost people, lost souls, the elderly, and mail
TO DO: Start collecting stuff the kids leave around the house in a secret St. Anthony box, when they ask if you've seen it, tell them to ask St. Anthony. Give it back to them on the morning of his feast day, with a note that they should be more careful to not lose their things.
TO EAT: St. Anthony died of ergotism, as a result of long term eating of tainted rye. Since ergotism has been eradicated in the western world, I think we're safe to have a toasted pastrami and provolone on rye.

June 22: SS. John Fisher, bishop, and Thomas More, martyrs (optional memorial), patrons of lawyers and stepparents
TO DO: Refuse to apostatize.
TO EAT: Add some St. John Fisher foil fish packets and St. Thomas s’Mores to your Nativity Eve bonfire.

June 24: The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (solemnity)—patron of builders, tailors, printers, baptism, and against seizures
TO DO: read Luke 1:57–80; have a vigil bonfire
TO EAT: locusts (we like ours in potato chip flavors), wild honey, grasshopper pie .

June 26: St. Josemaría Escrivá, priest (optional memorial), patron of Opus Dei, diabetics, job seekers, and the sanctification of ordinary work
TO DO: consider ways to grow holier in daily life
TO EAT: Spanish tortilla, paella, flan.

June 29: SS. Peter and Paul, apostles (solemnity)
TO DO: Pray the “Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, intercede for us” prayer; use an article blessed by the pope or a bishop (plenary indulgence); go camping, fishing, or have a picnic 
TO EAT: It's another MEAT FRIDAY! For dessert, graham cracker tent s'mores for St. Paul, a tent-maker, and Swedish fish candies for St. Peter, a fisherman.

And, now, for this week's giveaway!

Rebecca Górzyńska and I are both members of a group of Catholic women artists, and I just LOVE her work. She sent this awesome St. Joan of Arc print to our conference last year.

Check out her Etsy shop, Dephina Rose Art!

And she also creates really unique and fun and SUPER CATHOLIC coloring pages.

The Saints Bundle includes St. Joan of Arc, and St. Apollonia, to whom Anita has had a devotion ever since she got her front tooth knocked clean out last summer. (It seems to have worked!)

The Marian Bundle features Mary under ten different titles. So great for easy feast day activities for kids. And they're detailed enough to be really appealing to older kids, and even adults!

I get to give a set away (winner's choice) here on the blog. (Stay tuned to the Catholic All Year Facebook Page and my Instagram account for giveaways there sometime during the week.)

To enter the giveaway, tell me what feast day you're looking forward to this month, and why.

And say a prayer for Rebecca, who is about 25 weeks along . . . with TRIPLETS! 👶👶👶

P.S. Speaking of prayers, so many of you have asked what you can do for our family, and my friend Michaela came up with the BEST THING EVER. Check it out.