Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yes, Julian...

Patience IS a virtue. Look just how virtuous Mommy has been! But it was really a struggle. Until last Sunday.
First you. A fever of 104 for three days straight. I had no time to be impatient, but I did invoke His name many a time to help you get better. And so did you. It was so moving too hear you say "Please. Thank you." The most perfect prayer. You asked for nothing verbally, but He knew your heart.
As soon as you were on your way to recovery, it was my turn. Four days of misery. But I slowed down, focused on the "O Antiphons" and prayed a lot.
Now everyone in the house is well and ready for tonight's "Missa del Pollet" . In Spanish speaking countries Midnight Mass is called "Rooster's Mass" because of the hour it is celebrated. The vigil mass is called "Missa del Pollet" because it is directed specifically towards children as most of them unable to stay up so late. You can stay up very late, but you get quite grumpy and the next morning you are impossible!
So, planning ahead and purposely having nothing to do during Advent, but what should be done to be prepared for His birth has been an experience we will repeat every year. And I hope that every year, all year, you and I and everyone around us lives out this joyful hope of Advent.
In just a few hours we will receive Him. Not as we receive him every day or every Sunday. Everything will be new. He will be new. Hopefully we will be new.

Julian, I hope you have a Merry CHRISTmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! Bon Nadal! Joyeux Noël! Bones Navidaes! Zalig Kerstfeest! Fröhliche Weihnachten! Kala Christougenna Ki'eftihismenos! Mele Kalikimaka! Mo'adim Lesimkha! Nollaig Shona Dhuit! Buon Natale! Utzul mank'inal! Wesolych Swiat! Boas Festas! Sumaj kausay kachun Navidad ch'sisipi! Bon Natali! Nadolig LLawen! Glædelig Jul!

Remember, tomorrow is the Biggest Birthday Party in the universe!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saturday, December 15 - Getting Ready for Gaudete

Oh! The Lord is now nigh and close at hand!!!!!!
Indeed reason to REJOICE!
This very special Third Sunday of Advent must be commemorated in some meaningful way . But what to do?
Well, we usually bake a cake and make a birthday card for Jesus a few days before CHRISTmas. I want Julian to really concentrate on the fact that this is about Jesus and not really about the many gifts he is going to receive. (I really mean many. He's an only child, only grandson on D's side of the family. This makes for an avalanche of gifts on CHRISTmas and Epiphany. I don't like it, but it's a reality I have to deal with.)
So we take time out to decorate a large piece of construction paper and write our birthday wishes for the Baby Jesus. We display it prominently and sing Happy Birthday Jesus. I hope that doing this will heighten the expectation for his arrival on CHRISTmas Day.
I know that these last ten days until CHRISTmas, looking at that home-made birthday card will remind Julian and all who come into our home why we celebrate CHRISTmas.

Friday, December 14 - Feria de Santa Lucía

Tomorrow I am breaking my Advent resolution and we are going to the Feria de Santa Lucía. it's a CHRISTmas Fleamarket located in the plaza in front of the Barcelona Cathedral. Those of you who listen to SQPN podcasts may remember Brother Giles taking a soundseeing tour around this same cathedral.
It is said that if you can't find something at this CHRISTmas market, you can't find it anywhere. They may just be right.
We are going to buy some more figurines for Julian's nativity. He's got the important ones, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the Wise Men, donkey, ox, even some Roman soldiers. Now we want some villagers, a well that pumps water, a wood burning oven that doesn't burn anything and assorted animals.
We are hoping to put up our Nativity scene this weekend. Unlikely. i've got my students' reports to proof, last minute details for the CHRISTmas pageant, the house is a mess, and the fridge is empty. So, am I stressing? No. Inevitably everything gets done wether I stress or not. The Nativity scene will be beautiful no matter what. D. will clean the house. On CHRISTmas Day, after the dust of pulverized gift wrapping settles, we will calmly sit back and look at the Baby in the manger and we won't remember the rush or the stress.

Friday, December 14 - Childhood Memories

Lots to catch up on.
Last weekend I spent four days of pre-madness relaxation in the country. Mountains, sea, fresh air, roaring fire in the fireplace, sleeping late, going to bed early. It was great! Sadly, I could not update the blog but I have been keeping up with my Advent resolutions.

Today I ran into a great article by Deacon Tom. I reminded me of my childhood in Juarez, Mexico, my dear grandmother Mamá Lucita (hope you've made friends with St. Joseph :) ) and the crowd of people going from house to house with large figures of Joseph and Mary from Abuelita's Nacimiento asking to be let in. House after house the crowd would sing to be let in and the "inkeepers" would refuse. But at the very last house would always let the pilgrims in.
I especially remember the year I got to be the angel and would lead the procession candle in hand, with Joseph and Mary right behind me. How I wanted those wings and that halo to be real! How I wanted to be as "good" as I felt that special night all year around! I remember crying when I heard the people inside the house say no. They were saying no to St. Joseph and to our Mother Mary!!!! I didn't cry out loud. The memory of the tear stains on my white satin robe are so vivid.
But at the last house! Oh! To hear:
Entren Santos Peregrinos, Peregrinos
Reciban este rincón
Aun que es pobre la morada, la morada
Os la doy de corazón.

I feel so dumb for crying as I write this. But I know that the innocence of my short six years of life can no be recaptured. At least not by me, but my hopes are high for Julian!

Eleven short days to welcome Him. Patience is a virtue!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday, December 5

Fourth day of Advent and eve of St. Nicholas.

Advent exercise:

Call, write, send an email, and IM to your family and friends and make peace or just tell them how much they mean to you.

Mom and Dad, words are not enough to tell you how much I owe you. I do not honor you as I should but today is a good day to change that.
Al, we don't talk much, but you are always in my prayers.
Carlos, I know you are trying to find your way back. He is your guide.
Isela, you are an island of calmness in the sea of turmoil that is our family.
Rosie, you've made my faith stronger.
D. you keep me on His Path.
Julian I love you.

Today God loves the world so much that he gives you, he gives me, to love the world, to be his love, his compassion. It is such a beautiful thought for us—and a conviction—that you and I can be that love and compassion.—Mother Teresa

On the road to CHRISTmas:
Julian is relentless. He wants the CHRISTmas tree now. Never mind that we are making a Jesse Tree. He wants a REAL tree. The Hospital across the street has put up the lights on the very large tree in front of the building and he doesn't want to be left behind and above all, he wants to make sure they don't run out. He is convinced that Santa is not going to come to our house if we don't put up a tree.

By the way, We have a 4 day weekend starting tomorrow (Spanish Constitution on the 6th and Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary on the 8th, with the 7th thrown in for good measure) and we are going to my husband's village. I will be out of touch with technology for the better part of the weekend. Nothing but cows, mountains, hopefully snow but I doubt it, maybe the beach and lots of trees. I'll write and entry everyday and post all at once when we come back to civilization. By then, we'll be four days closer to CHRISTmas!!!! Hurray!!!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tuesday, December 4 - Hidden from the Wise

This is the 3rd day of Advent. Still waiting in joyful hope.

I recently told this story to María Johnson and wouldn't you know it, it fits right in with today's Gospel (Luke 10: 21)

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.

When my son Julian was 2 years old, he wanted eveything now, now now (in this way he is a typical child). So I'd say to him, "Patience is a virtue" apparently it sunk in. A year later I'd ask, "What is patience?" He'd respond, "A virtue"

Just a few days ago I told him that I couldn't wait for Baby Jesus to come to us on December 25th. He looked at me with those twinkling brown eyes and said, "Mommy, patience is a virtue. And anyway… (and here comes the way he's NOT a typical child) Jesus already lives in your heart forever"

Indeed He does!

I think he's got more than one lesson learned.

And wouldn't you know it…we're one day closer! (21)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Monday, December 3 - Time Has a New Meaning

Today is the second day of the Advent season.

And time has a new meaning, as we wait, in expectation. And what can we do. Well, pray seems to be what we are doing in our house. But also, we are trying to spend our time being more. I am trying to be more patient with D. and he with me. Julian is much more well-behaved (although I suspect that it has something to do with a fat man dressed in red). We are trying to be more generous. D., who never gives people on the street money (I mean NEVER), gave a man one euro (also unusual for him).
We have so little time to get prepared for His coming. And I don't just mean CHRISTmas. No, I mean it in the larger scheme of things. And we only seem to remember it in the four weeks prior to CHRISTmas.
My sincere hope is that this "season of more" lasts past CHRISTmas, Epiphany and the coming year.

An Advent prayer from Catholic Online:

Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan. Lift our minds in watchful hope to heart the voice which announces his glory and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

My own Jesus, what you ask is beyond me. I can hardly understand half of the things you want. I am unworthy. I am sinful. I am weak. Go, Jesus, and find a more worthy soul, a more generous one. —Mother Teresa

The Jesse Tree is well on its way. Julian constantly wants to make sure that this will not be the only tree in this house. Don't worry Julian, Our house will look like a Winter Wonderland in no time at all.

Twenty-two days until CHRISTmas!

Sunday, December 2 - Go!

Today is the First Sunday of Advent.

Be ready! That's what Advent is all about. For me, prayer is the most important part of this season, because as Fr. Robert Barron said in his homily for today, Advent is not easy.

So here is a prayer for the first day of Advent from Catholic Online:

Advent Prayer

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a wonder at the wisdom and power of Your Father and ours. Receive my prayer as part of my service of the Lord who enlists me in God's own work for justice.

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in my home, peace in myself.

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a joy responsive to the Father's joy. I seek His will so I can serve with gladness, singing and love.

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me the joy and love and peace it is right to bring to the manger of my Lord. Raise in me, too, sober reverence for the God who acted there, hearty gratitude for the life begun there, and spirited resolution to serve the Father and Son.

I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, whose advent I hail. Amen.

All beginners have their many crosses, but pray for me and for those who join, that we may have the courage to do this work for souls. —Mother Teresa

CHRISTmas is twenty-three days away!

Saturday, December 1 - Ready, Set…

Advent is tomorrow.

The excitement is unbearable. Julian is catching it too.

Christmas is just 24 days away.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Friday, November 30 - Jesse Tree

Advent, on Sunday, people!

We started a Jesse tree. I found it on Internet and then Greg and Jennifer from Rosary Army in their latest podcast talked about it. So I printed some of the symbols, drew some (they generally resemble what they ought to be) and got the rest from Microsoft clip art (could not for the life of me draw a burning bush). I'll post some pictures as we go along.

Christmas update: We have the PS2. Woe be me! I've put my foot down on getting any violent games.
First it was safe TV, then child-friendly DVDs, then parental control on the computer. Now I have to read up on video games.
Will this child ever develop a sense of right and wrong all on his own?

Twenty-five days until the BIG DAY!

Technical difficulties

There was something wrong with my blogger account and was unable to post Friday and Saturday. Since I wrote them anyway, I'll post them. Does this break some type of blogger law?