Children’s Liturgy of the What Now?

Children’s Liturgy of the What Now?

Folks, I don’t know about you but there is this thing my parish does that really gets under my skin. Before going any further, the following is just my opinion (all of it) and truly just a thought I had about children and mass today as we approach the celebration of Our Blessed Lord’s coming among us as a child. OK, how many things could potentially follow that line?  There’s the old “Let’s hold hands during Ebola season while we pray the Our Father”.  Don’t even get me started on the orans posture at mass.  I’ve come to accept it.  Just please, for the love of God, don’t try to force me into it.  I’m quite comfortable standing next to you with my hands clasped and pointing heaven-ward, head bowed so you cannot lock eyes with me when you creepily try to touch me.  Then there’s the old “Dan Fogleberg Dan Schutte is the greatest composer of all time and we need to sing his ‘music’ at every liturgical turn!” maneuver.  Look, I’m sure he’s a very nice man.  But his music could never compare to the sublime nature of plainsong and there’s only so much of Eagles Wings or Here I Am, Lord that I can take and I, just like my spinal surgery and its effect on my insurance this year, I hit my cap a long time ago.  I am just being informed that he did not write Eagles Wings.  My apologies to Mr. Schutte.  You’re off the hook for that one, pal. But the thing that really rattles my Roman Rota — no good? I’m trying — is something...
The Season of the Unexpected

The Season of the Unexpected

I was putting our younger daughter to sleep, and as we snuggled in the chair, I started singing:  “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .” She picked up the tune and sang the next line:  “. . . Jack Frost sniffing at your nose . . .” Christmas is full of surprises. Especially when kids are involved. Like with my brother and the buffalo cookies. One year when we were kids, one of my brothers used the annual cookie decorating party for more than a great adventure in licking frosting and consuming cookies (if a cookie breaks, you have to eat it, you know—can’t have broken cookies on the silver tray come Christmas Eve). Instead of just filling up on sugar and Christmas tunes, my brother got creative and turned all the Christmas Tree cut-out cookies into buffalos. And they actually looked pretty good when he was done. Turns out that if you lay a Christmas Tree cookie sideways, cover the thick bottom part of the tree in dark brown frosting for a shaggy mane, frost the rest in a light tan, then add little frosting eyes and horns, you end up with a pretty convincing buffalo. At Christmas Eve there were no broken cookies on the silver tray, but there was a whole herd of bison. Then there was Grisly Claus. We were making ornaments one year and another brother set out to construct a Santa Claus from red felt, googly-eyes, and cotton balls. Now, he was young, two or three at the time, and to his credit he did manage to put together some of...
Your All-In-One Advent Clickbait!

Your All-In-One Advent Clickbait!

You’ve seen them.  Every day, it seems, something pops up in our newsfeeds or our Twitter feeds exhorting and enticing us.  “Five things you need to know today about X…”  Funny, before I saw the headline, I hadn’t given much thought to X.  Even funnier, X usually stands for “the complete behind-the-scenes lives of the cast of Full House”.  You’re right.  I never knew those five things.  That’s because I didn’t care. But today, my friends, I’ve got something better than X.  “It can’t be done!” you say.  Oh no, it can and it is.  That’s because today, X stands for “things you can do to make Advent come alive for your little ones”.  Don’t have little ones?  Read anyway.  Perhaps you’ll spot a typo and can offer me an opportunity to grow closer to God in the virtue of humility. Without further delay, here now: Five Ways to Make Advent Come Alive for You and Your Family The Wreath It’s a tried and true symbol, a stalwart of the season.  Truly, though, what better way is there to count down the time and introduce our young to pyrotechnics at the same time?  The beauty of this symbol is that it is multiple symbols wrapped in one.  The evergreen speaks to eternal life.  The purple and pink (violet and rose) speak of penitence and hope.  The candles burning down remind us of the end of a long, dark night; much as Christmas itself symbolizes the dawn of a new day of salvation.  The trick here is to know these things yourself and then hand them on.  Keep the wreath...
Ephesians 5 Is Driving Me Mad!

Ephesians 5 Is Driving Me Mad!

I’m not a procrastinator.  That being said, tonight I reached out to a dear friend and asked him: “Quick give me a topic for a post I need to write.”  That post is the one you are now reading.  About an hour later he replied simply “Ephesians 5”.  “Great, now you’re going to make me look up Scriptures and stuff…” I took out my phenomenal new iPhone 6 and opened the browser, heading to the Bishops’ Conference website.  I clicked on “Bible”, “Books of the Bible”, and then found Ephesians 5.  I started reading it and was completely and utterly lost. Was this some kind of joke?  Had my dear friend meant for me to focus on one specific verse and forgotten to mention it?  With all the determination I could muster I decided to read through this selection of God’s Word to see if there was something I was missing.  I quickly determined that, although I was actually familiar with it, I could not even decipher its meaning in context of the whole chapter! Try this one on for size.  “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.” (5:6)  Ooh, it sounds like Paul had inside knowledge of an impending cultic uprising or perhaps the approach of a comet who’s tail would be hiding an army of empty-argument-crushers.  Bizarre. Then there’s this gem.  “Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.”  (5:15-16).  This begs the all-important question “Which...
The Rich Young Man and Different “Tines” of Things

The Rich Young Man and Different “Tines” of Things

Things you never imagined yourself saying before you had kids #374:  “Don’t eat off the same fork you use to comb your hair!” That unanticipated statement came one morning when the kids were at the table eating their breakfast and I was bustling back and forth between table and kitchen, filling cups and plates and exhorting consumption as I went.  As I swept by on my way to the kitchen, I saw the two-year-old run a fork through his hair. Sigh.  I can understand, though.  As part of our morning routine everyone makes a stop at “Daddy’s Hair Shop” (which is the easy chair in the living room), where daily combings are performed and (for the girls) pony tails formed.  And the combing is done with an object that has a handle (much like the fork has a handle), and a number of tines arranged in a straight line (again, very similar to a fork).  So there the two year old was, finding himself at the combing time of the day, with a comb-like object grasped in hand.  I try to encourage the kids to do for themselves, and he did, showing a little initiative by combing his own hair.  With his fork.  Laudable, in a way (sort of). But on my return to the dining room, there was the two year old again, the same fork in hand, only now the very tines which only moments before had been running through his luxurious, flowing locks now pierced a savory sausage that was poised before his open, gaping mouth. That’s when I had to impart the great life lesson: ...