Catholicmom.com: Daily Gospel Reflections

Today was one of my days to reflect on the Gospel for Catholicmom.com. I hope it encourages your day.

Today’s Gospel: Luke 12:49-53

Looking up today’s Gospel on the USCCB website reveals the title “Jesus: A Cause of Division.” It is challenging to think of Jesus as a divisive figure. It’s easy to imagine Jesus in a field of flowers surrounded by devoted followers, or to envision Him at the Last Supper with His disciples, or as a child helping Joseph in the workshop. We have pictures upon paintings upon statues of Christ in these and other warm situations. But how many of them depict Jesus preaching while followers are walking away? How many depict the crowds trying to stone Jesus, or throw him out of town?

Continue reading at Catholicmom.comDaily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

What do Marian Consecration and Folding Laundry Have in Common?

When two totally random ideas that come together only in my brain like this, it has to be a God-thing. Well, maybe not all the time, all the time. There was that one time I thought marinating pork in red wine was a good idea and yea, that one probably was contrived all on my own (purple pork does not make an appealing plate). But this one is good. I promise.

I have been folding my own clothes since I was probably about 10, plus or minus a year or two. I helped fold laundry in my house until I left home after college and married Ben. The laundry folding saga continues to the present. So, with approximately 20 years of experience folding all manner of clothing, you’d think I’d have it together. But I recently realized I have to rethink something, shirts specifically.

Before diving in, you have to know I fold shirts 3 different ways, depending on who I’m folding for. For myself, I fold the way they do in stores – both sleeves back, sides folded back, then folded in half so you can see what’s on the front of the shirt. When I married Ben I had to learn a completely different way of folding, because he folds his shirts the way he was taught during ROTC, into a small square (it’s complicated, I’m not going to try to explain it). For the kids, I fold the shirt in half hotdog style, then hamburger style.

Why am I crazy, folding shirts 3 ways? I refuse to fold my shirts into small little squares, because like I said, it’s complicated. So there’s 2 ways minimum. I’m not folding the kids clothes in squares, see above. And when they were little their shirts were so tiny it was easier to just do hotdog-hamburger move on (so many shirts!).

Now here’s my problem. The kids are digging and digging through their clothes, looking for specific shirts. Their drawers are so messy, because they unfold a bunch of shirts in search of that perfect one. Why why why!? Because their mother only just realized that when she folds their shirts, she puts the font in the middle of the hotdog, so the only part of the shirt they can see is the back. (insert face-palm emoji and tears of sadness here).

launry and marian consecration

Ok, you’ve endured this far. What on earth does it all have to do with Marian Consecration? Everything of course!

Marian Consecration is the complete and total gift of yourself to Jesus through Mary. One of the more common misconceptions about Marian Consecration is that somehow it’s all about Mary, since it has Marian in the name. Mary is, of course, important, but she is simply the way to the goal, which is Christ.  In laundry terms? Mary folds the shirts with the front showing so there isn’t any guessing about getting what we want and where we want to go. She’s so smart that way 😉

What is Marian Consecration, you may ask? Marian Consecration was first brought to the Church by St. Louis de Montfort in the late 1600s. In his book True Devotion, de Montfort lays out a 33-Day Consecration retreat, as well as expanding on his understanding of Mary and Jesus. De Montfort’s basic argument is that Jesus chose to reveal Himself through Mary, and Mary is the one who both knew Him best and worked most perfectly with Him. So, if we wish to know Christ and work with Him, we ought to align ourselves with she who has perfected this path. Mary’s life was set apart, or consecrated, for the holy purpose of bearing Christ to the world. We are called to do the same with our own lives. We make Christ known and we know where to find Christ (i.e. we fold shirts so we and others can see the front).

Some Louis de Montfort Quotes:

“It is through the most Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world, and it is also through her that he will reign in the world.”

“If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ.”

“Since she is the sure means, the direct and immaculate way to Jesus and the perfect guide to him, it is through her that souls who are to shine forth in sanctity must find him. He who finds Mary finds life, that is, Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life…Mary then must be better known than ever for the deeper understanding and the greater glory of the Blessed Trinity.”

“By this devotion we give to Jesus all we can possibly give him, and in the most perfect manner, that is, through Mary’s hands.”

Marian Consecration is a serious thing, as you may have guessed. This isn’t a part-time thing or a some days but not others. I choose a few years ago to undergo the 33-days and since then I have re-committed myself each year. The way it works is actually pretty simple. 34 days before any Marian feast (The Presentation of Mary, Immaculate Conception, Assumption, etc.) you begin your 33 days. There are 2 main texts that people use to follow. You can use de Montfort’s True Devotion, which I have not used but want to this year (I start my 33 days on Nov. 5, with a consecration day on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception). The other text is called 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. This is what I have used up to this point, and it is a great overview of de Montfort’s book, as well as weaving in the theology of John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Maximilian Kolbe – 4 powerhouse Marian saints. I can only say good things about Gaitley’s book, and I’ve only heard good things about de Montfort’s.

If you have more questions about Marian Consecration, I’d love to hear them. If you would like to take the leap this fall, I’d love to journey with you starting on Nov. 5.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

The Woes of Free Shipping: The Art of Waiting

I’m trying not to get into the holiday season too early. We still have 2 more holidays to go before we actually get to Advent and Christmas. But already people are starting to talk about Christmas gifts. And I’ll be honest, as a crafter I’m already knee deep in crochet projects for Christmas gifts.

I read something recently about small businesses, especially the home businesses that many moms are part of. Maybe it’s a small Etsy or Peter’s Square business, maybe it’s home-baked cookies at the farmers’ market or locally sourced honey. Often times, the products these small businesses may cost more than similar products you might find at Walmart or Amazon. And more often than not, they can’t support the free shipping we have been conditioned to expect, or even deserve.

The ability to buy whatever we want, and can have 2-day shipping to boot, has encouraged us as a society to become even more impatient than human nature already inclines us to be. Our attention spans, and capacity for waiting, continues to diminish. We can’t even wait for the holidays to arrive in their natural order of time. We are so excited for what comes next, instead of relishing what is now.

Even as I type this, I am anticipating what is coming, instead of being present in what is now. I almost said “As we look forward to Advent coming, it is a great time to slow down and practice waiting.” But you know what, why wait for Advent? Because I don’t know about you, but I could do with slowing down. My head is already starting to spin with Christmas present ideas, what to make for Thanksgiving, whether to host an Advent Bible study or not, how long our homeschool break should be, etc. Actually, I think that I always could use some slowing down.

So starting today, literally today, I am purposefully slowing down. Here are two things I am implementing immediately, hopefully with more to follow.

  1. I’m trying to drink more water. I’ve put a tracking system into my planner (just little water droplets to cross off, nothing fancy) to help remind me to drink more water. Because when I am hydrated, I’m less anxious, less stressed and my body is able to function as it was designed.
  2. I am saying a daily rosary. A bit ago I purchased a beautiful rosary bracelet from ChewsLife, a website run by moms in Michigan that has created beautiful rosarys for young and old. Literally, they have rosaries and rosary bracelets designed for little babies with safe, silicone beads that they can chew on and play with. It’s so cool. Their rosary bracelets for adults are lovely because they have a movable crucifix that you can use to hold your place, so that your rosary can stretch throughout your day (the only way I am able to get a rosary finished.
    IMG_2498
    My ChewsLife rosary. See the hook clasp on the crucifix and Miraculous Medal? It fits perfectly between any of the beads to mark where I stopped to handle [insert crisis here].

Though not part of slowing down necessarily, there is another practice that I am going to be more conscious about employing. Before jumping on Amazon to grab whatever it is I’m looking for, especially if it is a gift, I’m going to start smaller. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Peter’s Square is basically Catholic Etsy. Which is so cool! Then there is Etsy itself, which hosts so many incredible Catholic products and shops. There is also your local area, where perhaps you have smaller artisans who take such time and care in crafting their product. When I find that perfect gift, I’m not going to shoot over to Amazon to find something similar but with free or quicker shipping. Instead, I’m going to be willing to wait, to pay for shipping if asked. It is a way to intentionally help support another, and to put into practice the art of waiting.