Monday, August 16, 2010

September...Ready or Not, Here it Comes!

As summer is winding down, vacations all but over; we are looking at our calendars and realizing September is coming - wether we like it or not! I, myself, had resisted putting September on my wall calendar in my kitchen. It is a wipe-on/wipe-off calendar that holds four months. Over the past four months I have wiped off May, June and July until August is all that remains. The other three months remained blank. I could not bring myself to put on September. September means a return to homeschooling, schedules and work I was not yet ready to face. I wanted to remain on vacation, sitting poolside and relaxing.

My lovely husband, Matthew, was finally able to convince me to place September on by reminding me my birthday is in September and he would provide no gifts unless I placed the month - and my birthday - on the calendar. Selfishly motivated, I quickly placed September, October and November (which is Matt’s birthday month) on the wall calendar. Seeing November up, I realized his motivation was probably more for himself than for me. He was ensuring we remember his day, but it was done. September was coming though I had tried to prevent it. Much like the Grinch and Christmas, the new school year was approaching with or without my participation. Fine, let it come but I don’t have to be happy about it!

Then comes the General Audience of Pope Benedict at Castel Gondalfo (8/10/10). The CNS article relates this:

“While most people today will not be called to be martyrs, he (Pope Benedict) said, "none of us is excluded from the divine call to holiness," which requires taking up one's own personal cross and following Christ every day.

In a world that seems driven by selfishness and individualism, Christians have as their top priority the task of letting their love for God and their neighbors grow greater every day, he said. This will transform not only one's own life, but will also transform the whole world.

"Let us ask God to set our hearts on fire so we can be capable of loving just like he loved every one of us," the pope said.”

The Pope, on vacation himself, was reminding me what I wanted to forget - I am called to pick up my cross, follow Christ and strive for holiness. Much as I wanted to avoid September, I realized I wanted to avoid my cross, the obligations and responsibilities of my life, even more. But to what end? Am I the Catholic I claim to be, the child of God I profess?

Then, while the summer has been good and setting aside the school books and school work wonderful, I cannot take a complete vacation from life. I have baptismal promises to fulfill, a Father in heaven looking down on me, Jesus Christ himself by my side within the sacraments to strengthen me and the Holy Spirit to guide me. For me, that includes facing September and homeschooling. With God’s everlasting presence, the holiness the Pope reminds of us is possible.

The Little Flowers Girls Club has that as its goal: helping us all towards holiness. It is meant to be a small way (as St. Therese herself said) towards the holiness we are called.

Holiness is not easy, acknowledged by the Holy Father as he related it to the martyrdom of St. Maximillian Kolbe and St. Therese of the Cross, in his general audience. Yet, it remains, our mission, holiness for ourselves, our families and our children.

I am humbled you have allowed us be a part of your desire for holiness. We hope our little way eases your way. We hope we are helping carry your cross throughout the school year.

Knowing all of you are out there striving for the same holiness I am, while also cooking meals, balancing carpools and finding date nights with our spouses makes it easier. We can feel lonely in our holiness but being a part of a group of others with either Little Flowers, Blue Knights, Little Women Hospitality, or the Honor Guard eases that loneliness. We have each other to rely on, to pray with and pray for.

All that we do here is a small attempt to be Simon of Cyrene - helping you carry your cross. With that in mind, we have got some great ideas for the new year. A new Wreath Four for Little Flowers is already in the works reflecting the reality some dioceses are having Confirmation for children younger than the 7-9th grade or higher the Wreath was initially written for. The new Wreath Four will present the awesome sacrament in a more age-appropriate manner in regard to both content and activities.

Our newsletter will be highlighting some ideas about introducing the great outdoors to our groups with outing suggestions, games and other ‘get out and get dirty’ ideas. This wonderful idea came from a LF leader, Lisa. Many thanks to her for the great idea (feel free to send your own to us, as well). In addition, we are editing the first of our “Princesses to You Can Believe In” series which will bring the story of St. Margaret of Scotland to life in a new way.

So, wether you are in a huge group balancing three levels or a mom at home with only your own children under your care, let us help you be holier. All we do here at Behold Publications has only one goal - bring Christ. Our purpose is, as the Pope reminded us while on his own vacation, to help “transform not only one's own life, but will also transform the whole world.”

I will be praying this new year in the words the Holy Father used, "Let us ask God to set our hearts on fire so we can be capable of loving just like he loved every one of us.”

If you’d like to hear the Holy Father’s address:

The Catholic News Service article:
God bless, Rachel Watkins