Pilgrimage Day 20: O Root of Jesse


December 19, 2013

I have been informed by several sources that there are only 5 shopping days until Christmas. Thankfully I do not have to go into that mad rush to grab the last Cabbage Patch doll (or whatever toy is absolutely indispensable this year), or fight for the last fondue pot (or whatever kitchen gadget will make me the most beloved gift-giver this year).

Instead, I will help my kids finish their school work so that they can have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off with a clear conscience, and I will meet with my spiritual Director so that I can have meet my Lord on Christmas with a clear conscience!  What could be better in this last stretch of Advent?

Today’s walk: 25 – 45 minutes, getting the heart rate up. I’ll report in the comments about what I did later.

19 December: 

O Root of Jesse, 
which standest for an ensign of the people, 
at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, 
Whom the Gentiles shall seek, 
come to deliver us, 
do not tarry. 

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...


Pilgrimage Day 19: O Adonai

Ember Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I love the Ember Days, and wish more people knew what they were and could take advantage of the riches God has for us if we only ask for them!

This morning I was blessed to be able to go to Mass at my parish. Fr. James Gordon, FSSP, said Mass and gave a beautiful mini-sermon on Our Blessed Mother’s  “Yes.”

18 December: 

O Adonai, 
and Ruler of the house of Israel, 
Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, 
and gavest him the law in Sinai, 
come to redeem us with an outstretched arm! 

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Today, I took my walk at about 2 PM. I walked 40 minutes, and I know it was more than a mile, but I don’t think it was much more than that. I wore black leggings under my denim skirt, and a yellow t-shirt with a red-and-white button-front shirt over it. I wore my green BSA socks instead of my new gray walking socks. I am sure I looked very fashionable to the people in the cars passing by. Perhaps they thought the circus was in town. My shoes continue to be very comfortable. The temperature was about 60 degrees, so I was not cold at all. I was pretty comfortable, although I did break a sweat. My hands swelled a little, which means I need to drink more water!!!

Day 18: O Wisdom

Here is the second day of the O Antiphon Novena:

December 17: 

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, 
that reachest from one end to another, 
and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, 
come to teach us the way of prudence! 

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Since yesterday I took all the kids Christmas shopping, today I will go alone and do my own shopping for groceries and Christmas gifts. If I get home early enough, I will do my 40-minute walk while it is still warm outside!

Day 17: December 16: O Antiphons Novena

This Novena, though it starts one day earlier than the O Antiphons, correlates with the O Antiphons in the titles used to address Jesus between the 17 th and the 24 the of December. It would, therefore, make a good Novena to pray when your family prays the O Antiphons.

December 16: 

O Shepherd that rulest Israel, 
Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, 
come to guide and comfort us. 

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Today I was supposed to walk 40 minutes, but I took my 10 children Christmas shopping instead. They wanted to buy little gifts for their cousins who will be in town for Christmas, so we spent the afternoon going from place to place finding just the right gift for each person. I did walk for several hours, but I did not get my heart rate up, unless you count my impatience boiling my blood.  My confessor will be seeing me soon.

Pilgrimage: Day 11 Happy Birthday to Me!

Day 11: December 10, 2013: St. Melchiades, Pope and Martyr, pray for us!

Pope miltiades.jpg

Today I turn 44! Ian is in Fort Collins at work, the kids are working on their school, and I am helping them while I get ready for a doctor’s appointment. I know it does not sound all that special or exciting, but the life that God has given me, and that I have freely chosen and accepted, is the most beautiful gift. Each moment I choose to say “Yes” to God is a diamond He adds to His Blessed Mother’s crown.

So how do I say YES today? By getting up when I would rather stay in bed. By getting the children up when I would rather enjoy the quiet as long as possible. By encouraging them to do their schoolwork when it would be easier to have a free day. By helping them with their school when I have 1,000 other things that have to get done besides this. By staying in God’s holy Presence all day, and keeping the inner peace He gives me, even when there is disorder and noise all around me. By doing what each moment demands. By giving priority to my prayer time, and going to bed on time so that tomorrow I can get up and do it again!

Here is a beautiful thought for today: “What? The cross make us lose our inward peace? Surely it is the cross that bestows it on our hearts. All our miseries come from our not loving it.” ~ St. John Vianney

Today’s walk: 20-40 minutes at an easy pace.

Pilgrimage: Day 10

Pilgrimage Day 10: December 9, 2013: St. Juan Diego, pray for us!

Today was a little warmer than the last few days, and I spent a lovely morning with my Mother-In-Law shopping at IKEA and then having lunch at Panera. I was not walking briskly at IKEA, but we were in there for a couple of hours at least. It was a lot of fun to spend all that time with Mom, looking at all the neat storage ideas and picking up a few Christmas gifts and kitchen utensils.

IKEA Chest of drawers

I came home and helped the kids with their school for a while, and now it is just about dinner time. I will do a little workout after prayers tonight before I get ready for bed since I did not really “walk” today. I have only been doing this walking regularly for a short time, and I have been feeling really good. I do not want to get out of the habit, especially since Ian bought me some wonderful walking shoes and socks this weekend for my birthday, and my feet have never felt better. Tomorrow’s high temperature is supposed to be almost 40 degrees, so I think I might be able to handle walking outside! If not, maybe I will go walk at the mall.

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Thinking ahead to sleeping on the ground, I found this inflatable hiking mattress that attaches to a sleeping bag. Just something to think about.

Inflated and stuffed size comparisons including Women’s.

Here are some sleeping bags that attach to the mattresses! Sounds like a good idea! This particular down-filled bag weighs only 1 lb., 15 oz.. Nice for carrying on the trail.

Antares 20 Sleeping Bag

Here are some walking socks, for good measure.

A priest friend who has done the pilgrimage said it would be a good idea to have a walking stick. He went as a seminarian and was very thankful that he had the stick, because he was physically unprepared in other ways.  There are collapsible staffs available also, which might be a good idea.

That’s all for now. I am hoping to hear soon from friends who have done this pilgrimage, and if I do, I will post about that in addition to the physical and material preparations I am doing.

The Immaculate Conception

Happy Feast Day to Our Lady!

Dom Gueranger writes, “This truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception—which was revealed to the Apostles by the Divine Son of Mary, inherited by the Church, taught by the holy fathers, believed by each generation of the Christian people with an ever increasing explicitness—was implied in the very notion of a Mother of God. To believe that Mary was Mother of God, was implicitly to believe that she, on whom this sublime dignity was conferred, had never been defiled with the slightest stain of sin, and that God had bestowed upon her an absolute exemption from sin.”

Below are quotes by saints from the early Church, verifying that the truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception has been believed by each generation:

“Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying: ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient; and when yet a virgin, she did not obey…. having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race…. Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the virgin Mary loosed through faith.” (Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, Book III c. 180 AD)

“He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption.” – St. Hippolytus (circa 235 A.D.)

“This Virgin Mother of the Only begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.” – Origen (244)

“Thou alone and Thy Mother are in all things fair; there is no flaw in Thee and no stain in Thy Mother.” – St. Ephraim (370)

“Mary, a virgin not only undefiled but a virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.” – St. Ambrose (388)

“A Virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns.” – Theodotus of Ancrya (446)

“The very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary.” – Jacob of Sarug (521)

“In the womb of the her mother now begins to blossom the earth which will be the dwelling place of the Creator of the earth, the holy scepter, the new ark, the vessel of manna, … the bush which was not consumed by fire, the golden candelabrum, the living bridal room  of the Lord God.” – Hymn for the feast of the Conception of St. Anne (seventh century)

“She is born like the cherubim, she who is of a pure, immaculate clay.” – Theotoknos of Livias (650)

“Today humanity, in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty.  The shame of sin had darkened the splendor and attraction of human nature; but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence is born, this nature again regains in her person its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model truly worthy of God…. The reform of our nature begins today, and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation.” – Andrew of Crete (733)

St. John Damascene (645-750) speaks of Mary, saying: “The serpent never entered that Paradise.”

And other saints have extolled her beauty and power as well:

“[How to prepare for the feast of the Immaculate Conception]
…But how can we honor Mary these days so as to merit Her protection? I shall not insist on frequent reception of the sacraments. You already know that Don Bosco has nothing more at heart than this. But I will suggest two particular things to each of you in Mary’s honor. First, put your whole heart into this novena; second, prepare a bouquet of flowers for Her feast day. How? By picking a flower each day. But where, when no flowers are blooming in this cold winter? From the garden of your hearts. What sort of flowers? Some little act of virtue to be practiced each day in honor of Mary Immaculate. Let each one take this to heart, so that on the dawn of this great feast there will be as many bouquets as boys, and each bouquet will have a flower for every day of this novena. You may be sure that Our Lady will be quite pleased with your gift.” ~St. John Bosco

May I give you some advice for you to put into practice daily? When your heart makes you feel those low cravings, say slowly to the Immaculate Virgin: Look on me with compassion. Don’t abandon me, my Mother! —And recommend this prayer to others. ~St. Jose Maria Escriva

“Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.”  “When you see the storm coming, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down.” ~St. Jose Maria Escriva

“Such is the will of God that we should have everything through Mary.” ~St. Alphonsus Liguori

“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust when all hope is gone. From Mary we learn to trust her Son and Christ the Son of God.” Venerable John Paul II

“It is the privilege of the glory of Mary, that after God, our greatest happiness is from her.” ~St. Bonaventure

“The devotions we practice in honor of the glorious Virgin Mary, however trifling they may be, are very pleasing to Her Divine Son, and He rewards them with eternal glory.” ~St. Teresa de Avila

“Believe me, there is no more powerful means to obtain God’s grace than to employ the intercessions of the Holy Virgin.” ~St. PhilipNeri

“When the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, He enters that soul completely and communicates Himself completely to that soul.” ~St. Louis de Montfort

“Mary is the most sweet bait, chosen, prepared, and ordained by God, to catch the hearts of men.” ~ St. Catherine of Siena