Sunday, September 28, 2014

September: Month of the Holy Angels

    Each of the months of the year has its special patron, and I’ve been trying (and failing miserably) to acknowledge each month and provide a prayer suitable to be said that month. This month is dedicated to the Holy Angels. 
    There are 9 choirs of angels: Cherubim and Seraphim, the highest in the hierarchy, are consumed with the love of God, and the lowest, the Angel Choir, are messengers to earth and make up our Guardian Angels. 

    “Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom God’s love entrusts me here; ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. From stain of sin O keep me free, and at my death my helper be.”

    Everyone has a guardian angel from the moment of conception, and these angels truly show protection and guidance daily. Once this past December, Eleanor decided to start moving in the middle of the sermon, and distracted me; in order to get her to stop, I prayed to her guardian angel, and she stopped... but once Mass was over, I felt her moving again. For the rest of the pregnancy, I never felt her move during Mass or Rosary. This incident was truly one that by the grace of God allowed my faith, and that of some of those around me, to be strengthened again.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Feast of St. Helen: August 18

About a month ago was Eleanor’s first feast day. We didn’t do anything much, except read a short version  of St. Helen’s life, because, well, I was tired with a 7 week old. But at least Eleanor was able to hear about her illustrious patron saint. As a child, I was always attracted to the saints who were queens; firstly St. Elizabeth of Hungary, but after that, St. Helen, who was an empress. My favorite author, Evelyn Waugh, wrote what he termed his masterpiece (and I must agree) on her life, and this “fairy story” is what drew me closer to her. When we had to decide on names for our child, I was drawn to Eleanor, for 3 reasons: it was a unique name, its origins are Old French, (its first use was that of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was queen of England and who inspired the 100 Years’ War), and it is a derivative of Helen.

From my missal excerpt:
Saint Helena, a native of Britain, espoused to the Emperor Constantius, was the mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome. Favored by her son, Saint Helena succeeded in discovering at Jerusalem the true Cross, to enshrine which she built a magnificent Basilica. She was renowned for her alsmsdeeds, and (say the ancient chroniclers) “incomparable in her faith and zeal”. Saint Helena received her heavenly crown in the month of August, in the twentieth year of the reign of her son, that is A.D. 326.

And the Collect of her Mass:

O Lord Jesus Christ, who to blessed Helena wast pleased to reveal the place where The Cross was hidden, in order, though her, to enrich Thy Church with this inestimable treasure: give ear to her prayers, and accept this tree of life as the price of our attaining to eternal happiness.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Sacrament of Baptism: The Ending

I am going to finish this discussion of the Sacrament of Baptism in one fell swoop, instead of in 3 more parts, and simply recount my impressions of my daughters. Although I have 3 godchildren, and have been present at one of their baptisms, I have never experienced the amazement which comes at the completion of the work that God entrusts to a mother. I can claim without guile that my daughter is a saint, and that statement makes me feel humble, rather than proud.

I left off at the second part, which consists of the Exorcism and the entrance into the Church. How happy I was when Eleanor passed the “salt test”: a family joke that if the baby doesn’t cry when salt is placed in his or her mouth, it is going to be a good child. However, my favorite part is when the priest leads the baby into the church: the whole previous part of the ceremony takes place in the vestibule, but the priest takes the child under his wing by placing his stole onto the child and leads her into the welcoming arms of Mother Church. I was touched when not only family and friends said the Credo and the Our Father, but strangers joined in welcoming my daughter with a solemn profession of faith. Above is a picture of the anointing, where the oil of catechumens which was blessed not long before on Holy Thursday is used to give my daughter the indelible mark of the Baptism. I was honored that Eleanor’s godparents, through their proxies my mother and brother Nicolas, professed Eleanor’s belief in the One True Faith, since she cannot claim this treasure for herself. And finally, the baptism itself, where the waters of life are poured over Eleanor’s head, literally washing all stain of sin away from her soul.

After the ceremony of Baptism, I consecrated my daughter to Our Lady, who has always guided me in a special manner. May she guide Eleanor in the same way throughout her life.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where to begin?

Very well. I have an unfinished series on the Sacrament of Baptism, a post about the birth and first two months of my child, and possibly a short post on my child's patron saint and recent first feast days. Where to begin?
My husband and I were blessed with a tiny daughter on June 30, 2014, the commemoration if the feast of St. Paul. He obviously didn't want to share her with St. Peter. She weighed 6lbs. 7 oz. and was a whole 19.5 in. long! She was baptized Eleanor Rose on July 6. Her patron saints are St. Helen (feast day August 18), and St. Rose (August 30). 
The past 2 months have been busy to say the least, but Divine Providence has allowed me to hear instruction that was immediately relevant to my new status as a parent. I have been very blessed to have a great support in my husband and extended family, my sister has adapted to being an amazing auntie and my parents are indulgent without spoiling our little saint. May she just remain this way!