Friday, February 4, 2011

Candlemas and a bit of miscellany :)

imagepublic domain image

I love saying that word (I mean miscellany, although I do love to say Candlemas too, now that I think of it), but it’s not often that I get a chance to use it in everyday conversation. :)

I thought I’d quickly share with you what we’ve been doing in the way of faith-based activities.  This is a routine we’ve only just started, and there will be some adjusting, and perhaps adding as we go along.

At the beginning of last year we started going through M’s little Children’s Bible, one story per day, completing it in late spring.  We truly enjoyed it and when it was done I was a bit stumped about what to do.  Silly, I know (we could simply have started over)… but I wanted something that would be simple and easy to do each day, with the possibility of more involved learning and extension activities once every week or a couple of times a month.

I also wanted something that would keep us in line with the rhythm of the liturgical year.  I’m a good Baptist girl who fell in love with a good Catholic boy (and eventually became Catholic too), and I’ve been so appreciative of how the Church lives the life of Christ throughout the liturgical year.  None of this used to make any sense to me, but as I’ve learned about it I’ve really been drawn to the depth and beauty of it. 

My conversion story is probably not of interest to any of my readers, other than a few family members and possibly friends who have known me forever, and with whom I normally shy away from discussing this kind of thing (conflict has never really been my thing, and since my dad was a pastor in my early childhood, you can imagine there’s conflict surrounding this subject).  So, I won’t go into any of that here, except to say, one thing I love is that the Catholic Church has a 2 year cycle of daily Bible readings – including passages from the Old Testament or a New Testament letter, the Psalms, and one of the Gospels.  (This is not including the Sunday readings, which are on a 3 year cycle.)  So, reading through these passages daily, you’ll end up reading the entire Bible every 2 years.  The first reading and Psalm always relate in some way to the Gospel reading also, which is really neat.

Whew – that was more of an explanation than I intended, but I’ll let it stand. :) 

I’ve been reading the daily readings to M, from a “real” Bible, not his Children’s Bible, and he is doing just fine with comprehension.  I do tend to look the reading over first and simplify anything that might be confusing, or too mature for him (I edit other books as I’m reading them too; just because it’s the Bible, doesn’t mean a small child is ready to correctly comprehend everything in it!).  We usually do this as he eats breakfast and then we talk a bit about it while I’m cleaning up the kitchen.  It’s very simple and relaxed.  We are going through the Gospel of Mark right now, with all the wonderful miracles that Jesus performed – there’s a real “wow” factor in them that I appreciate so much, seeing them through the eyes of a 4 year old boy. :)

There are many special days throughout the year, one of which was this past Wednesday – Candlemas  - also known as the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

imageThe Presentation of the Lord – public domain image

This was when baby Jesus was taken to the temple at 8 days old, and Simeon and Anna saw him and praised God for the savior He had sent into the world.  Jesus was revealed as the light to the nations that had been prophesied in the Old Testament.  So – in Catholic churches everywhere candles are blessed and a very simple tradition in the home is having candles lit all day long in honor of this important day in the life of Jesus.

feb 2011 009 I love the peacefulness of lit candles

We believe that parents are responsible for passing on their faith to their children.  Our church does provide Sunday School, but I still feel that it’s important that what they do there is only supplemental, and what we do at home is the real foundation and formation in this area.

Do you make a point of celebrating your faith in your home? I’d love to hear and learn about your family traditions during this “ordinary time” of the year!

Have a beautiful day! :)

This post has been edited to add the following:

A commenter asked about finding a list of the 2 year cycle of daily readings.  The best I’ve found online is here:

In the upper right hand corner, below the heading, you’ll see the following box:


Click on the month you want and it will bring up a printable .pdf listing all of the daily readings for that month.  As you can see most of the months available in this list are from 2010, and the list is updated with the current month.  So… you will need to visit the site again in March to get March’s reading list and so on.  If anyone is interested in having the entire 2 years of reading laid out for them, you could purchase a Missal, which not only lists, but also has the text for each reading (these are expensive; we received one as a wedding gift).  Otherwise, many local Catholic bookstores provide small booklets with the listings for each year for only $2 to $3.

Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. I love the way you describe the liturgical year. I have a friend who grew up being taught that Catholics weren't real Christians. Then she met me :) (I currently attend an Episcopalian Church, but am baptized Catholic). Once we really got talking in a respectful manner I was able to share the beauty of the rituals of the church and she was able to explain things about her faith to me that I didn't understand. It is a very very beautiful thing and now, 12 years later we're as close as sisters, attending different churches and loving each other through Christ. That's what it's supposed to be like! She does tell me, though, that the one thing she really wishes her denomination did was do some of the liturgical practices. Now that she understands the beauty behind them she craves them.

    This is the first year I've heard of Candlemas. I don't know HOW that happened.... But it will be on my list next year. (Can't have any candles now because we're foster parents)... I look forward to Lent every year. We do personal fasts, and a family fast where we all do it together. It has a very bonding effect and worth every struggle. And Lent always seems to fall right where I need some peace and quiet with the Lord.

    Thanks for your post!

    Semalee @ Nailing Jello to a Tree

  2. Totally agree with you on the whole supplemental thing.

    I'd love to hear your conversion story. I'm always curious about things like that, and they're great to hear.

  3. I'm a "good Baptist girl" who loves to celebrate her faith any time of year. February is a perfect time to talk about what the Bible says about love.
    I'm interested in the 2 year cycle of daily Bible readings. I have tried every year to read the Bible through in a year and it becomes a rushed, get-it-done type thing instead of the quiet, relationship time I am after. Do you have a list of that? Is it something I could google?

  4. phasejumper - this is a great question! I'm going to edit the post to include information about where the daily readings can be found. Thank you!


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