Sunday, February 27, 2011

Don't Ever Assume

The Sign of the Cross

One of the things Fr. F. criticized our First Penance students on was their Sign of the Cross.  Many forgot to say it at the beginning of Penance and most did not know to cross themselves when he blessed them with this prayer.  Today we worked on drilling them in this.  I know the children who were in my First Sacraments class for the first half of the year went over their prayers, including the Sign of the Cross every Sunday.  There is only so much an R.E. Catechist can do in one hour on a relatively few Sundays of their lives.  Now, the second half of the year we've been joined by the second grade class from the parish school.  Shouldn't one expect that they have been taught the proper way to say Catholic prayers in Catholic school?  Apparently not.  They at least have more of an opportunity at school, having them over 6 hours a day, five days a week.  But, the biggest question is--Why aren't the parents doing this at home?  I don't get it.  Maybe I'm in the minority of parents who actually feel responsible for their own children's souls.

Today we rehearsed the reception of Holy Communion.  It was a slow process.  We took about half the class time lining them up putting them through their paces and accessing what we need to do to get them ready in a couple of months.  But, like I said, there is only some much I can do in the next six Sundays.  The biggest disappointment about practicing is that 7 of my students weren't even there.  So, when we practice next week we'll have to start from scratch with them.  This is not a game.  This is life--eternal life we are dealing with at church. 

Advice to parents:  If you can't be bothered to work with them at home, at least have them at the classroom door on time.  Every minute counts if you're going to lay all the responsibility for your child's soul on my shoulders.  And don't forget to be on time to Mass; that is even more important. 

Here is a very good Catholic article on the Sign of the Cross:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

First Confession

Today was the big day for my second grade class (and the "RCIC" kids).  First Confession is nerve-wracking, but sweet; chaotic, yet peaceful, too.  While supervising the children going in and out of the confessional, I lit a candle for each and every one of them.  The responsibility of each and every soul weighs on my conscience.  I love them all.  They are wonderful children and I pray and hope for the best for all of them. 

For anyone else new at teaching 'first Sacraments' class--don't forget to teach them to make the Sign of the Cross whenever it is said by the priest.  That is the one thing my students kept forgetting to do.  We'll make sure we teach it next year.  We will also practice it in class during our First Communion portion of the class. 
Father does not want us to practice communion using anything that looks like a communion wafer, so as not to trivialize the Body and Blood of Christ.  So, I bought matzos which actually look like giant crackers.  They are made with flour and water.  Period.  So this way they can get an idea of what communion bread tastes like, but not make communion wafers trivial.  Matzos are also an appropriate symbol, anyway.  It is very similar to the bread Our Lord Jesus Christ actually did break and eat with His disciples.  The unleavened bread is 'striped' with holes representing the whipping the Egyptians inflicted on their Jewish slaves.  What could be more appropriate to represent Jesus' flesh which would endure such whipping not many hours after declaring the bread to be His Flesh? 

Well, First Confession down, First Communion to go.  I'm nervous already.

Friday, February 18, 2011

That Magic Number

Well, I have been trying to motivate myself to lose weight for some time now.  Having had five children and approaching middle age, I realize that losing weight is only going to get harder.  I even had a weight meter on my blog once to try to monitor and motivate myself.  However, the fact that the meter revealed my weight was mortifying not motivating.  So, I removed it. 

Then, I hit that magic number on the scale.  You know the one I mean.  That number which you can't imagine yourself weighing.  That number that shocks and disgusts you.  That number which finally kicks you in the a$% and makes you do something.  Well, I reached MY magic number.  I thought I would pass out.  How could I weigh that much

So, finally, I got motivated to change it.  I have worked hard the last 4 weeks.  I tried the Special K diet (no they are not sponsoring me or reimbursing me), and cutting down on my Coke (Coca-Cola, that is) addiction.  I also started in on Pilates at home--20 minutes a day, several days a week.  It is working.  Praise God.  I have lost 8 pounds so far.  Now I feel a little obsessed by it.  I can't wait to work off the other 35 pounds I want to lose.  I have no illusions that it will be quick or easy, not at this stage of my life.  But I do want to feel better and fit in my clothes again.  It would also be nice to not look like one of the middle-aged beached whales at the pool this Summer.

Not one person has noticed the change in me, except me.  That's fine.  At least I am no longer disgusted by my 'shelf'--the top of the big belly just below the bust.  It's gone!  Thank God.  The squareness of my hips is already softening.  I'm actually feeling more human and less like a blob.  The only draw back so far is the constant soreness, and I threw my back out once last week while playing with my teenage son.  I couldn't do Pilates for several days after that.  So, my physical problems and limitations have not improved much, but my body shape has.

So, anyone out there listening, if you've reached your magic number.  Go for it.  It will not be easy and the excruciatingly slow progress can be discouraging.  But stick with it.  Whatever diet or exercise regimen you choose.  Just be consistent and keep your new magic number (your goal weight--keep it realistic) in mind as you keep on track.  Don't do it for anyone else but you.  To quote a famous ad campaign--Just Do It!  No one can do it for you.  

Here is the Special K website, if you need help:  I am neither endorsing nor recommending this as THE diet for anyone.  It is working for me, that doesn't mean it will work for you.