Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 24, 2014

Today, January 24, 2014

I don’t know how it is with you, but on days when it’s this cold getting out of bed is one of the most difficult things I do.  Burrowed under the covers after the alarm began its insistent and very annoying call I let Mariellen get up and go downstairs to brew our tea.  I heard her putting away the dishes and finally emerged into the arctic chill of the bedroom just at 6:00 am.  Looking at the gray sky I thought, “Dawn must be as cold as I am, hovering below the horizon.”

We have been arising to go to the early Mass at St. Christopher’s at 7:15 am.  Today, I went outside and started the car a few minutes before we left.  It still hadn’t warmed up much before we pulled into the Church parking lot.  Morning Prayer was just finishing as we entered.  We took our seats, three rows back on the aisle.  We never have to worry about them.  There’s always plenty of room.  And we waited, praying, preparing mind and heart, as they say, for the coming of the Lord.

Slowly the “regulars” came in one or two at a time and went to their accustomed places.  Across the aisle from us were seven Mexican sisters kneeling in a row.  I know, it sounds like a verse from “Twelve Days of Christmas”.  But, there they were where they almost always are, and everyone else, it seemed, was where they almost always were. Slight nods, a meeting of the eyes, stood for warmer greetings.  Those were reserved for Sundays, for lingering after Mass before going home.  Daily Mass is a different thing.  Here is time to be spent beginning the day correctly, setting things in order.  We knelt.  We prayed.  We left the world while we were still very much in it.

Father Kelley walked out on the altar from the Sacristy preceded by Tom, the altar “boy” and we began the Liturgy, the Work of the People.  Today is the Feast of St. Francis De Sales.  The prayers during Mass reflected that fact.  I was struck by one thing during Mass as Father led us: that the prayers paid particular attention the the Saint’s gentleness and what I can only call meekness in his service to the people of Geneva those long years ago.

I was also struck by something else.  This morning the normally quiet church was given the gift of the gentle sounds of a little one, or perhaps, I thought at the time, several little ones near the back of the church.  Happy sounds came to our ears from time to time, punctuating the “Work” with notes of childish contentment, curiosity, joy.  Thinking of several young families who live near the church I wondered who it might be here together on a bright and cold morning.

Coming back from communion my question was answered.  Mother and father and their six young men, the youngest still in his mother’s arms, stood in line to receive Christ, or be blessed by Father Kelley as they filed past him, looking up, and about, straining to catch up with a brother or their mother who had been first.

We saw them again, after Mass was over, crossing the street to walk home.  Mariellen remarked on the beauty of it all, their lovely faith and example to others; that they would come to church on such a cold morning.  “They’re from Canada,” I answered.  “They are probably very used to cold mornings.”  But, Lord, it was a lovely sight; the Father with four young lads, two on each hand, walking home ahead of the Mother carrying the youngest, shepherding another ahead of her as we drove home.

A finer start to the day I couldn’t imagine.


Here are some things to reflect on from a place called My Catholic:

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Francis was a Doctor of Law before becoming a priest. He later became a bishop. Famous for his sermons and writings, especially The Introduction to the Devout Life, his gentle ways won the hearts of many. He is a Doctor of the Church.

Reflections from the Saints

All of us can attain to Christian virtue and holiness, no matter in what condition of life we live and no matter what our life work may be.

– St. Francis de Sales

Scripture Verse of the Day

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Life in Christ: Catechism #2106

“Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits.” This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it “continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it.”

One Minute Meditations

I copy these words for you because they can bring peace to your soul. “My financial situation is as tight as it ever has been. But I don’t lose my peace. I’m quite sure that God, my Father, will settle the whole business once and for all.

I want, Lord, to abandon the care of all my affairs into your generous hands. Our Mother – your Mother – will have let you hear those words, now as in Cana: ‘They have none!’ I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you, Jesus. I want nothing for myself: it’s for them.” – St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, #80

In honor of the Canadian Mom and Dad and their 6 hardy sons I share this from a Canadian singer we all know:

And this, the “Karelia Suite” by Jean Sibelius, as lively and beautiful piece of “wintery” as I think I’ve ever heard:


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