The Feast Before The Fast

Today is Fat Tuesday. If you eat every sweet in the house before starting a diet, you understand this day. It is a day to clean the cupboards. A day to mentally prepare. A day to indulge prior to the 40 days of going without. But what should we, devourers of optimism and trust, be giving up? What is ruining our diet of hope and confidence in God? Maybe it’s anxiety or fear, criticism or self-doubt. These are items much harder to clean from the cupboards than chocolate. Items you might want to give up for Lent regardless of whether you are Catholic.


The Presentation of the Lord

It's been 40 days since Christmas, and that miracle feels far away.

But for Simeon, the miracle is today. Upon seeing the child Jesus, he took him in his arms and blessed God, saying, "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

Lord, may I see your miracles in this day.   


The Conversion of Saint Paul

We don't all have the luxury of being knocked off our horse. But we are all called to conversion.

I was trying to think of the most simple way I could practice turning my heart and mind toward God. For me, this means shifting my focus away from worry and anxiety. When I remind myself that the Lord is the Lord of all things, I feel an internal shift, a tiny conversion.

Lord, please change my heart from fear to trust. Saint Paul, pray for us.  


The Baptism of the Lord

Today is the official end of the Christmas season. Always so sad! Last year, I kept our simple nativity set out all year. This year, I'm going to add a small dish of holy water as a way to keep a little bit of Christmas near us through 2011. 


Little Christmas

January 6th is the Feast of the Three Kings, which means La Befana will be knocking on our door. 

Not familiar with La Befana? You're not the only one. She doesn't seem to get much play here in the U.S. of A. 

La Befana is to the Epiphany what Santa Claus is to Christmas. Only La Befana's legend has stronger Biblical ties. The story goes like this:

The Magi were following the star but feeling a bit lost on the way. So they stopped for directions to Bethlehem. La Befana was busy cleaning her house and sweeping her floors. She didn't know where the Magi would find the Baby Jesus. And when the Magi invited her to join them, she said was too busy with housework to go. 

So the Magi left without her. Once they were gone, she realized she had made a grave mistake. So she went in search of the Baby Jesus on her own. But she never found him. Even today she continues searching. And since she doesn't know which child might be the Christ Child, she gives all children little presents on the Feast of the Three Kings. 

Tomorrow night we will be at my parents' house for a family dinner and dessert. Since we are all so child-like, La Befana still knocks on our door and leaves small presents for us on our porch. (One year my brother asked a neighbor to play La Befana and doorbell ditch us. It was great!)

Simple present ideas:

  • A scarf or gloves
  • Movie tickets
  • Lottery tickets
  • Chocolates and candies
  • Dried fruit and teas

Cheers to La Befana and the Feast of the Three Kings!