Lenten Movie Reviews – A Man For All Seasons

I’m sure we are all familiar with this story to some extent. The one where Henry VIII wants an heir so bad he creates a church that will allow him to divorce his wife and marry the one that gave him a son. There are loads of movies and TV shows about it, most of which do not take into account the Catholic perspective. My husband and I watched The Other Boleyn Girl a few months ago and were shocked how little the Catholic Church and Thomas More were mentioned. Considering the entire fiasco is because of Henry VIII’s view of the Church and disregard for it’s teachings, you’d think it would play a larger role.

Next up in our Lenten movie journey: A Man For All Seasons

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I just love learning about the saints! Especially ones who are seemingly normal people just like you and me. Thomas More was a family man, trying to earn a living and be loyal to the King of England. He was a man of deep faith, and was held in very high regard during the time he was alive. That was until Henry VIII went against the Church, and Thomas refused to follow.

I would love to think that if I was placed in a similar situation I would stand firm with the Church like he did. But at the same time, risking being taken away from my family, and facing death? I don’t know what I would do. But I guess that is why he is the saint.

This movie is a great period piece, with wonderful costumes and scenery that draws you in to England in the 1500s. It focuses on the events leading up to More’s eventual conviction and beheading, as King Henry VIII’s advisers scramble to find a way for him to marry Anne Boleyn. As Catholic’s, they know the Pope will not grant a divorce, so the King declares himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and allows himself to divorce and remarry in that church. More refuses to accept this, and cleverly avoids being tried for treason for some time, by never uttering the actual words. He will neither deny nor confirm what everyone assumes to be true, and is locked in the Tower of London as punishment, until they can prove that he has committed treason. If it is possible, it is quite the comical portrayal of More, as he avoids being convicted of any crime. As a lawyer, he knows the power of perfect wording, and they have some trouble finding him guilty of anything. But in the end, once he is finally convicted of high treason, thanks false testimony, he admits that he does not acknowledge the King as the head of a Church saying “no temporal man may be the head of the spirituality”.

Upon the steps before his execution, he calmly uttered his famous final words, as he declared he was “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

A fantastic film, and must watch for all Catholics, and especially those that love shows like Downton Abbey and The Tudors, it gives you a great Catholic perspective on that time in England.

movie reviews

New Reading Material…and the big announcement

So, things have been quiet around here, and on twitter, so a little while. I sure do have my reasons. While I have been busy playing with my kids, learning to crochet, baking, and just enjoying our blessed little family, I have also been reading some new books!

I know there of lots of you out there that just love a good Catholic book, and boy do I have two great ones for you:

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Can you make out those titles? The first is Prayerfully Expecting by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle. The second is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah A. Reinhard.

So I bet you guessed the big announcement, huh? I’m pregnant! We are so truly blessed, and thrilled beyond words to welcome our third child this summer!

So far I have beel feeling downright awful, which I expected since that is how I felt with the other two. These books have been such a saving grace, reminding that this baby is a true blessing and gift from God. Remembering that while I throw up for the 5th time that day is very comforting. It’s all for a great cause, and as hard as it can be on my body, I really do love being pregnant!

I hope you will pray for me and my baby as we continue this journey. Saint Gerard sure has been hearing an awful lot from me lately 🙂

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!

A PRAYER FOR CHILDREN

God, we pray that through the
intercessions of St. Nicholas
you will guide and protect our children.

Keep them safe from all harm
and help them grow to become
loving disciples of Jesus in your sight.

Give them strength to always mature
into deeper faith in you,
and to keep alive joy in your creation.

Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

St Nicholas

Today, we will do special St. Nicholas colouring pages, open small religious gifts, and say some extra prayers to Saint Nicholas, and attempt saying the rosary as a family…perhaps just one decade to start. Have a blessed Saint Nicholas Day everyone!

Saint Monica

I love learning about different Saints, and all the prayers for specific intentions. I know I need to work on my patience with my children (2 and 4 are tough ages!), and I pray every night to Mary about this. But I recently learned about Saint Monica, and think I will add her to my daily prayers. And it just so happens, I learned about her right before her feast day!

August 27th – Feast of Saint Monica

I won’t go into too much detail about her, as I’m sure many other Catholic blogs will be writing about her today, and in a much more eloquent way than I ever could, but here is the short version of her life:

She suffered in a difficult marriage, married to a man with an awful temper. She was also the mother of St. Augustine, who she dedicated her life to, and prayed for constantly, as he appeared to be a bit on the lazy side.

I know there was much more to her, but I wanted to focus on these two points of her life, as she is the Patron Saint of difficult marriages and abused women, as well as housewives, mothers and wives in general. Thankfully I do not need to pray to her for help with my marriage, but I could use some help in being a better mother, and lots of help with my patience.

Raising children is not an easy task, especially raising Catholic kids in such a secular world. With the devil around just about every corner, waiting to lead them astray, our children need us praying for them every day. They also need to see us praying to God, to Jesus, and to different Saints asking for help.

I just love that there is a Saint for just about every need out there, and they are there for you, just waiting to help take your prayers up. They want to bring your intentions forward, they just need you to ask for their help. It is so reassuring as an adult to know that these Saints are there waiting to help me, and that I can go to them any time for help and guidance.

We also love sharing new Saints with our children, buying them new prayer cards, teaching them about their lives, and learning the new prayers with them. My son often requests a Guardian Angel or Saint Michael prayer before bed, I guess he is looking for a little protection while he sleeps.

Prayer to Saint Monica

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine, You perseveringly pursued your wayward son

Not with threats but with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day

So that they may learn to draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain close to their children,

Even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,

many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime.

Yet, you never despaired or lost faith.

With confidence, persistence, and profound faith,

you prayed daily for the conversion

of your beloved husband, Patricius,

and your beloved son, Augustine;

your prayers were answered.

Grant me that same fortitude, patience,

and trust in the Lord.

Intercede for me, dear St Monica,

that God may favourably hear my plea.
(mention your intention here)

Grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things,

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, forever and ever.

Amen

Saint Monica

I Don’t Yet Know Why, But I Shall Be At Peace With It

Do you ever wonder why God has chosen you for a specific vocation? Or why he has chosen you to live out your life a certain way? It’s a tall order, but thoughts like these often cross my mind.

If something tragic happens in your life; a severe illness, or even a death, people often say things like “it’s part of God’s plan” and “He wouldn’t place anything in your life that you couldn’t handle”. Which at the moment might not make you feel better, but eventually it is very reassuring. God does have a plan for us, and knows just what we can handle, and we need to put our full trust in Him.

I have had a pretty good life, raised in a loving family, married a strong Catholic man, and now have two beautiful children. Nothing really tragic has happened to me. There have been minor illnesses, and deaths, but mostly in those who were older and lived a long and happy life. My husband and I are both healthy, and so our are children. We haven’t had to deal with job loss, or accidents, or anything really.

We truly are blessed.

Is this because we pray every day, giving thanks to God for what we have, and ask for protection from evil and to keep us all healthy? But what about those who do pray, and still have a hard life?

Is it because He knows that we aren’t strong enough to handle something serious? Does God think we are weak, so he has given us an “easy” life?!

I often think it is because there is something much worse ahead. I don’t worry about it, because worrying gets you nowhere, and I know to trust in Him. He knows what is best for me and my family.

Anytime a child gets sick, or something little happens to change our life, I stop and think “it could be so much worse, we need to get through this with as much grace as possible, because maybe next time it will be worse”

I used to be a worrier. To the point I would get myself worked up and in tears over the littlest things, I would panic thinking of the worst case scenario every time, focusing only on the negative and how awful things were. I didn’t learn to relax and have faith, until I found my faith, until I put my trust in Him.

I don’t know why some have to deal with illness, war, death, or abuse. I don’t know why God has chosen my little family to be free of all this, but I am thankful for it. I also know that I am still young, my family is just getting started, and just because this current moment is easy, doesn’t mean a hard life isn’t around the corner. Life can change in an instant, and if it does I put my trust in Him and pray for the strength to handle whatever comes my way.

It’s heartbreaking to see all the tragedy in the world. To see friends and family struggle with health issues. To hear of war and death in the news. To read other blogs and hear of daily struggles with health issue, and precious little babies fighting for their lives in NICUs. More news about a child being kidnapped or abused or a car accident taking a young life. It’s overwhelming to think of it all. And I pray that they can find Him in their difficult moments, that they can all trust in God, find a Saint to pray to, and find strength in the fact that Jesus died for them.

I pray that if something hard does happen, I can keep my faith and still trust in Him. He will give me strength in those difficult moments, and until they arise, I am so thankful for the life I have.

Prayer of St. Francis de Sales

Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life with fear. Rather, look to them with full confidence that, as they arise, God to whom you belong will in his love enable you to profit by them. He has guided you thus far in life, do you but hold fast to his dear hand, and he will lead you safely through all trials. Whenever you cannot stand, he will carry you lovingly in his arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same eternal father who takes care of you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day of your life, either he will shield you from suffering or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace then, and put aside all useless thoughts, all vain dreads and all anxious imaginations. Amen.

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