Thursday, March 20, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of March: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

To the Almost-4-Year-Old,

It is the eve of your birthday my love!

Final Thoughts: Just as we have been celebrating the coming of your birthday, rejoice Lent in the same way as we approach Easter.

Although we started Lent with a particularly early morning, it became the best day.  7am Mass on Ash Wednesday is where we met your Mimi and then we headed to breakfast before babysitter/preschool drop-offs and work appointments.  It was a day filled with sunshine and I felt such a sense of glory. 

At Ash Wednesday’s Mass, Father Val gave a memorable sermon.  For many Catholics, namely me, I feel like I need to give something up every year for the 40 days in order to understand sacrifice.  Father Val said that’s not always the case.  He said why give up something that we don’t necessarily need anyway, is that really a sacrifice?  I felt like he was talking directly to me, as I have been known to give up my beloved diet coke or gum in years past.  Instead, he suggested actions that would make you feel closer to your faith.  So we all left church that day with ashes on our head (even Will!).  

And I made a new resolution for the days leading up to Easter: that you and I will pray more purposefully to better our hearts and souls.

Luckily your Catholic preschool has provided me with some guidance.  Our normal routine has been to use our prayer cube (a 6 sided block that we each toss to come up with which evening prayer we will say) or say the Hail Mary before we thank God for something specific and then we ask for special blessings for sick people or anyone who needs extra prayers.  Well, Ellie you have realized how to breeze through these prayers to get to reading your books faster… you tell me each and every night, “Mama, I’m going to pray for you because I love you.”  At first, this made my heart melt but then I realized your strategy.  So perfect timing for my Lenten goal!  We’ve now added: Pope Francis’ Five Finger Prayer
1.    The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation.”
2.    The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
3.    The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
4.    The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.
5.    And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.

These categories give us a place to start our discussions.  And you have thought about so many friends and family in our nightly practice.  Granted, you still look around you (especially to your bulletin board where your most beloved family members and friends are pictured) but I feel like this makes you think a little deeper.

Ellie, just as I’ve written before, I don’t mind if you don’t follow my rituals as you grow.  But I do want you to realize that you are not alone in this universe (there is a higher power).  And please don’t be lazy or slack in understanding your beliefs- simply saying that you are a believer is very different from doing what a believer does.

Yes, you will get many presents to unwrap from all of us tomorrow but these are some words that I am gifting to you that I hope you will take with you on your life’s journey.

I love you so much Ellie.  You have made these past 4 years the best of my whole life!


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