Advent Craziness in the Multi-Aged Catholic Family

Our beautiful daughters...The younger ones needed some silence!

Our beautiful daughters…The younger ones needed some silence!

I love Advent.  Besides Lent, it is my most favorite time of the Liturgical Year.  Maybe it is all the purple…maybe it is that a baby is involved in the mystery of the season…maybe it is that winter is here (although, you would never know that in south Louisiana today).  Maybe it is a combination of it all…

One of the things I LOVE most about Advent is that it brings our busy family to a little bit of a stand still for at least 3.5-4 weeks.  Our busy schedules all of a sudden begin to have gaps, and this usually results in nightly dinner together.  This is where our Advent magic happens!  This year, we’ve added Lisa Hendey’s, “O Radiant Dawn,” as part of our family dinner Advent reflection.  And this is what brings me to my blog post tonight…

On Saturday, I was in the car with teenager #2, who really is a mature young lady.  She LOVES the boy band, One Direction (1D).  Now…if you know me, you know that boy bands are not really my thing, unless you are thinking back to the 80’s when I had a Tiger Beat crush on Menudo (pre-Ricky Martin, thank you very much!).  But now, boy bands just simply annoy me.  Their songs are predictable, unrealistic, and make teenage girls think they will meet the band at the next intersection!  Teenager #2 was relating to me about how Harry (1D) was dating Taylor Swift (popular female country singer who has a reputation of breaking up with boys and writing break up songs about them).  She was describing “facts” about their lives, and representing these facts as a basis for how she hates that they are dating.  I decided to take the opportunity on Saturday to teach my daughter how her disgust at their dating relationship was related to how she might talk about others, and how we should really take moments to pray for one another, and not to CALUMNIATE (to slander – according to dictionary.com).  To be honest with you, I just learned the definition of that word, calumniate, as I have been participating in praying the Litany of Humility for our radio show, Faith and Good Counsel (check us out at www.catholiccommunityradio.com.  The show is on Tuesdays, 4-5 CST).  We left the conversation at that, and Teenager #2 went to the next 1D song, with me praying for her to take a nap so I could change it to my Christmas music channel!

Fast forward to tonight during our “O Radiant Dawn” reflection.  Lisa Hendey uses a very simplistic approach to the prayers and reflections for younger and older members of the family.  I can totally appreciate this because I have multi-ages!  Tonight’s question was, “How can your actions show the trust you have in Jesus?”  To this question, our family provided several different answers, from our 6 year old’s answer of “The Bible…that’s what,” to the shoulder shrug from the 17 year old (Teenager #1).  After we were finished with our answers and discussion, the Teenager #2 says, “Oh, Mom!  I forgot to tell you…I took your advice and prayed for Harry and Taylor.”  My first thought was, “Who?”  So I said, “I really have no idea what you are talking about.  I told you to pray for your friends Harry and Taylor?  I don’t think I know them.”  Teenager #1 was cracking up laughing (actually, uncontrollably).  I was thinking, “What is going on here??”  Teenager #2 says, “Mom, don’t you remember you told me I shouldn’t talk bad about others, that I should pray for them.  So, I prayed that Harry from 1D and Taylor Swift would work out their issues, and their relationship would take the right path.”

At this point, everyone is erupting at the dinner table.  Teenager #2, known for her crush on 1D members, has taken it upon herself to pray for these celebrities.  On one level, it is part of the crazy crush on the band.  On the other hand, Teenager #2 is starting to see how faith impacts everything.  And, hey, she did listen to me.  Quite literally, I must say!  SCORE!  (Fist bumps in the background with my husband!)

It is even in these regular teenager discussions, things that happen in an ordinary day, that shows me that faith impacts EVERYTHING.  If you are living a Catholic lifestyle, it should impact everything…in big ways, sure.  But maybe even more importantly, in the small, seemingly insignificant ways.

3 Strategies for Avoiding Calumniating About Others:

1.  Pray the Litany of Humility.  It can be found at EWTN  at www.ewtn.com.

2.  Avoid opportunities to calumniate.  If this happens before meetings at your work place, then show up for meetings right on time.  If this happens with the moms at the ball field, then find a different group of individuals to sit with while at the field.  If this happens at church, change your church routine…be the first out to shake the hands with the pastor; spend extra moments in your pew praying thanksgiving for the Mass; deal with the children after Mass.

3.  Take a stand…Be a different voice at the table…affirm others…refuse to talk about others in the gossip circles…stand up for others who are being calumniated.  Walk away from it when it gets out of hand.

I made conscious decisions in my work life to walk away from a group of individuals who calumniated our supervisor.  She had a different management style that did not result in higher morale.  However, when I made the decision to walk away from calumniation, and instead pray for her, I was able to see and understand her in new ways…ways that were in line with how God saw her.  When my husband was in a coma in the hospital years later, she was the first person on site, ready to lend a hand, and help in any situation.  This was such a blessing.

Teenager #2 chose to view this celebrity couples the way perhaps God would view them.  It’s a start.  She prayed for them.

Peace of Christ to you!

Mary

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Comments

  1. Fist bump is right! I LOVE it when a parental moment shows some fruit! You go Teen #2! (I remember when you were born, and your name has always been a fav of mine!)
    It is oh so true that prayer changes things – mainly us.

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