Tuesday, November 11, 2014

St. Martin's Lent and other ideas...

The geography fair on Saturday was more than just learning about other countries. For us, while researching more into the Slovak Christmas traditions, we were also learning more about our Catholic faith. Today, for instance, is the Feast of St. Martin of Tours after which began "St. Martin's Lent" the period of waiting and abstinence that leads to Christmas. This was in the fifth century of course so things have lightened up a bit (less time, less fasting). Still, Advent is a time of prayerful waiting and we are waiting for something wonderful - the birth of our Savior! Why this requires less rather than more time, I don't know. As always, no one consulted me ;0)

That's a long way of saying I LOVE the Slovak Christmas book that we used to research the Christmas Eve meal and it has a whole script for St. Martin's Lent so that's what we're doing this year. Don't worry too much...it would seem the Slovaks need a lot of "feasting" within the fast so there are all sorts of feast days that are noted along the way. I'm so excited to learn more about this history and these Saints and join it all together as a family activity.

So, when I mentioned St. Martin's Lent the little people started into a very frank discussion about what they were willing to give up (or do in addition) during this time. #3 is a great reminder of why there is an age limit for fasting/abstaining...I can also think of one very good thing for #1 to abstain from ;0)

#3 - I am giving up doughnuts for St. Martin's Lent
Me - OK but what happens if daddy brings them home for dessert some day?
#3 - Oh, I won't give them up that day then
#1 - That's not how it works!!!

You know, though, I'm dealing with little people who have short attention spans and limited will power. I do think that's the way it will work this time around...abstaining from something one day and adding something extra another day. As long as we're learning the faith and understanding the purpose of giving up/doing more, that's good enough for me.
  And, yes, it's totally cool that it is Veterans' Day and St. Martin of Tours is the Patron Saint of Soldiers.

Thank you to all the veterans (Uncle Charlie!), especially those who paid the ultimate price for our country's freedom. There was a lovely man walking into the grocery store today and it was clear that he was a proud veteran. I wanted so much to thank him...for me, for my children, but all I had were tears. I think, when he saw them he knew because he smiled the most beautiful smile. How selfless these men were and how grateful we should all remain.

We are so very blessed.

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