As a revert to the church, I am STILL learning about all the beautiful things our religion has to offer. This year, for the first time, I learned about Ember Days. Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Luke 13:5 "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish."
This year the days fall on December 15, 17, and 18. Did you miss Wednesday, too? Praise the Lord we have a merciful and patient God. So, I'm hoping He will give me partial credit since I just found out about them.
We have much to be thankful for at our house. Next week, my husband starts a new job. This is significant because we have really felt the effects the ecomony. God does take care of all of us. We have learned to economize and really be thankful for things we used to take for granted, like gym classes for my kids or being able to afford both a babysitter and a movie. I'm also so very thankful for the generosity of others. My husband's family has regularly sent a check here or a check there for us to "just go out to dinner." Members of my family have sent money to fix things that have broken and to replace worn out items. Outside family members bought the kids Christmas presents this year. Also, a secret Santa left a gift card at our house to stuff the kids stockings. Prideful creature that I am, I would have perhaps donated that card to another more deserving family in the past. But, I opted to take is this year and use it for stocking stuffers, as directed. I turned down help in the past, because of my pride. I don't think God wants us to do it. So, this was a truly humbling experience for me. I'm thankful for the lesson.
But one of the things for which I'm most thankful for is my family. My husband has not ever lost hope. He knew God would care for us. I kept asking why? Or when will things finally change? "Ye of little faith..." Yes, that describes me. My prayers changed from "Lord, please give my husband a job." to "Lord, just take care of us and please help me be patient to see your plan." That's a big change for this impatient, prideful person. My kids don't whine anymore when I say, "We can't afford that." And, both sides of our family have helped us so much.
Lastly, I'm thankful for having a roof over my head and enough healthy food to feed my children. The next couple of months will be challenging in many ways. First, I need to keep my budget where it is now because we really tapped our saving over the last couple of years. I also need to become more independent. My husband will be traveling a significant amount of time each month over the following year or two. God didn't intend for me to be a single parent, so I pray for my husband's safety traveling and when he's away and that I manage well on my own. I am also praying that I can make more time for my kids. That will be more challenging with him gone.
Happy Ember Days - I will be praying Joyful Mysteries today. I will include my readers' intentions to those prayers.