Mar 26, 2013

The Passover Holy Day

  This is Passover week of the Jewish holy day, Passover also called The Festival of Unleavened Bread. Pesach, of Passover, is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish religion. Passover usually takes place in March and or April, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. It is a eight day celebration which is symbolic of when the Jewish people, led by Moses fled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. Passover celebrates liberation and freedom from slavery.

Passover literally means that the Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Israelite's who had marked there doors with the blood of a lamb so that the first born of every Jewish family would be saved. During Passover the Jews eat matzoh a flat unleavened bread to remember the hardships of their ancestors in the desert during their Exodus from Egypt.

On the first two days of Passover, Jewish people prepare a special meal called a seder, meaning "order". During the meal, certain foods are eaten and prayers are said in a particular order. To explain the historical and religious meaning of the holiday, the Haggadah (from the Hebrew word "to tell") is read. Within the Haggadah, there are stories, prayers, psalms and songs that describe the exodus. 

The seder is designed to hold children's interests especially. One of the ways children participate in the seder is by making a cup for the prophet Elijah. This cup is filled with wine and placed in the center of the table. According to tradition, during the dinner Elijah enters every house, sips the wine and heralds the coming of the Messiah.  
Malachi 3:23 or Malachi 4:5
 "Behold, I will send you Eli'jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes."

The Institution of Passover:

Exodus chapter 12 which I have outline below is the institution of Passover as well as specific rules on how the Hebrews were to celebrate it. I will give you some verses to outline it all but I recommend that you go and read the entire Exodus 12 for yourself. This is also the perfect time of year to read the whole book of Exodus. Also see Deuteronomy 16:1-7 and Deuteronomy chapter 12.

"The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,"


"This month shall be for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household;"

"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening. Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 

Do not eat any of it raw or boiled with water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning, anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste. 

It is the LORD's passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 

"This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses, for if any one eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 

On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly; no work shall be done on those days; but what every one must eat, that only may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt: therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as an ordinance for ever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, and so until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 

For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; for if any one eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread." Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, "Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the passover lamb. 

Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you. 

You shall observe this rite as an ordinance for you and for your sons for ever. And when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, `What do you mean by this service?' you shall say, `It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he slew the Egyptians but spared our houses.'" 

And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did."

It has been more than 3,000 years since the institution of the Passover and it is still the most important holy day for the Jewish population. Since the first century it has also become especially important to Christians marking the days of the holy week concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

"Holy Week is the week which precedes the great festival of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, and which consequently is used to commemorate the Passion of Christ, and the event which immediately led up to it."

I hope you liked my post here about Passover. I hope it helped you to understand what the holy day is all about. It is fun to learn about all of the many different cultures that make our world so great. I feel it is especially important for kids as well. 

Until next time Happy Passover!


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Passover crafts for kids:

DLTK's Passover crafts for kids.

You may also be interested in:

Is Easter Pagan? by Homeschooling Works with special thanks to Jimmy Akin.


Jewish Holy Days:

The Hanukkah Story by Homeschooling Works.

Mar 25, 2013

Is Easter Pagan?

  I am sure you have heard from many different people and religious groups that Easter which is a Christian Holy Day is actually Pagan. In my opinion this is an attempt to Peganize Christianity and in some cases more specifically the Catholic Church. For Christians Easter is about the resurrection of Christ who died and rose again for the sins of the world and not bunnies or goddesses. My friend Jimmy Akin has done some research on the subject in his article titled Is Easter a Pagan Holiday? He has also done a great video on the subject you can see this below.

 

Is Easter a Pagan Holiday?

Q: Isn’t Easter a pagan rather than a Christian holiday, as shown by its very name by the fact that its date is determined by the full moon after the Spring equinox?

A: Anyone making this charge shows a total lack of comprehension of global Christianity. In fact, only a person speaking English or German could even possibly make this charge.

First, let’s deal with the date. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following March 21 (historically, the Spring equinox). The reason, however, has nothing to do with paganism. It has everything to do with Judaism and with Christ’s Resurrection.

Christ was resurrected on Sunday — the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1) — thus since the First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 all Christians have celebrated his Resurrection on Sunday. Prior to that, most celebrated it on Sunday, but some, known as Quartodecimians (“Fourteenth-ers”) celebrated it on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, when Passover occurred. At First Nicaea all Christians agreed to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on first Sunday after 14 Nisan because that was the day Christ was Resurrected in the first century — the Sunday after Passover...

Continue reading...

I hope you have found the info helpful and I wish everyone a blessed Ester!

Mar 15, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day Everyone!


I love Saint Patrick's Day! He is one of my favorite saints. I love to learn about the saints. This time of year is a great time to learn about Saint Patrick. Read or listen to Saint Patrick's Confessions his life in his own words. Link at the bottom :)

History:

      Saint Patrick was ordained by St. Germanus, of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years. Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane.

One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.


Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands! They began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick by now had many disciples among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well). Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote about his life in his Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461. He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock? Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He explained that like the clover which is three leaves on one stem God is three persons in one God. It has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.


In His Footsteps: Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man. His love, devotion and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God.

Every year I love to listen to the audio recordings of the writings of Saint Patrick. I especially love his short bio titled Confessions. You can download the collected works of Saint Patrick audios for free at Librivox.org

Also check out!

Download Confessions by Saint Patrick pdf
More on the history of Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick with some additional information

An Old Irish Blessing For You!
May the road rise up to meet you. 
May the wind always be at your back. 
May the sun shine warm upon your face, 
and rains fall soft upon your fields. 
And until we meet again, May God hold 
you in the palm of His hand.

ST. PATRICK'S PRAYER

        St. Patrick's prayer for the faithful captures the wonderful spirit that made him Ireland's patron saint, and one of the Church’s most beloved missionaries. Born in Britain shortly before the 5th century, St. Patrick, was taken captive to Ireland by raiders at the age of 16. 

In his Confessions he talks about how while on the ship of the raiders/pirates that captured him there was a harsh storm. The men said to him Christian why don't you ask your God to save us? Saint Patrick said to them if you submit to God and convert we will be saved. Long story short they all converted and submitted to the Christian God and safely landed on land.

He lived there for six years as a shepherd under harsh conditions and became intensely devoted to God in prayer, as he puts it, “because the spirit was then fervent within me.” Tradition has it that divine dreams inspired both his escape from captivity in Ireland and his return there later in his life as a bishop.

In this prayer he asks for God’s help in various ways:

May the Strength of God pilot us. 
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Host of God guard us.
Against the snares of the evil ones.
Against temptations of the world 
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Salvation, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and evermore. 
Amen.

     St. Patrick's prayer no doubt helped him in his missionary efforts. Although he faced his share of resistance, St. Patrick was so successful in preaching the gospel and organizing the Church in Ireland that he is largely credited with converting the Irish to Christianity.

His emblems are the snakes that legends claim he drove out of Ireland and the Shamrock he used to great effect to explain the Holy Trinity. (This is a wonderful illustration of three distinct entities, the three leaves of the clover, making up one shamrock, much like the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit constitute One God!)

St. Patrick's prayer for the faithful, much like the famous Breastplate prayer also attributed to him, can truly inspire us to ask for divine assistance in living our faith each day.

As Our Lord said in Matthew's gospel, if our requests are in accordance with His will, “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” Matthew (7:6). The “Strength of God” mentioned in the first line of this prayer should give us strength indeed!

Saint Patrick pray for us : )

By Joanne Utke

ourcatholicprayers.com

Mar 10, 2013

My Breastfeeding Story

  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big supporter of breastfeeding. I feel it is very important for both mom and baby. It has been almost five years since my youngest weaned but it is still an important issue for mothers so I wanted to post about my person experiences with breastfeeding. I hope my story will encourage you to choose breastfeeding for your own children : )

This is an account of my first breastfeeding experience, with my first baby.

It all started when I gave birth to my son, my pregnancy went well. My labor was none progressive and I did not have strong enough contractions for proper dilation. After 26 hours of labor I ended up having a c section and I delivered a beautiful 8.7 lb baby boy! He was a big boy and was born two weeks prior to my due date.

I was in recovery for about 4 hours, it seemed like forever. I could think about was nursing my baby boy! I read the books and heard how important it was to get baby on the breast as soon as possible, preferably right away! That was not an option for me and I feared what may happen. I heard that many woman after a c section could not breastfeed and that if the baby wasn't nursing right after birth then there was a good chance that it would not work at all.

I kept thinking about this and just wanted to get out of that room so I could get to my baby! Prior to my being in the hospital I wrote specific instructions to the nurses about my newborn. I asked that NO bottles, pacifiers or formula be given to my baby, under any circumstances! Even still I worried that if I didn't get to him in time he would get hungry and they may give him some formula or a pacifier.

Even though I had heard and read those discouraging statements throughout my pregnancy, I knew that nothing would stop me from doing what was right for my self and baby. All my life, even as a little girl I knew I wanted to breastfeed my babies. I always felt that if I was going to have children that they would be breastfed, my goal was three years for each of my children. Finally I got out of that recovery room and made it to a regular hospital room. I got my self settled in and they had me hooked up to IV and such, it had been about 4 hours since my c section and all I wanted was to nurse my baby. I waited and waited, it seemed like a long time.

Finally I called the nurse and asked her to bring me my baby! 

Once he came in I was so happy! Since I had a c section I barely got to see him and definitely didn't get to hold him yet. Finally I had him and he was hungry so we got to work. While I was pregnant I read the book So That's What They're For!: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide so I felt confident that I knew what I was doing and needed little help from the nurse. It was difficult at first and we had latch on problems. For me getting a good latch was very hard and I kept referring to my book for further assistance. My baby kept wanting just the nipple, the books all say that the baby must have the entire areola  in his mouth for a good latch to take place.

So I did just what the book said and I would put him on and take him off if a good latch was not established. This caused many hours and practice, practice, practice lol! As a result my nipples became sore and red, the second day my nipples had scabs on them! Ouch!! Now this is the point where many woman say forget this! and go for the bottles of formula. Not me, I was not going to let anything stop me form doing what was right for my baby. I had just had a long difficult labor then a c section, I was not going to let this discourage me! The nurse brought me some Lansinoh Breast Cream and that really helped a lot.

After a few days the scabs were gone from my nipples but we were still having latch on problems and that kept my nipples sore. I kept saying to my self over and over that this was just a learning experience for me and my baby. I knew that soon it would be perfect and the pain would be gone. Four days later we go to go home. After I got settled in, my baby and I laid down and took a nap.

When I woke up my baby felt hot! So I took his temperature and it said 101 degrees! I was freaked, why would my baby have a fever? I thought. Then I put him in his baby chair, he quickly cooled down and then I discovered that I was the one with a 101 temp. Thankfully it wasn't my baby, he had only gotten hot sleeping on my skin and I had the fever. I realized how sick I felt after that and discovered that my milk had let down but mastitis had set in! Great I thought, latch on problems and now a breast infection!

If that wasn't enough! Since we were still having latch on problems my baby wasn't emptying my breasts enough to stop engorgement, so I had that to. I wish I could say that I wasn't freaking out but I was. I was upset, crying and taking Tylenol to help me feel better from the fever. I did go to the doctor the next day and was taking antibiotics for the breast infection. In the mean time I consulted my book and called for advice from the breastfeeding consultants at the hospital.

They told me for engorgement to soak my breasts in warm water and then nurse my baby. I was told to do this prior to each feeding, so that is what I did.  Engorgement happens within 72 hours after you give birth, your breasts start producing a lot of milk, eventually replacing the colostrum (or pre-milk) your baby has been drinking. As that happens, more blood flows to your breasts and some of the surrounding tissue swells. The result? Full, swollen breasts.

I kept doing all of that for days and every day it got better, after a full month of practice we were pros at this newly acquired skill of breastfeeding. I keep saying we because breastfeeding is just as much a learning experience for your baby as it is for you. He doesn't no any more than you do about it, all he knows is he is hungry and these things are the way to get food. I am not telling you all of this to scare you in any way.

What I do want to do is tell you what I went through and let you know that the problems and pain won't last. Just keep moving forward. The problems that I had were not unusual for a new breastfeeding mom. This is why I believe so many give up and cave in to the formula manufactures plan of scientifically engineered none breast milk.

Despite the problems that I had the first month, I continued to breastfeed my son. He never had a bottle, formula or a pacifier. I was all of these things for him and he continued to nurse until he was 2 and a half years old. I wanted to go for three years but my new pregnancy caused me to want to take a break before starting all over again. I was three months pregnant when my son weened, that means I had a whole six months to give my breasts a rest.

Don't Quit!

Yes it does take a good month to get the hang of it and for your baby to learn how to do it, but it is so worth it. Some mothers also have it very easy and have babies who just do it right the first time. Every mothers breasts and baby are different and every experience will be unique in some way. No matter what, you can do it, that is what your breasts were created for.

When I was breastfeeding I thought it was so amazing to think that I am doing something that literally mothers have been doing since the begging of human kind. Suddenly I felt connected to every mother who had lived before me. What an amazing thing!

I knew that if mothers of the ancient worlds could do it, then I could surely do it in today's world. I never gave my self a choice not to do it! That is the mind set you must have! Don't give up no matter how hard it is at first, soon you and your baby will be pros and you will be so proud that you never gave your baby formula.

By the way nothing can take place of breast milk for your baby. What nature has set in place works. It is the perfect food for your baby, it is healthy for mom to, it is always clean and never requires any bottles or any other man made thing. It bonds you to your baby like nothing else! Perfection like this can never be created in a lab and factory..

Please comment and share this info with others!

To your breastfeeding success!

By Joanne Utke