October is almost here which turns my mind turns to the angels. As the fall leaves drop and remind us of our earthly transience, our thoughts settle on the spiritual world which is usually hidden from our senses, the world of Heaven, in which dwell the saints and angels. And so, we celebrate the feasts of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael today, September 29th, followed soon after by the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels on October 2nd. I try to focus on deepening my relationship with my guardian angel each October. I invite you to join me in this and in the process; we can help our children to do so as well.
Children love the angels: the beauty, the imagery, the mystery, the safety and protection. Honestly, we don’t know and understand a lot about the angels who lead an existence so different from us. But, let us ensure that our children know and understand the truth about who the angels are and what they do, so they are not misinformed by the popular culture.
- Guardian angels are chosen for us by God, Himself, and remain with us constantly. They are powerful enough to protect us from all spiritual and physical harm, although God may allow us to experience some harm or temptations caused by the evil of this world for His glory and our ultimate spiritual good.
- Angels are NOT deceased human beings. We can have relationships with our deceased loved ones who are SAINTS in Heaven. They continue to love us, pray for us, and even help us. Saints have been known to appear to us, but that does not make them ANGELS. An angel is created as an angel. When people refer to deceased humans as angels, they really mean that they are LIKE the angels now in the sense that they live as spirits with God in Heaven.
- Angels are pure spirit. They have no body. When angels appear to human beings they appear in ways that serve the purpose for which they are sent, often in human form. Physical depictions of angels in art are usually meant to be symbolic. Wings indicate speed as angels are not limited by time and space and so they appear to move very quickly. It also depicts that they have come to us from Heaven, high above. Scripture often describes the angels as being bright or white, referring to the power and purity of Heaven.
- Angels do not sin. Angels don’t live in time and space as we do. Their life is not a process. They see good and evil clearly and choose or reject God outright. Angels choose good. The ones who reject God are devils.
- Angels live in Heaven with God but can also be present to us when God commands. Angels will never sway from God’s will, but when we pray to them for help, God will answer our faithful prayers. God is very generous to us. He allows us to help the angels protect and guide us. All we have to do is ask and listen.
- Angels are much more powerful, smart, and beautiful than we are. They are innately greater beings than we. But in God’s wisdom, by becoming one of us through the Incarnation, He has made us greater than these superior beings and through the Coronation of Mary has made a human being Queen of the Angels. Once again, the last shall be first in the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Angels do not experience gender the way we do. They do not fall in love and marry the way we do. When Jesus explained that there is no marriage in Heaven, he explained that we would be “like the angels”. It is of interest that the angels described in Scripture are all male in nature.
- Angels are people. They are individual creatures of God with a mind and a will. They love us and want to be our friends in the Communion of Saints.
- Reach out to the angels in your prayers. Pray the Guardian Angel prayer and Prayer to St. Michael with your children daily. Pray to your angel and to their angels, regularly.
- When you are struggling with your child, ask your Guardian Angel to work with his Guardian Angel. Pope Pius XI recommended this strategy when dealing with others.
- Be open to the knowledge and possibility that angels interact with our world in supernatural and miraculous ways.
- Talk freely and aloud to your Guardian Angel and encourage little ones to do the same. “Teach the children that they are never alone, that an angel is at their side. Show them how to have a trusting conversation with the angel, who is a good advisor and intercedes for you and helps you in your needs.” Saint Pope John Paul II
- Keep images and books about the angels around the house. When our boys earned their Tae Kwon Do belts, we gave them Christmas presents of belt displays with an icon of St. Michael to accompany the display.
To whom God’s love commits me here;
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
(Listed oldest to youngest)
Making Music Praying Twice is a unique music education program in that it is “faith inclusive” for the Catholic child. We recognize faith as an important and, in fact, central aspect of life. If a child participates in a music program designed to reach the elements of her daily life, the music of her faith must be addressed.
Some of the most beautiful music in the world has been written for the Lord. God is the source of all beauty and knowing Him naturally enhances our appreciation of beauty. Faith truly enhances the music experience.
Likewise, our Church history, countless scripture references, and innumerable individuals can attest to the fact that music can enhance a faith experience. Making Music Praying Twice is not a religion class, but like other programs, aims to present the music of a child’s culture in ways that impact her daily life. Unless faith is recognized as a part of a child’s culture and a part of a child’s daily life, the music program will fall short of its goal.
Study after study in music education and development as well as brain-growth research supports the importance of enrichment in a child’s earliest years of life. As Shinichi Suzuki said, “There is no telling what heights children can attain if we educate them properly right after birth.” By presenting music from a faith perspective, your child’s mind and body, as well as his soul, are respected and educated in these most formative, precious years.
The Child, The Family, The Parish Family, The Church
Because God is so good, everything He touches is given Grace, His Own Very Life shared with us. Because God is so good, if we pray for His Grace, He always answers. This is why our work is so important to us. We give more and more children the gift of music, which is scientifically proven to enhance brain growth, memory, emotional development and overall wellness. But more than this, entwined in the power of this music are the prayers of our Catholic Church, ancient and modern, prayers of our Christian American heritage.
When a child sings, “Come Holy Ghost….” the Holy Spirit will not refuse. When parents sing as well, imagine what the Holy Spirit will do for that family. When a community of families sing together at a parish, imagine what the Holy Spirit will do for that community, for that parish. When the youngest families, with the youngest children are given these gifts in the most formative years of their lives, imagine what the Holy Spirit will do for His Spouse, the Catholic Church!
Hello and welcome to the Making Music Praying Twice Blog 2.0, or as we refer to it, “On a Note & a Prayer.” We’ve had a blog at MMP2 for quite a while but, we are looking forward to more regular posting and, hopefully, more readers and followers! We have a lot of exciting things going on that we are anxious to share, but we’re not quite ready… yet. In the meantime, perhaps an overview of what MMP2 is all about is a good place to start. For those of you already familiar with our program, feel free to comment below on your experience with our music and products. Have you taught a class? Tell us about that too!
Let’s start with our mission…
Music is a pathway to God.
Making Music Praying Twice provides that pathway by bringing children and parents together on the wings of music. Our program of music and movement designed to foster faith in Catholicism and to enrich education and family life pursues a profound goal:
While the gift of music education is invaluable,
the gift of music combined with prayer is immeasurable.
In a secular world often devoid of faith and of family togetherness, Making Music Praying Twice provides a genuine faith-based experience that is rare, enriching, educational, transcendental, and beautiful.
So, how do we create a musical pathway?
At Making Music Praying Twice, we strive to provide curriculum, tools, and opportunities to Catholic families and parishes so that children can grow in rich, faithful, musical environments filled with the power of prayer. By combining prayer, music, and family with the rich musical traditions of our Catholic heritage and all the sound educational principles of the latest advances in early childhood music and movement, children grow in music aptitude and overall development while drawing closer to God. But, because of God’s generosity and goodness, whole families are brought closer together, closer to Church, and closer to God. This is why we are compelled to provide the only faith-inclusive early childhood music curriculum for the Catholic child.
When we say this, we aren’t referring to music as tool for worship or catechesis. We mean that by learning and growing in music, this unique and beautiful gift from our Creator, we become more beautiful and more of whom He created us to be. When we learn the prayers and songs of our Catholic heritage, we become united with the Communion of Saints, all our brothers and sisters from the past who praised God with these same verses and melodies. When we become more musical in our daily lives, including songs of prayer and faith, our lives become entwined with this prayer. Through this prayer, God changes us. He answers our prayers and draws us to Him. Music touches the soul and remains in the memory in a special and powerful way.
This is why we connect so deeply to St. Augustine’s memorable quote: “He who sings, prays twice.” Music doesn’t just combine with prayer to make something special. Music multiplies prayer and makes it into something even more powerful and beautiful.
Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss any news. Up next, what are the benefits of Making Music Praying Twice on a child’s mind, body, and soul?
One of the challenges we face in modern society is preserving the meaning of holidays for our children. This is true of Christmas and Easter, but even the National Holidays like President’s Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day have lost their soul for many Americans. These have become bonus vacation days, rather than a day to reflect, pray and remember. In addition to parades and picnics, it is up to us to impart to our children the import of the sacrifice so many brave men and women have made in the name of freedom and justice.
As Catholics, we also remember that those who have passed continue in a relationship with us in the Communion of Saints. One day last week, I took a walk with my Augustyne. At 5-years-old, he assured me that he would keep up and not compromise my exercise, which isn’t hard since he is in much better shape than I! I took him my usual route, through one of our town’s older cemeteries. Once he learned how to spot the grave of a veteran, he pointed out every flag on the grounds, searching for soldiers and hoping that they died peacefully at home long after the war was over. When we turned back to our street, he said, “I didn’t know that
When my oldest was a wee thing, I got involved in our parish youth ministry. This was at least partly motivated by the selfish interest of finding local babysitters. Training us was the Director of Lay Ministry, Dave O’Brien. This is one of the reasons that my short stint on the Youth Ministry Team was so significant in my faith life. Dave was one of those people who decided long ago that God mattered most and he jumped into this point of view with both feet. He strives to live his faith radically, choosing extreme simplicity for himself so he can share more with others. His sparse closet could inspire a new reality show on TLC: Extreme Simplicity
As I sat in Mass, exhausted, just happy that I got there on time I realized that three candles were lit. Yes, the pink one, too. This rosy candle is supposed to tell us “Rejoice! Gaudete! Our Savior is almost here!” Instead, what I heard was, “Oh no! It’s almost Christmas and I still have so much to do!”
I battled my distraction with concerns over the traditions and social obligations as I tried to focus on the Advent readings. “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.”
Geesh! I am nowhere near the desert. I am so worried about how behind I am. My head is at the grocery store, the toy store, work. No wonder my soul fails to hear this call. No wonder my soul fails to hear the rose-colored candle beckoning me to rejoice.