Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Scattering Flowers on May Day

Happy May Day!

If you didn't get around to making May Day baskets this year, you're not alone.  Fortunately, I found a fun crafty alternative that you and your whole family can do to scatter flowers year-round!  More on that below.  

Patrick Coffin, host of Catholic Answers Live (the best show in radio as far as I'm concerned), closes every show by saying, "Be a saint.  What else is there?"

Really, what else is there?  We're made to be saints, and we shouldn't be shy about saying so.  If my job as a wife and mother is to get my family to heaven, that's just another way of saying our mission is to become saints.  So, let's get on with it!      

Among all of the saints, St. Therese of Lisieux holds a special place in my heart.  This young French girl dedicated her life to becoming a prayer warrior.  Ironically, the cloistered Carmelite nun who only lived to the age of 24, is the patroness of the missions because of the way she inspires others to serve, know, and love God.  Like Therese, all of us have the opportunity to change the world around us through our prayerful presence--even those of us who might feel like we're "cloistered" on some days at home with little ones! 

In great humility, St. Therese embraced her vocation as a cloistered Carmelite and taught the novices entrusted to her how to follow in her "Little Way."
"Great deeds are forbidden me.  I cannot preach the gospel nor shed by blood -- but what does it matter?  My brothers toil instead of me and I, a little child, keep close by the throne of God and I love for those who fight.  Love proves itself by deeds.  I will scatter flowers, perfuming the Divine Throne, and I'll sweetly sing my hymn of love.  Those flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least of actions for love." 
Each day affords us the chance to "scatter flowers" in "every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least of actions for love."  Blockheads like me don't necessarily take advantage of every opportunity we receive to follow in St. Therese's "Little Way."  Catholic blockheads like me are blessed that Mother Church, in Her wisdom, gives us sacramentals to help us along our way to sainthood.  

Sacramentals engage all of my senses to remind me that my mission is to be a saint and not a blockhead!  Bringing sacramentals into our home for us to encounter on a regular basis helps turn our minds to what is above.  In a Catholic home, you're likely to see holy water, crucifixes, statues, icons, candles, blessed salt, the nativity scene, an Advent wreath, palm branches, etc.  To remind ourselves of our mission to become saints, Catholics keep the sacramentals on their bodies.  Examples include crucifixes, scapulars, wedding rings, ashes, religious habits, liturgical vestments, etc.  

I was hoping to put together some May Day baskets for friends and family this year as a little surprise.  I found an adorable basket on Pinterest, but the time got away from me.  Since I'm too late to deliver baskets, I wanted to think of a way to build in the habit of "scattering flowers" for my loved ones.  

A beautiful ministry called The Little Ways is a home-run ministry that is dedicated to spreading the example of St. Therese of Lisieux.  As part of their mission, they teach others how to make sacrifice beads and sacrifice bead bracelets.  

Sacrifice beads.  Image from thelittleways.com
According to their website, 
As a child, St. Therese, the Little Flower used a string of beads to count her sacrifices and acts of love done for God, in that way she was able to advance in perfection daily. You too, can grow in holiness by following the example of the Little Flower. Sacrifice Beads or Good Deed Beads are a string of ten beads, which can be pulled and remain in place. They are used to count the acts of love or sacrifices a person makes in a day for God. The string of sacrifice beads helps a person to grow in perfection by increasing their acts of love they do each day. The sacrifice beads we make also have a fixed Our Father bead on the end of them. Thus they double up as a rosary.
I don't know about you, but this blockhead still needs to work on self-sacrifice and daily acts of love done for God.  What a beautiful, tangible reminder of my daily mission as a wife and mother!  Not only is this a fun craft that families can do together, but it's an awesome sacramental that helps to instill the habit of self-denial and service for others.  In this "Little Way," we hold ourselves accountable on the beads, tucked away in our pockets.

Maybe next year I'll get around to the May Day baskets.  They are adorable!

Until then, I'll make a string of sacrifice beads to help me learn how to scatter flowers like St. Therese.  Hopefully, keeping this string of beads in my apron pocket will remind me to do little things everyday for the love of my neighbor (and, therefore, God).  

Maybe I'll get around to those May Day baskets in July...

If you're interested in learning more about St. Therese of Lisieux, read more at The Society of the Little Flower.  

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