My Light Magazine: a Catholic-centered magazine for children
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My Light Magazine is a Catholic centered magazine for children. The goal is to help Catholic and other Christian children nurture a deeper relationship with God. Many of our children know about God, but don't have that connection with Him. We aim to be a lightened path from our children to God himself.
About This Issue
The Catholic Magazine for Children
February/March Volume 2 Issue 6
http://mylightmagazine.com Founder and Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer Gladen
Assistant Editor: Patricia Tomiello Perry
Non Fiction Editor: Tracy Becker
Illustrator Coordinator: Carol Brooke
Poetry Editor: Diane Smit
Copy Editor: Patricia Tomiello Perry
Cover Art: Wendy Whittingham
Lily’s Life: Michelle Demos
Where Prayer Ends
By Catherine Bailey
Where does prayer end?
When is it done?
It’s when you’ve asked God
to help everyone.
Your family and friends.
Your neighbor next door.
Your teachers and coach.
Our soldiers at war.
Pray for the sick.
The lonely, the poor.
The weak and afraid.
But wait, there’s one more.
Before the Amen,
before you are through,
pray for yourself,
you need prayers too!
©My Light Magazine 2012
The Glory Be
Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
THE OUR FATHER
Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those
who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation.
But deliver us from Evil.
Act of Contrition
O My God, I am heartily sorry
for having offended you.
And I detest all my sins
because of your just punishments.
But most of all because they offend you, my God,
Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of your grace
to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.
By: Diana R. Jenkins
“What is that?” I stopped eating and stared at the thing in my little brother’s hand. It was flat...white…sort of round....
“It’s First Holy Communion!” said David. "I made it myself.” He must have torn bread from his sandwich and squished it. “It’s Jesus.”
“Get real!” I cried. “Bread becomes Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist. With a priest there. That’s just plain old bread.”
“Let’s pretend! Eat it, Cheri.”
“I’m not eating that! It’s covered with your germs. And anyway...I’ll have the real thing at my real First Communion.”
Mom came in, and David held up the chunk of bread. “Look, Mommy!”
“He’s pretending it’s a host,” I told her.
Mom put a hand to her heart. “Isn’t that sweet?”
“I tried on my white shoes, Mom,” I said. “They’re too small.”
But David was repeating the stuff I said about the Eucharist, and Mom was hanging on his every word. I would have to talk to her later.
At supper, I asked about my shoes again.
“We’ll buy you some new ones,” said Mom.
“Are you excited about your big day?” asked Dad.
“I can’t wait! We’re studying all – "
“Look, Daddy!” David interrupted. “I’m drinking the holy wine.” He sipped some cranberry juice then wiped his cup with a napkin.
“That isn’t the real thing, you know,” I told him.
“I know,” he said. “Watch this, Daddy.” He flattened a piece of his dinner roll into another fake host and made Dad eat it!
The next day, Grandma came to visit. “Have you been practicing for First Communion, Cheri?” she asked me.
Before I could answer, David ran up wearing a towel around his neck and carrying a bowl. "I'm a priest!" he shouted.
“No, you’re not!” I cried.
“He’s just pretending, Cheri,” said Mom. Like I didn’t know that!
David pulled a fake host out of the bowl and held it towards Grandma. “This is First Holy Communion.”
I thought David seemed disrespectful, but Mom and Grandma laughed like he was cute. Grandma ate the grubby chunk of bread, and David gave one to Mom, too, but I refused to play along. "It's not real," I told him.
“I know,” he said. “Now we’ll drink the holy wine.” Then he ran off to the kitchen. For his favorite cranberry juice, I guess.
Mom started telling Grandma about David’s pretend sacraments. Obviously we were through talking about my real First Communion! Nobody noticed when I went to my room.
I was so mad that I paced in circles. I took my First Communion very seriously. Shouldn’t David treat the Eucharist the same way?
Later he burst into my room, waving a box of tostada shells. “Guess what I’m doing with these?”
I could guess all right! It made me furious to think of David pretending the tostadas were big hosts. I snatched the box and yelled. “Get real! The Eucharist is not a game! The way you’re behaving is totally wrong!”
“What’s the problem?”asked Grandma from my doorway.
I felt embarrassed to be shouting even though I was right. Before I could explain, David ran out in tears.
“Let's talk,” said Grandma.
We sat on the bed, and I explained about David’s inappropriate attitude. “He shouldn't be playing around like that,” I said at the end.
“Little children pretend a lot," said Grandma. "It’s how they learn.”
“But he’s making my important day into a big game. And it’s all about him!”
Grandma hugged me. “David’s been getting a lot of attention, hasn’t he?”
To my surprise, tears came to my eyes. “It’s supposed to be my special time.”
“Your First Communion is the start of a closer relationship with Jesus,” said Grandma. “What could be more special than that?”
“Well....” The truth hit me then. Nothing David did could change what was happening between me and God. “Nothing!” I answered Grandma.
“Right,” she said with another hug. Then she picked up the tostada box and left.
I sat and thought. It was time for me to get real. I didn't like David "stealing"my attention so I came down too hard on him. That wasn’t nice!
I felt even worse about my behavior when I found David and Grandma in the kitchen, spreading refried beans on the tostadas. David must have been trying to tell me about that when he came to my room. I had shouted at him for nothing!
It was hard to apologize, but David made things easier. “That’s okay,” he said. “Do you want to sprinkle on the cheese?”
By First Communion day, David was into pretending to be a race car driver. It was embarrassing how he kept moving his hands like he was holding a steering wheel, but I didn’t let it get to me. I was into something special...something holy...something really real!
©Diana R Jenkins 2012
The Christmas Story
Based on Luke 2:1-20
Mary and Joseph left Galilee to go to Bethlehem because of a law stating they had to list their names in the town they were born. Mary was about to have her baby, but the law stated they must go. So, Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem.
While they were there, the time came for Jesus to be born. Once He was born, Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Out in the fields were shepherds watching their flock. As they kept watch, the angel of the Lord appeared to them. The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were afraid.
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
Suddenly there many angels praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us."
They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they told the Holy Family about the message from the angels. All who heard the story were amazed. Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned to their field, praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
By Tracey Becker
How would you like to spend your whole life in the same school? St. Bede did just that. When he was 7, he went to live with monks. What teachers he had! Many saints taught him, such as St. Bennet. All the kings and wealthy people sent their children here, but so did the poor. Bede’s family was not rich, but they loved Bede very much and wanted him to have the best education.
Everyone noticed how smart Bede was (we’re still reading his books and letters today!) When Bede wasn’t studying, he was singing. When it was time for him to graduate, he wanted to stay on. He became a monk, priest, and teacher. Everyone said that he was kind and happy and very smart. Bede said “what made me happy was learning, teaching, or writing.” People everywhere wanted Bede to come and teach them, but Bede wanted to stay where he was. So they came to him instead! Even Pope Sergius--the pope at that time--wanted Bede’s advice!
What made his writing so wonderful was the piety, honesty, and simplicity that shows through on each page. He said he studied the Bible “to learn the mysteries of faith and the maxims and rules of piety, treasuring up in his heart the most perfect sentiments of divine love, humility, and of all virtues, and diligently copying them in his whole conduct.” This means he studied to love God more. He learned how to live the virtues, such as humility and charity towards one's neighbor. Bede's life was a model of devotion, obedience, humility, simplicity, charity, and penance.
God allowed him to know when he would die, so Bede did not waste any time he had left. He wrote as many books as he could, and when he couldn’t write anymore, others wrote for him. When it was his time to die, he reached out his hands to God and started to pray the Glory Be. “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…” He was unable to finish because he died. Bede was 62.
CECILIA: THE SINGING SAINT
By A.J. Cattapan
Do you enjoy singing? Do you dream of being the next great musician to top the charts? If you do, you may want to become familiar with Saint Cecilia. She is an excellent prayer partner for people
Saint Cecilia grew up in Rome, during the third century. A lover of music, she would often sing God’s praises while playing a musical instrument. In addition to her musical talent, she was also wealthy, smart, and beautiful. Many rich Roman noblemen sought her hand in marriage, but Cecilia was not interested. She wanted to dedicate her life to God, so she took a vow of chastity and swore she would only be the bride of Christ.
Unfortunately, her parents had other plans. As often happened in the third century, Cecilia’s parents arranged her marriage when she was a teenager. Her parents planned for her to marry a young man named Valerian who was not a Christian. Cecilia was so unhappy with the idea that she wore rough sackcloth on her body, fasted, and asked the saints and angels to guard her. As she prayed, an angel appeared. He told her not to worry because he would protect her.
On her wedding day, Cecilia was miserable, but she used music to comfort herself. As the organ played, she sang in her heart directly to God. The marriage went through as planned, but on her wedding night, Cecilia told her husband Valerian about the angel that protected her. Valerian asked if he could see this guardian angel; Cecilia told him he could if he went to Pope Urban to be baptized.
Valerian did as his new wife suggested. When he returned, he found Cecilia praying. Behind her was an angel with flaming wings, holding two crowns of roses and lilies. The angel placed one on Cecilia’s head and the other on Valerian’s head. Then the angel disappeared.
©2011 Candace J Hardy
When Valerian’s brother Tiberius heard this story and saw the crowns, he was amazed by the flowers’ beauty and fragrance. As a result, he also went to Pope Urban for baptism.
During the third century, being a Christian was very difficult, not to mention dangerous! The pagans who ruled Rome imprisoned and killed those who followed Christ. The bodies of these martyrs were often left unburied. Cecilia, Valerian, and Tiberius decided to take action. The three of them spent their money helping the Christians the pagans had imprisoned and then buried the bodies of those who had been killed for their beliefs.
Since burying the martyrs was a public offense, Valerian and Tiberius were soon arrested. When they refused to worship the pagan gods, they were killed.
Cecilia immediately made arrangements for her husband’s home to be preserved as a place of worship. Despite what had happened to her husband and brother-in-law, Cecilia continued to preach and converted 400 people who were later baptized by Pope Urban.
Thereon Almachius, the prefect in charge of Rome at the time, decided Cecilia needed to be stopped. He ordered her shut up in a room and suffocated. Some versions of her legend say this room was actually a stove with the fires heaped up. Others say she was shut up in her own bathroom with the steam turned on. Either way, Cecilia did not die that first night.
Frustrated, Thereon ordered Cecilia beheaded, but when the executioner struck her three times, her head remained. Some say Cecilia sang to God to comfort herself with music. She asked God to keep her alive for three more days so that she could preach to and comfort the people who had gathered. After the third day, Cecilia died.
Centuries later, Cecilia appeared in a dream to Pope Paschal I, begging him to find her remains and give them a proper resting place. Pope Paschal did so and moved her body, along with that of Valerian and Tiberius, to the church that was named after Saint Cecilia. In 1599, Pope Clement ordered a shrine of silver be made to hold the remains of Saint Cecilia.
Today you can often find Saint Cecilia depicted in artwork with some kind of musical instrument, often an organ. Music brought strength and comfort to Saint Cecilia. When you are in a difficult situation, ask Saint Cecilia to intercede on your behalf. She may just send some heavenly music to comfort you!
Saint Joseph: The Silent Saint
By: Patricia Nikolina Clark
Behind Mary, Joseph is the most important saint in the Catholic Church. Yet very little is known about him. Who was this man chosen by God to raise His only son?
Nowhere in the Bible do we hear words spoken by Joseph. We learn about his character only through his actions, as told to us by the evangelists Matthew and Luke. They show us a man of great compassion, faith, and obedience to God.
There is much speculation about Josephâ€™s age at the time he was betrothed to Mary. A traditional belief is that he was an old man, a widower with six children. The reasons for this belief become clear when one remembers that Mary was a temple virgin, or Alma. This means that as a very young girl, she was delivered to the temple by her parents to be educated by the priests.
As an Alma, Mary participated in morning and evening prayers. She learned Scripture and spent her days praying, distributing gifts to the poor, and spinning and sewing. A modest, gentle girl, she was known to have a rare gift of contemplation. It was during her temple days, and with her parentsâ€™ consent, that Mary made a solemn vow to consecrate herself to God and remain a virgin her whole life.
When her father died, however, it became the responsibility of the temple priests to arrange a marriage for Mary. Honoring her vow of chastity, they searched for someone who would agree to such an arrangement. They found the perfect man in Joseph. He was a poor carpenter, but of noble lineage--and a man of great integrity.
While his true age may not be known, what is known is that he agreed to the chaste marriage. One can only imagine, therefore, his confusion and humiliation on discovering that this young girl, whom he had agreed to take as his virgin wife, was pregnant!
As a law-abiding Jew, Joseph had every right to expose Mary to the harsh punishment demanded by Jewish law of that day: death by stoning. Instead, his compassion and love for the young Mary prompted him to quietly send her away. It was after this decision that an angel appeared to him in a dream, telling him that the child in Maryâ€™s womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that he should not be afraid to take her as his wife. Being a man of great faith, Joseph accepted this truth, took Mary as his wife, and became the foster-father of our Lord.
After the birth of Jesus, Josephâ€™s faith was once again tested when an angel appeared to him saying, â€śArise and take the child and His mother to Egypt.â€ť Once again, he obeyed. He accepted exile to save Jesus from death at the hands of Herod.
Years later, after the danger had passed, Joseph brought his young family back to Nazareth. From then on, he lived the simple life of a humble Jew, working as a carpenter, providing for his family, and raising Jesus to also be a faithful Jew.
In Joseph, our Heavenly Father must have picked a man who exhibited the qualities He wanted His son to imitate-a perfect example of fatherhood on earth. And Joseph, in turn, accepted this responsibility by caring for Jesus with tender devotion. He protected Him, nursed his wounds, and taught Jesus a trade with the fatherly love of a carpenter for his son. He was a father to our Lord in every real sense of the word.
Although the greatest of saints, Joseph is the most hidden of all...and the most humble. He knew our Lord more intimately than did all the saints together. He lived for Him alone, yet remained silently in the shadows, never drawing praise to himself. Joseph knew that Jesus was God--thetrue father--and that Mary was the true mother of Jesus. As part of this â€śEarthly Trinity,â€ť Joseph quietly accepted his role as head of the Holy Family. And for their part, Mary and Jesus revered him and submitted to his authority.
Joseph died before witnessing the public ministry of Jesus. He died the sweetest of deaths, with Jesus and Mary at his side. For this reason, when our time comes, we pray to Saint Joseph for a â€śhappy deathâ€ť like his, in the arms of our Lord and Blessed Moher.
A Gift from St. Valentine
A Gift from St. Valentine
Valentine’s Day is a very exciting time. You wait to count how many valentines you will get from your friends. You feel the more valentines you have, the more friends you have. In addition, there’s all the candy you might get. However, do you know why Valentine’s Day is celebrated? We celebrate Valentine’s Day because there was a St. Valentine, who was a martyr. Because of his gift, we have a Valentine’s Day.
St. Valentine was well-loved priest that lived thousands of years ago in 269 A.D. The Roman people loved him and huge crowds gathered at the temple to hear him speak. While he was preaching and marrying people, the Emperor Claudius was trying to build an army to defend his empire. However, he couldn’t get married or single men to join the army because it meant leaving their families. That made the emperor angry, so he made a law that no one could get married.
Valentine didn’t like the new law and married people in secret. He didn’t want people to live in sin. When the authorities caught the priest, they arrested him and threw him in prison. While Valentine was in prison, the emperor became fond of him. The Claudius realized that the priest was a good speaker and very smart. He tried to convince Valentine to give up his faith and stop marrying people. The priest refused and was condemned to die.
While waiting for execution, Valentine became friendly with one of the jailers. He asked the priest to teach his daughter, Julia. Julia was blind. Valentine read her stories, taught her math, and told her about God. There was some talk that Valentine’s prayers cured Julia of her blindness.
On February 14, Emperor Claudius executed Valentine. The priest’s last words went to Julia in a note, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it “From your Valentine.” The phrase ‘from your valentine’ has become permanent. Starting this Valentine’s Day, say a prayer of thanks to St. Valentine for his gift - a special Day to celebrate our love for each other. Your prayer would be a gift to St. Valentine.
St. Margaret and the Dragon
by Marge Gower
St. Margaret’s feast day is July 20. A feast day is yearly celebration of a martyr. Margaret was born in Antioch. Her father, Adesius, was a pagan priest. A pagan is someone who worships more than one God. Margaret’s mother died, when she was an infant. From then on, a nurse instructed Margaret in the Christian faith and she became a devout Christian. When Margaret’s father learned she was a Christian, he drove her out of the house. She had to earn her living as a shepherdess.
One day, a Roman soldier arrived in Antioch to persecute the Christians and he imprisoned Margaret. St. Margaret was a beautiful girl and the soldier fell in love with her. He wanted her to be one of his wives. He questioned her in front of the village, offering her the happiness of being one of his wives, but she had to give up her faith or to be tortured. She answered the soldier by telling him that she had found true life and happiness with God. He was in her heart and no on could remove him. St. Margaret said she adored, glorified, and worshiped Jesus Christ and would never cease honoring him. She told the soldier that no torture would be able to remove Jesus from her heart.
The soldier was angry. He had her scourged and suspended her in the air by her hands. People pleaded with the soldier to spare her, so he threw her into the dungeon. According to a legend, the devil came to the dungeon and tempted her in the form of a dragon. She made the sign of the cross and he disappeared. Later the dragon came back and swallowed her whole. She was able to burst out of the womb of the dragon. This legend is what made St. Margaret the Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers.
Eventually, the soldier had St. Margaret beheaded. When the soldiers led St. Margaret out to her death, she thanked God that the end of her suffering had come. She also prayed, because of her miraculous release out of the womb of the dragon, mothers giving birth might pray for her intercession that their child be delivered safely, just as she had been from the dragon.
St. Margaret might be on you church’s stain glassed windows. She will have a dragon at her feet, with the end of a cross thrust between her teeth. She has a wreath of pearls worn around her neck. This is because the name Margaret means Pearl. St. Margaret was truly one of God’s pearls.
Book Review by Author and Editor-in-Chief of My Light Magazine Jennifer Gladen
A Wish and a Prayer
By Beth Bence Reinke
When Jason's parakeet flies out the window and is lost, he wishes on various objects in hopes of bringing his pet home. But is there something better than wishing? A story that gently teaches children the difference between wishing and praying.
Review: A wish. A Prayer. What's the difference? Are the two the same? In Beth Bence Reinke's book, A Wish and a Prayer, Jason soon finds out that the two couldn't be more different. When Jason's parakeet accidentally flies out of his window, Jason does everything he can to get him back. He searches for him in the park, and he calls him with the parakeet's special tweeting song. He even tries wishing the parakeet back for an entire week.
It isn't until Jason realizes he's been looking in the wrong places that he finds his parakeet. While he's been turning to wishing on a clock and candles to find his bird, he soon discovers these actions will not help him find the parakeet. But when he offers a faithful prayer to God for the bird's return, he awakes to that familiar tweeting song only his parakeet can sing.
This is a great story on the difference between wishes and prayers, a lesson every child should learn.