A Giveaway, A Gallery….

Today I would like to offer you a Giveaway!

First, The Precious Blood and Mother Prayer Book! This is a wonderful little prayer book. I have talked about it in the past and have used it all through my married life. It has very special prayers in it! Here is a little book review I did on it.

Also included in the Giveaway is a lovely wire-wrapped rosary bracelet set made by moi. The sweet Kanzashi Ribbon Flower is made by Jeanette.

Just make a comment on this post and I will include your name in the drawing. The winner will be announced next Friday!

 

Theresa (our daughter) sent us these tidbits:

(Nini is 5, Brendan is 7)

Nini’s take on Adam and Eve…”And God said to Adam and Eve, you can eat all the veggies but not the little apples, which are fruit!”

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Nini: “The devil always lies to us, but God doesn’t do one SNIGIT of a lie!!”

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I’m listening from the bathroom… Brendan says, “I’m serious, Sienna, people eat sugar, then they get addicted and then they get fat!”

Sienna, “Yuck!”

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Brendan said, “Let’s play that Adrian is Donald Trump. We are the yelling people, and he puts us in jail!”

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So I said to Sienna that we are going to celebrate Valentine’s early tonight…..With roast chicken, new potatoes with rosemary, sourdough stuffing and a cream cheese and nut tea-ring. She looks at me and says, “Is that all?”🙄 🙄

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Sienna was playing by herself with the Pick-up sticks and she asked me, “Mom, if you cheated and went and blessed with holy water, would it take it away?”

I said, “It might, if you do it very reverently.”

She got up and tore off to the holy water font. I guess she must have cheated on herself! 😂 😂

 

Nini:

 

My phone’s camera has not been as busy lately but here are a few picture of this month:

The Golden Nuggets of Suffering

Lent …a good time to meditate on suffering. A Throwback for Thursday:

Jesus-Crucifixion

by Leane VanderPutten

Lent makes us pause, gives us a chance to think of Our Lord’s suffering….a suffering we, as mere mortals, have a hard time wrapping our heads around.

I don’t pretend to understand the problem of human suffering. At times, it seems pointless, endless and utterly self-defeating…at times.

Those are the moments we are tempted to look up and say, “Ummmm….Dear Lord, are you SURE You know what You are doing here???”

But, good Catholics that we try to be, we resist the temptation to ask God what He is about, or why He does what He does….at least we try not to do it in accusing tones.

I believe God understands because, after all:

“Evil is a mystery, a scandal and it will always be so. It is necessary to do what one can to eliminate it, to relieve suffering, but it always remains present in our personal lives, as well as in the world.”

We are reassured that:

“Its place in the economy of redemption reveals the wisdom of God, which is not the wisdom of man; it always retains something incomprehensible. …. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9).” – Fr. Jacques Philippe

I have had two very strong examples in my life of suffering that was well borne.

I knew a couple…..a vibrant, lovely, cheerful young couple. They were always ready to lend a helping hand and they were loved by many.

They owned a business where they both worked hard. It was a business that brought people in from near and far….not only for their wares but, also, and maybe even most of all, for their magnetic and caring personalities.

One day, the husband had an accident that was to cause him pain and grief for the rest of his life. He had to sell his business and seek other employment. He had surgery after surgery to relieve the pain. Nothing seemed to work except stronger and stronger medications.

It got to the point where he could work no more and his sweet and lovely wife had to take a job. This particular man bore his pain and his unaccustomed weakness bravely. He hardly complained, he still held his hand out to those in need, and he was a pleasure to be around, joking and laughing, as always. You almost forgot what kind of anguish he bore within himself.

He handled his pain well but there was a problem…….He had. no. faith. He and his wife left the Church many years before the accident.

I would often think of this dear man with sadness. He had such a wealth of  power at his fingertips! The people he could have influenced, the pain he could have relieved, the sufferings of others that he could have borne…..if he had only known to offer up his pain to Our Lord….Pain that is such a valuable treasure! More riches than the whole world did he have!! And yet the years went by and his suffering was lost…..lost….spiraling down into the abyss of nothingness.

Let me tell you about another man.

This gentleman’s name was Jim. Though Jim was a young man, the Legion of Mary first met him in a retirement home. He was a quadriplegic…..he couldn’t move any of his limbs.

When you walked into Jim’s room it was as if you were walking into a tomb. It was quiet….still…..dimly-lit. I remember the first time going to see him, I was taken aback at the somberness of it all.

But once you got on the side of Jim’s bed where he could see you, you got quite another picture! Jim was so much alive despite his paralyzed body. His eyes danced and his lips curved into a smile!

You see, Jim had been a Harley Davidson guy in his mobile years. His life was spent seeking pleasures and empty diversions. It was a life of unhappy dissipation.

One day Jim had an accident. The accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Enter the Legion of Mary. Through many visits, Jim learned about the Catholic Faith and converted. He also learned about the value of suffering.

He learned that he had such a store of wealth that he could distribute among others who were hurting. He could offer it for his wife, who had left him after the accident. He could offer it for his two children, knowing that this would be his only influence and legacy he would leave them….a great legacy, indeed, though they may not know it in this life.

Jim became a dynamo of love. He was genuinely concerned for anyone who had hurts, who needed prayers. Many of us came to him with prayer requests, knowing that his prayers must be powerful with God! His wall was dotted with many photos of families that wanted him to pray for them…..and which he steadfastly did each day.

He told my friend, Mary Ann, the woman who was instrumental in converting Jim and who was his Godmother, that he was happier now than he had ever been in his former “walking” life. Imagine that! He was a living testimony of the Miracle of Faith!

Here is a picture of Jim with his Godparents, Mike and MaryAnn and their family. (The top girl on the left became my dear daughter-in-law.) Father Lontiev is posing with them.

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Jim died about 4 years ago now. He had such a hard life….and yet he was a man of incredible faith and influenced many lives. One day, we will see the influence of this one man’s suffering on the world around him. It will be great, I have no doubt.

Each day, we too, have sufferings, inconveniences, disappointments and hurts. These are great opportunities and valuable prayers. We have the opportunity to hand these golden nuggets to Our Lord.

As women, wives and mothers we care so very much for our loved ones. We hurt when they hurt. Oftentimes we feel helpless.

We don’t need to feel helpless. Let’s take each nugget of suffering and, instead of kicking against the goad, give them to Our Lady, who, in turn, can polish them up, rid these nuggets of the dirt and grime of our self-love, and lay them at the feet of Our Lord as only His Mother can do.

One day, we will see the influence of our own suffering well-borne in our little worlds: Our son was steered back to the faith, our sister was given insight into her marital troubles, our uncle was now willing to take his meds for his mental illness, Grandma found help for her arthritis, Susie’s obstinacy is being resolved, etc. etc. All because YOU offered your sufferings each day to Our Lord in your Morning Offering and all through the day.

From Father Raoul Plus, S.J.: “Of the three apostolates: prayer, action, and suffering, the most efficacious is suffering.

…..Our duty is evident. The work of redemption is binding upon both the Master and the disciples. The manner of redemption chosen by the Master must be adopted by the disciple. To be a Christian is to be not only one redeemed but also a redeemer, not only one saved but a savior. What nonsense, then to refuse sacrifice!”

And, as Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote “Pain, agony, disappointments, injustices-all these can be poured into a heavenly treasury from which the anemic, sinful, confused, ignorant souls may draw unto the healing of their wings.”

Remember that in God’s eyes, none of these sufferings are useless….they are nuggets….golden nuggets.

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“The woman was given a different assignment, that of helpmeet, mother, homemaker. We apply the word helpmeet to mean the role of the wife as she offers understanding, encouragement, support, and sometimes help. Since she is biologically created to bear children, her role as a mother is unquestioned. Her homemaking role is assumed: She must nurture her young and run the household, to free her husband to function as the provider.” -Helen Andelin

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All 4 Maglets! The Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet, Sunshiny Disposition, True Womanhood and Advent/Christmas Magazine Booklet Package of 4!

Available here.

Finer Femininity is a small publication compiled to inspire Catholic women in their vocations. It consists of uplifting articles from authors with traditional values, with many of them from priests, written over 50 years ago. These anecdotes are timeless but, with the fast-paced “progress “of today’s world, the pearls within the articles are rarely meditated upon. This little magazine offers Catholic womankind support and inspiration as they travel that oftentimes lonely trail….the narrow road to heaven. The thoughts within the pages will enlighten us to regard the frequently monotonous path of our “daily duties” as the beautiful road to sanctity. Feminine souls need this kind of information to continue to “fight the good fight” in a world that has opposing values and seldom offers any kind of support to these courageous women. Inside the pages you will find inspiration for your roles as single women, as wives and as mothers. In between the thought-provoking articles, the pages are sprinkled with pictures, quotes and maybe even a recipe or two.

REVIEWS!!!

“I enjoyed this book so much. These are articles that can be read and reread many times especially when your spirits need a ‘pick-me-up’. I especially liked the little thoughts and sayings sprinkled throughout the book. So full of wisdom!” -Julie S.

“Oh it’s purely delightful to cuddle up with a cup of tea and my Finer Femininity Maglet. 🙂 I LOVE IT! Can’t wait for the Christmas edition!!” -Elizabeth V.

“This book is very refreshing to read. It is very beautifully written and easy to read. It encourages you…. that your efforts are worth it, enlightens you to do better in a positive way and gives you confidence that you can be good in a not-so-good world. If you want an all-around good book this is it. I look forward to each new publication!” -Emily

“Love it! this is something I will pick up over and over to read.” -Sarah

 

 

 

The Christian Pattern

No matter where we live we need to figure out the best way to raise our children. We need to use all our ingenuity to make sure they are growing up to be faithful servants of the Church and good and wholesome men and women that can survive in the world but not be of it.

I think this speaks volumes: “The Christian culture which we parents must fashion in our homes day by day, then, needs to be at once strong and supple, definite and adaptable. For it must train our children to live as Christians both at home and outside the home, both now and in their future lives.”

She points out in this small excerpt that the first requisite in raising fine Catholic children is the Sacraments….

Thank God for our Holy Faith in a very un-holy world!

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Pictured below: Father Walker (R.I.P.+) giving Rosie his First Blessing.

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from the Challenge of Christian Parenthood

by Mary Perkins, 1950’s

Along what lines should we try to educate our children? How much of modern civilization should we try to bring them up to accept, how much to reject, how much to reform? How best can we train them for whatever God may want them to do for Him in the unknown world of the future?

Before one is actually immersed in the task of parenthood, the answers to such questions seem fairly simple. “Bring up children along traditional Christian lines….” “Train them in Christian principles…”

But when one is faced with the innumerable decisions of daily family life, it does not seem so easy always to determine the “traditional Christian lines” of child training, or to see what “Christian principles” could or should be applied in actual practice.

How much, for example, should you let small boys follow the current local fashions in clothes? In toy pistols? In candy and gum? If you let them be as much like “everybody” as your means permit, short of anything obviously sinful or leading to sin, will you be giving the children the best preparation for not being like “everybody” in things that would be sinful? What is the line and where should you draw it?

In other times, society as a whole guided parents in such “drawing of lines” and it also backed up their authority with its own. There was an accepted way of going about the business of living, there were customs and conventions, and there was a definite social pattern which was at least remotely Christian. Parents could usually count on the help of the community in which they lived in giving their children some Christian standards of individual and social behavior.

But today there are few “communities,” in the old sense of the word. There are no true social patterns, there are few customs and conventions that will help us in the art of Christian living. We must try to communicate to our children the Christian way of looking at life, the Christian way of dealing with life.

And we must do so while we are living in the midst of a society not exactly opposed to our “point of view” (as an agnostic would call it), but so confused in its own outlook that it confuses us, making it very difficult for us to hold our own point of view clearly or to act in accordance with it consistently.

We have to incarnate a Christian way of living in our homes in the midst of a society neither Christian nor truly pagan but secular, that is, disconnected from the influence of God or of “the gods,” as far as that is possible.

The Christian culture which we parents must fashion in our homes day by day, then, needs to be at once strong and supple, definite and adaptable. For it must train our children to live as Christians both at home and outside the home, both now and in their future lives.

But how can we best go about such a task? If we tackle it like a picture puzzle, taking pieces of advice even from the most authoritative sources and trying to fit them together, we may find only a puzzle as a result.

Unless we ourselves have some blueprint, some master-plan by which to judge whether to adopt Father A’s scheme of family prayer, or Sister B’s, whether to follow Psychologist X or the equally eminent and Catholic Psychiatrist Y in his ideas on child discipline, we shall let ourselves in for much bewilderment and little
Christian peace.

But we do not have to look far to find such a master-plan. We have it right before our eyes in God’s own plan for bringing up all His children “in Christ.” As we all know, God’s method of education is sacramental; He uses visible and tangible things to bring us to the knowledge and love of the invisible; He teaches us how to use our human powers of body and soul, how to use the visible creatures of His universe in His worship and in His service.

He Himself is the great “Sacrament,” the visible image of the invisible God, who has made Himself our way and our truth and our life. It is by living a visible human life, by doing a man’s work, by suffering and dying as men suffer and die, that He wrought the work of our redemption. And it is in a visible Church, His Body that He prolongs and fulfills His work through the centuries.

In the life of the Church, Christ teaches us Divine truth through human teachers, by means of human words, in images and stories taken from the visible world and from ordinary human experience. He pours out on us His own life and powers by means of the Sacraments and sacramentals, conforming the force and pattern of our lives to His.

These, again, are administered to us by other human beings; their grace reaches us under sacramental signs of visible things and audible, comprehensible words. And we are taught to respond to Him by prayer of our human voices and imaginations and minds and wills to take our part in His work, by loving and serving Him with our human energy and skill as He dwells in our visible fellow human beings. And, finally, summing up our whole lives and the purpose of our lives, we take our part in the visible sacramental sacrifice of the Mass.

God’s master-plan, then, is to be found in the work of Christ our Lord
Himself, God and Man, His work of redeeming mankind. And our education of our children should surely proceed along these same lines if it is to be truly Christian education. We should make it as far as lies in our power a sacramental education, following and fitting into God’s own plan.

We should try to teach the children the invisible truths of the Faith by means of the visible things around us, by means of the visible actions of daily life; we should try to give them the habit of seeing all created things as, in some way or other, signs of the power and wisdom and love of God. We should try to train the children to make the thoughts and words and actions of daily life true signs of their love of God, able to be offered with our Lord’s sacrifice in the Mass.

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“The independence of women is making masculine care and protection unnecessary, and this is a loss to both of them.
As the man is deprived of his masculine function he feels less needed and therefore less masculine. As the woman assumes masculine burdens she takes on male characteristics, to fit the job. This means a loss of femininity, a loss of gentleness. The male responsibility adds strain to her life, more tension and worry. This results in a loss of serenity, a quality very valuable if she is to succeed in the home. And when she spends her time and energy doing the man’s work, she neglects important functions in her own role. This results in losses to the entire family.” – Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood

🌸💝The Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet (Magazine/Booklet)!! Enjoy articles about friendship, courting, purity, confession, the single life, vocations, etc. Solid, Catholic advice…. A truly lovely book for that young and not-so-young single lady in your life! Available here.

Is Love Necessary, Is Love Sufficient? – Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R., 1955

This small book contains questions that serious, young Catholics might ask when looking at the many scenarios and problems of young love. It is written by a Catholic Priest in 1955.  Great information!

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Question:

Is love necessary for a happy marriage?

 Answer:

It depends on what you mean by “love”. I might add that it also depends on what you mean by marriage, but we shall take for granted that you mean what the Lord meant, viz., an indissoluble sacramental partnership between a man and a woman who pledge themselves to help each other toward happiness on earth and in heaven, and to beget and rear children for the kingdom of God.

What do you mean by “love”? Do you mean that violent feeling of attraction, that all-suffering sense of helpless infatuation, that overpowering “can’t-think-of-anything-else” emotion, which the pulps, true story magazines and mashy novels describe as love?

If you do, my answer is a quick “no”. This kind of love is not necessary because there have been thousands of happy marriages without it, from those in which the bridegroom was chosen for the bride (or vice versa) by elders, as was customary for centuries, down to the latest marriage of two young people who kept their wits about them all through their company-keeping and engagement.

The wild infatuation that some mistake for love is a minor form of hysteria, and hysteria is not only not necessary for, but a positive drawback to, a happy marriage.

But if you define love correctly, I say that it is absolutely necessary for a happy marriage. Love is an intelligent willingness to surrender self-will, to make sacrifices, to place fidelity, charity and duty above feelings, in behalf of a person whom one has found to be a good companion, a sturdy character, and a believer in the same purposes of life and marriage as oneself.

The degree of physical and emotional attraction behind this determination of the free will may vary greatly, but it is never the essence of love.

Too many young people have thought otherwise, to the effect that, with the inevitable lessening of infatuation after a year or two of married life, they have considered themselves no longer in love.

Love is a function of the free will, and it can last as long as the free will exercises itself according to the above definition.

Therefore, to say “I am in love” should mean “I am willing to surrender my will, to sacrifice my desires, to place duty and fidelity above all else, in behalf of one person whom I have found suitable for a successful marriage.”

 

Is Love Sufficient for a Happy Marriage?

 Problem:

If one is deeply in love with a certain person, is not that sufficient for a happy marriage, even though others advise against the marriage?

I am in love with a young man, and want to marry him, but everybody tells me he won’t make me happy.

I am so happy just being in love with him that I know I’ll be happy in marriage.

 Solution:

It has been set down as one of the most futile things in life to argue with a young person already in love, who believes that the happiness of being in love is a true measure of the happiness that will be found in marriage.

However, those of us who are interested in the happiness of married folk will still go on trying to convince young people of the danger of this mistake.

You say that everybody tells you that the young man you love cannot make you happy in marriage.

I presume that this means your parents, your pastor or confessor, your close friends. Such unanimity can hardly be a result of conspiracy against you, or unfounded on good reasons.

With eyes undimmed by the infatuation that makes you a poor judge of your boy friend, they must see something in his character that makes him unfit for the responsibilities of marriage.

Perhaps he is shiftless and undependable; perhaps a drunkard; perhaps unprincipled or irreligious.

After all, there are thousands of divorces in America each year, and tens of thousands of broken hearted wives.

Can’t you see that most of the latter married because they were breathlessly in love, and only afterward, too late, found out that love is not sufficient for a happy marriage?

You did not tell me on what ground everybody opposes your marriage to this boy, and therefore I do not say for certain that their opposition is justified.

There is a good presumption that it is, however, from the fact that it is unanimous.

I do say firmly, however, that you are clinging to a false principle when you say that “because you are happy just being in love with your boy friend, you know you’ll be happy in marriage.”

It takes more than love, I assure you, to make a marriage happy, and sometimes it is only your parents, pastor, and good friends, who can tell you whether that something is present or absent.

On Love at First Sight

 Problem

“Do you believe in love at first sight?

I recently met a man and fell head over heels in love with him on our first date. He seemed to feel the same way about me.

If he asks me to marry him even after only three dates, I feel that I will just have to say Yes. Is not such a love sufficient to make marriage very happy?”

 Solution

No, it isn’t, and if you look around, you will see hundreds of proofs of this fact. Love at first sight may be the preliminary to a happy marriage, but there is no guarantee that it will be.

I should say that the chances are definitely against a happy marriage, if love at first sight and three dates are the only  preliminaries.

The reason should be clear: as a rational creature you are expected to use your head as well as your heart in all the important actions of your life.

There are few things more important than getting married, and once married, you are married till the death of either yourself or your partner.

This love at first sight that you talk about is an emotional reaction to someone who seems to have many fine qualities on the surface.

It cannot possibly see into the heart, into the conscience, into the will, into the past.

It is easily possible that a man for whom a girl would feel love at first sight would be able to present a very lovable appearance for a time, while under the surface he was harboring any number of vices and evils.

It takes time to find out whether a man has the interior qualities necessary to make a good husband and a happy marriage.

And it takes common sense on your part not to say such things as that “you would have to say Yes at once if he asked you to marry him on your third date together.”

By that time you might not even have found out whether he was married before; whether he had an ungovernable temper; whether he was subject to epilepsy, melancholia or alcoholism.

Most of the divorces result from short courtships and so-called love at first sight. Don’t be like the foolish ones of your generation.

If you like this man at first sight, remember that you must use second sight and third sight and twentieth sight to know whether you can have reasonable assurance that he won’t be giving you black eyes in the second month of your marriage.

Love at first sight is all right if after six months of going with the person you find that he is as good inside as he is outside, and that you won’t offend God or renounce God by marrying him.

 

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“Undoubtedly,” Pope Pius XII remarked, ‘youth is a most beautiful thing of itself. But, if you have in this tender flower, the shining whiteness of Christian purity, then you have human beauty displayed as something noble and exalted, attracting the admiration and imitation of those who see it.”

This is a must-read for Catholic youth. The do’s and don’t s of dating, how to keep pure, what is a sin and what is just a temptation, the qualities to look for in a good spouse, etc. It is small, but power-packed, straightforward and balanced! Available here:  http://amzn.to/2niVm2T (afflink)

Sweet Lavender “Queen of the Home” Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Fully lined, quality material, made with care!

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Secret Of Happiness – Father Lasance

 

From Holiness and Happiness by Fr. Lasance

Conformity to the will of God is the secret of happiness even here upon earth. Outside it there is only unhappiness.

When we receive all things as being sent by Providence, and when we live in a state of entire abandonment to all that this adorable Providence wills, we never meet with any vexations.

As we have no other will and no other desire but the will of God, and see this most amiable will in all that happens to us, we have always all that we will and all that we desire.

Imitating the example set us by the holy king David, we joyously give our hand to the good pleasure of God, Who leads us from one action to another, from a second to a third, and thus our whole life passes sweetly, joyously, holily.

No accident has power to disturb or trouble us, because we know that all comes from God, and that His will, which is a thousand times amiable, presides over all.

This thought changes sufferings and troubles into joy, bitterness into sweetness; and things that plunge other souls into desolation, console the soul which is united to the good pleasure of God.

Hence there is in it a tranquility and a peace which nothing can ruffle, a constant serenity, a calmness in acting and speaking which proves how truly the Apostle and the sage had spoken when they said, the Apostle in affirming that “To them that love God all things work together unto good” (Rom. viii. 28), and the sage in declaring that “Whatsoever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad” (Prov. xii. 21).

He may be tried by God, as was the holy man Job, but, like him, he will say to God: Thou triest me in a manner which ravishes me (Job x. 16) ; and neither his interior peace will be troubled nor his exterior allow a word or a gesture of sadness, of anger, or of impatience to escape it, and it may be said of him, as of Tobias, “He repined not, because the evil had befallen him” (Tob. ii. 13).

Every man, says St. Augustine, desires happiness, but all do not seek it where it is to be found. We seek it elsewhere than in the good pleasure of God, and from that time we condemn ourselves to an unhappy life.

We find nothing but deceptions in the things, the persons, or the places to which we attach ourselves. because everything changes here below. Even if all were not to change, we ourselves change, and what gave us pleasure yesterday, displeases us today.

Israel liked the manna at the beginning, and thought it had a marvelous taste; but a little while afterward it was disgusted with it. It was glad to be delivered from the tyranny of Pharaoh, but a little while afterward it wearied of the liberty of the desert, and wanted to return to Egypt.

Now, with these variations of taste, how could it be possible not to be unhappy. He who seeks contentment in himself, says St. Augustine, shall be afflicted; he alone is always happy who puts his joy in God alone, because God is always the same.

Filled with this truth, a holy Religious, a witness to the extremes of joy and sorrow, and to the variations of temper in which men allow themselves to indulge, according to the variety of the things to which they attach themselves, exclaimed: “As for me, nothing can take away my joy, because nothing can take from me Jesus Christ, Who is all my happiness”; and St. Augustine addressed God in these beautiful words: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, 0 Lord, and our hearts are restless, until they rest in Thee.”

Let us resolve:

(1) To attach ourselves solely to the good pleasure of God, to cherish it in all events, whether they be joyful or sorrowful, and never to allow ourselves to be troubled by anything, whatever.

(2) To place our whole joy in being led in all things by the divine will, like a child by the hand of its mother. Our spiritual nosegay will be the words of the Psalmist: “Thou hast held me by my right hand, 0 Lord, and by Thy will Thou hast conducted me” (Ps. lxxii. 24).

To Catholics marriage is a sacrament, symbolizing beautifully in the love of husband and wife the tenderness with which Christ regarded His spouse, the Church. While to others marriage may become a mere civil contract as prosaic as the making of a will or the taking of a partner into one’s grocery business, to Catholics it is a holy thing, a contract that Christ has transformed into a channel of untold grace for mankind. The Catholic Church believes firmly in the possibilities of so sacred an institution. -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

Who are you going to love? Things? or God? When is enough, enough? Sermon on having too much stuff & what to do about it….

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The Family and the Cross

This is a beautiful meditation for Lent and well worth your time!

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by Rev. Msgr. Irving A. Deblanc, 1950’s

Ask mothers and fathers if they would like to become saints. Many apologetically answer, ‘Would that I had the time! I am too busy rearing the children, keeping house, making ends meet.

This recalls the days when some considered sanctity a luxury for the rich, who in being able to afford servants, could spend long hours in church and in prayer: they were often considered to be the holy ones.

Pope Benedict XV defined holiness as doing the will of God according to one’s state of life. In the state of grace and with the right intention, married people can become saints doing their everyday home work.

They often gain more graces with a dish cloth than with a Rosary, as one may sometime gain more graces getting up in the middle of the night to care for a baby than spending an hour in church. It is a matter of doing the right thing at the right time. Yes, but even more, it is fulfilling a sacramental vocation.

This cannot be said in the same sense about being a lawyer, or a secretary, or a farmer. Marriage is a vocation; it is holy; it is a sacrament; it is a means of going to heaven.

It is interesting that only three of the sacraments are entitled ‘holy: Holy Eucharist, Holy Orders, Holy Matrimony – not that the others are not holy but these are specifically designated.

As a priest gets graces when he hears confessions, preaches, reads his breviary, so a couple under the right conditions is flooded with God’s graces when they love each other, nurse a baby, teach the children. This because they too are fulfilling their vocation.

It is because more and more people see marriage as a vocation that we can hope for more and more saints among those living family life.

In Peru four natives have already been canonized and one beatified in a hundred years. In the U.S.A. so far we still have had no natives canonized. I am afraid we are not even remotely thinking in the direction of trying to be worthy to be a canonized saint.

Married couples are sometimes unaware that suffering is one of their great home-made tools for sanctity. It is looked upon as an annoyance, but Christian marital love necessarily involves suffering, for the essence of unity is not so much to enjoy each other, but to suffer together.

Still joy and suffering are not two sides of a unity called love. What was once desire before marriage becomes offering after marriage.

Some have described love as having three aspects: the digestive, the reciprocal, and the oblative. It is in the oblative sense, this self-giving and suffering that a couple purifies love.

Without these elements, love would die, for passion can only promise; love can keep that promise.

To refuse the call of self-immolation is the sin of obduracy and a rejection of love. One is then of no use to God, to society, to each other, or to oneself. To say no to this human impulse is to corrupt all one touches. It is the cult of selfishness.

The Cross can teach us to love our neighbor; it can teach us compassion. Three-fourths of us, it is said, need it, but there is a strange, unhappy feeling that in too many souls this ingredient is left out.

The Cross is our main tool of sanctity at home. Christian love understands the Cross if it is seen in the context of Heaven.

For pagans the Cross is a scandal. It absorbs them like whirlpools in a river at flood height. Suffering, however, must draw men outside of themselves. It is a reminder of Divinity itself. Not good in itself, the Cross can be priceless as a means of grace.

The bell rings in the life of every one of us and all of us are someday called upon to suffer. The non-Christian tries to escape suffering and he becomes hard and selfish. He seeks comfort only and his spiritual energy dries up, but he must learn to suffer or it will destroy him.

The egotist detaches himself from spiritual reality and becomes a hollow being-an empty body. Like the statue of Buddha, he looks down only at his own stomach and does not see the needy around him.

Not all can see the value of suffering. Suffering is often so inward, so hard to articulate. It has been a special mystery to all, especially pagans. Their many explanations have never been satisfactory.

The Stoic saw in suffering a test of sheer courage; he was completely indifferent to it. The Epicurean saw his answer in pleasure, and the Dolorist tried to delude himself and saw evil as good and actually exulted in that which diminished him. Others saw in suffering only a mere punishment.

A good Catholic makes friends with pain. He holds God’s gifts close to himself but always with open hands. When God allows us sufferings it is not to do us harm but to gather us into His arms.

Suffering never gags a Christian; upon it he sharpens his teeth. Like a cargo stabilizing a ship against storms, so suffering stabilizes us against the storms of passion.

Humanity will ever question suffering, as Job did so dramatically and so officially. But Job gave an answer. Pagan philosophers never learned it. Christ gave the answer for all times: suffering calls less for a philosophy, more for a living of it as worthwhile.

So vast was this question, says Paul Claudel, the great convert to Catholicism, that the Word alone could answer it, but He did so not by an explanation, only by His presence. This presence helped Mary who stood beneath the first Red Cross crimsoned by the blood of her Son; it helped Veronica who so lovingly held a cool, moist compress to the throbbing, fevered brow of Christ; it helped Simon of Cyrene, who later gave his life to serve others; this same Simon must have seen the pallid face of Christ among the poor and on every crumpled pillow where a sick man’s head lay.

We learn with St. Francis de Sales that the love of Jesus begins in the Passion. We learn with Bishop Neumann of the deep beauty of the Litany of the Sacred Heart – a prayer he vowed to say every day.

With St. Alphonsus we become more conscious of the Cross. It is constantly in his writing. When he saw a nail, a rope, a thorn, he thought instantly and tenderly of the Passion. The Cross returns us to the nothingness that we are and yet it lifts us into eternity.

In many churches of the country a large, special cross is carried in church for the Stations. There is no corpus on the cross; each person is reminded that he must replace Christ on the cross. He must learn how to suffer and why he suffers. He must be an extension of Christ.

Christ has plunged Himself into humanity and wants us to make Him real today. He wants us to continue His Redemption, but this is done not by writing a good book, or organizing well, or by a great oration.

One is a Christian when he or she represents Christ, witnesses Christ. Deeply we surrender our will, not with a mere external offering like that of Cain, but with an internal – external oblation like that of Abel – like that of Christ. The external gift is a symbol of the internal giving. We represent Christ so perfectly that we become a mystery to those around us.

In the everyday romance of the world we pierce our valentines with an arrow. The Sacred Heart is the first, true Valentine sent by the Father. But His love is pictured by a heart and a cross rather than an arrow.

His heart is not only the symbol of love but the Cross of hope. The Cross is not the symbol of death; it is the symbol of life. The Stations do not end with a dead Christ in the tomb, but a glorious, living Christ on Easter Sunday, and always in our tabernacles.

He is every city’s most distinguished resident who invites His best friends constantly to take up your Cross and follow Me. The Cross is Christ’s way of identifying Himself and His own. Christians realize it is a gift, not a curse for with Dante ‘sorrow remarries us to God.

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St. Francis de Sales on the company we keep: “Be very careful, therefore, dear reader, not to have any evil love, because you will in turn quickly become evil yourself.
Friendship is the most dangerous of all love. Why? Because other loves can exist without communication, exchange, closeness. But friendship is completely founded upon communication and exchange and cannot exist in practice without sharing in the qualities and defects of the friend loved.”

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The Wife Desired is Patient – Fr. Leo Kinsella

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From The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

Webster’s Dictionary has this to say about patience. Patience is “uncomplaining endurance of wrongs or misfortunes.” Patience “denotes self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation.” It also suggests “quiet waiting for what is expected” or persistence in what has been begun. Forbearance, leniency, and sufferance are given as synonyms.

Patience is a quality of maturity. Little children are not noted for “uncomplaining endurance of wrongs.” Mother would begin looking for the thermometer should she notice anything resembling “quiet waiting for what is expected.” It takes a bit of living and dodging of the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” before people get enough sense to value patience.

Patience connotes a “self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation,” and it brings to one a quiet confidence. The patient wife is master of her own soul. She, and not every imp to come flying into her mind, is in charge of her own fort.

Since no one can be truly successful without patience, it should be expected that the possession of the virtue is a requisite for every desired wife.

Indeed, no vocation or profession in life requires patience more than that of husband and wife.

The first reason for this that they live in such proximity to each other. They rub elbows day in and day out. There is bound to be a little chafing here and there. Among saints there would be. Patience is the soothing oil preventing the irritations from becoming running sores.

Some years ago I was faced with the necessity of working up a talk on the ideal wife. Naturally, I was open for suggestions, particularly from a few ideal wives whose friendship I highly prize.

One evening, as I visited the home of one of these friends, I mentioned the task with which I was confronted.

“Mary, if you had to give an hour talk on the ideal wife to high school seniors or to a woman’s club, what would you discuss?”

Here was the voice of experience talking. I was not asking any air scout how to fly that Constellation. The senior pilot of the airlines was briefing me now. I was not asking any camp fire girl how to whip up that batter of soda biscuit mix. Grandma herself was looking over her glasses at me.

I think that it is of interest to point out here that, although she did not indicate that she considered patience the most important quality of the desired wife, she unhesitatingly suggested it first.

Not only did she mention patience first, but she also explained what she meant by patience in the wife.

Notice that the discussion deals with the patience required of the wife, not of the mother in her relations with her children.

A woman is first the wife of her husband before she is the mother of his children. Later I hope to say a few words concerning the twofold role which the woman must play.

At present I just want to make it clear that Mary is no rattle brain. She was on the ball and stayed there. She was explaining what she meant by the patience in the wife and her dealings with her husband.

Marriage is not a fifty-fifty proposition. (This of course, is Mary talking through my memory.) The wife who enters marriage with the misconception that it is, has failure lurking just around the corner. Often she will think that she is giving her fifty per cent. As a matter of fact, it is only fifteen or twenty per cent. On many other occasions the husband unconsciously is demanding ninety per cent. The fifty per cent proffered falls miserably short. The result is two people at loggerheads. A fight begins and love takes a beating, if it is not turned out-of-doors.

The understanding, the sympathy, and the patience required for happy living cannot be measured out. The stupid expression “marriage is a fifty-fifty deal” implies yardsticks, tape measures, half cups, full tablespoons, and the like.

Love has nothing to do with these things–will not be fenced in by them, for love partakes of the very limitlessness of God.

A wife’s parsimonious measuring out of her imagined fifty per cent produces many serious fights.

She wins these fights too and loses her husband.

Let us illustrate the above by concrete examples.

The wife was getting supper ready. John was fighting the traffic on his way home from work. She was humming softly as she busied herself contentedly about the kitchen. He was muttering loudly the red light blues. She felt fine. He was half sick and out of sorts. Things had not been going well at work. He was upset and unwittingly looking for a fight.

As he entered the house and gave Mary a little hug and kiss, she noticed that he looked tense and jumpy. A few minutes later she could hear him scolding one of the children. The storm warnings should have been flying by now. They had better steer clear of him tonight.

Before the family was called to the supper table, Mary had been fully on guard. Unless she was very mistaken her husband was going to demand much more than fifty per cent somewhere along the evening. So the measuring devices, the half cups and full tablespoons were behind her for this evening.

The meal was already prepared. She would not use them on her husband. She would not measure out her patience and understanding. Her husband was definitely off color this evening. She would give him her all. No matter what he said, she would pass it off.

The supper got off to as good a start as could have been expected with the cloud hanging over the table. Soon one of the children massacred table etiquette in such manner as to cause Emily Post to wince.

Before her husband could draw in sufficient breath to let out a blast at the culprit, she quickly took the wind out of his sail by firmly correcting the child. Before the dessert appeared, she took in her stride a caustic remark about the quality of the pot roast and a criticism leveled at her through one of her children.

Mary was nobody’s dish rag. She had a lot of fire and spirit. She could have stood up to him that night, “let him have it,” and have had a fight which she might have won, or, at least in which she would have held her own. But, did anyone ever win a fight of this kind?

This ideal wife had made up her mind to carry her husband through the evening, come what might. He was not himself.

Tomorrow would be another day. If he had been physically sick in bed and needed her care, would she have given only fifty per cent? Of course not. She would have nursed and lavished upon him all the warmth of her nature.

Well, he was sick that night–sick in mind and spirit. He needed her intelligent, loving and patient consideration. She would have considered herself a very shallow person to have reacted otherwise. She was in love with her husband that night too, unreasonable though he was.

A few weeks later the tables were turned. She was the one who was at wits end with herself. She started the day with a headache and things went from bad to worse. It was a rainy day, and for some unfathomable reason the school shut its doors on the children.

They were under her feet all day. Often she had to act as referee in their squabbles. As the afternoon wore on toward supper time, she was becoming conditioned for more adult opposition.

An unsuspecting husband made his entry. He was back to his little castle in the suburb with roses round the door (metaphorically speaking) and babies on the floor (literally speaking).

During the meal Mary “blew her top” about something. Oh yes, the car did not start that afternoon. The battery or something must have been dead. Some junk! It was time they had a new car.

So it was a junk, was it? John could think of the days of work it had taken to buy that old bus a few years previous. It was still a good car. What did women know about cars anyway? There ought to have been a law against women ever—-.

There is no future in this kind of thought, so John quickly banished the hideous little devil from his mind. Mary was worked up tonight. He would have to be cautious. Did he defend his car against his wife? John was a little too sharp for that.

He jumped on the band wagon and lambasted the car too. Yes. We would have to do something about that nuisance. He felt like going out then and burning it up. He knew that by the time they got to the dishes, she would have forgotten all about the car.

Mary purred through the rest of the meal contentedly with that wonderful feeling that her husband was all for her. Together they stood against the whole world.

Suppose that John had been a little thick between the ears and that he took exceptions to her remarks about the car and defended the car against his wife. A fight would have ensued. Feelings would have been hurt. And there was danger that their tempers would have swept them on to the name calling stage. Once this has been reached, real harm frequently has been done to a marriage.

Mary finished her explanation of what she meant by patience by saying that she and her husband had never had a fight in the twelve years of married life. Then she added what I thought was the epitome of her whole conversation by saying that she and her husband did not intend to have any fights.

This determination not to fight was indicative of their intelligence and maturity. Surely it was one of the factors contributing to the happy stability of their marriage.

This couple has had arguments and disagreements I believe that I have been in on a few warm ones. An argument is not a fight.

People with minds of their own will not always see eye to eye on every phase of their daily lives. Viewpoints will vary and disagreements will result even as to whether or not junior should have a crew haircut. But let us not make junior a ward of the divorce court because husband and wife cannot agree on the proper length of junior’s hair. After all, it is not that important.

Arguments and disagreements degenerate into fights, when ill-feeling, name-calling and bitterness come into the picture. The ideal wife, fortified with the virtue of patience, sets her face against such loss of harmony. Whatever be the cost she wisely realizes that her effort at peace is worth the price.

No good comes from fights in married life. I have been asked whether it is not a good idea for husband and wife to have a fight once in a while. The air is thus cleared. The very young, theorizing about this, often add that it is so sweet when they make up. In connection with this question one inquirer quoted Bishop Fulton Sheen as saying that a couple never really knows how much they love each other until they have made up after their first fight.

Nothing was said about how many found out how little they loved each other and never made up.

It is very true that sometimes good comes out of evil. Yet, how insane it is to seek or even permit avoidable evil, on the chance some good might come of it.

Fights among married people are evil things and bring untold misery into lives. So many broken marriages have come before me in which there was no third party, no drinking, no in-law trouble, no major difficulty. They just fought. So often people are less mature than their children, whom they have brought into the world to endure their bad tempers.

Fights begin between human beings because of pride. We have a will of our own. When we do not get our way pride suffers. Like children we want to fight the opposition to our will. So far we have no control of our reactions. We are made this way.

If we are adults, however, we have learned by bitter experience that our pride is the surest destroyer of happiness and love. Unless we are psycho-masochists, we crush our insurgent pride and prevent ourselves the stupid and dubious pleasure of hurting the one who has stung our pride.

Once a fight has begun between man and wife it is clear that one or the other must win the struggle against pride. One or the other must curb the desire to win the empty victory.

If the wife makes the first effort at reconciliation, her humility will make it difficult for the husband to nurse his pride. Pride cannot face up to humility. It is shamed out of existence.

Even when husband and wife make up completely after a fight, a fight is still unfortunate. Fights leave scars. The wound heals, but there ever remains a scar in the mind.

I have had many estranged married people tell me that their partners did this or that to them twenty-five or thirty years ago. Happy years had intervened between the fight and the present estrangement. But they could not forget, even if they had forgiven.

The wife desired meditates deeply on the hatefulness of fighting.

She has made up her mind to suffer anything rather than fight and thus wound her husband. Remember that there is always the danger that we begin to hate whom we hurt for the same reason that we begin to love whom we help.

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“Lord, Help me to be a good wife.  I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help.  Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things.  Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.  Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation.  Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy.  I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment.  Only You can transform me.”

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Lessons from Our Lord’s Agony

Painting by Giovanni Bellini

From Words of Encouragement, 1934

Notes of Instructions delivered by Rev. Daniel Considine, S.J.

To some of us will come at times some taste of that horrible perplexity Our Lord had in the Garden of Olives. At times it will seem almost impossible to do what we know God wants us to do.

There was a moment when Our Lord seemed to waver and balance as to whether He would go on with His Passion. It must cost us something, if we mean to do something memorable for God. That is the time of the greatest anguish of mind, when we are balancing the question. Thereafter came that complete calm which Our Lord never lost during His Passion, save in that moment of His dereliction on the Cross.

The devil does his best to mislead us. He says, if you were able to do it, you wouldn’t have all this extraordinary difficulty. On the contrary, the disturbance comes from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and they wouldn’t make such a stir if the matter were not so important.

Therefore, when we have to take resolutions which cost us much, let us look at the Garden of the Agony, and take comfort from Our Lord. And observe, all was in the natural course of events, God allowing creatures to work out their designs. We need not think He interposed to provide special ignominy for Our Lord.

As soon as the conflict had ceased, and Our Lord had fully accepted the sacrifice, He was perfectly self-possessed. Let us too be calm, and united with God, and that will give us strength to endure that suffering we had dreaded and shrunk from. To all outward appearances Our Lord’s life was a failure; so will it often be with us. Yet it is just then we are most like Him, and in our very failure will He our success in the sight of God.

Our Lord’s agony was an anticipation of suffering: especially helpful in these days, so full of subjective troubles. ‘My soul is sorrowful even unto death.’ ( Matt. xxvi, 30).

A sadness of itself such as to produce death. His soul, generally in such peace and calm, was taken possession of by suffering that was enough to take His life. What was the cause? The knowledge, the anticipation of His Passion. He began to fear and to be heavy (Mark xiv. 33.) -a sickness of heart- agony-fear. Jesus was mortally sad. This fact ought to be of the greatest comfort and consolation to us.

To find a parallel to our sufferings in the Blessed Son of God! It is a lifelong asset of consolation that can’t be prized too highly.

If that most perfect soul of Our Lord could, without grossest injustice, be so dimmed by sadness that there and then the soul might have parted from the body, what right have you or I to think our lot hard? Whatever our trial is, the thought ought to follow us all day, whether our trouble be physical or mental. When I am sad, I am only undergoing the same experience as my Lord and Master.

Much less is it wrong that I should undergo this sadness. It is the very best proof of love I can give Him, and if it knits me nearer to Him, I ought to look upon it as a gift from God.

There are so many of us over whose life hangs a continual shadow. Our lives wrecked-everything gone wrong-got myself into such a mess-impossible I can do anything for God. Jesus in that mortal sadness showed the depth of His love for us more than at any other time.

I am probably never serving God so well as when I am bearing the Cross, standing under its shadow. Some of us think that if we feel sad when we have something to do for God which is hard and unpleasant, we are doing wrong.

If my sorrow comes from anticipated trouble, my Lord’s sorrow was from the same cause. . . . The devil likes us not to humble ourselves, because when the saints did it they were exalted as if they were walking on air. . . .

When Our Lord came to grips with His pain, He did pray, “If it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.” (Matt. xxvi. 39.). When we have no courage, the devil says go back. No; go on. It is nonsense to say the mortifications of the saints cost them nothing.

To feel dreadfully afraid, and as if we cannot do what we have made up our minds to do, proves nothing. Remember Our Lord’s prayer. Finding Himself in this dreadful depression, He set Himself to pray, and cast Himself down on His face.

The repulsion was so great, it set up a kind of wrestling – a struggle, that brought a pressing of the blood from the veins in such abundance that it soaked His garments, and dropped on the grass.

Some people think that the saints drank down pain like a sweet draught. A mistake. Our Lord shrank from the pain presented to Him. The use of the will had to be so strong that His whole Body was bathed in blood.

He began to be afraid.( Mark xiv. 33). Fear seized upon Him by His own permission. He was pale, and shudders went through His Body. There is nothing so terrible as to see a man afraid. They seem to lose the power of guiding themselves.

It might have seemed impossible that Our Lord should have felt fear. If, with great reverence, we could watch Him-how He stoops for love of us!

Learn from this that fearing our trouble is no sign of unfaithfulness to God.

Meanwhile He prays. His very trial consisted in putting aside the consolation He might have had. What makes our darkness so dense is that God does not let us have the consolations we had expected to feel in time of trial.

An angel appeared, strengthening and comforting Him. We come away from the Tabernacle perhaps without an atom of consolation or sweetness, but He always strengthens us.

No matter what sins you may have committed, He forgives you all; and no matter how late you come to His service; He will in one moment help you to amend the past.

 

True beauty comes from within. If that beauty is lacking, no exercise program, eating plan, or wardrobe update can put it there. No interior decorating scheme can give it to me. “The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit… is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4 – Emilie Barnes http://amzn.to/2sKSwHf (afflink)

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Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent

Happy Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent to all of you! May this season be very fruitful in our souls!

This post is excellent about Lent on the blog, The Catholic Gentleman. It will help to get you on track:

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“In my own experience, I often begin the Lenten season with the best of intentions. I imagine myself going into full monk mode, fasting and praying as ardently as one of the monastic fathers in the desert. And maybe for the first week I succeed through sheer strength of will. Then, just when I am feeling good about myself, everything falls apart and I come face to face with my own weakness…” Read more here….

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The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

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It seems such a short time ago that we sought the Infant Christ at Bethlehem, adored Him, and were sure that we would never offend Him; and already on Septuagesima Sunday  in the Introit of the Mass He cries out with the weight of our sins: “The groans of death surrounded me and the sorrows of hell encompassed me….”

It is but three weeks before Lent when Septuagesima arrives, and this is a warning. We have sinned, and the time is coming when we must do penance.

When we are born, we are really very like Adam right after his sin, although there is this difference: we have been redeemed, and at that time, he was not.

We may do what he wished he could do. We may be born again in Baptism and start afresh, although in a fallen world, our souls now radiant with divine life burning there. Lent is the spanning of all that happened between Original Sin and Baptism.

It is the summing up and the climax of what started with Christmas.

The greatest of all mysteries is that God should love man so much.

When man sinned and forfeited his right to eternal life, and there was nowhere perfect obedience or flawless love in any man to merit Heaven, He became a man in order that He might pay the debts of the family He had chosen to join.

It is a kind of divine bargain They made, almost impossible to understand unless we put it in our own words.

It is as though the Father had said to the Son, “How can we work it out so man may still live with us forever as we planned?”

And as though the Son replied, “If there were but one perfect man, it could be done. One perfect sacrifice would pay their debt. One surrender of a man as perfect as Adam was when we created him. Alas, there is none.”

Then it is as though They gazed into one another with that Love that is the Spirit of both, and They knew how it could be done.

In Their gaze, a longing still burned for the creatures who had rebelled.

With a look of infinite love, the Father sent the Son and He became the Man. “0 happy fault, that merited so great a Redeemer.”

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Let him know you appreciate all the little things he does. It is easy to just expect things from him, with nary a thanks or a smile. This is not the way to nurture a relationship. Go the extra mile….always be grateful…..and let him know that you are! 
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Ash Wednesday homily. Father speaks of St Gemma Galgani in this as well. Please remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the priest.

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St. Valentine’s Day – An Opportunity, Mary Reed Newland

Some thoughts for Valentine’s Day….you may be celebrating it today, Fat Tuesday, since tomorrow is Ash Wednesday…..

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The following is an excerpt from The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland who explains to us how we can use St. Valentine’s Day to get to the deeper meaning of love.

Most fun of all is making valentines at home. The materials cost little or nothing if you keep a supply of construction papers, pastes, and other such items on hand, and the work provides many opportunities for mothers and children to discuss the differences between friendship and love and the lamentable forcing of the boyfriend issue in the first grade.

It is not always the children who are at fault. Abetted by the teasing of grown-ups, children little more than babes make the unfortunate conclusion that boy must meet girl and be boyfriend and girlfriend at six years of age; they never do learn that it is possible to be that rare and wonderful creature: a friend who happens to be a boy.

The same parents who wring their hands over high-school children determined to go steady are the ones who encourage puppy love in the kindergarten. We ignore the fact that childhood crushes in the young are merely an awkward way of trying to be special friends, we do them no favors.

Of course children get crushes, and of course girls become boy-conscious, with vice becoming versa; but they need not be shoved and pushed so hard.

One of the most excruciating trials of youngsters who believe themselves to be in love these days is restraining their impulses of affection.

Very few children deliberately set out in their first encounters with crushes to commit any sins of impurity.

In their innocence of experience, they do not know exactly how such sins can be, or if they know the theory, they do not know the fact.

It is the task of Christian parents to convince them that these impulses must be held in check.

Held in check they are good, they are manifestations of sincere and genuine affection, but they can so easily be transformed into something that is not good.

The reason it has become such a delicate and difficult task (although I suppose it always was a worry for parents) is not because this restraint is impossible but because so few today seem to practice it.

The example of promiscuous contemporaries is a powerful thing.

It rarely helps to start lecturing on the subject once children reach high school; it does not help at all to pooh-pooh love or schoolgirl crushes or the boyfriend business once it begins for a son or daughter growing up.f3e9a51d8b374639b5939e9fff4e9a53

But such occasions as St. Valentine’s Day (with innumerable opportunities all year round, of course) open this subject for discussion in a pleasant way.

We may use the evenings spent making valentines to have our own open forum on the subject of love and the showing of love and how it is that people fall in love, and how it is all related to God’s love.

Such Christian concepts as respect for girls and women, respect for our bodies and the bodies of others, the propriety and impropriety of kissing – whom and when – right judgment about the movies, their ads and their love-making, many other things can be formed at a very early age.

We must use all our talent and love and conviction to form them in our children.

We are foolish if we think that our children, because they are nice children, are automatically safe.

In the movie ads and posters they see, the newsstand magazines and comics, the covers of the paperbacks, slicks, and in a hundred ways promiscuity is preached to them – and it is not preached to what is nice in them but to the deplorable weakness left in human nature by the inheritance of Original Sin.

We can work to form in them the conviction that making love is something positive and beautiful that belongs with marriage, and this concept can exist even for the small ones without, as we might fear, any undertones of s-e-x.

Demonstrations of affection they can automatically connect with mommies and daddies, as well as with relatives and friends.

When there are things to denounce, such as this week’s ad showing a movie siren and lover wrestling on the beach, we can make our denunciations more convincing if we avoid panic but rather express regret that some people persist in distorting out of its sacramental context what should be the beauty of human love.

There are many facets of this subject for parents to ponder.

Each can adapt best the teaching for his children, but let us emphasize while they are still little that it is friendship that holds the joys of companionship for them.

I suppose the free use of the word boyfriend has made it almost a synonym for friend, but not quite.

It may be a losing battle, but we continue to explain the difference.

“Your friend, dear – your friend who is a girl. Little boys in second grade have friends, not girlfriends.

Yes, I know – they tease and say you have a girlfriend, and that is too bad, because it is necessary that you love everyone with much more love than the word girlfriend intends. You must try to love them as our Lord loves them, and you must try to see our Lord in them.

If you like someone especially well, better than others, that is all right.

Then they are among your special friends. Be glad and be careful of your friendship. Friendship is a beautiful, holy thing if you keep it that way.”

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Make your kitchen a place of warmth! “Wherever I’ve lived, the kitchen has always seemed to be the place where warmth and love reign. Family and friends are drawn there like chickens to their roosts. Of all the rooms in our home, the kitchen is the place of comfort, the preferred gathering place for shared conversations and the teamwork of preparing good meals for and with each other.” – Emilie Barnes

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Need a little help staying focused this Lent? The season is around the corner…

The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Lenten Journal!

For more information or to purchase visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe here.

Pdf Version here.

This journal will lay out some simple activities in which your children will be doing their sacrifices and will have a tangible means of “counting” them for Jesus. You, Mom, will have a place to put a check mark if that the activity is remembered and completed for the day. This journal also includes a place for you to check off whether you are fulfilling your own personal resolutions…your Spiritual Reading, your Family Rosary, etc. It makes it more palpable if you can check it off at the end of the day….there’s just something about putting pen to paper when an accomplishment has been fulfilled! It is filled with inspiring quotes, too! My hope is that this journal may help you stay focused on making this Lent fruitful for your own soul and the souls of those little people entrusted to your care!