The Waning of Summer Picture Post

I hope your summer is going just dandy! Before we know it, school will be in and the wonderful months of “the old grind” will be upon us. I don’t say that sarcastically, I mean it! God is good! Each season has its wonderful aspects and there is much to be thankful for, if we are on the look-out!! It’s all in the attitude, right?!

Click on the photo to see a larger rendition….don’t forget to read the caption!

 

The Assumption by Maria Von Trapp & “Queen of the Home” Apron Giveaway!!

From Around the Year with the Trapp Family

The day of the Assumption, August 15th, is the oldest and most important of all the feast days of the Blessed Mother.

In the old country it is also known as “Great Flower Day.” All the women and girls come to church on this day with their arms full of neat bundles of herbs, which they put down in the sanctuary at the Offertory procession.

On this feast day the Church blesses the herbs immediately preceding Mass. The priest, standing before the altar and facing the people, pronounces a long and solemn blessing at the end of which the herbs are sprinkled with holy water and are incensed.

There are special herbs which traditionally have to be included. Days before the feast the people are collecting them in the meadows and woods. Every family sends one such bundle to be blessed.

Afterwards it will be kept in the corner at home near the picture or statue of the Blessed Mother.

In cases of sickness a leaf is dropped into the food of the patient and during heavy thunderstorms one of the herbs is put into the fire on the kitchen stove–it is a sacramental and is meant to protect us in body and soul.

The connection between the feast of the Assumption and the blessing of herbs is told in an old legend.

When Mary the Mother of Jesus felt that her end was drawing near, she sent her guardian angel to summon the Apostles, who had gone out into the world to preach the Gospel of her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

When they received the summons, they came in a great hurry and were just in time to witness the happy death of their dear Mother. Everyone had come except Thomas. He was three days late.

When he heard that the Blessed Mother had been resting in the tomb for days, he cried bitterly and pled with the Apostles to open the tomb once more and let him glance at the beloved features.

The other Apostles yielded to his plea, but as they opened the tomb, they found it filled with flowers, which gave out a heavenly scent. On the place where they had laic the body there was only the shroud left–the body had been borne up to heaven by the angels, where it was joined by the holy soul of the Mother of God.

According to the legend, all the flowers and herbs on earth had lost their scent after Adam and Eve committed the first sin in the Garden of Eden. On the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, however, the flowers were given back their scent and the herbs their power to heal.

Happy, Happy Feast of the Assumption! Make sure you do something a little special today to remind your children what a special day it is! For inspiration see this post:  https://finerfem.com/2017/08/14/feast-of-the-assumption/

To celebrate, let’s have a special Giveaway!

 

Virginia (my daughter and the talented seamstress) and I would like to offer you today this beautiful, fully lined, hand-embroidered Queen of the Home “Roses in Blue” Apron!!

It’s easy to sign up! Just leave a comment on this post and your name will be added to the hat!

I will announce the winner on Tuesday, August 22!

Subscribe to Finer Femininity and don’t miss a post! If you subscribe today, your name will be added twice for the Giveaway!

Click here to sign up! http://finerfem.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4b3932796d2260e7109afcbf4&id=62182c1c00

A sermon for this wonderful feast day!

 

 

Your children can celebrate with these coloring pages!

 

 

 

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Feast of the Assumption!

I find this very inspiring and a good reminder to do SOMETHING special for this wonderful Feast Day of Our Lady….tomorrow, August 15th!

It is somewhat long but an easy read and will give you lots of encouragement to build some memories with your kids!

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From the book The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland:

“Now what,” I asked, “shall we do for the Assumption besides having a procession?”

“A tea!” That was Peter. He’s for teas. It was Peter who thought up having the Mad Tea Party that time.

And a tea seemed like a good idea this time, what with an afternoon procession and a blessing and flowers and mint and things.

We called the Hobsons.

“We’re inviting you to a tea,” we said, “in honor of Our Lady’s Assumption, with a procession and a Blessing of Herbs and Flowers.”

“Oh, fine,” said the Hobsons’ mother. “We’ll wear our organdies. We always wear our organdies to teas.”

This promised to be very interesting since there are only two Hobson girls (their mother and Ginny) and the rest are boys.

At least, at the time that was how matters stood. There are now three Hobson girls. Anne Marie has been added.

Then we decided that we should have something special for our procession during which we would give the Blessing of Herbs and Flowers (in the new ritual it is called simply the Blessing of Herbs).

The blessing is traditionally given on August 15, perhaps because of the legend that the Apostles found flowers in the tomb where they had laid Our Lady; or perhaps because the Church wanted to Christianize the pagan custom of gathering herbs for medicines at this time of year.

At any rate, the legend about the flowers in her tomb and St. Thomas doubting is sufficiently popular to merit a telling, just so that everyone will get it straight that it is a legend. It goes like this (with many variations).

Our Lady fell asleep at last after the years of living with St. John and waiting for Heaven, and all the Apostles were gathered about her bed. Except St. Thomas. He was off in India preaching the Gospel and couldn’t get back on time, although an angel is supposed to have told him to hurry.

The other apostles carried her body to the tomb and laid it there, and sometime afterward they discovered that it was gone. They naturally concluded that it had been taken to Heaven (as indeed it had).

Then St. Thomas came home; and when they went out to meet him and to explain, he would not believe. He would not believe, the legend says, until he had seen for himself. So they took him to see where they had laid our Lady’s body and in its place were flowers.

Looking up, St. Thomas saw her going up to Heaven; and to convince him at last, an angel brought the girdle she had fastened about her robe and dropped it to Thomas.

It is a pretty story and parts of it are true, but frankly we doubt that St. Thomas had doubts again. You don’t do that sort of thing twice, not after our very Lord said to you, “You are a doubting Thomas. Come here.”

What is true is that Our Lady fell asleep. The word death is not used for Our Lady, because death is the consequence of Original Sin and a punishment for sin, and Our Lady was without the slightest taint of sin.

She would not, need not, have died, but merely waited for her divine Son to will that it was her time for Heaven, and then yield up her soul. We would have accomplished it this way instead of through death if God’s original plan had been permitted to unfold.

But instead of God’s original plan, we had Adam’s Original Sin, and that is how death came in its stead.

Mary was assumed into Heaven. At the end of Masses and after Benediction, when we say the Divine Praises, we add in praise of our Lady: “Blessed be her glorious Assumption,” which is what we celebrate today.

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Now back to our procession. With recollections of the magnificent banners and wall-hangings of our Grailville friends, a banner seemed in order – but one that we could design and execute in a reasonable time.

One day, for a special project, we shall work out a more elaborate hanging, with wools and velvets, sateens, yarns, chain stitch, feather stitch, bands and borders; but this day we had little or no time to spare.

So it was off to the linen trunk in the storeroom to see what treasures we could find. We found a small linen guest towel of bachelor’s-button blue, embroidered with cross-stitch roses, simple and nice. It made us think of the Mystical Rose.

And we found a white linen cloth, heavy as a butcher’s apron but fine as fine and bleached white with many washings and sunnings. Added to these were a length of white rickrack and a half-skein of white yarn, and our materials were complete.

We sewed a decorative M of the rickrack over the roses on the blue linen towel. We cut an oblong of the white linen large enough to double-hem the edges and leave a border of about one and a half inches of white around the blue.

We mounted the blue towel on the white linen, sewing it across the top only. We divided the white yarn into three hanks, braided it into a rope and tacked it across the top of the banner with equal lengths to hang loose down either side.

Next, John went up to the woods and cut a new shoot of oak about an inch in diameter and skinned the bark off. He sawed a two-foot length for our cross-piece, and we bound the banner to this, with white yarn at four places across the top.

Another length of oak about three feet long was the standard and we bound our cross-piece to it. There was our banner! It took about an hour, with children and Granny helping, before we had it finished and the threads and shreds swept up off the dining-room floor.

The next item was the Ritual, that slim black book the priest carries about when he gives the blessings, and a valuable addition to family life.

Then Stephen remembered something and ran into the study. Confetti! For over a year, we had saved a package of confetti, waiting for a feast of suitable magnitude before using it.

Feast days had come and gone, of magnificent magnitude, but we forever forgot the confetti. This was the day for it! Then we sat down, more or less, to await the arrival of our guests in their organdies.

As none of the Newland sprouts knows an organdy from a hole in the wall, there was wild anticipation.

At last they drove up, but in picture hats and blue espadrilles, in honor of Our Lady.

Also bearing with them a peach chiffon pie they had made to honor her and indulge all present, with a crown of sliced peaches decorating it.

We explained immediately that these were not organdies. Philip stood admiring them, nevertheless, as they dismounted from the station wagon. A three-year inventory of knowledge stored in his hard little head was clearly being examined for some clue to this apparel. Finally, he recognized the costumes. “`You look real nice in your cowboy hats and your bedroom slippers.”

The Hobsons thanked him graciously. After general clamor for a few minutes, customary as families assemble for any great event, we had a short discussion of Our Lady’s Dormition and Assumption with a clear explanation of the legend about the flowers at her tomb.

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Then we started out in this order: Stephen with banner. Mrs. Hobson with pewter mug of holy water and aspergill. Mother with Ritual. Ginny with confetti. A quick shift of aspergill to Peter as Mrs. Hobson picks up John Archer, who is afraid of goose and goats. Various additional children.

Arranged at last, we started with the flowerbed by the house where there is tansy, thyme, marigold, and an unidentified herb that will be a mystery until our herb lady comes back and identifies it.

The blessing begins beautifully with Psalm 64 which has wonderful passages in it for children. As we had just recovered from the fringes of a hurricane which, in turn, had put an end to our drought, these lines had special and eloquent meaning.

They shout and sing for joy. Alas, our procession seems to be one part reading and blessing, and one part shouting and singing for joy.

No loss: their joy is in the Lord, and if they are too little to stand still very long, psalms or no, let them shout and sing for joy.

This is the making of many memories and impressions, a mixture of blessings and sun and sky and happiness and family and home and our Lady Mother Mary; this is one of the joys of being a Catholic.

After a Gloria, the blessing continues, the leader reading the versicles, the others responding:

Leader: The Lord will be gracious.

All: And our land bring forth its fruit.

Leader: Thou waterest the mountains from the clouds.

All: The earth is replenished from Thy rains.

Leader: Giving grass for cattle.

All: And plants for the service of man.

Leader: Thou bringest forth wheat from the earth.

All: And wine to cheer man’s heart.

Leader: He sends His command and heals their suffering.

All: And snatches them from distressing want.

Leader: 0 Lord, hear my prayer.

All: And let my cry come unto Thee.

Leader: The Lord be with you.

All: And with thy spirit.

Then follow three prayers of blessing, the first of which reads:

Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, by Thy word alone Thou hast made Heaven, earth, sea, all things visible and invisible, and hast adorned the earth with plants and trees for the use of men and animals.

Thou appointest each species to bring forth fruit in its kind, not only to serve as food for living creatures, but also as medicine to sick bodies.

With mind and word, we earnestly appeal to Thine ineffable goodness to bless these various herbs and fruits, and add to their natural powers the grace of Thy new blessing. May they ward off disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in Thy name.

Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.LowerFarmHouse(3)

We proceeded down to the vegetable garden and sprinkled the dill, and thence off to the brook, where the wild mint flourishes, singing “Mary, We Greet Thee” all the way (that is the Salve Regina in English).

Down along the brook is a magic place, with mint thick and tangled and wild grape and small willows and a hidden bed of forget-me-not.

We sprinkled that, and the flame flower far inside a thicket by a private stream of its own. Then we went further down to the place for sitting on banks and dangling feet. And here, with a story while tasting mint and other wild leaves that were not quite so delicious, everyone took off shoes and went wading, and the smallest ones sat down in the water in their clothes.

Then at last we threw the confetti. It was a glorious sight floating on the brook, sun dappling the water, sounds of children, sounds of water, smell of mint, everyone laughing and splashing, all for the honor and glory of our Lady.

Then back home, to the pie with the Mary-crown on it and the spiced tea with orange and clove (because Holy Scripture says that Mary is like sweet spices and aromatic balm”‘):a lovely end to a day that had started with the whole family at Mass and Holy Communion.

The fathers had pie saved for them in the refrigerator. Processions like this are a particularly motherish kind of thing. These things that take fussing and patience and holding hands while walking with very little people with incredible slowness are things mothers were especially well made for.

Lucky for mothers who have sunny afternoons to teach such beautiful truths and to make such beautiful memories as these of “her glorious Assumption”!

But suppose you live in the city, and there is no brook and no pasture, no wild mint or forget-me-not, or goose or garden or herbs to be blessed – what then?

Still, I would not give in. Somehow I would find a way to make a family celebration and a happy memory of the Assumption.

For some people, a trip to the nearby botanical gardens would be a lovely event for the afternoon. There are many more herbs there than in backyard gardens, and often there are also true Mary-gardens.

You could take along the Ritual, or the words to the blessing copied out of it, and a little bottle of holy water; and when you were alone together for a while, read the blessing over some small patch of fragrance somewhere out of the way where you disturb no one.

Or if there were friends in the country or the suburbs, I would plan a visit with them, a sharing of foods for a picnic supper and a procession to bless their flowers and herbs.

Or if there were no way to go anywhere, I would make it a celebration around the evening meal in the city apartment.

I would buy a pot of flowers, or a few cut flowers from a pushcart, and go to the grocer’s for some herbs. Celery, chives, parsley, endive, lettuce, and chicory are some of the common salad herbs we use all the time, without thinking of them as herbs.

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Mint for iced tea is another herb we use; so I’d find some of that. Then, when all the other dishes were ready, before mixing the salad or putting the mint in the tea, I’d have my family gather together around these lovely things and have the father or the oldest grown-up read the Blessing of Herbs, right in my own city apartment; or in my own room over my tray, if I lived all alone.

For dessert there would be spiced peaches or pears, and I would use cinnamon to spice them because Scripture says that our Lady is like the smell of sweet cinnamon.

The juice drained off any canned or stewed fruit, brought to a boil and then left to simmer a while with a little extra sugar and a stick of cinnamon, quickly prepares spiced fruit.

Do it the day before, then let it get nice and cold in the refrigerator. I would bring out a book from the library with reproductions in it of the early Christian masters – Italian, French, Flemish – and explain to my family the meanings of the fruits they used as symbols and have my children search for them in pictures. Libraries, encyclopedias, and bookshops will help you find information on symbols.

To decorate a city apartment for the feast, a banner such as described can be used without the standard; or a group of the fruits may be arranged in a bowl, or cut out in simple patterns from bright fabrics or old felts, sewed in a garland around a decorative M on heavy unbleached muslin or linen, or arranged in a group surmounted by an M and used as a center decoration on the table or a hanging on the wall behind it.

Children may make such a banner of colored construction paper and paste, cutting the fruits from paper, silhouette-fashion, and mounting them.

These symbolize only a few of the glorious virtues with which God adorned His Mother. Perhaps it is the most obvious thing in this feast that evades us most successfully.

We are so accustomed to understanding its meaning that we fail to understand it with impact: we will see her womanly, motherly, virginal, presence in Heaven.

This is the great triumph. A creature, child of Adam and Eve, flesh and blood like ourselves, not divine, has so dignified our race by her obedience that we are now adopted sons of God and heirs of Heaven.

And we will see her. Children always put it so well.

I asked them if they understood what Assumption – to be assumed into Heaven – meant. “Yes. Her whole self went to Heaven. Not one crumb was left.”

Only someone who lives with children and knows their language would understand.

They will say, “I love you so much I could eat you up.”

That is why “not one crumb was left” has such eloquent meaning.

Another said, “You mean our Lady is really in Heaven. And when we see her, it will be more than just her soul, but her real face, and her real hands, and her really real smile!” And it will be beautiful. There is a hint of it in her Mass: “The daughter of the King comes in, all beautiful: her robes are of golden cloth.”

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The wife’s immediate responsibility however is toward her husband. She is his minister, his eye, his hand, his head and heart, in applying his wealth or the produce of his industry to the ends for which God wills it to be employed. -Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, True Womanhood 1894 http://amzn.to/2t7GyVt (afflink)

Excellent! (and short) sermon! “St. Alphonsus Liguori is known as the Most Zealous Doctor of the Church. Let us listen to and reflect upon twelve of the Moral Doctor’s teachings that lead to sanctity. ‘O Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me and make me a saint.'”

This book gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children. Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith…. Available here.

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Holy Communion – The Loftiest Point of Love

Continued from “To the Eucharist, Then, We Must Go!”

From Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love

An exercise of the heart

Second, to explore the riches of the Eucharist, we use the heart. If every Christian must love Jesus Christ: “If any man love not Our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.” (1 Cor. 16: 22), love for the Eucharist must spring from the heart and be ever alive in us all.

Among all the saints, perhaps one of the greatest models is St. Peter Julian Eymard, in whom love for the Eucharist reached such an intensity as to transform itself into a love of madness. It is for this reason that he was called “the fool of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Now even love needs exercise. The heart needs to be exercised to love the true God, to long for “The Author of Life” (Acts 3: 15).

Holy Communion represents the loftiest point of this exercise of love, whose consuming flames unite the heart of a creature and Jesus.

St. Gemma Galgani could exclaim in this regard, “I can no longer avoid thinking of how, in the wonderful greatness of His Love, Jesus makes Himself perceptible and shows Himself to His lowliest creature in all the splendors of His Heart.”

And what may we say about the exercises of the heart of St. Gemma, who desired to be a “tent of love” in which she would keep Jesus always with her? She longed to have a “little place in the ciborium” to be able to stay always with Jesus. She asked to become “a flaming ball afire with love” for Jesus.

When St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had become quite ill, she dragged herself with great effort to Church to receive Jesus. One morning, after Holy Communion, she was in her cell, exhausted. One of the sisters remarked that she should not exert herself so much. The Saint replied, “Oh, what are these sufferings to me in comparison with one daily Holy Communion!”— Something not permitted everywhere in her times.

She ardently pleaded with Jesus: “Remain within me, as You do in the tabernacle. Do not ever withdraw Your presence from Your little host.”

When St. Margaret Mary Alacoque left the world and consecrated herself to God in the cloister, she made a private vow: “All for the Eucharist; nothing for me.”

It is useless to attempt to describe the Saint’s burning love for the Eucharist. When she was not able to receive Holy Communion, she broke out in ardent expressions of love like these: “I have such a desire for Holy Communion that if I had to walk barefoot along a path of fire to obtain It, I would do so with unspeakable joy.”

St. Catherine of Siena often said to her confessor: “Father, I am hungry. For the love of God give this soul her Food, her Lord in the Eucharist.” She also confided: “When I am not able to receive my Lord, I go into the Church, and there I look at Him… I look at Him again… and this satisfies me.”

During her long and painful illness, St. Bernadette one time expressed the happiness that she felt in times of sleeplessness, because then she was able to unite herself to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Referring to a little golden monstrance that was depicted on the curtain about her bed, she said, “His visit gives me the desire and strength to offer myself as a sacrifice, when I feel all alone and in pain.” This is called the “exercise of the heart.”

The exercise of the will

Third, to find the riches of the Eucharist, one should exercise the will. One must do this by bringing the divine lessons of the Eucharist into his life.

What good would it be to discover the infinite worth of the Eucharist as we ponder It and seek to love It at Communion time, if we do not proceed to live It?

The Eucharist teaches a love that goes beyond telling. It teaches total self-sacrifice, and an unequalled lesson in humility and self-effacement. It teaches patience and unrestricted dedication.

But what do we draw from all this? We surely ought to achieve something, if we but reflect how Jesus has loved us and still loves us with such great generosity “even to the end” (Jn. 13: 1).

If we feel frail, we need to turn to Him, to speak to Him and not tarry about asking His help and support, for He is the very One who said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15: 5), while with the Eucharist not only are we capable of everything, but we also obtain what should amaze and move us, that is, our identification with Jesus, as St. Augustine tells us: “It is not a case of us transforming Christ into ourselves, as we commonly do with food; but it is Jesus who transforms us into Himself.”

First of all, let us go before Him: “Come to Me… and I will refresh you” (Mt. 11: 28). Let us often visit Him, entering a Church every time we can and pausing a little while before the tabernacle, and put both our heart and body before Him!

The saints were constantly eager to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to make Holy Hours of adoration, spiritual Communions, ejaculatory prayers and earnest acts of love that come from the heart. How much profit they gained from this and how much good they passed on!

One day in Turin a friend, who was his companion from the university, asked Bl. Peter George Frassati, “Let us go and take an appetizer.” Peter George took advantage of the occasion and replied, indicating to his friend the nearby Church of St. Dominic, “Of course. Let us go and take it in that cafe.”

Entering the Church, they prayed for a little while near the tabernacle; when they approached the offering box, Peter George said, “Here is the appetizer.” And from the pockets of the two youths came alms for the poor!

Thinking of the Eucharist during his sermon, St. John Chrysostom once asked, “How can we make of our bodies a host?” and gave this answer: “Let your eyes look at nothing evil, and you have offered a sacrifice; let not your tongue speak unbecoming words, and you have made an offering; let not your hand commit a sin, and you have offered a holocaust.”

Just recall the eyes of St. Colette, which were always lowered and recollected in sweet modesty. Why? She once gave the answer: “I have filled my eyes with Jesus, upon whom I have gazed at the elevation of the Host at Holy Mass, and I do not wish to replace Him with another image.”

Let us think of the edifying reserve of the saints in speaking, controlling well the tongue which had been consecrated by contact with the Body of Jesus.

Recall the good works which souls, filled with a love imparted by the Eucharist, have accomplished because Jesus communicated to them His own sentiments of love for all of our fellow men, especially those most in need.

Thus St. Francis de Sales exhorted every soul to approach the Eucharist as much as possible, because “by adoring and partaking of His beauty, His goodness and His purity in this Divine Sacrament, you will become all beautiful, good and pure.”

Can we not also exercise our wills thus? Let us learn from the saints and start imitating their good works.

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Undertake all of your duties with a calm mind and try to do them one at a time. If you try to do them all at once, or without order, your spirits will be so overcharged and depressed that they will likely sink under the burden and nothing will be done. In all of your affairs, rely on the Providence of God through which alone you much look for success. Strive quietly to cooperate with its designs. – Saint Francis de Sales, from Introduction to the Devout Life http://amzn.to/2umoGsQ (afflink)

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Beautiful and inspiring books!
“There are nine books in the Eymard Library, each of which focuses attention to a particular aspect of the ineffable mystery which is the Holy Eucharist – Ideal for Eucharistic Adoration …”

Available here.

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Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit My Book List…

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“Baseball Bores me and Michael Doesn’t Like Art.”

Alice Von Hildebrand, By Love Refined

tumblr_ntnrfzMj981r9qhhio1_1280Dear Julie,

That you found the idea of a spiritual treasure chest helpful makes me very happy, but I rejoice even more over your renewed readiness to sacrifice to perfect your love for Michael – even as you’re discovering how many sacrifices are called for in marriage.

Sometimes the possibilities for disagreement seem endless. Close as you are to each other, a cause of enjoyment for one of you may be boring or even unpleasant for the other. This is part of the deep drama of marriage: the constant call to “die to yourself” for the sake of your loved one.

You and I love Italian cuisine and, given a choice, we always prefer spaghetti all’italiana to hamburgers and french fries. Yet now you often cook American-style food just because Michael loves it. I know you take long walks with Michael when you’d prefer to stay home. I’m sure that to please you, he, too, often gives up a wish, such as going out with his male friends.

I’ve often found that when I adopt a loving attitude, I can discover in previously boring things the fascination that others find in them. You and Michael might try to learn from each other in this way so that you can come to share more interests.

When you fail, however, the only solution is sacrifice, which doesn’t at first seem appealing. Yet it’s strange how even seemingly trivial sacrifices can give unexpected joy and nurture love between two people. “God loves a cheerful giver,” says St. Paul, so when you do make a sacrifice like going to a baseball game with Michael (Is it such a sacrifice to be with the person you love most?), do it cheerfully so that no one will notice. Advertising sacrifices is a poor way to make them.

The sacrifices I’ve mentioned so far cause neither of you real harm. It doesn’t hurt you to watch baseball, just as it doesn’t hurt Michael to go to an art museum with you. There are, however, situations in which one person enjoys something that actually causes harm to another. A case in point is smoking. Suppose Michael smoked, and you (like me) were allergic to smoke: his behavior would hurt you. In such a case, he should give up his pleasure to avoid hurting you, because that must take absolute precedence over any purely subjective enjoyment he might receive from smoking (which is, of course, hurting him, too -but I won’t speak of that now).

Sometimes sacrifices come from spouses being together; sometimes they come from spouses having to be apart. I know very happy marriages in which husbands go fishing while their wives stay home or visit friends. I also know marriages in which the husband, because of his ardent love for his wife, doesn’t enjoy anything, if she isn’t present and would gladly renounce his favorite activities to be with her. You and Michael will have to use trial-and-error to find out how sacrifices can best serve love in your marriage.

You’ve already taken the most difficult step by realizing that every love calls for sacrifice. And I imagine you’ve discovered what a joy it is to sacrifice for the one you love!

I keep you in my prayers constantly,

Lily

A-great-love-between

 
“A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. A woman who is not beautiful cannot properly fill her place. But, mark you, true beauty is not of the face, but of the soul. There is a beauty so deep and lasting that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it comely. This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the mind and heart and is manifested in word and deed.” – Beautiful Girlhood, Mabel Hale http://amzn.to/2pOKmtj (afflink) Illustration by http://www.genevievegodboutillustration.com/
Coloring Pages for your children!
Happy Feast of St. Philomena!

Blessed Mother Graceful Vintaj Religious Pendant Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted

This graceful Vintaj necklace can be worn every day as a reminder of your devotion to the Blessed Mother! Get it blessed and you can use it also as a sacramental.

Available here.

 

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The School Bell is Ringing….Are You Ready?

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With school just around the corner and so many responsibilities and things to accomplish, we may get a little nervous on how we are going to pull it all off.

I know, for me, summer time is so full, my days are bursting, that I truly wonder how I am going to “fit” school back in with all its demands.

I find my life goes in spurts. I am organized for a time, then it slips through my fingers for awhile. I have learned not to get discouraged, trusting that, with grace, I will get it together again. So I know what works for me and I know what doesn’t. Floundering does not work. 🙂 It is always good to have a plan.

The following are a few things that help me along the way not to get too stressed. Maybe a point or two might work for you, too.

1. Make your list. If you are feeling overwhelmed you may think that writing it all down will make you feel more burdened. That’s not how it works. When you can get it down on paper, you can sort and prioritize. Those lowest on the “essential” list can be put on the next day so you can slowly work at getting them all done. If you don’t get it done the next day, continue to add it to the next one. Checking each thing off gives you a sense of accomplishment and energizes you!

2. Keep the house picked up. My corners aren’t always great but if you were to walk into my house at a given time, it would be generally clean….unless we decided to go play volleyball instead of doing the dishes right away (priorities, you know. 🙂 )

3. Go to Bed. 🙂 If I can go to bed and get up at consistent hours, it helps a lot. It’s important for the kids to do the same. Summertime is a season of later bedtimes. We loosen up the night time schedule and relax for a spell. It is quite refreshing….for a time.  I notice how much it affects the next day, these inconsistent and later schedules. That’s okay for a while during the summer but you wouldn’t want to do that during school days. So regularity on getting to bed is important.

4. Wake up at a consistent time, earlier than the family, if you can. With the demands of young children, and the lack of sleep that goes with that, this isn’t always possible. At times like those, we need to just offer it up. That being said, nothing helps me more than getting up before everyone else, getting my prayers said, and doing other duties before the family gets up. It gets me started on the right foot.

5. Plan Your Meals! Okay this one I am not very good at but, Wow! does it take the stress-load off!! I have periods in my life when my girls are taking over the meals so it is hard for me to get back in the swing of things when they are occupied with other life things. But it makes such a huge difference! So if you can get it together once a week to plan those meals, DO SO! It will make a positive impact on your week!

6. Get yourself fully dressed first thing, right down to your shoes. This will help you to get motivated to accomplish things right off in the morning.  I also wash my face with cold water first thing in the morning. I started that 2 years ago when we had the drought. It was a waste of water to leave the tap running until it got warm, so the cold water did the job and now I like the “pick me up” it gives me. Try it! 🙂For Always - 2zxDa-b25d - print

So…what kind of things make me feel more organized and on top of things:

!. Number one for me is sticking to my “Spiritual List”, starting with morning prayers and then the other simple spiritual things on that list throughout the day.   If I can check each of those off then I feel like I have accomplished the most important duty and can have the focus and grace to accomplish the other ones that fill up my day.

2. If I haven’t already got an ongoing chore list for the kids (better if it is made the night before) so they know what they should be doing, I make a quick one in the morning for each child. Then everyone knows what they should be doing and you don’t have to have your mind going in all different directions trying to figure out what needs to be done and who needs to do it! The kids are able to tackle their jobs and have the satisfaction of checking it off each time it is accomplished! (Mom….don’t forget to inspect those chores!)

3. Keep the house picked up. (I know, I talked about this already.) Don’t get obsessive about it, especially if you have young children, but periodically through the day get everyone to help with a “pick-me-up”. When you can look at a clean table and a generally clean house, it invigorates and at the same time relaxes you. It’s easier to focus on the next thing to be done.

4. Delegate. Remember, you are the supervisor. Of course, supervisors get their hands dirty, too, but if there is something that you can delegate, do. It helps the children to grow into responsible adults.

5. Don’t listen to negative self-talk. Don’t analyze it, just don’t listen to it. Period. It will bring you down and make you sluggish in accomplishing what you need to get done. Instead, look at your list and do the next thing, say a prayer, grab a book and read it, spend some time with the kids. It’s not worth listening to the rubbish that goes on inside your head.

6. DON’T feel sorry for yourself!! If you have lots to do, thank God for it. He will help you accomplish it….one step at a time. There are many lonely people in this world, many trapped in their addictions, many sad and discouraged because of broken relationships. Learn to thank God for what you DO HAVE and all the wonderful things you GET TO DO each day. Sometimes it just takes an attitude change. He never gives us more than we can bear. Believe it!

7. One last tip….a little self-care goes a long way. When you need a break, grab some coffee and a piece of your Trim Healthy Mama Lemon cake….sit down at the table and  since you don’t want to share it with anyone because of all the expensive ingredients….and they just eat whatever anyway…..put a towel over your head! Surely, they won’t notice?

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“Hospitality is so much more than entertaining-so much more than menus and decorating and putting on a show. To me, it means organizing my life in such a way that there’s always room for one more, always an extra place at the table or an extra pillow and blanket, always a welcome for those who need a listening ear. It means setting aside time for planned camaraderie and setting aside lesser priorities for impromptu gatherings.” -Emilie Barnes. Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home
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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.
Sunshiny Disposition, True Womanhood and The Heart of the Home During Advent and Christmas…..Available here.

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Teaching Your child About Sex (Conclusion) – Rev. George Kelly

**For Adults….

This information is invaluable for a parent. I, myself, learned how to approach these things through reading good books like this one. We parents need to be informed if we are going to handle the delicate matters of life with wisdom, calm and a positive attitude. It is of the utmost importance! And it is why I am including it here for you….

Part One is here.

Part Two is here.

Overcoming “street corner” knowledge.

Your child will not need to know additional details of the reproductive process until he reaches pre-adolescence. But he may often ask questions you thought you had answered completely many times before.

He may have forgotten what you told him; more commonly, however, he has acquired some information from playmates which may not coincide with the story of birth as he has learned it from you.

When youngsters repeat basic questions, a wise parent will use the opportunity to cite the importance of relying on information received at home and not upon that which other children mention in the streets.

There is no reason to become alarmed if your child reports having conversations about the basic facts of life with others of his age.

Such conversations are entirely normal.

If you have encouraged him to ask you about this subject and have answered frankly, with reverence and without embarrassment, he will probably report his street-corner discussions to you.

The time to become concerned is when he no longer asks about sex or shows an evident distaste when the subject is introduced. He probably has heard something from his playmates which has shocked him, and perhaps even left him ashamed of the manner of his own conception.

If he appears ashamed, he should be told that the marriage act cannot be shameful when viewed as God intended, for it is the beautiful means by which life was given to all mankind, including the saints and the Blessed Mother herself.

When your child is aged seven to ten, you have an unequaled opportunity to reinforce his knowledge by calling his attention to the references to birth in our daily prayers and in the Bible. In this way, you can emphasize the close relationship between Almighty God and the reproductive act.

For example, you can discuss the “Hail, Mary” and explain the phrase, “the fruit of thy womb,” by pointing out that the womb is the nest in which a mother carries her infant before his birth.

The account of Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth can be used to explain childbearing. Stories of Christmas can provide the framework for a discussion of how Jesus was born as well as how all babies are delivered from their mother’s womb.

Preparing your child for puberty.

While it is usually wise to wait until your child asks about sex before you volunteer information, you should take the initiative in preparing for puberty.

At about the age of twelve, girls begin to menstruate. Unless they have been told what to expect, the first flow of blood may cause severe shock.

You should make your daughter proud of these physical changes when they come, for she is taking an important step toward womanhood. Considerably before the first menstruation is expected, explain the exact significance of the process. She should know that God has planned her body so that blood is stored each month, ready to carry food to a baby if a new life should begin, and that the blood is discharged after a certain period if no baby has been conceived.

Here, too, the emphasis should be on the Divine plan. It should be pointed out that God has forbidden the use of the organs to anyone who is not married.

Mothers must avoid indicating that there is anything terrible or shameful about this biological function. Nor should they stress the pain and sense of depression which some women feel on the days before menstruation. They might calmly explain that while such symptoms sometimes exist, medical science has appropriate drugs to ease them.

Boys attain puberty at about thirteen years. Well before this time, their fathers should tell them that they will soon release semen in their sleep–a manifestation that they are arriving at manhood. Of course, they are not morally responsible for these natural emissions, even if dreams of an exciting nature accompany them. A boy should be advised, however, that he should neither assist nor prevent the discharge of seed.

Moral teaching regarding the touching of his penis in order to obtain pleasure should be explained. Regardless of the means used, any deliberate effort to induce a discharge is a serious sin.

However, it is often necessary to clean the penis, and on such occasions no sin is involved if some unintended pleasure results. Any prolonged handling of the organ beyond the time necessary for reasons of health and cleanliness is sinful.

Fathers should advise their youngsters of the importance of habits of chaste thought to overcome temptations to commit solitary sins of thought or act.

In instructing your pre-adolescent son, you might make use of one or more of the excellent pamphlets written to supplement your teachings and to give him a spiritual insight into the opportunities, challenges and temptations of his approaching manhood.

Such publications may be found in the pamphlet rack in the back of your church or in Catholic bookstores. You should read each pamphlet before giving it to your child, both to familiarize yourself with the contents in order to answer questions based on his reading, and to make certain that it suits his particular needs.

When boys and girls reach puberty, parents should advise them that contacts with the opposite sex might lead to sin. The emotional and physical reaction of males and females differ greatly.

A boy has an intense physical drive, and kissing or other contacts may set up a fierce desire for sexual relief; with a girl, on the other hand, a kiss may merely express her companionship.

A girl who does not know that a boy may be deeply stimulated by her kissing may make it difficult for him to keep his thoughts pure.

Boys should be taught to respect girls because they are God’s chosen vessels for the creation of new human lives and should not be despoiled in any way. Boys who learn to respect womanhood in their childhood will translate this training into respect for the girls they know.

Also make sure that your daughter understands the importance of modesty in dress. It is apparent that many girls do not realize what a source of temptation they really are when they dress in an unbecoming way and reveal parts of their body which arouse impure suggestions in boys’ minds.

Short skirts, low necklines, dresses that reveal every curve, sweaters that are too tight, artificial bosoms–all are age-old devices to stimulate male passion. A girl who resorts to them may cause great harm not only to boys but to herself.

Many a young miss, heavily rouged and painted and wearing the most provocative styles, cannot understand why boys seem interested only in her physical attraction and not in her as a person. Her way of dressing advertises her to the world as one who seeks this kind of attention.

Some mothers object to giving their daughters information about the different natures of men and women, because they fear that the girls will lose their innocence thereby.

This is an error, for ignorance and innocence are separate things. When the angel appeared to the Blessed Virgin to reveal that she was to give birth to the Messiah, she indicated knowledge of the ordinary facts of life by asking how this could be so, for “I know not man.”

Her knowledge did not prevent Mary from being the most innocent of humans.

Giving your daughter such information will, in fact, protect her innocence. She will be guided by her knowledge to avoid situations which might be occasions of sin. In this vital matter, it is better for parents to instruct a year too soon rather than a minute too late.

The Daily Family Rosary. Steady, Constant. Amid the crosses of daily life with many children, the misunderstandings between husband and wife, the financial burdens…we had the rosary.
When the kids got hurt or sick, when I was very ill, when hubby was in the hospital and we had no money to pay, through tragedies, accidents and fires, when I didn’t understand why God was letting things happen to us…. we were saying the Rosary. It was our mainstay and the anchor that held us together in laughter and in pain. -Leane VanderPutten, https://finerfem.com/2016/10/20/my-little-story-about-the-rosary-2/

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Make a statement with this lovely and graceful “Our Lady of Guadalupe” handcrafted apron….fully lined….made with care. Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! 

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Teaching Your Child About Sex (Part Two) – Rev. George Kelly

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. Kelly

Part One is here.

Conclusion is here.

When parents “can’t talk about sex.”

Some parents may find it difficult to discuss matters of sex with their children. Having been reared where such subjects are not mentioned by “nice people,” they may tend to maintain this characteristic of secrecy with their children.

If you are one of those, reflect that your present attitude probably results directly from the way sex was regarded in your parents’ home. If you also treat it in a hush-hush manner, your children may do likewise with their youngsters, and the process of inculcating in the young the idea that sex is always shameful and sinful will continue indefinitely.

Moreover, even if the duty is painful it remains a duty. Just as you would consider it your obligation to teach your child how to behave in the presence of guests, or how to eat at table, so too it is your duty to instruct him about sex.

If parents failed to teach their children good manners, you would say that they were shirking their obligation. How much more important is it that they not shirk the job of instructing their young ones in the beautiful mysteries of life.

If you are extremely modest by nature, you will develop your ability to discuss sex by answering your child’s first questions as easily and casually as possible.

Creating an atmosphere which lets him know that he can discuss this subject with you is often the most difficult hurdle of all.

Once you get over it, you will develop the confidence to respond in a similarly calm way to questions that follow. Having achieved a rapport with him, you will find yourself able to answer even his most pointed questions with truth and dignity.

If parents are unable to provide direct sex instruction to their children, they should seek a substitute who most closely complies with the principles outlined above.

For example, the mother of a fatherless adolescent boy is not qualified to instruct him concerning the physical development of his sex and the intimate problems of male chastity. She might ask a male relative–the boy’s uncle, for example–to do so.

A priest or a teaching brother is well qualified to instruct the boy, and a nun to instruct a girl: their teaching will strongly emphasize the importance of religious discipline, and it will take place in an atmosphere that upholds the dignity of the subject matter.

The sex instruction commonly provided in public schools conforms to none–or at best, one–of the five principles which should be observed.

Early sex experimentation.

Since our feelings about sex are intimately related to our attitudes on other subjects–our love and fear of God, our reverence for our body, our recognition of the necessary functions of our organs and the relationship that exists between men and women–your child begins to form attitudes about sex as soon as he becomes aware of his surroundings.

If you react in a matter-of-fact way to his early exploration of his genitals–an act of exploration which is necessary for him to discover what his body consists of–you will avoid the common error of calling his attention to his sex organs from his first days and of making him unduly conscious of them.

Bowel and bladder training should also be carried out in a casual, unemotional way. Dr. Odenwald states that a normal child cannot control bowels and bladder before two or three years of age.

For this reason, he states, parents should use gentleness, understanding and kindness, so that the child always feels that his elimination is a normal physiological act.

Teach your children to use the correct words for their sex organs at the very beginning. You would not use a special, babyish word to describe your child’s fingers, his nose or his heart.

If you use childish words, you create an impression that the correct words carry a shameful connotation. Of course, the entire sense of shame is in the adult.

To the child, one word is the same as another. But many persons who did not know the correct names for their organs until they reached the age of ten or twelve are too embarrassed as adults to use those names even in instructing their own children.

As your child reaches the crawling and walking stages, you should treat any matters relating to his private organs in the same way that you would treat matters concerning his hands or feet. He will accept the fact that he must normally keep his sex organs covered, just as he accepts the fact that food is eaten from a plate, and that fathers wear trousers and mothers wear dresses.

How to answer your child’s questions.

Parents with the good sense to avoid making their child unduly conscious of his genitals sometimes do not know how to begin instructing him about the facts of life.

The advice upon which most experts now agree is that you should not initiate the discussion. Instead, you should wait for him to ask the questions, and then answer them truthfully and within the limits of his understanding.

Almost all children ask similar questions at similar stages of their development. Therefore, you can anticipate what questions must next be expected and learn the proper answers.

A basic principle to remember, however, is that inculcation of proper attitudes is more important to your child’s proper understanding than is the mere recitation of facts.

You want him to feel that sex is a beautiful means conceived by God to propagate the human race and to enable husbands and wives to express their love for each other.

If you yourself stand in awe before the beauty of the marital act and the reproductive process, you will be able to give the same reverence and wonderment to your child. When you hold such an attitude, instructing him becomes an opportunity to impart a sense of the love and wisdom of God.

The practical value of stressing the fact that God is the author of the sexual union will become apparent during his adolescence and for the rest of his life.

When he firmly understands that God made the act for use only within marriage, he will have the moral support he will need to resist the inevitable temptations he must face.

The child who learns about sex without the necessary religious education to accompany it may reach adolescence merely believing that use of the sexual function before marriage is not customary or “nice.” Such a naturalistic belief often falls before the first surge of passion.

At about the age of three or four, most children ask their mothers where they came from. They ask with the same innocent curiosity they might use in asking where the picture in the television set comes from.

You would not reply to that question with an elaborate explanation of the marvels of the electronic age.

Rather, you might say that it is sent through the air by a broadcasting station and received by the set. Similarly, the answer, “from the mother’s body,” satisfies the normal small child when he inquires about his birth.

If you answer your child’s question calmly and confidently, he may be satisfied temporarily. Before long, however, he may ask how the baby grows in the mother’s body and how it emerges.

In order to develop an understanding of the proper relationship between God and the act of procreation, it is wise at this and succeeding stages to include references to the Divine plan in your answers.

You might explain to him that God devised a way to insure that babies would be safe and warm, protected by their mother’s body, until they were strong enough to live outside.

You might call his attention to the way mothers carry newborn babies–close to their hearts, protecting them with both hands and arms. You might explain that God devised a protective means like this to make sure that the baby received warmth and shelter within the mother’s body.

Your child may not raise the subject again for months or years. At about five or six years, however, he may become more interested in pregnancy and birth, and may wish to know how long the baby remains inside the mother’s body.

Like the questions that usually precede it, this one is not directly related to the sexual act but to a biological fact. It is as harmless as his question as to why he has teeth or what happens to his food after he eats it.

At about the age of six or seven, he may wonder how the baby was placed in his mother. You might answer that God gives fathers a way by which they deposit seeds in the mother’s body. You should not go beyond this.

Sometimes precocious children sense that a mother is embarrassed over this question and ask others to upset her rather than to elicit information.

At this age–or any other in which your child asks for information he should not have–you might quietly state that it is not proper for him to know the answer now and that he will receive it later.

This is the natural response you would give to other improper questions–to his inquiries about how much money the father earns each week, for example, and similar queries of a personal nature.

At any age you may be called upon to restate simple truths that you thought the child already knew. Children forget, or at least seek new insight into old words. The child who is most glib in his use of terminology may be most innocent about the meaning of those terms.

A good Catholic home is the one supreme need of the hour. And a good Catholic family life alone makes up a good Catholic home. The home is the source and maintainer of the Catholic way of life. -Fr. Lovasik, The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2tYbDPr (afflink)

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Beautiful handcrafted rosaries available at http://www.meadowsofgrace.com!

Teaching Your Child About Sex (Part One) – Rev. George Kelly

Good Parents, listen up! Ignorance is not innocence! No…and in this day and age, your children need to be educated properly concerning the most delicate of subjects…sex. And by the most capable of teachers…YOU, the parents!

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. Kelly

Part Two is here.

Conclusion is here.

A question that disturbs many parents is exactly how to tell their children about sex. A generation ago the question might have been whether to tell at all. Now almost everyone recognizes that children should begin to learn about sex in their early days so that when they become adults they will have proper spiritual and emotional attitudes toward this important part of life.

Judging by the heavy volume of their inquiries at Cana Conferences, however, parents remain concerned about other aspects of sex instruction–when to give it, the atmosphere in which it should be imparted, and so on.

Much of this uncertainty derives from the tremendous amount of attention given this subject by psychologists, sociologists, educators and others in recent years. They have had unprecedented access to printing presses, radio and television transmitters and other means of reaching the public.

To the extent that they have taught parents to educate their children about sex, rather than permitting them to learn the “facts of life” on street corners as was common a generation ago, they have performed a distinct service.

However, they have contributed all shades of opinion as to how sex instruction should be given.

For instance, many have taken a naturalistic view and have sought to divorce it from all religious and moral teaching. These secularists have largely won their way in some public school systems, where children often are taught about the mechanics of sex without regard to moral factors which must govern any consideration of the subject.

In view of the many opinions which have been expressed, it is perhaps understandable that American parents have become confused.

Catholic parents need not be, however, for the Church’s position concerning this area of your child’s development is unmistakably clear.

It is based upon her centuries of experience and her unequaled opportunity to observe where and how sex education best enables children to acquire the proper reverence for the marriage act and the discipline of mind and heart that is essential for chastity.

You can gain a clear concept of your obligations and opportunities as a parent, therefore, if you keep in mind five fundamental principles which have been confirmed in Christian practice over the centuries.

First, you have a personal obligation to teach your own children about sex. By God’s command you and you alone are the primary educators of your sons and daughters. Certainly you would be failing Him if you abdicated responsibility in a matter of such importance. The human happiness of your own flesh and blood may well be at stake.

Some parents mistakenly believe that their duty to mold and form young minds extends to all areas of knowledge except sex. This is a short-sighted view of parenthood.

The reason that sex education is your job stems from the fact that you can give it better than anyone else. No matter how poor a teacher you think yourself to be, only you know best the needs of your children, their fears and their stage of development.

If parents shy away from this instruction, it is not because they are ignorant. This is one matter in which you have complete superiority, even over the most precocious child. He cannot ask any question that you cannot answer, which perhaps is more than you can say about your knowledge of other subjects.

Secondly, your children should be taught sex within the context of love, not as a thing apart. It is more important that he have proper attitudes about sex than that he always have precisely correct factual information.

Without uttering a word, you as a couple can exert the potent force of example to teach a boy or girl how a husband and wife should act in their everyday relationship.

They will learn only from you that sexual adjustment in marriage is really the result of deep spiritual and psychological communion.

It is the love relationship in the family that gives the best education for sex training, neither implying that sex is all-important in life nor conveying the impression that it is shameful or embarrassing.

Inevitably your children will wish to know how babies are born or why women differ from men. Whatever you do–if you say nothing, evade the questions, tell a fable, such as that the stork brings children, if you elaborate unduly or without regard to wholesome values, or if you speak truthfully and reverently–you give them attitudes they will carry into maturity.

As a conscientious parent, therefore, you obviously must try, by word and example, to teach him about life in a way that will best prepare him for adulthood.

The third important principle is that sex education must be intimately related to our belief in God and the natural law. A child cannot truly understand any fact of life unless he first understands that God is the author of all life.

He cannot properly respect the marital act unless he knows that this was the means chosen by God for the creation of human life. And he cannot cultivate the virtue of chastity unless he also learns that by God’s law the exercise of the sexual act is reserved only for persons in the married state.

If your child is to achieve the proper perspective about sex throughout his life, therefore, he must be reminded continually that sex is God’s creation and must be used only in the way that He has ordained.

The child who is taught that his newborn sister was given to him by God, or that God has arranged the body of woman in such a way that after marriage she can become a mother, or that Our Lady and St. Joseph, both of whom were virgins, were beloved above all others by the Son of God, is always likely to approach sexual matters with reverence.

The fourth principle is that sex education should be intimate. You are dealing here with a matter of the utmost importance to the salvation of your child’s soul as well as to his happiness on earth.

Details of sex should not be discussed publicly, but rather treated confidentially between parent and child. Only in this way can the dignity of sex be respected and modesty preserved.

Moreover, each child reacts differently when he learns of the fundamental facts about birth and life.

Only by discussing these facts with your child individually can you observe his reaction and temper your approach to meet his own needs. Few people who support public sex education mention the repugnance which some children, particularly girls who are endowed with natural modesty, feel at the open discussion of sex.

But it is a fact. As many people have been harmed in marriage by brutally disclosed information as by ignorance.

The fifth principle is that knowledge about sex should be acquired gradually throughout life. It starts at the cradle, where the child learns how his mother reacts when he experimentally touches his sex organs.

He learns from what she says–and how she says it–when he asks her where babies come from. He learns from the way that his parents prepare him for the coming of puberty; even if they do not prepare him, he develops an attitude from that fact also.

He may gain or lose reverence for marriage by what his parents teach him about dating and “going steady.” His attitude will be affected by his parents’ reaction to births and marriages within the family circle and by the control which they exercise over his choice of reading matter, movies and television programs.

Obviously, the old caricature of the father calling in his son for a ten-minute “man-to-man talk” in which the father reveals all he knows about sex is completely out of touch with reality.

Keeping these five principles in mind, you can clearly understand why you must accept the responsibility for your child’s sex instruction.

As the first principle shows, you give this education inevitably, the only real question is whether you will give it properly or not.

You are best equipped to apply the second and third principles of teaching the physical facts of life within the framework of God’s law. You can best provide the intimate environment in which this education should be given.

And, since you are your child’s permanent custodian, you are also in the best position to give him the information and attitudes he should have at various stages of his development. No other individual or agency can apply the five basic principles for instruction about sex as readily and as completely as you.

In fulfilling this responsibility to your children, you should be guided by the words of Pope Pius XII, spoken to a group of Christian mothers in 1941:

“If imparted by the lips of Christian parents, at the proper time, in the proper measure and with proper precautions, the revelation of the mysterious and marvelous laws of life will be received by them (the children) with reverence and gratitude, and will enlighten their minds with far less danger than if they learned them haphazard from some unpleasant shock, from secret conversations, through information received from oversophisticated companions, or from clandestine reading, the more dangerous and pernicious as secrecy inflames the imagination and troubles the senses.

Your words, if they are wise and discreet, will prove a safeguard and a warning in the midst of the temptations and the corruption which surround them, ‘because foreseen an arrow comes slowly.’ …With the discretion of a mother and a teacher, and thanks to the open-hearted confidence with which you have been able to inspire your children, you will not fail to watch for and to discern the moment in which unspoken questions have occurred to their minds and are troubling their senses. It will then be your duty to your daughters, the father’s duty to your sons, carefully and delicately to unveil the truth as far as it appears necessary, to give a prudent, true and Christian answer to those questions and set their minds at rest.”

It is a good rule of thumb that fathers instruct the boys and mothers the girls. However, whoever is asked the questions, should give the answers. And prior to the marriage of one of their children, there are many advantages in a mutual discussion of the subject between the child and both parents.

“A decent young man really respects the young woman who quietly refuses to be ‘pawed over’ and ‘necked’; he wants a wife who has kept pure.
A decent girl breathes a sigh of relief when she finds that a young man respects her as a human being, as a friend, and as a lady.
There is nothing so beautiful and so powerful as virtuous loveliness. Riches, high position, physical beauty—none of these entrances as does sinlessness. Self-control, purity, exalts the soul while preserving it from defilement.” – Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship http://amzn.to/2uVnoE6 (afflink)

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To the Eucharist, Then, We Should Go!

 

From Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love

To the Eucharist, then, we should go. To Jesus we should turn— to Jesus, who wishes to make Himself ours in order to make us His by rendering us “Godlike.”

“O Jesus, Food of strong souls,” St. Gemma Galgani used to say, “strengthen me, purify me, make me godlike.”

Let us receive the Eucharist with a pure and ardent heart. That is what the saints have done. It should never be too much trouble for us to grow familiar with this unspeakable Mystery.

Meditation, study and reflection on the Eucharist should have an important place each day on our timetable. It will be the time of our day richest in blessings. It will do good to our soul and body.

One reads in the life of St. Pius X that one day, when he was the parish priest of Salzano, he went on a visit to a sick altar boy. At that very moment the doctor also arrived and asked the sick boy how he was.

The boy answered that on that day he was feeling better because he had been able to give a little instruction on the Eucharist to a few other boys.

At this response the doctor exclaimed with overtones of ridicule, “Oh! That’s nice. During my medical studies I never heard that a little Christian teaching could have such effects.”

At this sour remark, the priest immediately intervened in defense of the youth and said to the doctor, “Oh, we see very well the effects of your science, doctor, and even a nearsighted person would see them well, too, because the cemetery is full of them…. But Christian doctrine fills up a place which only those who are intellectually shortsighted would not be able to see: Heaven!”

The Eucharist is the heavenly “leaven” (Mt. 13: 33) which is capable of fermenting, in the human nature of every person, all spiritual and temporal goods.

It is so great a good Itself that one cannot desire anything else greater. What, in fact, could one desire more, when within himself he has Jesus, living and real, the God-made-man, the Word made flesh and blood for our salvation and happiness?

On his deathbed St. Peter Julian Eymard gave this excellent reply to a religious who requested a final point for reflection: “I have nothing more to tell you. You already have the Eucharist. What more do you want?”

Knowing, Loving, Living The Eucharist

St. Peter Julian Eymard rightly said that “when a spark of the Eucharist is placed in a soul, a divine germ of life and of all the virtues is cast into that heart. This germ is sufficient of itself, so to say [to do much].”

In order to explore at least some of the immense riches stored up in the Mystery of the Eucharist, let us engage in a constant, unified exercise employing mind, heart and will.

An Exercise of the Mind

First, with the mind one meditates in an attentive, orderly way on the Eucharist. This may be done with books which lead us to personally uncover and deeply ponder this Mystery of Love.

A simple little work rich in content is St. Alphonsus M. de’ Liguori’s Visits to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In addition, there are the two precious little works by St. Peter Julian Eymard entitled, The Real Presence and Holy Communion.

We should, above all, turn to the school of St. Peter Julian Eymard, who was unequalled as an Apostle of the Eucharist. His vocation and mission was to lead all Christians to the Eucharist, to such an extent that people finally called him “the Priest of the Blessed Sacrament!”

When he founded the Congregation of Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, he offered his life for the Eucharistic reign of Jesus. At that time he wrote these ardent words: “Here, dear Jesus, is my life. Behold me ready to eat stones and to die abandoned, just so that I may succeed in erecting a throne for Thee and giving Thee a family of friends, a nation of adorers.”

If we but knew the gift of a God who is Love and who gives Himself to us as a Gift full of Love!

“The Eucharist,” said St. Bernard, “is that Love which surpasses all loves in Heaven and on earth.”

And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love: It signifies Love, It produces love.”

A concrete instance which rivets our attention on this Love is the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano (in the province of Abruzzi, Italy). There one venerates a consecrated Host which was transformed into living Flesh and which has been preserved in this state for more than a thousand years.

The most recent chemical analyses of a particle of this Host verified the fact: it is indeed a piece of flesh which is still living and which is a part of a human heart.

The Eucharist is indeed all one Heart!

One day an Arabian prince, Abd-ed-Kader, while passing through a street of Marseille with a French official, saw a priest who was carrying Holy Viaticum to a dying man. The French official stopped, uncovered his head, and knelt.

His friend asked him the reason for this gesture. “I adore my God, whom the priest is carrying to a sick person,” replied the good official.

“How is it possible,” the prince said, “for you to believe that God who is so great, makes Himself so little and lets Himself go even to the homes of the poor? We Mohammedans have a much higher idea of God.”

The official answered, “It is because you have only an idea of the greatness of God; but you do not know His Love.”

That is the answer. In confirmation of this, St. Peter Eymard declares: “The Eucharist is the supreme proof of the love of Jesus. After this, there is nothing more but Heaven itself.”

Yet, how many of us Christians do not know the vast extent of the love contained in the Eucharist!

“Simplicity of soul is one of the prerequisites of sanctity, and it’s one of the things our children already possess. We must be very careful not to contribute to the great cluttering up. Our obligation as parents is heavy: we must raise children who are in love with God.” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2t1mabR (afflink)

BOOK REVIEW!

If you have trouble reading saint books and find the story lines boring, you need to try these!

We love these books and have had them on our book shelves for years! They are very well-written and make the saints come alive!

Louis de Wohl has the amazing capacity to take historic Catholic figures and breathe life into them by creating a novel around what their life might have been like.

They are meant for high school and adult level. Some of the books could have a bit of adult content, for instance, St. Augustine’s life before conversion.M-EN10-9217948You can look for his books here and read more reviews:

The Quiet Light: A Novel About Saint Thomas Aquinas
The Joyful Beggar: St. Francis of Assisi
Lay Siege to Heaven
The Spear: A Novel of the Crucifixion
Citadel of God: A Novel About Saint Benedict
The Living Wood: Saint Helena and the Emperor Constantine

A review:

Louis de Wohl’s books are all spellbinding and captivating! He creates real-life, everyday events that could very well have happened in the lives of the actual historical figures he portrays. You get a biography that is painted in everyday, real-life events rather than just a chronology of facts, making the story all that easier to relate to for the reader.

Here is a peek into the author’s life. Louis de Wohl

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