Friendships – Beautiful Girlhood

 

From Beautiful Girlhood, Mabel Hale

“A friend loveth at all times.”

Friendship is a wonderful thing. The love of friendship is often stronger than the love of brotherhood and sisterhood. There is a cord of tenderness and appreciation binding those who are friends which is lovely beyond words to express it.

Every truehearted girl loves her friends with a devotion that beautifies her life and enlarges her heart. She who is unable to be true in friendship has little of value in her.

A friendship does not grow up spontaneously. It must have a good soil in which to take root, good seed from which to start, and care and cultivation, in order to become its best. The good soil is sincerity and truth coupled with kindness and affection. The good seed is love and appreciation.

And it must be watched closely that no weeds of jealousy or envy creep in, and the soil must be constantly stirred by kind acts, words of appreciation and affection, and mutual admiration. There dare be no selfish interests nor evil suspicions in true friendship. The smallest bit of mistrust will blight it like frost. Friendship is tender, but it is beautiful.

An old friend is more to be prized than a new one. The longer friendship stands the stronger it becomes, if it be the genuine kind. New friends spring up and fall away, but old friends cling to you through all.

Hold fast your old friends, and those who have been friends to your father before you. They have your interests at heart. They will judge kindly when new friends condemn.

A person is made better or worse by his friends. If they are well chosen and faithful they build up and make strong the best that is in one; but if they are unwisely chosen they drag down and destroy all that is pure within. For a man will be like his friends. Show me the friends of a girl, those whom she most appreciates, and I will tell you what kind of girl she is though I never see her.

Good girls have friends who are pure, noble, sincere. Girls who are careless of their deportment and reputation have just the other kind. You will find them seeking friends among those who are light-minded. A girl cannot rise higher than the level of her friends. Either they will lift her up, or she will descend to their level.

A girl should have many friends, but only a very few intimate friends. There is an inner circle into which a girl with true womanly instinct cannot invite many. Her nature is such that she must have a confidant, one to whom she feels free to tell out her heart’s deepest secrets; but she is foolish indeed who tries to be thus confidential with many. The safest girl is the one who makes her mother her most confidential friend.

Every girl wants a chum. A chum used in the right way is a good thing in any girl’s life. But there is a chumminess that is detrimental in the extreme. When a chum comes into a girl’s heart closer than any other person, and to that chum is told every little secret, not only of the teller, but of her family also, and into her ears is poured out every bit of gossip and slander the girl hears, that chum is a detriment.

When two girls plan together against the laws and management of their homes, vowing undying fidelity to each other in their secrets, chums become a menace indeed.

But when two girls can be understanding friends, each able to go to the other for help and encouragement, and whose plans and lives are kept open for the inspection of interested mothers, such friendships are good.

Fickleness in friendship is a common girlish fault. Youth changes so fast that she who pleases for a while soon becomes dull. For a few weeks or months the vials of love and devotion are poured out on the chosen chum, and then in a moment of misunderstanding the cords are broken, and in another day bound upon another friend.

To the new friend are poured out all the secrets gained from the old friend, and so the gossip grows. A girl who will become “miffed” with her friend, and tell what she has sacredly promised to keep is not worthy of being called a friend.

Some girls take their girlhood friendships too seriously. They allow a sentimental love to bind itself around a chum so that a few weeks of separation may cause “oceans of tears” to be shed. The red-eyed one goes about feeling herself a martyr to love, when she is only enjoying a foolish sentiment. In friendship be sensible.

When girls have friends among the men and boys, even more care should be used in their selection and treatment than when with girls. There is only a small margin between the love of friendship and romance, and what the girl may have begun only as friendship may develop into something more serious.

Again, if a girl will make herself too familiar in her friendships with the other sex, she is liable to give them a wrong conception of her. She may appear to them to be only a “good fellow,” and they may interpret that appellation to mean that she has let down some of her womanly guards and does not expect to be treated with the deference and respect usually given to good women. Any girl is in a dangerous position when she gets this reputation.

When girls work and play with men and boys, as they all will do sometime or other, they should be sociable, friendly, even jolly in their association together, but never should girls forget that it is their place to avoid and resent any bold familiarity, and that every true man or boy will respect them for keeping up their guards.

True friendship will never ask a woman to step down from her womanly dignity and discretion. She holds her honor and her appearance of honor higher than everything else.

My dear friend, choose your friends carefully, and keep them loyal. While you are kind to those who have fallen, remember that it is not for you, a young girl, to raise them up by seeking their company. You are too easily drawn away yourself.

Let your friends be chosen from among those whom you can admire and emulate, that is, those whose conversation and deportment will lead you up instead of down. Keep in mind, of course, the two classes of friends, that outward group to whom you are always sociable and friendly and the inner group with whom you become really intimate.

One should be friends with those who need friendship even if they are not so desirable, but no girl can become intimate with people of low standards and morals without becoming contaminated. If you are a young Christian, seek out friends among those who are longer in the service and keep out of the company of those who draw your mind away from things that are right.

Old friends of your parents who have proved themselves true in all circumstances in the past, respect and cherish also, though they may seem queer and out of fashion now. Those who have loved and advised your father and your mother will be all the more careful in advising you. Though they be plain people and little used to the things common to you, listen to them and use their advice as far as you can.

Be a true friend yourself. Never let it be said that in you was placed confidence that was not deserved. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.”

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Having a happy home is crucial to the spreading of our faith. To whom do we want to spread our faith? First of all, to our children. They need to see the deep and lasting beauty of our faith shining forth in our everyday lives, making our home beautiful and happy. Our faith should be an unspoken reality, the undercurrent in the everyday bubbling brook, that flows into every facet of our lives, without it being brassy or aggressive.

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Very good book for Catholic youth!

Clean Love in Courtship by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik

“This booklet contains practical advice on the subjects of dating and choosing a spouse from the Catholic theological viewpoint. Father Lovasik points out clearly what one’s moral obligations are in this area, providing an invaluable aid to youthful readers. Additionally, he demonstrates that Catholic marriage is different from secular marriage and why it is important to choose a partner who is of the Catholic Faith if one would insure his or her personal happiness in marriage. With the rampant dangers to impurity today, with the lax moral standards of a large segment of our society, with divorce at epidemic levels, Clean Love in Courtship will be a welcome source of light and guidance to Catholics serious about their faith.”

 

 

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Laetare Sunday to Palm Sunday – Maria Von Trapp

Maria von Trapp brings to us the lovely customs of Lent that enrich a Catholic home and make the Faith fully alive to the children….

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family, 1955

In the middle of Lent comes the Sunday Laetare, also called “Rose Sunday.” It is as if Holy Mother Church wants to give us a break by interrupting the solemn chant of mourning, the unaccompanied cadences and the use of the violet vestments, bursting out suddenly in the word

“Laetare” (“Rejoice”), allowing her priests to vest in rose-colored garments, to have flowers on the altar and an organ accompaniment for chant.

It is also called “Rose Sunday” because on that day the Pope in

Rome blesses a golden rose, an ornament made of gold and precious stones.

The Holy Father prays that the Church may bring forth the fruit of good works and “the perfume of the ointment of the flowers from the root of

Jesse.” Then he sends the golden rose to some church or city in the world or to a person who has been of great service to the Church.

Only recently I discovered that this Sunday used to be known as “Mothering Sunday.” This seems to go back to an ancient custom. People in every city would visit the cathedral, or mother church, inspired by a reference in the Epistle read on the Fourth Sunday of Lent: “That

Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is our Mother.”

And there grew up, first in England, from where it spread over the continent, the idea that children who did not live at home visited their mothers that day and brought them a gift.

This is, in fact, the precursor of our Mother’s Day. Expecting their visiting children, the mothers are said to have baked a special cake in which they used equal amounts of sugar and flour (two cups of each); from this came the name “Simmel Cake,” derived from the Latin word “similis”, meaning “like” or “same.”

Here is the recipe:

Simmel Cake

3/4 cup butter                1/3 cup shredded lemon &

2 cups sugar                       orange peel

2 cups flour                  1 cup currants

4 eggs                        almond paste

1/2 tsp. salt.

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift the flour and salt and add to the first mixture. Dust the peel and currants with a little flour and add to the batter. Line cake tin with waxed paper and pour in half the dough. Add a layer of almond paste and remaining dough. Bake at 300 degrees F. for one hour. Ice with a thin white icing, flavored with a few drops of almond extract.

PASSIONTIDE

Passion Sunday To Holy Saturday

The liturgy follows Christ’s early life step by step. At Christmas season we learn of the birth in the stable, the adoration of the shepherds, the slaughter of the innocents, the flight into Egypt, the adoration of the Magi, and finally the return from Egypt.

Then we meet Our Lord again at His baptism, we accompany Him into the desert on his fast, and we go with Him for the first and second years of His public life, we listen to His parables, we admire His miracles, and we unite our hearts with Him in His life of toil and missionary love for us.

Now four weeks of instruction have passed. We have followed Our Lord in His apostolic ministry and we have reached the moment when, together with Holy Mother Church, we shall contemplate the sorrowful happenings of the last year (during Passion Week) and the last week (during Holy Week) of His life on earth.

We can feel the hatred of Christ’s enemies growing day by day. On Good Friday we shall witness once more the most frightening of all happenings, foretold by the prophets and even by Our Lord Himself, the bloody drama of Calvary.

The purpose of Passiontide is to call to our memory the persecutions of which Our Lord was the object during His public life and especially toward the end. If Septuagesima season acts as a remote preparation for Easter, and Lent the proximate one, the last two weeks of Passiontide are the immediate preparation.

PASSION SUNDAY

When the children were still very small, I said to them on the way to church on a Passion Sunday morning, “Now watch and tell me what is different today in church!” On the way home they said eagerly that the statues and crosses on the altars were covered with violet cloth.

“And why don’t we do it at home, Mother? Shouldn’t we cover the crucifix and statues in the living room and in our bedrooms, too?”

As I had no good reason to offer against it, we bought a few yards of violet cloth the next day and did at home what we had seen in church. In the following years we were ready for the covering ceremony on Saturday before Passion Sunday.

The older ones among the children also had noticed that the prayers at the foot of the altar were much shorter and that there was no “Gloria Patri” after the Introit and the Lavabo.

To let the children watch for such changes in the liturgy makes them much more eager than if they are told everything in advance.

Promptly, when we came in our evening prayers to the “Gloria Patri,” a warning, hissing “Sssh” from the children’s side made us aware that “Gloria Patri,” even if only in family prayers, should be omitted for these holy days of mourning.

I am sure it would be the case in every family, as it was in ours, that the children are the ones who most eagerly want to carry into the home as much of holy liturgy as they possibly can.

For instance, when I answered their question as to how the ashes are obtained which are to be blessed on Ash Wednesday, telling them that the blessed palms from the previous Palm Sunday are burned, they asked a most logical question “But, Mother, if you burn a blessed object, aren’t the ashes already blessed? And if so, shouldn’t we burn all the blessed palms around the place too and sprinkle the ashes over the garden?” And so we did!

After we had established this as a firm family custom, I read that this is done in many places in the Austrian Alps, only there the people strew the ashes not over the garden but over the fields.

PALM SUNDAY

Then comes the week which is called in the missal “Hebdomada Major”–our “Holy Week” in which we accompany Our Lord day by day through the last week of His life, as it is told in the Gospels. First we join Him in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

As soon as the Church had been freed by the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, the Christians began to celebrate Palm Sunday in a very dramatic way in Jerusalem.

On the very spot where it had happened, the holy texts were read: “Rejoice, daughter of Sion, behold Thy King will come to thee….”

The crowd spread their garments on the ground, crying aloud, “Blessed be the King Who cometh in the Name of the Lord.” The bishop, mounted on an ass, would ride up to the church on the Mount of Olives, surrounded by a multitude carrying palms and singing hymns and joyful anthems.

From Jerusalem this re-enactment of Christ’s solemn entry into His holy city came to Rome, where the Church soon adopted the same practice. The ceremony, however, was preceded by the solemn reading of the passage from Holy Scriptures relating the flight from Egypt, thus reminding Christ’s people that Christ, the new Moses, in giving them the real manna, is delivering them out of the Egypt of sin and nourishing them in the Eucharist.

Around the ninth century the Church added a new rite. The palms, which the people would hold in their hands when they accompanied their bishop, were solemnly blessed.

We have already witnessed several of these specially solemn blessings, on Epiphany, on Candlemas Day, on Ash Wednesday. Again these texts are so rich in beautiful thoughts for meditation that families should read them together–not only read them, but read them prayerfully.

From Rome the idea to re-enact Our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem spread all over the Christian world. In medieval times the faithful and the clergy met at a chapel or a wayside shrine outside of town where the palms were blessed, and from there moved in a solemn procession to the cathedral.

Our Lord was represented either by the bishop riding on an ass or, in some places, by the Blessed Sacrament carried by the king or, in other places, by a crucifix carried ahead. In some Austrian villages the figure of Christ sitting on an ass, carved in wood, is carried.

The Christian people had an unerring instinct for the efficacy of those solemnly blessed sacramentals, and just as they carried home Epiphany water and holy candles, they also would bring home with them blessed palms.

In the old country this was quite an elaborate function of “the liturgy in the home.” As we did not have real palms growing in Austria, we used evergreens and pussy willows, which at that time were the first children of spring.

Like all other Austrian families living in the country, we made as many little bouquets as there were divisions on our grounds–one for the vegetable garden, one for the orchard, one for the flower garden, one for each pasture, and one for each field. Each of these little bouquets was fastened to a stick about three feet high.

Besides, there were many single twigs of pussy willow which would be placed behind pictures all around the house. These bouquets were gaily adorned with colored ribbons or dyed shavings from the carpenter shop.

The children carried them into the church and vied with each other, during the blessing, as to who held his stick highest to get most of the holy water sprinkled on it. Then bouquets were carried in a liturgical procession and afterwards were brought home.

In the afternoon the whole family would follow the father throughout the house and all over the grounds and he would place in the middle of every lot one of those sticks carrying the blessed bouquets as a means of protecting his property against the influence of evil spirits, against the damage of hail storms and floods.

While the family would proceed from lot to lot, they would say the rosary. We would alternate between decades of the rosary and the chants of the day, “Pueri Hebraeorum” and “Gloria, laus et honor.” On

Easter Sunday the family would revisit these sticks, bringing along little bottles filled with Easter water (holy water blessed solemnly on Easter morning). These little bottles would be tied to sticks, thus adding another sacramental.

Quote from The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland

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“Your joy in your children should outweigh by far any disadvantages they may cause. In them you will find your own happiness.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, http://amzn.to/2neRNrZ The Catholic Family Handbook. (afflink)

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The Mirror of True Womanhood

A very beautiful book, worthy of our attention. In it, you will find many pearls of wisdom for a woman striving to be the heart of the home, an inspiration to all who cross her path. You will be inspired to reconsider the importance of your role of wife and mother! Written by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly in 1894, the treasures found within its pages ring true and remain timeless…

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Take a peek at my books available at Meadows of Grace!

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The Wife as Helpmate in the Home – True Womanhood

A very high calling is ours, where we must strive to go the extra mile….

from True Womanhood, Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894

In the earthly paradise of the true Christian home, the wife is a helpmate, the equal of her husband, neither his inferior not his servant. It is not in such homes that our modern theories or discussions about “Woman’s Rights,” or “the Sphere of the Woman,” have originated.

No woman animated by the Spirit of her Baptism, filled with the humility and generosity which are the soul of that self-sacrificing love indispensable to husband and wife in the performance of their undivided life-labor – ever fancied that she had or could have any other sphere of duty or activity than that home which is her domain, her garden, her paradise, her world.

There, if she is truly a wife, all are subject to her, even her husband. There never existed a true-souled Christian man who did not believe himself and demean himself from his bridal hour till his dying day like a willing and loving servant of his wife inside his own home.

This is true especially of the home of the wealthy and the great, where reigns and should ever reign the infinite respect and reverence of man for woman, in whom Christian faith bids us see the majesty and purity of her who is Mother of Christ.

There is no excuse for the high-born and the wealthy, when they fail to honor themselves, by doing service inside their home to mother, wife, and sister.

The difficulty will here be with the poor man, the laboring man, coming home at evening worn out by the toil of the day, faint with hunger too, and fearful it may be of the morrow. Has he not to be served rather than serve?

The answer is an easy one, and easily understood, where minds are enlightened and hearts are upright. If the poor man’s wife has done her duty throughout the day, she will have found in her home-work enough to weary.

The very labor of preparing for her husband and her sons, perhaps, the meal which is to restore their strength, and the care required to brighten up that home so as to make it look a paradise of repose for them, – is the task of her who is the natural helper in the household – and whose blessed help consists precisely in making the home what it ought to be, man’s heart-rest from all outside cares.

But that is enough about the fundamental notion of equality between husband and wife, the father and the mother in the Christian family.

Both are necessary to each other, they ought to have but one heart and one mind in the pursuit of the one great purpose of their lives, – the happiness of their home and the rearing to the practice of all goodness the children whom God send them.

Understanding this, their only true position toward each other, the husband never can entertain any notion of domineering over his wife, not the wife feel any sense of servile inferiority toward her husband.

But the love which binds her to him is an enlightened love which makes her view their respective labors as only two distinct parts of one task.

Besides all that she accomplishes in ordering, brightening, and warming the home, – there are a thousand ways in which she can be a helpmate to her husband, beyond what is required for mere companionship.

For it is one thing to be delightful company to a person one is traveling with, by being able to converse with him in his own language, or to discuss with him every favorite topic, or to enter into his recreations and amusements with zest, and thus to lighten the weariness of the road and charm away its dullness; and another to be a helper.

One’s companion may fail in strength, or be beset with dangers and difficulties: – and then it is that the office of the helper begins.

It is precisely when man’s heart fails him, and his courage yields to disappointment or difficulty, that woman comes to his aid.

And if this help is most sweet and welcome and above all price in moments of professional weariness, of business difficulties, or when all seems dark and bleak and hopeless to the stoutest heart, – how much more valuable is it in matters which concern the soul’s welfare, in trouble of the heart, in the dark and stormy hours of temptation!

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“Being humble means recognizing everything good and beautiful in my life (my qualities, the good I can do, and so on), as a gift from God. There is more to life than negative things; sometimes we are happy with ourselves, with what we experience and have been able to achieve, and this is justifiable, provided we recognize God as the ultimate source of all those good things.” – Fr. Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love, Beautiful Book: http://amzn.to/2minNMv Painting by John William Waterhouse 1908 (afflink)

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 A very beautiful book!

The Story of Sister Maria Teresa Quevedo. “For Him alone I have lived.” The Story of a Nun. Venerable Maria Teresa Quevedo 1930-1950. Maria Teresa Quevedo was a lively modern girl-a talented dancer, an expert swimmer, an outstanding tennis player, who devoted herself to generous works of sacrifice. Her life can be summed up by her own motto, “May all who look at me see you, O Mary.” This book is the first full-length biography of Maria Teresa Quevedo that has been written in English. Teresita, as she was called by her friends and family, was a Spanish girl who was born in 1930 and who died in 1950 at the age of twenty. Throughout her life, Teresita was an inspiration and a delight to everyone around her as she calmly strove to exemplify Christian virtue in her everyday life. Teresita tried to do everything perfectly. As a girl living with her parents, she was an obedient child. With her friends, she was not only respected but popular. As a sodalist, she gave evidence as being a born leader for Mary. As a tennis player, she was an expert. As captain of her basketball team, she consistently led the group to victory. At any young people’s gathering which she attended, she was the life of the party. When Teresita entered the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of Charity, she did so because she desired to become a saint and to devote all her life to Jesus and Mary. But, in her own words, she wished to become a “little saint, for I cannot do big things.” Teresita’s cause for canonization is now under examination in the Sacred Congregation of Rites. “You will find the story of this popular beautiful girl an inspiration. It is a happy biography . . . Don’t miss it.” -Herbert O’H Walker, S.J.

catalog1701-800x800

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Couldn’t Parenthood be Taught in Schools? – Fr. Daniel A. Lord

From Questions People Ask About Their Children

Fr. Daniel A. Lord

Couldn’t parenthood be taught in schools?

EDUCATORS HAVE UNFORTUNATELY laid the stress on sex education. This mistake has confused the whole issue. With the Pope, I do not feel that sex education has any place in a classroom of adolescents. [Specifically, I am referring to the teaching of Pope Pius XII.]

Education for parenthood is something quite different.

I believe so much in the possibilities of education for parenthood that I had a genuine hope that my bookSome Notes for the Guidance of Parents would be taken as a textbook for such classes. In some cases it has been thus used.

If training for every important profession in life is regarded as absolutely essential, why not for parenthood? Why not teach young people the elements of child psychology? Why not instruct them in the essential information that should be imparted to the growing child — the stories and books and music and art he should know, the manners he should develop?

Why not prepare young people to understand the problems of the child at various ages and thus dispel the ignorance of parents or the old wives’ tales they probably believe?

Why not discuss with young people in a classroom such things as home recreation and show them how it can be achieved? What about home management and homemaking in general — the important prerequisites for a growing child?

Young people are trained for the less important professions . . . . , and young people are allowed to slip into marriage and stumble into parenthood, and everyone blames them because they don’t know what no one has taught them.

Law was once taught by lawyers in law offices. Now a man who aspires to be a lawyer must go to law school. Once upon a time it was taken for granted that children learned to be parents by their observations of their parents. If the parents are good and have plenty of time, that way might still work. If in this highly complicated world the parents are stumbling at parenthood, it can hardly be expected that their children will emerge other than stumblers.

Here is a vast field for the educator.

We have hopes.

Where is a future father to get the necessary training for that career? Usually he is busy learning to earn a living.

YOU HAVE LAID your finger on one of the problems of modern education: Men start to learn how to earn a living before they have learned how to live.

They are trained to be doctors and utterly untrained to be parents.

They know how to talk to a customer but have no idea how to talk to a son.

Remember that education is for LIFE, not for the earning of a living. Hence the importance of the cultural courses, which should be strong and required. Only when a person is a worthwhile individual should he be trained to be a tradesman or a businessman or a professional man.

If a person is learning to be a good person, an educated person, one who understands life and how to live it, he is incidentally learning to be a good parent.

The technical side of parenthood is not too vastly different from the technical side of dealing with people anywhere any time. A man can master the few additional elements in a short time — if he personally knows how to live well and happily.

What is responsible for the gap between mother and daughter and between father and son?

ARE THERE ALWAYS such gaps? I’d hate to think there were. Novelists have built a lot of plots over this antagonism between the females of two generations and between the males of these same relative ages.

I am by no means sure that this situation is nearly so widespread as the novelists — and a certain type of psychologist — want us to believe.

I know a great many mothers and daughters who are closer than any sisters could be.

In the cliché of the times:

They not merely love each other; they are very good friends.

I know many fathers who live for the day when they can take their sons into their business or profession, and a great many sons who think their fathers are pretty wonderful people.

Certainly the slight gap that may exist between a mother and a daughter has a way of disappearing when the daughter marries. I mean this in no mother-in-law jest; it simply happens that after her marriage the daughter calls on her mother as on her best friend and wisest counselor — often to the improvement of the daughter’s marriage and the new home.

When a father starts to do things on a level with his son — play golf, play bridge, work out business problems, make calls together on cases, there is evident a comradeship that is beautiful and reassuring.

There are gaps . . . caused by ignorance, jealousy, bad dispositions, stupid parent approach or neglect, nagging or incompetence — a thousand reasons. For once it might be nice to note those parents who are close to their children rather than those who are separated from them by chasms.

How is it that our grandparents succeeded so well without any knowledge of the science of child education and training?

AH, BUT DID THEY? I seem to recall some rather odd specimens that developed in most of the family histories about which I know a little.

If the ills and woes of the world today are the result of the generations gone by, I think a lot more could have been done in the upbringing and training of those generations.

Let’s suppose however that our grandparents did wonderful jobs as parents. Let’s suppose that all their children were sound, good Catholics, fine citizens, pure women, honest men, able to meet the problems of life. The fact would still remain that today is not their day. The problems that we meet today are vastly complicated by the intricate pattern of this our modern life.

Economically life grows steadily more difficult.

Politically we are in a series of crises.

The records of our hospitals and courts show the terrific rise of psychopathic cases and psychiatric patients.

Life today grows more and more difficult to untangle and lay out in orderly patterns.

If it has never been easy to be a parent, today the profession of parenthood has become exasperatingly complicated and difficult.

Maybe your grandparents were perfect in the rearing of their children; still parents of today — you among them — are living, not in their age, but in our age. Our age is something rather tough to understand and difficult to meet with full confidence and perfect adjustment.

How do you account for so many of us having become good people and having been reared in the old way?

THERE’S A TOUGH ACCUSATION implied here, and I dodge feebly. First of all good parents in any generation produce — as a rule — good children. If you had the good luck to have good parents, you can thank them for a large part of your goodness.

I have never advocated a “new way” of parenthood or parent training. Really all I ever do is advocate a return to nature’s way and God’s way—and there couldn’t be anything much older than that.

If the home is such a powerful factor in the future of the children of a nation, why are such powerful groups in the nation arrayed against the home?

PRECISELY BECAUSE THE HOME is powerful. If it were not an important institution, the enemies of God and of man would leave it alone. Because the people who control the home control the future, because parents are the first representatives of God on earth, because within the home is the hope of morality . . . . for these reasons the men who wish to control the future, who hate God, and who would for their own selfish purposes wipe out morality attack the home openly or subtly.

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“We must be very careful not to contribute to the great cluttering up. We must make a heroic effort to rid our lives of all but one motive, that ‘impractical’ spirituality of the saints, a life in union with God. If this is the undercurrent of our existence, we can expect the spiritual training of our children to bear fruit. Without it, what they learn of God as children will be easily shoved aside when the world begins to make its noise in their ears…” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2mVW33t (afflink)

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Self-Pity and the Cross

JESUS IS MADE TO CARRY THE CROSS – Joseph Breig

Those afflicted with self-pity have often debased the concept of “carrying the Cross.” They have made it a sniveling idea. Their sighs and tears and pietistic postures make it appear that they are being terribly put upon, and are bearing dreadful and unfair burdens with fantastic heroism. This sort of thing does indeed invite derision from scoffers like the communists, with their taunts about “pie in the sky” and about religion being the opium of the people.

This is a penalty which true religion has had to pay for its kindness and patience with the weakest and most self-centered of its adherents. And men – that is, men as distinguished from women – must accept a large part of the guilt for this distortion of the noble and manly idea of taking up one’s cross and carrying it courageously and cheerfully.

Far too many men have left religion to women and children; and what result could have been expected but that religion would come to appear feminine and sometimes almost childish? Women and children would not be women and children if they behaved like men. The fault is not theirs; the fault is men’s for not having been religiously manly.

The carrying of the cross, rightly understood, is the manliest idea in the world. In the final analysis, it is the only manly idea. No man is a real man who shirks crosses. But this does not mean that a man – or a woman or a child – should go around with up cast eyes like a plaster saint, making a great show of self-conscious patience under intolerable tribulations. The plain truth is that most of our tribulations are rather easily tolerable if only we will not magnify them out of all proportion with our own theatricals.

The trouble with far too many of us is that we go through life as if we were writing, producing, directing, starring in, and ourselves being the audience for a melodrama about ourselves.

Some people can make a Broadway production out of a headache and a Shakespearean tragedy out of a smashed fender on their automobile. They are victims of self-dramatization and of a frantic sentimentalism.

There are folks who will mourn the loss of a dog as if they had lost their immortal souls. These are the people who, as Chesterton remarked, spell the word dog backward. They make a dog their god; and if the dog dies, they behave as if the light had gone out of the sky and the future had turned to unrelieved despair.

To point this out is not being anti-dog or anti-anything. It is merely one of a thousand handy examples of the exaggeration of an ordinary sorrow into a thing too terrible to be borne.

There are women who will become unfit to live with for weeks if a vase is broken. There are men who are inconsolable if their alma mater loses a football game. There are people who smash what ought to be a happy marriage because the wife wants to sleep instead of getting up for breakfast, or because the husband prefers reading books to dancing.

We could multiply examples endlessly, but what we are talking about is those unfortunate human beings who have never outgrown being spoiled children, who have never learned to come to terms, realistically and good-naturedly, with life as life actually is.

The Christian concept of carrying the Cross is simply a nutshell description of an honest, mature and religious outlook on life. It is a simple fact that even the longest life is short. Even the most atrocious suffering must end. Even the most poignant sorrow is comparatively brief.

The truth is that life and everything in life are merely means to an end, to a purpose, to an achievement. And the achievement is nothing short of an eternity of such happiness as cannot possibly be described because it is far beyond the power of the human mind to realize or to imagine.

When facts like those are firmly grasped and profoundly understood by the soul, then you have a man who is a man, or a woman who is a woman. You have a person who can put everything in a right perspective. You have somebody who is prepared to carry any cross because he knows that he is walking toward a fulfillment that will make everything, in retrospect, seem small.

And this kind of person will not snivel over his crosses. He will not enlarge his crosses in his own mind until they tower like skyscrapers and increase in weight until they crush him.

The manliness, the magnificent manliness, of Christ is little appreciated. Christ knew from the instant of His conception what the climax of His life would be. He knew that his task was to live the most burdened life in all human history, and to die the most sorrowful death.

But never did Christ have one instant of self-pity or self-glorification. He went at the work of living and of redeeming in the way that a real football star goes about the labor of driving toward the goal posts for a touchdown.

The player can see his objective, and it is his objective that is ever uppermost in his mind. He is hardly aware of the bumps and bruises and weariness he endures on his way to the last stripe on the field. And that was the kind of manliness that Christ had.

Christ took up His cross because He had a job to do. He embraced it because it was the way to the eternal glory for which He had been born. And that is the attitude that each of us should have toward the crosses that come our way as the years pass.

Does one of your children die? Well, death is something for which each of us is born; it is a thing that is ever present in every life. What is really important is not the time of death, but the kind of death. Any good death at any time, any death in the love of God, is an everlasting triumph.

Of course you sorrow if a child dies; but you do not, if you are a grownup Christian man or woman, elevate your sorrow into a religion forevermore. You do not make your sorrow a kind of idol to be worshipped each day that you live.

You take up the cross, you carry it manfully, and by your courage and cheerfulness you make it smaller and smaller until it is very light. After all, each passing day, if you have the true view of life, brings you closer to the endless reunion with your child in unthinkable happiness.

It is properly the task of men to make religion a thoroughly manly thing. Oh, religion is womanly, too, and it is childlike. True religion is universal; it embraces every one.

But religion is not what it ought to be unless it is manful also; unless it is firmly embraced and profoundly encompassed by real men who see life honestly and see it whole, and refuse to shrink from it or run away.

Carrying the cross, truly, is nothing else than living bravely with the right motives and the right kind of love of God and fellowmen.

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A good Catholic woman learns quickly that to love is to hurt….They go hand in hand. Her life is spent spreading love and gathering crosses. And when God allows her sufferings she understands it is not to do her harm but to gather her into His arms.

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Very good spiritual books on My Book List….

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Insisting on Doing it Your Way? – Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love

The Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love, Rev. George A. Kelly

Do your parents treat you as a baby, deny you responsibility, act as though you can’t take care of yourself? That’s probably been a major complaint of teenagers since Cain and Abel..

Do they put on too much pressure – expect more of you than is reasonably possible? Dozens of youngsters you know probably could make similar complaint. Do you fear that you’re not attractive to the opposite sex, worry that you won’t achieve your full growth as a man or woman?

Countless other teen-agers have similar worries. Millions of yesterday’s teenagers had them. Millions of tomorrow’s teenagers will have them, too.

There’s another gripe of teenagers I’ve heard dozens of times. It is: “My parents don’t understand that times have changed.”

Teenagers of my own time said that, and tomorrow’s teenager undoubtedly will say it too about you if you become a parent.

There’s some truth in the statement. Times do change – but basic problems don’t.

For example, a generation ago a girl who rode alone at night with a boy in a horse-drawn buggy was thought to be taking a terrible risk. Times have changed; people now use cars. But the problem’s still there. The girl who allows her boyfriend to park his car in a secluded spot takes no less of a risk then the lass of 1910.

Thirty-five years ago, parents had a job getting teenagers to bed on time; the youngsters wanted to stay up to hear dance bands on the radio.

Yes, times have changed. Now the “Late Show” on television is the attraction. But the basic question – What’s the right time to go to bed? – is still with us.

Run down the list of your other problems. You’ll find that they really haven’t changed much, if at all, from those your mother and dad faced at your age.

You can probably prove this yourself. If you get a chance, warm your parents up and then ask them in a confidential way about their problems when they were your age. What you’ll learn will surprise you.

You’ll find that they too had difficulties in adjusting to their own parents, in getting along with friends, in their school work. They probably were as uncertain about their futures as you are of yours.

The point of all this? Just that they’ve been through the mill. Now they’re older and can look back, seeing how they could have done this or that better, and how they might have avoided this mistake or that.

And if they knew then what they know now, they’d have made fewer errors and would have achieved a much greater success with their lives.

If you want to become an adult the easy way, therefore, take advantage of their experience. By following their advice, you’ll often be able to avoid pitfalls they perhaps fell into.

If you use their experience to help you, you’ll reach adulthood much sooner, much more confidently and much more successfully than if you insist upon making the same mistakes that they did.

I don’t want to give the impression that parents are always right. They aren’t. But then, who is? They probably have their faults. Even now, they may not be able to see some problems clearly. They may have personality shortcoming or prejudices which prevent them from giving the best possible advice under all circumstances.

But I think you’ll agree that their batting average is pretty high.

You needn’t follow them blindly. If their advice proves wrong for some reason, you can adopt a mode of action which conforms more closely to your own experience.

But if you reject their advice without really seeing whether it’s good or not, you’ll find more often than not, that you’ve been doing things the wrong way.

Learning from others is the smart way to learn. Millions have walked this earth before us. There have been centuries of time to consider the common problems of living. It follows that answers to just about all our questions are ready and waiting for us to use.

Of course, we learn almost all we know from the teachings and experiences of those before us. If this weren’t so, we’d still be in caves trying to grow our food by scratching a twig along the ground.

Most times we’re willing to learn in this way. When you were told you’d be killed if you jumped from the Empire State Building, you took somebody else’s word for it. You don’t have to sit in a blazing fire to learn that you can be burned. And while you’ve probably never seen Moscow, you’re willing to believe it’s the capital of Russia because you were told so.

Most of us develop blind spots, however. For one reason or other, we refuse to face facts. We insist upon going ahead with our own ideas, and defy what experience would teach. We all have this characteristic to a small degree, but if we have it to a greater extent than average, we’re really heading for trouble.

I’m thinking of Maryjane. She was a good student in high school. She was willing to learn everything about English, History, Math and any other subject her teacher taught her.

But she had a blind spot: she refuse to heed what experience taught about becoming involved with a married man. She met him at a dance. After a few dates, he told her he was married but living away from his wife. Now, it’s hard to find an expert any place who wouldn’t have told Maryjane to ditch that man quickly, because he could only cause her grief. But she refused to learn from others.

After about five years, he tossed her aside and, still married, picked up a younger girl. Today Maryjane knows that others gave her the best advice she could have been given.

But by insisting upon doing things her own way, she made a serious mistake.

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“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.” – Pope Pius XI
 
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These are great books for the young people in your life!

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Tidbits from Fr. Lasance and Fr. Lovasik

From My Prayer Book, Father Lasance

The Practice of Charity

Seek occasions to please the Heart of Jesus by the practice of holy charity in always thinking and speaking well of your neighbor, assisting the poor according to your ability, spiritually and corporally, considering Jesus Christ in their person, and doing nothing to them which you would not wish to be done to yourself.

Be patient toward all, in order to give confidence to each one, and above all to the poor who come to you in their need. Be a friend to everyone and an enemy to no one; then you will become like unto God.

Charles IX, King of France, once asked the poet Tasso who, in his estimation, was the happiest. Tasso replied without hesitation: “God.”

“Everybody knows that,” continued the king; “but who is next?”

And Tasso answered: “He who becomes most like to God.”

The Highest Pleasures

The highest, the best, the most permanent pleasures are those which are not sought, but which come from the faithful fulfillment of life’s duties and obligations.

Indeed, eager search after pleasure in any direction is always fruitless, because it implies a condition of mind to which enduring happiness is a stranger.

Selfishness and enjoyment may dwell together for a brief season, but the latter will soon wither away under the absorbing influence of the former.

Don’t Go To Heaven Alone

Don’t go to heaven alone! Take somebody with you. Mothers, take your children with you. Pray as long as you have breath in your body – never despair and never give up the hope that your loved ones, no matter how far their footsteps have wandered, will one day stand with you before the Great White Throne.

Let Us Go About Doing Good

If we are educated, let us, in the Master’s name, instruct the ignorant; if we possess wealth, let us use it as God intended; if we have health, let us cheer some drooping soul.

If we enjoy any singular opportunities, consider them prayerfully, and in so doing we shall find that the moments that really shine out in our lives are those in which we have buried self and gone out into this busy and sinful world, and have endeavored, by prayer and effort to do the will of Him, whose one great mission was to go about doing good.

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From a precious little pamphlet written by Father Lovasik:

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“Encourage him to talk about himself, especially his life away from home. Begin by asking him leading questions about his work. This is not to suggest you be prying or overly inquisitive. But steer the conversation to things he is interested in and then encourage him until he is wound up in his subject. When you see that he is enjoying the conversation, keep it going by your comments and questions. Then learn to listen.” – Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood http://amzn.to/2mVHw7M

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+++ R.I.P. Tribute to Mary E. Gentges (“Aunt” Mary)

My Tribute to “Aunt” Mary

 by Leane VanderPutten

Two months ago, little did I think that I would soon be writing a tribute to my dear friend, Mary.

We’ve known Mary for a long time…many years. But we really got to know her about fifteen years ago. What a blessing that was for our family!

Mary had never married but she considered herself an “Aunt Mary” to many of the young people in the area. She became Aunt Mary to my older girls, too. You would often see their vehicle at Mary’s quaint little home as they ate lunch with her, chatting, laughing, and sharing stories over Italian sodas.

Movie nights with Mary, watching good old movies from days gone by, were a highlight for my girls.

At that time, Mary had many piano students. She loved working with the young people. She had a winning way with them.

I remember going to visit her around Christmas time. Her house was decorated for the children…she had many of those dear little lit-up cottages in a beautiful scene that she knew would capture the hearts of her piano students. Of course, her Nativity Scene took precedence and the charm of those days gave insight into Mary’s artistic nature.

Mary and creativity were synonymous. She made beautiful Ladder rosaries, she was a photographer and took many pictures of my oldest daughter, Virginia’s, wedding and made a beautiful scrapbook as a wedding gift. She had a thriving Ebay business where her descriptions for her interesting, vintage items and her rosaries were unsurpassed.

One year, with the Talent Show coming up, Mary, my girls and I put our heads together and decided to do a dance/singing skit to a song from My Fair Lady. We worked and worked at it, meeting often to get the choreography down. Mary sparkled during those times. Her laugh was infectious and her enthusiasm overflowed! How happy she was after the play was a success and rated the best act of the night!

Mary was a writer. She had written many articles in the past for Catholic periodicals. She had many ideas budding in that resourceful mind of hers. She told me not to tell anyone but she was one day going to write the sequel to Jane Eyre. And Mary could have done it!

But it was not meant to be. Mary’s father got sick. Her family meant much to her. She always talked of her parents, the impact they had on her. She has all their love letters they wrote to one another when “Daddy” was serving in WWII packed neatly in a much-worn box.

Mary and her mother tended to her father and took care of him until he died.

At that same time, her dear mother began to get dementia. Mary diligently looked after her for the next several years. It was trying for Mary and she felt very alone in this battle. Many of her dreams were put aside so she could do what her love for her mother and God ordained her to do….

When she finally had to admit her mom into a nursing home, the staff could not believe that she had looked after her as long as she had…considering how advanced she was in this disease.

Mary, in her loving way, helped me through a very hard time. She was my mentor at that time and I will always be grateful. She became to me an “Aunt Mary”, too. The kind of aunt that you knew would always be there for you.

We have heard of those amazing Catholic women in the past that remained single in the world, to serve the Church and to serve others…their great influence felt in many circles. This was Mary.

Mary and the Catholic Faith went hand-in-hand. Her faith was the underlying thread that ran through everything she did…unobtrusive yet confident.

She was a beautiful soul. She loved God, she loved her dear parents and she spread her love to those who became her friends….and there were many.

She became a big part of our lives and will always live on in our hearts as one who was big-hearted, witty, generous and full of vibrant faith.

Then we heard that Mary was sick….very sick. In a whirlwind of hospital visits, prayers and trying to wrap our heads around how sick she really was, Mary declined rapidly.

Six weeks after she had been diagnosed, Mary went to her eternal reward.

She is gone but I know she is still there for us…and we will be there for her…offering Masses and praying for her and to her.

Dear Mary, rest in peace. We love you. You will be missed.

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A Very Beautiful Tribute to Mary by Mary Ann Tardiff

In Memoriam
MARY ELIZABETH GENTGES
Rosary Crusader in the Front Lines

Those of us old-timers with the good fortune to have subscribed to Father Fred Nelson’s excellent newspaper THE MARYFAITHFUL remember a regular feature written and illustrated by a Mary Elizabeth Gentges. These articles introduced a wide assortment of  little-known Chaplets – beautifully drawn in ink, and explained the method of praying each of them.

In the fall of 1981, this same Mary Gentges came for a visit to St. Mary’s campus, and fell in love with it. As she was leaving to go home, her new friends told her, “You’ll come back… you belong here.”

Mary visits Campus in fall of 1981

And so it came to pass. Shortly after, Charles and Florence Gentges and their daughter Mary (whom they always called “Bitzi”), closed the small-town Ben Franklin store they had run as a family for years, and migrated to Mary’s town – to the picturesque Victorian house that would be their home for the rest of their lives.

Mary Elizabeth enrolled in St. Mary’s College. While a student there, she lived on campus and worked hard at her studies. After graduating she began a career of service to St. Mary’s, above and beyond the call of duty, in numerous capacities: on Crusade magazine – as editor, writer, photographer, puzzle maker, etc., on St. Mary’s magazine (she had previously contributed to Angelus magazine), including writing a chronology of historic St. Mary’s Mission and campus, as the ubiquitous Campus Photographer for all occasions, as the typing teacher, and in countless special projects requiring her special talents – as well as helping her parents at home, making rosaries, giving piano lessons, etc. etc…

Mary’s College portrait, 1984

    Mary was devoted to her parents and took very good care of each of them in their last days. Caring for her mother, who became ill with dementia, was especially stressful and exhausting – emotionally and physically – but Mary found helpers and kept Momma at home for as long as was humanly possible.

Mary with her parents on their 50th Anniversary, 1995

She had never married, and was sometimes oppressed by loneliness after the loss of her parents. But Mary always kept busy, and always had projects and ideas. She had plans for the fall of 2017. Mary was hoping, “if God gives me back my health,” to have a rosary booth in the next Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival. But instead God gave her something more important, more “CRUCial” to do – something to benefit all of Christendom.

Last October a new Rosary Crusade was declared. We were all called upon to be crusaders, saying rosaries and making sacrifices, and Mary was asking herself what sacrifices she might make. As if in answer, her final illness manifested itself in a painful stiff neck, which worsened steadily over a period of months while the excruciating pain spread and became disabling and finally incapacitating.
When hospitalization became unavoidable, Mary left her beloved home, her projects, her plans, her constant cat-companions Shadow and Bootsie, the watercolors painted by her father, the family heirlooms, all her earthly possessions … and never returned.

It hadn’t occurred to Mary to offer herself as a Victim Soul – and she was horrified at being called one by anybody. Yet God knew perfectly well that she would do whatever He asked of her, and do her best. And so she had been drafted right into the front lines of the Rosary Crusade, where she battled bravely, suffered patiently, and ultimately died. Over and over she had offered the pain, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and finally helplessness and humiliation, to Our Lord – particularly for the intentions of the Rosary Crusade.

Visitors to Mary’s hospital room were often consoled to find themselves smiling and laughing at her characteristic dry wit, which she never lost until she lost consciousness. But most consoling of all was knowing that she was so ready for death when it finally came: on March 12th, 2017 – Transfiguration Sunday, in the Month of St. Joseph. We have every reason to hope that she is now on her way home to God, and we can imagine the beautiful reunion with her parents in eternity, but I think Mary E. would shake her head, make a wry face, and insist that we remember she is a poor sinner in urgent need of our prayers.

Mary’s death has left a hole in St. Mary’s that can not be filled, and her friends are heartbroken. But because of our love for her we must pray for her and not forget!

Mary E. a little over a year before she died

Please join us in paying our debt of gratitude to a valiant comrade in this vital crusade: Eternal rest grant unto Mary Elizabeth, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon her. May she rest in peace! Amen.

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A Matter of Life and Death

The last two weeks have been a time for our family to really take stock on this journey called Life….where it begins and where it ends.

Six weeks ago, our dear friend, Mary, went into the hospital to have an MRI. With no warning, except that she knew things were not right, she was told she had stage four cancer.

The next six weeks for Mary were spent in the hospital. My daughters and I went to visit and talked about old times. She held our hands and told us not go. We laughed and we cried.

Mary wondered if this was really the end. She hoped for a miracle.

It has now been almost a week since we lost our dear friend. We are all still trying to wrap our heads around it….so quick, O Lord! If we had only known, how much more time we would have spent with her…

Near the end, our Rosie spent hours with “Aunt Mary”. She was there, in the hospital, shortly after our dear friend died and called me on the phone right away. I rushed over to the hospital and we knelt beside her and said the Rosary, through tears.

Death is not the end. Mary has gone to a better place and left us behind. She was an only child of two dear parents, who, I’m sure, were waiting for her on the other side. I am praying for Mary and asking that she doesn’t forget us.

Thank God that death is not final. Thank God we have the Faith. It is our solace in what could be a very cold and final end. We WILL see Mary again. God IS good and knows what is best. Goodbye, dear Mary.

The night Mary died, a baby was born….a little sweet granddaughter named Rita Mary.

It is my son and daughter-in-law’s first child and we were very surprised because she came earlier than the due date. Though I wouldn’t say her birth was easy (I don’t dare say that within earshot of the mother) it was relatively quick in the whole scheme of first labors.

I got the call in the morning from my son and waves of emotions…ones quite opposite to what I had been feeling over the phone call the previous morning…came over me.

This is grand baby number twenty-two! Life begins again. The journey starts for little Rita Mary.

Through valleys, up hills, in sorrow and through joys, Rita will wend her way through life.

One day, she will be where our dear Mary was a week ago. And how she spends those years in between will determine the outcome.

Life is short. Eternity is long.

Our Faith gives us all the tools to live a happy life (as happy as mere mortals can be) and to die a happy death. We are very fortunate and we need to do all we can to make this journey…our own journey….fruitful in the service of our King…the one we will be spending eternity with.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Her, O Lord…. Please say a Hail Mary for our dear friend, Mary.

 

 

 

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Conversation – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

The following is taken from the book written in 1898, Light and Peace. These wise words will guide us as we engage in conversation throughout each day.10801864_388350718008130_8666022093184922281_n

Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts

Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all who are in a house.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (St. Matthew, c. V., vv.15-16.)

Contend not in words, for it is to no profit, but to the subversion of the hearers. (St. Paul, II Tim., c. II. v. 14.)

Conversation should be marked by a gentle and devout pleasantness, and your manner when engaged in it, ought to be equable, composed and gracious. Mildness and cheerfulness make devotion and those who practice it attractive to others.

The holy abbot Saint Anthony, notwithstanding the extraordinary austerities of his penitential life, always showed such a smiling countenance that no one could look at him without pleasure.

We should be neither too talkative nor too silent,—it is as necessary to avoid one extreme as the other. By speaking too much we expose ourselves to a thousand dangers, so well-known that they need not be mentioned in detail: by not speaking enough we are apt to be a restraint upon others, as it makes it seem as though we did not relish their conversation, or wished to impress them with our superiority.

Do not conclude from this that it is necessary to count your words, as it were, so as to keep your conversation within the proper limits. This would be as puerile a scruple as counting one’s steps when walking. A holy spirit of liberty should dominate our conversations and serve to instill into them a gentle and moderate gaiety.

If you hear some evil spoken of your neighbor do not immediately become alarmed, as the matter may be true and quite public without your having been aware of it.

Should you be quite certain that there is calumny or slander in the report, either because the evil told was false or exaggerated or because it was not publicly known, then, according to the place, the circumstances and your relations towards those present, say with moderation what appears most fitting to justify or excuse your neighbor.

Or you may try to turn the conversation into other channels, or simply be content to show your disapprobation by an expressive silence.

Remember, for the peace of your conscience, that one does not share in the sin of slander unless he gives some mark of approbation or encouragement to the person who is guilty of it.

 Do not imitate those who are scrupulous enough to imagine that charity obliges them to undertake the defense of every evil mentioned in their presence and to become the self-appointed advocates of whoever it may be that has deserved censure.

That which is really wrong cannot be justified, and no one should attempt the fruitless task: and as to the guilty, those who may do harm either through the scandal of their example or the wickedness of their doctrines, it is right that they should be shunned and openly denounced. “To cry out wolf, wolf,” says Saint Francis de Sales, “is kindness to the sheep.”

The regard we owe our neighbor does not bind us to a politeness that might be construed as an approval or encouragement of his vicious habits.

Hence if it happens that you hear an equivocal jest, a witticism slurring at religion or morals, or anything else that really offends against propriety, be careful not to give, through cowardice and in spite of your conscience, any mark of approbation, were it only by one of those half smiles that are often accorded unwillingly and afterwards regretted.

Flattery, even in the eyes of the world, is one of the most debasing of falsehoods. Not even in the presence of the greatest earthly dignitaries, will an honest, upright man sanction with his mouth that which he condemns in his heart. He who sacrifices to vice the rights of truth not only acts unlike a Christian, but renders himself unworthy the name of man.

In small social gatherings try to make yourself agreeable to everybody present and to show to each some little mark of attention, if you can do so without affectation. This may be done either by directly addressing the person or by making a remark that you know will give him occasion to speak of his own accord,—draw him out, as the saying is.

It was by the charm and urbanity of his conversation that Saint Francis de Sales prepared the way for the conversion of numbers of heretics and sinners, and by imitating him you will contribute towards making piety in the world more attractive. In regard to priests you should always testify your respect for the sacerdotal dignity quite independently of the individual.

Disputes, sarcasm, bitter language, and intolerance for dissenting opinions, are the scourges of conversation.

Although this adage comes to us from a pagan philosopher, we might profitably bear it always in mind: “In conversation we should show deference to our superiors, affability to our equals, and benevolence to our inferiors.”

Generally speaking, it is wrong for those whom God does not call to abandon the world, to seclude themselves entirely and to shun all society suited to their position in life. God, who is the source of all virtue, is likewise the author of human society. Let the wicked hide themselves if they will, their absence is no loss to the world; but good people make themselves useful merely by being seen.

It is well, moreover, the world should know that in order to practice the teachings of the Gospel it is not necessary to bury one’s self in the desert; and that those who live for the Creator can likewise live with the creatures whom He has made according to His own image and likeness.

Well, again, to show that a devout life is neither sad nor austere, but simple, sweet and easy; that far from being for those in the world an impediment to social relations, it facilitates, perfects and sanctifies such; that the disciples of Jesus Christ can, without becoming wordlings, live in the world; and that, in fine, the Gospel is the sovereign code of perfection for persons in society as well as for those who have renounced the world.

Fénelon, who perhaps had even greater occasion than Saint Francis de Sales to teach men of the world how to lead a Christian life in society, wrote as follows to a person at court:

“You ought not to feel worried, it seems to me, in regard to those diversions in which you cannot avoid taking part. I know there are those who think it necessary that one should lament about everything, and restrain himself continually by trying to excite disgust for the amusements in which he must participate.

As for me, I acknowledge that I cannot reconcile myself to this severity. I prefer something simpler and I believe that God, too, likes it better.

When amusements are innocent in themselves and we enter into them to conform to the customs of the state of life in which Providence has placed us, then I believe they are perfectly lawful.

It is enough to keep within the bounds of moderation and to remember God’s presence. A dry, reserved manner, conduct not thoroughly ingenuous and obliging, only serve to give a false idea of piety to men of the world who are already too much prejudiced against it, believing that a spiritual life cannot be otherwise than gloomy and morose.”

If all confessors agreed in instilling these maxims, which are as important as they are true, many persons who now keep themselves in absolute seclusion and live in a sad and dreary solitude would remain in society to the edification of their neighbor and the great advantage of religion. The world would thus be disabused of its unjust prejudices against a devout life and those who have embraced it.

Never remain idle except during the time you have allotted to rest or recreation. Idleness begets lassitude, disposes to evil speaking and gives occasion to the most dangerous temptations.

 

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“The need for admiration is manifest in the young boy. He doesn’t realize this, but it is part of his makeup. When his parents observe his manly qualities and express their admiration, it builds his confidence and helps his growth into manhood, encouraging all the potential within him. Equally important is the kindly feelings it awakens toward his parents, creating a bond of love between them. When he feels close to them he is fortified against youth problems which lie ahead. Because this acute need is not understood by many parents, admiration is sadly lacking. Some young men survive a life of correction without praise, but many don’t. There are sad casualties along the way. Some who could have become shining lights fall by the wayside.” -Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood http://amzn.to/2mVHw7M

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