The Beginning of Marriage

BEGINNING YOUR MARRIAGE, 1957, BY THE CANA CONFERENCE OF CHICAGO

“Why do you want to get married?”

“Because we are in love, of course!”

“Of course! But just what are you looking forward to in marriage?”

“Happiness!”

“Yes, that makes sense. Now tell me, how would you define happiness? What does it mean to you?”

“Mm, that’s not so easy to answer!”

“All right, let’s take just your happiness in marriage. What do you expect? Have you thought very much about what it means to you?”

“Well, it means that somebody loves me more than anybody else in the world–and I feel the same about that person. It means we are going to form a special partnership, a ‘twosome,’ with a unity and ‘oneness’ in which there will be affection, companionship, security, mutual understanding and support.

It means we feel a need for each other, a desire to give ourselves to each other as man and woman. It means we want to go through life together, sharing its joys and its hardships. It means we feel we’re ‘good’ for each other in the sense that together we can better realize our purpose in life as we see it.”

Most people about to get married have something like this in mind. They want to get married because they are in love. They expect that life together will bring them happiness. But there is something very special about love and happiness in marriage.

Whether you think about it or not, marriage is for children. The partnership you are about to form is reproductive. The love which draws you together as man and woman is necessarily creative. The happiness you hope for is family happiness, the happiness of parenthood. Babies may not be uppermost in your thinking right now, yet normal marriage means children.

In marriage you dedicate yourself to the service of new life. Your love and happiness are so important because only if you love each other and are happy together can you provide the kind of home which children need.

This dedication to a purpose which extends beyond yourselves is not a loss but a natural fulfillment. Married love means dedication. Like all love, it grows through giving.

There is truth in the old saying that “marriage is what you make it,” but to make anything you must first understand what it is. If you are as wise as you are willing, you will want to spend some time thinking about what makes marriage a success. Because getting married is so “natural,” it is easy to assume that we know what married life implies. The crowds at our divorce courts suggest that this may not be the case.

The degree of love and happiness you find in marriage will depend upon how successful you are as marriage partners.

MARRIAGE is a way of life. It is not your final purpose in life, nor the only way to achieve this final purpose. Although it is a way of life followed by most people, marriage is only one way.

When you enter marriage, then, you freely choose the way of life you wish to follow in attaining your final purpose. Hence, to get the right view of marriage, to understand its place in your lives, you must first understand the purpose of life itself.

A way of life has meaning only if it leads somewhere. Marriage is a good way to the extent that it helps you fulfill the purpose for which you were made.

Now that you are approaching marriage, you are in a better position to recognize the connection between the purpose of life and the purpose of marriage. To see the full picture, we must consider our origin, our nature, and our destiny.

Our Origin

We are not our own makers. We have not come into existence through some accident of evolution. In the beginning, God created man. Although we do not know how He did this, we are certain of the fact.

We know also that at the time of conception in our mother’s womb, God created our immortal souls. We come from God. Further, we depend on Him for our existence at every moment. Our dependence is so complete that if God did not constantly sustain us, we would simply cease to exist.

It is easy to forget our dependence on God in this modern, man-made world. Yet experience tells us that whenever we come face to face with the stark realities of suffering, sorrow, and death, we quickly realize our helplessness and our weakness. We are all in the hands of God.

He has breathed an immortal soul into each of us. He has fashioned our human nature according to His divine plan. Even if we try, we cannot undo this basic dependence upon Him.

Further, the God who created us is infinitely wise and infinitely good. He must have made us for a purpose. This purpose is our happiness with Him.

Because He has fashioned our hearts with a desire for infinite happiness, we can find fulfillment and peace only in Him. All other things which give us happiness are reflections of His goodness and beauty. They are meant to lead us to Him.

Our human loves, wonderful as they may seem, are short-lived and shallow unless they are rooted in Him.

Life Partnership

Marriage is a life partnership. Your love must be such that it fits into the meaning of life or it cannot last.

Marriage is a life companionship. The happiness which you seek from your togetherness can be satisfying and enduring only to the extent that you are really “good” for each other, that is, only to the extent that you support and help each other in attaining that happiness for which you were created.

It is easy in your new-found love to separate marriage from the purpose of life. But marriage is only a way of life. As a way, it has meaning only in terms of its destination. Either it will offer you an opportunity for the growth and development of yourselves as followers of Christ, or it will prove an empty, frustrating experience.

There are many types of “love” and “happiness” between the sexes. Some are shallow, some are counterfeit, and some are little more than thinly disguised selfishness. True love and happiness are rooted in life. They are developmental. They are aids to personal perfection, not distractions or positive hindrances.

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In this special month dedicated to Our Lady and her Rosary, let us keep the Blessed Mother’s statue or her picture in the living room daily decorated with fresh flowers and candles.
We can add one or the other prayer, mornings and nights, such as the “Salve Regina “or the “Memorare” or the “Magnificat.” It is traditional throughout the Catholic world to sing hymns in honor of Mary the Mother of God. -Maria von Trapp http://amzn.to/2xI9Osf (afflink)

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Ladder Rosaries!

These lovely ladder rosaries have a chain running on both sides of each of the beads. This has a beautiful look to it and also makes the rosary more durable than a regular rosary.
You will be happy to pray on these beautiful rosaries! 🙂

Lovely Sparkling Blue Ladder Rosary!

Lovely Sparkling Red Ladder Rosary!

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9 Ways to Love Your Husband

Never stop doing the things that will sustain and revive your marriage!

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100 Ways To Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

1.Make his dreams… your dreams. Treasure them like your own. Ask him about what he hopes to do some day and let him know that you believe in his dreams… and him. Plan out together the steps you can take to make those dreams come true.

2. Be extravagant in your love. Go big. Pour out your heart generously.

3. Feeling edgy? Snappish? Droopy? It tends to come with the territory – just avoid taking it out on him. It’s not really his fault, after all. Speak his love language – what says love to him. And speak it often!

4. Ask him the kinds of things that make him feel loved by you. He might have an answer ready and he might not. If not, then ask if he’ll think about it.

Also, you can study him and watch for those things that seem to fill him up and make sure you’re saying it to him. Don’t make accusations. Ask questions,

5. Intertwine your lives wherever possible. Run errands, go for walks, curl up on the couch. Just seek to be together. Don’t wait for “date night” to find things you share in common.

A good friend recently confessed something to me. She struggled with jealousy….of me.

Really… jealous of me? How could that be? We’ve been friends for many years and she knows I’ve had my share of grief and trials. Nothing overly amazing in my life.

What was there to be jealous of? Then she came out with it: she was envious of the kind of husband I had. She wished hers was more like mine. ????

I could only stare at her. I sure didn’t get it. So she clarified. She couldn’t help but notice how much time my husband and I spent with one another.

The two of us are often found together – working in the yard, out on a walk, over at the cafe, or maybe standing in line at Costco. But always together.

It wasn’t like that with her husband. The two of them lived functional, but basically separate lives.

And she wished they had what we had. If only they were as closely connected as we were. If only her husband was like mine.

Now it was my turn to confide. All that time we spend together? It’s not only him. It’s me. Yes, it’s true. I’m nearly shameless when it comes to orchestrating time together. Any excuse will do. I’ll do whatever I can – to get close to him.

It can be up to me to make the move.

If I smell coffee brewing in the morning? (That man wakes up waaaay to early, if you ask me). I’ll drag myself out of my comfy covers to have a cup with him before he dives into his work.

If he’s off to run errands, I’ll run out to the truck and ask if I can come along. He gives me a grin and tells me to hop on in. Who cares if he’s only going to the farm supply store? It’s a Chicken-Feed Date and I’ll take it.

If he’s working in the garden, I’ll join him out in the green bean patch. We both weed. I talk the entire time. And he listens (I think).

And if it’s the end of the night and he announces that he’s heading to bed? Well, I’ll give him a wink and tell him to wait up, ’cause I’m coming too.

6. Forgive. “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” ~ Ruth Bell Graham. This is one of the truest statements ever made. Decide you’re not only going to be his lover – you’re going to be his forgiver. Be quick to forgive and get good at it. You’ll probably have lots of opportunity to practice it.

7. Then forget. Once it’s been forgiven, put it behind you and never pick it back up again. Here’s the hard part: letting it go. Resist the temptation to grab it back and maybe even throw it at him when it happens again. I’m sorry, but this doesn’t count as true forgiveness. Forgive as God has forgiven you—as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103: 12).

8. Cling to each other in the hard times. Don’t let trials pull you apart, but be sure they bring you closer together instead. This decision is best made before the trial comes.

When our daughter was born with severe brain damage, the hospital warned us that most marriages don’t make it through a tragic situation like ours. That thought terrified me. So we looked at each other and decided – right then and there – we were going to stick through it together.

9. Start each day with a smile and a kiss. What better way to begin? Set the tone for the day with a simple gesture of love for each other.

 

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“The woman who can pass over his human frailties and discover things to genuinely admire, things which others fail to notice or appreciate, is a woman to be treasured. It is such a woman who wins his deepest and most tender affection. As she gives him admiration, he returns love.” – Helen Andelin

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Take a peek at my book, Catholic Mother Goose!

Who can resist those little ditties, those lovely little sing-song verses called Nursery Rhymes! Songs and rhymes for young children have been passed down from generation to generation. They are fun, children love them, and they provide a warm, nurturing experience for the whole family.

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.

Research shows children learn more in their first eight years than they do in the rest of their lives. This is a powerful time to teach them.

Most important, it is a crucial time for us, as those devout Catholic parents of old, to teach our children their Faith as they sit at our feet and learn from us.

So, parents, here is a teaching tool that can help! These are meaningful little rhymes that will provide an enjoyable way to teach your children and will enrich your home with Catholic culture!

Encourage your children to learn the poems in this book. Let them peruse the pages and look at the pictures. You will find that it will be a meaningful experience for all!

You can purchase it here.

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Pilgrimages – Maria von Trapp

Three of our children have been to the Chartres Pilgrimage in France! It is a brisk (very) walk of 3 days (average of 25 miles per day). It is grueling.

There were some intense moments.

Jeanette had to be carried the last few hundred feet to the great Church of Chartres due to the bleeding of her feet!

Our Theresa was hospitalized because of the hypothermia she experienced (I believe she had contracted mono just before she left for the trip, too).

You’d think that this would have put a bit of a black cloud on their experience. Yet they look back on those trips with the fondest of  memories. The pain was worth every bit of it! They cannot put into words the euphoria experienced reaching their destination, pushing their way to the finish line…singing and praying all the while!

Maria von Trapp tells us of the beauty of Pilgrimages and how they should hold a special place in the hearts of Catholics…..

Jeanette on her Chartres Pilgrimage with Father VanderPutten. This picture was taken after the Pilgrimage when the feet were healed and they were touring France and all the wonderful Catholic shrines, etc.

PILGRIMAGES

In Austria, the main part of our family celebration of the feasts of the Blessed Mother would be a pilgrimage to “Maria Plain.” If the weather permitted, we would walk from our home down to the river and along it, an hour and a half, to the foot of the mountain on which the three-hundred-year-old pilgrimage church stood at the edge of an old grove.

All the way we would say the rosary, one rosary after the other.

At the foot of the mountain we would light candles which we had brought along. With burning candles, we would say one more rosary, singing the pilgrimage hymn after each decade.

Then we would attend Holy Mass, receive Communion, place our candles on the big stand where many, many others were burning already.

After Mass and Communion we would kneel for some time in front of the picture of the Blessed Mother for a heart-to-heart talk. And then one felt wonderful–light-hearted, strengthened, happy.

Outside again we would invariably pause and take in the marvelous view across the ancient city with the high mountains in the background. But then one of the children would remind us that we had prayed now for a solid three hours on an empty stomach!

For just such people was the “Kirchenwirt,” the Church Inn, very conveniently located a few hundred feet below on the slope. On the way to the inn we passed stands where they sell postal cards, candles, and more or less trashy little souvenirs. We all bought a few postal cards which we would write while waiting for our breakfast.

When we found ourselves in America, this was one of the things we missed most–that there were no famous old pilgrimage churches dotting the landscape, no wayside shrines to which one could make a pilgrimage as we were used to doing.

To make pilgrimages to hallowed places is a custom as old as mankind. We find it in India, China, with the old Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans. It comes from an urge that is deeply rooted in the human heart to worship God in holy places designated by Him.

For the Christian Rome and Jerusalem are the holiest places, and for two thousand years they have been what Mecca is to the Mohammedan: at least once in his lifetime he wants to go to the holy place!

Of course, these thoughts did not come to us as long as we were in

Austria. There we just took pilgrimages for granted, like so many other things.

But in America, when we started to wail and complain about the absence of hallowed shrines and our new American friends said, “What is all this talk about pilgrimages?” we found ourselves forced to do some thinking on the subject.

It was then that we discovered that a pilgrimage is not predominantly a Catholic custom. Archeology has shown that certain places seem to have been hallowed throughout the ages–different peoples thousands of years apart choosing the same spot for their worship, whether they were Etruscans, Romans, or Christians.

Everybody knows about Lourdes and Fatima, but in addition to these world-famous shrines of the Blessed Mother, there are thousands of other places scattered all over the Christian countries where exactly the same thing happened a soul in great distress prayed fervently to the Mother of God and, in a miraculous way, the plea was answered.

In such places of miracle, churches were erected later. This is the usual origin of the pilgrimage centers as we know them all over Austria.

From our home outside Salzburg there were as many as seven different ones which we could reach by bicycle or, in very grave necessity, on foot.

In the old country, a hike of several hours is essential to a true pilgrimage. It is a very moving thing to have taken part in a pilgrimage of a whole village.

The people would collect at one place (a custom that always reminds me of the “statio” of the daily Lenten Masses and of the time when the people of Rome used to meet in one place and walk in a solemn procession to the church where the day’s Mass was to be celebrated.

There the procession would form, led by an altar boy with a crucifix and guided usually by one of the parish priests. The people would alternately say a decade of the rosary and sing a hymn along the way until they reached a certain point in the vicinity of the shrine–usually at the foot of the hill or at a wayside cross if there was no hill. There they would all light their candles.

The last part of the pilgrimage would be a crescendo of prayer and song. The inside walls of the pilgrimage churches are usually crowded with votive pictures and crutches, wax models of hands, arms, legs–indicating the cures that have been obtained in this holy place–and it is written in stone and wood and scribbled in ink and pencil all over the walls: Mary has helped, Mary will help again.

This creates such an atmosphere of trust and confidence that merely to be there is soothing to the soul.

As many people have said, returning from a pilgrimage, “Even if I hadn’t received what I have asked for, the Blessed Mother has filled my heart with gratitude and happiness. Now I suffer gladly.” This is one of the main secrets of Lourdes.

Another origin of a place of pilgrimage is very often the vow somebody took in a moment of great danger: If the Blessed Mother helps me through this, I am going to build her a chapel or a church.

When the boys in our family went abroad as soldiers in the American Army, one of them took such a vow during the heat of battle: If he came home safely, he would erect a chapel to Mary, the Queen of Peace, on the highest point of our property.

He did return safely, and for several years now he has been working on his chapel. It is a labor of love.

Soon we hope to celebrate the blessing of the little sanctuary and then we can continue making our pilgrimages, either privately or in groups, lighting our candles at the foot of the hill, saying the rosary and singing hymns and obtaining graces through Mary who is called “Mediatrix of all Graces.”

As our concert tours took us all over this vast continent we learned that the new world also has its holy places.

“Good St. Anne” attracts the multitudes to Ste. Anne de Beaupre, St. Joseph to Montreal, the North American Martyrs have their shrine in Auresville, N.Y., the Indian martyr, Kateri Tekakwitha, has hers in Caughnawaga, outside Montreal.

The bodies of St. Rose and Blessed Martin de Porres attract pilgrims to Lima, Peru.

But most of all the Blessed Mother hallowed a spot of her own choice by making Guadalupe the Lourdes of the new world.

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“In every bride the Church sees a potential Madonna, who will mother God’s little ones against her heart. In every bridegroom it sees another Joseph. And when together the young couple build their little home, the Church prays that it will become another Holy House of Nazareth.” -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

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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…

Available here.

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Ordinary Saints

From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1949

SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX

We have a striking example in our own days of a canonized saint who was actually given to us as an example of how to become holy, by what she herself tells us is the easy, the “little way” to Heaven.

St. Therese of Lisieux never worked a miracle, never enjoyed heavenly visions, never did anything extraordinary, but she did well all that she did.

She tells us that she went to Heaven in an elevator (a lift).

In the Carmelite convent in which she lived, none of the sisters remarked anything wonderful in her conduct. She was sweet and joyful and was the sunshine of the community. Possibly some of the other sisters prayed longer and did more rigorous penances than she did.

An incident which took place before her death shows how simple and unpretentious was her life.

It was the custom in the convent for the prioress to write a short account of the life of each sister after that sister’s death.

During the illness of St. Therese, two sisters were heard speaking of this. One said to the other, “Poor Mother Prioress, whatever will she find to write about poor little Sister Therese?”

Yet this dear little saint began to work so many wonders after her death and obtain so many favors for those who had recourse to her that the whole world rang with her praises. She was solemnly canonized after a remarkably short time.

What a consolation she offers to those who wish to be holy! Hers was the little, the easy way, the elevator (lift) by which we, too, no matter how weak we are, can go to Heaven.

BENIGNA CONSOLATA

A second example that will encourage the humblest of us is the story of Benigna Consolata.

Her life, her conduct were so ordinary that those who were most intimate with her had not the faintest idea that she was a saint. She did not spend her nights in prayer, nor did she fast more rigorously than the others; she never worked miracles, yet her pure, humble life attracted the love of Our Lord, who frequently appeared to her and treated her with the most loving intimacy.

When speaking to her, He addressed her by her pet name, “Nina Mia.”

Her name was Benigna Philomena Consolata. He revealed to her the most consoling doctrines and said to her, “My dear little Secretary, write all I tell you, that others may know it.”

The sisters who lived with her were utterly surprised when they learned after her death of her wonderful sanctity.

We ourselves may be surprised when we enter Heaven to see on high thrones those whom we knew on Earth but whose sanctity we did not suspect.

THE CHILDREN OF FATIMA

What happened more recently at Our Lady’s sanctuary in Fatima will serve as another lesson on how to reach great holiness by simple means.

The Angel Guardian of Portugal came to prepare the three chosen children who were later on destined to see Our Blessed Lady.

Three things the Angel bade them do, viz., to pray devoutly, to hate sin and to offer to God with patience the sufferings the Almighty would be pleased to send them, this for His greater glory and for the salvation of souls.

God’s Holy Mother herself, when she came, taught them the same lessons, which enabled these poor ignorant little children to become worthy of their glorious mission.

Can we not do what three poor, unlettered children did?

We ourselves from time to time meet with simple souls whose extraordinary virtue is made evident by a single act.

A dear old woman run over by a carriage in Dublin and horribly crushed was rushed to a hospital. One of the Mercy Nuns who became her nurse tried with infinite delicacy to comfort and console her. What was not the nun’s surprise when the patient opened her eyes and said, “Sister dear, are you telling me to be resigned to God’s holy will? Let me tell you that God’s holy will has been always to me as welcome as the fruit to the tree.”

Poor, with many sorrows and needs during her long life, she now, in the throes of agony, manifested her perfect union with the will of God.

Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, the convert son of the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, while still a priest, went for a short visit to Catholic Ireland, of which he had heard so much.

At his request, a friend took him to visit some of the poor sick in their little homes. He saw what he called “wonders.”

These dear sufferers amazed the young convert by their faith, patience and perfect resignation to the will of God.

One old man was suffering from an awful cancer, already in an advanced stage, which was eating away his breast. Father Benson, full of compassion, tried to say some words of comfort to him.

“Oh my, Father, it’s nothing,” replied the old man. “Sure in a few days I will be with God in Heaven. Didn’t He suffer much more for me?”

On his return to England, Father Benson wrote a touching article on the heroic patience and faith of these poor people. “They seem to see God,” he said.

Owing to political troubles, an unfortunate man slew his enemy, a crown official. Denounced by a perfidious friend of his own, he was arrested and condemned to death. He repented sincerely of his crime, but could not pardon his base accuser.

The chaplain of the prison used his utmost efforts to induce him to go to Confession. “This I cannot do,” he said, “because, though sorry for my crime, I cannot pardon my false friend. Thus my Confession would be bad.”

A good Sister of Mercy won his heart by her “infinite” kindness and delicacy. She too tried to induce him to confess.  In vain.

On the eve of his execution, she made a last, supreme effort. “Do you know who I am?” she asked him.

“Yes, Sister, you are an Angel from Heaven.”

“No, I am no Angel from Heaven, but I am the sister of the man whom you killed. I have pardoned you, I have fasted and prayed and done all I could to save your soul.”

Amazed, the poor man fell on his knees and, in a flood of tears, kissed her feet. “Yes, yes, Angel of God, for you are, indeed, an Angel. I forgive with all my heart my enemy, oh forgive me you.”

Hers, indeed, was heroic forgiveness. A single act, as we have said, reveals at times heroic sanctity.

The widow’s alms won Our Lord’s high approbation. “She has given more,” He said, “than all the rest.” She had given only a mite, but she gave it with all her heart.

The Good Thief’s plea for mercy on the cross obtained plenary pardon for all his crimes. The Publican’s short prayer: “O God, have mercy on me, a sinner” made his soul as white as snow.

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We, as parents, press on each day, with our children’s best interests at heart, asking God to fill the gaps. Each day is an opportunity to spend time with them, to sacrifice, to touch their hearts and thereby be fulfilled ourselves. Our Lady of Good Success, Pray for Us!

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Sermon!

Excellent sermon! Truth is truth….too many Catholics are looking for loopholes. “Are you saved from eternal death by your conscience or by Jesus Christ? The primacy of conscience is the New Jansenism….”

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Light and Peace by Quadrupani

Available here.

This is an awesome little book!! It really could be a handbook on life for Catholics.

light-peace-r-p-quadrupani-paperback-cover-artThe chapters are short but power packed with balanced wisdom and advice on such subjects like confession, sadness, zeal, prayer, temptations, interior peace, liberty of spirit and many others.

Many of the excerpts are from St. Francis de Sales….one of my very favorite saints to read!!

This is one book that has been invaluable to me throughout the daily grind, when struggles may abound. It gives a person the peace of knowing that God is ever there to help. He is merciful and kind.

It also gives logical and practical advice for those who may tend toward scruples, or towards sadness….those with more of a melancholic temperament.

You won’t be disappointed if you purchase this book and it finds its little nook on your bookshelf! 🙂

From the Back of the Book:

Light and Peace is a handbook for getting to Heaven – a short and practical course in proper Christian living that covers all the important aspects of our religious duties.

Far and away the telling feature of this little book is its immense common sense and good advice.

Light and Peace shows that perfecting one’s self is not a complicated task, but one which requires good, practical thinking and a knowledge of the task at hand – in short, “Light” on the path – which is what this book is.

Thereafter the result one’s knowing where he is going spiritually and how best to achieve this end is “Peace”, that peace which Our Lord promised and which the world cannot give.

 

 

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Two Saints for the Married – St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Nov. 17th) and St. Gomer (Oct. 11th)

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from The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland

St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)

We have always loved this saint because she was so lovable, so beautiful, young, holy, and so much in love with her husband.

It is refreshing to find a saint who made a fool of herself over her husband, and St. Elizabeth surely did (or so the court thought, at any rate).

The legend that the bread in her basket turned to roses is probably not authentic, but it could have happened; so we like to tell it each year.

Elizabeth is supposed to have been taking bread to the poor and met her husband, King Ludwig, on the way. He asked what was in her basket, lifted the napkin, and there underneath he found roses.

Elizabeth, full of humility, was not exposed as the great benefactress of the poor. This is not consistent with her reputation for openly giving away to the poor everything thing she could get her hands on, but it is a charming story and gives us the cue for our St. Elizabeth’s Day custom.

We bake bread that afternoon so that it will be done by nightfall. It is shaped into large buns – or small loaves (if you prefer), wrapped carefully in linen napkins, and put into baskets.

The children bundle up, get their flashlights, take notes explaining the day and the custom, and go off down the lane to the neighbors with hot bread for their suppers.

It is given away for the love of Christ. Then, when you return home, the bread for your own supper tastes that much sweeter.

 

St. Gomer (October 11)

He is the patron of the unhappily married, and since everyone who ever gets married thinks sooner or later that he is unhappily married, it is high time we stirred up devotion to this saint.

He is probably an expert at showing up for what they are all hurt feelings, self-pity, piggishness, and all the other things we suffer or perpetrate but don’t admit.

For those truly unhappily married, I am sure that he will show them that eternal happiness is bought with such sufferings as theirs.

Omer Engelbert writes of him: “Courageous soldier and relative of Pepin the Short, who thought to reward him by making him marry Gwin Marie; he suffered terribly from the frightful disposition of this incorrigible woman.

He ended by leaving her and withdrawing to a solitary place which became after his death a place of pilgrimage and the site of the town of Lierre (Belgium).”

So this saint knows what an unhappy marriage is all about.

He is also the patron of woodcutters, turners, glove-makers, and cowherds, and is invoked against hernia.

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“Show an interest in your child’s welfare. You can do this by devoting time to him, every day if possible. Try to discuss with him his experiences, problems, successes and failures. By giving yourself to him in this intimate way, you give him the feeling that he can always depend upon you to understand and help him in his difficulties.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, How to Be a Good Father, Catholic Family Handbook

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Today is the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima! Let us continue to live this message in our lives….to pray the daily Rosary, to do penance and to make reparation. -Finer Femininity

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Coloring pages for this wonderful Anniversary!

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Advent Package Special! The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal & Celine’s Advent

 Available here.

Details

Two Special Advent Books for a Package Price!

The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal:
Advent is such a special season! And you are about to make it more meaningful than you ever have!
This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls.
I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first!
At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all!
The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable.
I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

Celine’s Advent:
Take a walk through Advent as Celine and her family prepare for the coming of the Baby Jesus at Christmas! You will enjoy celebrating the beauty of the season with Celine as she helps her mom with the special traditions and activities that make the liturgy come alive in their home! Her “peanut gallery” consists of a mouse named Percy and some charming and delightful Christmas Angels! They are sure to capture your heart!

 

Harvest Beauty Apron! Feminine and Beautiful!

Make a statement with this lovely and graceful “Harvest Beauty” 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!

Available here.

 

 

 

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Autumn and Her Five Senses by Theresa

For Throwback Thursday….

Autumn is on our doorstep! I hope you enjoy this season as much as we do! The following are some thoughts by our daughter, Theresa about this lovely time of the year!

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Musings and a Poem

Theresa Byrne

Autumn and Her Five Senses.

Sight- Those gold, beautiful colors! In my mind’s eye, I can see the changing of the leaves already! When I walk down Memory Lane, I am in Maine strolling along a winding road, bejeweled with huge maple syrup trees, changing to colors of orange, burgundy and yellow.

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The crisp air and lovely colors make this time of year my favorite to take walks.

Early in the fall season, my children and I spend a day sprinkling these autumn colors through our home. Garlands of leaves, wreaths and mums that I have gathered throughout the years bring some of the outside in.

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Pumpkins…such a splash of color! Every year I get each of the kids their own pumpkin and a few extras. We use them as part of our décor, until the All Saints Day Party rolls around, and then we spend a day carving for our annual ‘Pumpkin Carving Contest.’

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Out come sweaters, scarves and boots. I love the first time I don my rust, wine and oranges! Indeed, autumn has come!

Smell – Mmmm….. Smell that pumpkin pie baking. Fall, the time of year I tie on my apron, gather my spices and fire up the stove. Fresh apples are plentiful, and the oven warms the house and takes the chill from the air.

Mulled cider candles are lit and in our home they hang a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon and joy!

I have a fond memory, from my childhood…. I was lying on our couch, half snoozing, it was fall time and I could smell fresh bread baking in the oven. I knew my mom was close by, and being a “quality time child”, at this moment I was completely happy. It’s funny, that something so simple and every dayish, holds such a good memory for me.

Simmering on my stove is a little pot of water, mixed with any spices I have… cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Throughout the day, the scent wafts through the house, and what a tease of smell this is to any visitor that comes along.

Devin loves walking in at the end of the day to the colors, peace and smells of ‘Our Friend, Autumn.’

Hearing – There she is, you hear her music on the breeze, the rustling of the leaves, the wind in the willows.

Lilting notes from Devin’s tin whistle can be heard, as we sit around the bonfire or a steaming mug of coffee. Melodies of Ireland come together, with the music of the breeze.

We experience the hum of excitement and laughter at the Shakespeare Festival, and the strain of live music, coming up from ‘The Hollow.’

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The crunching leaves, when you are still and listen, or even the gentle floating of leaves, when they come off the trees, and make the ground their resting place is all part of this season!

Taste – Sitting here, with the breeze coming through the window, I am sipping on a steaming mug of coffee, loaded with fresh cream and a hint of stevia.

Coffee is one of our favorite things, but in the fall it tastes even better. Our basket of tea, which had been retired since the spring, comes out of hiding, on these crisp, cool days.

The kids love when I make a pot of teas, with milk and honey, for us to share.

I love to bake this time of year! My kids and I have already made plump blackberry pies, Swedish tea rings, juicy crisps and delicious blackberry, dark chocolate cheesecake.

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When it comes to baking I am a perfectionist, so to let the kids take part I have had to learn to let go. The fun and memories are worth it and I still take time to bake by myself.

Touch – I think of my fuzzy blanket, warm sweaters, a scarf to add a dash of color, and a child’s hug.

Bonfires are a big part of our fall. We snuggle up, (or hug up, as Brendan says) around the cozy flame, to chat, play music or say the rosary.

Brendan wanted me to tell his favorite bonfire story. Just the other day the kids had been begging to have a bonfire. So after dinner we headed outside, with the tin whistle and kids in tow.

Devin was playing away, and the kids had just started roasting their first “mellow”, when the sky blackened and the heavens opened! This wasn’t just a  little shower, it was pouring!

Brendan still thinks this was the greatest bonfire ever!

It’s many little things that make this time of year special…..Like for me, the smell of bread baking when I was a child.

Thinking of all these things, makes me excited to stop, savor and enjoy this season…. every day that we have with our delightful friend, Autumn!!!

 

My Friend, Autumn

by Theresa Byrne

 

If Autumn was a person, who would she be?

           Dressed in gowns of orange and yellow roaming around free.

Her hair would hang loose, sparkling with the morning dew,

Her voice whispering through the trees, telling secrets to me and you.

The birds and the squirrels, the dearest of her chums,

Prance around this Beauty Queen, crowned with a wreath of mums.

When you smell her scent, it’s quite a tease,

Apples, cinnamon and spices swirl around her on the breeze…

Her colors on a pallet are everything that’s bold,

I think of her when I see leaves change, to orange,yellow, wine and gold.

When she comes to visit at the change of the season…

Candles are lit, pies are made and she is our only reason!

The dancing leaves make shadows on the wall,

Sweaters, festivals, mulled cider; her season is called Fall.

I would like to thank this Lady for coming every year,

The memories she has made, to me are very dear.

If Autumn was a person who would she be?

Bold colors, friendship, bonfires, is who she is to me.

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fall finer fem quote for the day fall

“Boys need that self-assured belief that they can do anything to grow into men of action and achievement—but they’ll never build that confidence if Mom and Dad never give them real responsibility. We have to give important jobs to our kids, and then we have to trust them and not worry about them messing up. It would certainly be easier for us to just do the hard stuff ourselves and let our boys play, but our goal isn’t to do what’s easy. It’s to raise men.” – Chasity Akiki

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Modesty, Humility….  Father speaks of humility. Topics include: work, recreation, sports, exercise, & parties. Excellent sermon!

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Fall Coloring Pages for your children. Teach them to be thankful for lovely autumn days!

 

 

 

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Come and visit Meadows of Grace for some lovely and unique gifts!

Available at http://www.meadowsofgrace.com

Lovely Sparkling Blue Ladder Rosary

Blessed Mother “Madonna of Heaven” Apron! Feminine and Beautiful!

Holy Family Vintaj Religious Pendant Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted

 

 

 

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The Hail Mary of a Protestant

A little six-year-old Protestant boy had often heard his Catholic companions reciting the prayer “Hail Mary.” He liked it so much that he copied it, memorized it and would recite it every day.

“Look, Mommy, what a beautiful prayer,” he said to his mother one day.

“Never again say it,” answered the mother. “It is a superstitious prayer of Catholics who adore idols and think Mary a goddess. After all, she is a woman like any other. Come on, take this Bible and read it. It contains everything that we are bound to do and have to do.”

From that day on the little boy discontinued his daily “Hail Mary” and gave himself more time to reading the Bible instead.

One day, while reading the Gospel, he came across the passage about the Annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady. Full of joy, the little boy ran to his mother and said: “Mommy, I have found the ‘Hail Mary’ in the Bible which says: ‘Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women.’ Why do you call it a superstitious prayer?”

On another occasion he found that beautiful Salutation of St. Elizabeth to the Virgin Mary and the wonderful canticle MAGNIFICAT in which Mary foretold that “the generations would call her blessed.”

He said no more about it to his mother but started to recite the “Hail Mary” every day as before. He felt pleasure in addressing those charming words to the Mother of Jesus, our Savior.

When he was fourteen, he one day heard a discussion on Our Lady among the members of his family. Every one said that Mary was a common woman like any other woman.

The boy, after listening to their erroneous reasoning could not bear it any longer, and full of indignation, he interrupted them, saying:

“Mary is not like any other children of Adam, stained with sin. No! The Angel called her FULL OF GRACE AND BLESSED AMONGST WOMEN. Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and consequently Mother of God.

There is no higher dignity to which a creature can be raised. The Gospel says that the generations will proclaim her blessed and you are trying to despise her and look down on her. Your spirit is not the spirit of the Gospel or of the Bible which you proclaim to be the foundation of the Christian religion.”

So deep was the impression which the boy’s talk had made that his mother many times cried out sorrowfully: “Oh my God! I fear that this son of mine will one day join the Catholic religion, the religion of Popes!”

And indeed, not very long afterwards, having made a serious study of both Protestantism and Catholicism, the boy found the latter to be the only true religion and embraced it and became one of its most ardent apostles.

Sometime after his conversion, he met his married sister who rebuked him and said indignantly: “You little know how much I love my children. Should any one of them desire to become a Catholic, I would sooner pierce his heart with a dagger than allow him to embrace the religion of the Popes!”

Her anger and temper were as furious as those of St. Paul before his conversion. However, she would change her ways, just as St. Paul did on his way to Damascus.

It so happened that one of her sons fell dangerously ill and the doctors gave up hope of recovery. Her brother then approached her and spoke to her affectionately, saying:

“My dear sister, you naturally wish to have your child cured. Very well, then, do what I ask you to do. Follow me, let us pray one ‘Hail Mary’ and promise God that, if your son recovers his health, you would seriously study the Catholic doctrine, and should you come to the conclusion that Catholicism is the only true religion, you would embrace it no matter what the sacrifices may be.”

His sister was somewhat reluctant at the beginning, but as she wished for her son’s recovery, she accepted her brother’s proposal and recited the “Hail Mary” together with him.

The next day her son was completely cured. The mother fulfilled her promise and she studied the Catholic doctrine. After long preparation she received Baptism together with her whole family, thanking her brother for being an apostle to her. The story was related during a sermon given by the Rev. Fr. Tuckwell. “Brethren,” he went on and said, “the boy who became a Catholic and converted his sister to Catholicism dedicated his whole life to the service of God.

He is the priest who is speaking to you now! What I am I owe to Our Lady.

You, too, my dear brethren, be entirely dedicated also to Our Lady and never let a day pass without saying the beautiful prayer, ‘Hail Mary’, and your Rosary.

Ask her to enlighten the minds of Protestants who are separated from the true Church of Christ founded on the Rock (Peter) and against whom the gates of hell shall never prevail.'”

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A mother holds her baby in her arms, looks up to God, and knows that she, by months of suffering and patience, has co-operated with Him in making and bringing into the world a little body housing a priceless soul. A father stands above his new-born son resting in the arms of his wife, and knows as he picks him up and weighs him tenderly that he has shared with God the Father His very fatherhood; for this mite of humanity, immortal in destiny, is truly his son. Mother and father together have co-operated with God in the astonishing creation of a human being. -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

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Happy Feast Day of the Maternity of Our Lady! Coloring Pages for your children…

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Lovely and Graceful, these handcrafted, wire-wrapped Blessed Mother Necklaces can be blessed and worn as Sacramentals. They would make a special gift for someone! Available at http://www.meadowsofgrace.com

 

 

 

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Single….Unpicked

 

 

Do you feel like you have been forgotten, that your life isn’t what it should be, that, somehow, you are not good enough because you are still single?

Another friend is getting married. You are happy to be picked as bridesmaid, but really…..all you want is to be the one walking up the aisle in that beautiful white gown! In your heart you feel….unpicked.

Remember the story in the Bible where another Apostle had to be chosen because Judas was gone from the Little Band? Do you know the method they used to pick between the two men, Barsabbas and Matthias? A prayer was said and straws were drawn and whoever had the longest straw was the disciple!

Wow! That’s amazing. Such an important job….and a straw is drawn!

“And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” -Dhouay Rheims

I’m sure Matthias was very happy! But what about Barsabbas? Did God forget about him? Did God not have big plans for him?

Just because Barsabbas was not “picked” in this particular instance did not mean that God loved him less or that he had been overlooked or that He didn’t have wonderful plans laid out for him.

How about you? Do you find it very difficult when the ladies around you are getting “picked” and you are not. Does it make you sad that you have not found that “one and only” yet?

Of course! It is hard to wait on Our Lord when it seems like life is passing quickly!

I remember those single days, in the interim, before I was married. I lived in Canada, really in a spiritual desert. I had quit my “important” job and went to live back with my mom and dad who had moved to a small town and bought a gas station. I pumped gas.

I was reading some very good books at the time and I knew in my heart I wanted the noble and wonderful vocation as wife and mother.

But wife and mother to who? Ah, there lay the rub! The town I lived in had about 400 people. And believe me, serious Catholics were hard to find, even in the big cities!

I remembered what my dear mentor and older friend had said to me. “If you want to be a wife and mother, Leane, start now by learning everything you can about that important vocation. Roll up your sleeves and practice cooking, cleaning, sewing, music, art. Read good books on the subject….on parenting, gardening, ‘good wife’ books, etc.”

This is one reason I had left my job in the big city. To me, it was not helping me get to my final goal. No, it was hindering it. No one could understand why I left and went to pump gas. But I had a goal. And part of that goal was being back home helping Mom and Dad.

Now, life did not go all that smoothly from this point on. But circumstances led me to write a dear priest in the U.S. and I asked him what I should do. He told me to come to his Apostolate, help him by working in the office, and he would help me, mentor me, on my journey.

I did this. I was there for eleven months, serving this dear priest’s apostolate, going to Mass and Benediction each day. It was a time of spiritual growth. I learned so much about my Faith! And I met my husband, who had also come to serve at this Catholic Shrine…..

The point being, if you are downcast about being “unpicked”, don’t be! You have much to learn and it can be very fulfilling! It can also be fun! It really can be!

Get some cookbooks and start planning the meals!

Learn to sew, crochet, arrange flowers, paint, etc.

Join the Legion of Mary, serve others…at home and elsewhere.

Serve the busy mothers with many children….babysit for them, help with their homeschooling.

Be with the children. Read to them, teach them Catechism. There is nothing so beautiful as a young woman who spends herself for the little ones….

Work hard wherever you are at!

But the most important thing is growing spiritually! If you can go to daily Mass, do it! Pray for your future spouse.

Read good spiritual Catholic books. I have two lists you can look at:

My Book List

Book List for the Youth

Learn to be happy, even in trying circumstances. This is the very thing that will carry you through when your vocation is in place and the crosses come.

Life is an adventure! Give, give, give to God and He will more than meet you half way! But be on the lookout for what He is trying to teach you. Have an open heart to His Voice. We do this by grace.

We often don’t recognize His Voice but if you are doing what it takes, He will lead you to what His Will is for you. And ultimately, that is what will make you happy!

In my little fairy tale story above, I have one sentence that is very important and I didn’t expound on: After I moved back home, life did not go all that smoothly from this point on. 

My family life was not great. I met discouragement, I was in tears many times, things could look black. It wasn’t roses. But I kept seeking and praying…and trying to have peace with it all.

God didn’t turn a deaf ear to me. I had to be patient. Patience is one of the hardest things to learn…and it is something that will have to be practiced all through our lives.

God is not turning a deaf ear to you! Are you kidding? He loves you and has something wonderful in mind for you!

You must get through the lonely times, those times when you feel “unpicked” and remember….God sees the bigger picture, you don’t. Keep that in mind and seek for inner happiness, through the grace of God, in the interim. Work towards getting “better” not “bitter”!

You will be blessed! Believe it!

You may also like this post, In Praise of Unmarried Women.

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In spite of all its trials, marriage promises to the young couple happiness in abundance. There is the first happiness of home-making and the supreme joy that comes when they look upon their first-born and know it to be theirs. Strength comes of working out together life’s problems and of “halving sorrow and doubling joy by sharing them.” Pride thrills them as their sons grow strong and their daughters charming. Courage springs from knowing that they do not work nor walk alone. Then, when their work is largely done and their children go off to found their own families or give themselves to God, they feel the calm happiness of turning their faces toward heaven with the sense of a gathered harvest, full granaries, and their Master waiting to bless them for a crowded and useful life. -Fr. Daniel A. Lord

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Blessed Mother “Madonna of Heaven” Apron! Feminine and Beautiful!

Make a statement with this lovely and graceful “Madonna of Heaven” 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!

Available here.

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The Rosary and the Bargain

What a week! Our Lady reminds us of her crucial role in our salvation these next few days. On Saturday (Oct. 7th) it was the Feast of the Holy Rosary, Weds., Oct. 11th is the Feast of Our Lady’s Maternity and Friday, October 13th is the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima!

The surest and easiest way to heaven is taking Our Lady’s hand and letting her guide and direct our footsteps. She is the “vehicle” to help us up the laborious climb to the top of the mountain!

Do something special this week to remind your children of her very important role!

And don’t forget the daily Rosary!

12122466_736962259742656_177630410861677038_nby Joseph A. Breig

When I get to heaven – as I trust I shall – something very embarrassing is bound to happen. As sure as shooting; somebody who has known me rather too well for comfort on this earth is going to come up to me and say, in a loud voice enough for everybody to hear, “How in the world did you get in here?”

I am not going to answer in words. I am simply going to pull a rosary out of my pocket and dangle it in front of my questioner. That will be my reply; and it will be perfectly true. It will also be true for my family, which I have every reason to hope will be there with me. We will all pull our rosaries out of our pockets and wave them.

I think that we will wave them for all eternity; or at least wear them around our necks for everybody to see. It will save a lot of explaining, and it will give credit where credit is due.

I am not humble enough for public confession of my sins: besides, it would be scandalous; and the readers would be writing to the editor denouncing him for printing such shocking stuff.

I will simply say this: there is a period of my life that I want to forget; and I would still be in it if it weren’t for the rosary.

The rosary is the rope by which I climbed hand over hand out of the pit into which I had fallen.

I started climbing out after I discovered one basic rule for any kind of success in life. The way to get something done is to do it. I will never forget how that realization suddenly popped into my head and transformed me.

Ever since then, I have been getting things done, simply by doing them. And the thing that taught me that lesson was the rosary. I do not remember how or why or when I started saying the rosary daily. But I do remember that doing it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.

When people say to me now that they just can’t seem to get at it, I chuckle. They’re telling me! They complain about the irregularity of their lives, about visitors dropping in, and whatnot. And I chuckle again.

When I started saying the daily rosary, I was a reporter for a Hearst newspaper in the big city. It was not in the least unusual for me to be out on a story half the night, or three-quarters of the night, or all night.

At any moment during the day, the city editor might answer the telephone, look across the desk at me, and order me to high-ball by automobile, or train or other conveyance to some city or town or crossroads 100, 500, 1000 miles distant.

At any hour of the night, I might be awakened by the telephone and told to dash into the office, or dash somewhere else. As for social and other affairs, I had more than my share of them. But I had discovered that the way to get something done is to do it. I had learned that the way to get the rosary said is to say it. And I said it – and I don’t think anybody ever said it harder.

Meditation? It came as naturally to me as eating glass or swallowing swords. Praying? It was hard, sweaty, ditch-digging heavy labor for me. I was going it alone then; and the going was all uphill. It was all mountain climbing.

More than once, I awoke in the wee hours of the night, still on my knees, with the upper half of my body sprawled over the bed, and the rosary still clutched in my fingers at the second or third decade.
But the way to get something done was to do it; and I wouldn’t allow myself to crawl into bed until the rosary was finished.

I tell all this only in order that the reader may know that I am not one to whom prayer came easily. You say that it is hard for you; I answer that it was hard for me.

Then suddenly, somewhere along the line, I met Father Patrick Peyton, and discovered an additional rule for success. I discovered that whereas it was exceedingly difficult for me to say the rosary alone, it was as easy as rolling off a log to say it with my family.

We were one of the early families in Father Peyton’s Family Rosary Crusade; and what he gave to us when he talked us into it, we wouldn’t trade today for all the Fords and Lincolns in Henry Fords factory for the next thousand years.

I state a simple fact; and you needn’t take it just from me. Ask my wife. Ask the children. Ask the neighbors. Ask our visitors. They’ll all tell you the same thing: that ever since we started the daily family Rosary, and kept it up, our house has been one of the happiest and healthiest homes in the world.

To use a popular jive expression, the place simply jumps with joy. And there were times when it didn’t. There were a great many times when it didn’t. There was a time when the doctor told us we might as well make up our minds to sell our home for whatever we could get and go to Florida, with or without a job, if we didn’t want to see our children dying one by one before our eyes.

He said they simply couldn’t stand the climate in which we were living; and they’d be better off living on bananas under a tree in the south than suffering what they were suffering in the north.

The rosary changed all that; and today our youngsters, everyone of them, can whip their weight in wildcats; and would do it at the drop of a hat if there were any Wildcats in sight.

But that is the least of the blessings that have come to us from the family Rosary. I remember vividly my first conversation with Father Peyton, long before he became world famous as the originator of the family hour on the radio, in which the greatest stars of Broadway and Hollywood donate their talents to popularize the slogan, “The family that prays together, stays together.”

Father Peyton, knitting his brows in the way he has, and speaking in that wonderful Irish brogue which I won’t try to reproduce, told me that, when he was first ordained, he planned to start a crusade for daily mass, communion and the rosary.

The longer he prayed and puzzled over it, the more he became convinced that if he asked for everything at first, he’d get nothing; whereas if he could get people to say the rosary, the rosary would lead them to the other things.
Today I can testify that, in our case at least, he was perfectly right. We have learned that the rosary, if you will just say it, takes care of the full spiritual development of the family.

I would say this – that by far the easiest and least troublesome way of rearing a family of which you can be proud is to institute the family rosary in your home, and keep it up.

It knits the family together with bonds 10,000 times stronger than any that can be forged by merely natural means.

I think that I’ve heard all the objections to the family rosary. Fully half the fathers and mothers who have talked with me about it have shrugged their shoulders helplessly and said that there simply doesn’t seem to be any time of the day when all the members of the family can be brought together in prayer.

The answer to that, of course, is exceedingly simple. If you can’t get all the members of the family together, say the rosary with the members who are present.

Sooner or later, something will happen to make it possible for the others to join in.

The rosary is like that. Give it a chance, and it’ll take care of the problems. The Mother of God can have whatever she wants from her divine Son; and one of the things she wants is Rosary Families.

Mothers have said to me that the smaller members of the family won’t behave during the rosary. What of it? The smaller members of our family won’t behave either.

Between them, our two-year-old Jimmy and eight month old Regina put on something resembling a three ring circus while we are saying the rosary. We don’t interfere. It’s our business to say to say the rosary; it’s theirs to have a circus. God made them that way; and if He doesn’t mind, why should we? We pray above and between their shouts and gurgles, and it works out very well.
I have also heard people say that the antics of the smaller children interfere with their meditations. They interfered with mine, too, until I learned to include the youngsters in the meditation.

Now, while saying the Joyful Mysteries, I look at Regina, cooing and bouncing in her crib, and I think, “Why, Christ was just like that once! He cooed and gurgled too, and waved his arms, and kicked his legs, and rolled over on his stomach, then worked like a Trojan to get turned to his back again.”
Or if the baby is sitting on her mother’s lap, I look at them and realize that the Christ child sat in Mary’s lap too, and clutched at her garments, and tried to pull Himself upright, and swung His hands at her face, and laughed when she smiled at Him.

I think of the fact that He, too, had to be fed; that although He held the universe in the palm of His hand and kept the planets on their courses. He depended on his mother for everything.
Perhaps we are saying the Sorrowful Mysteries. If so, sometimes I look at Jimmy and think how I would feel if he were crucified in front of my eyes. Then I know something about what Mary felt.

I know something, too, about the infinite love of God which caused Him to send His only Son to die for us.

Could I send one of my sons to die in agony for someone who had insulted me? I think of that; and then I am better able to thank God for the redemption.
If we are saying the Glorious Mysteries, I consider often what a moment it will be when all the family rises from the grave and is reunited, nevermore to be parted; when we are all together to stay together, in perfect happiness, forever.

If the happy family is a thing of rollicking joy – and it is – then what must a perfectly happy family in heaven be like! It is very well worth looking forward to. It is very well worth the trouble of saying the daily rosary.
Ten or fifteen minutes a day is what it takes; and eternity is what it purchases. I wasn’t born yesterday; and I’m not passing up a bargain like that.

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finer fem quote for the day fall2

“Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself…do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage.”
Introduction the the Devout Life― St. Francis de Sales

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I used this book when my children were young. It was a valuable tool in helping them to incorporate True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort into their little lives…. “PREFACE: This Marian program has but one purpose, to imbue the little ones with a genuine devotion to Mary. It is a copying of Mary- a way of life. It is the De Montfort Method simplified for young minds.” Available here. (afflink)

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A sermon for your day!

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Beautiful Handcrafted Rosaries and Rosary Bracelets at my Meadows of Grace Shoppe!

Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand.

In wire wrapping, rosaries are made using jewelry wire to make components.

Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent.

Because of this technique for wrapping wire around itself this craft is called wire wrapping.

Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.

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Two Kinds of Saints

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From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1949

There are saints and saints. Some we may call “extraordinary saints” and some “ordinary saints.”

Extraordinary saints are raised up by God for some extraordinary mission, and to these God gives extraordinary means to carry out that mission.

Such were, for instance, St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius Loyola and a host of others.

St. Dominic was raised up by God to defend the Church against the Albigensian heretics, who taught the vilest doctrines and perpetrated the most hideous crimes. Kings sent armies against them, the Pope sent holy men to check them, but all in vain.

God then raised up St. Dominic who, by the holiness of his life and his earnest preaching, converted 100,000 of these hardened sinners in a remarkably short time.

Notwithstanding his austere life and incessant labors, there was no one more joyful, more lovable than St. Dominic. He was sad only when he heard of the sorrows of others or of offenses committed against his dear Lord.

The Saint founded three religious orders, which have given to the Church notable saints, missionaries, martyrs, bishops and popes.

What especially endears him to us is the fact that it was he who gave us the Rosary, which God’s Holy Mother had given to him.

Who has not heard of the seraphic St. Francis of Assisi, so famous for his profound humility, his extreme poverty and his burning love of God, as a reward of which he received on his hands and feet and in his side the Sacred Stigmata, the marks of Christ’s five wounds.

He, too, founded three religious orders, which have given many and great saints to the Church, people such as St. Bonaventure, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Clare and many others, saints who shine as bright stars in the firmament of Heaven.

St. Ignatius of Loyola is another example of an extraordinary saint. He began life as a soldier in the army of Spain, but God called him to be a great soldier of Holy Church. To him was given the mission to battle against the pseudo-reformers, as to St. Dominic had been given the task of converting the Albigenses.

His glorious order, the Society of Jesus, has done and is ever doing a mighty work for the glory of God and for the welfare of the world at large. His sons are ever in the vanguard of the battle, fighting valiantly against the enemies of Christ.

Now these extraordinary saints, inspired by God, used extraordinary means to achieve their great ends.

They labored incessantly, spent long hours in prayer, fasted rigorously and did severe penance. God favored them with supernatural visions and revelations and gave them the power of working miracles.

Ordinary Christians are not called upon to do such mighty deeds, nor are they asked or advised to imitate the long prayers, the rigorous fasts of these extraordinary saints.

ORDINARY SAINTS

There is, however, a second class of saints, ordinary saints. Bear in mind that these saints are no less saints than the others; they are true saints and have reached exalted heights of sanctity, though in a different way.

They lead humble, simple lives, performing their daily duties well and using the ordinary but abundant means of sanctity given by God to all Christians.

These means we too can use, and by them we can attain a high degree of holiness. Here is a good example of the ordinary saint.

THE TWO LADIES

The great St. Antony, the abbot who had spent long years in the desert, passing whole nights in prayer and performing severe penances, aware of how important the virtue of humility is in the spiritual life, asked God to make him profoundly humble.

In answer to his prayer, the Almighty directed him to visit two ladies in the neighboring city, who though simple and unpretentious in their manner of life, were, so God told Antony, holier than he who had spent long years in the practice of rigorous penance and unceasing prayer.

On entering their home, the Saint sought to discover the secret of such remarkable holiness; he asked them many questions as to the fasts they made, the length of their prayers, their austerities and the like, so that he might imitate them.

He was not a little surprised to learn that they did nothing exceptional. They observed the fasts of the Church; they said their prayers devoutly; they gave what little alms they could afford; they frequented the Sacraments, heard daily Mass and practiced the ordinary Christian virtues.

What impressed the Saint most was that they loved God very simply but very sincerely. God was the great reality in their lives. They did all their actions for love of Him. They performed their daily duties, seeing God in all they did.

They accepted what happened to them, joys as well as sorrows, as coming directly from His hand.

That was all, but it sufficed to explain to the Saint the secret of their wonderful sanctity, viz., they performed their duties well and they loved God. There are thousands of such hidden, ordinary saints in the Church now, as there have been at all times.

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“Living to please others is a very real form of bondage. It enslaves and destroys. The only way to be liberated is to carry our crosses and submit to the shame of pleasing God over men. We must learn to love our Savior more than praise and approval, for only then will we be truly free.” – The Catholic Gentleman

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Coloring Pages for your children….

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A good sermon. A mother needs the gift of fortitude to inspire her children on the path to holiness!

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Definitely a beautiful, yet challenging message for our times! “After presenting the richness of the Gospel message, more beautiful than any other world view, he explains how Gospel frugality is lived in each state of life.” (afflink)

Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom by Fr. Thomas Dubay

“To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

The renowned spiritual writer Dubay gives surprising replies to these questions. He explains how material things are like extensions of our persons and thus of our love. If everyone lived this love there would be no destitution.

After presenting the richness of the Gospel message, more beautiful than any other world view, he explains how Gospel frugality is lived in each state of life.”

 

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