Is Your Marriage All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

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The last few months have been stressful around here. You probably have your own stresses you’re dealing with. And, with stress, comes the lack of ability to focus on what is important. We tend to let it all get to us and start taking it out on the people who mean the most to us.

It is important to step back and realize that our goal is to make the most out of each day….and one of the top things on our list is working on our relationship with our husband.

So….let’s get down to the basics and put our marriage back on the front burner!

Is Your Marriage All It’s Cracked Up to Be by Leane VanderPutten

Let’s face it, we do have a choice on how our life plays out. Sometimes we feel we are just spinning our wheels and making no progress. We become victims of circumstances and, instead of taking control of our emotions and the way we react, we flounder…and then lash out at those who seem to make our life more difficult. Believe me, this is not the way to live.

You see, we don’t marry Prince Charming and live happily ever after. We are humans and we have faults….many faults….Both of us, husband and wife. It takes consistent effort to make a good marriage. Every day, every hour, every minute, we need to be thinking the right thoughts, praying the right prayers, listening to the right people and doing the right things….

Although I am not a marriage guru, I have had many victories (among the failures), and, in my humble opinion, the right things that we need to be doing every day are:

1. Prayer….I struggle with prayer. I think we all do.  I do know that it has to be the foundation of everything else in our lives. As St. Francis de Sales says, “If you haven’t got prayer, you haven’t got anything.” Consistency is important. We don’t necessarily have to add more prayers, but we need to work on making our prayers more heartfelt, with less self-inflicted distractions. We DO need to be saying the Family Rosary. The Consecration to Our Lady, St. Louis de Montfort style, is very, very valuable, too.

2. Nipping those negative and critical thoughts in the bud before they become monsters. Okay, you have probably tried the other way…you know, letting those destructive thoughts soak up all your brain cells? So….how does that feel? Does it make you feel good? Does it build your relationship with your husband? Do you find that your kids act better while you are steaming about their father’s inadequacies?? Of course not! Hey, you had better put a brake on those thoughts! You have no idea what a downward spiral that can be and where it can lead to. NOT worth it!! Say a prayer, an ejaculation. Thank God for little things. Get interested in something. Don’t let the crazy, lousy thoughts take hold…..Make the effort. God will bless you for it. This is no small thing….those little thoughts can become huge problems!

2. Reading good books on changing your own attitude….not books on how he should be treating you. This is important. You might pick up a relationship book. It may have great points on having a wonderful relationship. In this book it deals with men and women’s responsibilities to each other for making their marriage better….All good stuff. The only thing is, when you are already fighting some stinkin’ thinkin’ about your husband, you DO NOT need to be reading what he needs to be doing.

Choose books that deal with YOU, the woman….with your attitude. There are some very good books out there….albeit mostly Protestant but some Catholic, too (look on My Book List). There are many good books on attitude changers, too. Find them. Dig them up.

I’ve said it before, you can only change yourself.  And you need changing….we all do! Roll up your sleeves and get to it! Too much is at stake here.

3. Talking to the right people…By the right people, I mean those who will help you to shift your attitude…..not those who enable you to wallow in your self-pity more than you already are.

When I was frustrated and feeling sorry for myself, I went to my mother. Not because she was my mother (that was a nice perk, though) but for a couple of reasons…I didn’t want to air out my problems to just anyone. I knew in my heart that this was something that I had to get through, that his faults were exactly that, just faults, and I had plenty of my own. I didn’t need just anyone knowing all I was feeling at the time….because all those feelings were just passing.

The other reason I chose my mom is that she always, gently, helped me to see just what I had for a husband. She helped me to realize I had a lot to be thankful for. And this is what I wanted in a mentor….Someone that would help me to turn my thinking around when it was slipping down a dark alley way. I came out of those talks (and I only resorted to this type of outlet when I just felt I couldn’t overcome the lousy thoughts myself) refreshed. I had vented. I realized how small these things really were and I was ready to give of myself once again.

Find a mentor like that. Pray for one. They are worth their weight in gold.

Don’t abuse it though. Most of the work is going to be done by you. But every once in a while you may need someone to talk to. MAKE SURE it’s someone who is all for you, your spouse and your marriage!

4. Kick that No-Good-For-Nothing Self-Pity right out the door and into the lagoon!

Self-pity is a killer! It is a pond of scum that swallows any good thoughts that try to poke their way out of the filth. Don’t give in to it!!

Look at your life….I know you can find so many things to be grateful for. Keep bringing those persistent negative thoughts back to a spirit of thankfulness! It doesn’t matter that you don’t feel it. God will bless your efforts.

The beginning quote of this article says that a good marriage, like anything worthwhile, takes EFFORT, WORK, PRAYER!! It is a top priority. It means everything to the success of your family life.

Self-pity will strangle you and your loved ones quicker and with more efficacy than anything I know of. It is a woman’s worst enemy and woe to those who wallow in it. Thankfulness overcomes self-pity. Pray to Our Lady for a Spirit of Gratefulness.

Life is a great adventure! Every suffering, every failure, every knock-down, if taken with the right attitude, will help us to grow. We will teach our children how to overcome their own difficulties….and they will have plenty…just as we do.

It is what life is about….the Royal Road of the Cross. And if we choose to get better, not bitter, so many blessings and joys will be sprinkled throughout. We need to have our eyes open to them. They are God’s gift to us as we struggle along our own, unique path of a Beautiful, Joyful, Catholic Woman!!

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Are your thoughts building a castle or a manure pile? It is vital to control the thoughts we have in our most important relationship…the one with our husband!

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“These diapers that are changed daily, these meals that are cooked again and again, these floors that are scrubbed today only to get dirty tomorrow — these are as truly prayer in a mother’s vocation as the watches and prayers of the religious are in theirs.” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children

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The Get Well Fund for Rosie will be up for a little while longer if any would like to help. Father VanderPutten, in Nigeria, will be saying a Triduum of Masses for those who donate. Thank you kindly and please remember Rosie in your prayers.

The page is here.

Gin’s aprons are amazing….as many of you know. They are well made with great-quality material. She puts love and care into each one and the detail is fabulous! She got wiped out during Christmas but is working on her inventory. You can take a peek here.

Make a statement with these lovely and graceful aprons. Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! 🌺 💗

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Don’t Underestimate Your Ability to Inspire

Painting by Jesus Helguera

From The Catholic Marriage Manual by Rev. George A. Kelly, 1950’s

Inspiration:

Father Leo J. Kinsella spent many years as a judge in the matrimonial court of the Chicago Archdiocese. During that time, he had the opportunity to explore intimately the factors that led to difficulties in many hundreds of marriages.

In his excellent inspirational book, The Wife Desired, he declared: “I have no recollection of a single broken marriage wherein the wife was primarily to blame and at the same time an inspiration to her husband. Failure and inspiration do not mix well. The ability to inspire her husband is the wife’s best guarantee of success in marriage.

Only if she fails to inspire need she be fearful for their love and the future of their marriage. . . “Take it from me, ladies, inspiration is your love potion. Men wander through the cold world seeking the warm eyes of inspiration like a thirsty deer standing at a fountain of water. Not having it, they are lost souls. On finding it, they leap for joy, and the very mountain breaks forth into singing.

So, be kind, ladies, lest men die of hunger and thirst. Give hope and encouragement to carry on. It is so easy for you; just be as God made you, his loveliest creatures.”

A national magazine has adopted the slogan, “Never under-estimate the power of a woman.” This reminder actually is more necessary for women than for men. It is especially necessary for wives.

Most of them vastly underestimate their ability to inspire their husbands. Some do not even know that they possess this power. Others are but dimly aware of it.

Yet the fact remains that in most marriages, the wife who inspires can lead her husband to undreamed-of heights, or by neglecting her ability to inspire, can drag him down to dreary depths.

Every husband desires his wife to be a step above him, leading him upward. His wife must never descend from the level that her Creator, her sex, and even her husband expect of her.

It is she who must keep the spiritual standards of a family high. Despite all obstacles, it is she who must, by example and prayer, inspire him to do better.

Occasionally wives not only underestimate their ability but also their obligation to inspire their husbands spiritually.

The wife who keeps herself modest, pure and above suspicion, by that very fact contributes to her husband’s inspiration and to his spiritual enrichment. Nor should a wife underestimate her ability to inspire her husband emotionally.

By nature, men become discouraged easily. Those in the business world literally go to battle every day. They constantly struggle with others for promotion, for competitive advantages, for financial advancement. They often suffer disappointments and frustrations.

And when they return to lick their wounds after a depressing day in the “business jungle,” it is their wives—and they alone—who can heal the wounds and restore the spirit.

A wife must strive to let her husband know that she has faith in him, that she is cheering for him in his battles, and that his wounds, defeats and triumphs are her wounds, defeats and triumphs.

Inspiring your husband to carry on in adversity may often be difficult. Sometimes he will welcome words of encouragement and will accept advice. Sometimes he will confide in you fully.

At other times, he will be visibly disturbed but unwilling to discuss his defeats. He may reject your efforts to cheer him. Suggest how he might handle his problem more successfully, and he may accuse you of trying to run his affairs.

The wife who takes her duty to inspire seriously will accept these rebuffs patiently. She will not forget that the basic purpose of inspiration is to make her husband realize that he is a better person with greater capabilities than he himself realizes.

Praise—a continuing stream of it, in both direct and subtle forms—is the main tool of the wife who inspires.

“But my husband is conceited enough,” many wives reply at this point. “All he talks about is how good he is. His virtues are his favorite subject, and I doubt that I could get a word in even to agree with him.”

Wives who make a comment of this type are revealing why their husbands are so conceited—the men get so little inspiration at home that they find it necessary to bolster their egos by constantly reminding themselves and others of their superior qualities.

The man who is frequently complimented for his capabilities does not have to remind others of them. Only when his wife or others fail to provide praise does he resort to “do-it-yourself” compliments.

Except in rare pathological cases when no amount of inspiration will suffice, the average man will reduce his own boasting almost in direct proportion to the quantity of praise heaped upon him by his mate.

Of course, inspiration is not a one-way street. Wives need it too. In fact, most need more of it than their husbands.

Someone once suggested that an ideal way to make man and wife appreciate each other would be for him to take care of the children and the housework for a week, while she went to business and struggled through his daily problems.

This suggestion has merits.

The typical male has only the vaguest conception of his wife’s duties and problems at home with the children all day long—and of the admirable way in which she handles them.

Almost without exception, young mothers feel a need for adult companionship. Throughout the day, they talk to their children in simple language and discuss simple subjects.

The man who goes to business and talks to grownups does not know of his wife’s lonely days. Rarely does he realize the added loneliness she feels when after conversing with infants or children in one-syllable words from dawn to dusk, she then faces a mate who does not care to talk to her at night.

A mother becomes discouraged, too. At times, her discouragement can exceed that of her husband. She needs to be told that her children are making progress and that she is doing a superb job of raising them.

The husband should remember his wife’s needs along with his own. Know how to compliment!

To be an inspiring husband or wife, you should learn the art of paying a compliment. As simple a comment as, “You sure have a way with pies” will bring a pleased smile to her face—and pie to your plate more often.

A compliment to your husband when he’s well turned-out—”My, isn’t Daddy handsome!”—will do far more to keep him out of those disreputable slacks than caustic comments ever will.

You will find that the course of your married life will run more smoothly if you learn to say the pleasant word.

Husbands and wives who have been married for a long time sometimes take each other so for granted that the paying of compliments falls into disuse.

Some partners even reach the point at which they confess that they cannot find qualities to praise in the other.

Of course, everyone has virtues. It should be easiest for you to recognize these virtues in your mate, because these characteristics attracted you in the first place. Learn to spend time each day dwelling on your mate’s good qualities.

As you consider them, you may realize that you have more to be thankful for in your partner than you have realized. Moreover, looking at the positive side is a certain antidote to one of the great blemishes on modern marriage: the urge to indulge in self-pity.

Self-pity is the major device of people who feel that the world has given them a bad deal. It is particularly prevalent among men and women who are prone to dwell upon their mates’ defects—and not upon their virtues.

A final caution to wives: While you should accept fully your obligation to inspire your husband, carefully draw a distinction between inspiring him so that he will grow in a spiritual and emotional way; and inspiring him solely for the sake of material success.

We live in an age when success is measured by the better home, the bigger car, the more fashionable fur coat. But money can never substitute for the true love of a husband and father, and the wife who encourages her husband to get ahead in business at the sacrifice of spiritual values often later regrets it, because her constant spurring may cause him to put material goals above all others.

Of course, some husbands become obsessed with material goals on their own; then their wives should strive to make them realize that growth of the spirit is of far greater importance than growth of a bank balance.

“It is wrong to deny one’s self all diversion. The mind becomes fatigued and depressed by remaining always concentrated in itself and thus more easily falls a prey to sadness. Saint Thomas says explicitly that one may incur sin by refusing all innocent amusement. Every excess, no matter what its nature, is contrary to order and consequently to virtue.” – Light and Peace, Quadrupani, 1793 http://amzn.to/2qIMO9B (afflink)

Beautiful Vintaj Brass Wire St Zelie Rosary! Lovely, Durable… Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality.

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This ‘n’ That and an Update

How time flies! It is mid-January, the Christmas season is waning. We still have our tree and decorations up and we still listen to some Christmas music. I have a couple of lovely chaplets that I say off and on throughout the season to the Holy Infant from this fabulous book of Chaplets called My Treasury of Chaplets.

Below is a gallery of the last month or so.

But first, an update on Rosie….

We’ve had some progress and we keep plodding along. Her seizure-like episodes are less frequent. But her headaches are debilitating and very frequent and she is not able to do much of anything…except pray, some reading,  crochet and listen to audiobooks. She spends much of her time in her room. So she is still struggling very much.

We have more lab work coming.

It has not been easy…

My two married daughters started a GoFund Me Page to help out with some of the expenses. I will post it here but we most appreciate the prayers…

The page is here.

Update: The Get Well Fund for Rosie will be up for a little while longer if any would like to help. Father VanderPutten, in Nigeria, will be saying a Triduum of Masses for those who donate. Thank you kindly and please remember Rosie in your prayers.

And now a gallery…. Click on the first picture to get full-screen.

 

 

 

Reflections on Kindness

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In our Legion of Mary meetings, the virtue that we are reminded of continually, the one that will be the surest path to saving souls is Kindness..

How many opportunities do we have each day to practice the virtue of Kindness within the home…with our spouse and our children. We need not go anywhere else to practice this one!

from Kindness, The Bloom of Charity, Father Lasance

If we reflect upon it, kindness is but the outcome and exemplar of the divine precept: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” There is nothing we personally so much appreciate as kindness.

We like others to think of us kindly, to speak to us kindly, and to render us kindly actions and in a kindly manner.

Now we should know how to put ourselves in the place of others, and thus we should testify to them that kindliness that we value so much ourselves.

When our divine Lord came down upon earth, He came not only to save us by shedding His blood for us, but to teach us by His example how to cooperate with Him in extending the kingdom of His Father.

And one of the most powerful means which He employed for this purpose was kindness, gentleness and forbearance. “The goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared,” by which words we learn that kindness is not altogether synonymous with goodness, but, as it were, a luster, a bloom, an attraction superadded to it.

We might regard this sweet reflection from the Heart of Jesus from many points of view, but it is especially under one aspect that we have been considering it; namely, as a powerful weapon in our hands for the efficacious exercise of our apostolate.

Kindly thoughts of others will be productive of prayer in their regard, at once fervent and affectionate– prayer such as the loving Heart of Jesus willingly listens to; kindly words and deeds will draw souls to the love of Him whose spirit they behold so attractively reproduced in His members.

As the wood-violets give forth their perfume from beneath the brushwood that conceals them from dew, telling us of their unseen nearness, so kindness reveals to us the nearness of Jesus, the sweetness of Whose spirit is thus breathed forth.

Such is the kindness which is that great missioner sent by the Heart of Jesus to exercise an apostolate of love upon earth, and so to promote the glory of God and the salvation of souls. To exercise this apostolate will be the endeavor of all true lovers of the divine Heart, and thus they will reproduce and perpetuate the life of the Heart of Jesus upon earth, so that it may be said of them: “The goodness and kindness of God our Savior has appeared” in His members.

JUDGE NOT

Our Lord and Savior wishes us to face the thought of judgment without undue terror or excitement. And therefore whilst He has revealed its terrors, He has not made it appear difficult to prepare for it.

He has, as is usual with Him, pointed to one or two very common duties, and has promised that if we are faithful in these, the Judgment may be awaited with confidence. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged.” To judge others means to dwell uncharitably on the faults and weaknesses of our neighbor –or, what is worse, to reveal them and comment upon them.

It is one of the commonest of sins. It is found among all ranks and degrees, wherever there is conversation. It is found within the walls of convents almost as much– though not perhaps to such a serious degree– as in the drawing-room and the cottage.

To strive to repress unkind conversation and unkind feeling is to be in earnest in loving God with our whole heart. Therefore, it is to secure for ourselves safety in the day of Judgment.

THE GOLDEN RULE

“As you do to others, so also will My Heavenly Father do to you.” This refers to kind actions.

In order, therefore, to make sure of safety at the Judgment, we cannot do better than study to show kindness to one another.

If rich and well-to-do people are kind, they are safe; but the kindness must be true kindness. It must be a kindness that is anxious for the immortal souls which our heavenly Father chiefly longs for– which gives or procures instruction, sacraments, and good example.

It must be a kindness which not only bestows money, but also comforting words and wise intercourse; a kindness which not only gives what is superfluous to the giver, but is given at the cost of sacrifice and trouble. –Bishop Hedley.

As you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner. –Luke vi. 31.

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“She who is the dear Mother of us all will teach you by the silent voice of her example, how to bring the light of heaven down into your home, the generosity of the children of God into the discharge of your every occupation, and the sweet spirit of Christ to ennoble your toil, to brighten your care and your suffering.” Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1893

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Do you have any Mass intentions for us? We will bring them to our daily Masses this week…

The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal!

“Lent is a remarkable and rewarding season. For a Catholic, it is a time of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, reflection…. It is also a personal time of spiritual growth. That personal growth must reach its tentacles out to the family. Mothers, we live out our lives of service and love, and every season becomes an opportunity of teaching and planting seeds of the Faith in the minds and hearts of our children. I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency. Catholic culture is built on celebrating, in the home, the feasts, the seasons, the saints, the holydays….making them come alive in a beautiful and charming way. Lent is that special season wherein we teach our children the value of sacrifice and of discipline. This journal will lay out some simple activities in which your children will be doing their sacrifices and will have a tangible means of “counting” them for Jesus. You, Mom, will have a place to put a check mark if that the activity is remembered and completed for the day. This journal also includes a place for you to check off whether you are fulfilling your own personal resolutions…your Spiritual Reading, your Family Rosary, etc. It makes it more palpable if you can check it off at the end of the day….there’s just something about putting pen to paper when an accomplishment has been fulfilled! My hope is that this journal may help you stay focused on making this Lent fruitful for your own soul and the souls of those little people entrusted to your care!”

Available here.

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Unselfishness/Time and Eternity by Father Daniel Considine

by Fr. Daniel Considine, 1950’s

Unselfishness

“Charity seeketh not her own.” The theory of the world is the exact opposite to the one the Apostle lays down. We have all grown up in the teaching to “seek our own”; we are trained to make an idol of ourselves.

Everyone ought to look after herself, be her own center: all little empresses in our own rights. We call it proper self-respect. ‘I’ come first. We have our rights, and must push them.

The more I gather about myself power, riches, rank, the better. I must have a kingdom of my own, which I can rule. My will is given me so that I may get my own way: my mind, that I may impose it on others. The first thought is, How will this affect me? A fine day – not, is it good for others, is it good for me?

“You surely don’t think I am here to look after others, and if I don’t look after myself, who else will look after me?” How dreadfully narrow we most of us are! If we are of a strong character, we push others aside; if of a weak, we feel great resentment at being pushed aside by others.

I love myself, too, in my love of other people. I love my friend because she helps me, is useful to me. Few understand how largely this idea shapes their life. We are pleased or displeased just exactly as things affect us. Advance, we are told, your own interests: if such a line of conduct will cause inconvenience, away with it: as for other people, let them look after themselves.

Let us try and lead a more noble life. Take “unselfishness.” The nearer you approach to this, the nearer you approach to the most noble life possible to our human nature. The less you exact for yourself, the higher perfection you will attain to.

Just in proportion as you think of yourself and your work in reference to others rather than for yourself, the nearer you will grow to Jesus Christ Himself.

Do all for the sake of God, and for others. Escape from all sorts of worry and responsibility, study only your own wishes and advantage, and you will find your conscience perpetually reproaching you.

What is God’s view of sin? It is not permissible to commit with deliberation one venial sin to bring about the conversion of the entire human race. It is not lawful to tell a single lie, or give way to a feeling of uncharitableness, to bring about a thing in itself excellent and desirable.

Why? Because a sin has this essential about it, it is displeasing to God. No soul in Heaven could possibly do anything against Him. It is because we do not know God, or understand how good He is, that we misconceive the nature of sin. Every venial sin gives God a great deal of pain, and so for nothing in the world must we commit it.

How can I become unselfish, thinking little of myself? How can I help living for my own comfort and aggrandizement? I can do my actions for God, and try to keep out the thought of myself.

If you are always thinking of your own aches and pains, you won’t console others much. If you are always sympathizing with yourself, you are a sort of Job’s comforter when you go to help others.

Our thoughts should be first of God; then, how can I help others? How can I shield others from trouble? True religion does not consist in trying to oust others. If it is only that you are in search of happiness, be as unselfish as you can.

Are the intensely selfish, happy people? No one likes someone else to lord it over him. Who loves a selfish person? At the lowest, don’t be selfish.

But we are not going to take the lowest. The more unselfish we are, the nearer we draw to Our Lord. If we try to seek, not ourselves, but our Lord, we shall find Him.

If we ourselves are burdened with care and trouble, try and help another in his trouble. Unselfishness gives out a kind of effulgence-light.

His visit, people say, helps me to be better. The more we go out of ourselves, the more we put ourselves in the background, the more work we shall do for God.

Time and Eternity

We must be very ignorant or very willful if we pronounce out of hand that every short life is a failure any more than that every long life is a success. The true measure of our actions is not their time but their intensity. “One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name” is not only good poetry but good sense.

No life that has accomplished what God asked of it, and has borne the fruit for which it was fitted, can be called incomplete, nor can its end be untimely. Even the pagans of old could understand that length of days is not always a blessing. Hence the proverb: “Whom the gods love die young.” They could see and feel the temporal miseries of life and esteem those happy who were soon beyond their reach.

How much more can the Christian believe that God may, in mercy and not in wrath, contract the span of human life, to make it, not less but more beautiful and pure, so that of such a one the words of the Book of Wisdom might be true: “He was taken away lest wickedness should alter his understanding or deceit beguile his soul. For the bewitching of vanity obscureth good things.”

This mortal scene is carefree enough while it endures, full of glitter, and glare, and show, and pretense, of tinsel and make-believe, with nothing solid underneath; its laughter is hollow, its professions insincere.

Even if it were to give of its best, its best cannot satisfy the hungry soul. Its prizes so eagerly coveted, so fiercely contested, only serve to sharpen the appetites they were intended to soothe. The rich always crave for more riches, the ambitious grasp at larger power.

If we do not lift our eyes above the horizon of this world, and all it contains, and if we listen to its babble, and worship at its shrines, we shall attain little heart’s ease, but a good deal of distraction of mind.

All this world’s attempts at comfort labor under one incurable defect – they are as short-lived as their origin.

How can a world minister lasting consolation when it is itself hastening to its end. We who breathe its atmosphere, and have been brought up in its ways, find it hard not to take it at its own valuation. It is always telling us how fine and grand and happy it is, how good it is to have it as a friend, how dangerous for a foe.

It will fawn on us if we despise it, and trample on us if we show fear. It will make a hundred promises because it never means to make them good. It can even put on a mask of piety and goodness in order the better to deceive.

It will go a greater part of the way with us in order to turn down a by-path and mislead us further on. To keep us amused, to forbid us serious thought, to hoodwink us that we may not see whither we are tending, is its settled policy, and the secret of its sway.

Yet all the while it is travelling towards its inevitable goal; kingdoms rise and fall, old forces enter into new combinations, ancient problems appear under novel names, everything changes but the process of change itself.

A few more years, a few compared with eternity, and this earth itself and all the works with which man has covered it, its cities, its palaces, its towers, will be given over to the flames. The visible heavens themselves shall be burnt up like a scroll.

What will then become of all the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them? If any man has gained the whole world he must then lose it, because it will itself have ceased to be. It will have ceased to be, but, before it vanishes he must stand its trials, and his deeds must be appraised.

We stand in spirit on the height of Heaven, and look down upon the earth, or where the earth once was, at our feet. In the light from the great white Throne all things are made clear. The mists of earth break and roll away. The world’s illusions, its hypocrisy, its false standards, are put to shame.

Only truth, only virtue, only moral courage, above all splendid moral courage, are decorated here, for these honors are everlasting.

“That they be loved in the things which they themselves like by a sharing in their youthful interests; in this way they will learn to see your love in matters which naturally speaking are not very pleasing to them, as is the case with study, discipline, and self-denial: in this way they will learn to do these things also with love.” -St. John Bosco

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Training to Confidence – Christ in the Home

from Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., 1950’s

Confidence is necessary. Nothing is so sad as those chasms which divide parents and children, causing them to lead lives practically isolated from each other, with no contact of soul, no intimacy between them.

Difficult moments will come, temptations will arise, decisions will have to be made and action determined. If children have no confidence in their parents, to what dangers they will be exposed!

But this confidence is difficult to get. One important reason for the difficulty arises from the physical or moral temperament of the parents and of the children.

The parents must know how to vanquish their little ones’ fears, consent to their advances and not be afraid to give in.

Sometimes this confidence is blocked by other reasons which parents only too often overlook.

There are, for example, parents, who because they are not sufficiently supernatural, openly show more affection for one child than another or give fewer marks of affection to one child. The child who believes himself slighted may turn inward and become sullen and jealous.

Again there are parents who are unbalanced in their punishments or fail to be just.

There are others who are woefully ignorant of psychology and as a consequence seriously wound the self-respect of a child. He retaliates by closing up his heart.

A mother once laughed at a candid confidence her little boy revealed to her. He was hurt.

–“Papa,” he said, “I don’t love mamma anymore.”

–“What’s that! Is it possible? Why not?” –“Why?

—“Well, that’s just how it is. I don’t want to tell her anything anymore…ever anymore.”

The father tried in vain to reason with him but he remained obstinate.

–“No, that’s the end. I don’t love mamma anymore!”

It may have been mere caprice and doubtless it was; time would probably clear it up. Yet, who knows? Like all fragile things, the child’s heart is easily scarred.

And as with all things that have been marred it is not easy to restore the luster, to efface all the blemishes.

Parents who want their children’s confidence must know how to listen, to listen untiringly. They must be able to show interest in their triumphant little stories as well as in their grievances.

They may never ridicule them, never rebuff them through irritation or nervousness and never deceive them. They must know how to read their children without trying in any way to force an entry into their hearts or consciences; rather, they must be clever at inviting a confidence, dispelling a cloud, evoking a smile, creating a diversion in case of a mishap or tempest.

They must show understanding always and make the children feel that they can tell them everything. Not that they approve of everything, but they take everything into consideration; if then adjustments are called for they make them; if rewards are merited, they bestow them.

And when they must punish they do so with only the good of the child in mind so that, if the age of the child warrants it, they will explain the reason for their actions.

If in spite of all this, a child still persists in being withdrawn and uncommunicative, reserved as a hermit, there is nothing else to do but pray.

Parents should not grow discouraged. Of course they should try to discover whether this reticence is the result of temperament or conscience worries.

It might even be necessary for them to turn to someone else for help, someone who will be more successful because more competent.

In many cases this could be a priest. It is a great mistake for parents to want to be the only recipients of their children’s confidence.

The child, the adolescent must be able to confide in someone. If we are not the one, and someone else is, let us accept the fact humbly. Such renunciation is very meritorious especially for the mother.

There will be lives only if there are mothers, mothers who respond to their essential and divine vocation. “Give me, O my God, the grace through respect for You and for Your work, always to have a devotion to and a respect for life.. Grant me also the grace to be in Your Hands a not too unworthy instrument of Your creative power. Let me be ‘up-to-date’ whenever it is a question of enrolling a new name in the Book of Life.” – Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., 1950’s http://amzn.to/2sI1p1l (afflink)

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Is Your Faith First? My Personal Journey…

A little throwback….

by Leane VanderPutten

Oftentimes in life we will need to make decisions. What will be the motivation behind those decisions? I think that it will depend on who we are hanging out with, what books we are reading and on our prayer life at the time. One day we will also realize how much the good turns in our lives had to do with the people who were praying for us.

Here’s a little story of some good decisions I made when I was foot loose and fancy free. Oftentimes I look back in gratitude because I realize it was simply a grace, one that I thankfully cooperated with, and that things could have SO went the other way.  I had the right information at the right time.

I was twenty-one and from all outward appearances, life was treating me good and I had it made! Looking pretty good, aren’t I?  😀 vintage-sunglasses-black

A young lady, in my blossoming prime, I was off to a good start on my “career” in the big city of Regina. Regina was the capital city of the Province of Saskatchewan in the middle of Canada. It had lots to offer….if you like the glamors of the big city…the good, the bad and the ugly.

I was a dedicated young lady working as head secretary of an office. I was 21, had full run of the office, called the shots and had the job of hiring and firing. I would say for someone my age it was a position that was indeed coveted.
I had started working there when I was 17 during the summers as a part time help to an elderly woman who had been working there for years. She decided to retire, and they asked me if I wanted the job! I jumped at it!

It was a job with much responsibility and I handled it well. I was able to buy myself a brand new car…a 1985 Mercury Cougar! It was pretty slick. I had an apartment of my own and the freedom to do what I wished.

A new computer program had been introduced and they were flying me to the United States! Anyone from Canada would look at that as a REAL opportunity! I was going to New Holland, Pennsylvania to take part in a computer seminar where an employee from each of the offices throughout North America was going to meet!

We were wined and dined while we were there. We ate seven course meals and shoo-fly pie. It was really neat to see the carriage-drawn Amish families and learn of their lifestyle. I rubbed shoulders with some of the big-wigs of the company, which was pretty interesting, too. It was all new, fascinating and heady.

I enjoyed the pampering and I was intent on learning this program as best I could.
I came back from that trip and began to incorporate the new program into our office. The boys in the back warehouse looked on me with a new respect.
I had a lot of things going for me.

In hindsight I can see now that I was one of the fortunate ones. I was fortunate because in my young life, I had struggled enough that I did not glory in all of this. It could have went straight to my head but instead there was an extreme empty ache.

I had  already had lots of obstacles. I grew up in an alcoholic home. It was not an abusive home but the influence of alcohol had wreaked its havoc and this had caused me to suffer. This suffering was good. Isn’t that the way? At the time, those things that are most painful, become our greatest gifts. Looking back, I am very grateful.

You know what they say, “Pain is Gain.My gain is that it caused me to search for what life was really about. While everyone around me was falling into the sins of youth that would take them years to climb out of, if they ever did, I was searching.

The answers to life didn’t come easy. I knew that God was in the picture, I knew that He was the answer to man’s search for happiness but I didn’t know how to apply that.

I was born and raised a Catholic and I attended Mass. Unfortunately, things were pretty liberal in the Church at that time. I did not know about the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist until well AFTER I graduated….thirteen years of Catholic school, rubbing shoulders with priests and nuns!

I remember, at this particular time, I talked to my sister-in-law’s mother. She was a woman I respected…a simple, warm-hearted housewife with a great love for her family.

I was wondering what I should do….where my search would take me? My closest friends were leaving the Church. Nothing was there for them.

There was an Alliance church down the way. The pastor was dynamic and animated and was drawing many of the youth to his side of the fence….yes, even my closest Catholic friends.

Then there were the ones who drifted over to the Pentecostal Church…..

Should I follow?

Mrs. Botelho, that dear Portuguese woman who prayed the rosary every day,  looked me in the eyes and, with a conviction that spoke volumes, said with her heavy accent, “Whatever you decide to do, Leane, don’t leave the Catholic Church.”

 I hung onto that.

In the meantime, immersed in  urban life mentality, surrounded by worldliness, I struggled.

It was at that time that, through my mom, I got a hold of some good old Catholic Books. You know, those ones you find at garage sales or church sales because they were obsolete.

They had their effect on me and I found out that truth is never obsolete. It is never-changing and eternal.

I read ones that especially pertained to motherhood and youth. Books like Clean Love in Courtship, The Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love, The Catholic Marriage Manual, The Christian Home. They were my saving grace. They helped me to form a purpose for my life but I did not know how it would unfold.
One thing I knew for sure –  this career was not the life for me. I had decided what I wanted. I wanted to be a wife and mother. I wanted a large family. And I could see that the position I had, coveted as it seemed, was not getting me any closer to the goal I really wanted.

The books I was reading enhanced my restlessness. And it was a good restlessness.

I realized I had to make some changes. In spite of the rueful looks, shaking heads and bewildered relatives, I gave my two week notice, trained the next secretary that had been hired out of many, many resumes and ended up leaving that job.

It hurt me that I was a disappointment to many…..to my boss who had just flown me to the states for the new program. I was also a disappointment to many of my aunts and uncles. They could not understand why I was leaving such a position to go and pump gas in a small town for my mom and dad’s little business.

My friends already knew I was weird so it didn’t surprise them. 😀

I knew what I was doing. I didn’t know exactly where the path would direct me but it was the beginning for me of a journey that would lead me to work at a little Catholic shrine in North Dakota for a dear priest who taught me to love my Catholic faith. I consecrated myself to Our Lady there and I met my future husband.

receiptfamily pic

I have never regretted those decisions. “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you!”

The way was not mapped out for me in a letter from God. There was much of “self” involved in my decisions….many stumblings. We are human, after all. God works in spite of our humanness, as long as we are of good will. That is why I am indeed grateful where my path led me and that I was given the grace to say “yes” to Him.

He did not say it was going to be easy, but it is simple. There have been many bumps, many struggles and many, many joys!

What ever you give up for the sake of Him He will bless. And whatever you grab hold of, for the sake of Him, He will bless.

With eleven wonderful children, and (almost) sixteen grandchildren, I feel very blessed. They are all living close by and life is grandly busy, hectic and full of love.April 7, 2014 063-001April 7, 2014 064IMG_0458IMG_0538IMG_1875IMG_1863IMG_1496IMG_1030

So….if your heart is telling you to make some hard decisions for the sake of your faith, your future or your family, know that you will be paid back a hundredfold for it!

At the time it may not be apparent. You may get backlash from family and friends. It may seem like that black cloud is settling and not going to leave. But eventually the clouds dispel, and you can see where God has blessed you in many, many ways.

Do not be afraid to take the steps you need to take in order to keep your faith and your family first in your life! God is not outdone in generosity!

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Every morning, we may be tempted to put off our prayers until “later” or skip them altogether because we have much to do and action is where it is at. If we allow the devil to win in this very first struggle of the day, he will win many more of the battles throughout the day. Our Morning Prayers, whether they be said while nursing a baby or changing a diaper, need to be a priority and the very foundation of our daily life.

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Examples of Fidelity…

painting by Michael Deas 1995

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

In What the Wife’s Fidelity Consists

We have insisted much on the qualities which enable a wife to be, in the fullest sense, the most delightful companion, the most efficient helpmate, the most trusted friend and confidante of her husband.

All this she cannot be, without being at the same time most truly devoted to him in thought and affection,—so that he alone, after God, fills her mind and her heart.

We have touching examples of this inviolable fidelity,— springing, in the first instance, from that single-hearted and absorbing love of a good husband which leaves no thought of any other love being possible; and, in the second, from a wife’s own high principle and fear of God, which keeps her true to the love she pledged, even when its object has become most unworthy, or, possibly, most hateful.

Fidelity Illustrated

In the patriarchal ages before Abraham,—in the age of Noe and those preceding the flood,—there was no question among the families of the blessed line of Seth of admitting a second wife into the family.

That was characteristic of the evil brood of Cain,—his son, Lamech, being mentioned as the first who had departed from the unity of the institution of marriage as it came from the hands of the Creator.

But Seth himself, and every one of the blessed descendants who kept alive on earth the primitive faith in Jehovah and the belief in the promised Redeemer, also maintained in their households the faith they had pledged to the wife of their youth.

Though these men lived five hundred, six hundred, or even nine hundred years and more, their hearts were content with the love, and their lives filled with the fidelity, of that one woman: it was a sacred fire in these august patriarchal homes, burning undimmed century after century on the hearth-stone,—an example, even at this distance of time, deserving of the wonder and veneration of their degenerate descendants.

Rebecca’s Fidelity Prefigures that of the Church

The violation of that unity by Abraham, even at the solicitation of his faithful Sara, was a manifest imperfection in him, who should have known better, and a want of faith and error of judgment in her, who had been brought up among the licentiousness of the Mesopotamian idolatry.

But Abraham’s son and successor, Isaac, and his bride, Rebecca, departed not from the great primitive law. For Isaac, who bore the wood of his sacrifice up the mountainside was the figure of Christ; just like Isaac’s early and only love, Rebecca, brought to him so wondrously from afar,— was the type of the Church.

It is the love of both Rebecca and the Church that forms a model and a rule for every Christian wife.

Judith’s Example

We have nearer to us in the Old Testament history other touching examples of fidelity in wives to the husband of their youth.

Judith the Deliverer, “the Joy of Israel,” the glory and honor of her people, was widowed young, and, though surpassingly beautiful, and most wealthy, she remained true to the memory of her husband, inviolably faithful to the love she had plighted to him.

The sudden inspiration which came to her to offer herself to the admiring eyes of the Assyrian general, was no deviation from the law of fidelity which she had so scrupulously followed till then.

She trusted to God’s angel to keep her honor safe in the Assyrian camp, and, as she afterward declared, he had watched over her coming and going till she had struck the blow which freed her country.

The victory once won, and the national thanksgiving over, she put off her rich robes, resumed her sober widow’s weeds, buried herself once more in the solitude of her own house, and gave up the half-century of life which remained to her to prayer, fasting, alms-deeds, and the cherished worship of her husband’s memory.

Anna the Prophetess

So is it with that remarkable woman whom we meet with in the temple at our Lord’s presentation therein,—Anna the Prophetess. She, too, had been left a widow after seven years of companionship with her husband; and “she was a widow till fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fasting and prayers, serving night and day.”

She was rewarded by beholding in the flesh the Redeemer promised to Adam and Eve in the garden, and whose glory, like the first fires of sunrise above the eastern hills, patriarchs and prophets had only looked on “from afar.”

She was also privileged to see in the temple the Mother most blessed who was prefigured by Eve as well as by Judith.

These are only landmarks on the glorious pathway of true womanhood, pointing out in the inspired writings the honor paid to fidelity and the reward bestowed on it even in this life.

“It is amazing how, with time, the soul comes to dominate the body. Selfish people get the hard, selfish look. Generous people grow more physically attractive each day. People with the peace of God’s friendship develop expressions that instantly attract and constantly charm. A mouth that speaks kindly becomes a beautiful mouth. Hands that serve generously become characterful hands. Eyes that look out for affection on mankind are eyes that radiate an inner beauty not difficult to find.” -Fr. Daniel A. Lord http://amzn.to/2iCGqfN

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Making Friends of Books

by Mabel Hale, Beautiful Girlhood, 1920’s

“Of making many books there is no end.”

Who would not count it an honor to have among her friends the wisest, noblest, and best of earth, and have their friendship so intimate that at any time she might go to them and converse with them and have their opinions upon the matters of importance?

If only one such friend were yours or mine, should we not feel honored indeed, and would we not cultivate that friendship that if possible our lives might be brightened by the association? I am certain that each one of us would feel just such an interest in so exalted a friendship.

Would you be surprised if I should tell you that such a friendship is possible, not only with one or two superior persons, but with all the wisest and best of all time? That is the fact in the case.

We are all provided with means by which we may become acquainted with those who have moved earth’s masses most, whose lives have influenced most people for good, knowing the very motives and desires of their hearts and learning exactly what their opinions were or are.

The medium for all this wonderful knowledge is the printed page. Through books we may, very intimately, know the wisest and best. I may take a book and go into the quietness of my room and there read, as a great personal letter, what the author has to say, and there compare his views with those of others and with my own, gathering wisdom for my personal store. What a privilege this!

It is said that a person becomes like his friends. This is a very truthful saying, for association makes a great difference in the life of anyone. Especially is this true of the young.

Boys and girls in the teens will almost certainly be like those with whom they most intimately associate, especially if they have chosen their associates. Like begets like, and we naturally seek out and enjoy those who are congenial to us, passing by those whose tastes and manners are offensive.

It is not only the personal touch that makes this likeness, but the exchange of ideas. By the interchange of thought and expression all become to a great extent one, each giving to the other something of himself, and receiving to himself of the other.

What is true of personal friendships is also true of book friendships. If I choose only the books that I like to read, and after a while give you a list of those books, you can know, though you never see me face to face, just what kind of person I am, just how my thoughts run, and what I admire most in people and things.

And if I habitually choose books that I believe will be the best for me, and read them carefully until I understand them and make their thoughts my own, I will in time become like those books in thought, and will be lifted out of the rut I naturally would have run in.

When a girl chooses her friends she should as much as possible select those who will be a help to her. If she chooses the quiet, modest, sincere, earnest girls for her friends, she will become like them; but if her friends are mostly the thoughtless, giddy kind, though she had been a reasonably sensible girl in the beginning, she will soon be as her companions.

So it is with books. If a girl will choose her books from those whose ideals are high and whose language is pure and clean, unconsciously she will mold her life like to those portrayed in the books she reads; but if her book friends are the giddy, impure, unchaste kind, you may be certain that the girl will become like them.

I have heard the assertion that to go to any girl’s bookcase and there study for a little while the books she reads, will give to one a true estimate of that girl’s character, and I believe this is in the main true.

If a girl is interested in history she may have at her command the works of educated men who have made history a special study, and there she may seek out just what they have learned on the particular point that interests her. If she is interested in science, medicine, art, chemistry, music, or business, in books she can find the thoughts and conclusions of those who have made these a life study.

Every girl likes in one way or another the social side of life. By going to the proper kind of authors she may get glimpses of and even come into intimate acquaintance with, the lives of the purest and noblest of earth. She can through her book friends converse with people of the highest and noblest ideals. Or she may seek out those whose lives are foul and bitter and enter with them into their dark deeds, smudging her young heart with the worst sins of the world.

I believe every girl would be able to choose rightly if, when she begins a book, she would ask herself these questions: Would I like to read this book aloud to my mother? Would I feel honored in intimately knowing the people of this book in real life? Would pure society approve of the conduct of these story-people? Can I profitably make my life pattern after the ideals I here find? Would the reading of this book help me to better serve my Lord?

If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, then she may safely read the book; but if not, even though the book is very enticing, let her put it away, for it is poison.

The reading of love stories in which the lovers have secret meetings in dark and lonely places, embrace and caress each other, and whose acts stir the fever of romance and imagination of the reader, is very detrimental to young girls, and is good for no one.

Stories of murder and crime that stir the mind with horror or excitement, or that make heroes of evil characters, are not good for the young people. It is almost as bad to read books that make you intimate with bad characters as to make personal friends of that sort of people.

In both you learn their intimate thoughts and motives, and will condone their wrongs if their personality has appealed to you. More or less, my young reader, you will be like these people whom you admire and like to read about.

Light, frivolous reading brings the brain into a condition where it is almost impossible for it to grasp and hold weighty matter. When the girl who habitually reads novels undertakes to read anything that requires thought, she seems to be only uttering words, and not comprehending a thing. She will throw the book down and say, “It is not interesting, and I see nothing in it.”

But let her keep at the heavier reading, going over and over the same paragraph or chapter till she does understand it—she will in time become able to grasp the thoughts as she reads. And if she keeps on at the deep reading, she will lose her appetite for the light stuff; it will seem chaffy and foolish to her.

It will not hurt any girl to read a few stories; and, in fact, if the right kind of stories are chosen she will learn much that is useful and good through story reading. But she who wishes to become educated and make her reading a means of culture must select the greater portion of her books from those authors who deal with facts in life.

Works of history, biography, and other branches of learning are good for all. Books of travel are very good, for they make one acquainted with the people of other lands. In the great field of choice, pick out those book friends that will widen the outlook and lift up the standards of life.

Books can be the greatest of blessing in the life of a girl, or they can become her curse. Which will you have them to be in yours?

“We can change the world within our own families. We do not need heroic deeds, exceptional intelligence or extraordinary talents. Every day, our daily duties, our interactions with our family, our living out the Faith in the small ordinary things, will be the thread that weaves the beautiful rug that future generations will be walking upon and building upon….” -Finer Femininity

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On Reluctant Mothers, Elopement, Stealing Another Man’s Girl – Young People’s Questions, Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

Questions People Ask Before Marriage – Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.da612d48c5d849e0ce7290b16298b152

On Stealing Another Man’s Girl

Problem

“Very briefly, my difficulty is this: I am very much enthralled by a girl who is engaged to another young man. I am currently trying to convince her that she has made a mistake and should break her engagement.

I met her, after having known her in high school several years ago without paying any attention to her, at a recent reunion. I asked her for a date the following Monday. Before Monday came she informed me that she had just accepted an engagement ring from another fellow.

Despite that fact, I started a routine of courtship – roses, telephone calls, visits at her home, etc. I think she is confused and not too sure of herself about marrying this other man. I also think I could do better for her than he could. I badly need advice, and I think she does too. I am 23 years old, and she is 20.”

Solution

Most people would roundly condemn you for “poaching”, i.e., trying to take a girl away from the man to whom she is engaged. Indeed, a first glance at your problem indicates that you are doing a moral injustice to the man who has already courted the girl and won from her a promise of her hand and heart in marriage.

Only two circumstances could mitigate your brashness in some degree. The first would be if you had real, objective, almost certain evidence of the fact that the girl is not happy in her engagement or would really be unhappy in marriage to the man to whom she is promised. There is danger that your own infatuation may make you invent such evidence.

Furthermore, your own favors may have been the only thing responsible for making her begin to doubt the wisdom of accepting a ring from someone else. In either case you haven’t a leg to stand on.

The other circumstances that might lessen the degree of injustice in your conduct is if the girl herself were directly and expressly to open the field to candidates for her hand once more. For a sound and solid reason a girl may break an engagement, or insist that she and a boy friend go back to the status quo that existed before they agreed on future marriage.

Only if the girl in question does this, may you continue to pursue her. As long as she is willing to remain bound by her engagement, you have to smother, under your sense of honor and fair play, your infatuation. At 23, you need not fear that the loss of this girl will make you a bachelor for life.

On Eloping

Problem

My boy-friend, whom I have promised to marry, wants me to elope with him because of the opposition of our families to our getting married in the near future.

I am 17, have just finished high school, and my family tells me I’m too young to get married. My boy-friend’s family tells him that he is not making enough money to get married.

He is 20, and he works in a factory where he is paid $1.25 an hour, which brings him $50 a week and more when he works overtime. I am terribly in love with him, and am almost agreed that the best thing for us to do is to leave our homes without saying anything to anybody and get married at once. What do you think?

Solution

Experience is heavily weighted against your having a happy marriage with such a start as you contemplate. Even secular marriage counseling agencies, which keep statistics on such things, will tell you that marriages that begin with elopement have the least chance of success.

Elopement is a bad beginning for married life for many reasons. First of all, it means a sharp and bitter break with your family, and no matter how much you may think you don’t need your family now, you will, as time goes on, feel deeply the separation you have caused. At your age especially, an elopement would be a combination of selfish mistrust of your parents, of meanness in depriving them of a chance to share in your wedding joy, and of an element of disobedience because you are so young.

Even if they were to forgive you later on, they could never feel quite the same toward you as they did before. As a Catholic, you should know that an elopement, with speedy marriage following, is out of the question. (I hate to think that you may be contemplating a civil marriage, with all its disastrous consequences for your soul.)

As a Catholic, you have to go to your pastor in good time, have to be instructed in the duties of marriage, have to permit the banns of marriage to be published, etc. Of course there is provision made for special cases in which there is an important reason for secrecy or haste. But so often this reason has to do with sin that a young girl who marries hastily and in secret gives grounds for the suspicion that “she had to get married.”

From this distance, it would appear that your parents and your boyfriend’s parents are advising you wisely. You can check this with your pastor or confessor, who will be influenced by no personal motives in advising you, and who will help you to get married before too long if that turns out to be the prudent thing to do. But put out of your mind any thought of an elopement.

On Reluctant Mothers

Problem

I am just over 21, and am engaged to be married to a good Catholic young man. We have been going together for eight months. We would like to be married in a month or so, but my mother begs me with tears to put it off for a couple of years, so that she will have me with her that much longer. She tells me that I owe this to her for all that she has done for me. Can you tell me if I do have any obligation to put off our marriage for two years because of my mother’s feelings?

Solution

It could be a grave mistake to put off your marriage for even a year merely because your mother wants your companionship. Common sense and experience lay down very definite principles regarding the length of time young people should wait before marrying, once they have become engaged.

There are some cases in which a wait is necessary for serious reasons, such as the actual material dependence of others on the man or woman, or the lack of even a modest income on which to start a home.

These exceptions do not change the universal principle that long engagements are to be avoided whenever possible. The longer two people who are in love with each other put off their marriage, the greater is the danger of their falling into sin. To be in love and engaged and yet to have to wait two years or so before marrying places a great strain on young people’s ability to resist manifestations of affection that of their nature endanger the virtue of chastity.

Mothers who hate to lose their daughters do not think of these things. But a daughter must think of them and must decide the matter according to the best interests of her soul and the soul of her fiancé.

In a situation such as is presented here, a girl would do well to place the decision in the hands of her confessor. He will be able to judge objectively both the reasons for the mother’s reluctance to give up her daughter for a while, and the degree of spiritual danger that will be involved for the engaged couple.

If he decides that the marriage should not be put off for another year or two, his authority should be quoted to the mother, and should be followed even though the latter bitterly resents it.vintage-wallpaper-backgrounds-5

“Many times God allows it to be hard to pray, simply to school us in applying our wills, to teach us that the value of prayer does not depend on the amount of emotion we can whip up. Many times the saints had trouble getting excited about prayers, but they said them, because prayers were due and their value had nothing to do with how eagerly they went about saying them.” -Mary Reed Newland, http://amzn.to/2snNxN7 (afflink)

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