Our Lord Needs Our Help – Simon of Cyrene and the Cross

Simon of Cyrene Helps Carry the Cross

NOW HERE IS a strange thing. Here is a bewildering thing. Here is a downright dumbfounding thing. Christ the omnipotent, He who could say to a mountain, ‘remove from here, and it would remove-Christ no longer can carry His cross. Christ needs somebody to help Him to carry out His mission of salvation.

Christ is falling, Christ is fainting, Christ is failing. Christ needs an assistant; Christ the rescuer of all mankind needs rescuing. And in this moment of shattering drama, does God send an angel, or a prophet, a flaming personality such as John the Baptist? No, God sends a man of whom nobody ever has heard. God selects a chance passerby to lift Christ’s burden and to walk beside Christ on the way to Golgotha.

What mystery is this, that the most ordinary and casual onlooker is lifted to immortality, is chosen to lend his strength to the All-Powerful One when the All-Powerful One is helpless? Cannot the divine Christ, the healer of lepers, the giver of sight to the blind, the restorer of life to the lifeless, cannot He finish his work unless he is assisted by this Simon of Cyrene who has blundered onto the scene, and who, we may guess, has small taste for carrying crosses for condemned criminals?

Mystery it is indeed; mystery of mysteries. It is as mysterious, this incident, as St. Paul’s remark about filling up in his own body what is wanting in the passion of Christ. What can possibly be wanting in the passion of Christ? Although we know that God could have repaired fallen human nature by a simple act of His Will, yet He demands for our personal salvation an act of our will, a cooperation with His grace.

This is the mystery of human freedom, without which man is not really man at all. Man to be man must be able to make choices. Man to be what he is, the image and likeness of God, must distinguish between good and evil, and choose good. How else is man to have any dignity? How else is man to be like unto God? How else is man to be happy-for does not happiness consist in the knowledge that one has done the good that one ought to do, and avoided the evil that one ought to avoid? How can man share forever in the happiness of God unless he has identified himself with that happiness by freely choosing God and God’s way?

It is like asking whether any of us can enjoy the beauty of a sunset without ever having gazed upon a sunset, or the lilting joy of symphony music without having listened to it. What the conductor of an orchestra feels, we cannot feel without sharing, according to our capacity, in his experience. We cannot have any of his happiness in music without ourselves entering into music. Neither can we enter into God’s eternal joy without choosing for ourselves the cause of that joy, which is God’s goodness.

There are those who blindly complain about this; who would prefer that God force His happiness upon them without their doing anything to make themselves capable of it. But this is impossible. As well might we ask that we know the joys of love while refusing to love; or the pleasure of knowledge while declining to learn. If you do not know a single word of English, and resolutely refrain from acquiring any English, it would be foolish of you to complain because you cannot enter into the joy of reading Shakespeare in his own tongue. You are simply incapable, through your own choice, of sharing in the experience and the insights of Shakespeare.

Thus it is with God and man. Christ has opened the door; Christ has led the way; Christ has given us all the means for fitting ourselves for the happiness of heaven. But if we turn our backs, if we walk the other direction, if we reject the means, then we shall find that with respect to God’s happiness, we are like blind men trying to enjoy the sight of flowers, we are like the deaf wanting to listen to music, we are like paralyzed persons longing for dancing and the poetry of movement. We must do our part. We must lift a burden as Simon lifted; we must walk with Christ as Simon walked. We must fill up in ourselves, as St. Paul filled up, what is wanting of the passion of Christ.

The point is that what is wanting in the passion of Christ is my little bit, and your little bit. In one sense, Christ climbed alone to Calvary. In another sense, He climbed in the midst of a countless multitude of other climbers, each carrying his own little cross, his own little duty, his own contribution to the unselfish immolation of love. The passion of Christ took place at a certain time and in a certain place; but it extends backward to Adam and Eve, and forward to the last man and woman.

What we ought to see when we contemplate Christ’s sacrifice is not the sacrifice of Christ alone, but the sacrifice of Christ expanded into countless other hearts and souls. This is the meaning of the Mystical Body of Christ; this is the meaning of the Church. The Church is Christ saving all of us by enlisting our willing cooperation. The Church is Christ and you and I and a vast concourse of others, indomitably struggling upward and onward toward the death that is the opening into life everlasting. Every last one of us is, or ought to be, a Simon of Cyrene, walking through life with Christ, enduring bravely life’s vicissitudes and keeping our eyes always on the goal until it is achieved.

Unless the Simons do their part, the Simons cannot accomplish what Christ gave them the power to accomplish. All this is a mystery, and yet it ought to be as plain as a pikestaff.

Let us express it in this manner-the confessionals are always open, and guilt can be blotted out of our souls in an instant, but not if we will not enter the confessional. And even if we enter the confessional, nothing is accomplished without contrition. Nobody else can be contrite for us; we ourselves must turn from evil to embrace good. The instant we do that, we become capable of the life of God which is the life of love and goodness; we begin, in fact, to share God’s supernatural life on earth. We have a foretaste of eternal joys; we enter into an anteroom to heaven.

But as long as evil is what a man loves, then what he loves is not goodness, and he cannot know the happiness that comes of goodness embraced. To make a homely comparison, if I cannot abide the taste of olives, then olives cannot give me pleasure. If I want the pleasure that olives give, I must change. And if I am to share the happiness of God, then I must fit myself to be happy by God’s happiness; I must become like God. I must determine to be a Simon of Cyrene who will be ready to walk with Christ and not to turn away from Christ.

Simon might have been a lover of comfort who would have so weakened his body with self-indulgence and luxury as to have been incapable of lifting the weight of Christ’s cross. He was fit for Christ, when the test came, because his muscles were strong, and his soul willing. To each of us comes our moments of Simon-likeness, when we are called upon to do our bit in sharing the passion of Christ which leads to resurrection and glorification with Christ. It is our duty and our high privilege to be always prepared.

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

A Finer Femininity Meditation for Lent

What happened to Veronica’s veil was simply an outward expression of what happened in Veronica’s soul. Are we “Veronica’s” in our everyday life? Do we seek to serve, to encourage, to listen….?

Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit My Book List… https://finerfem.com/my-book-list/




Ah, St. Patrick, Steadfast and Unchanging Man, Pray for Us!

The whole story of St. Patrick is exciting. I highly recommend reading more about him. When I think of St. Patrick being kidnapped, I shudder. And how many of us shudder when we here of the abductions of children in the streets of today? If you have any of those “motherly” fears, pray to St. Patrick.  He most assuredly will protect our children.

These following Gaelic prayers are beautiful and you may want to adopt one or two. Or just light your green candle and say them on St. Patrick’s Day which could be the beginning of a meaningful custom in your home.

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

The feast of St. Patrick as popularly celebrated is badly in need of surgery. In an attempt to rid the occasion of indignities and restore to this saint some of his due, we have had recourse to the Confession of St. Patrick, an inspiring read-aloud for this night.

It has been called by Oliver St. John Gogarty, in his I Follow St. Patrick, “the oldest and perhaps the most important document in British history.”

Here I will interject and include a link to get this document. Mrs. Newland condenses it in her book but it is too long to include here.

Confession of St. Patrick

Here are some beautiful Gaelic Prayers that can be said in honor  of The Feast of St. Patrick.

 From The Book:

Some Gaelic Prayers

As soon as we discovered “The Prayers of the Gael,” a small volume of Irish prayers, we set about learning some.

They are marvelously suited to children – and, of course, to grown-ups.

Here is one to try for a change from your usual Grace before Meals:


May the blessing of five loaves and two fishes which God divided among the five thousand men, be ours; and may the King who made the division put luck on our food and on our portion. Amen.

 And here is a prayer for the family to help them keep a sanctified Sunday. It is a lovely prayer to say in the car on the way to Mass:


A thousand welcomes to thee, Blessed Sunday,

Now coming to help us after the week:

My feet guide early to holy Mass,

Part my lips with blessed words,

Out of my heart banish wicked thoughts,

That I may look upon the Son of the Nurse.

Since it was the Son of God who bought us,

I rely for my soul’s protection on Thee, 0 Jesus,

May God establish Thee within my heart,

Mayst Thou clear the stain and soil of sin from me

And fill mine eyes with tears of repentance. Amen.

Here is another to be said by all together in the kitchen in the morning, before setting off to work or school:


The grace of God and the blessing of Patrick

On all I see and all I undertake,

From the time I arise in the morning

Till I go to sleep at night. Amen.

And this beautiful one for going to bed. First for the children, and later for the mothers and fathers:


May I lie down with God and may God lie down with me,

May I not lie with evil, nor evil lie with me.

Brigid’s girdle around me, Mary’s mantle beneath me;

0 Blessed Michael, hold my hand,

And make my peace with the Son of Grace.

If any evil thing pursue me, May the Son of God protect me

For a year from this night, And this night itself, and ever, And always. Amen.

There are many more, too many to include here. Best of all, for us, is the ancient St.

Patrick’s Lorica, or Corslet, or, as it is more commonly called, “The Breastplate of St. Patrick.”

We have used this for our family prayer on his feast day, with a grown-up reading one line and the family repeating it, then another line read and repeated.

Carefully and distinctly recited, with a thought for what each line means, it is one of the most magnificent prayers in all the world. (We use it on other days, too.)

The entire prayer is longer than this, but this excerpt is quite enough to tear your heart.


I rise up today Thro’ a mighty strength,

Thro’ my invocation of the Trinity,

Thro’ my belief in Its threeness,

Thro’ my avowal of Its oneness To the only Creator… . I arise today,

God’s strength guiding me, God’s might sustaining me,

God’s wisdom directing me, God’s eye looking before me,

God’s ear listening to me, God’s word speaking for me,

God’s hand protecting me: The way of God stretching out before me,

The shield of God as my shelter, The hosts of God guarding me against the snares of the demons,

Against the temptings of my evil desire,

Against the evil inclination of my will,

Against everyone who plots against me,

Anear or afar, alone or in a multitude… . Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ after me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left hand,

Christ in my breadth, Christ in my length,

Christ in my height, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me… .

As a last treat, there is this marvelous bit from Mr. Gogarty’s I Follow St. Patrick to be read aloud.

First teach your children the Latin words Gratias agamus, meaning “Let us give thanks.” He was a “steadfast and unchanging man.”

That is the verdict of a contemporary witness – and the same a king – on him.

The story arises from the fact that the Saint had set his heart on founding what was to be the headquarters of all his church organization on the Height of Macha, the present Armagh.

Not far from his own dwelling at the eastern foot of the hill, King Daire granted him a little holding, on which a circular space was marked out one hundred and forty feet in diameter, and ramparted round with an earthen wall.

Within were erected a Great House, a kitchen, and a little oratory, according to what seems to have been the plan of the primitive establishments of the Saint and his company.

But the Saint wanted the site of what was to be his chief ecclesiastical city on the heights. At first the King refused to grant a space on the summit.

He fell ill, but was restored to health by holy water which the Saint had blessed.

Then the King paid a visit to the lowly settlement and presented the Saint with a bronze cauldron brought from over the sea.

“Gratias agamus,” said the Bishop; but he said it rapidly (a man of his temperament must have spoken rapidly), in the Latin of the colonies, and it sounded in the way it has been preserved for us phonetically, “Gratzacham.”

This was not enough for Daire.

His three-gallon cauldron acknowledged by but one word, and that unintelligible!

He sent his servants to bring back that which the Bishop apparently could not appreciate. And these reported that all the Saint said as it was being taken away was “Gratzacham.”

“What?” said the King, “Gratzacham? He said that when it was being given, and he says it when it is being taken. It is a strong spell that is used for getting and losing. I will give him back his cauldron.”

And the King came with it and presented it in person: “Keep the cauldron, for you are a steadfast and unchanging man.”

And he gave him the land which was his heart’s desire.

Ah, St. Patrick, steadfast and unchanging man, pray for us!

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In honor of my dear old dad who was full of the blarney! 😀

“Mothers, as far as possible, be at home with your children. As you nourished your child before he was capable of eating solid food, so in the early formative years, nature has determined that you must nourish your child in virtue.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2lCqRG5

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Age Differences, Approval of Divorce, Drinking on Dates, Questions for Young People – Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.


Age Differences for Marriage


“Does ten years’ difference in age make happiness in marriage difficult? I am twenty years old and I have been going with a man who is thirty.
My parents are furious about this, saying that I cannot possibly be happy with a man so much older than myself.
He wants to marry me, and I am in love with him, but I am all confused because of my parents’ attitude.
They read The Liguorian like I do, and if you answer my question in it, maybe it will do some good. I know I will surely consider what you have to say.


All other things being favorable to a happy marriage, ten years of difference in age, especially at your particular ages and when the man is the older person need not be an obstacle to your happiness in marriage.
We know of many happy marriages with as much and more difference in age between the man and the woman.

Note the condition, however, that all other things must be favorable to a happy marriage. Are you quite sure that the only objection your parents have to this marriage is based on age? I can think of some circumstances that could make the age difference important.

For example, if the man is not of your faith, I would be very slow to tell you that age makes no difference. You are young enough not to need to rush into this marriage as if it were your last chance; indeed, if the age difference were even less, I could give you many arguments against the possibility of happiness in such a marriage.

If this man is ten years older than you are, he will almost certainly be very uninclined to take seriously your religion, as you must want any prospective husband to take your religion seriously; he may even be inclined to dictate to you about religion.

If there were any evidence of such a possibility, and your parents may be able to see that better than you can, I know that any responsible Catholic would advise you against the marriage.
Another example: If your thirty year old friend has succeeded in drawing you into habits of sin, you have a very poor chance of happiness in marriage with him.

This would be a sign that he has grown to thirty without acquiring habits of virtue and self-control, and it is not likely that he will acquire these things after you marry him.

But if you are both Catholics, truly in love, and both eager to avoid sin and aware of the serious responsibilities of marriage, I would say that you may, with excellent prospects of happiness, think of marriage.
May this statement convince your parents of what their attitude should be.

Approval of Divorce Before Marriage


“I am engaged to a non-Catholic man, and the other day he mentioned (for the first time) the fact that he believes in divorce.
He said that he did not expect our marriage ever to break up, but that he was convinced that when any marriage did not turn out to be happy, the persons should be allowed to separate and made free to try marriage with someone else.

As a Catholic, I know that true marriage has to be permanent, and that there can be no such thing as a valid marriage after a divorce.
My question is: Do you think I can take a chance on marrying a man with the views expressed above?”


The chance you take in marrying such a man is very great.
As a matter of fact, if he were to apply his thought about divorce directly to your own marriage, and expressly to state that he was not entering into a permanent and indissoluble union, but into one that could be dissolved by divorce if and when he wished to have it dissolved, your very marriage would be invalid.
His very consent to marriage in that case would be vitiated.

However, if he did not expressly apply his approval of divorce to your marriage, but actually consented to take you as his wife “till death”, the marriage would be valid.
But it would still be one in which your chances of happiness and security would be very meager.
There is nothing more essential to happiness in marriage than an exclusion of even a theoretical approval of divorce.

The man who approves of divorce for unhappy marriages can, after a few years of married life, think of a hundred reasons for saying that his marriage is unhappy.
He can be attracted to a new face. He can rebel against the expense of raising his own children. He can accuse his wife of having faults he never knew of before marriage. He can get into a rage over some fancied grievance and stalk out of the house forever.

Also, a man who approves in general of divorce, will almost surely approve of other things (birth-control, for example) that are contrary to God’s laws and to the conscience of a Catholic.
My advice would, therefore, be that if you cannot succeed in changing his general attitude about divorce, you should not take a chance on marrying this man.

The natural law concerning divorce and remarriage, and concerning other crimes against marriage, is not too difficult to explain, and many non-Catholics accept the explanation and agree with it once it is given.
But if your boyfriend does not accept the explanation or refuses to agree with it, don’t take a chance with him.
It is the wife who pays most, in a marriage in which the husband has doubts about indissolubility.

On Drinking on Dates


“I go around with a group of young people (we are all in our late teens), and most of them like to take a drink.
So far I have held out against this because my mother doesn’t want me to drink.
But my boyfriend, and the other couples we go with, keep urging me to join them. They say that they don’t over-do it, and that there is no danger of my over-doing it in their company.

They tell me that if I am afraid of it, I am just the one who may become an alcoholic some day.
What do you think of drinking on dates? Most of the time they drink beer, but sometimes one of the boys brings a pint of whiskey along when we go out together.”


You could do nothing better than to continue to solve this problem for yourself on the basis of the wishes and commands of your mother.

Certainly, apart from everything else, you are right in thinking more of the importance of your mother’s wishes than of the arguments offered you by your drinking friends.
Apart from the angle of obedience, there is no doubt that it is exceedingly dangerous for teen-agers to drink on their dates.

First of all, because you are at an age when such stimulants to good feeling and a good time are least necessary.
If you acquire the habit of drinking now, when you could have such a wonderful time without it, you may find that a little later in life, when problems and responsibilities face you, you may not be able to get along without it.
It is not necessary to over-do drinking in your youth to become dependent on it. And the chances of your becoming an alcoholic are far greater if you drink in your teens than if you were to wait until you reached a greater degree of maturity.

It is also dangerous to make drinking a part of your dates because there is a definite connection between the effects of alcohol even in moderate quantities, and the relaxing of your moral convictions.
By usually going out with other couples, you are warding off some of the dangers that attend company-keeping. But you will not always go out with a group. If you drink with the group you will probably drink with your boy-friend when you are on a date alone with him.

On every date you need clear vision of good and evil and undeviating control of your will. Drink lessens both. It has been responsible for many a girl’s grief in the past.

Don’t let it hurt you, by not letting it touch you.

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quote for the day

“Boys and girls must be taught as tiny tots to love modesty. Even though they are too young to sin, they can and ought to be impressed with the beauty of modesty. Training in modesty is pre-eminently the function of the home, to be begun from earliest childhood.” -Archbishop Meyer of Milwaukee, Dressing With Dignity, Colleen Hammond



Inspire and delight your children with these lighthearted and faith-filled poems. Available here.

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Are Your Garden Plans “Budding”?

For Throwback Thursday….

photo-44It’s been a long and cold winter here in Kansas. I am not complaining, though. I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada where we didn’t begin to get a glimpse of spring until well into April.
But now with the warm winds pushing their way through, the geese doing an about-face and the daffodils poking their heads through the soil, we may be thinking of our gardens.
I grew up in a big city so we didn’t have a garden. I have had a lot to learn and I have grown to love the garden, though I am still a tenderfoot at it.
So…with gardening just around the corner (or maybe in some places already started), I thought I would spark your enthusiasm with this tidbit from Emilie Barnes.

The real reason is that it gives me an excuse to post these pictures that get me (and you) dreaming about flowers again! 🙂


Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home: Creating a Place You and Your Family Will Lovephoto-16
Gardens are places of life, growth, rebirth.
Working with plants and soil is a therapeutic experience to our stressed-out lives. You don’t have to have acres of land or an emerald thumb in order for gardening to be part of your life. Your garden can flourish in whatever space and time you have to give it.
In our first apartment, Bob and I barely had room for ourselves, let alone space for a garden plot.
But I was able to unleash the spirit of the garden even in that tiny place by setting out some small pots of geraniums in a kitchen window that received early-morning sun. Before long, blooms had brightened our little home.
Soon after, I added pots of herbs on that kitchen shelf.
Bob was amazed that I could season our meals with a pinch or two of herbs from my window garden.
That was just the start of our apartment garden. When I went to the market, I would occasionally pick up a potted plant in a gallon container.
Those little “instant gardens” would travel around the apartment, ending up at the middle of the breakfast table while we ate, on the bathroom vanity while I took a bubble bath, or on the nightstand while we flipped through magazines and dreamed of the beautiful landscaped grounds we would love to have someday.photo-14
When we lived in the Barnes Barn, Bob and I had plenty of room for that magazine garden we wanted so many years ago.
Our home was on garden tours in our city. We loved to hear people respond, “How beautiful it is!” “How can you ever leave it to travel?” “What a relaxing retreat center!” and especially “I would love to live here!”
We also heard, “Why go to all that trouble to keep it up?”
For me, the answer to that question goes back to those early years when God was preparing my heart to appreciate His beauty through our garden.
At that point I just knew I wanted a flower in a vase by my bed or in the center of our dining room table.
Over the years, God used that simple desire to get me outside.
For Bob, who comes from a three-generation farm family, the spirit of the garden goes back even further.
Bob truly has a green thumb. It seems that everything he plants grows. He is the one primarily responsible for helping our garden flourish so beautifully around our home.
But Bob and I both love being involved with growing things.
Even the hard work-weeding, checking for insects, watering-feels purposeful and worthwhile.
And then what joy to see a blanket of green outside our door or the bright splashes of color on our patio!
What a thrill to pick that first plum, orange, avocado, bean, corn, zinnia, marigold, or squash in our spring and summer gardens!
We are so much richer because of our love for plants, flowers, and trees and our involvement in their growth.photo-33

A Deeper Harvest

Gardening yields so much in our lives. It lets us participate in God’s process of creation. It provides wonderful opportunities for teaching and sharing and giving. But I have found that being part of a garden yields a deeper harvest as well.
Over the years, gardening has taught me a lot about who I am as a woman of God. Through many hours of working alone and with others-tilling, planting, mulching, weeding, pruning, re potting-I have learned to “slow down and smell the roses.”
I have moved closer to a healthy balance between “doing” and “being.”
That’s because the garden forces me to go at God’s pace, taking time from a busy schedule of writing, traveling, and speaking to do the simple daily chores that lead to beauty.
It’s an eternal rhythm: Sometimes I work, sometimes I wait… then God does the growing and I enjoy the results.
I thank God regularly for his gift of the garden.
Wouldn’t you love to have visited the first garden God created? It must have been beautiful-fragrant, fruitful, lushly green, yet ordered and balanced.
I trust that my life can somehow reflect that same beauty.
Yours can too.photo-23
If your life is “farmless” because you have become convinced that you have a “black thumb,” you can still fill up that void with something green or something blooming. You don’t have to turn your home into a greenhouse.
Just pay a visit to a nursery or the grocery store or a florist-or visit a neighbor whose thumb is green.
Pick a plant or a flower that makes you feel good, and put the pot or vase on your table or nightstand.
If necessary, get instructions for the care and feeding of your new plant friend-and follow them.
Then stand back and wait for the joy of the garden to begin transforming your life.

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How can we make every day growth in holiness? We imitate the Holy Family and look to them for examples. Remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the priest

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Catholic Family Life – A Mother/Grandmother’s Perspective…AND a New GrandBaby!

At the end of February we had a Women’s Morning of Recollection at our parish. I gave one of the conferences and here it is, in podcast/youtube form. My first at what I hope, other, podcasts….

It’s been a bit of a rough pregnancy for our oldest, Virginia (better known as Gin….or the Apron Lady!) so she was happy that she was having the baby two weeks early.

She typically goes to the Birth Center and very quickly has her baby. Not this time. After spending a whole night in the Birth Center, going home for the day, and heading back the next night, little Peter Ignatius decided to make his entrance…On the Canonization date of St. Ignatius Loyola!

He was 5 lbs, 12 oz and a beautiful baby! This is number eight for Vin and Gin….A lively crew, indeed!

Keeping Up Appearances

Oh, for the Wisdom of the “Back-Thens” (a term used by my children for the good ol’ days!) This particular excerpt is from 1893!



from Courtship and Marriage and the Gentle Art of Homemaking, 1893

In these very words (Keeping up Appearances) lurks a danger likely to beset our young couple, on the very threshold of their career. All eyes are upon them, of course; their house and all it contains, their way of life, the position they take up and maintain, are, for the time being, topics of intense concern to all who know them, and to many who do not.

There is no doubt that we need to go back in some degree to the simpler way of life in vogue in the days of our grandmothers; that pretentiousness and extravagance have reached a point which is almost unendurable.

We are constantly being informed by statistics which cannot be questioned that the marriage rate is decreasing; and we know that in our own circles the number of marriageable girls and marriageable youths who for some inexplicable reason don’t marry is very great.

What is the reason? Is the age of romance over? Is it impossible any longer to conjure with the words love and marriage in the garden of youth? Or is it that our young people are less brave and enduring, that they shrink from the added responsibility, care, and self-denial involved in the double life?

My own view is that this pretentiousness and desire for display is at the bottom of it; that young people want to begin where their fathers and mothers left and that courage is lacking to take a step down and begin together on the lowest rung of the ladder.

I have heard many young men say that they are afraid to ask girls to leave the luxury and comfort of their father’s house, and to enter a plainer home, where they will have less luxury and more care; and though I grant that there are many girls who would shrink from the ordeal, and who prefer the indolent ease of single blessedness to the cares of matrimony on limited means, yet have I been tempted sometimes, looking at these young men, to wonder in my soul whether it was not they who shrank from the plain home and the increased responsibility marriage involves.

The salary sufficient for the comfort and mild luxury of one is scarcely elastic enough for two. It would mean giving up a good many things; it would mean fewer cigars, fewer new suits, and fewer first nights at the theater,—in fact, a general modification of luxuries which he has begun to regard as indispensable; and he asks himself, Is the game worth the candle?

His answer is, No.

And so he drifts out of young manhood into bachelor middle age, passing unscathed through many flirtations, becoming encrusted with selfish ideas and selfish aims, and gradually less fit for domestic life. And all the time, while he imagines he has a fine time of it, he has missed the chief joy, the highest meaning of life.

The conditions of modern life are certainly harder than they were. Competition in every profession and calling is so enormous that remuneration has necessarily fallen; and it is a problem to many how single life is to be respectably maintained, let alone married life.

Then the invasions of women into almost every domain of man’s work is somewhat serious in its consequences to men. A woman can be got to do a certain thing as quickly, correctly, and efficiently as a man; therefore the man goes to the wall.

While we are glad to see the position of woman improve, and the value of her labor in the markets of the world increase, we are perplexed as to the effect of this better condition of things on the position of men.

The situation is full of perplexities, strained to the utmost. There is no doubt whatever that this improvement in the position of woman, the increased opportunities afforded her of making a respectable livelihood, has had, and is having, its serious effect in the marriage market.

A single woman in a good situation, the duties of which she has strength of body and strength of mind to perform, is a very independent being, and in contrast with many of her married sisters a person to be envied.

She has her hours, for one thing; there is no prospect of an eight hours’ day for the married woman with a family to superintend.

Then she, having earned her own money, can spend it as she likes—and has to give account of it only to herself; and she is free from the physical trials and disabilities consequent upon marriage and maternity.

If you tell her that the sweet fullness of married life, its multiplied joys, amply compensates for the troubles, she will shake her head and want proof.

Altogether, the outlook matrimonial is not very bright.

Now, while we deplore, as a serious evil, hasty, improvident, ill-considered marriages, and hold that their consequences are very sad, we would also, scarcely less seriously, deplore that over-cautiousness which is reducing the marriage rate in quarters where it ought not to be reduced,—our lower middle-class, which is the backbone of society.

There is no fear of a serious reduction in other quarters: where there is no responsibility felt, there is none to shirk; and so, among the very poor, children are multiplied, and obligations increased, without any thought for the morrow, or concern for future provision.

There is a very supreme kind of selfishness in this over-cautiousness which is not delightful to contemplate, the fear lest self should be inconvenienced or deprived in the very slightest degree; and all this does not tend to the highest development of human nature, but rather the reverse, since the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice is one of the loveliest attributes of human character.


quote for the day2

“Kindness is infectious. One kind action leads to another. Our example is followed. This is the greatest work which kindness does to others– that it makes them kind themselves.” – Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, Kindness – The Bloom of Charity



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Are You Critical? – Jesus Falls the First Time

Painting by Adolf Lachman

Article by Jospeh Breig, 1950’s

The Father who has never reached the heights in business, industry or a profession is often the loudest in condemning his son for not making a brilliant record in school. The mother who bores all her friends stiff is not infrequently the first to criticize her daughter for not excelling in social graces.

To put the same thought into other words, you can usually depend on the man who never played football to denounce the mistakes of the team he is watching; and the chap who couldn’t throw a k ball to save his soul will tell everybody in ten thousand words what is wrong with the pitching in the big leagues.

The fellow who isn’t trying-who isn’t even playing- is often the first to criticize the fellow who is. And this small and mean and annoying human practice extends into the field of our relations with our Creator. The irreligious man-the chap who never goes to church- delights in reciting the faults and sins of religious people. This is a peculiarly simpleminded form of hypocrisy, because it ignores all the complexities of human nature, and the almost endless complications of the struggle for sanctity.

It is also almost a dead giveaway. We cannot ever really judge anybody, but we may be sure that there is something wrong with the spiritual life of the man or woman who is quick to find fault and slow to praise. Often there is something very wrong with that person’s psychological life, too. He is trying to build himself up by tearing the other fellow down. He may not realize this, but more often than not it is a deep-seated cause of his critical attitude.

Another profound cause is lack of charity -that is, of love of God and fellowmen. Whoever really loves the other chap will be instant in recognizing and mentioning his virtues and achievements, and slow to speak of his sins and failures. When the other fails, he will either help him to his feet, or look the other way. He will not point a finger and shout at the crowd to draw attention to the fallen figure. If he does, he is not at all like God; and to be like God is our business.

We would all be in a frightful position if we were to be treated by God as most of us treat one another. Christ was asked point-blank by St. Therese, the Little Flower, whether her faults displeased Him. His answer was no. What other answer was possible? Sin alone displeases God; and faults are not sins. Faults are simply failures due to the fact that we are human beings and not angels. A dish may slip from our fingers and shatter, simply because we are human. Nothing of the sort could happen to an angel.

But men are not angels. It is of paramount importance that we realize this fact, and behave accordingly. I have heard of parents whipping children because they accidentally smashed something around the house. To the Christian soul, that sort of thing is sickening. And why is it sickening? Because the Christian soul is moved by love of God and neighbor; and love does not indulge in ill-tempered injustice.

But what of those who exaggerate and over-punish not merely the mistakes and faults, but the sins -the real sins-of others? The damage that they can do to the spiritual life is incalculable. They can discourage people who are striving for holiness. They can even cause people to stop trying altogether. In that case, they run the frightful risk of being responsible, in large part, for the loss of an immortal soul.

Let the irreligious and the carping man scoff and scorn all he pleases; the fact remains that most of us achieve holiness not by soaring in a jet-like flight, but by falling and rising, falling and rising, stumbling and getting up and going on. Only a foolish person is shocked by the sins of others. The wise man knows that wounded human nature will fall. He expects it to fall. He is never surprised by its falls. He is not specially concerned over its falls; what he cares about, chiefly, is spurring others to keep on trying.

Christ carrying the cross to Calvary is a picture of the ordinary spiritual life. Spiritually, Christ could not fall; being God as well as man, He could not be like us in that. But in all else He was like us. His body, like ours, could grow weary, could collapse under a burden. But when Christ fell under His cross, He did not stay down; He struggled to His feet and went on.

The true Christian is like that in his spiritual progress. He does not run to the heights; he staggers, he weaves, he falls, he rises, he struggles, he fails, but he never gives up. Those who stand scoffing at him are like those who stood hooting at Christ walking the way of the cross. But no decent man wants to be like the hooters. The decent man wants to be like Simon of Cyrene; he wants to lift part of the burden, and encourage the burdened one to go on, and to go on going on until at last he achieves success.

Where else than in the family do we have a better right to demand that everybody be like Simon of Cyrene? If a husband and wife cannot be helpful to each other, and to their children, to whom can they be of service? If they carp and nag, if they scoff and find fault, if they exaggerate every fault and sin to the proportions of final failure, will not they destroy the spiritual life in that home, and with it the happiness that ought to be present?

It is the duty of parents to be Simons of Cyrene. Simon did not ask whether Christ was guilty or innocent. That was not his concern. His task was to help somebody who needed help. And it is likewise the task of fathers and mothers to take up the burdens of their children, to lead the way forward and upward, and always to encourage and never to discourage. Children will sometimes be guilty; but guilty or innocent, they have the right to be able to turn with confidence to their parents.

This confidence is something that parents must earn. They must earn it day in and day out, beginning with the moment when their little ones are taking their first faltering steps. Children are entitled to know from long experience that no matter how far they may fall, in no matter what depths they may become mired, they can be sure that when they turn to their parents, they will be received with understanding and sympathy, and will be helped.

The parent who thus rears his children will reap a hundred rewards, heaped up, pressed down and running over, because his children will love him, will respect him, and will almost certainly, immediately or later, try to measure up to the measure of his love for them.

But the youngster who is nagged and accused and berated, whose every fault and failure is magnified from a mole hill into a mountain-or from a mountain into a mountain range-can hardly be expected to rise up and call his parents blessed. In fact, he can hardly be expected to rise at all, once he has fallen, because he has received little but hooting from those who ought to have cheered him on.


“A man feels ‘successful’ when he knows his woman is behind him – no matter what his other accomplishments may be. He needs to know that she believes in him…That she thinks he’s a terrific husband (not perfect – just terrific). A first-rate guy. And, if there are children, that he’s a fine dad too….That she thinks the world of him, even though he might mess up or make mistakes.” – Lisa Jacobson http://amzn.to/2lMKF9Q 100 Ways to Love Your Husband


A Sunshiny Dispositon – A Finer Femininity Maglet! Available here.

Here is the run-down of the Table of Contents so you can see how much wonderful information is packed into this little Maglet (magazine/booklet) that I call A SUNSHINY DISPOSITION!

Spring Has Sprung!
Does Your Marriage Need Warming Up?
Teach Your Child to Pray
Fiber, Fabric & Style
Tidbits from Father Lawrence G. Lovasik
Your Child’s Moral Training
The Spirit of the Kitchen
Making the Most of Mealtime
The Rosary and the Bargain
Losing Our Life
Idealizing Father
Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage
Lent Lessons for Your Children
Book Review – The Precious Blood & Mother
A Mother’s Cross
A Short, Tall Tale for Mothers
Two Great Time-Tested Recipes
The Family and the Cross
Love – Christ in the Home
Easter Alleluias

Available here.

All Four Maglets available here.



Is Your Time Spent Well?

A somber reading for today reminding us of the value of time…not to make us scrupulous, though. Busy mothers need legitimate recreation and time to recharge. Keeping that in mind, let us read today’s article asking ourselves if our pursuits are worthy….if the time spent doing our duties, which can be taxing indeed, is embraced with an attitude that this, yes this, is what is important.


From Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers

by The Very Venerable Reverend P. Lejeune

Need we be astonished at the fidelity with which the Saints have put their maxims into practice? I defy anyone to find even one of them who did not employ his time to the best advantage.

Are not holiness and the proper employment of time intimately related then? A saint who would have trifled with time, who would have squandered it, or thrown it to the winds of vanity or frivolity, would be one whom we might well ridicule, and you yourselves would politely invite him to descend from a pedestal to which he had no right.

St. Francis Borgia, when he was yet in the world, thus answered those who sought to have him devote a part of his time to the vanities of social life “Let me alone, for I prefer to pass for a common person, rather than lose my time.”

St. Alphonsus bound himself by a vow never to lose a moment of time, and it is this vow that accounts for the wonderful works of this saint; it was this vow that enabled him to accomplish by word and example a sum of work that appears to us beyond the power of man.

Others there are, my daughters, who appreciate the value of time—but alas; too late. These people are at this moment in Hell.

What would they not give could they have but one hour in which to do penance! Listen to the expression of their regret: “I had ample time, when I was on the earth, to save my soul, and prepare for myself a place in Heaven but I foolishly squandered it. I employed it in the pursuit of vain phantoms which men call pleasure, riches, and honors.

These, all these in turn were mine but they left me, when perchance I had attained them, naught save emptiness, deception, and chagrin.

While on earth I was ignorant of true happiness, and behold I shall be ignorant of it throughout all eternity. Oh! for one moment of that time which I have so foolishly squandered.”

And lo! like to a mocking echo, the voice of the Demon responds “Too late! Too late! For you time is no more. You have lavished your time on all the vanities with which I have tempted you. Attain these I said, and you will be happy. Fool! Well may you weep over your folly.”

My daughters, if the Elect in Heaven could experience regret, it would be a regret for the loss of time; and if they could form a desire, that desire would be for a few moments of time.

A pious Benedictine, appearing after his death to one of his companions, said to him, that he was, indeed, perfectly happy, but that if he were able to desire anything, it would be to return to earth so that he might make a better use of his time, and thus secure a higher degree of glory in Heaven.

Let us consider now, my daughters, the various ways in which we are losing time: by remaining inactive, by permitting ourselves to be idle, and by indulging in day-dreams. To squander our time in this fashion means to render our lives sterile, and talent unproductive. We become like to the fig-tree cursed by Our Savior because it bore no fruit.

Moreover, what ought we to think of those r things which we do—according to the expression—”to kill time”? Are not occupations of this kind equivalent to a loss of time? To deliver ourselves up to useless babbling, to waste an afternoon in visiting without some good purpose, to read dangerous novels, though they be of great literary excellence, to fill our minds with the refuse of newspapers, all this is, I grant, an occupation; but occupations of this kind are, rightly understood, a real loss of time.

Behold now another way in which we lose time: by amusing ourselves, not for the sake of refreshment or relaxation after work, but independently of all work, merely to pass away the time pleasurably.

This immoderate desire for pleasure is one of the temptations of riches, and one of the reasons, doubtless, which led Our Savior to say that it is exceedingly difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

I often recall the text which Cardinal Langenieux chose when preaching a Lenten sermon at the Tuileries, in the reign of Napoleon III.

This venerable and saintly man chose no other words than those which were repeated every morning in this frivolous court of the third empire: “How shall we amuse ourselves today?”

Self-amusement was the great end of the lives of these courtiers. Take care, my daughters, that you do not bring into your lives something of these deplorable manners, and remember well that to run after pleasure, is to lose the true life.

Let us consider, finally, one more way in which we lose time: by doing something other than that which we ought to do. You yield, for example, to a temptation to make some fancy-work during the time set apart for an exercise of piety.

You are not at all inactive during this time, nor could you be accused of idleness. But you are losing your time, nevertheless, by employing it in a manner contrary to the actual design of God.

What resolutions should we adopt, then, in the face of these considerations?

1.I shall never remain idle, nor lose one single instant of time.

2.I shall draw up for myself a rule of life, adapted to my state, comprising only a few articles, and capable of being applied to the diverse circumstance of my life. I shall ask myself every evening if I have observed this rule in all its essentials.

3.I shall be faithful to the following rule which, so to speak, multiplies time, and permits even the busiest person to find time for everything. The rule is this: I shall never put off what I can do now.

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Gems on Loving our Gents

The wonderful priest who gave us our pre-marriage instruction told us it would be the little things that make or break our marriage. Here are some little things that can make a big difference in your relationship!

My own rendition based on an excerpt from the book  100 Ways To Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

Do unto others….

We hear it a lot but it is profound. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This goes especially for your spouse…..always choose love, above all things.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Small irritations are not that important. We need to let them go. If we don’t, they build up until they become a mountain that is hard to climb over. He doesn’t take out the garbage? He is always late for dinner? He is always leaving things around? He goes hunting when you would rather he stayed home? Truly, these things are not important. Overlook them and get on to looking at his better side and being thankful! The rewards of a grateful heart are many!

The big stuff may take a little sweat.

There are sometimes big things that DO count. Don’t push those ones down. Try to work these ones out. This can be difficult but it is worth it. The big things need to be dealt with or walls will begin to build between you both. Walls are not good and get thicker as the years go by. If talking to him about these things is not working, pray for a different solution. Our Lord will answer a sincere heart. Often the answers may be different than what we expect…so be open.

Greet him when he comes home with a loving smile.

A smile speaks volumes. Let your husband know you are happy to see him by smiling at him. Even when you are tired or have had a bad day. You want your husband to love coming home to you, don’t you? Put your troubles aside just for a moment to make his day a wonderful one with a warm, loving smile. He probably didn’t get a lot of smiles out there in the world, so let yours be one of the few and the very best that he can look forward to each day!

You need to make it a priority to pray for your hubby!

Every day you need to lift your husband up in prayer. Ask St. Joseph to help him to be a good husband and father. He needs you, who are his closest companion, to lift him up each day to our Heavenly Father. Ask Our Lord to protect him and to protect your marriage. What a wonderful gift a praying wife is!

Remember he’s not your girlfriend.

This is important to remember. He doesn’t always relate to the needs of a woman, so don’t be unreasonable in your expectations. He won’t always understand what you are feeling or what you are going through. He is different, he is a man. His heart and his mind work differently than ours. Don’t demand that he be something he can never be.

Make him your best friend.

Friendship needs to be invested in. It needs to be worked on and nurtured. Do that for your most important relationship, your marriage. Find things you both enjoy and do those things. Talk, laugh, work and play together. Open up to him about your dreams….and make sure you ask about his own dreams.

Accept him….don’t change him.

Remember why you married him. He has many good points and he is a good man just as he is. Yes, he has faults. Don’t you? Leave the changing up to God. His work is way more efficacious than yours ever could be. Just. Love. Him.

Work on becoming a wiser woman each day.

Your husband relies on your wisdom. He would like to count on you for advice and insight. There are ways to give this advice…..learn how to do it so as never to offend. Wait to be asked.

Overlook his mistakes.

Of course your hubby will mess up sometimes. Is his communication lousy? Does he forget things that mean a lot to you? Does he not follow through? This all can be frustrating but we need to give him room to make mistakes, forgive him and love him anyway. Don’t hold it against him. After all, he is human, like we are.

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quote for the day2

“A man feels ‘successful’ when he knows his woman is behind him – no matter what his other accomplishments may be. He needs to know that she believes in him…That she thinks he’s a terrific husband (not perfect – just terrific). A first-rate guy. And, if there are children, that he’s a fine dad too….That she thinks the world of him, even though he might mess up or make mistakes.” – Lisa Jacobson


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Sleep and Counsels of the Night….

As I sat with drooping eyes editing this article, I marveled at Msgr.’s beautiful description of sleep…not only did I marvel, but I went to bed before finishing the article!

There was a time in my life when sleep would not come. I had been very ill and so, while others were enjoying the refreshment of sleep, I was alone for hours….days and days in a row, struggling for some longed-for shuteye! Since then, I have been very grateful for what most of us take for granted….blessed sleep!

Monseigneur touches on the beauty of sleepless nights also… ’tis a very good article.

Painting by Domenico Fetti

From The Valiant Woman by Monseigneur Landriot

FIFTH DISCOURSE Sleep and counsels of the night.. .

She hath risen in the night. (Prov. 3 1 : 1 5)

Children, The valiant woman resembles a ship in its beauty, grace, and strength. Like her, too, she has numerous sails, which she varies according to time and circumstance; and in her are also to be found all the resources of an alert, intelligent mind, which she knows how to combine in a thousand different ways, and in such a manner as never to run counter to the wind; but by tacking prudently to compel it to oppose no longer the course of her vessel, and even to accelerate her progress.

She does not seek to force her way violently through the billows, but prefers to follow their movement, rising and falling with them, and balancing herself on the waters, oscillating more or less rapidly, it is true, but still always with a gentler motion than would be the shock of rough, precipitate rushing onwards in a direct line.

Should storms rage furiously, her anchors are let drop into the sea, and become her safeguards against the fury of the waves. These anchors are confidence in God, fixed principles deeply imbued with a Christian spirit, and great firmness of character.

Our beauteous bark is also provided with a mariner’s compass, to direct her course amid the obscurity of the night, to point out the surest path through dangers, and to correct the wanderings of a disordered imagination.

She is also fitted with stout, strong masts, to bear up and sustain all the ropes and sails which ordinarily compose the fittings of a vessel.

Let this ship be launched with a careful steersman and an able captain, and furnished with a correct and minute chart of the seas they sail in; let her internal accommodations be well appointed, without luxury, but with comfort tempered by simplicity, and she will pass safely through the dangers of the ocean, and return home laden with rich merchandise.

This, then, my children, is a true symbol of woman’s life, as appropriate as it is beautiful; and we studied it closely at our last meeting. Our task in the two following instructions will not be such an easy one; nevertheless, we will undertake it, even at the risk of stranding our bark.

Its matter is naturally suggested by the words of the text — “She hath risen in the night.” Let us, then, consider sleep and the questions pertaining to it. We shall commence the subject in today’s, and conclude it in next month’s lecture.

The life of man is a constant warfare, an arduous trial, and a long struggle, in which his strength becomes exhausted. How often at the end of the day are we tempted to cry out with the Prophet — “Why is light given to him that is in misery, and life to them that are in bitterness of soul?”‘

An ever-fatherly providence foresaw this daily weariness and fatigue, and provided for us a renovating bath each night, from which we seem to derive new life.

After a profound, sweet sleep, man rises again, imbued with the strength and vigor of youth. His body is full of life, his heart is refreshed, the air seems lighter, and his chest more dilated to inhale it.

Sleep, says the great English poet —

. . . Knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care:

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great Nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

An ancient philosopher said that sleep assured the success of medicine; that it was the deliverer of captives, the desire of sick, the comfort of the afflicted, repose to the mind, the universal habit of rich and poor, and the longing of each returning night.

Thence this exclamation of the ancient choruses – “O Sleep, thou who ignorest pain and care, come to us with all thy charms; thou king of calm and happiness, thou healer of men!”

Nothing is truer than this description of the salutary influence and beneficent action of sleep. Without it the prescriptions of physicians would be of no avail, and the worn-out body be impervious to all the power of their art.

A good night will often effect more than all the visits of the most skillful doctors; but this truth, drawn from experience, does not take from the practical utility of medical science.

Sleep brings temporary freedom, at least, to the captive. It releases him from the exigences of his organs, from the prison of his body; he hears no more the cries and continual demands of those jailers we call the senses; he lives in another world.

It is true that in the morning he must return to his chain, but after a good sleep , even that seems lighter, and the prisoner himself feels stronger to bear it.

Are you ill? Ill rather in mind than in body? Call sleep to your aid. It will drown your cares in its peaceful depths; and even though you should encounter them again, rising above the waters, at least there will have been a wholesome interruption of them, by which suffering is deprived of its most painful attribute — continuity.

Sleep is the wealth of the poor, as it is of the rich man: indeed, I would even call it the special inheritance of the poor.

He sleeps better because he has worked harder, and nature, always just, repays him more abundantly. He sleeps better because he lives more temperately, and his stomach is therefore less charged with those fumes which mount to the brain, agitate the nerves and the blood, and turn into an oven the refreshing bath which Providence has prepared for us.

Sleep is a gift which seems ever new and never produces satiety, if used in moderation. We weary of everything, even of what is best. We quickly tire of dinner-parties, balls, amusement, conversation; but each recurring evening the thought of our bed is an ever-smiling apparition, and no vision of cooling bath amid the fiery heats of summer can give more pleasure.

Saint Chrysostom has left us a reflection on sleep, which is replete with charm and love and Christian poetry — “When mothers wish to put their little ones to sleep, they take and rock them gently in their arms, then hide them away under curtains, and leave them quiet. So does Providence spread darkness as an immense veil over the world, and invite men to rest from their labors.”‘

The Grecian philosopher also says that night brings wisdom to the wakeful, and that sleep is the image of death.

Have you ever sleepless nights? Do not fear them over much, for perhaps that is the hour when God will speak to you. During the day, the soul is drawn away by exterior objects. She sees and hears nothing; her ears are spell-bound by the sirens who surround her. How can she distinguish the words of true wisdom?

The voice of God, says the prophet, is heard when the night is in the middle of her course. The clouds break, the serene light of truth appears to us: we behold it, and its beams are so bright and searching that we can no longer doubt.

We have not always the strength to follow this divine light, but it is still something to have seen it. The vision of it is a seed deposited in the soul, which may become developed in some unexpected circumstance.

Night brings counsel, says the proverb. It brings counsel, because it calms down many things, and then the soul, in the stillness and quiet of nocturnal reflection, can form wiser resolutions.

Night will bring all the more counsel if you charm the hours of sleeplessness by thought of God. Prayer is the night-lamp which should ever be beside us, that when we wake, it may speak to us of heaven.

I know not what mysterious harmony exists between night and prayer, but the saints have ever held it to be the best time for prayer. One would say that the dew of heaven chose the same hours to fall on souls in which the terrestrial dew gathers to refresh plants.

At night all is silent; the noises of earth have ceased; peace reigns around, and then the soul discerns her God more clearly, and can converse with Him in those mysterious and familiar colloquies which recall the loving intercourse of two friends who have met, apart from the crowd , in order to converse more freely together.

Wonderful intercourse of the soul with her God! It is part of the life of the saints. All the tenderest and deepest emotions of the heart love the shroud of mystery!

And thus, when all creation is covered by the veil of night, and the soul alone is waking in the divine light, what ineffable happiness, what exquisite pleasure to converse with God, to lay before Him all the secrets of our hearts, to receive His holy inspirations, “to speak to Him face to face, as a friend is wont to speak to his friend.”

Try to partake sometimes, my children, of this divine ambrosia of night; it is the most delicious banquet for the heart, the brightest light of the soul.

“Night,” says Saint Clement of Alexandria, “is styled by the Greeks the good counsellor, because then the soul, disengaged from the empire of the senses, retires within herself, to listen attentively to the inspirations of wisdom.”

May providence ever grant you the blessing of good nights! If, however, sickness or grief should ever come to destroy your rest, then do I wish you, in all fatherly affection, a result similar to that which is so well described by a celebrated woman.

“He (God) was the chief object of my thoughts by night as well as by day, because for a long time past my infirmities have rarely permitted me to sleep more than an hour and a half together, and have often forced me to leave my bed fifteen or twenty times in the night, and to walk about my room the greater part of the time.

The benedictions which God showered on those bad. nights, as the world calls them, are indescribable.”

It is of such delicious moments that Saint Ambrose says, “These are the excellent nights, the luminous nights full of stars.” Happy the souls who rise to contemplate them!

“To protect your youngster from evil forces outside the home will require much patience and application. There are so many sources of possible moral harm that you will have to be constantly alert. Your constant concern will be reflected, however, in your child’s wholesome development. Eternal vigilance is the price of sanctity.” – Fr. George Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook, Painting by Marcel Marlier

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