Tidbits from Fr. Lovasik – Trust in God, Patience, Anger, Etc.

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Fr. Lovasik

Put your family ahead of your activities outside your home

Marriage demands companionship. The wish to be with the one loved is a sign of true love. To be satisfied being with each other only when this can hardly be avoided leads to taking love for granted.

So many people crowd their lives with too much activity and squeeze out of their schedule some of the things they would like to do or ought to do. They are doing many things that are good, but they are neglecting other things that are better and more important.

Perhaps this is because they lose sight of the primacy of the obligations arising from their family and home.

Your first duty is to your home and family. You have solemnly sworn an obligation to work for their happiness and salvation.

To be successful, families must be happy; and to be happy, the members must anticipate and fulfill the reasonable needs and desires of one another.

Trust in God

You are assured of God’s help. The Church teaches that through the sacrament of Matrimony, you and your spouse are assured of God’s constant help. Therefore, you must firmly trust in God.

In the next life, you may expect still greater blessings if on earth you have tried to build your home on the model of the Holy Family of Nazareth. God is never outdone in generosity.

If you serve Him as well as you can, you can be certain that He will bless you abundantly. If, on the other hand, you deliberately break His laws, you can be sure of depriving yourself and your family of His blessing.

The primary requisite for family happiness is union with God, who is the source of all happiness in this world and in the next. No one has such powerful means and more frequent opportunities of being united with God than a conscientious Catholic.

Keep in touch with God through the frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist and by much prayer. Work hard for your family and their happiness as if everything thing depended upon you. Pray to God and trust Him even more, because everything really depends upon Him.

Our Lord said, “Abide in me, and I in you…. Apart from me you can do nothing.””

Be patient

Patience is a powerful help in married life. It controls and restrains strains angry feelings and outbursts of anger. It is a mature virtue that shows superiority of intellect, practical wisdom in daily life, strength of will, and a good, humble, and benevolent heart.

The more spiritual progress you make, the more patient and gentle you will become. Patience procures for you love and influence. It attracts people to you and is of the utmost importance in the family, since you spend so much of your lives together.

Impatience, on the other hand, drives people away. It does no good and much harm, especially in the case of parents who are engaged in the rearing of children.

Impatience is certainly not the spirit of Jesus. In order to be patient, you must be prayerful and prepared for the inevitable unpleasantness in this life.

Although you will never be able to arrange matters so that there will be nothing to provoke you to impatience, you can live by the principle that there is no reason in the world for getting impatient.

Avoid being unjustly angry

Anger, which overrides the requirement of justice and charity, is a destroyer of family peace and happiness. There is such a thing as just anger, and even Christ became angry when He saw something wrong that deeply offended Him.

But anger is wrong when it is out of proportion to whatever occasioned it, when it becomes senseless fury, or when it accomplishes more harm than good.

In the family, you must practice forbearance, clemency, and patience, lest your children suffer from anger that runs wild. Anger is a homewrecker of deadly efficiency. It causes family members to lose respect for each other, and where respect is missing, love can hardly survive.

If you indulge in anger frequently, conditions get worse instead of better, because you are constantly seeking new, sharper ways of hurting others.

Anger leads to deep dislike and brooding hatred. This is the worst possible atmosphere in which to raise children. Giving in to anger was condemned by Christ. Outbursts of temper are contrary to the whole idea of charity that He preached.

There are occasions, however, when reasonable anger may be a forceful means of correction or the lesser of two evils. Scripture says, “Be angry, but sin not.”

You may be justly angry when your spouse suggests something sinful. In that case, you are directing your anger to the correction or prevention of sin, and your anger may be justified if it is held in reasonable bounds.

A short flurry of anger may at times be the lesser of two evils – for instance, if you are temperamentally inclined to hold a deep grudge for a long time unless you bring the matter into the open at the start and so end it.

A secretly nursed grudge may also be the cause of anger. A grudge is a permanent refusal to forgive a real or imaginary injury. As long as you hold a grudge, you are inviting anger, and you are in some degree responsible for anger in others.

This anger can be detected in your tone of voice, in the silence of your mood, and in the very atmosphere of your home. If you want to prevent explosions of anger in your home, do not permit grudges to last more than a day.

Correction of temper is mostly a matter of self-control. Hide your feelings of displeasure. Be silent when you feel like saying harsh words.

Cultivate a spirit of forgiveness and humility. You will seldom rejoice over your explosions of anger. But you will be glad that you did not say the things you wanted to say when you were angry.

“Holiness means happiness. Holy people are happy people at peace with God, with others, and with themselves.
There is only one requirement. You must do God’s will. This embraces various obligations and gives you corresponding rights and privileges.
This is the lesson of the Holy Family. The will of God must count for everything in our daily lives. Prosaic deeds done for God can lead to spectacular holiness.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were human, intensely human in the best sense of the word. They show us how our lives, too, should be human–truly warm and Godlike.” -Fr. Lovasik

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The Spirit of the Kitchen – Emilie Barnes

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From Emilie Barnes:Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home: Creating a Place You and Your Family Will Love

“No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.”

That little painted plaque in my kitchen is more than just a cute saying for the wall. It’s the way I’ve felt all my life. Wherever I’ve lived, the kitchen has always seemed to be the place where warmth and love reign.

Family and friends are drawn there like chickens to their roosts. Of all the rooms in our home, the kitchen is the place of comfort, the preferred gathering place for shared conversations and the teamwork of preparing good meals for and with each other.

For me as a young girl, the kitchen was always where I wanted to be – sitting on the countertop as ingredients flew everywhere, tantalizing aromas floated through the air, and meals and memories were created.

After my father died and my mother and I took up quarters in three rooms behind her little dress shop, the kitchen was still the center of warmth.

I remember so many times when Mama welcomed me home with a baked potato, hot cocoa, cinnamon apples, or popovers in winter; popsicles or ice cold lemonade in summer.

All these were expressions of love, and they all came from the kitchen.

The Heart of the Home

Even today, the kitchen feels like the heart of home to me. The smell of garlic and onions being sautéed in butter draws me to the kitchen. Coffee, brewing fresh in the pot, lifts and warms my heart.

I love to bend over a bubbling pot of soup or gaze out the window while quietly bringing order to my countertops. And I love to smile at all the photographs of family and friends that smile back at me from the refrigerator door.

My kitchen is filled with heart. My pots hang on hooks above the stove the way my dad’s pots did in his commercial kitchens. Plants line the windowsill, including a few pots of herbs to snip when needed. A crock holds my whips, wooden spoons, and spatulas in a space-saving and attractive bouquet. A collection of special plaques and pictures from friends and family decorates my “love wall” at one end of the room.

Above all, make your kitchen a room you enjoy and feel good in.

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“A special time to show your husband he is very important in your life is when he comes home from work. Make it a pleasant time for him. Put the housework aside. Greet him with a smile. Have his favorite beverage ready for him. If he wishes to talk, listen attentively. If he doesn’t, give him space to unwind. Such a greeting will make an amazing difference in his life.This may not always be possible with many little ones, but make it happen as often as you can. Your thoughtful consideration for his welfare will make him feel respected and loved.” -Paraphrased from Fascinating Womanhood

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Health and Holiness

A balanced approach to the subject of health written for Catholic teachers….

From The Catholic Teacher’s Companion, 1924

An ounce of sanctity with exceptionally good health does more for the saving of souls than striking sanctity with an ounce of health.—St. Ignatius

Carlyle remarks that health and holiness are etymologically first cousins. And Dr. James J. Walsh has pointed out that health and holiness “have many surprising relations, and some of them contradict current notions; but it must not be forgotten that they are really coordinate functions.

For while we talk about the influence of the mind on the body, and the body on the mind, we must not forget that these two constitute one being; and there is quite literally no idea which does not make itself felt in the body, and no emotion which does not make itself felt in the mind. Wholeness of body and soul that is, health and holiness—work together for good in that mysterious compound we know as man.”

The Claims of Body and Soul

Body and soul are twin gifts from God, and bring with them responsibilities, and it is no sign of superior care of the soul to be slothful and neglectful in regard to the body.

Asceticism is another and quite a different thing. It is one thing to discipline one’s body; it is quite a different thing to neglect one’s teeth, or wash one’s body, or see that one’s food is digestibly prepared, or masticate it properly, or take reasonable exercise and fresh air.

Habits of this sort may quite as easily be owing to slothfulness as to superior spirituality. The distinction is not always observed. The wisdom of the ancient sages proclaiming the demand of the sane soul for a sane body has been further established by the insistence of the Christian saints, notably the founders of Religious Orders, Sts. Benedict and Ignatius, of Bernards, the Franciscans, and the Teresas.

St. Benedict’s Rule contains wise provisions for the bodily as well as the spiritual well-being of its followers. If the monks were to work, they were adequately to eat.

Think of it! “A pound of bread daily and two dishes of cooked food at each meal!”
“The habits that are to be worn are to fit the wearer, be sufficiently warm, and not too old.”
Again, each of the brethren is to take “from six to eight hours of unbroken sleep daily, with the addition of a siesta in summer”; each likewise is to have “a blanket, a coverlet, mattress and a pillow!”

St. Francis of Assisi strictly enjoins the Superiors of his Order to “take special care to provide for the needs of the sick and the clothing of the friars, according to the places, seasons, and cold climates.”

Health and Long Life

These are some obvious illustrations of how wisely the saints provided for the body—other folks’ bodies especially: they did not seem always to mind so much for their own.

Our sisters should take their teachings to heart for, as a rule, they neglect unduly the care of their bodily health. The Rev. Arthur Barry O’Neill, C.S.C., has made a thorough study of this subject and we shall follow him as a reliable guide in the matter.

We agree with him that an examination of the mortality statistics of our Religious Communities of women will probably show that the longevity of Sisters is by no means so notable as one should expect.

It may sound somewhat extravagant in the statement, but it is probably verifiable in fact, that from thirty to forty percent of American Sisters die before “their time comes,” their death being of course, subjectively, entirely in conformity with God’s will; but being, objectively, merely in accordance with God’s permission, which is quite another matter.

Now, long life is a blessing. As Spirago says, “It is a great boon, for the longer one lives, the more merits one can amass for eternity.”

So precious a boon is it that God promised it as a reward for keeping the fourth commandment, a fact of which St. Paul reminds the Ephesians, “Honor thy father and thy mother . . . that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest be long-lived upon earth.”

Accordingly, any procedure, any scheme of life, which contributes even indirectly to the shortening of one’s days assuredly needs unusually strong reasons to justify it; and, with all due deference be it said, such procedure, negative if not positive, is not uncommon in our convents.

Neglecting to take daily exercise out-of-doors may appear a small thing in youth or early middle life, but there is nothing surer that such neglect is seriously detrimental to health; and, exceptional cases apart, poor health is correlative of a truncated career rather than of normal length of days.

Underlying this disregard of the open-air exercise which all physicians declare to be essential to bodily well-being, there is probably in the minds of many Sisters an inchoate, if not fully developed, conviction that vigorous, robust health is more or less incompatible with genuine spirituality, that an occasional illness of a serious nature and a quasi-chronic indisposition at the best of times are, after all, quite congruous in professed seekers after religious perfection, incipient followers of the saints.

That is a pernicious fallacy of which their spiritual directors and confessors should strenuously endeavor to rid them.

Ill-health directly led by God is doubtless a blessing; but it is also an exception. In the ordinary course of God’s providence, men and women, in the cloister as in the world, are in duty bound to take such care of their bodies as will result in the greater efficiency of their minds and souls, and in an increasingly acceptable service of their whole being to their Heavenly Father.

Health is to be sought for, not as an end, but as an excellent means, most frequently indeed an indispensable means, of attaining the true end of both religious and laity, which is holiness, or sanctity.

Theory and Practice Among the Saints

The saints themselves thoroughly understood this truth, and their preaching frequently emphasizes it, even though the practice of some of them, in the matter of austerities and penances, does not apparently conform thereto.

Apparently, for in many a case it was precisely the superb health of the saintly body that rendered the austerities and penances possible.

Like the trained pugilists of the present day, those old-time spiritual athletes could “stand punishment” to an extent that would permanently disable physical weaklings.

It is to be remembered, also, that some of these unmerciful castigators of their bodies–St. Ignatius and St. Francis of Assisi, for instance-frankly avowed in their later years that they had overdone the business of chastising the flesh.

St. Ignatius took good care to offset the influence of his Manresa example in this matter by making due provisions, in his rule and his counsels to his Religious, for proper heed of bodily health.

Time and time again he gave, in varied phrase and amplified form, the advice stated in this, his general precept: “Let all those things be put away and carefully avoided that may injure, in any way whatsoever, the strength of the body and its powers.”

Since sanctity is, after all, only sublimated common sense, it is not surprising to find other saintly founders, reformers, and spiritual directors of Religious Orders giving the same judicious counsel. “If health is ruined how is the Rule to be observed?” pertinently asks St. Teresa.

Writing to some of her nuns who were inclined to follow their own ideas in the matter of prayer and penance, the same great Carmelite advises: “Never forget that mortification should serve for spiritual advancement only. Sleep well, eat well. It is infinitely more pleasing to God to see a convent of quiet and healthy Sisters who do what they are told than a mob of hysterical young women who fancy themselves privileged. . .”

“Govern the body by fasts and abstinence as far as health permits,” says the Dominican Rule. “I have seen,” writes St. Catherine of Siena, “many penitential devotees who lacked patience and obedience because they studied to kill their bodies and not their self-will.”

To every Religious Order and its members may well be applied the words of a Jesuit General, Father Piccolomini, to his own subjects: “It may be said that an unhealthy Religious bears much the same relation to the Order of which he is a member as a badly knit or dislocated bone does to the physical body. For just as a bodily member, when thus affected, not only cannot perform its own proper functions, but even interferes with the full efficiency of the other parts, so when a Religious has not the requisite health, his own usefulness is lost and he seriously interferes with the usefulness of others.”

Health – A Great Good

Were further testimony needed to expose the fallacy that health is something to be slighted, rather than cultivated, by a fervent nun, it could be furnished in superabundance. “Health,” says Cardinal Newman, “is a good in itself, though nothing came of it, and is especially worth seeking and cherishing.”

In 1897, Pope Pius X, then Cardinal Sarto, reported to Rome concerning his seminary in Venice: “It is my wish, in a word, to watch the progress of my young men both in piety and in learning, on which depends in a great measure the exercise of their ministry later on, but I do not attach less importance to their health.”

A distinguished director of souls in our times, the late Archbishop Porter, favored one of his spiritual children, a nun, with the following sane advice:

“As for evil thoughts, I have so uniformly remarked in your case that they are dependent upon your state of health, that I say without hesitation: begin a course of Vichy and Carlsbad. . . Better far to eat meat on Friday than to be at war with every one about us.

I fear much, you do not take enough food and rest. You stand in need of both, and it is not wise to starve yourself into misery. Jealousy and all similar passions become intensified when the body is weak. . . Your account of your spiritual condition is not very brilliant; still, you must not lose courage. Much of your present suffering comes, I fear, from past recklessness in the matter of health.”
This is merely repeating in other words what St. Francis of Sales, three centuries before Archbishop Porter, wrote to a nun of his time: “Preserve your physical strength to serve God within spiritual exercises, which we are often obliged to give up when we have indiscreetly overworked ourselves.”

What has been said should disabuse some minds of the idea that disregard of bodily well-being is a condition, if not an essential, of holiness; or the other no less dangerous prejudice that adequate reasonable care of the body, if carried out with the proper spirit and intention, does not of itself include thorough discipline of the soul.

Francis Thompson has well said in the preface to his Health and Holiness: “The laws of perfect hygiene, the culture of the ‘sound body,’ not for its own sake, but as the pliant, durable instrument of the soul, are found more and more to demand such a degree of persevering self-restraint and self-resistance as constitutes an ascesis, a mortification, no less severe than that enjoined by the most rigorous masters of the spiritual life.”

Supernaturalized as it surely will be by the purity of intention so characteristic of Sisters, such mortification will be no less a spiritual asset than a physical boon.

What Bishop Hedley says in his Spiritual Retreat for Religious is very much to the point: “There are certain things which are the best promoters of health and cheerfulness—viz., fresh air, exercise, and recreation.

They are duties, too, in a Religious Community. In such houses it is a very common thing to meet with nervous complaints which entirely arise from the neglect of these three powerful tonics of the human system.

I do not say that this is the case with all. But it is a remarkable fact that those members of a Community who have the most active duties are usually the most healthy in mind and body, while the others are the reverse.

These two things, fresh air and exercise, are of the utmost importance even from a spiritual point of view. They are not material, but really supernatural matters. The same is true of recreation. The three ought to be combined.”

“Who shall blame a child whose soul turns eagerly to the noise and distraction of worldliness, if his parents have failed to show him that love and peace and beauty are found only in God?” – Mary Reed Newland

 

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True Hearted Children – True Womanhood

This is a beautiful meditation on the kind of love we should have for our parents…and that our children should have for us.

The author transfers that meditation to the type of devoted love we need to have for God our Father.

It is beautiful….it is comforting.

elsley1from True Womanhood – Rev. Bernard O’Reilly

St. Clement  praises in the Corinthians a “piety full of sweetness and modesty.”

Piety is a word of Latin origin, and, among the old Romans who first used it, meant that spirit of dutiful and generous love with which children do the will and seek the interests of their parents.

This sense of free, generous, disinterested, and unselfish devotion to the happiness, honor, and interests of one’s parents, is always contrasted with the selfish, mercenary, or compulsory service of a slave or a servant in a family.

True-hearted children make their happiness to consist in seeking how they can best please and honor father and mother: what they do is not dictated by the fear of punishment or the hope of reward or the prospect of gain or self-gratification.

The hope or certainty of delighting or pleasing or helping the dear authors of their being, such is the thought which prompts the labors or obedience of a loving child.

Not so the mercenary: his motive is to gain his wages. He bargains to do so muchin return for such a wage.

The happiness of the family, the interest or honor of his employers, their satisfaction or the praise which they may bestow, do not, most likely, enter into the thoughts or calculations of venal souls.

You have known, perhaps, in many families, daughters so noble-minded, that they were content to labor untiringly for their parents, placing their whole delight in doing all they could to lighten the burden of father and mother, or to make the home bright and pleasant for brothers and sisters, without seeking or expecting one word of praise and acknowledgment.

This is the best description of filial piety.

Only transfer to God’s service that same unselfish and generous disposition, asking yourself only how much you can do to please Him, to glorify Him, to make yourself worthy of Him, to make Him known and have Him loved and served by others, andyou have an idea of what piety toward God is.

Thus faith gives to the soul that “purity of intention,” which not only makes the thought of God habitual, but enables one to lift one’s eye toward the Divine Majesty in every thing that one does, in labor as well as in repose, in suffering as well as in enjoyment, at home and abroad, in company and conversation, as well as in solitude and silence.

It kindles in the heart that flame of love which makes one burn with the absorbing desire of pleasing Him supremely.

It is thus the foundation of piety, the motive power of every good work, just as fire is the generating force of steam, and steam itself is the mighty force which annihilates distance on sea and land and transforms all the industries of the modern world.

The soul accustomed to keep God before her eyes in all her ways, cannot help being pious in the truest sense: nothing can prevent her from seeking in all that she does the Divine pleasure, and of esteeming all that she can do and suffer too little for so great a majesty and such incomparable goodness.

This piety working ever beneath that all-seeing Eye must be both sweet and modest: sweet, in the calmness and gentleness with which every thing is undertaken and accomplished; modest, in that no seeking of self and no consciousness of evil can disturb or overcast the limpid purity of a soul which reflects only the light and serenity of Heaven, and is divinely sheltered from every blast of earthly passion.

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Treat your boys as young men. You want them to grow up to be hardworking and confident. Is it not true, that the more productive we are, the better we feel? Then structure your children’s day to be active and busy—they will thrive under these conditions. -Finer Femininity www.finerfem.com

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The Parked Car, etc. – Fr. Lovasik

If young ladies and men are willing to read this information, they will be enlightened and will have no excuses if they make dumb and dangerous mistakes along the path of courtship.

From the excellent little book Clean Love in Courtship by Father Lovasik

The Parked Car

Enemy number one to the chastity of young people is the parked car. With the cloak of darkness and seclusion thrown around them, young couples parked along country roads are deliberately subjecting their virtue to a great and violent strain.

Parked automobiles, scenes of passionate kissing, petting and necking, are truly graveyards in which are buried the innocence and purity of thousands upon thousands of young men and young women. Here so-called love turns out to be lust, the most selfish sin, which seeks impure self-satisfaction at the expense of another’s virtue.

If you are a decent girl, do not drag down a young man into the mire of impurity by consenting to have him park his car, thus giving him a favorable occasion for sin. Even under favorable conditions every young man has to struggle to keep pure.

God said, “He who loves the danger will perish in it.” Therefore avoid the parked automobile as you would a pest house, reeking with germs of fatal maladies.

At the end of the evening’s entertainment, do not let your friend accompany you into your home, but bid good night when you arrive there. This will be a protection for you both. To do otherwise at that time of night, when the other members of the family have retired, is to subject each other to substantially the same danger as that presented by the parked car. Many a pure courtship has been ruined through the failure to heed this caution.

Drinking

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It is not a sin to drink, but it is always a sin to drink too much. If through excessive drinking you lose the use of reason, you commit a mortal sin and thereby descend to a level lower than that of the brute beast.

Even if drinking does not end in drunkenness, its effects on company-keeping are disastrous. Drink adds fuel to concupiscence and increases the force of temptation to impurity; it weakens the powers of the mind and lowers the resistance of the will, thereby leaving one open to sin.

Drink has always been one of the shortest roads to moral corruption and is the greatest contributing factor to the alarming increase of crime. Facts show that liquor figures in seven out of every ten crimes.

Drinking outside the home is usually the beginning of the drinking habit and other bad habits, especially impurity.

Many a young man and young woman who normally would not think of lust have ruined their courtship and destroyed their love through drinking. Do not fall a prey to this habit just to be sociable.

To say that a party without drink lacks good fellow-ship and sociability is stupid and betrays a low mental status. Among young and intelligent people drink should be in no sense necessary for a good time.

If you really prize your virtue and demand self-respect, do not drink at all. The achievement of true and clean happiness is worth the little act of self-denial involved in abstinence from alcoholic drink.

The fact that about three-fourths of broken homes are the consequence of drinking should be an argument strong enough to make you give up associating with anyone who, having a special liking for alcoholic drink, does not know how to control himself.

Indecent Entertainment

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Another danger in company-keeping arises from frequenting burlesque theaters, night clubs, road houses, and taverns where salacious floor shows, off color jokes, and expensive drinks are the chief menu.

In these places semi-nude females perform lascivious dances and fill young minds with obscene jokes, plying them with drinks and turning them into sex-crazed maniacs. These are the agencies which poison innocent minds and prevent their normal development into wholesome manhood and womanhood, sending them out as criminals to prey upon society.

In our day perhaps the deadliest misinformant about the ways of true living is the motion picture show. Sometimes the scenes are so vivid that for all practical purposes young people might just as well be acting in the presence of men and women who are disregarding God’s holy laws.

Such indecent attractions offered by the screen lower ideals and distort the standards of young Catholic men and women. It has become all too common for those born and reared in the faith to forget the lessons they have learned: that their thoughts, desires, and acts must be chaste; that all near occasions to sin must be avoided; that the most priceless thing in the soul of a girl is her purity, and the noblest virtue in the young man is preservation of his moral integrity.

Many a boy and girl can testify that he or she was guilty of the first grave lapse from chastity after having witnessed scenes of love-making and lustful seduction created by much publicized movie stars.

Start a fire, inhale the flames of lust, and your soul will die. Let the Legion of Decency be your guide in regard to the choice of pictures. Refrain from seeking pictures that are even partly objectionable.

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fall finer fem quote for the day

“A young woman who prevails on her fiancé to approach the Sacraments with her at regular intervals builds up a strong bulwark against improper advances and obtains the best guarantee for a happy future.True love gives strength of character and assists in the acquisition of self-control. It never takes advantage of another for the sake of personal gratification. Good and pure-minded women inspire respect and make the task of a young man easy, for he will have no difficulty in keeping the right distance.” – Fr. Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship https://amzn.to/2x6KEkx (afflink)

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“There is a dream of St John Bosco that is not well known but is about the virtue of purity. How can we protect ourselves from sins against purity?” This is an excellent sermon…worth the 15 minutes it takes to listen to it!

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Should I Choose the Religious Life?

Yesterday we went to the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles to be present at the Abbatial Blessing of Mother Cecilia, the first-ever consecration of a Benedictine Abbess in the Traditional Rite in the United States!

There was also First Professions and Investitures. It was a long ceremony (4 hours) but oh! so beautiful and inspiring!

They had the abbatial dedication of the Sisters’ new church the day before (almost 8 hours long) so it was a big weekend for the Nuns!

Here are a few pictures….

This big weekend was the inspiration for this post. Excellent advice from Fr. Fulgence Meyer, 1924 from Youth’s Pathfinder…

“Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts, 9: 6)

A number of our Catholic young men and young ladies, who are called by God to the priestly or religious state, remind one, in their attitude towards the divine call, of the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. When Jesus asked her for a drink she thought that she was to bestow a favor on Him, whereas in reality all the favor was to be hers.

Our Lord intimated this when He said to her: “If thou didst know the gift of God, and Who He is That saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water” (John, 4, 10).

Instead of deliberating whether they should favor God  by answering His call to the sanctuary or the convent, these young people should feel highly favored for being called at all.

But how is a girl to know, if she has a vocation for the convent or not? Before I give the answer to this question, I want to observe, not only to girls but also to young men, who may have a call to the convent or the priesthood. While the call to the priesthood is more sacred and consequently more distinct than the call to the religious life: still the general canons for distinguishing the relative vocations are about the same for both.

The call to the cloistral life may be extraordinary or ordinary. When it is extraordinary, it is manifested in an unusual manner, say by means of a personal supernatural revelation through a vision, a dream or some similar channel.

The subject of this revelation has no doubt and can have no doubt of its genuineness; yet he duly submits it to the judgment of his spiritual director before acting on it definitely. Several saints, for instance St. Paul, received their call in this way.

The Ordinary Way

Instances of this kind of vocation, however, have always been and are today very rare. They who are known to have been the beneficiaries of them, never sought, prayed for, or expected them. These vocations always came unsolicited and altogether unlooked for. Even some of the greatest saints and apostles of the Church, of both sexes, received their calls to the convent or the priesthood in the ordinary way.

This consists in a certain inclination to the life, together with a consciousness of having the qualifications of body and soul that are necessary to make a success of it.

The aforesaid inclination does not have to be an overwhelming and irresistible attraction that one sensibly feels for the consecrated life. It may be a mere leaning of the mind and heart towards it coupled with a will to embrace it even if the emotional nature should rebel against it with a degree of sensible repugnance, fear and revulsion.

The Will Is Lacking

If one, then, has the desire to follow the life, and possesses the corporal, mental, spiritual and moral properties to render it successful, there is every evidence of a vocation. There is nothing more required in addition, but that the person in question definitely resolve to follow the call, and make application to the superior of the convent or, respectively, to the bishop.

As soon as the superior receives the postulant in the community, or the bishop admits a young man to sacred orders, the call to the religious or priestly life is completed, and is as certain and secure as God desires it should be.

It is to be noted that, all other things being given, the will of the individual plays a large and decisive part in establishing a vocation, in pursuance of our Lord’s words: “If any man will come after Me.”

Usually, when true vocations do not mature, this will in the subject is lacking; and, alas, it is lacking in far too many of our Catholic young men and young ladies in the United States today.

You Must Take a Chance

The mistake many of them make is, they virtually and unconsciously, if not expressly and knowingly, look and wait for an unusual sign of vocation, when they are not entitled to it and will consequently never get it.

They are always about to be told by an angel or by our Lord Himself, in a dream or a vision, that they should enter the convent.

They delude themselves and ordinarily die unclothed with a religious garb. They should be satisfied to do as thousands of others have done and are doing, to their own and others’ temporal and eternal welfare, and follow the ordinary signs of vocation.

To use the usual phrase, God wants those who follow Him to take a chance, and to trust in His loving providence and generous fidelity for the future. And they who take this chance in abiding confidence and whole-souled attachment are never known to regret it ever so little.

Famous and Fortunate Chance-Takers

Abraham took a chance when he complied with God’s bidding, that he should leave his country and his kin. The apostles took a chance when Jesus, hardly known at the time, bade them to leave their boats and their nets and follow Him.

He never disappoints those who sincerely renounce everything to follow Him. But in every single case He makes good His grand and magnanimous promise:

“Amen, I say to you that you, who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of His majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone that hath left house or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My Name’s sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and shall possess life everlasting” (Matt., 19, 28, 29).

The Test Is Not Hard

Every girl, therefore, who feels inclined to convent life and is satisfied, that in view of her physical and moral qualifications she can make a good nun, especially if her judgment is supported by that of some other discreet and reliable person or persons, such as her parents, pastor, confessor, her nun teacher or nun friend and the like, is warranted in believing that she has the necessary vocation, and is at liberty to apply for admission in the cloister.

If the superior duly receives her, she need have no fear whatever regarding the genuineness of her vocation, even if she was never vouchsafed a revelation from on high in the form of a heavenly voice or apparition, telling her that her place was in the convent. These manifestations of vocation are, as has been said, most unusual and infrequent.

The best marks of a divine call are the ordinary ones, as a rule, for they are easier and surer discerned, and there is not so much danger of delusion in regard to them as there is respecting pretendedly extraordinary signs of vocation.

This is true, of course, in an equal degree of a young man contemplating the pursuit of the priestly or religious life.

“The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.” -St. Augustine

What is the easiest path to heaven? How do you know what is your vocation? Should you check out religious life first? Please say 3 Hail Marys for the priest….

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God Can Draw Good Even From our Faults

11140123_451702755006259_3317738875591251671_nfrom Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe

We must not view our own faults too tragically because God is able to draw good from them.

Little Therese of the Child Jesus loved greatly this phrase of St. John of the Cross: “Love is able to profit from everything, the good as well as the bad that It finds in me, and to transform it into Itself.”
Our confidence in God must go at least that far: to believe that He is good enough to draw good from everything, including our faults and our infidelities.

When he cites the phrase of St. Paul, Everything works together for the good of those who love God, Saint Augustine adds: Etiam piccata – “even sins”!
Of course, we must struggle energetically against sin and correct our imperfections. God vomits the tepid, and nothing cools love quite like resigning oneself to mediocrity (this resignation is, by the way, a lack of confidence in God and his ability to sanctify us!)

When we have been the cause of some evil, we must also try to rectify it to the extent that this is possible. But we must not distress ourselves excessively regarding our faults because God, once we return to Him with a contrite heart, is able to cause good to spring forth, if only to make us to grow in humility and to teach us to have a little less confidence in our own strength and a little more in Him alone.

So great is the mercy of the Lord that He uses our faults to our advantage! Ruysbroek, a Flemish mystic of the Middle Ages, has these words: “The Lord, in His clemency, wanted to turn our sins against themselves and in our favor; He found a way to render them useful, to convert them in our hands into instruments of salvation. This should in no way diminish our fear of sinning, nor our pain at having sinned. Rather, our sins have become for us a source of humility.”

Let us add also that they can just as well become a source of tenderness and mercy toward others. I, who fall so easily, how can I permit myself to judge my brother? How can I not be merciful toward him, as the Lord has been towards me?

Accordingly, after committing a fault of whatever kind, rather than withdrawing into ourselves indefinitely in discouragement and dwelling on the memory, we must immediately return to God with confidence and even thank Him for the good that His mercy will be able to draw out of this fault!

We must know that one of the weapons that the devil uses most commonly to prevent souls from advancing toward God is precisely to try to make them lose their peace and discourage them by the sight of their faults.

It is necessary that we know how to distinguish true repentance and a true desire to correct our faults, which is always gentle, peaceful, trustful, from a false repentance, from that remorse that troubles, discourages and paralyzes.

Not all of the reproaches that come to our conscience are inspired by the Holy Spirit! Some of them come from our pride or the devil and we must learn to discern them.

Peace is an essential criterion in the discernment of spirits. The feelings that come from the Spirit of God can be very powerful and profound, nonetheless, they are always peaceful.

Let us listen again to Scupoli:
To preserve our hearts in perfect tranquility, it is still necessary to ignore some interior feelings of remorse which seem to come from God because they are reproaches that our conscience makes to us regarding true faults, but which come, in effect, from the evil spirit as can be judged by what ensues.

If the twinges of conscience serve to make us more humble, if they render us more fervent in the practice of good works, if they do not diminish the trust that one must have in divine mercy, we must accept them with thanksgiving, as favors from heaven.

But if they trouble us, if they dishearten us, if they render us lazy, timid, slow to perform our duties, we must believe that these are the suggestions of the enemy and do things in a normal way, not deigning to listen to them.

Let us understand this: For the person of goodwill, that which is serious in sin is not so much the fault in itself as the despondency into which it places him.

He who falls but immediately gets up has not lost much. He has rather gained in humility and in the experience of mercy.

He who remains sad and defeated loses much more. The sign of spiritual progress is not so much never falling as it is being able to lift oneself up quickly after one falls.

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TO AN ALTAR BOY

To be Christ’s page at the altar,
To serve Him freely there.
Where even the Angels falter,
Bowed low in reverent prayer.

To touch the throne most holy,
To hand the gifts for the feast,
To see Him meekly, lowly,
Descend at the word of the priest.

To hear man’s poor petition,
To sound the silver bell,
When He in sweet submission,
Comes down with us to dwell.

No grander mission surely
Could Saints or men enjoy;
No heart should love more purely,
Than yours my altar boy.

God bless you, lad, forever,
And keep you in His care,
And Guard you that you never
Belie the robes you wear.

For white bespeaks untainted
A heart both tried and true;
And red tolls love the sainted
The holy martyrs knew.

Throughout life, then, endeavor
God’s graces to employ;
And be in heart forever
A holy altar boy.

by St. John Berchmans,
Patron Saint of Altar Boys

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11 Ways to Keep that Love Alive

Some tips to take to heart to show your love to that important person in your life!

100 Ways To Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

1.Know that marriage is like a long, slow walk together.

More a marathon than a sprint. So just keep walking. Together.

2.Communicate confidence in who he is and what he’s about.

So powerful in a man’s life. Your man needs to hear your cheers more than you might realize. And he probably needs to hear it louder and more often than might be evident. So speak words of belief and assurance that he has much to offer the world.

3.Throw a little surprise in there.

Every-once-in-a-while. Just for fun. Spice it up with something unexpected. I love the look on his face when I do something out-of-the-ordinary that he didn’t see coming. Surprise!

4.Timing can make all the difference in the world.

Discuss difficult things when you’re both rested – and fed. Often these simple things can determine whether the discussion will become a heated argument – or a profitable conversation.

5.Work together.

In the garage, the kitchen, the garden, or the barn. It’s always more fun with two. Find ways that you can join efforts to get things done. Help him out with his work, his chores, or Honey-do list. And then let him do the same for you.

6.Let him know what you need from him.

It might not be as obvious as you think it is. It’s easy to assume that he is aware of what you need – and that he’s choosing to ignore you – but it could be that he is simply oblivious. So give him the chance to meet your needs by spelling it out, slowly and lovingly, what you’d like from him.

7.Differentiate what you need… from what you want.

These two can be easily confused. But there is a difference – a big difference actually. Not that “wants” aren’t important, but they should come second to needs and are best kept in the “optional” category.

8.Welcome him into your world.

Don’t keep him at a distance. Encourage him to be a part of what you’re doing and how you think. Make your world a warm, welcoming place for him to be.

9.Give up your need to be right.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. Give it up and you’ll be glad you did. Being “right” is a highly overrated position.

10.Pray through problems.

Don’t work it out on your own. We can forget that if we are believers in Christ, then we are not left to figure out our problems by ourselves, in our own strength. No, we have an all-powerful, all-knowing God in Whom we can turn.

11.Convince him that he’s the man of your dreams.

And he’ll become that man.

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“God has thus put into the hand of the parents at their own hearthstone, a power greater than that which kings and queens wield, and which must issue in either the weal or the woe of their children. It would surely seem to be worth while to make any sacrifice of personal comfort or pleasure—to transmit a legacy of holy memories which shall be through all the years, like a host of pure angels hovering over those we love, to guard and guide them.” J.R. Miller

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