Loving and Thanking God – How to Raise Good Catholic Children

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The devil trembles when, in spite of your not wanting to, you get on your knees and pray!

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How to Raise Good Catholic Children, by Mary Reed Newland

Spiritual and temporal needs over with, children can turn to the joy that is simply loving God. “I love You, Blessed Jesus, and I love Your Blessed Mother.”

This must be the part He listens for the hardest. It’s really all He asks, because if love is there and a right disposition, with grace the rest will follow.

So we encourage children to say it over and over until their whole idea of God is bound inseparably to their love for Him. After the loving comes the thanking; one follows the other with ease.

“And thank You for . . .” each night a different blessing, from babies and books to lollipops and circuses — anything and everything — so that they will see that their world is full of blessings straight from the hand of God.

Gradually, as they grow older, the form of their prayers will change. If they attend parochial school and Sister recommends certain practices, we should help to put these into effect. They will learn formal prayers, prayers proper to each liturgical season, the family Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, Mass preparations, and much more.

But the approach of their prayers remains unchanged, the contrition, asking, praising, and thanksgiving are in all these, and if they understand, above all, that prayer is talking to God, the knowledge will never leave them.

Knowing all this, however, is still no guarantee that children will always want to pray. Would that all grown-ups always wanted to pray. But they don’t, and their own perversity is not always the reason.

Many times God allows it to be hard to pray, simply to school us in applying our wills, to teach us that the value of prayer does not depend on the amount of emotion we can whip up.

So when “Time for prayers” is greeted with moans and groans, it’s time to explain that saying prayers when you least want to, simply because you love God and have a kind of dry respect and a sense of obedience, is to gain the greatest merit for them.

Many times the saints had trouble getting excited about prayers, but they said them, because prayers were due and their value had nothing to do with how eagerly they went about saying them.

“But with so many people in the world praying, I get the feeling God can’t really be listening to me.” Here we can remind our children of how our Lord said that God counts even the hairs on our heads, and all the sparrows that fall.

It’s hard to understand, but we need not understand; we need only believe that every word and sigh and flick of an eyelash is watched and weighed and counted, and every word is heard as though we were the only one praying.

The morning offering can be a simple form of gathering up the day and all it will hold and giving it to God.

Our children say, “I offer You this day as a prayer of love and thanksgiving, and thank You for keeping me safe through the night. Please help me to be pure and good, and keep me safe from harm. Please help us all with our work.”

They can offer it for one or many intentions, or simply give it to Jesus and Mary and ask them to apply its merits as they wish.

The “safe through the night” isn’t meant to imply that dying in the night would be the horror of horrors, but to remind them of God’s watchfulness while we sleep and to teach that, if we have survived the night, obviously God’s will for us includes another day of work and play and prayer to be lived as best we can.

When the older children started catechism classes (we have no parochial schools in our town), Sister taught them the traditional Morning Offering; so now they like to say that. But whatever form of offering they use, the important thing is to think of it like the net that strained with many fishes but still did not break. It will hold all the good a child can say and think and do in his entire day and give him a wonderful sense of having used every minute.

Many times I have heard one or another of our children (who are really no more pious than other children) say, “There, now wiping the dishes is part of my prayers because I made my Morning Offering.”

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“Life is too short to spend it doing things that don’t get you where you want to go. For instance, if it’s important to you to read aloud to your kids, but you find yourself rarely doing that, you’ll feel the disconnect and it will discourage you. You’ll feel off track and out of sorts, but might not be able to put your finger on why.
Spend some time thinking about what you DO want in your life. Then make those choices each day. When you live intentionally and with purpose, it will make a tremendous difference in your life and the lives of those you love.” – Charlotte Siems

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When my children were young I loved to read to them stories, poems and nursery rhymes! They knew those rhymes inside and out and it was such a happy pastime! I did yearn, at times, for little ditties that had more meaning…….So I decided to write a book myself for the generation after me….especially thinking of my grandchildren, but for all Catholic children everywhere!

This is a 140 page fun-packed book full of Catholic poems and pictures!

It gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children. Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith.

Available here.

Don't forget to sign up for the Giveaway for my book and the bracelet! I will pull the name from the hat Tuesday, May 10th!

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My Heart is Full by Theresa (VanderPutten) Byrne

For Throwback Thursday – Our Daughter’s Story……    🙂

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Once an old man remarked to a friend of mine who was shopping, with two little children in tow, “My you’ve got your hands full!”
Without skipping a beat my friend looked up, smiled and said, “Actually, I’ve got my heart full!”
I haven’t forgotten her words and I bet the old man hasn’t either.
How would you define, “to have your heart full?”
I think different people would have different answers.

I think back to my teenage years, the get-togethers, the fun, the go, go, go.
My parents monitored things closely and we had lots of good, joyful, wholesome fun in a home open to family and friends.
I worked by waiting tables at a small hometown restaurant, ran the Junior Legion of Mary, cooked and baked, and sang for our choir.

Rosary was a daily part of our lives, sprinkled with daily Mass and St. Theresa novenas.
People flocked to our home because it was stable, joyful and good. Dad and Mom sacrificed their home and time, to keep an eye on things while being a part of the games and activity.

We had Paintball Wars! The boys played and the girls cooked and took care of the wounded!
The Traditional Family Weekend originated through Mom and Dad about twelve years ago and twice a year, families from different states came together for music, dancing, talks, Mass and just a wholesome family time!

I traveled twice to France with good Catholic friends, for the Chartres Pilgrimage, then took a jaunt with the leprechauns to the homeland of the Irish. While we were there, we danced, we sang, we prayed, we lived with no regrets.

Being in such a good situation gave my siblings and I a chance to get to know many good men and women…..a golden opportunity for when the time was right to choose our spouse!
Many good marriages came from my parents being open to these get-togethers and having a home open for good people.

So, as you can see my youth was filled with faith, fun, stability and many good young men to choose a spouse from.

I was at peace and happy but my heart wasn’t full yet.

Then I met Devin, my future husband, at one of our Traditional Family Weekends….

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I am grateful, so grateful, to my parents for the sacrifices they made for their children. I entered marriage pure, with no regrets.
I am grateful for the nights they stayed up late and for the brother or sister who was always chaperoning when we courted.

Fast forward ten years….

We have three children now and time has flown. Each day is precious!
From holding our first little boy to watching him receive his First Holy Communion….All the happiness I have experienced in the past, could not come close to the joy I felt when my first-born received Jesus for the first time!

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From the time I married a wonderful man and have been given three children, I have been blessed.
We have had our ups and downs along the road. Mono put me in bed for a year and with it came a lot of anxiety.
When I got well, life was all the sweeter and I was more aware of my Faith.

My husband and I delight in our children. Together we watch the birds, check for eggs and view the sunsets. Our family is our joy!

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When something good happens, the kids always call Daddy at work. He is interested in what his children are excited about and this is how we share the good times, even when he is not home.
Each day is an adventure, sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry!

 

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We were driving the other day when my son, Brendan, excitedly said from the back seat, “Mom, you won’t believe this! I know it is because I have received Communion so many times and Jesus is in my heart…..I think God came up through my boots because I put my long sock on my right foot and now it’s on my left! Wow, miracles are happening to me all the time!”

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He’s right! Every day is a miracle!
When I look at my children I feel a sense of urgency. They have been given to me for such a short time; I must take advantage of this moment.

When I can go to bed knowing I have read with my children, prayed with my children and laughed with my children, I am at peace.
In fact, I have never known such joy, as what daily living with my husband and children have given me.
The hard times make the good times better.
I wouldn’t change my life for anything!
I look around at the sad, lonely old people who thought kids and family weren’t worth the trouble. You know… the ones that are quick to say, “You sure have your hands full!”
Without skipping a beat, I can now say, “Yes, but my heart is overflowing!”

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“Youth is at the same time the most beautiful and the most dangerous period of life; it can be the most blessed, or the most fatal of seasons. It is the time of poetry and romance, of dreams and visions, of aspirations and ambitions, of the noblest impulses and the grandest resolves. But it is also the season of inexperience and immaturity, of impulsiveness and impetuosity, of conceit, of hasty ideas, undigested plans and precipitate action. By one heroic decision a young person can lay the foundations of future greatness; and by one misstep a youth can start headlong and irresistibly to utter and irretrievable ruin.”-Rev. Fulgence G. Meyer, 1920’s

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Perpetual Dating and Over-committed (And The Winner of the St. Zelie Rosary Is….)

Both of these points from The Surrendered Wife spoke to me.

I think most women like to have control, and yes, even (and maybe especially) control of their husbands to varying degrees. Letting go of that control is an act of the will and a commitment to trust God with results.

The last point about being over committed…..I can relate. Let go of some of it….Keep this in mind next time you want to commit to something:

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The Miracle of Perpetual Dating

Remember how much fun it was to date your husband when you first met? Those glory days return when you surrender control. Every time you go out to eat or to a movie, he takes care of you by paying for both of you and handling any details.

Instead of bickering at dinner, you can talk about things that interest you, what you hope for and how you’re feeling. You can laugh together and hold hands, as you enjoy being treated like a princess again.

Most of all, you can let him treat you the way he did when you were first dating by letting him know what a nice time you had and thanking him for taking you out. If you do, you’ll enjoy the miracle of perpetual dating for many years to come.

 

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The Cure for The Overcommitted

Before you take on more work, responsibility or expense, ask yourself if you can really make snacks for the team, head up a committee or work late without causing yourself distress. Will you have to sleep less, speed to be on time or skip out on going to the gym? Then don’t do it.

Instead, practice saying these empowering words: “I can’t.” They work just as well when your child’s teacher asks you to volunteer in the classroom as they do when your husband asks you to stop by the dry cleaners on an already too-busy day. They require no further explanation.

If you’re thinking, “but that’s not true because I can do it ,” think again. If what you want is to feel good, stay balanced and have enough energy to foster an intimate marriage, you really can’t do it all. Think of the phrase “I can’t” as shorthand for reminding yourself that it’s okay to save your time and energy for you and your relationship.

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If you accept a man at face value, is there any hope he will change? He may not, and you need to accept this fact. But in a miraculous way, when you accept him at face value, he is more likely to change. The only hope that a man will change is for you to not try to change him. Others may try to teach him and offer suggestions, but the woman he loves must accept him for the man he is, and look to his better side.” – Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood http://amzn.to/2rtC7CL (afflink)
 
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And now…..drum roll……

Congratulations Vicki on winning the St. Zelie Rosary! I have sent you an email!

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Fathers, Reflect the Dignity of God’s Fatherhood

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From The Catholic Family Handbook by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik

Nature and Christian Tradition tell us that the father is the head of the home. That alone should suggest the dignity of fatherhood. Your dignity as a father rests, first of all, upon the fact that Almighty God has bestowed upon you the privilege of cooperating in the greatest natural mystery: the creation of human life.

Sons and daughters are yours in a sense that nothing else you may ever possess can be called your own. That thought carries with it a unique honor.

Even modern society, which has striven to forget the sanctity of marriage, retains this basic recognition. Your children are your dependents. They bear your name. They imitate many of your mannerisms, gestures, and modes of thought.

Much more: if you are a worthy father, and they are worthy children, they carry with them through life the training in virtue that you alone can impress on their young minds.

Pope Leo XIII reminds each father that he is “the head of the family” and stresses that “the right of property which has been proved to belong to individual persons must also belong to the man as the head of the family.”

This follows logically, because “it is a most sacred law of nature that a father must provide food and all necessities for those whom he has begotten, as well as what is necessary to keep them from want and misery in the uncertainties of this mortal life….

The father’s power is of such a nature that it cannot be destroyed or absorbed by the State, for it has the same origin as human life itself.”

St. Thomas Aquinas  wrote, “The father according to the flesh has in a particular way a share in that principle which is in a manner universal found in God…. The father is the principle of generation, of education and discipline.”

Exert your fatherly authority early on…..

You should exert your authority as a father even when your children are babies. Your word should be something strong, good, and a little to be feared.

If your children learn to respect your authority even from their tender years, they will find that authority a tremendous power to guide those difficult, almost uncontrollable years of adolescence.

But if you let your wife do all the bossing, and are content to be another child yourself, you will be able to make only a feeble protest to youth’s tendency to disobedience and independence.

It is never too soon for you to take up your position of authority as a father if you wish to have it established as a guide for your youngsters later on.

Reflect the dignity of God’s Fatherhood…

Your children should enjoy the strength of your kind paternal authority. It gives them security. What is more, they are given security by the knowledge that their mother and father are united in matters of discipline.

It is dangerous when a child can obtain from a softer parent something that he has failed to obtain from a stricter one, or when parents quarrel in front of children over points of conduct.

In the full program of domestic education, you must take great care that you use your authority properly.  Pope Pius XI said that normally a vocation to the priesthood is the result of the example and teaching of a father “strong in faith and manly in virtues.”

Therefore, fatherhood is a vocation in God’s service, to be held not lightly or frivolously, but with the serious determination of serious men.

Since it is a life’s work in His service, God offers His aid at every important step along the difficult road.

On your part, though, He expects cooperation with grace, which in turn calls for persevering good will, a spirit of sacrifice, and conscientious observance of God’s law made known by the Church.

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quote for the day2

“If you mostly ignore your children, turn them over to computer games, audio and visual media, telephone pals, and social events, they may continue to live in the same house, but you won’t find them on the same page. When a parent allows their child’s course to be set by the wind of chance, or the vapor of mere academics, they’re either praying for an unlikely miracle or are guilty of neglect. I think we can all agree that raising children is the greatest challenge and, potentially, the greatest blessing on earth. If children are in your care, your heart must always be on them, for their souls are in your hands.”
– No Greater Joy
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Manly, sturdy and beautiful, this wire-wrapped St. Joseph Rosary will be a perfect Father’s Day gift for that special man in your life!
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A very valuable book for the guys plucked out of the past and reprinted. It was written in 1894 by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly and the words on the pages will stir the hearts of the men to rise to virtue and chivalry…. Beautifully and eloquently written!

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A Worthy Character

From FW Index,

Fascinating Womanhood

Are You Up On Your Pedestal?

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Fine character in a woman will stir deep feelings in a man. It may awaken love. It surely will let him know that he can trust you with his feelings, thoughts, and dreams.

Some Traits of Fine Character

Self-Control

It seems no other trait pertains to so many things as does self-control. You need this trait to be successful in many areas of your life. It helps you control your tongue, appetites, thoughts, money, emotions, time, and more. How do you gain self-control?

-Develop a sense of self-worth and a good self-image. This will give you the confidence you need to trust in your decisions. Remember that it is a feminine trait to vacillate. You need to trust yourself and your decisions.

-Doing without food for a period of time while you fast and pray will give you a head-start on gaining self-control. Fasting accompanied by prayer will also give you the spiritual strength you need to fight the battle with your will and win.

-Get in the habit of telling yourself “no” or doing something difficult in order to train your will every day. You can do something unpleasant, or eat something you don’t like, take on a hard job, go without something you usually allow yourself, put yourself on a time limit, or other such things.

-An important element of self-control is determination. Set your face like a flint and make up your mind that you are going to succeed. Don’t allow discouragement, hardships, or temporary setbacks to keep you from your goal. Make sure others don’t hinder you with side issues, time wasters, or discouraging talk. Keep your eye on the goal and stick with it.

 Unselfishness

It takes a fair amount of self-thought to gain self-control, but at the same time you have to be unselfish. This seems to be a contradiction. Self-love is what you need to take care of yourself and stick to your standards and goals. Unselfishness is giving part of yourself for the good of someone else. It does not mean you compromise your standards, but that you put the needs of someone else in the forefront even when it causes you some discomfort.

There are many of us who can be kind when it’s easy and costs us nothing, but for an act to be truly unselfish it must have an element of sacrifice on your part. You do not have to love the person you are caring for, but instead are moved to action because it is what you do when someone has a need – unselfishness is a principle you live by.

Charity

While unselfishness spurs us to action because of duty, charity causes us to act because of feeling. Charity is deep love for another regardless of race, social standing or religion – it is much like the love of our Father toward us. This kind of love awakens service toward others.

Your first duty as a wife and mother is to your family and home, but after these needs are met, you have a duty as a charitable woman to the outside world. There are many less fortunate or weaker than you that need your help.

There are three main parts to charity – compassion, understanding the need, and sacrifice. Compassion will cause you to see the worth and value of an individual. It’s what causes you to take notice of them in the first place. After you notice them, a wise person will get to the root of the situation and perceive the actual need. Meeting the need will most likely require some sort of personal sacrifice or discomfort. It may mean going the second mile. It will help you if you remember, service is almost never convenient.

Humility

As I have stated before, humility is not false modesty that comes from denying you have talents or gifts of some sort. A humble person knows they have these things, but also knows how to use them, appreciate them and appreciate the talent in others. You are not arrogant or proud about your gifts, but instead are thankful and appreciative of them, and desire to use them in the best way. A humble person is free from a feeling of superiority over others and is aware of their own shortcomings.

It is all too easy to let things like riches, money and possessions, knowledge and learning, good looks and figure, character traits, and social standing become sources of pride. If you notice yourself looking down at others or becoming critical of those not as fortunate as you in some area, then pride is rearing its ugly head. Yes, you may have a gift someone else does not have, but you have your own areas of lack, too.

Keep things in perspective. No one is so wonderful and marvelous that they have no need of humility. Humility is essential to a person of high character.

Responsibility

Responsibility is the trait of getting a job done that has been entrusted to you, and doing the job right, to the best of your ability, and having it done on time. This trait is especially needed when you have no one looking over your shoulder to make sure the job gets done.

This is what so many wives of today are lacking – a sense of responsibility for the work they do in their homes and for their families. You don’t have a time clock to punch or a manager coming by to check on you to make sure the job is getting done. Without this outside pressure, many of us just don’t do as good of a job at home as we would do somewhere else. What’s missing? That trait of responsibility.

Even when parts of your work are done by others, such as with daycare or hiring a housekeeper, your responsibility to see the job gets done is still yours. The children and the house are still yours to look after, and it is a serious flaw to tack a lax attitude about your responsibilities.

Diligence

Diligence is closely related to responsibility, in my opinion. Responsibility lets you know that you have important work to take care of, and diligence sees the job through to the end. It gives you the stick-to-it-ivness you need to keep going when you want to quit.

Patience

Patience is the trait of waiting for the right timing. Patience means you have a large amount of forbearance. You tolerate things with a good attitude. You put up with inconveniences, delays, mishaps, and the many interruptions life hands us with a good attitude.

You need patience when you deal with other people. Your own home is an excellent incubator in which to grow patience. Children must have a sense of responsibility in the area of seeing to it their parents grow in this area. Husbands and wives need patience when learning to get along with each other.

It also takes patience to develop character qualities you are lacking. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail, but keep at it. Take the same attitude when learning a new skill or subject.

Moral Courage

Can you stand your ground when faced with criticism, humiliation, gossip, personal loss, or even bodily harm? If so, then you have the trait of moral courage. In order to have moral courage you first have to know what you believe and why. You have to have values and standards in place. Once you know what these are, times will come when you are questioned or tested. It takes courage to stick to your beliefs and not give in to pressure.

Some tests of your courage may be small. Are you able to say “no” when asked to take on duties that are too much for you? Can you get off the phone or computer when you are needed elsewhere? These are great starting places to begin practicing moral courage.

It also takes courage to admit you are wrong. There can be serious consequences to your wrong action, and it will take strength to get your actions out in the open.

Honesty

I doubt many of us are out and out liars since we have been trained to tell the truth, but do you realize that stretching the truth or covering the truth are forms of dishonesty? It is dishonest to conceal facts or embellish them. Usually we think we will suffer in some way if the truth comes out, so we hide the facts. Use your moral courage to be truthful in all things. You will be glad when you have a good conscience toward your Maker and your fellow man.

Chastity

Chastity is sexual pureness in thought and deed. It means to refrain from adultery, fornication, homosexuality or other sexual sins and to guard your mind in this area by avoiding pornography, illicit movies, trashy books, impure thoughts and impure imaginations.

Other Character Traits

The Bible is full of talk of high-quality character traits, things like, graciousness, hospitality, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, and faith. These are acquired by knowledge and application. Once you know what a trait is, you can begin to apply it in your life. I would like to encourage you to study character qualities of people you admire, then begin to do several things a day to build these qualities within yourself.

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“To accomplish a big task, break it into a few smaller parts—these become ‘instant tasks’ that you can easily handle. It’s the big items that throw us and leave us in a panic. Think of one project that you have put off because it seemed too big to take on after a busy day or in the middle of a hectic one. Set a timer and work like mad for those 15 minutes! In a day or two you’ll have invested two or three 15-minute sessions and completed the larger task.” -Emilie Barnes, 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter http://amzn.to/2opUDer (afflink)

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Sacramentals and Their Efficacy

Sacramentals are the hidden treasures of the Church. Looking back, going to a Catholic school all my life, rubbing shoulders with the nuns and priests, it was a very sad thing not be let in on these wonderful “secrets” of the Catholic Church, one being the sacramentals.

It is up to us to learn about these sacramentals, teach our children about them and finally, to use them!! It is up to us to spread this good news so Catholics, once again, can be the recipients of unused graces that are so available in these treasures!

Sacramentals and Their Efficacy by Father Arthur Tonne, 1950

“Waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. And that which was dry land shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.” Isaias, 35:6.

Some years ago two women were touring a desert region of our southwest. They wandered off from their party and were lost. For two full days they tramped and tramped in search of a road or dwelling. They found none. Completely exhausted, aching with thirst and hunger, they could not walk another step. One of them, in true womanly fashion, took out her compact to repair the damage done by sun and dust. The sun flashed off the mirror.

She got an idea. Someone might see the reflected light. They flashed the mirror in all directions. Rescuers saw the flashes, hurried to the source, and saved the two ladies.

Who would have thought that such a simple thing as a mirror could save human lives? This essential piece of female equipment did not directly save their lives, but it was the means, the instrument for attracting attention and bringing help.

The sacramentals are something like that. Of themselves they do not save souls, but they are the means for securing heavenly help for those who use them properly.

A sacramental is a sacred object or religious action which the Catholic Church, in imitation of the Sacraments, uses for the purpose of obtaining spiritual favors especially through her prayer.

A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to help devotion, and thus secure grace and take away venial sin or the temporal punishment due to sin.

Let us compare and contrast the Sacraments and the sacramentals:

  1. The Sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself; the sacramentals were founded by Christ’s Church.
  1. The Sacraments are limited to the seven instituted by Christ, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony; the sacramentals are numerous and varied, according to the directions of Mother Church.
  1. The Sacraments produce grace directly in the soul, if there is no obstacle on the part of the recipient; the sacramentals do not produce grace directly and of themselves–they produce grace indirectly by disposing and preparing the soul for this divine gift.
  1. The words used in the Sacraments, except in Extreme Unction, positively declare that God is producing certain effects in the soul; the prayers used in the sacramentals merely ask God to produce certain effects and to grant certain graces.
  1. The Sacraments give or increase sanctifying grace; and the sacramentals are the means to actual graces.

We might divide the sacramentals into prayers, pious objects, sacred signs, and religious ceremonies. Some sacramentals are a combination–they fall into two or more classes. The Rosary, for example, is a pious object and a prayer. The Sign of the Cross is a prayer and a sign. The crucifix, pictures and statues are pious objects. The ceremonies performed in the various Sacraments are also sacramentals, like the extending of the hands in Confirmation.

How can mere material things help us on the way to heaven? How can water, metal, or a piece of cloth help save our souls?

You must ever remember that these objects in themselves have no power to save or help us. It would be superstitious to say they had any such power. But things like a crucifix, a holy picture, a statue, a candle, do excite spiritual thoughts and feelings in those who use them correctly.

They excite the fear and love of God; they arouse trust and hope in His mercy; they awaken sorrow and joy in the Lord. Their value lies in the fact that they have been set aside by the Church for sacred purposes, by the power of the Church’s official prayer, and by the merits of Christ, preserved and distributed by His Church.

The Church not only sets things aside for a sacred use, she also attaches definite benefits and blessings to certain objects and good works. Many sacramentals have indulgences attached. An indulgence is the taking away, outside of confession, in whole or in part, of the temporal punishment due to sin which is already forgiven.

The sacramentals also try to express the supreme beauty and goodness of Almighty God. The words and language of the blessings are beautiful; the form and art of statues and pictures is of the best very often; the ceremonies of the Sacraments are adapted to express the graces given.

Do we have to use sacramentals? Does a Catholic have to wear a scapular, or use holy water, or pray the Rosary? Strictly speaking, no. The Sacraments are necessary for salvation; the sacramentals are not necessary. Nevertheless, the prayers, pious objects, sacred signs and ceremonies of Mother Church are means to salvation.

If you were lost in a desert, as were the two women of our story, you don’t have to have a mirror to be saved. But that lifeless, senseless object was the means of saving their lives.

In a similar way the sacramentals, lifeless, helpless in themselves, are helps to winning life-giving graces. They must never take the place of the Sacraments. You will find Catholics who place more confidence and trust in these material objects than they do in the reality of the Sacraments.

For example, you may see a Catholic enter Church and go directly to the vigil light stand without seeming to pay any attention to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. That Catholic does not appreciate the difference between a Sacrament and a sacramental.

In the desert of daily life the sacramentals are mirrors that will lead us to the fountains of spiritual help and spiritual life. Amen.

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“When rumors, curiosity, gossip, and the vanities of the world threaten to overwhelm us, let us quickly retire by a swift interior movement to the Heart of Jesus; there we shall always find recollection and peace.” – Divine Intimacy

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Modern Day Feminism and the Destruction of the Feminine Identity

 

Written by Rebecca Embry

June 5th. 2017

My grandmother, a wee woman of 4’10”, had six children and lived in Sri Lanka during a time when the country was going through a transition of power. Money was scarce, so she had to work for most of her adult life as an English teacher while my grandfather did his best to support the family as a clerk.

Through her daily activities, she constantly reminded us to educate ourselves in English literature, learn to cook and clean, paint, read the bible, attend daily mass, and always, always dress so tastefully. These continue to make an imprint on my mind.

She is the epitome of virtue, with such great dignity, intelligent character, and a fiery opinion all encompassed in an armor of authentic femininity. She had immense confidence in her role as a wife and mother; her magnificent poise as a woman of God was hard to overlook. Were she to care enough to keep up with the silliness that passes for modern activism these days, she would no doubt be shocked to learn of the vicious attacks and lack of respect from which her feminine identity suffers on a daily basis.

More notably, she would be shocked to learn the source of these attacks; from the advent of the sexual revolution and the pill to the recent march of Nasty Women, the key perpetrators in this attack on femininity can be found heading the ranks of the feminist movement.

Women were treasured beings; the ‘fairer sex’ as some put it back in the day, beings of mystery, femininity, virtue and sacrificial love.

St. Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony and St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta are some of the virtuous heroines who greatly contributed to the grandeur of our individuality. These women sacrificed their lives for the women and men before them, quite the opposite of what modern day feminism promotes. Nowadays, these charming ladies thrust forward and demand respect for their gender and ask to be treated equally to men, while simultaneously sexualizing all that is pure and beautiful.

Marriage is one institution that has suffered under the stiff rule of feminism, but not quite as much as that most hated role, motherhood, which is deemed as being quite unworthy of woman-kind.  Noting the work that accompanies child-rearing, this movement has championed the solution to this “problematic” consequence of nature: abortion and the pill, which both establish a woman firmly in “control” of her “reproductive rights”.

The sad reality is that these women have actually lost control of their uniqueness and their aspirations; they consistently disgrace the splendor of our being, and dutifully murder our children. As feminism eradicates everything that is beautiful and significant to our identity, it simultaneously creates a new identity, a new fangled being, i.e., the nasty woman.

As the seas of pink marched on through the big cities on the day after the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, chants of being “nasty women”, also, “my body, my choice”..etc., were ghastly declarations that were heard everywhere, as these nasty women walked around with genitalia props on their heads (quite an unsavory sight I must say).

How can anyone respect these feminists? How would anyone take a woman’s thoughts on intellectual subjects seriously? The high regard and respect that our feminine identity treasured for thousands of years has diminished because of this movement.

In Humane Vitae, a significant encyclical issued by the Catholic Church back in the early days of the sexual revolution, Pope Paul VI noted, “a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”

As the use of the birth control pill became more widespread and feminism has come to full fruition, we see these words as nothing but truth. Men have lost respect for the feminine identity because there isn’t a feminine identity anymore. Women want to be like men, and now we’re sadly getting accustomed to the repercussions.

Is this what being a woman is all about? Women have reduced themselves to mere objects now? Has everyone forgotten how powerful we are, how capable we are? Feminists nowadays constantly grumble about the lack of respect for their strengths and potential; the ironic reality is that they are the driving force behind the destruction of our identity. They are the reason that women have been reduced to the pill; their so called “reproductive rights” kill the future women of America. This movement really has no foundation or structure; it’s just another satanic means of promoting the culture of death.

Of course, we should be able to vote, we should be able to drive, we should be able to work, and I am more than grateful for all the women in the early feminist movement who fought for those civil liberties, but most of these women did not agree with the abhorring mindset that the women nowadays adhere to.

One of the early suffragists, Dr. Margaret Blackwell said, “Look at the first faint gleam of life, the life of the embryo, the commencement of human existence. We see a tiny cell, so small it may be easily overlooked; it is a living cell; it contains a power progressive growth, according to laws, according, towards a definite type that we can only regard with reverent admiration.”

Another feminist, Victoria Woodhull wrote, “Wives deliberately permit themselves to become pregnant of children and then, to prevent becoming mothers, as deliberately murder them while yet in their wombs. Can there be a more demoralized condition than this?”

Many of the early suffragists condemned abortion and birth control. Sadly, this modern day feminist movement is not fighting for that.   This movement is taking away the beauty, the grace and the femininity that women naturally have.

Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand, a Catholic theologian and philosopher, has considerably contributed on the topic of the toxicity of feminism. She says, “They let themselves become convinced that femininity meant weakness. They started to look down upon virtues — such as patience, selflessness, self-giving, tenderness — and aimed at becoming like men in all things. Some of them even convinced themselves that they had to use coarse language in order to show the ‘strong’ sex that they were not the fragile, delicate, insignificant dolls that men believed them to be.”

A few months ago while I was breastfeeding my then 9 month old son, I was lost in thought and wonder as he fell asleep, nourished and happy. This baby boy one day will be a grown man. A man that will journey through life for a career, be a husband or a priest, have children of his own someday, all because of me, a woman.

This little boy has exactly half of my DNA, has relied on me to come out into this world, has relied on me to be nurtured and one day his persona will be determined by my actions. What a responsibility, what a task, what an honour.

Feminism brings about the lack of charity, selfishness and the permanent termination of our most precious jewels- our families. Whether one is a wife, mother or a single woman, we all share a significant capability that feminists tend to overlook- our God given maternal and feminine care.

This doesn’t make us any lesser than men; even so we should be even more revered for our strengths. We are all called to nurture, love and to sacrifice. Truly, it is an identity that must be cherished and esteemed.

 

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Don’t forget to dress for your role as Domestic Queen! You can still look feminine as you go about your business. – Fascinating Womanhood http://amzn.to/2orXm6w (afflink)

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Charming hand-crocheted hats for your special little girl. The lovely handcrafted flowers add a touch of feminine prettiness!

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Who Is Right?

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“Why hasn’t anyone told me this before?”

That is exactly what one woman said at our last Finer Femininity meeting. Our meeting was on the subject of “Who IS right?” when it comes to marital conflict.

It was very enlightening and I wish to pass some of it along to you.

Mr. Eggerichs (from Love and Respect Ministries) explains that when faced with conflict with our spouse, one person is not right and the other person wrong. No, we are just different.

We have different tastes, different preferences, different backgrounds…..we see things from different perspectives. Makes sense, right?

So why do we try so hard to prove we are right when in conflict? We are not talking moral issues here, we are talking about the day in, day out conflicts we have with living so closely, so intimately with someone…..our spouse.

He gives the example of a husband and wife discussing the decorating of the interior of the home. The man wants a big overstuffed leather couch and a display of all his hunting trophys hung in the living room. The woman wants the floral, Victorian couch and loveseat and would prefer not having the trophys in the living room, wanting to decorate with silk flower wreaths and candles. Who is right? Well…neither one is wrong. They just see things through different eyes.

Many of the conflicts we run into each day are just a matter of perspective. Knowing this, we can try to stand back and see his point of view. That doesn’t mean we have to always squelch our own desires, but we need to ask ourselves how important it is for us to push our viewpoint. Sometimes it may be important enough, often it is not.

Mr. Eggerichs also said that when a man and woman are in conflict, the man tends to stonewall (shut down) and the woman tends to move toward the man, wanting to communicate and work it out (oftentimes sounding disrespectful).

We tend to see his reaction of shutting down (I don’t want to talk about it, just drop it) as very unloving. But, and this is the part that was very interesting to learn, research has shown that when a man is in conflict and his heart rate gets to 99 beats per minute or above, he goes into “fight or flight” mode. Instinctively he knows he needs to back off or he’ll attack.

So, ladies, when your husband shuts down and doesn’t want to talk about it, he is actually doing the chivalrous thing. He does not want to fight, so he walks away from it.

“Further research at the University of Washington also revealed that of those who stonewall or pull back during marital conflict, 85% are men, whereas only 15% are women. In other words, women generally move forward to talk so they can resolve the problem. And while you don’t mean to be critical, you can come across that way at times. This criticism is interpreted by your husbands as disrespect, which escalates the conflict for him. Most men will then pull back because they believe it is the honorable thing to do. They know that if they don’t withdraw, they will likely escalate the conflict and may possibly get out of control. This withdrawal feels unloving to his wife who is more verbal and is moving towards him to connect and resolve the conflict. So although he pulls back to protect her, she labels him as unloving. No wonder things get crazy!” – Emmerson Eggerichs

This is important to remember next time a conflict comes up. A husband’s deepest felt need is for respect. During conflict, he needs to feel his wife’s respect. We need to watch our tone, looks, words and actions, that they do not come off as disrespectful, even if we are feeling it.

Does this take work? Is it hard? Is it worth it? Yes, yes and yes!

Remember this: Our Lord never said it was going to be easy. But He did say He is with us every step of the way. Our marriage is the most valuable thing we have on this earth, besides our Faith. So it is worth the struggle to overcome ourselves on a daily basis.

We don’t have to be a doormat….no. We need to be strong and dignified, but we must also give until it hurts. Wives and mothers know this, we experience it regularly.

The men have their own work to do in the relationship but we pray and leave that part up to God. We can only change ourselves.

We will turn to Our Lady and ask her, next time we get upset about something, to first decide if it is important enough to bring up to our husbands. If it is, let us ask for the grace to talk about it at the right time (not when we are tired and cranky), and then, not to come across disrespectful.

Let us ask her to help us to see his side, too, and to realize, if he does stonewall, it is not because he wants to be unloving.

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom. pray for us!

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quote for the day2

“Like a knife, the tongue has a sharp, powerful edge that can either be used to heal or destroy. A knife in the hands of a skilled surgeon brings healing and life, but a knife in the hands of a felon brings death and destruction. Like the surgeon, we can study how to use our mouths to bring life to those around us. But it’s not easy, and the tongue is difficult to control.” – Sharon Jaynes, The Power of a Woman’s Words

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Inspire and delight your children with these lighthearted and faith-filled poems. Take a peek at Amazon here.

Don't forget to sign up for the Giveaway for my book and the bracelet! I will pull the name from the hat Tuesday, May 10th!

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St. Zelie Rosary Giveaway!

I’d like to offer you today this beautiful Vintaj handcrafted St. Zelie Rosary!

I believe that Saints Louis and Zelie Martin (the parents of the Little Flower) are very powerful for the problems of Family Life….that they will be added to that list of patron saints for the married! This rosary is a lovely reminder of that holy wife and mother, St. Zelie!

Just leave a comment here, a cheery hello, and your name will be added to the hat! It is always great to hear from you. 🙂

I will announce the winner next Wednesday, June 14th! (Guys are welcome to sign up, too!)

Sign up to receive Finer Femininity posts and you will get your name added in twice!!

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Lovely poems from the beautiful prayer book Precious Blood and Mother:

TRUST HIM

Trust Him when thy wants are many;
Trust Him when thy friends are few;
And the time of swift temptation
Is the time to trust Him too.

Trust Him when thy soul is burdened
With the sense of all its sin;
He will speak the word of pardon,
He will make thee clean within.

Trust Him for the grace sufficient,
Ever equal to thy need;
Trust Him always for the answer,
When in His dear name you plead.

Trust Him for the grace to conquer,
He is able to subdue;
Trust Him for the power for service;
Trust Him for the blessing too.

Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee,
Trust Him when thy strength is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all.

Trust Him; He is ever faithful;
Trust Him, for His will is best;
Trust Him, for the heart of Jesus
Is the only place of rest.

Trust Him, then, through cloud or sunshine,
All thy cares upon Him cast,
Till the storm of life is over,
And the trusting days are past.

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HOPE
A little while the labor
Eternal the repose;
A little while the trials,
That with this life will close.

And then an unending gladness
And an unfading crown;
A day on whose calm beauty
The sun goes never down.

A little while in exile,
With no abiding place,
And then the home eternal,
Unveiled the bridegroom’s face.

Is any cross too heavy
Or any task too hard;
That Jesus lays upon thee,
And Jesus will reward?

One night the shadows linger
And then the morning breaks,
And God’s own hand the burden
From weary shoulders takes.

And thou shalt see His glory
And hear His words – ‘well done’
The strife forever over,
The battle fought and won.

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WISE WORDS FROM FATHER LOVASIK:

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Domestic Queens are not ordinary run-of-the-mill women. They add homey touches to their work with things that please the senses and make a person feel welcome and loved. A warmth of spirit permeates her household as if you walked in from clouds to a bright sunny day. She radiates understanding, love and happiness and makes the home a place her man wants to come home to. -Fascinating Womanhood http://amzn.to/2oRS2Nm (afflink)

 
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Unique and lovely, these aprons make great gifts for those wonderful women in your life!

Tidbits for Your Organizing Day – Emilie Barnes

Some thoughts today to spur you on to simplifying your home and therefore your life!  101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter by Emilie Barnes

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To-Do Lists

Make a to-do list. List what you are going to do today to get rid of all your excess. It might include such things as:

-Discard all the old magazines on the coffee table.

-Have your son go through his sock drawers and take out what he isn’t using.

-Go through the refrigerator, including all containers and vegetable drawers, and toss out all expired and inedible foods. Reorganize each shelf.

-Start a compost pile in the backyard and put those vegetable leftovers to good use feeding your garden.

No More Excuses

Stop making excuses about why you keep all that clutter. Stop saying:

-Ugly $11.95 lamp: I only bought it to change a $20 bill.

-Leaky pans and buckets: Someday I’ll use them outdoors and put a plant in them.

-Old sewing patterns: I’m waiting until I have time to go through them.

-An old sweater: I paid good money for this.

-Old Christmas cards: Someday I’m going to use them for a decoupage picture.

-An old platter: I may need it someday.

Do you recognize a few of these justifications? Eliminate the excuses and you’ll make your life so much easier. Practice this today.

New Items In—Old Items Out

There is a great deal of wisdom in letting go of whatever chokes out the vitality in your life. When we’re bogged down with too much of the old stuff, we don’t make room for new ideas, fresh spaces, and creative living.

Try saying, “When something new comes in, something old must go.”

Now put it into practice. Next time you shop and make a purchase, try to think of what item you will discard when you get home. Believe me, this can be a great way to keep your spending in check and helps ease the potential buildup of stuff.

This rule is a huge help when you face a great sale. When you’re standing in front of a sign that reads “Buy one, get one free,” it’s easy to load up without having a plan or place for anything you purchase that day.

These items rarely find a permanent place in your home because you hadn’t thought through their purpose or possibility—you just responded to the word “Sale!” Stick with the rule.

Unfinished Business

Do you ever feel like you’re running in circles? Do you put off new pursuits because you are spending your precious time juggling projects that are never completed?

Make a list of five projects you would love to finish. Tackle these one at a time. You’ll find that as you clear away the unfinished business, you’ll be free to reach for new pursuits.

Don’t delay your goals and aspirations. Which terminal projects are eating up the most time?

Give yourself an absolute deadline to complete each one or consider letting go of the project altogether.

Which projects are the most overwhelming and which have the highest priority? If you take care of a couple that are time sensitive, you’ll give yourself breathing room and a sense of accomplishment.

Consider the ones that absolutely must get done because others are counting on them or because they have a deadline. There’s your starting place!

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“Parents are often to blame for the rebellious spirit of their children, because they give little of themselves – of their time, interest, and practical love – and then complain that their children do not obey. Let your good example be a sufficient motive for your children’s obedience, even when you are obliged to ask them to do things that few other parents ask.” – Fr. Lovasik, The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2opoz9Z (afflink)
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Beautiful Brass Handcrafted Blue Blessed Mother Rosary! Available here.

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