Christian Youth Must be God-Fearing and Dutiful

From True Men as We Need Them, Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1890’s

Whatever else our young men may be, when formed at home by such parents as we are about to describe, and trained in Christian schools by God-fearing and accomplished masters, they will be at least conscientious and God-fearing themselves.

This is the first and greatest need of our age.

They will be also dutiful and high-minded, for the young man whose soul from childhood has been filled with that lofty sense of duty, as of a sacred, indispensable, and ennobling obligation due to the Most High God, will be disposed to discharge every office entrusted to him, as if he were immediately accountable to the Divine Majesty.

Hence everything shall be done perfectly, because done for the sake of Him who is the most loving of Fathers, and the most generous of benefactors.

High-minded must ever be the men who are penetrated with duty, and act upon such lofty motives. He who beholds the Infinitely Great and Holy in every person to whom he is bound to yield lawful obedience, will not feel himself degraded in being subordinate to those who may be his own inferiors in birth, in education, and refinement.

He will not fulfill his duty conscientiously, or go even beyond his duty in his endeavor to do well, because he is ambitious to obtain praise, or fearful of incurring blame. He is only supremely desirous of pleasing One who values the loving wish much more even than the perfect performance.

And this high-mindedness will be thus a safeguard against that baneful and tyrannical human respect, which is so apt to make old people as well as young omit the good they ought to do, and do the evil their conscience condemns, lest they should draw on themselves the displeasure, the ridicule, or the vain judgments of bad men.

The dutiful and the high-minded will ever be the faithful, the trustworthy, true to the death, because true to God and to themselves.

Pressing and Present Need of the High-Minded and Dutiful

Surely there is great need of such in our day. And because they are thus dutiful and true—they will be diligent, laborious, persevering, self-denying, and self-reliant, because placing their main dependence on the All-Mighty and putting forth to please Him, in their every work and endeavor, their whole strength and industry.

Such men are—everything taken into account—the best calculated to succeed. And such men—be they born ever so lowly—are God’s true gentlemen—the men whom all are forced to respect—because they are incapable of meanness, fraud, or untruthfulness.

These are a few only of the features of the True Man so needed in all countries and at all periods of the world’s history, but especially needed at a time when noble living will avail infinitely more to save religion and society than eloquent discoursing or the most learned and beautiful writing.

Yes, the road of true manliness and unblemished honor which we are to travel over together, leads up by steep and toilsome paths to the only reward worthy of gentle souls.

Like the maiden-knight of the ideal Christian chivalry, if we would keep our souls pure, and win the ecstatic joy of coming to close communion with the veiled Majesty of our Father, we must be ready to do and bear what the crowd recoil from.

“I leave the plain, I climb the height;

No branchy thicket shelter yields;

But blessed forms in whistling storms

Fly o’er waste fens and windy fields.

A maiden-knight—to me is given

Such hope, I know not fear;

I yearn to breathe the airs of heaven

That often meet me here.

I muse on joy that will not cease,

Pure spaces clothed in living beams,

Pure lilies of eternal peace,

Whose odors haunt my dreams;

And, stricken by an angel’s hand,

This mortal armor that I wear,

This weight and size, this heart and eyes,

Are touched, are turned to finest air.”  —Tennyson, Sir Galahad

C.S. Lewis

The Devil exults most when he can steal a man’s joy of spirit from him. He carries a powder with him to throw into any smallest possible chinks of our conscience, to soil the spotlessness of our mind and the purity of our life. But when spiritual joy fills our hearts, the Serpent pours out his deadly poison in vain. – St. Francis of Assisi

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Angelo’s Squires

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The Squires of Don Bosco.….I thought it was a great name. And so did Angelo, though he found it hard to pick between St. John Bosco and the  holy and incredible young man we have been learning about…Pier Giorgio. In the end,  he decided to name his Boys’ club on the long-time family favorite, Don Bosco.

It was heartwarming and satisfying to watch my ten-year old son get ready for his weekly meeting of the Squires of Don Bosco.

Angelo was excited….he is a motivator! I didn’t know that about this good-natured, phlegmatic – type, lovable fellow of mine. Usually he is just going with the flow and besides an invention here and there (actually inventions are an ongoing passion), his motivation wasn’t astounding. You know the bear in the Jungle Book, Baloo?. Well, I have an Angeloo!

That’s what I thought until these past months. I have seen this wonderful leadership quality and drive develop in him in the past year. I have watched with interest and mild astonishment as it blossoms…

Anyway, he was busy getting things ready for his first meeting. I didn’t like that he wanted to have it in his bedroom upstairs. Upstairs is off-limits on Sundays with so many young children around. It could end up being mayhem up there and my daughters would be picking up the pieces afterwards….not very happy that little fingers were into their rooms and into their things.

Angelo assured me they would not terrorize the rooms and would clean up afterwards. So….after some hesitation….and reminding myself that “people are more important than things”, I agreed.

Every Sunday, our married couples come over and that is the opportune time for Angelo to have his meeting because his nephews would be over, too.

He bought himself some cheesy little badges over eBay as rewards. The boys get a badge for the different good deeds they do….learning the Act of Contrition, giving money to Pro-Life, doing certain chores at their homes, etc. Then once they get 5 badges they get a stripe on their sleeve (made diligently with duct tape).

Angelo made sure and gathered up camo shirts for all of the boys….there could be up to 8 of them if everyone shows up. And he will snag any unsuspecting boy who happens to be visiting that Sunday!

What a motley crew they make….from button-up, long sleeve shirts with baggy shorts to T-shirts and rubber boots!

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We have our very own F Troop (for those who remember)!

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One of our grandsons, Jacob, couldn’t stop talking about the meeting all week at his home! He was getting the grand honor of being promoted…..to SERGEANT! His mom, Elizabeth, was telling me all about it, while smiling from ear to ear! The irritation of Jacob incessantly asking “Can we go to Grandma’s yet?” didn’t surpass the joy of seeing such eagerness!

Hearing all the noise above in his bedroom, I asked Angelo what was going on? He informed me that he had them all doing lots of jumping jacks and extraordinary amounts of other exercises…. I thought it was funny (hopefully the parents would too when the boys complained about the amount of push-ups they were given)….I have a real Sgt. Carter on my hands! 😀

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It is so refreshing to have the young boys doing what young boys need to be doing! They should be using their imaginations, motivating one another, marching, playing outside, thinking of ways to do good deeds, etc.

So much of what is offered to children these days stunt this growth. We give them things to pacify them from a very young age. They need to learn to pacify themselves….with technology taking a backseat to their growth in character!

It’s amazing what they think of and come up with when given the opportunity, the space and the lack of “things” to amuse them. When they have to think on their own….they do it!

So let me encourage you mothers to seize the opportunities to cheer your children on in what they are interested in. Even if it means putting up with a messy house for a bit, using some material you had stored away for “later”, or using up every bit of the school glue! It’s worth it!

 

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“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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I had fun making this video for Virginia’s aprons!

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Special Summer Saints – St. Flavius, St Anne, etc.

So many feasts to learn about and to celebrate with our children! Some of these have just passed but we take note and pray to them in our needs. The ones that are coming up, if they have special significance in your life (what saint doesn’t have special significance, right?), then do something singular on that day…or, at the very least, teach the saint to your children!

From The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland

St. Felicitas of Rome (July 10)

Since she was supposed to have been the mother of seven sons, and is invoked for the bearing of male children, it is a good thing for us that my birthday is July 11 instead of July 10, or no doubt we should not have even our one daughter. You can see the powerful influence of her octave, even so.

St. Christopher (July 25). Being such a big saint, he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He is the patron of archers,  market carriers, fruit dealers, motorists, and Christopher David Newland, and is invoked against sudden death, storms, hail, toothache, impenitence at death, and, last of all, he is the patron of fullers, who are weavers – and, as I said, our town is full of weavers.

 St. Anne (July 26)

St. Anne is very special with us because she found our present house and land when we were being evicted elsewhere.

She is the patroness of old-clothes dealers, seamstresses, laceworkers, housekeepers, carpenters, turners, cabinetmakers, stablemen, and broommakers, and she is invoked against poverty and to find lost objects.

Although the martyrology doesn’t say so, she must be the patroness of Grandmothers, and we love her for that because cause we could never get along without our grandmothers – and both have Ann in their names.

The children love to recall that if she was still there when the Christ Child learned to talk, He called her Grandmother. The nicest of her tradition that her name is Anne and her husband’s Joachim; and now and then a non-Catholic will challenge the source of the “St. Anne” who we say is the Virgin’s mother.

But our Lady had a mother and father, and they must have had names, and it is as suitable to call them the traditional names of Anne and Joachim as it is to call them anything else. It is only the name that is open to challenge. The role is not. Unless, of course, they wish to propose that the Blessed Virgin was miraculously produced without the conventional parents.

Even Catholics think that’s going too far. They stubbornly insist that she must have had parents; and they love her parents because they brought her into the world. We think the best way to celebrate in honor of St. Anne is to do something lovely for the grandmothers.

Little girls might dress their best dolls as the tiny Mary this day and lay them in flower-bedecked cradles. We borrow words in her praise from the Greek liturgy this day, to add to our night prayers:

Hail, spiritual bird, announcing the spring time of grace!

Hail, sheep, mother of the ewe lamb, who by a word, conceived the Word, the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world!

Hail, blessed earth, whence sprang the branch that bore the divine Fruit!

O Anne, most blessed in God, grandmother of Christ our Lord, who didst give to the world a shining lamp, the mother of God; together with her intercede that great may be the mercy granted to our souls.

Let us cry to holy Anne with cymbals and psaltery. She brought forth the mountain of God and was borne up to the spiritual mountains, the tabernacles of Paradise.

St. Lawrence (August 10)

 

Now you remember him: he was roasted on a gridiron. Guess whom he is patron of? Cooks.

Let no one say that the Fathers who wrote the martyrology or assigned the patrons didn’t have a grand and grisly sense of humor.

He is also invoked against lumbago and fire (you’d better put his name on the fire extinguisher along with St. Florian’s) and for the protection of vineyards. He is also the patron of restaurateurs.

St. Raymond Nonnatus (August 31)

He is called “nonnatus”  because he was not “born,” but delivered by Caesarian section. Since so many of our friends have their babies this way, we feel it is important to have his friendship.

His mother died at his birth but he ended up a cardinal and a saint; so you see, God does take care of His little ones.

He is the patron of midwives and is invoked for women at childbirth, birth, and for little children.

 St. Giles, or Egidius (September 1)

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He is invoked against cancer, sterility in women, the terrors of the night (anyone have nightmares at your house?), and madness, and is the patron of cripples and spur makers. (Incidentally, the Compline hymn is a beautiful going-to-bed song for children who have nightmares: “. . . far off let idle visions fly, no phantom of the night molest.”)

There is a famous legend of St. Giles and a doe that was his friend and lived in a cave with him by the banks of the Rhone in France. One day, while running through the woods, the doe was pursued by a pack of hounds and hunters.

She raced back to the cave and disappeared inside, and the hunter leading the pack shot an arrow after her.

A moment later, Giles appeared with the arrow in his knee and the blood flowing freely. The hunter was filled with remorse, introduced himself as the king, Flavius, and offered to bring the royal physicians to treat the poor knee.

“No,” said St. Giles, “it is quite all right with me if God has permitted me to be crippled like this. He probably has some reason.”

As indeed He had, for Giles, bearing his infirmity with sweet patience for the love of God, became the patron and friend of all who share such infirmities with him.

“Holy water is water blessed by a priest with solemn prayer, to beg God’s blessing on those who use it, and protection from the powers of darkness. Have some holy water in your home. A holy water font is part of the equipment of a complete Catholic home. Use this powerful sacramental to help you keep clear of sin, and strengthen your desire to serve God in the name of the holy sign of the cross. Amen.” – Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1950

Every day I post great quotes, book suggestions, article links, sermons, etc. on my Finer Femininity Facebook Page! For those who don’t do Facebook, download the FF App and click on the Facebook icon. You will get all those goodies without the distractions of Facebook! A great feature…thank you Ocean Star Apps!

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Nagging – The Wife Desired

The ideal wife never nags.

Nagging of a husband can be just as destructive to a marriage as unfaithfulness; and it is much more common. Nagging may be slower in bearing its evil fruit, but the final parting is none the less bitter. “The stroke of a whip makes a blue mark, but the stroke of a tongue will break the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have perished by their own tongue.” Ecclus. 28, 21.

Nagging is the opposite of inspiration. An inspiring wife uplifts her husband. The nagging wife tears him down in whose eyes he should never be torn down–his own.

Since a nagging wife is such an abomination and since God has endowed her with the ready faculty of inspiration, why do we have so many wives who fail partially or completely in this respect?

Before I give what I think is the answer to this vital question, let me mention briefly a very small group of wives. I suppose that there have to be just so many sour grapes in every vineyard.

Some women are congenitally cantankerous, fault finding, carping, and shriveled souls, who need no reason or explanation for their nagging. This type should be included in the long list of evils from which we ask God to deliver us.

Every man child should begin at a tender age to pour out supplications that he never cross her path.

He who falls into her clutches must endure a ball and chain type of existence seldom suffered even in concentration camps.

One cheerful thought in this connection is that God never allows nature to go too far out of balance. He never allows birds to die out so that insects and worms take over. He also sees to it that there are always enough insects and worms to keep the birds fat and happy.

This shrew type of wife, thank heavens, is not too numerous. I like to think that she generally attracts her counterpart, the male scoundrel.

Most women who nag their husbands do so because they love their husbands. And the reason why wives are more prone to nag than husbands is that wives love more than husbands. This sounds very paradoxical, and it is. Yet it is true.

Love has many peculiar and even unexplored phases. When a woman loves a man, she creates an ideal of him in her mind. She can find no wrong in him, For a time the fierceness of her love may blind her to reality.

Sooner or later she begins to notice discrepancies between the ideal and the reality. He is not neat around the house with his personal belongings. He could be more punctual for meals. At least he could telephone and warn her of any unavoidable delay.

Her paragon of all virtues, her idol, begins to show his clay feet. He has a lazy streak and does not help her as much as he could around the house.

These and similar shortcomings, even defects of character, pain her because she loves him and wants him to be perfect. She hopes that mother or the neighbors have not observed these failings.

Perhaps she begins her campaign by whining at him. His unfavorable reception of this startling innovation in their heretofore unperturbed connubial bliss spurs her into more direct attack.

She relates his faults to him and scolds him. Like a school child he is put on the carpet and lectured. The old boy does not take to this procedure and strikes back with a few pointed criticisms of his own. Unless she is on guard, her chagrin at failing to improve the object of her love soon grows into resentment. She is in danger of becoming a chronic nagger.

The poor victim of a nagging wife was met at the kitchen door on return from work with a complaint about something or other instead of a little hug and a kiss. “You are late. The supper is all cold. I suppose that you stopped off for a few beers.”

“What’s the use,” he thought to himself, “here I was detained by the boss about a better job at the shop and a raise in pay. By golly, I think I’ll have a few beers tomorrow night. With her I have a credit of at least two beers.”

The history of the nagging wife is a desperate effort to kick her husband upstairs. He usually ends up at the bottom flat on his face. To escape her sharp tongue he fabricated now and then.

Through his first successes at keeping peace by this mean method he was deluded into thinking he had the solution.

Soon, of course, his false way of life boomeranged. He was trapped in his lies. He lost her confidence and esteem. Then he was inclined to avoid her as much as possible. His walk down to the corner drug store for a paper in the evening was an escape.

One evening he ran into several old school friends at the entrance to the tavern next to the drug store. He enjoyed the half hour or so in the tavern that evening. Everyone was congenial. Everything was very pleasant, very different from the atmosphere back at the house.

He was slapped on the back a time or two by old acquaintances. “How are you doing, Joe? Say, by the way, I hear you’re going to be foreman soon over at the shop. Nice going. Keep it up. Always knew that our star half-back would get somewhere.”

Later that evening husband and wife had a fight. “Are you going to become a tavern bum?” was more than he could take. He slept poorly the rest of the night and went off to work the next morning sullen.

The boss and he had another talk about the promotion. He hoped that the boss did not mistake his dull and unenthusiastic demeanor as a lack of confidence. Or was he confident in himself?

He was definitely on edge as he returned home again. Soon after supper he went off to the tavern feeling sorry for himself, and a tavern is no place in which a man can safely feel sorry for himself.

This husband was now in a pattern well known to counselors on marriage, a nagging wife and a husband seeking escape and consolation in drink.

A wife must never nag. It is one of the great sins of a married woman. Anybody could understand if she had fallen in a bad moment. Few of us are perfect. Yet one sin does not make a vice.

There is no possible excuse for her becoming a chronic nagger. A wife will never succeed in kicking her husband upstairs. She may lead him upstairs, entice him, joke with him, and inspire him.

By nature she has been endowed with the equipment to do this. It has been frequently said that a man must have a woman behind him.

The real truth is that every man must have a woman in front of him.

Everybody likes to be the object of good-natured kidding. It is a sign of popularity. It rubs our vanity the right way.

I did not sufficiently realize what was going on at the time, but now when I look back on my boyhood, I realize that my mother was a clever wife. She joshed and poked fun at my father.

We children got a big boot out of it. In fact, the most pleasant recollections of my youth were these sallies into the foibles of my father. Down inside, my father really enjoyed the game, even though he may not always have let on.

Now I realize that there was a method in all my mother’s banter.

Often she was putting over a point, a point which carried danger in it and could not be handled except in a good-natured kidding way.

She was accomplishing the same objective as a nagging wife. But what a world of difference in the method and the success arrived at.

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“How beautiful it would be if, during their evening prayer together, there could be a pause such as the one for the examination of conscience during which time a husband and wife would pray silently for the other, recommending to God all the other’s intentions sensed, guessed, and known as well as those that only God the Master of consciences could know. Even more beautiful would it be if they would receive Holy Communion together frequently so that each of them could speak more intimately to Our Lord about the needs of the other, begging not only temporal but spiritual favors for this cherished soul. ” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home http://amzn.to/2sPR32w (afflink)

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

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A Little Talk on Obedience For Your Children

I gave this talk to a group of girls. It would be a good thing to gather your children around and read it to them. 🙂

Today I am going to talk about the very vital virtue of obedience.

Stop to think about this for a moment.

Do you want to please God or do you want to please the devil?

I think that’s a pretty easy question for good Catholic children to answer and this is why I have chosen the virtue of obedience today. This virtue pleases Our Lord very much.

I am a wife and a mother. My first duty is to God. My second and very important duty is to be a good wife and a good mother. It is what God wants for me and I need to pray to become a better wife and mother, I need to read books that help me to become better and I need to avoid the things that may harm my path in being a good wife and mother.

You are children. You are different ages, it is true, and all of you have a first duty, like me, and that duty is to God.

Your second and very important duty is to love and honor your parents. You do this by being obedient. You need to listen to and obey your parents. You need to pray for this and avoid things and people that are obstacles in your path of being an obedient young lady.

Your parents love you very much. They are good parents. They are worthy of your obedience. Even if they were not you would have to obey them in everything but sin. You don’t have to worry about this part because your parents are good parents and will not ask you to sin.

Obedience is a virtue that Jesus loves very much! St. Augustine says it is the mother and root of all the virtues and St. Bonaventure says it is a ship in which one sails to heaven. When you die don’t you want to be on the ship that sails to heaven?

You are a young lady and obedience is very important to learn now. When you become a young woman and choose a vocation, whether it be the religious life or a wife and mother obedience is a very important virtue for both of these vocations.

The more you learn to be obedient now, the easier it will be later in life and the sweeter your life will be.

St. Francis de Sales says that he who is obedient will live sweetly and will be like a child in the arms of his mother, free from worry and from care. That’s a pretty awesome promise!

Even if you see faults in your parents (and you will see them because they are only human) you need to always show respect.

The fourth commandment does not say to honor a good or a perfect mother and father, it says to honor your mother and father. Period.

St. Thomas Moore was the Chancellor to the King. He had the second highest position in the country! He had his aging father living with him and when St. Thomas was called out on business of state, before leaving the house, he would get on his knees, kiss his father’s hand and ask him to bless him.

He was a grown man, he was Chancellor to the King and he still showed such love and respect for his father! How much more, as children, you need to show love and respect to your parents!

Think about Our Lady for a minute. When she was young she was happy, cheerful and she was obedient.

When Little Mary was out getting the water at the well or playing or doing an errand, her mother, St. Anne, would miss her because Mary made their home happy.

If you are gone does your mother miss you? Do you make your home happy? If your mother is glad and relieved when you are gone you have some work to do!

When the child Mary was called by St. Anne she came right away. She dropped whatever she was doing, no matter what it was and went to her mother.

This makes me think of the convent. Let’s imagine this.

The sisters are quiet. They work and they pray. Once a day recreation time comes. They get their sewing out and sit with the other sisters. They chat, they tell stories and they laugh. One of the sisters is telling a very interesting tale about her life when she was small. The sisters are all smiling and enjoying it. Suddenly the bell goes off to call the nuns back to work! The nun who was telling the story stops mid-sentence and does not continue. Oh, she so wanted to tell the rest of the story but she knew what obedience was. She lays down her sewing and goes back to work! What an example of wonderful obedience!!

When the child Mary was called in the morning, she jumped out of bed the very first time! It’s not a very good way to start the day if you lay in bed and make your mother call you more than once. I don’t think disobedience is a good way to start the day, do you?

Mary was not fussy about her food. She ate what was put in front of her.

St. Anne didn’t have to ask Mary to set the table. If Mary thought that it needed to be done, she offered to do it before she was asked.

Most importantly, and this is what makes obedience sweet, she did all these things with a smile….a cheerful heart. Why? To please God.

How many of these things that Mary did are you doing?

Do you come right away when your mother or father calls you? Do you jump out of bed the first time you are called? Do you eat what’s put in front of you without complaining? Do you offer to do things even before you are asked? And most importantly do you do them with a cheerful heart?

Obedience is not just doing your chores when you are told to, though that is very important. It is also the attitude of the heart.

When your mom or dad calls, you should answer respectfully. Be careful of the tone of voice you use. Make sure it is not impatient and rude. You should never show signs of an ill-mannered girl by sighing and rolling your eyes when your mom and dad are talking to you.

There is one quote in the Bible, and remember that the Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God, that has a very beautiful promise attached to it. The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother that you may live a long, full life in the land that God gives you.”  Who doesn’t want a long, full life??

And just remember your angel is always with you. He’s always helping you to be good and obedient. Do you pray to your angel? Are you listening to him?
You may have friends who are not obedient. They may tell lies and call names. They may make fun of people. You need to be a good example to help them. The very first way you can be a good example is to be obedient!

Is being obedient hard at times? You bet it is! Does it always makes sense? Is it always fair? No, sometimes it seems like it isn’t.
There is a special story about St. Francis of Assisi and the brothers at the friary. Even now, every year the brethren plant a cabbage in the garden and let it flower to remind them of this story. St. Francis told two young brothers to plant some cabbage plants upside down. One did, but the other knew better and planted his right side up. St. Francis asked the second brother to leave the monastery, for, he said, it had been a test of obedience, not of planting cabbages.
Then there is the story of St Therese of the Child Jesus. She was in the convent and her Mother Superior told her to go and water this branch….a branch that looked completely dry and dead! And she told her to water it every day!

Did that make sense to St. Therese? No, it didn’t. But she did it anyway. Every day you could see St. Therese out in the sister’s garden watering this twig. Maybe even some of the sisters were smiling to themselves because it seemed so silly.

One day St Therese went out to water it and was so surprised to see a beautiful bloom on that old, dead branch! Our Lord, to show His blessing and how pleased He was with her obedience, made that lifeless branch bloom for her!

So, no, obedience is not always easy. You must pray for grace each day. Don’t forget your morning and night prayers and don’t forget your rosary. God is good and gives us all things that are good for our souls. So if we pray for the virtue of obedience He will surely give it to us!

And if we are obedient life will be sweet!

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Here is a little prayer on obedience:

Dear Jesus, You are God’s Beloved Son and You obey Him completely, even if it meant giving Your life for all of us. Help me to live like You, trusting and obeying the will of the Father, through my parents each and every day. Help me increase my faith, that I may obey them quickly, fully and lovingly. Teach me to obey them for the right reason, which is simply because I love You.

You can print out this prayer card sheet, cut them out and give one to each of your children and all the children who visit, your neighbor children, the children you sit behind in church, etc.     😀

Obedience Prayer Card

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“I insist that it is every woman’s duty to know, or to acquire some practical knowledge of housekeeping, so that she may be ready for any emergency. Her fitness for it will be a perpetual source of satisfaction to her, for there is nothing more self-satisfying than to feel that one is capable; it gives confidence, strength, and self-reliance.”- Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893 http://amzn.to/2slSTay (afflink)

Holy Family, Graceful Vintaj Religious Pendant Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted!

This graceful Vintaj necklace can be worn every day as a reminder of your devotion to the Holy Family! Get it blessed and you can use it as a sacramental.

Available here.

 

 

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Peace in Making Decisions

Are we struggling with decisions in our lives? Does our desire to know exactly what is the right thing to do paralyze us into doing nothing? This wonderful excerpt by Father Jacques Philippe will give us peace of heart, knowing that our intentions, our good will, is sufficient to please Our Lord, even if we sometimes mess up in our decisions.

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From Searching for and Maintaining Peace, Fr. Jacques Philippe

Often we torment ourselves excessively regarding our decisions. As there is a false humility, a false compassion, we can also say that, concerning our decisions, there is sometimes that which one could call a “false obedience” to God. We would like always to be absolutely certain of doing God’s will in all of our choices and never to be mistaken. But, there is, in this attitude, something that is not exactly right for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, this desire to know what God wants sometimes hides a difficulty in enduring a situation of incertitude. We want to be released from having to decide by ourselves. But, frequently, the will of the Lord is that we do decide for ourselves, even if we are not absolutely sure that this decision would be the best.

In effect, in this capacity to decide in incertitude, in doing that which seems to us best without spending hours equivocating, there is an attitude of confidence and abandonment: “Lord, I have though about it and prayed to know Your will. I do not see it clearly, but I am not going to trouble myself any further.

I am not going to spend hours racking my brain. I am deciding such and such a thing because, all thing carefully considered, it seems to me the best thing to do. And I leave everything in Your hands. I know well that, even if I am mistaken, You will not be displeased with me, for I have acted with good intentions.

And if I have made a mistake, I know that you are able to draw good from this error. It will be for me a source of humility and I will learn something from it !”

And I remain a peace.

For another thing, we would love to be infallible, to never be wrong, but there is a lot of pride in this desire and there is also the fear of being judged by others. The one, on the contrary, who accepts peacefully the idea of being wrong from time to time and accepts that others know it manifests true humility and a true love of God.

On the other hand, let us not have a false idea of what God requires of us. God is our Father, good and compassionate, Who knows the shortcomings of His children, the limitations of our judgement.

He asks of us goodwill, the right intentions, but in no way does He demand that we would be infallible and that all of our decisions would be perfect! And additionally, if all our decisions were perfect, this would, without doubt, do us more harm that good! We would quickly take ourselves for supermen.

To conclude, the Lord loves him more who knows how to decide for himself without equivocating, even when he is uncertain, and who abandons himself with confidence to God as to the consequences, rather than the one who torments his spirit unceasingly in an effort to know what God expects of him and who never decides.

Because, there is, in the first attitude, more abandonment, confidence and therefore love, than in the second.

God loves those who make their way with freedom of spirit and who don’t “split hairs” too much over the details. Perfectionism doesn’t have much to do with sanctity.

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True beauty comes from within. If that beauty is lacking, no exercise program, eating plan, or wardrobe update can put it there. No interior decorating scheme can give it to me. “The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit… is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:4 – Emilie Barnes http://amzn.to/2sKSwHf (afflink)

It’s what we Catholics do on Sundays! Some coloring pages for your children…. (Click on the individual picture for full-size).

 

 

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It’s the Little Things…..

It’s the little things that can often make or break a marriage….those little courtesies, kindnesses and the respect we show to one another. The following is a few of those meaningful courtesies and a few thoughts that will add life to your relationship.

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From 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

Enjoy the man he is.

Don’t compare him to anyone else. There is little more destructive than hoping he’ll become like someone he isn’t – whether said aloud or thought silently in your heart. Instead, make the most of his own unique qualities.

Don’t be surprised when faced with a trial.

It’s not something to tip-toe around, but something to walk through. So walk through it together. At some point, either he or you – or both of you – will encounter a serious bump in the road. Maybe even a serious bump in your relationship. Trials come in life and marriage, so prepare yourself for the possibility.

Be quick to admit when you’re wrong.

Don’t waste a minute holding on to your pride. Okay, so I’ve been terrible at this one. I just hate to be wrong! But what a silly way to live – and to love. So if you’re wrong? Just say so and get it over with. It’s not as bad as it might first sound.

Never leave off with the romance.

And it doesn’t have to look like it does in the movies (I actually like our way even better). Maybe it’s simple, sweet things – like a walk in the park or sipping tea on the porch. Make for a regular date-night that means just the two of you, talking and enjoying each other.

Be sweet to him.

He’ll always be glad for a little of that. There’s such strength found in sweetness. And something not commonly found in our harsh world today. Be that refreshing, soul-stirring voice in his ear. (Song of Solomon 2: 14)

Care about your appearance.

Not out of vanity, but in making an effort to put forth your best. Freshen up a bit when before you see him. Slip on that lovely blouse he often compliments you on. Brush out your hair and pretty-up a bit.

Protect your marriage.

Set up safeguards together to keep things and people from harming what you’ve got. If you have something you treasure? You watch over it and are willing to defend it. This doesn’t mean you are necessarily insecure, paranoid, or controlling. This simply means that you care deeply about your marriage and recognize that we live in a wicked world and you have an Enemy who would seek to tear it apart.

Speak well of him to others.
Never put him down or make a slight. Emphasize his strong points and all the many things you appreciate about him. Never let anyone doubt you’re his biggest fan. He’ll be grateful to you for this.

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“The Crucifix on the wall, the pictures of Our Lord and His Mother – the loveliest you can afford – the little shrine with lights and flowers – these unceasingly speak to your little ones of God’s love and His Beauty, preparing them for that friendship with God, that willing, personal submission to Him that is true freedom and happiness.” -Dominican Nun, Australia, 1954, Painting by Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller

Add a little country charm to your kitchen attire with these Mother and Daughter ” Country Sweethearts” Aprons! Feminine and Beautiful!

Available here.

Check out my new book, Cheerful Chats for Catholic Children here! 🙂

Review  (Thank you, Corina!) : “This book is an awesome addition to a nightly routine or any time of day you can add a little devotion. I use this kind of devotional also as a discipline tool as you can recall the stories and remind your children of their errors through the examples of these stories. I am so glad to find another helper in raising our children in the Catholic Faith…”

51X7itOrjFLYou can get my True Womanhood Finer Femininity book here.

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The Meaning of Home

Ever since we have been married, we have tried to live an “Open Heart, Open Home” mentality. We have been blessed many times over for it.

We like to share our home, our family, with others who are seeking a little taste of “large (rather raucous) family life”. We play games, listen to music, eat popcorn, dance and just enjoy one another.img_0182

The house is not always clean. My cupboards need help. If I waited to invite people over when the house is perfect….well, you know the end of that story. So I try not to sweat the small stuff and have learned to humbly admit I haven’t got it all together in every aspect of my housecleaning abilities. Nobody seems to mind. They keep coming back! 🙂

My mom has reminded me through the years that people are more important than things. It’s a good lesson to learn.

It is a beautiful thing to be able to take part in the recreation and the friends that our kids like to have around. It is family-friendly activities and we, as parents, watch over and take part in the fun!

I just mentioned to my daughter, Rosie, who is still at home, that it is quite amazing that my newly married daughter and son-in-law’s favorite pastime is to come over to Mom and Dad’s and play board games! It makes me smile. 🙂

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

The Meaning of Home

Why is a “welcome home” lifestyle so important?

I truly believe we all need a spiritual center, a place where we belong. A place where we can go to unwind and regroup and get in touch with who we truly are… and then reach out to share with others.

That doesn’t necessarily mean a physical location.

Home is as much a state of the heart and spirit as it is a specific place.

Many a person living on the road has learned to “make herself at home” in hotel rooms, other people’s houses, or wherever she finds herself.

And yet… just as our spirits require physical bodies to do God’s work here on earth, most of us need a physical place we can call home.

And we have the privilege of making the place where we live into a welcoming refuge for ourselves and others-a place where simplicity and beauty can find a foothold in our lives. This kind of home doesn’t take a lot of money or even a lot of time. (I’ve seen it done by stay-at-home moms and high-placed executives and even a just-graduated bachelor or two.)

It doesn’t require a professional’s touch in decorating or cooking or home maintenance.

It can certainly be clone without a maid.

What a welcoming home does require is a caring and willing spirit-a determination to think beyond bare-bones necessities and to make room in our lives and schedules and budgets for what pleases the senses and enriches the soul.

Most of all, it requires an “I can” attitude, a confidence that we have something to share and the ability to share it.

Besides, a refuge is not a hole where you disappear to eat and sleep and then emerge to go about the business of life.

A welcoming home is where real life happens.

It’s where personalities are nurtured, where growth is stimulated, where people feel free not only to be themselves but also to develop their best selves.

That caring, nurturing quality-not the absence of noise or strife-is what makes a home a refuge.

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fall finer fem quote for the day fall

Learn to forgive, and learn to apologize. Holding on to “stuff” even for a few hours is destructive. It is like having poison in your system for just a short time; you think you are teaching your spouse a lesson, but, in truth, you are weakening the soul of your marriage. Just forgive and move on. For many, saying I’m sorry is difficult. Just get over it and say the words and say them in a meaningful way. -No Greater Joy, Artist: Loui Jover

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The Joy of the Catholic Mother

from The Christian Mother

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The present age, which in many respects has renounced God and religion, that is to say, the truth, no longer knows the true destiny of man, and gives itself up to the vain and erroneous belief, that he most perfectly attains the end of his existence, who secures for himself the greatest amount of earthly goods, worldly honors, and sensual pleasures.

The Church, on the contrary, and the truth confided to her care, teach and proclaim that the end of our existence here upon earth, and of the existence of all created things, is the glorification of God and the salvation of man; that we must live the life of the children of God, and by serving and glorifying Him make ourselves worthy of being admitted to the never-ending happiness of heaven.

This also holds good with regard to the state of matrimony. The chief endeavors of married people must be directed towards serving God in the state of life on which they have entered, that in so doing they may work out the salvation of their immortal souls.

But their special care must be for the children whom God may confide to them, to make them good and fervent Christians, who will prefer the service of God and the salvation of their souls to all things else. It is for this reason that the Church does not allow her children to live in the state of matrimony before having offered to them a careful preparation—that is to say, before having first sanctified and consecrated them by that Holy Sacrament which our Divine Savior Himself has for that purpose instituted and left to her care.

By virtue of this Sacrament man and wife become in a mysterious manner intimately united, as Christ is united with His Church, so that they cease, as it were, to be two persons; “They shall be two in one flesh.”

All the graces they may stand in need of will through this Sacrament descend immediately upon the newly married couple, and continue to descend, enabling them to persevere in leading a truly Christian life, far different from that of the heathen, “who do not know God, “ but like to that which is expected of the “children of the Saints.“

Wedlock thus consecrated and sanctified is blessed by the Lord;—the spouse becomes a mother. Rejoicing as a mother she holds her newborn babe in her arms. The word of the Lord has been verified in her:

“A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (St. John xvi.).

But her joy is to become yet fuller. The Church hastens to meet her and receives the child from her arms, in order that, after being freed by the waters of regeneration from the unenviable inheritance of our first parents, it may become a child of God.

As such it is again confided to the happy mother, who, whilst casting the eye of faith on her darling, beholds henceforward also a child of God, clothed with all the majesty becoming the child of so great a Father, loved by Him even more than by herself, and endowed with the right, as honorable as it is unmerited, to become in due time an heir of God’s own heavenly glory and happiness.

Is not this well calculated to fill a mother’s heart, if enlightened by faith, with transports of joy and delight? And what shall I say of her vocation from this day?

What more precious in the sight of God than a child in whom is reflected the image of His divine majesty!

This most precious gift He confides to the father, it is true, but especially to the mother, that hence-forward she may be His helpmate in the grand work of fitting it for the enjoyment of heaven, for that glorious and blissful life which He has destined for it from all eternity, and that she may participate in that joy which is found in the consciousness of having worked for a soul’s salvation.

What a glorious and high vocation! And consequently, what a high dignity is conferred on her—the dignity of a mother! Behold here how we are to regard a Christian spouse after she becomes a mother!

Will not, or rather must not, a grateful joy take possession of her heart? Will not the consciousness of her dignity as a mother, and of the consequent high and important duties devolving upon her, elevate her heart and at the same time urge it forward to a holy earnestness?

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Thank God for His many blessings. Make the most of each and every day. Enjoy the journey. The world will keep whizzing by but we must take time to smell the roses. Each day is a gift, each person in your life is special. Take nothing for granted. 

Add a touch of country charm with this unique and lovely “God Bless our Farm”Apron! Feminine and Beautiful!

Make a statement with this lovely and graceful “God Bless our Farm” handcrafted apron….fully lined…made with care.
Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! 🌺 💗 Will fit most sizes… Top 12 in. across. Length 29 in. Skirt front 26in. around. Neck tie can be adjusted for custom fit. Ties in front or back.

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Tips for Chaste Company-Keeping – Fr. Lovasik

TIPS FOR CHASTE COMPANY-KEEPING From Clean Love in Courtship, Fr. Lovasik

Your most powerful ally in your noble struggle for decency is your religion. It takes you by the hand, guiding you over the pitfalls that beset your way, and puts your feet safely upon the paths that lead to the sunlit mountain peaks of nobility of character and purity. Not only does it make clear the moral law and supply sanctions for its observance, but it offers you aids to carry out that law.

While the preservation of purity calls for a constant and determined struggle, you are not struggling single-handedly. God is always ready and willing to help you with His grace. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it.” (Cor. 10:13.)

With God’s all-powerful help, you can win every victory. This grace of God is obtained through the sacraments, prayer, self-denial, and a tender love for Jesus and Mary.

Regular Confession

Regular confession keeps your soul in order. It is God’s means of ridding you of and preserving you from the greatest evil in the world—sin. For this reason it is a source of peace and joy.

In the Sacrament of Penance:

I. You receive sanctifying grace if it has been lost by mortal sin (this grace is increased if it had not been lost)

II. Your sins are forgiven

III. You are freed from eternal punishment due to any mortal sin, and from a part, at least, of the temporal punishment due to your sins

IV. You receive actual grace, which is God’s help to enable you to do good and avoid sin in the future

V. You get back the merits of the good works you have lost by mortal sin. Remember that the most important part of confession is not so much the telling of your sins, as perfect sorrow for them.

Your contrition is perfect when you are sorry because your sins offended God, whom you should love above all things for His own sake. But contrition is also a hatred for the sins you committed, with a firm purpose of sinning no more.

This means that you must really want to make up your mind not to sin any more and to try hard to keep away from whatever leads to sin, such as bad companions, bad places, bad reading.

If you do not really want to keep away from mortal sin and from whatever will surely lead you into it, you make a bad confession.

In confessing sins of impurity, remember the following:

I. If you have real mortal sins to confess, then you must tell what you did and how often you did it. A confessor must know the kind of sin (self- abuse, immodest embracing, fornication) and the number of times; otherwise he may not give absolution. This does not mean’ that you must give a detailed description of your thoughts or acts.

II. If you are confessing sins of impurity and you mean only venial sins (negligence in regard to thoughts, lack of sufficient reason in external acts) or mere temptations (imaginations or feelings that were not willful), then indicate this to the confessor by saying, “I had bad thoughts, but they were not willful” or “I tried to get rid of them.” Otherwise he may think you mean mortal sins.

III. If you wish to confess doubtful sins (you doubt about consent, or whether you confessed the matter before), mention your doubt.

Strictly speaking, doubtful sins do not have to be confessed, though it is better to do so, unless your confessor decides otherwise. Nor do you have to abstain from Holy Communion when you merely doubt whether you have sinned.

You must be absolutely sure of having committed a mortal sin before you can say that you are not able to go to Communion.

However, you should make an act of perfect contrition which will dispose your soul for the reception of the Sacrament.

IV. If you have difficulties in regard to chastity or if you are inclined to be scrupulous, you should have a regular confessor. His advice will be more valuable since he will know the condition of your soul and the problems you must meet.

Trust him, for God commissioned him to be your friend and your soul’s guardian. Go to Confession every week or at least once a month.

This will enable you not only to cleanse your soul from sin, but also to correct your faults and keep yourself pleasing to God. It is one of the best means of keeping courtship clean and happy.

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“The Sacrament of our marriage will impart to us the graces necessary to keep our good resolutions. How few understand this Sacrament! How few prepare themselves for it and expect to receive from it the graces it can give to those who seek them worthily.” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home http://amzn.to/2lPopMH (afflink)

Lovely, Charming….

Made by my daughter Virginia, these hats are such a beautiful addition to the little girl’s wardrobe. Visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe  for a peek! 🙂 🙂

 

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