Thank you, Father Kelly, for such common-sense advice in a world where progressive methods are touted by the “professionals” and parents are berated for their old-fashioned ways when it comes to bringing up their children.
Rev. Fr. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook
No laws can be effective unless penalties are imposed when they are violated. So too with rules governing your child’s conduct: You will be unable to direct him properly unless he learns that undesirable conduct will cause more pain than it is worth.
The idea of disciplining a child is viewed with disfavor by some modern experts. In their progressive view, the child should be free to express himself, and “parents who hamper this self-expression hamper the development of his personality.”
Enough years have passed so that we can now examine the adult products of this progressive school of discipline, and we find that the general results are not good.
Children who are permitted to do as they please without a control system to govern their actions tend to become insufferably selfish, thoughtless of the rights and needs of others, and incapable of exercising the self-discipline which adults need to live harmoniously together.
Fortunately, the let-them-do-as-they-please school of child training is rapidly becoming passe. Most authorities now recognize that a child not only needs but also wants checks over his actions. Even in adolescence, the so-called “age of rebellion against parents,” youngsters have affirmed many times that they prefer to be guided by rules of conduct and expect to be punished for infractions. In fact, teen-agers often complain that their parents are not sufficiently precise in announcing what will and will not be allowed.
Since children vary so greatly in temperament, along with their parents, it is probably unwise to set down hard and fast rules of discipline. However, five general principles can be adapted to fit most circumstances.
1. Keep in mind what purpose your discipline is intended to serve. You should discipline your child mainly to instill in him proper methods of behavior and to develop his ability to control himself in the future.
This principle implies that you must subjugate your own personal feelings, likes and dislikes when exercising them might not serve a useful purpose.
To illustrate: A father has often slept late on Saturday mornings while his young children raced about the house making noise. Usually he merely rolled over in bed and put a pillow over his head to keep out the sounds.
One morning, however, he awakened with a headache while his children pounded their drums. His first impulse was to reach out from bed and spank them. But a second thought convinced him that his children were behaving properly in the light of their past experience, since they had no way of knowing that this was different from other Saturdays. Therefore, the father spoke to them reasonably, telling them that their noise disturbed him. If, after his explanation, they had continued to pound their drums, he could legitimately punish them to stress not only the importance of obedience but also that they must sacrifice their own interests for the good of others.
The child who knows that his punishment is dictated by his parents’ love for him will become a partner in the punishment–at least to some extent–because he realizes that it is for his own good.
That is why wise parents sometimes permit their youngsters to choose their own punishment when they have violated rules. The youngster who recognizes the need for punishment and who willingly accepts it takes an important step toward the goal of all his training–the disciplining of himself, a process which will continue until death.
2. Let the punishment fit the crime. In applying this principle, try to put yourself in the child’s place. A four-year-old girl was playing in a side yard with several boys of her age. A neighbor observed her exposing her sex organs to them and reported the fact to her mother.
The mother raced to the yard, grabbed the girl by the arm, dragged her into the house and beat her with a strap, raising welts upon her back.
This mother should have realized that her daughter lacked the experience to know that her action was not proper. Moreover, the punishment was entirely out of keeping with the offense. It was based on the mother’s own sense of shame and not that of the child. It was an exercise of hate–not of love.
What offenses call for physical punishment? In the view of most experts, very few. However, reasonable corporal punishment, sparingly used, can be more effective than some educators like to admit.
If a child’s actions might cause physical harm to himself or another, his punishment should be strict enough to impress upon him the dangers of his actions. For instance, a child of two does not understand why he should not play with matches or cross the street without an adult. If he reaches for matches or steps from the sidewalk, you might spank him because this is the only way he can learn a vital lesson.
The very young child measures good and bad in terms of his own pleasure and pain, and since most of his experiences are still on a physical level, physical punishment has its place. But wherever possible, love and affection should hold the foremost position. When your child resists the temptation to touch matches or cross a street unaided, use praise to assure him that he is doing the right thing. Spank him if nothing else works.
Some psychologists make much of the possible harm done to a youngster by physical punishment. But the Bible’s teaching that “He that spareth the rod hateth his son” (Proverbs, 13:24) indicates that physical punishment, as such, does not harm the child emotionally.
When it is accompanied by indications of hatred, it is undeniably wrong. But the parent who applies the rod in a calm way and as evidence of his desire to help the youngster’s development probably does not do lasting hurt.
On the other hand, some of the most brutal punishments–the kind that leave wounds for years, if not for a lifetime–come from words.
One little girl was never spanked by her father. But whenever she did things which he found objectionable, he shook his head and commented that she was certainly “a queer one.” The girl is now a woman of fifty, and her father has been dead thirty years, but his attitude still rankles deeply. She believes that it reflected his unwillingness or inability to understand her.
It should not be necessary to punish girls physically after they reach the age of twelve. Many teachers believe, however, that teen-age boys can be held in line by–and respect–authority exercised in a physical way. Girls usually respond more readily to deprivations of privileges–being denied permission to visit friends on weekends, to attend movies or watch television.
3. Punish only once for each offense. One advantage of corporal punishment which is often overlooked is that it usually “clears the air.” Once it has been applied, parents and child generally feel free to forget it and go on to other matters. When their punishment is less decisive, parents may tend to keep harping on the offense–and the child never knows when it is going to be thrown up to him again.
To apply this principle, make sure that your child thoroughly understands what his punishment will be. For instance, if you decide to deny him desserts for a week, tell him so at the outset; do not keep him wondering from day to day when the punishment will end. And do not harp on the offense after the punishment ends. Let him know that when he pays for his conduct he starts with a clean slate.
4. Be consistent. Your child deserves to know exactly what kind of conduct is tolerated, and what will be punished. Unless he knows this, he will try to find out how far he can go. If you tell him that he must be home at 8:30, he will be uneasy if he arrives at 9:00 and is not called to task for being late. Next time, he will be tempted to remain out until 9:30, and he will continue pushing the hour ahead until you step down firmly. If you berate him for arriving home at 9:00 after he returned at 10:00 the night before without comment from you, you will leave him thoroughly confused as to where the limits actually lie.
To be effective, your rules must also be fair. One child should not be punished for actions which another commits with impunity. In one family with seven children, all know that they will lose their allowances for a week if they are not at home for dinner at a designated time.
One evening one youngster came home late with the excuse that the bus was delayed. His mother said that she would not punish him. The father then insisted that the boy lose his allowance, because he knew that once any excuses were accepted, the parents would be besieged with them and the entire system of fairness for all would break down. As this example indicates, parents who do not apply rules consistently actually perform a disservice to the child.
5. Investigate before you punish. In order to discipline your child properly, you must necessarily know the facts in the case. Otherwise you do not know what purpose your punishment should serve. Parents may easily misinterpret a child’s action. Sometimes he does things which are wrong because no one has told him not to do them and he does not know whether they are approved or not. Be especially careful before punishing a child involved in a quarrel or fight with another. It is often difficult to find out who is at fault, since both children usually contribute to a squabble to greater or lesser extents.
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We are busy mothers and wives. We could lament this fact, but instead we will rejoice in it. Idleness is the devil’s workshop. There are so many self-inflicted nervous ailments that we avoid if we learn to resign, no, like my mother would say, EMBRACE our crosses each day and glory in being the best wife and mother we can be!
And for the unmarried, do not be afraid to embrace your vocation, whatever it may be. Hesitation towards the vocation of wife and mother should be spurned. It is a sacrificial life, it is true, but one that is full of so many joys, so many opportunities to give of yourself. As the years go by, you will marvel at your growth in character because of what you have given to your family.
Father Irala from Achieving Peace of Heart:
No one who lives for himself alone lives as fully or produces as much as he who lives for others and does good for others.
When you are dominated by your unconscious mental activities, you lead a negative life which is colored by a sickly egoism.
You are always thinking of your own troubles and finding ways to lessen them. You can find no time to busy yourself with others or do any positive and progressive work. You see the enemy everywhere and are wholly taken up with fleeing from him.
Such a person lives, as Fosdick puts it, as if in a room lined with mirrors. Wherever he looks he sees himself.
But when he busies himself with others, several of these mirrors are changed into windows through which he can see other faces, other lives and other more pleasant landscapes.
You will also find great help in a noble ideal. This may be professional or religious. Let it be some unselfish dedication of your work either out of patriotism, love of your neighbor, or from some religious motive.
I knew a young doctor who was exhausted by his studies and first labors. He was crushed by insomnia, obsessions, fatigue and a sickly egoism.
Then he decided to take a trip to rest and distract himself. On his arrival at a Chinese port, a missionary invited him to visit his hospital.
He began to interest himself in the illnesses of those good people and lent them his professional service out of compassion. He ended up by remaining as the head of the establishment. He forgot his own ills and was completely cured.
Employ your time well and so distribute it among different tasks that by keeping yourself busy you have no time for worry.
To enable the factor of feeling to intervene here, let your undertakings be in the possible and practical order.
Make sure they are useful and interesting. Only when the sick imagination finds the field of consciousness unoccupied will it be able to torture you with its sad and discouraging exaggerations. Idleness and the lack of an ideal produce more neurotics than work ever does.
A young bride, her mother told me, used to live tormented by fears. One fear was that she would lose her mind.
She bore a son, and still the fears continued. In the course of time she had five more children and because she was not rich she had to do all her own housework. Hardly could a worry take shape when a child’s wail would bring her flying to its side.
Or two of them would start a squabble and she would be off to calm them down. Or she had to get a meal ready, or the ironing board was calling her.
Or rain threatened to wet her laundry that was stretched on the line to dry. Some urgent household task would always be taking up her whole attention and coming just in time to kill worries at their first stirring.
The famous Jesuit scholar, Father Wassman, conquered his own depression by taking up the study of ants.
In this field he later became so preeminent that the whole world marveled at his books.
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by Leane VanderPutten
“You do have a choice in how your life plays out. Some of you are fighting your present situation and making no more progress than someone fighting quicksand. You fight your husband, and every verbal punch you land leaves a bruise on you as well. It is time to stop struggling in strife, bitterness, frustration, and disappointment.
….As you have probably already discovered, you don’t just marry “the right man” and live happily ever after. Every man I know is a bona fide sinner. And, considering that you, too, are a selfish, fallen creature , it will take real effort to make a heavenly marriage. A good marriage, just like anything worthwhile, takes doing the right things every day… every hour… every moment.” -D. Pearl
These are very wise words.
Although I am not a marriage guru, I have had many victories (among the failures), and, in my humble opinion, the right things that we need to be doing every day are:
1. Prayer….I struggle with prayer. I think we all do. I do know that it has to be the foundation of everything else in our lives. As St. Francis de Sales says, “If you haven’t got prayer, you haven’t got anything.” Consistency is important. We don’t necessarily have to add more prayers, but we need to work on making our prayers more heartfelt, with less self-inflicted distractions. We DO need to be saying the Family Rosary. The Consecration to Our Lady, St. Louis de Montfort style, is very, very valuable, too.
2. Nipping those negative and critical thoughts in the bud before they become monsters. Okay, you have probably tried the other way…you know, letting those destructive thoughts soak up all your brain cells? So….how does that feel? Does it make you feel good? Does it build your relationship with your husband? Do you find that your kids act better while you are steaming about their father’s inadequacies?? Of course not! Hey, you had better put a brake on those thoughts! You have no idea what a downward spiral that can be and where it can lead to. NOT worth it!! Say a prayer, an ejaculation. Thank God for little things. Get interested in something. Don’t let the crazy, lousy thoughts take hold…..Make the effort. God will bless you for it. This is no small thing….those little thoughts can become huge problems!
2. Reading good books on changing your own attitude….not books on how he should be treating you. This is important. You might pick up a relationship book. It may have great points on having a wonderful relationship. In this book it deals with men and women’s responsibilities to each other for making their marriage better….All good stuff. The only thing is, when you are already fighting some stinkin’ thinkin’ about your husband, you DO NOT need to be reading what he needs to be doing.
Choose books that deal with YOU, the woman….with your attitude. There are some very good books out there….albeit mostly Protestant but some Catholic, too (look on My Book List). There are many good books on attitude changers, too. Find them. Dig them up.
I’ve said it before, you can only change yourself. And you need changing….we all do! Roll up your sleeves and get to it! Too much is at stake here.
3. Talking to the right people…By the right people, I mean those who will help you to shift your attitude…..not those who enable you to wallow in your self-pity more than you already are.
When I was frustrated and feeling sorry for myself, I went to my mother. Not because she was my mother (that was a nice perk, though) but for a couple of reasons…I didn’t want to air out my problems to just anyone. I knew in my heart that this was something that I had to get through, that his faults were exactly that, just faults, and I had plenty of my own. I didn’t need just anyone knowing all I was feeling at the time….because all those feelings were just passing.
The other reason I chose my mom is that she always, gently, helped me to see just what I had for a husband. She helped me to realize I had a lot to be thankful for. And this is what I wanted in a mentor….Someone that would help me to turn my thinking around when it was slipping down a dark alley way. I came out of those talks (and I only resorted to this type of outlet when I just felt I couldn’t overcome the lousy thoughts myself) refreshed. I had vented. I realized how small these things really were and I was ready to give of myself once again.
Find a mentor like that. Pray for one. They are worth their weight in gold.
Don’t abuse it though. Most of the work is going to be done by you. But every once in a while you may need someone to talk to. MAKE SURE it’s someone who is all for you, your spouse and your marriage!
4. Kick that No-Good-For-Nothing Self-Pity right out the door and into the lagoon!
Self-pity is a killer! It is a pond of scum that swallows any good thoughts that try to poke their way out of the filth. Don’t give in to it!!
Look at your life….I know you can find so many things to be grateful for. Keep bringing those persistent negative thoughts back to a spirit of thankfulness! It doesn’t matter that you don’t feel it. God will bless your efforts.
The beginning quote of this article says that a good marriage, like anything worthwhile, takes EFFORT, WORK, PRAYER!! It is a top priority. It means everything to the success of your family life.
Self-pity will strangle you and your loved ones quicker and with more efficacy than anything I know of. It is a woman’s worst enemy and woe to those who wallow in it. Thankfulness overcomes self-pity. Pray to Our Lady for a Spirit of Gratefulness.
Life is a great adventure! Every suffering, every failure, every knock-down, if taken with the right attitude, will help us to grow. We will teach our children how to overcome their own difficulties….and they will have plenty…just as we do.
It is what life is about….the Royal Road of the Cross. And if we choose to get better, not bitter, so many blessings and joys will be sprinkled throughout. We need to have our eyes open to them. They are God’s gift to us as we struggle along our own, unique path of a Beautiful, Joyful, Catholic Woman!!
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No matter where we live we need to figure out the best way to raise our children. We need to use all our ingenuity to make sure they are growing up to be faithful servants of the Church and good and wholesome men and women that can survive in the world but not be of it.
I think this speaks volumes: “The Christian culture which we parents must fashion in our homes day by day, then, needs to be at once strong and supple, definite and adaptable. For it must train our children to live as Christians both at home and outside the home, both now and in their future lives.”
She points out in this small excerpt that the first requisite in raising fine Catholic children is the sacraments….
Thank God for our Holy Faith in a very un-holy world!
Pictured below: Father Walker (R.I.P.+) giving Rosie his First Blessing.
from the Challenge of Christian Parenthood
by Mary Perkins
Along what lines should we try to educate our children? How much of modern civilization should we try to bring them up to accept, how much to reject, how much to reform? How best can we train them for whatever God may want them to do for Him in the unknown world of the future?
Before one is actually immersed in the task of parenthood, the answers to such questions seem fairly simple. “Bring up children along traditional Christian lines….” “Train them in Christian principles…” But when one is faced with the innumerable decisions of daily family life, it does not seem so easy always to determine the “traditional Christian lines” of child training, or to see what “Christian principles” could or should be applied in actual practice.
How much, for example, should you let small boys follow the current local fashions in clothes? In toy pistols? In candy and gum? If you let them be as much like “everybody” as your means permit, short of anything obviously sinful or leading to sin, will you be giving the children the best preparation for not being like “everybody” in things that would be sinful? What is the line and where should you draw it?
In other times, society as a whole guided parents in such “drawing of lines” and it also backed up their authority with its own. There was an accepted way of going about the business of living, there were customs and conventions, and there was a definite social pattern which was at least remotely Christian. Parents could usually count on the help of the community in which they lived in giving their children some Christian standards of individual and social behavior.
But today there are few “communities,” in the old sense of the word.
There are no true social patterns, there are few customs and conventions that will help us in the art of Christian living. We must try to communicate to our children the Christian way of looking at life, the Christian way of dealing with life.
And we must do so while we are living in the midst of a society not exactly opposed to our “point of view” (as an agnostic would call it), but so confused in its own outlook that it confuses us, making it very difficult for us to hold our own point of view clearly or to act in accordance with it consistently. We have to incarnate a Christian way of living in our homes in the midst of a society neither Christian nor truly pagan but secular, that is, disconnected from the influence of God or of “the gods,” as far as that is possible.
The Christian culture which we parents must fashion in our homes day by day, then, needs to be at once strong and supple, definite and adaptable. For it must train our children to live as Christians both at home and outside the home, both now and in their future lives.
But how can we best go about such a task? If we tackle it like a picture puzzle, taking pieces of advice even from the most authoritative sources and trying to fit them together, we may find only a puzzle as a result. Unless we ourselves have some blueprint, some master-plan by which to judge whether to adopt Father A’s scheme of family prayer, or Sister B’s, whether to follow Psychologist X or the equally eminent and Catholic Psychiatrist Y in his ideas on child discipline, we shall let ourselves in for much bewilderment and little
But we do not have to look far to find such a master-plan. We have it right before our eyes in God’s own plan for bringing up all His children “in Christ.” As we all know, God’s method of education is sacramental; He uses visible and tangible things to bring us to the knowledge and love of the invisible; He teaches us how to use our human powers of body and soul, how to use the visible creatures of His universe in His worship and in His service.
He Himself is the great “Sacrament,” the visible image of the invisible
God, who has made Himself our way and our truth and our life. It is by living a visible human life, by doing a man’s work, by suffering and dying as men suffer and die, that He wrought the work of our redemption. And it is in a visible Church, His Body that He prolongs and fulfills His work through the centuries.
In the life of the Church, Christ teaches us Divine truth through human teachers, by means of human words, in images and stories taken from the visible world and from ordinary human experience. He pours out on us His own life and powers by means of the sacraments and sacramentals, conforming the force and pattern of our lives to His.
These, again, are administered to us by other human beings; their grace reaches us under sacramental signs of visible things and audible, comprehensible words. And we are taught to respond to Him by prayer of our human voices and imaginations and minds and wills to take our part in His work, by loving and serving Him with our human energy and skill as He dwells in our visible fellow human beings. And, finally, summing up our whole lives and the purpose of our lives, we take our part in the visible sacramental sacrifice of the Mass.
God’s master-plan, then, is to be found in the work of Christ our Lord
Himself, God and Man, His work of redeeming mankind. And our education of our children should surely proceed along these same lines if it is to be truly Christian education. We should make it as far as lies in our power a sacramental education, following and fitting into God’s own plan.
We should try to teach the children the invisible truths of the faith by means of the visible things around us, by means of the visible actions of daily life; we should try to give them the habit of seeing all created things as, in some way or other, signs of the power and wisdom and love of God. We should try to train the children to make the thoughts and words and actions of daily life true signs of their love of God, able to be offered with our Lord’s sacrifice in the Mass.
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Throwback Thursday…..Always a Good Reminder!
The following thoughts are taken from the website FW Index and from the book Fascinating Womanhood.
I love pictures! Before the digital world I was not very good at being organized enough to get the camera clicking, get it to the store, develop them…..life was too busy back then, and pictures were not on the top of my priority list.
Then the digital world came…..digital cameras!!!!! I was STILL lousy at it. I always forgot the camera, never had the batteries charged and when I did get it together to take pictures, I couldn’t be bothered putting them on the computer.
THEN I got my phone. There have been so many times I have wanted to go back to the old flip-phone but the biggest thing that stops me is the constant access to a pretty darn good camera. And I love it! I have captured many moments that the kids will be able to look back on and remember…..
That being said here are PICTURES!! Click on the first one to visit the gallery.
And after you are done looking don’t forget the links at the bottom of the post!
LINKS, LINKS, LINKS…..
The following links are a smorgasbord of some interesting, inspiring, delicious or just fun stuff that you may find valuable in your own life. It does not mean that I endorse the whole site, just the individual posts that I have linked to.
Visit The Catholic Gentleman for a couple of great articles!
“The once coveted iPaq was eventually disintegrated by a shotgun, but it taught me an important lesson that day: Don’t get too attached to the toys this world offers. For truly, all temporal things are more or less like that once shiny and dazzling iPaq. They are thrilling for a moment, but then quickly forgotten, to be used one day for target practice, or worse yet, to be left rotting in a landfill…”
“…..if you’re a man who wants to be pure, you’re going to be involved in a constant warfare against lust. Everything from toothpaste commercials to weight loss ads have some sort of sexual spin. After all, as they say, sex sells.”
“Thanks to technology, and perhaps due to Christianity’s low status in our modern liberal age, there is a fantastic treasure trove of good, traditional Catholic books available for free or near-free. Below are links to valuable and timeless Catholic texts (including those written by great saints and Fathers and Doctors of the Church) that you can read and download for free. Take advantage of this – they have changed my life and will change yours, too. Tolle et lege!”
You might be surprised when you read this list that you may be guilty of one or two of them.
“It was the first day of summer in 1984. He was 14 years old.
His dad woke him up before work and said there’s a load of sand in the driveway and shovel. He told him by the time he got home from work, he wanted the low spots in the backyard filled.
There were similar projects all summer long.
That’s how my husband was raised….”
We love crochet over here, and we are into hats this fall, so the following are some cute free patterns:
I’ve run across some neat sites for easy decorations to share with you for Christmas.
These festive ideas will fulfill all your Christmas decorating needs:
Pinecones appear seemingly everywhere at our feet this time of year and yet we hardly notice them. Here are some creative and easy ways to bring nature home for the holidays.
Here is a quick craft idea for some festive snowflake and ornament window decorations to add another crafty layer to your holiday decor. The inspiration came from this clever puffy paint doily tutorial from Doodle Craft.
Here’s a couple of great Catholic Christmas gift ideas!!!
The following are a couple of podcasts by Dr. Taylor Marshall you can listen to while crocheting or doing dishes!
“When you’re sitting down for that wonderful feast on Thursday, here are 6 interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts you can share with your family. Print them out and read them aloud over some pumpkin (or pecan) pie!”
“My goal this week is to share my top 5 Advent devotions. In Western culture, the season of Advent is usually sunk under the weight of Christmas commercialism. In today’s podcast we’ll explore how to sanctify the season of Advent so that we can prepare a happy and holy Christmas.”
Are you having a crowd for Thanksgiving dinner? Let Taste of Home help you here!
And here’s some fall baking ideas from Taste of Home
Would you appreciate a 2 week meal plan that is budget and family-friendly? Here you go.
I share this link, not because you haven’t seen it….I’m pretty sure you already have. But I was surprised to see how many Saint movies youtube has available for free! Just look on the side bar!
Beautiful Video of God’s Handiwork:
This is why kids need to put down the devices:
Wow! The Daughters of Mary Sing “The Magnificat”:
Don’t forget to get yourself one of these Maglets for the Christmas Season.
Save on shipping and buy it from Meadows of Grace.
Or at Amazon.
In our roles as wives and mothers, we are called to love, bless, and encourage our husbands and our children.
We would like our families to remember us as joyful and loving.
I think we all know that a meek and quiet spirit leads us toward these goals, while anger and a quick (and loud) temper destroys the relationships that are so dear to our hearts.
Being meek and quiet may not come naturally to us (and probably doesn’t for most of us….so take heart, you’re not alone!), we must pray for it as it leads to peace, contentment and blessings.
No matter how we have messed up in the past when it comes to meekness and kindness, let us forgive ourselves and, with hope and joy, ask our Lady to bless us with these gifts! She will surely answer such a prayer!
Father Lasance stresses the importance of Kindness and Meekness in this excerpt from his little book Kindness, The Bloom of Charity.
How many a noble work has been nipped in the bud by the blast of an unkind judgment; how many a generous heart has been crushed in its brightest hopes by a jealous criticism; how many a holy inspiration, destined to bear abundant fruit for God and souls, has been forced back into the poor heart from whence it had ascended, there to be stifled utterly, and forever, leaving that heart, as the poet so graphically represents it, “like a deserted bird’s nest filled with snow,” because unkindness had robbed it of that for which, perhaps, alone it cared to live.
How much, then, we may believe has been lost to the world of all that is good and great and beautiful through the instrumentality of unkindness; and if it be thus, what developments, on the other hand, may we not expect, in the order of grace as well as of nature, in the hearts and minds of men beneath the genial sun of kindness?
Let us be kind if we would promote the interests of that Heart of which kindness was the special characteristic.
Let it not be in isolated acts, “few and far between”; this is not the kindness of Jesus’ Heart. No, it must be like prayer, a habitual disposition of heart which is ready to manifest itself without any effort and almost unconsciously, at all seasons and in all circumstances, and thus it will be with hearts which are united to that Heart of love.
Kindness will flow from them, as it were, naturally, just as the flowers give forth their perfume, the birds their song, and as the sun shines down alike on good and bad, as it goes on its daily circuit– because all this is of their very nature.
In the most trivial things of daily life the spirit of kindness should render itself evident.
Kindness is as the bloom upon the fruit– it renders charity and religion attractive and beautiful. Without kindness, even charitable works lose their power of winning souls; for without it the idea of love of anything supernatural –in a word, of Jesus, is not conveyed to the minds by the works performed, even though they be done from a right motive.
There is such a thing as doing exterior actions, which are intended to be charitable, ungraciously.
Now, actions thus performed do not manifest the kindness of the Heart of Jesus, nor will they be efficacious in extending the empire of His love or in winning souls to His kingdom.
My son, in thy good deeds, make no complaint, and when thou givest anything, add not grief by an evil word. Shall not the dew assuage the heat? So also the good word is better than the gift. Lo, is not a word better than a gift? But both are with a justified man. –Ecclus. xviii. 15-17.
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The world, the flesh and the devil are constantly battering at the door of our souls. It is hard to hear the Voice of God amidst the clamor…
He is trying to get His Voice heard above the din and how happy we will be when we can learn to tone down our own self-inflicted noise in order to hear Him…
Oh, how happy are they who keep their hearts open to holy inspirations! They never lack the graces necessary to them in order to live well and devoutly according to their conditions, and to fulfill in a holy way the duties of their professions.
Just as God, by the ministry of nature, gives to each animal instincts needed for its preservation and the exercise of its natural properties, so too, if we do not resist God’s grace, He gives to each of us the inspirations needed to live, work, and preserve ourselves in the spiritual life.
“Ah, Lord,” said the faithful Eliezer, “Behold, I stand here at this spring of water, and the daughters of the inhabitants of this city will come out to draw water. Therefore, the maid to whom I shall say, ‘Let down the pitcher that I may drink,’ and she shall answer, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also,’ she it is whom you have chosen for your servant Isaac.”
Eliezer does not express any desire for water except for himself, but the fair Rebecca was obedient to the inspiration that God and her own kindness gave her and also offered water to his camels.
For this deed she was made the spouse of holy Isaac, fair daughter of the great Abraham, and ancestral mother of the Savior.
Souls not content merely with doing what the Divine Spouse requires of them by His commandments and counsels, but who are prompt to follow sacred inspirations, are truly those whom the eternal Father has prepared to be spouses of His beloved Son.
With regard to the good Eliezer, since he could not otherwise distinguish among the daughters of Haran — that is, the town of Nahor — which one among them was destined for his master’s son, God enabled him to recognize her by means of inspiration.
When we do not know what to do and men’s help is lacking to us in our perplexities, then God inspires us.
If we are humbly obedient, He does not permit us to fall into error.
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