Hot Cross Buns and Easter Alleluias!

IMG_0419IMG_0418IMG_0422IMG_0423Mary Reed Newland gets us in the right spirit of Easter! Such a glorious Feast!! And here is the recipe we used for our Hot Cross Buns this year! They are especially delicious at 2 a.m. after the Vigil! :)   Happy Easter to all!

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

This is, for me, the most beautiful of all the Easter stories.

It should be the very last thing at night, after prayers, for the little ones. Ours have heard it as they lay in their beds.

It is about Mary Magdalene and how she found Him in the garden on Easter morning. She did not really understand. After all He had said about rising on the third day, still she wept and wrung her hands and looked for Him.

Even when she saw the angels, it did not dawn on her. Then – she saw Jesus. Thinking He was a gardener, she heard Him say, “Woman, why art thou weeping? For whom art thou searching?”

And she said, “If it is thou, Sir, that hast carried Him off, tell me where thou hast put Him, and I will take Him away.”

Then that lovely moment. He said simply, “Mary.” And she knew.

How tender, the love that inspired them to record this scene. We know that He appeared to His Mother first. It is an ancient tradition in the Church, and St. Teresa of Avila and many others confirm it.

But for us who are sinners, the scene described so carefully is this meeting with the one who was such a great sinner. It should be a part of every child’s Easter Eve, and often it will make them weep.

But these are fine, good tears, that come because they understand that He loves them.

Alleluia at Last

Easter morning. Alleluia!

The Hallel, greatest of Hebrew expressions of praise, together with Jah, the shortened form of Jahve, God’s name, combine to make this lovely word.

Dom Winzen writes: On the eve of Septuagesima Sunday, the Alleluia was buried. Now it rises out of the tomb…. The Alleluia is the heart of the Opus Dei; the song which the Moses of the New Testament sings together with His People after He has passed through the Red Sea of His Death into the glory of His Resurrection.

The first child awake races downstairs! Quickly they all gather and at last the door to the living room is opened.

There are the marvelous baskets, resplendent with decorations, with gifts, with goodies. Walk carefully. The eggs are hidden everywhere.

All together sing another Alleluia! as the early one lights the Paschal candle.

Then to Mass, to the great joy of Easter Communion. He is in each of us; therefore we are one in Him.

At every Mass, He will be our Paschal Lamb, the perfect sacrifice, the perfect victim, offered everywhere for us, always, until the world comes to an end.

Home to the beautiful breakfast table, the delicious Easter bread, the excitement of the egg hunt, and the opening of gifts.

It has been so long since we have sung Alleluia after Grace. What a glorious morning!

The Paschal candle is lighted. While we rejoice, it burns with a steady flame. It says, “I am risen, and am still with thee, Alleluia!”

 

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Good Friday Prayer – Divine Intimacy

Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year

images“O Christ, Son of God, as I contemplate the great sufferings You endured for us on the Cross, I hear You saying to my soul: ‘It is not in jest that I have loved you!’

These words open my eyes, and I see clearly all that Your love has made You do for me. I see that You suffered during your life and death, O Man-God, suffered because of that profound, ineffable love. No, O Lord, it was not in jest that You loved me, but Your love is perfect and real.

In myself, I see the opposite, for my love is lukewarm and untrue, and this grieves me very much.

O Master, You did not love me in jest; I, a sinner, on the contrary, have never loved You except imperfectly. I have never wanted to hear about the sufferings You endured on the cross, and thus I have served You carelessly and unfaithfully.

Your love, O my God, arouses in me an ardent desire to avoid anything that might offend You, to embrace the grief and contempt that You bore, to keep continually in mind Your Passion and Death, in which our true salvation and our life are found.

O Lord, Master, and Eternal Physician, You freely offer us Your blood as the cure for our souls, and although You paid for it with Your Passion and Death on the Cross, it cost me nothing, save only the willingness to receive it.

When I ask for it, You give it to me immediately and heal all my infirmities.

My God, since you agreed to free me and to heal me on the one condition that I show You, with tears of sorrow, my faults and weaknesses; since, O Lord,  my soul is sick, I bring to you all my sins and misfortunes.

There is no sin, no weakness of soul or mind for which You do not have an adequate remedy, purchased by your death.

All my salvation and joy are in you, O Crucified Christ, and in whatever state I happen to be, I shall never take my  eyes away from Your Cross.” (St. Angela of Foligno)

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Good Friday Activities

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season3f3c661740ec49fcc74520e0bc4afb08
For the hours spent at home by those who cannot get to the rites of Good Friday, it is good to plan special activities in order to help all keep a spirit of recollection. With many little children, silence is almost impossible, but as they grow older, they begin to cooperate.

Friends of ours have had their children make the garden of Joseph of Arimathea outdoors, separately, on Good Friday. They used whatever they could find at hand – stones, mosses, sticks, acorns.

(My interjection – We talked about a Resurrection Garden today and here is a Pinterest page with many interesting ideas for one.)

A drawing project will keep Peter occupied. Having said the Stations of the Cross during Lent, he applies himself seriously to illustrating them.

(Another Pinterest page here for the coloring pages.)

Rereading the passages about the Passion will keep another child busy, read out of Scripture or from a favorite life of Christ.

(Here is a good translation for the Passion.)

For a boy who is fidgety and must be active, a solitary chore that is a penance is better: perhaps cleaning the goat stalls or spreading hay and manure from the goose’s pen on the garden.

I know many mothers who, because they must be at home with their babies during this time, save a task that especially tries them.

Each has his or her way of best spending the hours of Good Friday, but it will work out most successfully if the program for the day is well planned.

Perhaps one of the tasks for several of the children can be copying Psalm 21 to be used at night prayers this evening. Our Lord quoted the first line of it from the Cross. It prophesied Christ’s Passion and death and our salvation: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me….”

This was the great prayer of our Lord on the Cross. The family may divide itself and read the lines alternately.

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Heirloom-Quality Rosaries at Meadows of Grace

Untitled-BannerThese are some of the recent rosaries that I have made in my spare (ha!) time! These rosaries are all wire-wrapped which makes them very durable. They are made with brass wire, centers and crucifixes giving them an antiqued/vintage look! For more info go to http://www.meadowsofgrace.com

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Are Your Words Uplifting?

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I love the prayer in the missal, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door round about my lips. Incline not my heart to evil words: to make excuses in sins.”

There is also a prayer in the Divine Office, “May He check and restrain our tongue so that it be not an instrument of discord and strife.”

How often have we said words that we regret and omitted those words that should have been said! May we be granted the grace to be prudent and loving in our words.

The following is a wonderful story portraying the “power of a woman’s words.”

The Power of a Woman’s Wordsby Sharon Jayne

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How long do words linger in someone’s heart? How far-reaching are the echoes of a kind word? I believe the impact of a spoken or written word can remain long after our bodies have left this earth.

Marie learned the lasting impact of words from a group of her students. Here is her story:

He was in the first third-grade class I taught at Saint Mary’s School in Morris, Minnesota. All thirty-four of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million.

Very neat in appearance, he had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful. Mark also talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable.

What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving. “Thank you for correcting me, Sister!”

I didn’t know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice-teacher’s mistake. I looked at Mark and said, “If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!”

It wasn’t ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, “Mark is talking again.” I hadn’t asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it.

I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened the drawer, and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark’s desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth.

I then returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me.

That did it! I started laughing.

The class cheered as I walked back to Mark’s desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, “Thank you for correcting me, Sister.”

At the end of the year I was asked to teach junior high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite.
Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the “new math,” he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in the third.

One Friday, things just didn’t feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were growing frustrated with themselves and edgy with one another.

I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers.

Charlie smiled. Mark said, “Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend.”

That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. “Really?” I heard whispered. “I never knew that meant anything to anyone!” “I didn’t know others liked me so much!”

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and with one another again.

That group of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked the usual questions about the trip, the weather, my experiences in general. There was a slight lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply said, “Dad?”

My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important. “The Eklunds called last night,” he began.

“Really?” I said. “I haven’t heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is.”

Dad responded quietly. “Mark was killed in Vietnam,” he said. “The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend.”

To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark. I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.

The church was packed with Mark’s friends. Chuck’s sister sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played “Taps.”

One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin. I was the last one. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who had acted as pallbearer came up to me. “Were you Mark’s math teacher?” he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. “Mark talked about you a lot,” he said.

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates headed to Chuck’s farmhouse for lunch. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me.

“We want to show you something,” his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. “They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.”

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded, and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

“Thank you so much for doing that,” Mark’s mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.”

Mark’s classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, “I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.”

Chuck’s wife said, “Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.”

“I have mine too,” Marilyn said. “It’s in my diary.”

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet, and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. “I carry this with me at all times,” Vicki said without batting an eyelash. “I think we all saved our lists.”

How long will our words echo in the hearts and minds of our children, our husbands, our friends, fellow believers, and the world? For all eternity, my friends. To the end of the age.

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The Four Points of Prayer – A Little Mission Talk

We went to a mission talk last week. It was on prayer and, even though I struggled to stay awake, I actually remembered the four points of prayer that Father talked about! :)

It was a short mission talk ….shorter than any mission talk I have ever attended…(and I still fought to stay awake…yipes!) …yet it touched me and so I thought I would share the four points with you, mixed with a little of my own thoughts.

The first point is confidence. We must pray with confidence!

God is our Father….why do we pray with hesitancy, expecting NOT to have our prayers answered? Confidence pleases Our Lord very much! This was a blessing for me to hear. Most of the time, when I pray, I don’t have the confidence that would be pleasing to Him. So I have revved it up and begun to really EXPECT God to answer my prayers!

I told Vincent about the talk (he was working late, so he couldn’t attend) and we especially talked about the confidence part.

The next evening he told me he went to Mass that morning and prayed WITH MUCH CONFIDENCE for some financial stress to be relieved. By the end of the day he was quite astounded at the way God answered him so quickly!

So….let’s pray knowing that God will answer our prayers! We’re not always sure how, or what His timing will be, but He WILL answer them. Something so basic and yet we seem to forget it, don’t we?

The second point is Urgency.

This really spoke to me.  When we think of something to pray for, let us not put it off and think, well I will include that in our rosary this evening (which is a good thing, too) or I will remember it in my night prayers.

NO! Pray for it that second. Send those little prayers up to God like little shooting darts of loving petitions!

I thought this was awesome as there are SO many things and people to pray for, isn’t there? We can do it the instant we think of it and God listens to each and every one of those prayers! Wonderful!

The third point is Simplicity.

We don’t have to have elaborate prayers. God wants our prayers to be from the heart.

Those little heartfelt prayers of our own are dear to Our Lord.  And those potent and short ejaculations, like…… Jesus I trust in Thee…. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine….Sweet Heart of Mary, be my Love….. Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my Salvation…are very powerful!

The fourth point is perseverance.

Oh my! There are certain things in my life…..loved ones, especially…. that I have been praying about for years. A couple of the situations have not turned out well. Do we get discouraged? Well….yes. Is that right and good? No!

God, in His mercy, answers every prayer. Even though, with human eyes, things don’t look like they have turned out well, or our prayers seem like they have not been answered, we must keep praying.

This was good for me to hear. I know it in my head. I had to hear it again to get it back in my heart.

Confidence, Urgency, Simplicity and Perseverance! So simple, so profound!

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The Palace of Chance – Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

Andrew Harpe - T's Wedding 364

A MODERN writer describes marriage as "having an 
appointment with happiness in the palace of chance."

Two persons are complete strangers to each other. One day 
they meet. They think they appreciate each other, understand 
each other. They encounter no serious obstacles; their social 
position is just about the same; their financial status similar; 
their health seems sufficient; their parents offer no 
objections; they become engaged. They exchange loving 
commonplaces wherein nothing of the depths of their souls is 
revealed. The days pass; the time comes--it is their wedding 
day.

They are married. In the beginning of their acquaintance, 
they did not know each other at all. They do not know each 
other much better now, or at least, they do not know each 
other intimately. They are bound together; possible mishaps 
matter little to them; they are going to make happiness for 
themselves together. It is a risk they decided to run.

That this procedure is the method followed by many can 
scarcely be denied.

Let us hope that we personally proceed with more prudence.

Upon the essential phases of life together, the engaged 
couple should hold loyal and sincere discussion. And in these 
discussions and exchange of ideas, each one should reveal 
himself as he really is, and let us hope that this revelation is 
one of true richness of soul.

To make a lover of a young man or young woman is not such 
a difficult achievement. But to discover in a young man 
before marriage the possibility, or better still, the assurance 
of a good husband who will become a father of the highest 
type, and in a young woman, the certain promise of the most 
desirable type of wife who has in her the makings of a real 
mother and a worthy educator--that is a masterpiece of 
achievement!

"To love each other before marriage! Gracious, that is simple," 
exclaims a character in a play, "they do not know each other! 
The test will be to love each other when they really do get 
acquainted." And he is not wrong.

In keeping with his thought is the witty answer given by a 
young married man to an old friend who came to visit him.

"I am an old friend of the family," explained the visitor. "I 
knew your wife before you married her."

"And I, unfortunately, did not know her until after I married 
her!"

But even when a man and woman do know each other deeply 
and truly before marriage, how many occasions they will still 
have for mutual forbearance. It is necessary for them to have 
daily association with each other in order to understand each 
other; for the woman, to understand what the masculine 
temperament is; for the man to understand what the feminine 
temperament is. That may seem like a trifling thing; yet it 
goes a long way toward a happy marriage. To understand 
each other not only as being on his part a man and on her 
part a woman, but as being just such a man or just such a 
woman, that is to say, persons who in addition to the general 
characteristics of their species possess particular virtues and 
particular faults as a result of their individual temperaments-
-that requires rare penetration!

A home is not drawn by lot, blindly. A palace of chance! No, 
indeed. If we want to turn it into a palace of happiness as far 
as that is possible here below, we must above all things 
refuse to have anything to do with chance. We must know 
what we are doing and where we are going.

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Man, the Leader

from FW Index

My Disclaimer

MAN, THE LEADER6f4a5257522d5d269931c8e9e9b9b43c

The head or leader of the household is the father. There are scriptural reasons for this. His position is God-given, as stated in Genesis 3:16, “Thy desire shall be unto thy husband and he shall rule over thee”.
Ephesians 5:22-24 states “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Messiah is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Messiah, so let the wives be to their own husband’s in everything.” (Read that carefully!)
Peter adds, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (behavior) of the wives. (1 Peter 3:1)
Paul goes on to add that ” the older women…should teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, and obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5)
There is also a logical reason that men should lead. For an organization to run smoothly, it must have a leader – a CEO, president, captain, supervisor, or director. Since the family is a small organization, or group of people, it, too, needs a leader to maintain law and order.
But why shouldn’t a woman lead? Isn’t she just as capable as a man? It isn’t a question of capability, but suitability. Man’s nature is more decisive, women on the other hand tend to waver. Men have the courage of their convictions, when women tend to vacillate.

Man is also the breadwinner. Men carry a heavy responsibility to provide the living, and the leadership rightfully belongs to them.
There is a great effort to do away with the patriarchical system in this world, and replace it with equality. It may sound like a good idea to have husband and wife share equally in all decisions, but it is not practical or workable, and chaos ensues. There are many decisions that can be reached by mutual consent, but when there is a difference of opinion, the right to make the decision is the man’s.

Rights of the Guide or Leader

To determine family rules: Rules for day to day living need to be established, as in any group. These may be as simple as table manners, or as complicated as conduct and social behavior. A husband may delegate as much of this authority as he likes to his wife, but she still is acting as his steward.
The family is a patriarchy where the father’s word is law, not a democracy where each person has equal say. This is a matter of law and order and following the ways of God.
You may feel you should have more right of say-so over the children since you bore them and are in charge of most of their care. These may be issues where your opinion and your husband’s clash strongly, but in all cases the responsibility is his and you are to willingly submit to his authority.

To make decisions: The father has the right to make final decisions on all matters that pertain to the family unit, his personal life, and his work. Minor decisions as well as major decisions must be made. The final say always belongs to the father.
In marriage, a husband and wife are not like a team of horses, each expected to be able to pull the same weight the same way, but are more like a bow and arrow as in the poem “Hiawatha”, by Longfellow:

As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto man is woman;
Tho’ she bends him, she obeys him;
Tho’ she draws him, yet she follows;
Useless one without the other.

Role of the Wife in Leadership

You have an extremely important role to play in your husband’s role as leader. As stated above, yours is a submissive or supportive role. Submission is not a passive activity, but an active one. It takes effort and concentration to be a good follower. Sometimes your role will be more vocal. As the closest person in his life, your insight may be invaluable. Your support, understanding, and willingness to follow will doubtless be important to him.

Do You Make These Mistakes?20d465e17b4e23fe73bc87b45ca8237c
1. Lead: Do you run the household your way and expect your husband to go along with your decisions? Do you make a show of consulting him, but do things as you please anyway? Do you feel it’s better to do things your way and have them turn out right, than to follow your husband? This shows a direct disregard for his position as leader.
2. Pressure: Do you try to pressure your husband to do things your way? Do you needle and nag? Do you argue and resist his leading because your way seems better? Does he go along with you just to keep peace? Expect your children to imitate this behavior.
3. Scrutinize: Do you pick apart and scrutinize his plans? Are you overly concerned and watchful? Are you quick to approve or disapprove? Do you ask probing questions in a fearful tone? This shows a lack of confidence and trust in him.
4. Advise: Do you offer too many suggestions? Do you tell him what to do and how to do it? Are you always giving him advice? Do you listen to his ideas before interrupting with your own? Do you outline courses of action for him? He may get the idea you don’t need him and can handle everything quite well on your own.
5. Disobey: Do you obey only when you agree with your husband? Do you do things your own way when you disagree? Do you go against his wishes when you feel strongly on a subject? This is the real test of a truly submissive wife.

How to Be the Perfect Follower

1. Honor his position: Have faith in the principle that God placed him in his role. Honor his place and teach your children to do the same.
2. Let go: Give him back the reins. Allow him to lead, and learn to follow. He will surprise you with his ability to get along fine without all your help.
3. Have a girlish trust in him: Don’t be worried about the way things will turn out. Let him do the worrying, while you trust him. This is not to say he will not make mistakes. Realize he is human and allow for mistakes.
4. Be adaptable: Don’t be set in your ways. Be adjustable and bendable. Learn to be happy and make the best of whatever circumstances your husband provides.
5. Be obedient: Obey your husband’s counsel and instructions in his presence and when he is gone. Perfect obedience is cheerful, to the letter, and immediate. Set your goal for quality obedience.
6. Stand together united: This is so important where children are concerned. Even when you disagree, present a united front to the children. Do not side with them against your husband, and do not express dissatisfaction to them.
7. Support his plans and decisions: Sometimes you have to go beyond submission and give active support to your husband. Some decisions are tough, and he may want you to stand with him. You don’t have to agree with the decision to be able to do this, but with his right to make the decision.
8. Assert yourself: The above qualities have all been submissive qualities, but there is another quality of a good follower – that of asserting yourself. There will be times when you will want, no, when you will need to speak out. Make sure when you do you have thought carefully about what you are going to say, pray about it; then go to your husband in confidence. Be sure of yourself.

How To Give Advice

1. Ask leading questions: “Have you thought…” or “Have you considered…”
2. Listen: Open your ears more than your mouth. Speak just enough to keep things going.
3. Express insight: Use expressions like “I feel”, or “I sense”, or “I perceive”. These are feminine qualities he had a hard time arguing with.
4. Don’t appear to know more than him: Don’t appear too wise, or to have all the answers.
5. Don’t be motherly: Don’t regard him as a little boy you must watch out for and shield from the world.
6. Don’t talk man to man: Don’t put yourself on a masculine plane with him. Keep him in the dominant position.
7. Don’t act braver than he: Don’t show more manly courage than he has. Awaken his bravery by expressing confidence in his ability and your own fearfulness..
8. Don’t have unyielding opinions: When giving advice don’t have firm opinions.
9. Don’t insist on your way: Let him take in your advice, but let him make the final decision. Let him take it or leave it as far as you are concerned.

Problems in the Patriarchy

Sometimes a wife fears her husband will fail. This is a risk most of us have to take. In order to make any progress we have to leave our comfort zones, and there is a certain amount of fear involved. If a mistake is made, a man can survive and bounce back if he has his wife’s confidence.
Fear of failure may cause a wife to rebel. This is not an excuse for your disobedience.
There will be times when your husband is floundering. He may find it hard to come to a firm decision. Your full support will often get him over the hump and give him the strength needed to go ahead.
What about the man who won’t lead? You may be willing and able to be a good follower, but lack the leadership. There are some things you can do. First, read to your husband the scriptures that deal with men’s and women’s roles; then offer him your loyal support and subjection.

Rewards

Peace, harmony, less contention, and order are to be found in a home where the husband is clearly revered as the head and leader of the family. While the husband is excelling in his role as leader, the wife can devote her time to her domestic duties and be a resounding success in her home.
Children will have a respect for authority, and have few problems at school, church, and in society. They will learn good ways to pattern their lives and this will result in fewer divorces and happier marriages.Daisy Frame - 2zxDk-EHaU - print

Advantages of the Large Family – Rev. George A. Kelly

 

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. KellyIphone Jan 7, 2013 027

Advantages of the Large Family 
Before marrying, many young couples decide how many children 
they will have--a decision which often reveals 
that they are more concerned with how few children they will have 
rather than how many.

Thus they begin their marriage with intentions of limiting the number 
of off spring. In this respect they reflect the 
birth-control frame of mind so prevalent today--a frame of
mind which  regards children as a liability rather than a blessing.

Although the first purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, 
Catholic couples will not necessarily have offspring. There may be many 
reasons why they cannot have babies or why they are limited to one or 
two. 

Some wives have difficulty in carrying a fetus to full term and 
have many miscarriages. Sometimes the husband or wife may be sterile--
unable to do his or her part in conceiving a new life. There may be 
mental, eugenic, economic or social reasons which make it justifiable 
to practice the rhythm method. The fact that a Catholic couple has no 
children, therefore, is no reason for concluding that they are guilty 
of any moral lapse.

In most marriages, however, there probably are no physical hindrances 
to births or justifiable reasons to limit them beyond those limitations 
which nature herself and unchangeable circumstance impose. Hence the 
typical Catholic family will have many more children than are found in 
the average family of other beliefs.

The large family provides many distinct advantages for both parents and 
children. For instance, it brings the mother and father closer 
together, giving them a joint source of love, and they achieve a closer 
sense of unity in planning for their children's welfare. Their love for 
each child extends their love for each other, and in each child they 
can see qualities which they love in their mates.

Children help parents to develop the virtues of self-sacrifice and 
consideration for others. The childless husband and wife must 
consciously cultivate these qualities, for the very nature of their 
life tends to make them think first of their own interests. In 
contrast, a father and mother who might have innate tendencies toward 
selfishness learn that they must subjugate their own interests for the 
good of their children, and they develop a spirit of self-denial and a 
higher degree of sanctity than might normally be possible.gin's pics 318

The fact that children help to increase harmony in marriage has been 
proved in many ways. The sociologist Harold A. Phelps, in his book 
"Contemporary Social Problems," reports that 57 per cent of the 
divorcees in one large group had no children and another 20 per cent 
had only one child. Other researchers have established that the 
percentage of divorces and broken homes decreases as the number of 
children in the family increases.

Large families also teach children to live harmoniously with others. 
They must adjust to the wishes of those older and younger than 
themselves, and of their own and the other sex. In learning to work, 
play and, above all, share with others, the child in a large family 
discovers that he must often sacrifice his own interests and desires 
for the common good. For this reason, the "spoiled child" who always 
insists on having his own way is rare in the large family, if he can be 
found there at all. For the child who will not co-operate with others 
has a lesson forcibly taught to him when others refuse to co-operate 
with him.

In the typical large family, one often sees a sense of protectiveness 
in one child for another that is the embodiment of the Christian 
spirit. Children learn to help each other--to hold each other's hands 
when crossing the street, to sympathize with each other in times of 
sadness or hurt, and to give each other the acceptance which we all 
need to develop as mature human beings. This willingness to help one 
another is often strikingly evident in schoolwork: the oldest child 
instructs his younger brother in algebra, while the latter helps a 
still younger one in history.

Another advantage of large families is that they teach each child to 
accept responsibility for his own actions. Unlike the mother with one 
or two children, the mother of a large family usually lacks the time 
and energy to concern herself with every little problem of her 
children. 

She must observe sensible precautions with her children, of 
course, but she is not guilty of supervising her child's life to such 
an extent that he has no chance to develop his own resources. 

Precisely because she cannot devote her full time to him, he must make decisions 
for himself. Moreover, he acquires a better understanding of the rules 
by which the family is run. He sees his brothers and sisters punished 
for various breaches of conduct and learns what he himself may and may 
not do. 

And as he watches the progress of older children, he learns 
what privileges he may expect as he too advances in age. This knowledge 
gives him a greater sense of security.

Another reward for members of the large family, to which those who are 
now adults can testify, is that it gives the children close relatives 
upon whom they can depend all their lives. Occasionally, of course, 
brothers and sisters cannot agree as adults and break off relations 
completely. 

More often, however, they retain a close bond of kinship 
with each other and the reunions and family get-togethers on occasions 
like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter form one of the great joys of 
their lives.  April 7, 2014 059-001

In most cases, the child brought up in a large family 
never feels utterly alone, regardless of adversities which may strike 
in adulthood. 

If he is troubled or bereaved, in desperate need of financial 
help or sympathetic advice, he usually can depend upon 
brothers and sisters to help. Forlorn indeed is the man or woman who, 
in time of stress, has no close and loving relatives to tell his 
problems to.

A final, but by no means least important, advantage is that they 
virtually insure the parents against loneliness, which has often been 
called the curse of the aged. 

How often do the father and mother of a large family 
remain young at heart because of the love they give to, 
and draw from, their grandchildren? 

In fact, many say that old age is their happiest time of life 
because they can enjoy to the fullest the love of the children and 
grandchildren without the accompanying responsibility. 

On the other hand, how lonely and miserable are the 
typical old people who have no children or grandchildren to love them?

One should not overlook the fact that there are some disadvantages to 
both parent and child in the large family. However, an objective review 
of these disadvantages would surely establish that they are outweighed 
by the advantages. 

For example, the large family may require the parents to make great 
financial sacrifices. They may be unable to afford as comfortable 
a home, own as new an automobile, or dress as well as can the 
husband and wife with a small family. 

But they have sources of lasting joy in the love, warmth and affection of their 
children--a joy that money cannot buy. The children of a large family 
may also be required to make sacrifices. 
Their parents may be unable to pay their way in college. But this need 
not mean that they will be denied educational opportunities. 

Thanks to scholarships, loan programs, and opportunities for 
student employment, the bright boy and girl who truly desires 
a college education can find the financial resources to obtain one. 

And having to earn at least a part of their own way 
will make them better students. Researchers have established 
that students who drop out of college most frequently have had all 
their expenses paid for them and have never learned the true value of 
an education.
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Resignation – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

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shutterstock_593478551. We should recognize and adore the will of God in everything that happens to us. The malice of men, nay of the devil himself, can cause nothing to befall us except what is permitted by God. Our divine Lord has declared that not a hair of our heads can fall unless by the will of our Heavenly Father.

2. Therefore in every condition painful to nature, whether you are afflicted by sickness, assailed by temptations, or tortured by the injustice of men, consider the divine will and say to God with a loving and submissive heart: Fiat voluntas tua—Thy will be done: O my  Savior, do with me what Thou willest, as Thou willest, and when Thou willest.

3. By this means we render supportable the severest pain and the most trying circumstances. “Do you not feel the infinite sweetness contained in that one sentence, the will of God?” asks Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. Like unto the wood shown to Moses, that drew from the water all its bitterness, it sweetens whatever is bitter in our lives.

4. Without this practice, so conformable to faith, and without the light and strength that result from it, the pains and afflictions of life would become unbearable. This is what Saint Philip de Neri meant when he said: It rests with man to place himself even in this life either in heaven or in hell: he who suffers tribulations with patience enjoys celestial peace in advance; he who does not do so has a foretaste of the torments of hell.

5. Not only is it God who sends or permits our troubles, but He does so for the good of our souls and for our spiritual progress. Do not, then, make a matter of complaint that which should be a motive for gratitude.

6. Saint Francis de Sales says that the cross is the royal door to the temple of sanctity,  and the only one by which we can enter it. One moment spent upon the cross is therefore more conducive to our spiritual advancement than the anticipated enjoyment of all the delights of heaven.

The happiness of those who have reached their destination consists in the possession of God: to suffer for the love of Him is the only true happiness which those still on the way can expect to attain. Our Lord declared that those who mourn during this exile are blessed, for they shall be consoled eternally in their celestial fatherland.

7. Notice that I say, to suffer for the love of God, for, as Saint Augustine remarks, no person can love suffering in itself. That is contrary to nature, and moreover, there would no longer be any suffering if we could accept it with natural relish.

But a resigned soul loves to suffer, that is she loves the virtue of patience and ardently desires the merits that result from the practice of it. A calm and submissive longing to be delivered from our cross if such be the will of God, is not inconsistent with the most perfect resignation. 

This desire is a natural instinct which supernatural grace regulates, moderates, and teaches us to control, but which it never entirely destroys. Our divine Savior Himself, to show that He was truly man, was pleased to feel it as we do, and prayed that the chalice of His Passion might be spared Him.

Hence you are not required to be stolidly indifferent or to arm yourself with the stern insensibility of the Stoics; that would not be either resignation, or humility, or any virtue whatsoever. The essential thing is to suffer with Christian patience and generous resignation everything that is naturally displeasing to us. This is what both reason and faith prescribe.

*The Redeemer of the World seems to wish to show us in His Agony the degree of perfection which the weakness of human nature can attain amidst the anguish of sorrow. In the inferior portion of the soul where the faculty of feeling resides, instinctive repugnance to suffering, humble prayer for relief if it please God to accord it; and in the superior portion of the soul where the will resides, entire resignation if this consolation be denied.

A desire for more than this, unless called to it by a special grace, would be foolish pride, as we should thus attempt to change the conditions of our nature, whereas our duty is to accept them in order to combat them and to suffer in so doing. (See Imitation, B. III., Ch. XVIII-XIX.)

In the following terms Saint Francis de Sales proposes to us this same example of our Savior’s resignation during His agony: “Consider the great dereliction our Divine Master suffered in the Garden of Olives. See how this beloved Son, having asked for consolation from His loving Father and knowing that it was not His will to grant it, thinks no more about it, no longer craves or looks for it, but, as though He had never sought it, valiantly and courageously completes the work of our redemption.

Let it be the same with you. If your Heavenly Father sees fit to deny you the consolation you have prayed for, dismiss it from your mind and animate your courage to fulfill your work upon the cross as if you were never to descend from it nor should ever again see the atmosphere of your life pure and serene.” (Read The Imitation. B. III., Chapters XI and XV.)

The same Saint also gives us some sublime lessons in resignation applied to the trials and temptations that beset the spiritual life. He draws them from this great and simple thought that serves as foundation for the Exercises of Saint Ignatius, namely, that salvation being the sole object of our existence, and all the attendant circumstances of life but means for attaining it, nothing has any absolute value; and that the only way of forming a true estimate of things is to consider in how far they are calculated to advance or retard the end in view.

Accordingly, what difference does it make if we attain this end by riches or poverty, health or sickness, spiritual consolation or aridity, by the esteem or contempt of our fellow-men? So say faith and reason; but human nature revolts against this indifference, as it is well it should, else how could we acquire merit?

Hence there is a conflict on this point between the flesh and the spirit, and it is this conflict that for a Christian is called life.

“Would to God,” he says elsewhere, speaking on the same subject, “that we did not concern ourselves so much about the road whereon we journey, but rather would keep our eyes fixed on our Guide and upon that blessed country whither He is conducting us.

What should it matter to us if it be through deserts or pleasant fields that we walk, provided God be with us and we be advancing towards heaven?… In short, for the honor of God, acquiesce perfectly in his divine will, and do not suppose that you can serve him better in any other way; for no one ever serves him well who does not serve him as he wishes.

Now he wishes that you serve him without relish, without feeling, nay, with repugnance and perturbation of spirit. This service does not afford you any satisfaction, it is true, but it pleases Him; it is not to your taste, but it is to His…. Mortify yourself then cheerfully, and in proportion as you are prevented from doing the good you desire, do all the more ardently that which you do not desire.

You do not wish to be resigned in this case, but you will be so in some other: resignation in the first instance will be of much greater value to you…. In fine, let us be what God wishes, since we are entirely devoted to him, and would not wish to be anything contrary to his will; for were we the most exalted creatures under heaven, of what use would it be to us, if we were not in accord with the will of God?…”

And again: “You should resign yourself perfectly into the hands of God. When you have done your best towards carrying out your design He will be pleased to accept everything you do, even though it be something less good.

You cannot please God better than by sacrificing to him your will, and remaining in tranquility, humility and devotion, entirely reconciled and submissive to His divine will and good pleasure. You will be able to recognize these plainly enough when you find that notwithstanding all your efforts it is impossible for you to gratify your wishes.

For God in His infinite goodness sometimes sees fit to test our courage and love by depriving us of the things which it seems to us would be advantageous to our souls; and if He finds us very earnest in their pursuit, yet humble, tranquil and resigned to do without them if He wishes us to, He will give us more blessings than we should have had in the possession of what we craved.

God loves those who at all times and in all circumstances can say to him simply and heartily: Thy will be done.”*

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