Taking a Break…..

I will be taking a “Starting School, Many Things on my Plate” break for the next while.

Thank you very much for reading and supporting this blog. You may be quiet but I know you are out there. :)

I hope that some of these posts have inspired you as much as they have me…….

Prayers for all of you, please keep me in yours.IMG_4105-001

 

The Rosary and the Bargain

by Joseph A. Breig (reprinted with permission)ee959a8607bba468783cd22f109331a2

When I get to heaven – as I trust I shall – something very embarrassing is bound to happen. As sure as shooting; somebody who has known me rather too well for comfort on this earth is going to come up to me and say, in a loud voice enough for everybody to hear, “How in the world did you get in here?”

I am not going to answer in words. I am simply going to pull a rosary out of my pocket and dangle it in front of my questioner. That will be my reply; and it will be perfectly true. It will also be true for my family, which I have every reason to hope will be there with me. We will all pull our rosaries out of our pockets and wave them.

I think that we will wave them for all eternity; or at least wear them around our necks for everybody to see. It will save a lot of explaining, and it will give credit where credit is due.

I am not humble enough for public confession of my sins: besides, it would be scandalous; and the readers would be writing to the editor denouncing him for printing such shocking stuff.

I will simply say this: there is a period of my life that I want to forget; and I would still be in it if it weren’t for the rosary.

The rosary is the rope by which I climbed hand over hand out of the pit into which I had fallen.

I started climbing out after I discovered one basic rule for any kind of success in life. The way to get something done is to do it. I will never forget how that realization suddenly popped into my head and transformed me.

Ever since then, I have been getting things done, simply by doing them. And the thing that taught me that lesson was the rosary. I do not remember how or why or when I started saying the rosary daily. But I do remember that doing it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.

When people say to me now that they just can’t seem to get at it, I chuckle. They’re telling me! They complain about the irregularity of their lives, about visitors dropping in, and whatnot. And I chuckle again.

When I started saying the daily rosary, I was a reporter for a Hearst newspaper in the big city. It was not in the least unusual for me to be out on a story half the night, or three-quarters of the night, or all night.

At any moment during the day, the city editor might answer the telephone, look across the desk at me, and order me to high-ball by automobile, or train or other conveyance to some city or town or crossroads 100, 500, 1000 miles distant.

At any hour of the night, I might be awakened by the telephone and told to dash into the office, or dash somewhere else. As for social and other affairs, I had more than my share of them. But I had discovered that the way to get something done is to do it. I had learned that the way to get the rosary said is to say it. And I said it – and I don’t think anybody ever said it harder.

Meditation? It came as naturally to me as eating glass or swallowing swords. Praying? It was hard, sweaty, ditch-digging heavy labor for me. I was going it alone then; and the going was all uphill. It was all mountain climbing.

More than once, I awoke in the wee hours of the night, still on my knees, with the upper half of my body sprawled over the bed, and the rosary still clutched in my fingers at the second or third decade.
But the way to get something done was to do it; and I wouldn’t allow myself to crawl into bed until the rosary was finished.

I tell all this only in order that the reader may know that I am not one to whom prayer came easily. You say that it is hard for you; I answer that it was hard for me.

Then suddenly, somewhere along the line, I met Father Patrick Peyton, and discovered an additional rule for success. I discovered that whereas it was exceedingly difficult for me to say the rosary alone, it was as easy as rolling off a log to say it with my family.

We were one of the early families in Father Peyton’s Family Rosary Crusade; and what he gave to us when he talked us into it, we wouldn’t trade today for all the Fords and Lincolns in Henry Fords factory for the next thousand years.

I state a simple fact; and you needn’t take it just from me. Ask my wife. Ask the children. Ask the neighbors. Ask our visitors. They’ll all tell you the same thing: that ever since we started the daily family Rosary, and kept it up, our house has been one of the happiest and healthiest homes in the world.

To use a popular jive expression, the place simply jumps with joy. And there were times when it didn’t. There were a great many times when it didn’t. There was a time when the doctor told us we might as well make up our minds to sell our home for whatever we could get and go to Florida, with or without a job, if we didn’t want to see our children dying one by one before our eyes.

He said they simply couldn’t stand the climate in which we were living; and they’d be better off living on bananas under a tree in the south than suffering what they were suffering in the north.

The rosary changed all that; and today our youngsters, everyone of them, can whip their weight in wildcats; and would do it at the drop of a hat if there were any Wildcats in sight.

But that is the least of the blessings that have come to us from the family Rosary. I remember vividly my first conversation with Father Peyton, long before he became world famous as the originator of the family hour on the radio, in which the greatest stars of Broadway and Hollywood donate their talents to popularize the slogan, “The family that prays together, stays together.”

Father Peyton, knitting his brows in the way he has, and speaking in that wonderful Irish brogue which I won’t try to reproduce, told me that, when he was first ordained, he planned to start a crusade for daily mass, communion and the rosary.

The longer he prayed and puzzled over it, the more he became convinced that if he asked for everything at first, he’d get nothing; whereas if he could get people to say the rosary, the rosary would lead them to the other things.
Today I can testify that, in our case at least, he was perfectly right. We have learned that the rosary, if you will just say it, takes care of the full spiritual development of the family.

I recall that, when we started it, the children got very tired and restless while kneeling, especially at bedtime. Soon my wife, with the wisdom that God gives to mothers, told youngsters to sit for the rosary.

Today, the two who are in grade school go to mass and communion daily, carrying their breakfast with him, or buying donuts and milk in the school basement. The rosary drew them naturally and inevitably to mass.

My wife and I often tell friends that someday we are going to write a book entitled “how to rear children.” It Is going to have 300 pages, and every page will have three words – and three words only – printed on it. “Let them alone.”

But of course there will have to be a preface: “Teach them to pray… And then let them alone.”

In spiritual as in all other affairs, we have learned that children need very little preaching to. They ought not to be analyzed and psychoanalyzed and cross-examined and made to toe Chalk Lines.

What they need is prayer and good example – and the rest takes care of itself. I would say this – that by far the easiest and least troublesome way of rearing a family of which you can be proud is to institute the family rosary in your home, and keep it up.

It eliminates almost entirely the need for discipline, because it creates such harmony and such family love that the children discipline themselves. It knits the family together with bonds 10,000 times stronger than any that can be forged by merely natural means.

I think that I’ve heard all the objections to the family rosary. Fully half the fathers and mothers who have talked with me about it have shrugged their shoulders helplessly and said that there simply doesn’t seem to be any time of the day when all the members of the family can be brought together in prayer.

The answer to that, of course, is exceedingly simple. If you can’t get all the members of the family together, say the rosary with the members who are present.

Sooner or later, something will happen to make it possible for the others to join in.

The rosary is like that. Give it a chance, and it’ll take care of the problems. The Mother of God can have whatever she wants from her divine Son; and one of the things she wants is Rosary Families.

Mothers have said to me that the smaller members of the family won’t behave during the rosary. What of it? The smaller members of our family won’t behave either.

Between them, our two-year-old Jimmy and eight month old Regina put on something resembling a three ring circus while we are saying the rosary. We don’t interfere. It’s our business to say to say the rosary; it’s theirs to have a circus. God made them that way; and if He doesn’t mind, why should we? We pray above and between their shouts and gurgles, and it works out very well.

I have also heard people say that the antics of the smaller children interfere with their meditations. They interfered with mine, too, until I learned to include the youngsters in the meditation.

Now, while saying the Joyful Mysteries, I look at Regina, cooing and bouncing in her crib, and I think, “Why, Christ was just like that once! He cooed and gurgled too, and waved his arms, and kicked his legs, and rolled over on his stomach, then worked like a Trojan to get turned to his back again.”

Or if the baby is sitting on her mother’s lap, I look at them and realize that the Christ child sat in Mary’s lap too, and clutched at her garments, and tried to pull Himself upright, and swung His hands at her face, and laughed when she smiled at Him.

I think of the fact that He, too, had to be fed; that although He held the universe in the palm of His hand and kept the planets on their courses. He depended on his mother for everything.

Perhaps we are saying the Sorrowful Mysteries. If so, sometimes I look at Jimmy and think how I would feel if he were crucified in front of my eyes. Then I know something about what Mary felt.

I know something, too, about the infinite love of God which caused Him to send His only Son to die for us.

Could I send one of my sons to die in agony for someone who had insulted me? I think of that; and then I am better able to thank God for the redemption.
If we are saying the Glorious Mysteries, I consider often what a moment it will be when all the family rises from the grave and is reunited, nevermore to be parted; when we are all together to stay together, in perfect happiness, forever.

If the happy family is a thing of rollicking joy – and it is – then what must a perfectly happy family in heaven be like! It is very well worth looking forward to. It is very well worth the trouble of saying the daily rosary.

Ten or fifteen minutes a day is what it takes; and eternity is what it purchases. I wasn’t born yesterday; and I’m not passing up a bargain like that.

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You may also like My Little Story About the Rosary.catholic home2521296bd78052045c27b0fd73b10658

 

 

 

Attitude When Confronted With the Suffering of Those Close to Us

Parents have a lot to be anxious about. We see our children suffer, from infants on up. It is so easy to get caught up in it….to let it consume us.

We have to stand back and get a hold of ourselves…..look at the situation through the eyes of a confident child, that knows her Father is watching over her and those she loves and listening to every prayer.2bbff9ab0495eb9585d233aa1fc696d7

A Summary of Father Jacques Philippe’s thoughts on Our Attitude When Confronted With the Suffering of Those Close to Us :

“Experience shows that peace,

Which fills your soul with charity

The love of God and of your neighbor,

Is the road that leads directly to eternal life.”

What do we do when we are unable to abandon ourselves to God?

The short and profound answer is “Abandon yourself anyway!”
“This is the response of the saints,” says Father Philippe in his book Searching For and Maintaining Peace.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus also says “Total abandonment; that’s my only law!”

Abandonment does not come naturally, it is a gift and a grace that we must ask God for. God will surely give it to us if we pray with perseverance. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and if we ask in faith He will answer.

“If you, then who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Ghost to those who ask Him.” Luke 11:13.

Our peace of soul is crucial to remaining close to God and furthering our spiritual life.

A situation where we frequently can lose our peace of soul is when someone close to us is suffering. A lot of times we are more troubled by someone’s suffering other than our own.

We can be tempted to give into excessive anxiety when our loved one’s health is compromised, their financial situation is strung out, they have mental health issues, etc.

It is so easy to lose heart at these times and become very anxious. But Isaiah 49:15 reminds us: “Can a mother forget her infant, or be without tenderness for the child in her womb? Even should she forget I will never forget you.”

We are normally hardened and selfish creatures but the more we advance in the spiritual life the more our compassion for others grow.

But we must always remain faithful and peaceful in the face of the suffering of others.

St. Dominic spent his nights in prayer and pleading with the Lord: “Merciful God, what will become of sinners?”

The Saints were always tender, peaceful and confident.
Father Philippe talks about how sometimes our compassion, if disordered,  is selfish:

“We have a way of implicating ourselves in the sufferings of others that is not always correct, that sometimes proceeds more from my love of self instead of from a true love of others.

And we believe that to preoccupy ourselves excessively with another in difficulty is justified, that it is a sign of the love that we feel for the other person.

But this is false.

There is often in this attitude a great, hidden love of ourselves. We cannot bear the sufferings of others because we are afraid of suffering ourselves.

The reason is that we, too, lack confidence in God. It is normal to be profoundly touched by the suffering of another who is dear to us, but if, because of this, we torment ourselves to the point of losing our peace, this signifies that our love for the other person is still not fully spiritual, is still not in harmony with God.

It is a love that is still too human and, without doubt, egotistical, whose foundation is not sufficiently based on an unshakable confidence in God.”

Those who suffer around us need people who are confident, joyful, and at peace. This helps them much more than to be surrounded with those who are distressed and anxious. It heightens their own sadness and anxiety.

We need to support those who are suffering. It is normal to be anxious, but we need to pray for their healing with perseverance and confidence.

We should do all that is humanly and spiritually possible to obtain whatever it is we are asking for. It is our duty to do these things.
But we need to do them with peace, abandonment and confidence in God. He will take care of them. He loves them much more than we ever could.Beautiful-Butterfly-and-Flowers-Wallpaper-1024x576

Directing Your Child – Rev. George A. Kelly

The Catholic Family Handbook – Rev. George A. Kelly10592953_580023812109000_1559607388370175420_n

Your final and fullest test as a parent lies in helping your child reach the potential of which he is capable.

You must show him the way to go, and to do so you must know the way yourself.

Your child’s goal is a happy, holy adulthood in which he serves God and man. He will make much progress toward this goal simply by following
his natural urges to grow physically and mentally, and by observing you in your everyday relationship.

But he should also be directed formally toward his goal by your direct teaching. Three principles are involved:

1. You alone have this authority to teach. It is your right given by God as an attribute of your parenthood.

Moreover, no one can take it from you, so long as you fulfill your obligation to exercise it.

Christian society has always recognized that the authority of the father and mother is unquestioned.

For instance, in most states of the Union, a child is legally subject to his parents until he is eighteen.

2. Respect for authority is earned, not imposed. Children will always respond to authority when it is just and when they respect the parent who exercises it.

They will ignore or disobey authority when it is
unjust or when the parent has forfeited their respect.

A father cannot expect his child to obey his rules if, for example, he consistently passes red lights and commits other traffic violations and thus shows that he himself disregards the laws of society.

Likewise, your child will respect you only when you show by your actions that you respect him.

3. Your authority must be used. One “modern” father decided not to teach his child anything about God so that the child could choose his own religion himself when he grew up.

This man could just as well have argued that he would not try to inculcate any virtues; that the child could choose between honesty and dishonesty, between truth and falsehood, or between loving his country and hating it.

Precisely because you are more experienced, you must decide on all matters affecting your child’s welfare.

You would not wait for him to decide when to see a doctor to treat his illness; you would call the doctor as soon as you decided that his services were necessary.

You would not allow your seven-year-old to choose a school; you would make the decision without even consulting him.

As your child develops, he should exercise an increasing amount of authority over his own actions.

When he is eight, you will decide which Mass he should attend on Sundays; when he is eighteen, the decision probably will be his.

When he is seven, you will exercise a strong
control over his reading matter; at seventeen, he himself will exercise a choice.

Allow your child to make decisions for himself on unimportant matters first.

In questions involving the important areas–his religious duties, choice of school, etc., give freedom slowly and carefully.

For instance, your teen-ager might be free to decide whether to attend a sports event on a Sunday afternoon, but he has no freedom to decide whether to attend Mass on Sunday morning.

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S’More Smorgasbord ‘n Smidgens

I have some very special Grandchildren…. What grandparents don’t think that, right?

Virginia (our oldest daughter) and Vincent have 6 children.  Edward is the oldest and he is 7. Her hands are full.

Virginia has told me of the few mornings she has woken up after the kids were already up. Edward had efficiently set the table, each of the kids were in their places with Emma in the high chair, devouring the cereal and milk that had been neatly poured into their bowls!

These are pictures of her second oldest son, Antonio, who is 6. They show a lot about his personality…..ambitious, hungry and impatient!! :DIMG_3693 IMG_3692IMG_3690IMG_3694

 

 

 

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Who says God is not concerned with the little things in our lives? I was taking a look at our bathroom and whispered a little prayer to Our Lady, “Could you please take care of this room for me?”

The room needed desperate help and my guys are awfully busy making a living around here. Shortly after that prayer my son-in-law, Mike, and my son, Dominic, decided that they would take a couple hours out of their day and paint my bathroom (I didn’t ask them, nor did I mention my prayer).

They painted the room, and the next day I saw my son trek through the house with a box of new ceramic tile…..my eyebrows raised as I saw him and I started to get *cautiously* excited! One thing led to another and next thing you know my whole bathroom was remodeled!!! Wow! Did Our Lady answer that prayer or what???? If she is concerned with the small things, will she not take care of us in the big ones?

I love this quote from Our Lady of Guadalupe: “Hear and let it penetrate into your heart; let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also, do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?”

I think we need this powerful reminder in these days of rampant darkness…..that the LIGHT will conquer!

I am sure you have your own “little” answers to prayer that makes you think of the loving Divine Providence that walks with us each day.IMG_3781 IMG_3782IMG_0858IMG_4038A few pictures of dear hubby doing what he likes best…. hanging out and rolling about with the kids and grandchildren. We can never underestimate the power of the dad in a child’s life!IMG_3830 IMG_3839 IMG_3856Most of the following pictures are of just last Sunday….a typical Sunday. The only thing different is that my oldest and very dear brother and his sweet wife are visiting from Canada. They live in a city called Kitimat, which is 500 miles north of Vancouver Island. We are thrilled to have them so we took some photos with my mom and dad…..If you would like to read more about my mom and dad’s move to their new apartment last summer, click  here.

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LINKS!

The following links are a smorgasbord of some interesting, inspiring 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.

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9 Habits of People Who Never Have to Clean Their Homes -

A maid isn’t necessary to keep your house neat every day. I thought these simple tips were great! They are some basic steps we can take to keep the clutter to a minimum and our home looking good!

 

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Ladies, you will like this….This link shows a neat thing you can do with a simple braid that will make you look like you took lessons from the pros! “In 5 seconds watch how mom turns an ordinary braid into a beautiful new hairdo”.  :)

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We all have our negative times (well, most of us….hubby is an exception…he said he tried to be in a bad mood once but didn’t like it!), but what do we do with those who are negative most of the time and bring us down? Wendy Cukierski has a list of charitable and balanced approaches that may help you in these situations:

“We’ve all encountered negative folks.  It can leave you feeling drained and even physically exhausted! You might even feel your energy being zapped and your mood heading south.  It can take hours or even an entire day to start feeling “normal” again.

So…what do we do?  How do we handle such a person?

Here are several key steps you can take.  Remember…you do have a choice in how you react to them.” Read more here.

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The following is great article on technology.


In dealing with the abuses of technology, it is good to have an historical perspective. The abuses of technology began with the Industrial Revolution, which instilled a lust for speed into modern man, and a desire and expectation for immediate gratification. This changed the psychology of man so that people are no longer able to fill idle time with thinking, contemplating, meditating or praying. Technology, which should serve society, came to dominate men’s lives.” Read Six Ways to Deal With the Abuses of Technology

 
 
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Excellent meditation on modesty at Church:
 
“Dear girls,You don’t know me. I don’t know you.I saw you come in and sit down in front of me, smiling and hugging each other, looking around the sanctuary for familiar faces. During the greeting break you shook my hand, we exchanged a few words; maybe ‘Hello, how are you?’ or ‘What’s your name?’You are all very pretty. Beautiful, actually: tall, thin, with good hair, nicely styled.
 
“Read more here.
 
 
 

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Things are going well, but we’re more like business partners than husband and wife. We keep it together but it’s like we’re hardly even friends anymore.

Life can turn into a grind, even for a great marriage.

Our fast-paced lives are perfectly capable of edging out every good intention we used to have.

Then we find ourselves months (years for many) down the road having survived, but also having missed the reason we thought we were doing all those things in the first place: to love each other and have a wonderful life together.

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The Catholic Gentleman has some simple and very good reasons to get our duffs out of bed in the morning.

“Daybreak is a never-ending glory, getting out of bed is a never-ending nuisance.”
– G.K. Chesterton

Rise and Shine: 5 Reasons to Get Up Early in the Morning  

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Ooooo….it’s that time of the year!!! FALL!!

40+ Must Make Apple Recipes

It’s APPLE time! Take a look at 40 of the BEST apple recipes that you simply must make this Fall…….click here!

 
 
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A beautiful use of technology:
It’s a 500-year-old religious order, its members scattered across the world, separated from each other, and often from the world outside. It’s now brought together for the first time by song and technology.
 
 
 
 

One more lovely video so you can shed a tear or two….. :)

Mixed Messages…..Watch What You Say!

Throwback Thursday finds us meditating on the power of words with this short story……..

“Give me a man who controls his tongue, and I will give you a perfect man”. This was St. James who said this.

As women, our lives revolve around people, and sometimes we have a hard time keeping our words positive and uplifting.

In our “Purpose of Finer Femininity” we say that “We, as women, have the awesome responsibility and power to make or break our relationships”.

How true this is! And much of it begins and ends with the tongue.

Let’s keep those words uplifting or keep our mouths shut if they are not!

Let’s reflect, today, before we speak. Is it uplifting, encouraging, loving? If not, we will think twice before we say it!

MIXED MESSAGES

 The Power of a Woman’s Words- Sharon Jaynes

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MY FRIEND CATHERINE AND I set out for a lazy summer stroll through the neighborhood just before the fireflies emerged to celebrate the setting of the sun. We chatted about raising boys, working husbands, and decorating dilemmas. When we arrived back at her house, she invited me to come in and look at some fabric swatches for a new sofa.

Before I knew it, a few minutes had turned into a few hours. “Oh, my!” I exclaimed. “It’s ten o’clock. I’ve been gone for over two hours! I bet Steve’s worried sick. He doesn’t even know where I am. I’d better give him a call before I start back home.”

When I dialed our number, the answering machine picked up. After I listened to my sweet Southern greeting, I left a bitter message. “Steve, I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!” Click.

I said my goodbyes to Catherine and left feeling dejected.

“I’m wandering around in the dark all alone and he doesn’t even care,” I mumbled to no one in particular.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed someone coming toward me. It was Sir Galahad riding on his steed…his bicycle!

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“Where have you been?” Steve desperately asked. “I’ve been riding all over the neighborhood looking for you! Do you know what time it is?”

 “Oh, you do care,” I said with a grin, giving him a big hug.

“What are you talking about?”

 “Oh, nothing. Let’s go home.”

When we arrived at the house, I quickly erased the message on the machine before Steve could hear my reprimanding words.

 Whew, I thought. That was close.

A few days later, Steve called me from work. “Sharon, have you listened to the answering machine lately?”

“No, why?”

“Well, I think there’s something on there you need to hear.”

 We hung up and I reached for my cell phone to call my home phone. The message on the answering machine went something like this. (The voice of a sweet Southern belle) “Hello, you’ve reached the Jaynes’ residence. We’re unable to answer the phone right now…

 (enter the voice of Cruella De Vil)

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“I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!”

 (Return of sweet Southern belle) “At the sound of the beep, leave a message and we’ll get back with you as soon as possible.” Beep.

“Oh, my goodness!” I screamed. “How did this happen! How many people have heard this over the past three days?”

 I called the phone company, and they explained that sometimes during a thunderstorm (which had occurred three days prior), lightning strikes the wires and answering machine messages get scrambled. My message somehow became attached to the greeting. I was mortified. It sounded like Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde. “Lord,” I prayed, “this is so embarrassing.”

 “Yes, it is,” He replied.

Well, He didn’t really say that in so many words. It was more like this: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water” (James 3:9-12)

 “Okay, Lord, I get the message.”

 

A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day. EMILY DICKINSON

 

 I am amazed how quickly we women can flit back and forth between blessing and belittling, praising and putting down, cheering and critiquing—all in a matter of seconds. God has given us incredible power in our sphere of influence, and it begins with the words we speak. Few forces have as powerful an effect as the sounds that pass our lips. Our words can spark a child to accomplish great feats, encourage a husband to conquer the world, fan the dying embers of a friend’s broken dreams into flame, encourage a fellow believer to run the race set before her, and draw a lost soul to Christ.

 I invite you to explore one of the mysteries of the feminine mystique—the power of a woman’s words.

Are words powerful? Yes! Just how powerful? They are one of God’s most incredible gifts to mankind and we need to consider the potential we have right under our noses…words.

A careless word may kindle strife;

A cruel word may wreck a life.

A bitter word may hate instill;

A brutal word may smite and kill.

A gracious word may smooth the way;

A joyous word may light the day.

A timely word may lessen stress;

A loving word may heal and bless.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

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Helplessness in Trials, and the Trial of Helplessness

A3996I remember when my life was so very hectic, small children demanding every fraction of my time. I must have appeared more tired than usual because my mother-in-law was compelled to remind me to enjoy these times when all the children were small. She told me that even though this phase of parenthood was most demanding physically, it was special because we have a lot of control.

When the children become young adults, that control is no longer there. We must pray and hope that they make the right decisions. Sometimes we feel helpless.

Fr. Phillipe gives us words of much consolation when dealing with what seems to be a situation in which we feel absolutely powerless, whether it is with our children or spouse, or whatever the case may be.

Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe

There are times in every life when we find ourselves in situations of trial and difficulty, either affecting us or someone we love. We can do nothing. However much we turn things over and examine them from every angle, there is no solution.

The feeling of being helpless and powerless is a painful trial, especially when it concerns someone close to us: to see someone we love in difficulties without being able to help is one of the bitterest sufferings there is. Many parents experience it.

When children are small, there is always a way of intervening, helping them. When children are older and no longer heed advice, it can be terrible for parents to see their sons or daughters turning to drugs or launching destructive love affairs. Much as they want to help, they cannot.

At such times we should tell ourselves that even if we apparently have no way of intervening, we still, despite everything, can continue to believe, hope, and love.

We can believe that God will not abandon our child and our prayer will bear fruit in due course.

We can hope in the Lord’s faithfulness and power for everything.

We can love by continuing to carry that person in our heart and prayer, forgiving him and forgiving the wrong done to him; and expressing love in every way available to us, including trust, self-abandonment, and forgiveness.

The more devoid of means our love is, the purer and greater it is.

Even when, externally, there is nothing to be done, we still have inner freedom to continue to love.

No circumstance, however tragic, can rob us of that. For us, this should be a liberating and consoling certainty amidst the trial of powerlessness.

Even if we can do nothing, as long as we believe, hope, and love, something is happening whose fruits will appear sooner or later, in the time of God’s mercy.

Love, though bereft of means and apparently powerless, is always fruitful. It cannot be otherwise, because it is a participation in the being and life of God.

“Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

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Our Mother Will Teach Us

From True Womanhood by Helen Allingham

It has been the constant belief and teaching of Christian
ages that the lives of Joseph and Mary consumed in the
voluntary poverty, lowliness, and toil of their condition,
were ennobled, elevated, sanctified, and made most precious
before God by being after the example of the Divine Model
before them devoted to God alone, and animated by the
one sole thought and purpose of pleasing and glorifying
Him by perfect conformity to his holy will.

The Mother who ruled in this most blessed home, beheld
in the Divine Babe confided to her, the Incarnate Son of
God walking before her in the true way of holiness, and,
like him, she applied herself to set the Eternal Father
constantly before her eyes, studying to make every thought
and aim and word and action most pleasing to that Infinite
Perfection.

When Christ had begun his public life, when the home at
Nazareth was broken up, and Mary had taken up her abode
with her kinsfolk at Capharnaum, the light of the Father’s
countenance, in which she had learned to live, accompa-
nied her, and the grace of her Son’s example continued to
surround her like a living atmosphere. After the terrible
scenes of Calvary and the glories of the ascension, she
brought with her to the home which St. John and his
mother, Mary Salome, so lovingly offered her, the image of
her Crucified Love, as the one great mirror in which she
could behold the new heights of sanctity and self-sacrifice
which she was called on to tread with him.

Since her day who was Mother of our Head, Mother of
the Church which she labored to beget and to form, and
Mother of us all since she quitted her home on earth for
heaven the image of the Crucified God has ever been the
chief ornament, the principal light, and the great Book of
Life in every true Christian home.

Not one saintly mother among the millions who have
trained sons and daughters, ay, and husbands and depend-
ents, to be the true followers of Christ, his apostles and his martyrs, when need was but always his faithful ser-
vants and imitators; who did not read in the ever open
page of her crucifix, how she might best lead a life of self-
sacrifice, and best induce her dear ones to be ” crucified to
the world.”

But let no one fancy that, in placing before her this holy
model-home of the ever-blessed Mother of God, it is the
intention of the writer to urge any one who chances to read
these pages to expect to equal in self-sacrifice either herself
or her Divine Son.

No : the aim of the instruction here
given is to encourage all who look into this mirror to adorn
their homes with some of the heavenly flowers which
bloomed in Nazareth, to bring to the performance of their
daily duties in their own appointed sphere, that lofty spirit
of unselfish devotion to God which will make every thing
they do most precious in his sight, transform the poorest,
narrowest, most cheerless home into a bright temple filled
with the light of God’s presence, blessed and protected by
God’s visiting angels, and fragrant with the odor of paradise.
It is merely sought to open to the darkened eyes visions
of a world which will enable the burdened soul to bear pa-
tiently and joyously the load of present ills ; to fire the
spirit of the careworn and the despairing with an energy
which will enable them to take up the inevitable cross and
follow Mary and her Son up to heights where rest is certain
and the promised glory unfading.

No you shall not be asked to quit your home, or ex-
change your occupations, or add one single particle to the
burden of your toil, your care, or your suffering ; but she
who is the dear Mother of us all will teach you by the silent
voice of her example, how to bring the light of heaven
down into your home, the generosity of the children of God
into the discharge of your every occupation, and the sweet
spirit of Christ to ennoble your toil, to brighten your care
and your suffering.

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Zeal – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

Is your zeal rightly ordered? This chapter goes through the signs of good zeal and  of bad zeal. There is a fine line.

from Light and Peace, Quadrupani10625078_1423070954605305_5652420385585437635_n
But if you have bitter zeal, and there be contentions in your heart,
glory not, and be not liars against the truth: for this is not wisdom
descending from above, but earthly, sensual, diabolical. (St. James,
Cath. Ep., c. III, vv. 14 and 15.)

For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. (St. James, Cath.
Ep., c. I., v. 20.)

1. Zeal for the salvation of souls is a sublime virtue, and yet how many errors and sins are every day committed in its name! Evil is never done more effectually and with greater security, says Saint Francis de Sales, than when one does it believing he is working for the glory of God.

2. The saints themselves can be mistaken in this delicate matter. We see a proof of this in the incident related of the Apostles Saint James and Saint John; for our Lord reprimanded them for asking Him to cause fire from heaven to fall upon the Samaritans.

3. Acts of zeal are like coins the stamp upon which it is necessary to
examine attentively, as there are more counterfeits than good ones. Zeal to be pure should be accompanied with very great humility, for it is of all virtues the one into which self-love most easily glides. When it does so, zeal is apt to become imprudent, presumptuous, unjust, bitter.

Let us consider these characteristics in detail, viewing them, for the sake of greater clearness, in their practical bearings.

4. In every home there grows some thorn, something, in other words, that needs correction; for the best soil is seldom without its noxious weed.

Imprudent zeal, by seeking awkwardly to pluck out the thorn, often succeeds only in plunging it farther in, thus rendering the wound deeper and more painful.

In such a case it is essential to act with reflection and great prudence. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent, says the Holy Spirit. Prudent zeal is silent when it realizes that to be so is less hurtful than to speak.

5. Some persons are even presumptuous enough in their mistaken zeal to
meddle in the domestic affairs of strange families, blaming, counseling, attempting to reform without measure or discretion, thus causing an evil much greater than the one they wish to correct.

Let us employ the activity of our zeal in our own reformation, says Saint Bernard, and pray humbly for that of others. It is great presumption on our part thus to assume the role of apostles when we are not as yet even good and faithful disciples.

Not that you should be by any means indifferent to the salvation of souls: on the contrary you must wish it most ardently, but do not undertake to effect it except with great prudence, humility and
diffidence in self.

6. Again, there are pious persons whose zeal consists in wishing to make everybody adopt their particular practices of devotion. Such a one, if she have a special attraction for meditating on the Passion of our divine Lord or for visiting the Blessed Sacrament, would like to oblige every one, under pain of reprobation, to pass long hours prostrate before the crucifix or the tabernacle.

Another who is especially devoted to visiting the poor and the sick and to the other works of corporal mercy, acknowledges no piety apart from these excellent practices.

Now, this is not an enlightened zeal. Martha and Mary were sisters, says Saint Augustine, but they have not a like office: one acts, the other contemplates.

If both had passed the day in contemplation, no one would have prepared a repast for their divine Master; if both had been employed in this material work, there would have been no one to listen to His words and garner up His divine lessons.

The same thing may be said of other good works. In choosing among them each person should follow the inspirations of God’s grace, and these are very varied.

The eye that sees but hears not, must neither envy nor blame the ear that hears but sees not. _Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum:_ let every spirit praise the Lord, says the royal prophet.

7. Bear well in mind that the zeal which would lead you to undertake
works not in conformity with your position, however good and useful they may be in themselves, is always a false one.

This is especially true if such cause us interior trouble or annoyance; for the holiest things are infallibly displeasing to God when they do not accord with the duties of our state of life.

8. Saint Paul condemned in strong terms those Christians who showed a too exclusive preference for their spiritual masters; some admitting as truth only what came from the mouth of Peter, others acknowledging none save Paul, and others again none but Apollo.

What! said he to them, is not Jesus Christ the same for all of you! Is it then Paul who was crucified for you? Is it in his name you were baptized?
This culpable weakness is often reproduced in our day. Persons otherwise pious carry to excess the esteem and affection they have for their spiritual directors, exalt without measure their wisdom and holiness, and do not scruple to depreciate all others.

God alone knows the true value of each human being, and we have not the scales of the sanctuary to weigh and compare the respective wisdom and sanctity of this and that person.

If you have a good confessor, thank God and try to render his wisdom useful to you by your docility in allowing yourself to be guided; but do not assume that nobody else has as good a one.

To depreciate the merits of some in order to exalt those of others at their expense is a sort of slander, that ought to be all the more feared because it is generally so little recognized.

9. “If your zeal is bitter,” says Saint James, “it is not wisdom descending from on high, but earthly, sensual, diabolical.”

These words of an Apostle should furnish matter of reflection for those persons who, whilst making profession of piety, are so prone to irritability, so harsh and rude in their manners and language, that they might be taken for angels in church and for demons elsewhere.

10. The value and utility of zeal are in proportion to its tolerance and amiability. True zeal is the offspring of charity: it should, then,
resemble its mother and show itself like to her in all things.

“Charity,” says Saint Paul, “is patient, is kind, is not ambitious and seeketh not her own.”

“You should not only be devout and love devotion, but you ought to make
your piety useful, agreeable and charming to everybody. The sick will
like your spirituality if they are lovingly consoled by it; your family, if they find that it makes you more thoughtful of their welfare, gentler in every day affairs, more amiable in reproving, and so on; your husband, if he sees that in proportion as your devotion increases you become more cordial and tender in your affection for him; your relations and friends, if they find you more forbearing, and more ready to comply with their wishes, should these not be contrary to God’s will.

Briefly, you must try as far as possible to make your devotion attractive to others; that is true zeal.”—Saint Francis de Sales.*

11. Never allow your zeal to make you over eager to correct others, says the same Saint; and when you must do it remember that the most important thing to consider is the choice of the moment.

A caution deferred can be given another time: one given inopportunely is not only fruitless, but moreover paralyses beforehand all the good that might have subsequently been done.

12. Be zealous, therefore, ardently zealous for the salvation of your
neighbor, and to further it make use of whatever means God has placed in your power; but do not exceed these limits nor disquiet yourself about the good you are unable to do, for God can accomplish it through others.

In conclusion, zeal, according to the teachings of the Fathers of the
Church, should always have truth for its foundation, indulgence for its
companion, mildness for its guide, prudence for its counselor and
director.

“I must look upon whatever presents itself each day to be done, in the
order of Divine Providence, as the work God wishes me to do, and apply
myself to it in a manner worthy of Him, that is with exactness and
tranquility.

I shall neglect nothing, be anxious about nothing; as it is dangerous either to do God’s work negligently or to appropriate it to one’s self through self-love and false zeal.

When our actions are prompted by our own inclinations, we do them badly, and are pretentious, restless, and anxious to succeed.

The glory of God is the pretext that hides the illusion.

Self-love disguised as zeal grieves and frets if it cannot succeed. O my God! give me the grace to be faithful in action, indifferent to success.

My part is to will what Thou willest and to keep myself recollected in Thee amidst all my occupations: Thine it is to give to my feeble efforts such fruit as shall please Thee,—none if Thou so wishest.”—Fénelon.

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zeal

Young People’s Questions: On Caring for Aged Parents/Should I Marry for Reputation? Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R

Questions Young People Ask Before Marriageby Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.691042340ba6b18edcd3e621fcd46629

On Caring for Aged Parents

Problem:

Is there any obligation that one member of a large family sacrifice his or her life to the care of the parents in their old age? I am thinking of the case in which the parents are financially independent, but partially, not totally, disabled by old age.

Some parents insist that one son or daughter stay with them, giving up any thought of marriage or a vocation of their own. Others whom I have known are willing to make any sacrifice to have all their children follow some vocation, even though it leaves them entirely alone.

The question has been raised in our own family and I wish to know what is right.

Solution:

In the case as given, in which the parents are financially independent, thus presumably able to provide whatever care they need themselves, the true Christian attitude is that of those who want to see every one of their children established in their own vocation, even though it means sacrifice and something of loneliness for themselves.

It would not be wrong, of course, for one of the children to choose to make a vocation out of staying with the parents, thus freely sacrificing opportunities for marriage and a home of their own.

This would be a form of charity and sacrifice worthy of high praise, so long as the one who adopted it based it on spiritual motives, accepted the sacrifice without later grumbling and complaining, and cultivated a solidly spiritual life.

But such a sacrifice would not be of obligation in the case mentioned, and parents should be most highly commended who would urge that it be not made.

There are frequent examples of selfishness and even interference with God’s evident plans on the part of parents.

Thus, those who, in no great physical need and financially secure, refuse to permit a son or daughter to follow a priestly or religious vocation because they won’t give up their companionship, would even do wrong.

The same would be true of parents not in need who would, prevent the marriage of a son or daughter in love and desiring to marry, just because they don’t want to be left alone.

The case is different entirely if the parents are destitute and helplessly ill. In that case some kind of an obligation arises among the children to take care of the parents. Even in this case, however, it can sometimes be arranged that, through the cooperation of all, the parents can be taken care of and none of the children prevented from following an evident vocation.

Should a Girl Marry for her Reputation?

Problem:

Should a girl who has fallen into sin and thus become pregnant insist on marrying the man who was her companion in sin?

Should those who have influence over her insist that this be done to salvage her good name and to provide both a mother and a father for the child?

I am a social worker, and come into contact with these cases every now and then. Is there any general rule to be followed?

Solution:

The one general rule that can be set down is that the decision to marry or not to marry should not be made by such a girl solely on the ground that the marriage would (doubtfully) save her good name and provide a home for the expected baby.

The preservation of her good name would be little comfort to a girl if this were effected by entrance into a marriage that could be foreseen to have little chance of success.

Moreover the providing of a home for an expected baby would be of little advantage if there were little possibility that it would be a good and happy home.

Therefore each case of this kind must be decided according to the circumstances connected with it. If the circumstances reveal that there are good prospects of the marriage turning out successfully, it should be recommended.

This would require, of course, that the man in the case show some solidity of character, true repentance for his lapse into sin, readiness to assume the responsibilities of marriage, etc.

It would also require that the couple love each other sufficiently to be good companions and help-mates. It need hardly be added that both must be free to marry validly.

If the circumstances make it clear that a marriage between the two would have little chance of success, because of the weak character of the man, his lack of sound morals, his obvious inability to support a family, or because, as quite often happens., the girl has come to feel an antipathy for him, or is herself too immature to take up the duties of marriage, then there should be no thought of urging marriage.
Even though the ideal thing is that every child born into the world have a real home with a mother and father, the ideal must yield to the practical and prudent judgment that a particular couple could not establish a good home.

Surely a girl who has had the misfortune of falling into sin should not be coerced nor even strongly urged against her wishes to marry the man involved.

The tasks of protecting her good name in so far as possible, and of providing for the child, can be taken care of in other ways.

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