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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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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Marriage and Sacrifice – Christ in the Home – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

THROWBACK THURSDAY brings us to the following thoughts from Father Plus:

      IT IS not only the highest Catholic doctrine which requires the spirit of sacrifice of the married couple but more immediate common experience.

To live mutually in the closest proximity, in constant forgetfulness of self so that each of the two thinks only of the other requires something more than mere human attraction.

“Do not believe those who tell you that the road of love offers only the softest moss for your feet to tread. There are some sharp pebbles on the trail blazed by Adam and Eve.”

The married woman who wrote those lines in verse, said the same thing in prose, a prose strangely poetic:

“To enter into marriage with the idea that someday they will be rid of self is like putting a moth into a piece of wool. Whatever may be the embroidery, the gold threads, the rich colors, the piece of wool is destined to be eaten, chewed with holes and finally completely devoured.

It would be necessary for two saints to marry to be sure that no bitter word would ever be exchanged between them; even then it is not predictable what misunderstandings might crop up. Did not Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas have to separate because they had too many altercations? Then, can these two unfortunate children of Adam and Eve destined to struggle in life with all that life brings in our days of recurring difficulties expect never to have any temptations to wound each other and never to succumb to such provocations?”

If marriage is difficult even when the husband is a saint and the wife is a saint, how can we estimate the sacrifices it will require when the couple are to put it briefly but “poor good Christians.”

Here however we are discussing the case of two who are sustained by dogma, morals, and the sacraments. But suppose one of the couple is a sort of pagan, or if baptized, so far removed from his baptism that nothing recalls any longer the mark of the children of God. What a secret cause for suffering!

Such was the suffering of Elizabeth Leseur who was happy in her married life in the sense that her husband was completely loyal to her but unhappy in her home because on the fundamental point for union, there was disunion, a separated life, the wife being Christian to the degree of astonishing intimacy with God and the husband remaining perfectly satisfied with the superficial life of so-called society.

Even when souls live in closest harmony, there will always be, even in the best of homes, a hidden cause for mutual suffering, which one author calls, “the eternal tragedy of the family, due to the fact that man and woman represent two distinct worlds whose limits never overlap.“

For woman love is everything. For man it is but a part of life. The woman’s whole life rotates about the interior of the home, unless necessity forces her to work to earn a livelihood.Picture6

The husband lives whole days much more outside the home than in it; he has his business, his office, his store, his shop, his factory.

Except for the early days of his married life, he is absorbed more by ambition than by love; in any case, his heart alone is not busy throughout his days, but also and frequently more often, his head.Picture5

Sometimes the wife suffers from not having her husband sufficiently to herself; the husband suffers because he appears not to be devoting himself sufficiently to his wife. Over and above other causes of tragedy, here is the eternal and hidden drama. Much virtue is needed by both to accept the suffering they unwittingly cause each other.

A MYSTIC MORAL BOND

      ASIDE from the helps of Faith, two things especially can aid the married couple to practice mutual forbearance and to accept the sacrifices inherent in life together.

The first is the fact of their mutual share in the birth of their progeny.

Saint Augustine speaks beautifully of the two little arms of a child which draw the father and mother more closely together within the circle of their embrace as if to symbolize the living bond of union the child really is between them.

Father-mother-and-child-h-006Even when one’s choice of a marriage partner has been perfect, when ardent tenderness is evinced on both sides, there can still develop a period of tenseness and strained relations. Who can best reconcile the two souls momentarily at odds, upset for a time, or somewhat estranged? The child.

Someone has said it well: “Life is long, an individual changes in the course of ten, fifteen, twenty years shared with another. If the couple has had a fall out, it will not be so perilous if they have known love in its fullness. I mean by that the love of hearts and souls above all…, if the two have the noble and deep memories which constitute our true nourishment during our voyage on earth, if they are above all bound together by the children that their love has brought into the world, then there is a good chance that even though they are caught by the undertow of passion, they will emerge safe and sound.”

In addition to having children . . . that bond of love between the father and mother even in the greatest stress and strain . . . what most contributes to a speedy reconciliation after the clashes that eventually arise or the misunderstandings which set them at odds is the thought that they must endure, they must remain together.

What is to be thought of the following practice which is becoming quite customary? Adams Wedding HandsIn the preparation of the trousseau, only the bride’s initial is engraved on the silverware or embroidered on the linen. Does it not seem to be a provision for the possibility of a future separation?

By the constant repetition of the idea that man is fickle and that “her husband is the only man a woman can never get used to,” the novel, the theater, the movies, set the stamp of approval on the “doctrine” of the broken marriage bond as something normal, something to be expected.

“On the contrary,” says Henriette Charasson, who is a married woman and an author quoted before, “if husbands and wives realized that they were united for life, if they knew that nothing could permit them to establish another family elsewhere, how vigilant they would be not to let their precious and singular love be weakened; how they would seek, throughout their daily ups and downs, to keep vibrant, burning, and radiant, the love which binds them not only by the bond of their flesh but by the bond of their soul.”

We must thank God if He has blessed our home by giving us many precious children; thank Him also for the Christian conviction which we received formerly in our homes, convictions which will never permit us to consider the possibility of the least fissure in our own family now.

A FATHER’S ANSWER TO HIS DAUGHTER

      IN THE book “My Children and I” by Jerome K. Jerome, which is as full of humor as of common sense, a young girl tells her father that she is frightened at the possibility of love’s brevity.

“Love,” she says, “is only a stratagem of nature to have fun at our expense. He will tell me that I am everything to him. That will last six months, maybe a year if I am lucky, provided I don’t come home with a red nose from walking in the wind; provided he doesn’t catch me with my hair in curlers. It is not I whom he needs but what I represent to him of youth, novelty, mystery. And when he shall be satisfied in that? . . .”

Her father answers, “When the wonder and the poetry of desire shall be extinguished what will remain for you will be what already existed before the desire. If passion alone binds you, then God help you! If you have looked for pleasure only, Poor You!

But if behind the lover, there is a man (let us add a Christian); if behind this supposed goddess, sick with love, there is an upright and courageous woman (again let us add Christian); then, life is before you, not behind you. To live is to give not to receive.

Too few realize that it is the work which is the joy not the pay; the game, not the points scored; the playing, not the gain. Fools marry, calculating the advantages they can draw from marriage, and that results in absolutely nothing. But the true rewards of marriage are called work, duty, responsibility. There are names more beautiful than goddess, angel, star, and queen; they are wife and mother.

Marriage is a sacrifice.

In order to live these four last words, “Marriage is a sacrifice,” it is not enough to have started off on a good footing, to be enthusiastic about fine ideals, to put all hope in mutual tenderness.

Since marriage calls for more than ordinary sacrifice, it will be necessary in order to remain faithful to the habit of sacrifice, to have more than ordinary helps.

We have already meditated on the similarity between the Eucharist and marriage; we have seen that not only is there a bond of resemblance between these two sacraments but that there is in the Eucharist, above all in participation in the Eucharistic sacrifice and in Holy Communion a singular help for the married.

Prayer together must also be a help. Someone has rightly said, “The greatest sign of conjugal love is not given by encircling arms in an embrace but by bended knees in common prayer.

In his “Confessions,” Saint Augustine describes his last evening with his mother at Ostia. It is worth quoting. When a husband and wife have reached such a degree of soul-union in God, they can face all life’s tempests without trembling.

“Forgetting the past and looking toward the future, we pondered together in Your Presence, O my God, the living Truth, on what the eternal life of the elect would be like. . . . We came to this conclusion: The sensible pleasures of the flesh in their intensest degree and in all the attractiveness that material things can have, offer nothing that can compare with the sweetness of the life beyond, nor do they even deserve mention. In a transport of love, we tried to lift ourselves to You there….“

I must understand more clearly than in the past how essential it is to be rooted in prayer and if possible in prayer together.

I will meditate on this again.

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Girls: Faults and Ideals

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From Online Gutenberg Text –  Girls: Faults and Ideals, J.R. Miller

 

“Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” PSA. xix, 12. “The King’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.”–PSA. xiv. 13.Older pictures 027-001

Christ has something to say to every man, woman, and child, in every relation, on every day, in every experience of life.
It is not something for Sundays, and for sick-rooms, death-beds, and funerals: it is just as much for the school-room, the play-ground, the store, the kitchen, the street.
Wherever you may chance to be, if you listen you will hear a voice
behind you, whispering, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Christ has
something to say each day, at every point of experience, to every one of us.

I want to help the girls and young women, if I can, to hear a little
of what Christ has to say to them.

It is good for us to see ourselves as others see us. Hence, I have asked a number of Christian young men to give me answers to certain questions, and from these I have quoted in this familiar talk.

I take two of these questions, viz.;

1. “What are some of the most common faults in young women of your
acquaintance?”

2. “What are some of the essential elements of character in your ideal
of true young womanhood?”

We shall think then of common faults and of ideals. The first text I
have chosen is a prayer for the cleansing of faults. The second is a
description of the life that pleases God.

“Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” Is there one of us who does not,
from deepest heart pray this prayer? I pity that man or that woman who
does not long to be cured of faults, whatever they are, however painful
or costly their removal may be.

Some one says,–and the words are worthy of being written in
gold,–“Count yourself richer that day you discover a new fault in
yourself,–not richer because it is there, but richer because it is no
longer a hidden fault; and if you have not found all your faults, pray
to have them revealed to you, even if the revelation must come in a way
that hurts your pride.”

Mr. Ruskin has this word also for young women:
“Make sure that however good you may be, you learn your faults; that however dull you may be, you can find out what they are; and that however slight they may be, you had better make some patient effort to get rid of them….

Therefore see that no day passes in which you do not make yourself a somewhat better creature; and in order to do that find out first what you are now….

If you do not dare to do this, find out why you do not dare, and try to get strength of heart enough to look yourself fairly in the face, in mind as well as in body….Style: "Mad Men"

Always have two mirrors on your toilet table, and see that with proper care you dress both the mind and body before them daily.”

These words show us the importance of the prayer: “Cleanse thou me from
secret faults.”

We all have our faults, which mar the beauty of our lives in the eyes of others.

Every noble soul desires to grow out of all faults, to have them corrected. The smallest fault mars the beauty of the character; and one who seeks to possess only “whatsoever things are lovely” will be eager to be rid of whatever is faulty.

Ofttimes, however, we do not know our own faults: we are unconscious of them. We cannot see ourselves as others see us.

The friend does us a true kindness who tells us of the things in our character, habits, manners, which appear as blemishes, although many people have too much vanity to be told of their faults.

They resent it as a personal insult when one points out any blemish in them.

But this is most foolish short-sightedness. To learn of a fault is an opportunity to add a new line of beauty to the life. Our prayer each day should be that God would show us our secret faults, whatever messenger he may send to point them out, and then give us grace to correct them.

The young men who have replied to my question concerning the faults of young women have done so in most kindly spirit, for to a noble soul it is always an unwelcome task to find fault; it is much easier to name the beautiful things in those we love than the blemishes.

Several writers have referred to the matter of dress.

One says “Too much time is given by many young ladies to dressing. They scarcely think of anything else.”

Another names, “The love of dress, the inordinate desire to excel their companions in this particular,” as among the common faults in young women, adding that it has led many of them to ruin.

Another says they like to make themselves attractive by conspicuous colors, and suggests that if they would spend less time in shopping and more in some elevating occupation, for example in making home brighter for brothers and parents, it would be better.

.

“Following fashion to an extreme that is unbecoming and often extravagant; too great attention to outward adornment at the expense of
inner adornment,” another marks as a too prominent fault.

We remember that St. Peter has a word about dressing: “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quite spirit.”

Every young woman should dress well, that is, neatly, tastefully, modestly, whether she be rich or poor.

Conspicuous dressing is vulgar. True refinement avoids anything showy and flashy: it never dresses better than it can afford, and yet it is always well dressed, even in simple muslin or plain calico.

Another fault mentioned is the lack of moral earnestness.

“Frivolity, arising from want of purpose in life,” one names, “even the most sacred duties and relations being marred by this frivolousness. The best years of life are wasted in small talk and still smaller reading, tears and sighs being wasted over a novelist’s creations, while God’s creatures die for want of a word of sympathy.”

Another names, “Frivolity, want of definiteness of purpose.” Still another says: “The giving of so little time to serious reflection and for preparation for the responsible duties of life.

In other words, frivolity of manner, shallowness of thought, and, as a consequence, insipidity of speech are strongly marked faults in some young ladies.”

This writer pleads for deeper, more intense earnestness.

“Young women will reach a high excellence of moral character only as they prepare themselves for life by self-discipline and culture.”

Another puts it down as “A want of firm decision in character and action,” and says that too often, in times “when they ought to stand like a rock, they yield and fall;” and adds: “The young ladies of our land have power to mold the lives of the young men for good or for evil.”

There is a caution in these words which every young woman should heed.
Life is not play, for it has its solemn responsibilities, its sacred duties; and eternity lies beyond this little span.

I call you to earnestness, moral earnestness. Determine to make the most and the best of your life. Get an education to fit you for life’s duties, even though it must be gotten in the little fragments of time that you can redeem from busy days.

Life is too short to crowd everything into it. Something must always be left out. Better leave out many of your amusements and recreations, than grow up into womanhood ignorant and with undisciplined intellectual powers. Train your mind to think. Set your ideal before you,–rich, beautiful womanhood,–and bend all your energy to reach it.

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T-Shirt Makeovers – A Look at Revamping T-Shirts!

I’ve introduced you to Virginia before. She’s our seamstress around here.Devin and Theresa chatau 060DSC_0071

Virginia has been delving into the art of T-Shirt makeovers! It’s pretty neat that, for pennies on the dollar, you can go to your local Goodwill,  pick out a t-shirt from the multitude hanging on the racks, and transform it into an integral and lovely part of your wardrobe!

There are  ingenious ways to use simple t-shirts that are too tight, too big, too low or just too plain! We want to share with you some links and some photos of  creative ways used to enhance your wardrobes.

Here is Gin’s Pinterest Page if you would like to follow along on her journey. She is new to Pinterest but will be adding more along the way!

Here is a tutorial on Shirring. You will see what can be done with this technique in our picture gallery.

This is a Sizzix machine and here is a tutorial on using one. The price is variable on these machines (depending on what quality you want) so one doesn’t have to invest a ton in it. Virginia uses hers to cut shapes out of material (examples in the gallery) and she also uses it on scrapbooking paper to make some lovely flowers on top of my rosary/jewelry boxes.IMG_3637 IMG_3638

Before you look at our little gallery I have one more website to share that I just stumbled on. It is called Tea Rose Home. You may notice that her home page has interior decoration projects but stop and look at some of the side links!! This woman has some wonderful tutorials on makeovers from Thrift Store purchases…tutorials on making a ruffled t-shirt out of two simple t-shirts, a t-shirt makeover with some lovely simple flowers, a pleated pretty shirt with buttons,  a fabric flower and revamping a sweater into a “garden of flowers” cardigan! There is more so have fun with this site…I think you will get much inspiration from it!

Do you have any favorite websites to share to help us along our sewing venture? We’d love to hear about them!

The following gallery has examples of Virginia’s projects that maybe can inspire you to try some yourself. Lately I have been the lucky recipient of most of these makeovers, so my t-shirts that have been sitting too long in my drawer have come to life once again!  Click on the first picture to view gallery.

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Be Affable Always…Tidbits from Father Lasance

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My Prayer-Book (Happiness in Goodness)

Be Affable Always

There are some who are affable and gracious to everyone as long as things go according to their wishes; but if they meet with a contradiction, if an accident, a reproach or even less should trouble the serenity of their soul, all around them must suffer the consequences. They grow dark and cross; very far from keeping up the conversation by their good humor, they answer only monosyllables to those who speak to them. Is this conduct reasonable? Is it Christian?

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It is to be regretted that so many people who are very pious are very censorious in their comments upon their neighbors. Piety ought to find expression in kindness to our neighbors as well as in devotion to God. We should remember that the Christ who we serve was kind.

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Enthusiasm

It is faith in something, and enthusiasm for something, that makes a life worth looking at. – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

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Keep a hobby and ride it with enthusiasm. It will keep you out of mischief, to say the least; it will keep you cheerful. Here as in all things you can apply the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

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Home is the place where a man should appear at his best. He who is bearish at home and polite only abroad is no true gentleman; indeed, he who can not be considerate to those of his own household will never really be courteous to strangers. There is no better training for healthy and pleasant intercourse with the outer world than a bright and cheerful demeanor at home. It is in a man’s home that his real character is seen; as he appears there, so he is really elsewhere, however skillfully he may for the time conceal his true nature.

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Promote Happiness in Your Homes

It would do much in the home if all the members of the family were to be as kind and courteous to one another as they are to guests. The visitor receives bright smiles, pleasant words, constant attention, and the fruits of efforts to please. But the home folks are often cross, rude, selfish, and faultfinding toward one another. Are not our own as worthy of our love and care as is the stranger temporarily within our gates?

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A Sunshiny Disposition

There is a charm which compensates so much for the lack of good looks that they are never missed, and when combined with good looks it doubly enhances them. The name of this charm is a sunshiny disposition. If things go wrong, as they will go once in a while, does it mend matters to cry over them? Sensible women will say “No,” the women who do not know how to control themselves will say: “Yes, it does me good to cry; I feel better after it.”
There are times when tears must come, but these are beautiful, holy tears. Quite the contrary are the tears shed over selfish, petty annoyances “to relieve nerves.” The grandest quality of the human mind is self-control.

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Keeping Up Acquaintance – Beautiful Girlhood

from Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale

“Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.”*IMG_2988

Did you ever have a friend with whom it was hard to keep acquainted? You parted on good terms and thought of her as a friend all the time, but when again you met you found that once more you must become acquainted. I have had such experiences and found them unsatisfactory. I would have a friend be a friend all the time.

Nellie confesses that she often cries herself to sleep because no one understands her; while Marie acknowledges that she sometimes gets very angry with her mother because she cannot make Mother understand what she wants. It seems that everyone, even your mother, fails to comprehend the importance of the very things that to you seem the most momentous. It is especially grievous to you that your mother does not understand, when you used to think she knew and understood everything. She appears to be getting out of touch with young folks.

It may be a queer way of putting it, but your real trouble is that you have lost acquaintance with almost all that is around you. First, you are not acquainted with yourself. You change so fast that you are a stranger to yourself. You cannot keep up with your notions. You want a thing, and before your desire can be fully granted you want something else. It seems to you that nobody really tries to please you, and you get restless and dissatisfied. You think that everyone is crossing you, when you are really crossing yourself.

Watch the changes in your body. The dress you liked so well last summer did not fit you at all when you got it out this spring. You looked almost comical in it, and you wonder why you ever liked it. The dress is just as it was, but you have changed. You have grown taller and taken on a new form. Clothes must be cut by a different pattern now to fit you.

You are changing just as fast in your likes and dislikes. Mother has been planning a special pleasure for you, possibly has begun your new dress. She explains what she is going to do and how she is going to do it, and when you have a chance to speak you break her plans all to pieces. She has not pleased you at all, though Mother knows very well that what she intended to do was the very thing you wanted only a short while ago. She looks at you perplexed, and you are almost angry that she should have supposed you would have desired such a thing. Perhaps you speak saucily, and Mother reproves you sharply and calls you an ungrateful girl. You go away and cry real, hot tears because you are so misunderstood. You, my dear, have changed and do not know it. It is not Mother, but the girl who lives in your body that so misunderstands you.

When I was about fourteen Mother was making me a new dress, and I wanted the sleeves made very full at the hand and open from the elbow down. They were very ugly and very unhandy, and always falling into everything, and it was winter and very cold: but I wanted my sleeves made that way no matter what was said to me. Mother set her lips together and said, “Well, you shall have them.” Her look called me to my senses, and I began to back down, but she said, “No, you shall have them just as you want them,” and I had to drag and dribble those sleeves around till the dress was worn out. I found out that it was just a notion, which lasted but a short while, that I wanted such sleeves, and that my real self despised them. Mother knew that all the time. I am not blaming girls for being changeable, but I want them to see that they are changing, and not to expect everyone to change with them.

Again the girl finds herself feeling very awkward. It seems to her that she is always splashing or spilling something and bringing down upon her head admonitions that nettle her. The fact is that her arms and hands have grown so fast that she cannot measure the length they will reach nor the force with which they will seize a thing. She has failed to keep acquainted with her own body. She need not be discouraged if she has trouble with awkwardness, for everyone who is growing fast has the same experience. Father himself would be just as awkward if he were suddenly to gain a few inches in his height.

It is hard for even a mother to keep acquainted with growing children. While she may misunderstand to some extent the present whim or fancy of the boy and girl, she does understand conditions much better than they do and can see when their desires and impulses would lead them into wrong. A girl is not able “to be her own boss” until she has passed these changing years. Not till then can she look upon things with a settled gaze. It would be very hard to judge a garden if one went by it on a run and it is just as hard to judge as to what is best as long as these swift, changing years are on. If the girl can only be patient and obedient until she gets fully acquainted with herself she will save both her own heart and her dear parents many hours of trial and anxiety.

Strive to keep acquainted with your parents and teachers, so that you can understand their point of view. Look at things from their side. Because they do not agree with you, do not go off pouting and keep to yourself, but listen and really try to see. I could not keep acquainted with anyone if I never sought her company, or if when I was with her always insisted on having my way. And you cannot keep acquainted with Mother if you are always contending for your own way. When you contend with anyone you come up against his most unlikable side, and if you are continually contending with Mother about this and that you will find yourself thinking only of her most unkind ways. Just a little of the deference and courtesy given to strangers would help you better to understand your mother.181b4bb2b45152c8f584b788b8cda42a

Mother has many things to think about, and her mind is often full of perplexing problems which you know nothing about. It may be that just at the time when you are most persistent about something or other your contention is the last straw which wears her out, and she answers you more sternly than you think she ought. You feel abused and hampered. You think of Mother as being unkind and possibly unjust. She thinks of you as being stubborn and ungrateful. Both of you would see things differently if you took time to keep acquainted.

Keep acquainted with Father also. Too often he is not counted into his daughter’s life at all other than to provide the money she needs. He is a great blessing in the girl’s life if she will only give him a chance to know her. He is busy and can hardly be expected to take the initiative in a hearty acquaintance; but he will appreciate the kind advances of his young daughter if she comes to him smiling and seeking to know him.

To keep acquainted with herself or her parents a girl must be considerate and thoughtful. She cannot give way to every fancy or whim, but must consider what is best for her and for others.

When a girl is just entering her teens she must watch carefully indeed if she keeps from being selfish. So much is happening in her life just then, such great changes taking place, that she is almost certain to become self-centered and to think always of herself first. It is such a task for her to keep up with her thoughts and feelings and desires that everybody else is forgotten. There is something about the tumultuous condition of her nature that makes her see with crooked eyes, so that things are not in their right proportions. Just a little reasoning on her part will help her to see that she is making a mistake.

It is selfishness that would make a girl think it a cross to help with the ironing because it might hurt her pretty hands, when her mother has to work hard all day long. Or, again, it is selfishness that would cause her to spend a whole hour dressing her hair in the morning before she is off to school, leaving her no time to help with the dishes. And when evening comes and someone must stay with the little ones while the rest go out, it is selfishness if she feels abused when her turn comes.

It is selfishness that makes a girl think that she ought to have better clothes than her mother has, or that would have her want better than her brothers and sisters possess. She has kept her mind so full of her own desires that she has forgotten that others have wants or rights. It is the most cruel kind of selfishness that will cause a girl to speak crossly and saucily to her parents when they must refuse her some of her notions. They who have done most for her of all the world, who are working week in and week out for her happiness, who are denying themselves many pleasures that her life may be more full, they who because in their wisdom see that she should be denied—they must have her become cross with them!

The great foe of these years is selfishness, and the girl who comes to the most perfect womanhood learns soon to fight it with all her might.

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Lord, Help Me to Be a Better Wife…..

 

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Throwback Thursday brings us to this wonderful prayer.  In my estimation, it about covers it all! If we have the earnest desire to become a better wife that this prayer asks for, we are on the road to a brighter future!

“Lord, Help me to be a good wife.  I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help.  Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things.  Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.  Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation.  Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy.  I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment.  Only You can transform me.

“Show me where there is sin in my heart, especially with regard to my husband.  I confess the times I’ve been unloving, critical, angry, resentful, disrespectful, or unforgiving toward him.  Help me to put aside any hurt, anger, or disappointment I feel and forgive him the way You do–totally and completely, no looking back.  Make me a tool of reconciliation, peace, and healing in this marriage.  Enable us to communicate well.

“Make me my husband’s helpmate, companion, champion, friend, and support.  Help me to create a peaceful, restful, safe place for him to come home to.  Teach me how to take care of myself and stay attractive to him.  Grow me into a creative and confident woman who is rich in mind, soul, and spirit. Make me the kind of woman he can be proud to say is his wife.

I lay all my expectations at Your cross.  I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You.  Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him.  I realize that in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could.  I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be.  Only You, Lord, are perfect and I look to You to perfect us.

Teach me how to pray for my husband and make my prayers a true language of love.  Where love has died, create new love between us.  Show me what unconditional love really is and how to communicate it in a way he can clearly perceive.  Bring unity between us so that we can be in agreement about everything.  May the God of patience and comfort grant us to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.  Make us a team, not pursuing separate, competitive, or independent lives, but working together, overlooking each other’s faults and weaknesses for the greater good of the marriage.  Help us to pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.  May we be ‘perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment’.

“I pray that our commitment to You and to one another will grow stronger and more passionate every day.  Enable him to be the head of the home as You made him to be, and show me how to support and respect him as he rises to that place of leadership.  Help me to understand his dreams and see things from his perspective. Reveal to me what he wants and needs and show me potential problems before they arise.  Breathe Your life into this marriage.

“Make me a new person, Lord.  Give me a fresh perspective, a positive outlook, and a renewed relationship with the man You’ve given me.  Help me see him with new eyes, new appreciation, new love, new compassion, and new acceptance.  Give my husband a new wife, and let it be me.”

From THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE by Stormie OmartianIMG_3507

Marriage is a Top-Flight Career

from Cana is Forever by Charles Hugo Doyle

Having once established the fact that marriage is a topflight
career, it naturally follows that the same rules govern its success
as govern those of other careers. Every successful career demands
adequate preparation, intelligent earnestness, persistent industry,
and the will-to-win, but marriage demands all these, plus the
anointed strength of love.

If every couple would but bring to marriage one half the
consuming zeal for success that Thomas A. Edison brought to his
scientific career, how different many of them would be!media-58364-209122

As a youth, Edison spent long dreary hours practicing on the tiny
telegrapher’s key, learning the code and manner of sending and
receiving messages. There was a four-day walk from Port Huron to
Boston in search of work. There was the penniless arrival in New
York and a chance job repairing a telegraphic communication
system in a stock exchange on Wall Street that led to financial
betterment, but it was dogged determination to succeed that made
him so outstanding as a scientist.

Take, for instance, Edison’s work on the carbon filament. In
October, 1879, he determined to make his experiment work if it
was the last thing he ever did. So convinced was he that the carbon
filament was utilizable that he refused to leave his laboratory until
he completed his work. On the second night he said to his
associate, Charles Batchelor, “We will make a lamp before we sleep
or die in the attempt,” and make it he did, though it took four
sleepless days and nights before the now famous Edison
incandescent light was invented and the whole lighting system
revolutionized in the world.

Edison’s career was successful solely because he brought to it a
determination to succeed no matter what the cost. Success in any
field rarely comes without great sacrifices. One has only to read
about the life of Madame Curie and her devoted husband and
follow the discovery of radium to evaluate the cost of success in a
career.Marie-Curie-Lab-1910

Madame Curie’s sufferings as she worked in the smoke-filled shed,
cold in the winter and stifling hot in the summer, defy description.
The work of days became months and years, and failure dogged
her every minute of the time, but Marie Curie, with terrible
patience, continued to treat kilogram by kilogram the tons of
pitchblende residue. Poverty hampered her in the acquisition of
adequate equipment. The obstacles seemed insurmountable in the
forty-five months of experimentation, but in the end the Curie
work produced radium.

Who could look at the great Marie Curie as she lay on her
deathbed, after thirty-five years’ work with radium, and see her
tired, burned, scarred hands without realizing the awful cost of
success in a career?

Success in marriage depends upon acceptance of the fact that it is
a career and upon the readiness and willingness to bring to it all
the determination possible to overcome every difficulty and
obstacle on the road to success. If a marriage breaks up, it is not
because a man or woman must accept defeat but because the
defeat is willed.

A kite cannot be made to fly unless it goes against the wind and
has a weight to keep it from overturning. No marriage will succeed
unless there is readiness to face and overcome difficulties and a
willingness to accept the responsibilities of a parent, for
parenthood is the weight that keeps most marriages from
somersaulting.

When Divine Love Incarnate came to Cana of Galilee to sanctify
forever pure conjugal love, He came to that marriage fresh from
His terrible bout with Satan.

Since the first man and his wife had succumbed to temptation in
the Garden of Eden, it was divinely planned that Christ, the New
Adam, should permit the same tempter to attack Him and be
ignominiously defeated and thus set a pattern for all to follow in
the resistance of temptation. His sacred presence at the wedding
was ever to be an earnest of the help and special graces He would
grant those called to the marriage career who would likewise resist
the onslaughts of Satan. Yea, more, Our Lord would elevate
matrimony to the dignity of a Sacrament and make of it a veritable
channel of special graces.

It is worthy of note, however, that while en route to Cana, the
Master called His first five apostles, one of them being Nathanael
(St. Bartholomew), a native of Cana of Galilee. The timing of
Nathanael’s call to the apostolate was, doubtless, to indicate the
primacy of dignity and honor of the priesthood and religious life
over marriage, and that, in that very order, they would form a
trinity of top-flight careers.

It was only after choosing a nucleus for His priesthood that Christ
went down to the marriage at Cana of Galilee.

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