Friendly Argument

From Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., 1950’s

Just as bickering, sulking, and domineering opposition should be avoided by husbands and wives, so free and friendly discussions should be encouraged as an aid to bind their souls in a closer union.

Strife and rivalry motivated by self-love is one thing, but sane and cordial disagreement or exchange of ideas is quite another.

It is from the clash of ideas that light shines forth. And also warmth.

Writing to a young married couple, Bishop Dupanloup said to them: “You were both astonished the first time I recommended argument to you–friendly argument–and still more astonished when I answered your statement, “we shall never argue,” with the comment “So much the worse for you!”

“The truth is that in a society so intimate, so constant as marriage, if you do not feel free to discuss and even to engage in friendly argument, it is evidence of constraint between you; there is something which is preventing the free expansion of your souls.

“These little disagreements founded primarily on the affectionate observation of your mutual failings will not alter the peace of your home in the least; on the contrary, I believe that they will establish in it a more profound peace and more intimate union, because they will assure both of you of your reciprocal confidence.”

Actually, as it is easy to see, the bishop was advising his spiritual children not so much to argue as to discuss.

And if one insists on using the word “argument” it must be modified by the word “friendly.”

Then let them go to it! Saint Louis was conversing one day with Queen Marguerite.

She was complaining that the king did not have enough pomp in court functions and that he himself did not dress with the magnificence befitting official ceremonies.

He thought, on his side, that the queen was taking some advantage of her position and that she gave way to excess in the richness of her dress.

“Would it really please you if I dressed more magnificently?” asked the king.

“Yes, I so wish you would.”

“Very well then, I shall do so, because the law of marriage urges the husband to try to please his wife.

But since this obligation is reciprocal, it is only right that you should conform to my desire.“

“And what is that?”

“That you get into the habit of dressing as simply as possible!”

Well done! In friendly arguments such as this, charity as well as finesse and courtesy scores its point. Don’t think you must always be right.

You ought to defend your point of view but you should not be hostile to the opposite viewpoint just because it’s the opposite viewpoint and before you ever begin to discuss.

Two minds are better than one–unless of course they’re two negatives. If the other person is right or it is better for the sake of peace to pull down your flag, then give in graciously and without bitterness.

Click on this link to enter the Giveaway!

The winner will receive this lovely package…

I will announce the winner next Tuesday, June 22nd!

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“It is the home that makes possible the growth of the child’s personality. With every waking moment the child becomes more conscious of itself, more ready to absorb the influence of those nearest to it. Its soul is, as it were, untouched soil which places no obstacles in the way of anything planted in it. How great then is the parents’ responsibility and their need of the graces of matrimony, to bring up their children in the fear and love of God.” -Dominican Sister, Australia, 1955 , Artist – Carl Larson https://www.pinterest.ie/weeze1954/artist-carl-larson/

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Beautiful Wire Wrapped Rosary! Lovely, Durable… Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. Available here.

Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost Hole in medieval churches? How did a Belgian nun originate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament? Where did the Halloween mask and the jack-o’-lantern come from?

Learn the answer to these questions, as well as the history behind our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving, in this gem of a book by Father Weiser.

Celebrate the Faith with your kids all year round!

For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

A Podcast for Your Children/Summer Saints….Some Are Not!

Sorry, the title of this post in your email notifications says there is a winner…but…NOT YET!

Go to this link and enter the Giveaway!

The winner will receive this lovely package…

I will announce the winner next Tuesday, June 22nd!

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Here is a video for your children where I talk to them about the virtue of obedience….

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Summer Saints….and Some are Not

I was poking around Mary Reed Newland’s book, The Year and Our Children, to explore ways of celebrating our Catholic Saints and Feasts this summer and ran across the following ideas. I couldn’t keep it to myself so I am sharing it with you.

Make the liturgy come alive in your home! Don’t forget to use your holy water, wear your scapulars and say the rosary. Maybe say a part of the Divine Office with them each day. Read to them. Don’t get bogged down, but DO SOMETHING positive each day with your children in light of our Catholic Faith. It is a daily fight to keep ourselves and our children climbing UP the ladder! It is easy to slide down…..

Teach them to love the Faith, with all its solemnities, all its beauty!

Here is a “sweet” and simple way to celebrate the feasts of the saints coming up this summer….

vintage_christmas_girl_baking_cookies_print-r50ee568828614150874835fa3354c205_zkyul_8byvr_1024Apostle Cookies

Any good gingerbread cookie dough will do, and any good gingerbread-boy cookie cutter will make a gingerbread Apostle (or you may cut them freehand with a knife). The twist is in the decoration.

We decorated each one with his own symbols, tied a ribbon through a hole pierced (before baking) in the top of each cookie, served them on a tray, covered, with only the ribbons showing; you got your dessert by choosing a ribbon, finding the cookie, and identifying it.

This is an excellent way to learn all the Apostles. The combination of head and stomach is hard to beat. The frosting is a confectioner’s sugar recipe tinted with vegetable colors.

The symbols may be made with stiff frosting squirted through a decorator tube, if you have one, or may be cut from foil, paper, or made of any materials that suggest themselves.

Here is how we decorated the cookies.

St. Peter (June 29) Red frosting because he was a martyr.

Symbols: two keys, a cock crowing, an upside-down cross, a fish, a sword.

The keys remind us that Jesus gave him the keys of the Kingdom; the cock recalls his denial of our Lord; the cross tells that he is supposed to have been martyred head down; the fish – he was a fisher of men; the sword tells of his temper on the night he cut off Malchus’s ear.

Our Peter cut a silver-foil fish for this cookie and stuck it in the frosting. You could do the keys and sword of foil also, with the cross of melted chocolate. The cock can be drawn or cut from a picture and stuck on.

St. James the Great (July 25)

He is called great because he was the tall James. He was the son of Zebedee and the brother of St. John the Evangelist. Our Lord called these two the Sons of Thunder: partly, we are told, for their vehement defense of Christ and His teaching, and partly because cause they wanted Him to burn up the Samaritans inside their houses with fire from Heaven, like the three little pigs, because they wouldn’t welcome them into their village.

Our Lord rebuked them for it. He said that He came to give life, not destroy it – which teaches a good lesson in resisting the temptation to “get even.” This was certainly the opposite of the meekness He said would “inherit the earth.”
This James was the first Apostle to die for Christ, beheaded in Jerusalem by Herod Agrippa. His symbols – the pilgrim’s cloak, staff, hat, purse, and scallop shell (always the symbol of pilgrims) – signify that he went on long missionary journeys. A tiny shell stuck to the frosting on this cookie was the clue we used.

St. Bartholomew (August 24)

The mystery man. His name, Bar-Tolmai, indicates that he is the son of Tolmai.

He is an old friend of St. Philip and is often mentioned with him. It is supposed that he is the Nathanael to whom Philip made his announcement under the fig tree. Nathanael was skeptical that this Man was really the Messiah, and our Lord commended his skepticism because Israel was often thick with self-appointed messiahs.

“Behold a true Israelite, in whom there is no guile,” said our Lord, as Nathanael came toward Him down the road.

Then to Nathanael: “Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee!” Then didn’t Nathaniel believe! He lost his heart that moment. “Rabbi thou art the Son of God! Thou art King of Israel!”

St. Bartholomew’s symbols are about as grisly as you’ll find: flaying knives, a cross, an axe, and such, because his was a wild and bloody death; and then there is our pet symbol for him – a branch of the fig tree. Make this with melted chocolate and green candy leaves meant for cake-decorating.

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If I am not capable of great things, I will not become discouraged, but I will do the small things! Sometimes, because we are unable to do great things, heroic acts, we neglect the small things that are available to us and which are, moreover, so fruitful for our spiritual progress and are such a source of joy: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things, I will now trust you with greater. Come and share your Master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21) -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace https://amzn.to/2WcepLs (afflink)

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Compelling life story of Brother Joachim. If your looking for a book of inspiration to follow your calling read this one…

He was called the man of his age, the voice of his century. His influence towered above that of his contemporaries, and his sanctity moved God himself. Bernard of Clairvaux–who or what fashioned him to be suitable for his role of counseling Popes, healing schisms, battling errors and filling the world with holy religious and profound spiritual doctrine? Undoubtedly, Bernard is the product of God’s grace. This book is the fascinating account of a family that took seriously the challenge to follow Christ… and to overtake Him. With warmth and realism, Venerable Tescelin, Blesseds Alice, Guy, Gerard, Humbeline, Andrew, Bartholomew, Nivard and St. Bernard step off these pages with the engaging naturalness that atttacks imitation. Here is a book that makes centuries disappear, as each member of this unique family becomes an inspiration in our own quest of overtaking Christ.

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Lovely Quotes & A Giveaway!

Some lovely quotes for your day…. (AND A GIVEAWAY!)

Do not be deceived by beautiful sentiments and by appearances. You will never see any one become a saint who does not pray. -St. Peter Julian Eymard, Oil Painting by Frederick Daniel Hardy (1827-1911)

Punctuality exacts self-discipline and detachment; it often asks us to interrupt some interesting, pleasant work in order to give ourselves to another kind, perhaps less attractive or less important.
However, it would be a great mistake to esteem our duties and to dedicate ourselves to them according to the attraction we have for them or according to their more or less apparent importance.
All is important and beautiful when it is the expression of the will of God, and the soul who wishes to live in this hole he will every minute of the day, will never omit the slightest act prescribed by its rule of life. -Divine Intimacy

Forgive. “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” ~ Ruth Bell Graham. This is one of the truest statements ever made. Decide you’re not only going to be his lover – you’re going to be his forgiver. Be quick to forgive and get good at it. You’ll probably have lots of opportunity to practice it. -Lisa Jacobson, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband https://amzn.to/2EkBO3F (afflink)

“A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. A woman who is not beautiful cannot properly fill her place. But, mark you, true beauty is not of the face, but of the soul. There is a beauty so deep and lasting that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it comely. This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the mind and heart and is manifested in word and deed.” – Beautiful Girlhood, Mabel Hale http://amzn.to/2pOKmtj (afflink) Illustration by http://www.genevievegodboutillustration.com/
🌸💞I want to be able to lay my head down at night knowing I have connected with those things that matter most…..
So that when my life is at its close it can be said, “You have run the race, you have fought the good fight.” and I will be remembered, not for what I have accomplished, but for HAVING LOVED WELL….. -Finer Femininity
“Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself…do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage.”
Introduction the the Devout Life― St. Francis de Sales

No one likes to be taken for granted. In any human relationship a little sign of appreciation goes a long way. Life does not have to be a hard pull uphill all the time. To know that someone, especially the one we love, values our efforts sends us off with our heads in the clouds. The wife who is wise enough to show her husband appreciation for all his efforts will keep his heart fixed upon her. – The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella http://amzn.to/2rtUpb9 (afflink)

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

She ought not to be ignorant of what used to be considered the chief, if not the only occupation for women,—she ought to be fit to keep house on the shortest notice. It is a woman’s heritage. -Gentle Art of Homemaking, Annie Swan https://amzn.to/2XhJsGS (afflink)

“I do not know any among the ordinary conditions of life as good and desirable as that of a life of service or of daily labor. A life of labor has always been considered, by spiritual persons, most favorable to the soul. To have nothing which we are obliged to do may seem very fine to our worldliness and love of ease, but it is most dangerous. You know the old saying: ‘The devil finds work enough for idle hands to do.’ It is most true. Idleness opens the door for the worst temptations.” –GUIDE for CATHOLIC YOUNG WOMEN by Rev. George Deshon, 1863

Painting by Sheri Dinardi

And Now….A Giveaway!

Today, I’d like to offer you a Summer Giveaway!!

The winner will receive this lovely package…

Just leave a comment here, and your name will be added! It is always great to hear from you. 🙂

I will announce the winner next Tuesday, June 22nd!

The Catholic Mother’s Maglet!

The following pages in this Maglet (magazine/booklet) is for you…to inspire you in your daily walk as a loving, strong, patient Catholic mother.As mothers we have an awesome responsibility, as one of the key people in our children’s lives, to help mold them into happy, well-adjusted, faith-filled adults. This Maglet is filled with unique articles and anecdotes to help you in this journey.It is unique because most of the articles are written by men and women (some priests and a Dominican nun) who have lived in an age where common sense was more of the norm. Their advice and experience are timeless and invaluable…

The Precious Blood and Mother Prayer Book!

This is a wonderful little prayer book that I have used all through my married life. The prayers are beautiful and the promises wonderful!

Here are titles of some of the prayers:

-Memorare to Jesus, Mary and Joseph

-Our Lady of this House

-Prayer for Choosing a State in Life

-Act of Consecration to the Precious Blood and the Blessed Virgin for Children

-Memorare to St. Joseph (and many other beautiful prayers to that Glorious Saint)

-A Prayer in time of Affliction, Wars, Pestilence, etc.

…….Beautiful Prayers to many Saints

….and many, many more. It is a small prayer book with around 150 pages. You will find it a superb companion to your prayer life.

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Losing your peace of soul over the state of the world and the Church? Don’t! Consider the following books…..

We live in an age characterized by agitation and lack of peace. This tendency manifests itself in our spiritual as well as our secular life. In our search for God and holiness, in our service to our neighbor, a kind of restlessness and anxiety take the place of the confidence and peace which ought to be ours. What must we do to overcome the moments of fear and distress which assail us? How can we learn to place all our confidence in God and abandon ourselves into his loving care? This is what is taught in this simple, yet profound little treatise on peace of heart. Taking concrete examples from our everyday life, the author invites us to respond in a Gospel fashion to the upsetting situations we must all confront. Since peace of heart is a pure gift of God, it is something we should seek, pursue and ask him for without cease. This book is here to help us in that pursuit.

Reverend Irala here addresses ways to promote mental and emotional well-being to help increase one’s health, efficiency and happiness. He speaks on topics such as how to rest, think, use the will, control feelings, train the sexual instinct, be happy, and choose an ideal. Included are also many practical instructions on dealing with mental struggles of all kinds. This book is most useful in our present times of worldly confusion.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Catholic Education in the Home (Part Three – Conclusion)

This is Part Three of an excellent article! It was given the Nihil Obstat in Australia in 1955. The name of the Dominican sister was not included.

The article has many things to ponder and take to heart!

Part One

Part Two

ON EARTH THE BROKEN ARC. . . . . . .

I know some may be tempted to think that all this talk of beauty and art is too impractical, too much far away from the business of everyday life – or that the country home cannot do much about it. But a Catholic should never let himself think like that. He should know that to be a complete person, means to be able to see and to feel, to imagine and even to create what is beautiful.

I cannot go into this any further, much as I would like to. I shall say just this:- the home can do more in this matter than the school. Like love for our Holy Faith, appreciation of the fine and lovely things of life comes from constant association with beautiful things themselves and with people who have a genuine love and understanding of them.

So it is for parents to help their children in this vital matter. Simplicity, neatness, color, brightness, and good taste can make the house and garden lovely without great expense. A few really good pictures by great artists can help to form the children’s taste.

There are, for example, so many of Our Lady by artists such as Fra Angelico, Botticelli and Raphael, that it seems a shame to have instead, ones that are unworthy of Our Lady’s beauty and dignity.

A good book for helping children to understand art has a significant title, Pictures to Grow Up With.

Children take great notice of pictures in the home and I know I can recall vividly all the pictures in our home. Hence the importance of having lovely ones and of encouraging the children really to look at them – and to make their own, to draw and paint and make things.

Much of a child’s future happiness and goodness depends on what the home and the school have done to help him to discover and develop his special creative powers, his capacity for making something beautiful

RESPONSE TO POETRY

It seems harder to discover what can be done at home to foster a love of poetry. There are collections of works by genuine poets (i.e. not just writers of verse for children) which are produced in such a way as to captivate the attention – such as the Adventures in Poetry series by Mary Daunt, or The Blackbird in the Lilac, by James Reeves or an Australian Adventures in Poetry, edited by Donald McLean, and Gospel Rhymes, published by Sheed and Ward.

If these could be read aloud and talked over, it would be a good beginning. The attitude of the adults to poetry has a great deal to do with the child’s response to it.

MUSIC -TO UPLIFT OR DEGRADE?

To develop appreciation of good music is both easier and harder – easier because modern people will listen more readily to music than to poetry; harder because so much music is heard that is utterly worthless, if not vulgar and degrading.

Positive efforts are always best in this as in all education. You can find ways of knowing what is good; and by wise choice of radio programs and the playing of records of good music the home can set up right standards for the children before their taste has been spoilt.

If it is at all possible, some members of the family who have the gift should learn to play the piano or other musical instruments. They can then give great joy to the others.

I could say much more, but I daresay you are thinking that I have said enough. Still I think you will see from the above, that one of the defects of the education of girls, especially of those who are going to be home-makers in the country, is that it is too similar to a boy’s education.

Training in art and music, in subjects such as history and great literature, in all that would make for good taste in dress, speech and home decoration and management would do more to fit a girl to be a Christian mother and the mistress of a Christian home.

EDUCATION FOR RURAL LIVING

And so I come to my final point – what the country home can do to educate the child for rural living.

An American writer on the “Forward to the Land movement”, expressed the value of rural living thus:-To live a decent, human life a man needs space for family living, a good environment for bringing up children, one where children are welcome, the possession of property so that the family can have both independence and responsibility, and a chance for genuine community living, for true neighbourliness.

Only the country can give all this. A nation can be no stronger than its families are, and they can be at their best in the country. And when to this natural strength we add the crowning glory of the Catholic Faith, when we strive to bring Christ to the countryside, and the land to Christ, we are certainly exercising a great apostolate.

This is the ideal and the vocation we wish to hand on to our children. They will learn it best by living it, by being given an active share in it, while still young. If the chance to be truly responsible for what one does is one of the values of rural living, then the rural home must give each child jobs to do which he must do with faithfulness and responsibility.

It is not enough that he sees, what is easily seen on a farm, that the feeding of animals, the watering of plants, the milking of cows, the gathering of eggs, the preparing of meals cannot be put aside for another day. He must share that responsibility if he is to experience the joy of a job well done.

The jobs should not be burdensome to the child, but they should be really necessary jobs, and the child should be really responsible for doing them.

Anyone who has had much to do with modern children, would realize their need for a sense of responsibility, and for acquiring a spirit of work and a respect for its dignity. At the same time the children will learn from sharing the family work to care for things with reverence and detachment, to use them properly – a very valuable lesson that is so hard to teach to the child who has to spend his growing years in a flat or in a few rented rooms.

COMMUNITY LIFE

True neighborliness or the spirit of genuine community living is really an extension of a sense of responsibility. It is living a truth that, as members of the Body of Christ we are almost as responsible for the goodness and happiness of others as we are for our own. We are all one in Christ. Someone has put it thus: ‘The countryman retains in his very fiber the knowledge that God’s answer to “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is an emphatic “Yes.”

Children should not only see the genuine concern which their parents have for the troubles of others and their readiness to give help; they should have their share in helping.

Picnics and parties and games together are the joyful side of neighborliness; children need this, and the more serious side as well. As they grow up in the more spacious country environment, they can learn the meaning and value of quietness, serenity and solitude; but they should realize that they are never isolated, no matter how far away the nearest homestead.

From their parents, too, children learn to take an active part in parish functions and entertainments, to give time and energy to supporting movements such as the Rural Movement, or any movement or club that is working to help the Catholic boy or girl to be, in time, an intelligent and contented member of a country community.

SENSE OF VALUES

A parent’s surest means of developing in their children this intelligent appreciation of a rural way of life, is by giving them a happy home life with parents and children sharing their interests and fun. Nothing can replace the value of that in any child’s life, but it is particularly true of the country child’s life, who at some time or other will be tempted by the seeming enchantment of city life.

It can be a very strong temptation, but parents who have realized that their vocation in life is to educate their children in God’s way, will not be found wanting. Their own love for each other and for God, is the strongest foundation of happiness in the home, and that is one reason why they will keep to themselves any differences or disagreements that may arise between them.

They will realize that the special home virtues of unselfishness, bearing with one another, gentleness, generosity and modesty will not come without prayer and personal effort.

Each of these would be worthy of a talk on its own, but unselfish courtesy and modesty are needed by the child of today to a degree that is almost frightening-courtesy because it means a real concern for the feelings of others, a deep respect, a reverence for the person of others-and reverence, we are told, is fast disappearing from our world.

Good manners is the outward showing of courtesy and good-mannered children have good-mannered parents; that is the only certain way.

This is true also of modesty – a person’s sense of reverence for himself, his own person. Here, the father has a tremendous responsibility for the modest manliness of his sons and their respect for women; and the mother must know that her girl’s womanly modesty and purity depend largely on hers.

A girl nowadays, at least in the city, needs this virtue to an heroic degree, so great are the temptations to unbecoming dress and behavior.

Yet Catholic women, who knew how to dress smartly and modestly, and had the courage of their convictions, could start a revolution in this matter.

THE HOME OF A SAINT

To end my talk, I want to quote the words of our Holy Father, the Pope, spoken when he was canonizing St. Maria Goretti, the twelve year-old martyr of purity. She was, he said, “the fruit of a Christian home with its old simple method of education, a home where one prays, where the children are brought up in fear of God, in obedience to parents, in the love of truth and self-respect, accustomed to be satisfied with little, and to give a helping hand.”

It was a country home, and Maria was a country child, who learnt early the meaning of sharing fully in the joys and sufferings of a family – the give and take of a family life.

I have always loved the ideals of country life, and have loved teaching children from country homes. That is why I am glad and honored to speak to you today, to get to know a little of those who make it possible for children to be truly childlike.

City children have their own lovableness and perhaps a greater need of our work, but I often find myself longing to give them the tremendous benefits of growing up in the country – and that is why I think every effort should be made to establish in the country, colleges and schools that are fully Catholic and truly rural in ideals.

Our Lady was the mistress of a little village home in Nazareth; Jesus was a little village child. I know their loving spirit will guide every step the country child takes on his way to heaven.

“For years, while raising children, a mother’s time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out and demanding something. Hence, a mother raising children, perhaps in a more privileged way even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her will, to constantly stretch her heart.” -Fr. Rolheiser, OMI

“This is the book that traditionally minded Catholic family women have been looking for. Long out of print, this rare jewel is destined to become the favored spiritual guide for Catholic wives and mothers. Msgr. Landriot gave these conferences over 100 years ago but they are as relevant to us today as the Gospels. Think of this book as a practical guide for women who want to achieve sanctity in the home.” Check it out at Loreto Publications here.

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As no sensible person would make a long road trip without first consulting a map, so the person intent upon gaining Heaven should first resort to a competent guide to reach that Goal of all goals. And no better guide to Heaven exists than An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Doctor of the Church. It is at once easy to read, being laid out in short chapters, yet thorough, authoritative, reliable, kind and gentle a mirror of its author. It is a book, moreover, for all, because all are called to the devout life. True devotion to God, the author points out, adorns every vocation. The devout life, moreover, is a lovely, a pleasant, and a happy life.

If your life seems to make no sense, or if you don’t know which path to take, St. Francis de Sales will console and inform you. In this warm little book, he explains to you what God’s will is and how He reveals it yes, even to you, and even in the seemingly random events of your life.

No matter what you’re going through now (or may have gone through), you’ll see why you should love and trust in God’s will and long for its fulfillment. Best of all, you’ll learn a sure method for discovering God’s will in any situation today!

As you begin to discern God’s loving hand even in seemingly chaotic events, St. Francis de Sales will lead your mind and your heart to the still waters of God’s gentle consolation.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Heart of Hearths – The Sacred Heart of Jesus

by Solange Hertz

No one insisted more than St. Margaret Mary that devotion to the Sacred Heart must not be limited to individual piety, profound as this might be. Nor was Our Lord’s “burning thirst to be honored by men” to be restricted to worship in churches.

“He has much greater plans,” she wrote, “which can be put into effect only by His almighty power, which can accomplish whatever it wills. It seems to me He wishes to enter with pomp and magnificence into the homes of princes and kings, to be honored there to the extent He has been outraged.”

In other words, He wished to establish His loving rule over human society by being acknowledged as true Head of every family, from the highest one down. The divine request was supposedly transmitted at the time to King Louis XIV, but if so, nothing came of it.

The King continued on the disastrous course of secular glorification which eventually produced the French Revolution, and now Marxist tyranny. One by one the nations of the world have said, “We will not have this Man to reign over us!” (Luke 19:14).

The world has now reached the point that the very laws of nature are being ignored, if not outright repealed. Based on the false principle that power comes from below, a giant mechanism of organized disorder has been erected where the bond-woman Hagar habitually and by law dictates to her mistress Sarah. No one knows his proper place, because it can’t be found.

Money manipulators who should be the hired servants of politics and economics are in fact formulating government policies—and that on an international level. Schools are laying down the law to parents, the family itself now the puppet of the state designed by God to serve it. Publishers determine what authors shall write. Manufacturers condition the consumer to the goods they produce.

Agriculture, the sovereign human art, is indentured to industrial production, made to follow factory methods and objectives. The sovereignty of nations themselves is being absorbed into an artificial super-State organized on purely rational lines.

Needless to say, the members of Holy Mother Church, already weakened and divided by the “reforms” of the so-called Reformation, are falling prostrate before the scourges of the New Order, apparently powerless to rise and protest. How to establish the rule of the Sacred Heart in such contrived chaos?

As St. Margaret Mary saw long before the French Revolution, only God’s omnipotence can accomplish a task of this proportion. Exactly how He will do it is His secret, but do it He will.

“What are you afraid of?” He asked her. “I shall reign in spite of Satan and all opposition.”

If His past methods are any precedent, however, He will use as His instruments the same “little ones” in all ranks of society He has always used to confound the wise of this world. St. Margaret Mary in fact predicted this: “He gave me to understand,” she wrote to her Superior Mother de Saumaise, “that He does not need human power for that, because the devotion and reign of the Sacred Heart will be consolidated only by subjects poor and contemptible, amid contradictions, so that none of it can be attributed to human potential.”

As always, He will scatter the proud in the conceit of their heart, putting down the mighty from their seat and exalting the humble, filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich away empty (Luke 1:51-53).

Until then they need only remain in His Sacred Heart, attentive to its every beat, careful to follow its manifest directives. He will tell them what to do, even though for the time being the fulfilment of His magnificent promises remains blocked by the malicious authority of the great ones of this world.

Things being as they are, about the only unit of temporal government left to us that can be brought under the sway of Christ is the private home. Furthermore, for some of us it may be the only place of worship we have left outside the privacy of our own souls. For which God be thanked, for that is exactly what a home is designed by God to be: a domestic economy over which God presides, where He is praised by its members.

If home is where the heart is, then the Christian home must be where the Sacred Heart is.

Rediscovering this truth may be one of the greatest blessings He means to draw from the wanton destruction of parishes and parliaments. It’s a beginning.

At home Christians can still share the “one heart” which God promised Jeremiah He would give His people, “and one way, that they may fear me all days: and that it may be well with them, and with their children after them” (32:39).

The Acts of the Apostles relate how “the multitude of believers had but on heart and one soul; neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but all things were common unto them” (4:32). This “one heart” of saints who lovingly share all they possess is today in open confrontation with the “one world” of androids intent on robbing one another of even the most elementary right to private ownership. There can be no co-existence between the two.

We cannot repeat too often that devotion to the Sacred Heart, promulgated from the very first as a devotion for the latter times, is now only beginning. What has been achieved so far is the merest preparation or predisposition for a fullness yet to be even suspected. It would be ridiculous to think our Lord hasn’t foreseen and provided for all the deprivations we are facing—the desecration of Churches, suppression of sacred images and sacramentals, the defections from the priesthood…

We have noted already that devotion to the Sacred Heart has established once and for all the primacy of the interior life. What it does for the individual in his own soul it is equally prepared to do for society, in the home. We start where we can.

Is there any reason why what our Lord requested of worldly monarchs can’t be accorded Him by lesser heads of families? Let those who preach “power to the people” beware of that power when it is brandished in the service of God! What is to prevent exposing and honoring the picture of the Sacred Heart in our homes—is only because “wherever this holy picture should be exposed to be honored He would lavish His graces and blessings”?

Better still, why not satisfy at home our Lord’s longing to be adored in the Blessed Sacrament? That Benediction has all but disappeared from the liturgy, or that the Church doors are locked, or that the Sacrament itself may no longer be reserved, can be seen to be no excuse at all when we look deeply into the matter.

One of the first to see this was the late Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who initiated the movement for Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home. With truly prophetic insight he began preaching Eucharistic Adoration as a practice most proper to the home. Already in the late 1920’s he was signing up families for one hour a month of night adoration, at a time when the Real Presence was taken for granted in every Catholic church and expected to continue there until the end of the world.

Fr. Mateo may not have been so sure. He wrote, “We are in fact on the brink of an abyss of social corruption; the home already undermined in its very foundations by this upheaval of immorality; a good part of the portion of society which by right is considered the best, the most Christian, seriously affected by the contagion of unbridled sensuality… What is sadder still, the enemy has now penetrated into our own ranks; the wolf is encountered with unheard of cruelty in a full sheepfold. More, he is tolerated there, even encouraged by the cowardice of friends. This Satan and the world have without pity struck and scourged their God and their Lord. His very bones might be counted through His wounds, for there is no soundness in Him.

Urging reparation to the Sacred Heart, his practical suggestions for domestic adoration are very instructive: “In large families the adoration may be arranged in such a way that each member of the family watches in turn before a picture of the Sacred Heart. If the Sacred Heart has been enthroned in the home, then the adoration should take place before the enthroned picture of the Sacred Heart, around which lighted candles and flowers have been placed, if this is possible and practical…

The adoration should be made as far as possible on one’s knees, in a spirit of salutary penance… It should be throughout a Eucharistic Adoration, in spirit and in truth. It makes His Passion ours: “The same love which made Me suffer such extreme pains and affliction for the salvation of men, makes Me also suffer now in your heart, immortal and impassible as I am, by the intimate compassion with which it is penetrated for the salvation of my elect, in consideration of my afflictions and bitterness. Therefore in return for the compassion which you have had for my sufferings, I give you the whole fruit of my Passion and death, to insure your eternal beatitude.”

Spoken to St. Gertrude, these words make plain what meditation on the Sacred Heart is meant to lead to. Fr. Mateo suggested prayers for the following intentions during hours of home adoration: “our Holy Father and Pope, peace, the clergy, the members of your family who may have gone astray, those in their agony this night, the Social Reign of the Sacred Heart, particularly through the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home. Oh, be true angels of Gethsemane in this nocturnal adoration, you who have an advantage over the angel from heaven, since you are able to suffer and to weep in union with the agonizing Heart of Jesus!”

Most significantly, Fr. Mateo urged adorers to begin their hour by uniting themselves in spirit with the priests who at that moment might be offering the Holy Sacrifice anywhere in the world. He wished them if possible to recite the Canon of the Mass in view of a spiritual Communion, all the while adoring, praising, petitioning and atoning “through Him, with Him and in Him.”

Aware of the importance of Fr. Mateo’s latter day apostolate, Popes Benedict XV, Pius XI and Pius XII each accorded the Apostolic Benediction to those engaging in it. In his enthusiasm Pope Pius XI dubbed it “the actualization of my Encyclical” Miserentissimus Redemptor, on the Sacred heart.

With such encouragement from the highest Authority, why not adore at home kneeling in spirit before our Lord’s true sacramental Presence in all Churches or places where It may still be found? Isn’t it this Real Presence that the image of the Sacred Heart is precisely meant to evoke in our homes? Wouldn’t our Lord intend to follow His Heart’s image personally into any place where it was lovingly exposed? If not, how could devotion to the Sacred Heart make any real sense?

Prayer to the Sacred Heart:

May all the words that  I speak be dipped in the Blood of Thy Sacred Heart, O Jesus, that they may be so many arrows to pierce the hearts of all who hear them with love for Thee. Amen. -The Precious Blood and Mother Prayerbook, Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

“It often struck me that if cleanliness is next to godliness, cheerfulness is a near relation. The cheerful are truly benefactors of the world in which we move…” – Fr. John Carr, C.SS.R.

 

 

 

 

 

In the words of this humble seventeenth-century lay Carmelite, “we must trust God once and for all and abandon ourselves to Him alone.” This difficult task necessarily requires perseverance and continual conversation with God in all activities great and small: “speaking humbly and talking lovingly with Him at all times, at every moment, without rule or system…” In reading these conversations, letters, and spiritual maxims, we learn the key to endless joy.

In short, this little spiritual classic — in its fresh, contemporary English translation — renders the simple wisdom of Brother Lawrence accessible to every Christian who yearns for the fullness of life….

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Catholic Education in the Home (Part Two)

This is Part Two of an excellent article! It was given the Nihil Obstat in Australia in 1955. The name of the Dominican sister was not included.

The article has many things to ponder and take to heart!

Part One is here.

Part Two is here.

NURSERY OF SAINTS

In truth, the family circle is the nursery of saints as of sane, human beings. There the child finds the love, security and guidance which are his greatest needs.

It is by loving and being loved that persons grow as persons. It is in the family that relationships are essentially personal and each person is valued as a person.

So we look to the family to preserve that form of society, that way of life which respects the personality, the unique value in God’s eyes, of every human being.

The mothers who humbly strive to open the eyes of the children to the truths of the first chapters of the catechism are doing a work of incalculable, irreplaceable value.

Maybe that is the vocation of the country family – to keep alive a sane view of life by educating their children to be, as Fr. Gerald Vann expresses it,’creative personalities who will share the redemptive work of Jesus Christ through their lives, their work, their homes and their love.

If ever you get the chance read the stories of Saints Pius X and John Bosco, Saints Therese and Maria Goretti, you will realize how close is the connection between good homes, nobility of character and sanctity.

VOCATIONS

You will understand too, why vocations to the priesthood and the religious life come usually in the good home; and with grateful love you will encourage the children who want to serve God in this great way.

I am afraid I have too little time to deal adequately with the three other aspects of educative work in the home. But, as a Dominican, I must speak at least briefly, on the parent’s share in developing in each child a deep respect for the things of the mind, for the work of the human intellect.

The work of the intellect is to grasp truth, to grasp the meaning of things as they are in the reality of their own being, to come always nearer to seeing things as they must be in God’s sight.

It may be the Divine Knowledge of God as He has revealed it to us, or the natural knowledge of the universe He has created, or the world of ideas by which the human mind strives to understand the purpose of existence-why the world is, what we are, what are our real powers, what are the relationships between things and men and the unseen world.

Whatever it be, the unspoilt human intellect seeks this knowledge and yearns for it, because even when it does not know it, it is always seeking the greatest reality, God, the source of all Truth.

The modern world has little taste for this thirst for truth. Too often, insensitive and blind to the inner meaning of things, it asks only Of what use are they to us? Is there any money in it for us?

It degrades everything by commercializing it. It scorns those who have no material gain to show for all their study. There is nothing wrong with putting our knowledge to practical use.

The Holy Family at Nazareth had to do so daily. The grave mistake is to forget the higher value of knowledge, to let our minds be tainted by the materialistic outlook around us; even sometimes to encourage our children to adopt this attitude. That is why I am dwelling on a point that may at first, seem to have little to do with education in the home.

THE COUNTRY HOME

I can see in country life and the country home great possibilities for keeping alive a right love for knowledge. I can sense a danger too in the fact that parents are often dependent on non-Catholic schools for the outside education of their children.

There is bound to be confusion and conflict in the child’s mind, if the ideals and standards of value differ, especially if one held that man, not God, was the measure of Truth.

The home must therefore deliberately set itself to correct this, to give the child the right meaning of truth and knowledge.

For this the country child has the great advantage of living from his earliest days in close contact with natural things, with things that have come straight from the hand of God.

Everything that is, is more than it is, and the child can gain real knowledge from the company of living and growing things.

Natural things exert an almost incredibly strong influence on the child mind, which can surrender its whole being so fully to what it sees and loves- a fleet of ducklings on a pond, a calf on its rickety legs, a moonlight walk to turn off the windmill, the tall trees always in their place, the ride round the thirty-acre on the Massey-Harris pulled by eight strong horses.

GOD’S PURPOSE IN ALL THINGS

Experiences such as these things can hardly fail to give real knowledge and at the same time to guard and guide the spirit of the child, giving it a sense of true peace and true grandeur which it need never lose.

In your own minds, now perhaps you are seeing again what used to give you a special joy or comfort, reassurance or inspiration. The meaning and purpose of these natural things is something a child can understand, and at the same time he is led, almost, unawares, to see God through them. Thus is developed a sense of wonder at the mystery of being that could be a most precious possession for life.

This power to see the creatures of God as the symbols of His goodness and beauty, if rightly developed, is a means of enabling the child to enter more fully into the spirit of the liturgy, that is, the Church’s public worship of God.

It would help him to see the significant way in which flowers and candles, oil and wine and bread and water are used in the Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Sacraments.

And though I cannot dwell on the thought now, it would be worth your while to think deeply about the educative value of the Church’s liturgy, all Her ways of giving worship to God, and bringing man to God. This seems a long way from so-simple-seeming a subject as the study of nature; but all real knowing has such far-reaching effects.

READING

By encouraging children to read and to reflect on what they read, parents can also strongly influence a child’s attitude to learning. But the books must be worth reading, for you cannot develop a taste for what is good, nor the power to seek and find the beauty or truth of what is written if the book is of poor quality.

There is now a great wealth of good books for children and young people. It would be difficult to over-estimate the value of helping your children to love reading.

Some great educators do not hesitate to state that the test of the well-educated person is the quality of his reading. Can he really read a great book? If you could bring back to your home the custom of reading aloud to your children (or their reading to you) and of letting them try out their powers of thinking and discussing with you, you might help to make Australia a land of genuine culture.

But the right book is the important thing and it is your responsibility to do all you can to get them, plenty of them-Saints’ books, Nature books, stories, fairy and folk tales, stories of real life. But remember there is a world of difference between a genuine fairy story as found in Hans Andersen’s Tales or Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books and some pixie story by Enid Blyton.

Before I leave this problem of developing a deep respect for the things of the mind perhaps I could mention the right attitude to take towards the children’s progress in their studies.

A Catholic parent should never be tempted to ask-What is the good of all this study of poetry or history or Latin-it won’t help you to get a job-nor is it wise to use, as a spur to urge children to work, the argument that they will not get on in the world.

Again, keep always in mind the truth that children differ very greatly in natural gifts and aptitudes. One of the greatest lessons we have to learn in life is to accept ourselves as we are and our children have to learn it too. What is needed is to find what one can really do and do it as perfectly as we can.

SUCCESS IS NOT ENOUGH

How much more sane and balanced is the personality of the child who is not for ever being harried by unfair comparisons with what other children can do. Often we are so anxious for the success of our children that we forget the harm we may be thus doing to their characters their attitude to life. Rather should we train our children to rejoice sincerely in the gifts and success of others.

When I come to consider what it means to have given a child a love and appreciation of what is beautiful in life, in art, in music, in literature, I could wish I had a poet’s power to convey in a few words, a whole world of meaning.

It is indeed fatally easy to think we have educated a child when we have trained him to think, to acquire masses of useful information, to do many useful things. We could do all this and leave his inner spirit untouched or dulled.

Someone has written that modern education has produced a world, completely out of tune with beauty, unaware of it, and incapable of seeing it, reverencing it or producing it.

The ugliness of much that we see in big cities – advertisements on hoardings, factory buildings, radio programmes, comic strips and popular songs and dance music, that are utterly empty of all loveliness and graciousness – These are evidence of wide-spread disregard for beauty, and, to quote a great Catholic writer, Jacques Maritain, “The dismissal of beauty is a dangerous thing for humanity.”

It would scarcely be too much to say that in dismissing or belittling what is beautiful we are dismissing God. For God is Beauty as well as Truth and Goodness, and ‘all the beauty we can see is but an addition to the store through which we become aware of God.

(To be continued…)

We are called to be great Apostles of Love in our ordinary, daily life. We are Christ’s Hands and Feet as we wipe noses, feed hungry little ones and change diapers with an attitude of service and love. When we are cheerful to those we rub shoulders with each day, when we kindly open our door to those who enter into our home, we are taking part in Christ’s Apostolic Work. “Jesus was an Apostle in the stable of Bethlehem, in the shop of St. Joseph, in His anguish in Gethsemane and on Calvary no less than when He was going through Palestine, teaching the multitudes or disputing with the doctors of the law.” – Divine Intimacy, Painting by Morgan Weistling http://amzn.to/2p0dxg8 (afflink)

Lovely reviews from Amazon on my book, Cheerful Chats for Catholic Children:  Thank you, Dear Ladies!

“Love it! Love it! Love it! A grace filled book that gives young children a faith perspective, more of a God’s eye view if you will, of daily events.All the ups and downs of life are considered in relation to Christ and His Blessed Mother. My own grandchildren love hearing these tales every night. The stories give them hope, security and understanding.”

“I’ve long been wanting a book on various virtues to help my children become better Catholics. But most books focused on the virtues make being bad seem funny or attractive in order to teach the child a lesson. I’ve always found them to be detrimental to the younger ones who’s logic hasn’t formed. This book does an awesome job in showing a GOOD example in each of the children with all the various struggles children commonly struggle with (lying, hiding things, being grumpy, you name it.) But this book isn’t JUST virtue training… it’s also just sweet little chats about our love for God, God’s greatness, etc…

And the best thing of all? They are SHORT! I have lots of books that are wonderful, but to be honest I rarely pick them up because I just don’t have the time to read a huge, long story. These are super short, just one page, and very to the point. The second page has a poem, picture, a short prayer and a few questions for the kids to get them thinking. It works really, really well right before our bedtime prayers and only takes a few minutes at most.

If you like “Leading the Little ones to Mary” then you will like these… they are a little more focused on ALL age groups, not just little ones… so are perfect for a family activity even through the teenage years, down to your toddler”

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Hands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world. It doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means looking our loved ones in the eye and giving them the gift of our undivided attention, living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.

With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M. https://amzn.to/2T06u28 (afflink)

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The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

Something fun for Throwback Thursday!

I wrote this article awhile ago. It is power-packed with good information…like what kind of plants to grow (if you like greenery in the house), how to get the most out of your honeymoon and feeding guests on a Sunday morning. It is also filled with deep and inspiring thoughts about the differences between men and women. Hubby informed me it is also filled with much exaggeration….!

Even though I had been raised in a large city in the middle of Canada, where the most prolific crop is icicles, I always wanted to marry a farmer boy.

I thought living in the country would be quite romantic.  Not only that, I really did like the simplicity and the wholesomeness of the country life.  Then when he said, “Will you marry me?” I felt my dreams had come true!

Shortly after we climbed down the church steps we found out we had differences!  BIG differences!  Men are from Mars?  You wanna believe it!

It didn’t take me long to discover a few things about a country guy.  Priorities in HIS life are…(ahem) different to a city girl.

For instance, when I am driving, my priority is to get from point A to point B in good time and in relative safety. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

For him, it’s not the speed limit that counts nor is it if you are veering from one ditch to the next!! 😯 The most important thing is how much the soybeans have grown or whether that *flash* that went across the road is a coyote or a fox!

Safety isn’t part of the picture. Have you ever known any farmer that wore a seat belt in a tractor??  In the field, you didn’t have to keep your eye on the road, there was none!

Speeding_carLet me tell you about our honeymoon. We were tearing through the mountains at break-neck speed, going around curves on what felt like 2 wheels!! Hanging on for dear life, I looked at my husband in amazement. Why in the heck was he not watching the road??!!

He proceeded to ask me excitedly if I saw how many points that elk had on it!!  As I squinted my eyes to see if he was talking about that 4-legged dot in the distance, I thought to myself, “Can this guy be for real”?

At that moment, The words we said at the altar, “Till death do us part” became very vivid to me..  Either he was going to kill me while looking at his jackalopes… …or there may be a murder at the next Rest Stop!

When I got married, I dreamed of a nice, orderly garden, a white picket fence and a wrap-around porch that all the family would gather round in the evening to chew the fat.  You know…relaxed…normal….Isn’t that what country life was?

I was in for some big surprises!  I remember the time that we had company over for brunch.  Everyone was enjoying themselves as I made breakfast.  I needed something from the freezer.  I went to open it and I saw 2 beady eyes staring at me!  I stifled my scream so as not to alarm the guests!!  There was a raccoon in my freezer!  Whole and entire…fur and all!! I couldn’t believe it!  Couldn’t he keep the road kill on the road where it belonged!? What would he do if I had died of a heart attack on the spot?!

Then it would’ve been just him and that icy raccoon and all he’d get from IT is the cold shoulder.  Why do guys never think of these things???   😦

To be just, I have to admit it goes both ways.

HE should’ve suspected the day he came home and wondered why his newly purchased bedding plants were… dead!  “Honey, we just bought those bedding plants and they weren’t cheap.  Look at them!”

Everyone knows women are supposed to be able to multi-task, but I try to explain to him what number “multi” means! He gets REALLY perturbed when all I have to say is, “ooops” (again)!! …At least I say it apologetically.

I try to lighten it up. “Maybe we could invest in venus fly traps.  Aren’t they the ones that feed on flesh?  I’ll at least know they need something, when I hear them licking their chops!”  He didn’t like my lame attempt at humor!

I have reminded him that he was imprudent and impetuous for asking me to marry him on our 2nd date.  Really, it’s his fault for not checking out the credentials!  He should’ve married that cute, stalky farm girl he made googley-eyes with when he was 16!  Sheesh!

I DO have good intentions, though.  Last week I made homemade elderberry syrup.  OK, so it was rather runny…more like purple soup, actually! 😦 Come to think of it I didn’t have much luck with my homemade cheese either. I snuck it out the back for the dogs to eat.  They just walked away.  Maybe I was just imagining it but it seemed they had their noses in the air!  Ungrateful creatures!

I told hubby that tomorrow I am going to try my hand at grinding my own wheat and making bread out of it.  He didn’t say anything….I knew what he was thinking though and he’s lucky he didn’t say it.

It’s too late for my nature boy!  He already said I do.  He’s just going to have to tough it out and resign himself to his city-slicker wannabe country girl.

As for me, I usually take the wheel when we go out together.  That way, he can look at how fast the corn is growing or if that *flash* across the road was a gopher or a hyena or whatever!

I started thinking about our dilemma.  You know, the one between the Martians and the Venetians. Do you know how far Mars is from Venus? 1,990 million miles!  That’s a long way to walk to meet in the middle!

Somehow in this whole picture we have to agree that God has a sense of humor.  He must have – he put man and woman together.

In our case he put the City Mouse and the Country Mouse together on top of it.

As this City Mouse tries to learn the ways of the country, I begin to think that picket fences and wrap-around porches are pretty boring.  When I start veering off the road to see the armadillos in the distance, I’ll know I’m doomed.

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Catholic Education in the Home (Part One)

 This is an excellent article! It was given the Nihil Obstat in Australia in 1955. The name of the Dominican sister was not included.

The article has many things to ponder and take to heart!

Part Two is here.

Part Three is here.

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Artist: Richard Sohn (1834 – 1912, German)

(A talk given to the 1954 South Australian State Conference of the National Catholic Rural Movement, by a Dominican Nun, Cabra Convent, Adelaide).

The purpose of my talk today, is to think over with you, some of the ways in which Catholic parents may play their part in the Christian education of their children. It would hardly be possible for anyone to choose a topic more important than this, and that for two reasons.

MATERIALISM

Firstly, it seems no exaggeration to say that our civilization, our way of life is on the verge of destroying itself. Materialism, that theory which denies all spiritual realities-God, the soul, the life hereafter, which makes the human being a mere object, has gained a terrifying hold on the minds of men.

Almost every day we hear something which forces us to realize that the Catholic Church is one of the few institutions that still respect every human being as a person, of priceless value in the sight of God.

I cannot develop this point any further, but it leads to the second of my reasons. It is obvious that our children will have to bear the brunt of this struggle against anti-human, anti-Christian forces.

The fate of the world lies in our children’s hands.

As a nun writing in America states, ‘Even a quick look around will assure us that the influences set against our children today amount almost to a diabolical plot. But the ‘child is still the strongest bridge between God and man. And when we realize that no educational influence on earth is as powerful nor as permanent in its results as that of the family and home, you will see why I think this topic is so vital.

The enemies of religion know that their most effective weapon is the attack against family life. You, too, must realize as fully as possible, the power that is yours.

IN THE HOME

‘Education, it is said, ‘is the help that is given to the growing personality of the child to recognize itself and to become all that God intends it to be,-a truly human person, with all its powers and gifts fully developed and used for the glory of God and the service of others.

It is the home that makes possible the growth of the child’s personality. With every waking moment the child becomes more conscious of itself, more ready to absorb the influence of those nearest to it.

Its soul is, as it were, untouched soil which places no obstacles in the way of anything planted in it.

In later years, many interests compete for its attention. In early childhood, the mother first, and in lesser degree the father and other members of the family absorb the child’s whole attention and so can contribute very deeply to the development of its personality. From them it learns natural independence in walking and talking. From the parents it discovers the meaning of love, security and authority. No one else can love the child in exactly the way a mother loves it as part of her very self-no one can therefore know it nor influence it as she does.

WHAT THIS MEANS

It is not hard to see from this the tremendous importance of a good home. What is there, almost subconsciously imbibed, will never be rooted out of the person’s being though it may be clouded over or twisted for a time by later experiences.

How great then is the parents’ responsibility and their need of the graces of matrimony, to bring up their children in the fear and love of God.

In discussing more in detail the parents share in the education of their children, I shall consider four main aspects of the way in which the child is prepared, as Pope Pius XI expressed it ‘for what he must be and what he must do here below in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created.

The home must set the child well on the way to:

. . . a deeply sincere religious life and sense of spiritual values.

. . a deep respect for the things of the mind.

. . . a love and an appreciation of what is beautiful.

. . . a respect for the rural way of life and its special place in God’s plan.

It is in the first of these, the development of the child’s religious life, that the parents must be to the child an authentic revelation of God. He sees God through them. Seeing their love for one another, he more readily grasps the truth of God’s love for all; seeing them pray he senses the holiness of God and the reality of the unseen world of saints and angels.

Their trust in God, despite bad seasons and the like, their kindness to less fortunate neighbors, their unsparing attention to their jobs, all mirror for the child the fatherhood, the very love of God.

THE CHILD IS INFLUENCED

Consider too, the power a mother wields in developing the conscience of her child-the care she should take that it is rightly formed, delicate but not scrupulous and over fearful. Then, as the children grow older, the father’s influence becomes stronger, and his attitude to prayer, to the Sacraments, his way of speaking about priests and the Church, determine, even without his being aware of it, the way his children, especially the boys, will regard these things.

Besides these indirect ways, there are also many ways of directly helping the child to know, love and serve God.

I am sure you all have experienced the power and the joy of family prayers, of Grace before meals and the evening Rosary, of hearing Mass together. You have known perhaps the joyous share the whole family can have in the first Holy Communion of the six-year old or the Baptism of the new baby.

Make the most of these events, and do all you can to bring your children to a reverent joy in all the feasts of the Church by having special practices for Lent and Advent in preparation for Easter and Christmas, by establishing family customs, e.g. a home Crib, Carols and even a Christmas Play, or welcoming the Christ Child by inviting an orphan child to the home. Let the children save up for Masses for the Holy Souls in November, or to help the Missions.

A CHRISTIAN ATMOSPHERE

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

Growing up from babyhood in a truly Christian atmosphere such as this, children are soon ready for more definite instructions in the truths of our Holy Faith.

In giving these, a mother has no equal as a teacher, if she strives sincerely to do it well, remembering that she is not working alone. The divine life of Grace is in the soul of the child, giving him what St. Thomas calls a kind of divine intelligence, the light of Faith, which helps the light of the intellect.

Anyone who has taught religion to children know how eagerly they take it in; they have a natural religious sense.

There are books, e.g.,Christopher’s Talks to Children, which help parents to develop the Faith of their children, but it would be the most wonderful help of all if the parents would read or tell them the stories of the Bible.

Such stories enthrall the children more than any others, and help them to know Jesus and Mary as real people. Even the young ones will listen to the Gospel stories as given in Monsignor Ronald Knox’s version.

We should never forget that the Bible is a source of Divine Truth and it would be hard to over-estimate the value of a child’s continual and loving contact with God’s own words in the Old and especially in the New Testament.

Even when the religious instruction of the children is given in school or by correspondence courses, the responsibility of the parents does not cease.

They should know what the child is studying, discuss it with him, help him to make the knowledge part of his daily life, a real influence on his actions and thoughts.

This is not to be done by nagging at the child but by keeping the atmosphere of the home such that it is easy and natural for the child to practice virtue and live what he learns.

The whole family should be vitally interested in these Religion lessons, and make it clear that they are regarded as the most important part of the child’s schooling. It is a pity that the text-books used are not more helpful and attractive to both parents and children,

TIME CAN BE FOUND

I hope that not too many of you are wondering, How on earth could we find time to do all that? A mother’s day is always a busy and tiring one, especially when the children are young.

I know there are times in the year when it would be impossible to find even a few spare minutes. But I know too, that you long for all that is best for your children; and love feels no burdens and scarcely knows the meaning of the word impossible. It would be helpful to call to mind two principles – the value of going slowly and the power of incidental teaching.

In a story of Ethel Meynell’s, telling of a father’s rearing of his motherless daughter, I once read a line I have never forgotten. He gave her, it said, the inestimable benefit of leisure for her growing. Nothing is gained by hurrying little children on beyond their powers.

A quiet lesson of from eight to ten minutes, given daily or several times a week is enough for little ones, provided there are other times for reading or listening to holy stories and joining in family devotions.

Even prayers need not be learnt all at once. The little one can say Our Father, who art in Heaven, bless your little child, or Hail Mary, full of grace, help me to love your Child Jesus, and thus gradually learn the prayer, phrase by phrase, as its meaning is given time to sink into his mind.

Never forget that it is God’s will that the parents should be the ones to teach the child to pray, as Mary and Joseph helped the boy Jesus to advance in wisdom and grace.

Incidental teaching gains its immense effectiveness from being given at the moment it is needed.

It is the explanation given just when the child asks for it, and so is fully alert to the answer. It is the story told when the child is most receptive, the question asked when the issue really means something and is not just part of a lesson.

Most parents know that daily home life has many such occasions, and mothers especially know that young children are very confidential and responsive when they are being put to bed, or helping them at some little task. Often we teachers envy mothers their chances of cooperating so intimately in the child’s growth to holiness.

“Devote yourself to your labor as well as to the fulfillment of all your duties energetically and with a pure intention to please God and make yourself useful to your neighbor. Raise your heart to God from time to time by means of fervent ejaculations (short, quick prayers to heaven), that it may not be narrowed by earthly occupations.” – Fr. Lasance, My Prayer Book http://amzn.to/2oYAUq3 (afflink)

LOVELY, GRACEFUL EARRINGS HONORING YOUR FAVORITE SAINT. Available here.

 

With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M.

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Necessary advice to Catholic parents building a Catholic home. Reliable advice that is almost completely lost today, from people who know how it’s done. How to make it. How to live it. How to keep it. This book covers every aspect of Catholicizing your home–from spiritual matters like prayer and catechism to nuts and bolts topics like Keeping the Family Budget, Games and Toys, Harmony between School and Home, Family Prayers, Good Reading in the Home, Necessity of Home Life and much more

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Home Sacramentals

We pray the rosary here in the cold winter months. Our “home altar”. Gemma just happened to be in the background of this photo. 🙂

by Father Arthur Tonne, The Big Book of Catholic Sacramentals

“Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that built it.” – Psalm 126:1.
Van Meter is just a small town in Iowa, but it boasts one of the finest rural homes in the entire state. It is the home built in 1940 by Bob Feller, pitching ace of the Cleveland Indians.

Although Fire-ball Feller was only 22 years old at the time, he already had made enough money to put up a $25,000 home for his father, mother and younger sister.
The building boasts every modern convenience–electrical equipment of all kinds, ventilating and heating systems, venetian blinds, casement windows, plenty of cupboards and drawers, ceiling-high bookcases, and especially an all-metal, all-electric kitchen.

There are gadgets galore, like a floor switch to call the maid, musical chimes, and an electric eye which automatically opens the garage door when a car comes up the driveway. All these conveniences are for the physical comfort of those who live there. They make house-keeping easier. They save time and energy.

Desirable and helpful as such gadgets are, we cannot help thinking that homes would be much more precious if the same effort were taken to provide spiritual helps and spiritual equipment.

From the material standpoint the home of Bob Feller is ideal. What is needed to make a home ideal from the spiritual standpoint?

The sacramentals of the home are varied and numerous. They help make home a holy place. They are not essential, but they contribute to spiritual health and vigor. Some of these sacramentals will receive a more complete treatment on other Sundays.

How make our homes holy?
1. There are several blessings for a home. One is given on the Epiphany, one on Holy Saturday. There is a common blessing that can be given a home at any time, and another special blessing for a new home.
The common blessing includes sprinkling the rooms with holy water, offering several short Bible verses, and reciting an appropriate prayer.
The blessing for a new house begs God to grant to those who live therein “the abundance of the dew of heaven, and food of the fatness of the earth, and let their desires and their prayers find fulfillment in Thy mercy.”

2. Of the numerous blessings of individuals we will speak on other Sundays. Let me merely mention them:
a. The Church blesses an expectant mother.
b. She blesses the mother after childbirth.
c. She blesses small children.
d. She has a blessing for an older child.
e. And still another for sick children.

3. Prayers in the home are important sacramentals:
a. Family prayer is the most helpful religious practice in the home. At some time each day parents and children should pray together. Some do this right after the evening meal, right at the table or kneeling beside it.
b. Individual morning and evening prayer should be an everyday practice. Let father and mother give the example and the reminder to their children.
c. Meal prayer should never be omitted. In addition to thanking God for the food and asking His blessing upon it, the meal prayer serves as a point of pause and spiritual refreshment in a busy day. It is good for the body as well as the soul.

4. Let me mention some other family devotions:
a. The Rosary does not take too long. Try it and discover the peace and powerful helps it will bring your family.
b. There are devotions for different seasons of the year; a crib at Christmas; a May altar; Sacred Heart prayers during June.
c. Remembering the feasts of patron saints of the different members of the family in some way, however small, is an inspiring practice.
d. Some little family celebration at spiritual milestones like First Communion, Confirmation, graduation from a Catholic school, is inspiring.

5. Each member of the family should have a prayer-book and a Rosary. Best of all is a missal. Keep these in a respectable place. Both children and adults should have medals, scapulars, Sacred Heart badges, and whatever helps spiritual life at home.

6. A Catholic home is marked with religious furnishings and adornment.
a. There should be a crucifix in every bedroom at least.
b. Somewhere in every home there should be at least one picture of our Lord and of our Blessed Mother.
c. There should be holy water, and, if possible, a holy water fount which is kept clean and filled, and honored with regular, reverent use.
d. There should be blessed candles.
e. There should be all the necessary equipment if a priest is called to bring Holy Communion or to assist the dying.
f. Many homes have a little altar, which serves as the center of family prayer, the meeting place for spiritual practices like the Rosary, May devotions, and Sacred Heart devotions.

Bob Feller’s home for his parents and sister may be ideal from the physical and material standpoint. Many a home is ideal from that viewpoint. But all too many homes are poorly equipped, miserably arranged from the spiritual standpoint.

The sacramentals will help to bring the thought of God into your little kingdom of love–your home. Do make yours an ideal home by using the sacramentals of Mother Church. Amen.

“Most women I know are busy. There are times when we take on too much. I’ve been there, and I’ll venture to guess that many of you have as well. That’s when it’s time to step back and take an inventory. Sit down and decide what needs to stay and where you need to cut back. Doing this means that we must be willing to make some sacrifices whether personal or financial in order to keep faith and family as our top two priorities, in that order.” Darlene Schacht, The Good Wife’s Guide, Painting by Marina Chulovich (1956)

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The rosary, scapulars, formal prayers and blessings, holy water, incense, altar candles. . . The sacramentals of the Holy Catholic Church express the supreme beauty and goodness of Almighty God. The words and language of the blessings are beautiful; the form and art of statues and pictures inspire the best in us. The sacramentals of themselves do not save souls, but they are the means for securing heavenly help for those who use them properly. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to help devotion, and thus secure grace and take away venial sin or the temporal punishment due to sin. This beautiful compendium of Catholic sacramentals contains more than 60,000 words and over 50 full color illustrations that make the time-tested sacramental traditions of the Church – many of which have been forgotten since Vatican II – readily available to every believer.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Published 80 years ago, this Catholic classic focuses on the Christian family and uses as its foundation the1929 encyclical “On Christian Education of Youth” coupled with the “sense of Faith.” Addressing family topics and issues that remain as timely now as they were when the guide was first published, “The Christian Home” succinctly offers sound priestly reminders and advice in six major areas…

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The Rejected Suitor

!cid_04791A53-5169-4911-BDD8-9C717C559615by Anne Ross Kootz

There so is much accumulated wisdom, so easily accessible now, for young women who want to live holy lives. How to: prepare for roles as traditional wives and mothers; enjoy a chaste and successful courtship; begin a happy and fruitful marriage with a God-fearing man. FinerFem.com is itself a first-rate source of this information.

Gratefully, I scan this and other sources of womanly interests, though I am the mother of sons, only. I have spent myself for more than 26 years trying to form ornery, grimy little boys into strong, virtuous, and devout future husbands (and priests.) You see how I might also have an interest in anything that will help other mothers rear their daughters as future wives!

In all this wealth of information, however, there is a neglected element deserving of a closer look.

Recall: God-fearing Catholic men are just like any others when it comes to our fairer sex. We fascinate them. Yes. Absolutely. Fascinate. Most men manage to keep themselves under cool control, but within their minds and hearts… lightning is flashing, bells are ringing, and storms are raging when in the presence of the Feminine. These men are to be commended for their self-mastery!

Because of this fascination, good men really want to please us. Eagerly! With tremendous effort! Sometimes they will even ask their mothers what to do, because mom might remember being a girl.

So, what is the problem? Because we fascinate them, men are vulnerable to our attention, and lack of attention. A quick smile will send him, interiorly, into flights of happiness. One short, but pleasant conversation will put a spring in his step for days. Usually we are adept at genteel behavior. Sadly, sometimes we are focused on our own interests, forgetting that hidden weakness in a man’s armor. A thoughtless word, or snub, can injure his heart without our ever intending it!

When someone simply wants to engage you in conversation, common courtesy suggests you give at least a few minutes of your time. If you already know a man, and welcome his attention, conversation comes easily. As for a potential suitor, whom you do not yet know well, a few friendly chats could lead to pleasant discoveries! Impromptu opportunities abound – for instance, invite him to wash dishes with you after a party!

But what if you do know him, for many months or years now, and really aren’t interested? What can a lady do to deflect unwanted attention? Evasion is the easy, automatic response. But is it the right response?

When you avoid a man because of his unwanted attentions, you merely drag him along. He wonders if you are simply shy, and he should persevere gently until you are more comfortable with him. He may suspect you don’t like him, or there is simply no sparkle for you, and he should back away. He just doesn’t know. And he can’t read your mind. This situation confuses him. Remember, he wants to please you. He is trying to find out how to do this. How can you help him? Use words!

Here are some suggestions. First, practice the virtue of charity at all times. In the case of the unwanted suitor, this means you must be courageous enough to find words to tell him.  Maybe you appreciate his kindness toward you, but would prefer to keep your friendship on a purely casual level. Do you already have a mutual agreement with another man? He may not want to hear it, but he will prefer the truth to the uncertainty.

Collect your thoughts before speaking to him. Focus for a moment on his positive attributes. Then your remarks will give him hope to find an good woman who will appreciate him. Is he an attractive man? Intelligent, warm, humorous, kind? Is he admirably devout? Does he sing or serve at Holy Mass? Observe his qualities, and acknowledge them. Does God have a better match for him?  Take the time to write your ideas. When you have formulated your best response, please tell him at the next reasonable opportunity.

You can, of course, write him a letter. But telling him in person, discretely, may better support his inherent human dignity.

What circumstances might permit this private communication? Where you can be seen, but not overheard, by others. For example, walk with him for a moment in a parking lot, or at the edge of a sports field. Out of doors is best, as fresh air and open spaces will help him manage his disappointment.

Once you make it very clear, verbally, kindly, you are not the one for him, he will be briefly stung. But he will probably recover quickly, and be free to notice another woman – perhaps one who has been hoping to get his attention. Thus you may be doing two acts-of-mercy in one!

“Love one another as I have loved you.” Your goal is to live a holy life now and gain eternal life in heaven. The exciting time of young adulthood, with vocation discernment and courtships, is part of that process. You can leave a trail of wounded hearts, or a legacy of graciousness. Bestow a treasury of warm memories on all who know you, including that rejected suitor.

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“No—the age of chivalry has not so utterly passed away… the spirit which animated the knightly institutions of old still remains to inspire lofty aims, sentiments of the most exalted and self-denying generosity, and deeds of chivalrous daring and heroic self-sacrifice, as worthy of eternal remembrance as those that ever graced the lives of a Godfrey, a Tancred, or a St. Louis.” – Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, True Men As We Need Them, 1878, Painting by Franz Gullery
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This is a unique book of Catholic devotions for young children. There is nothing routine and formal about these stories. They are interesting, full of warmth and dipped right out of life. These anecdotes will help children know about God, as each one unfolds a truth about the saints, the Church, the virtues, etc. These are short faith-filled stories, with a few questions and a prayer following each one, enabling the moral of each story to sink into the minds of your little ones. The stories are only a page long so tired mothers, who still want to give that “tucking in” time a special touch, or pause a brief moment during their busy day to gather her children around her, can feel good about bringing the realities of our faith to the minds of her children in a childlike, (though not childish), way. There is a small poem and a picture at the end of each story. Your children will be straining their necks to see the sweet pictures! Through these small stories, parents will sow seeds of our Holy Catholic Faith that will enrich their families all the years to come!

This revised 1922 classic offers gentle guidance for preteen and teenage girls on how to become a godly woman. Full of charm and sentiment, it will help mother and daughter establish a comfortable rapport for discussions about building character, friendships, obedience, high ideals, a cheerful spirit, modest dress, a pure heart, and a consecrated life.

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