Radiant Happiness

Radiant Happiness is something you decide to do. It is radiating happiness in our external demeanor. How many things in this life are just a matter of “doing it”!

Smiling, Cheerfulness, Liveliness….these qualities radiate happiness.

The more we work on radiating happiness, the more it will seep into our very beings to help us with our Inner Happiness.

In her old-fashioned and beautiful way, Helen Andelin encourages us today to radiate this happiness!1724859_265361310307072_429492927_n

From FW Index

Sometimes the differences between Inner Happiness and Radiant Happiness get confusing. Inner happiness is not something you can just “put on”. It is a trait that is earned by your proper actions. You don’t just get Inner Happiness, but it comes about as a natural outcome of a good character and good actions.

Radiant Happiness, on the other hand, is something you decide to do. (I personally think it is hard to radiate happiness on the outside when you don’t have any on the inside, and it’s hard to have it on the inside when you are acting so glum – so inner and radiant happiness are somewhat connected.)

When you suddenly smile and light up your face, or when you express joy at some small thing; when you laugh lightly, clap your hands, or let yourself sparkle, you are expressing outer or radiant happiness. Radiant happiness has the ability to lift the mood of those around you.

You need not have beauty or a wonderful figure to express radiant happiness – this quality is far more important than those. Don’t rest on your natural beauty. We all have seen women blessed with good looks, but whose personality ruined them. They became ugly in our eyes because of ugly actions.

It is easy to lose your appeal when you have no vivacity or liveliness in you. This doesn’t mean you should let your looks go, but watch your reflection in the mirror and see how much radiant happiness does for you.

Just as we have noticed beautiful women without any real charm, there are women who have made real use of the quality of radiating happiness. When we look at them we wonder what it is that men see in them. We look at them through women’s eyes, but when you look at them as a man does, you will see where the attraction is – it’s in the life they exude.

Smart women who lack natural looks or have some defect make up for it with radiance. This quality goes far with men.

We all work hard at being attractive to men, but many of us make the mistake of thinking it is stylish clothes, attractive hairstyles, or artfully applied makeup. While these outer things should not be ignored, they are not as important as your disposition, which should be sunny and bright. What good will all your hard work do if you look like a sour grouch?

Literature reveals traits of radiant women. They have been described as women who “shed joy around” and “cast light upon dark days”. Others were “kind, fresh, smiling” with a “smiling heart”. Woodrow Wilson said of his wife, Ellen, “She was so radiant, so happy!” No one wants to be around a gloomy, depressed, or overly serious woman – especially men. They would rather enjoy the company of a woman who is vibrant, happy and alive!

A Sense of Humor

Having a sense of humor is extremely important to the Radiant Woman. Telling silly or off-color jokes and playing pranks can detract from feminine charm and is not what is meant by a sense of humor. What is meant is being able to sense and react to the funny side of embarrassing or ordinary situations.

When some small calamity happens it doesn’t help to let it depress you or let it ruin your day. When you drop the cake or casserole, you can get mad, but wouldn’t it be better to laugh about it and go on? What good does it do to yell, throw a fit, grumble, complain and make life miserable for yourself and everyone else? You can’t change the situation, so why not make it lighter by having a sense of humor?

How To Acquire Radiant Happiness

1. As I have already said, Inner Happiness and Radiant Happiness are connected – almost like one trait seen from different angles. Work on your character and the inner happiness can more easily be radiated out.

2. After you have gotten yourself cleaned up and ready in the morning, practice putting on a radiant face. Smile with your whole face. Get your eyes into the act. Put some sparkle in them. Make an effort throughout the day to be conscious of your face. Actively soften and lighten it. Relax your muscles.
3. Don’t forget your cheerful attitude to go along with your pretty face. The words out of your mouth ought to agree with your face! It’s hard to let bad attitudes out when you are smiling and it’s hard not to smile when you have a good attitude.

4. Don’t be selective with your radiance, but learn to be kind and sparkly to everyone you come in contact with. It seems to be the norm today to see just how nasty and “in your face” a woman can be. I have caught myself taking on this attitude when I am shopping (with an in-your-face sales person), or when I am driving. Don’t make this mistake. A good fountain shouldn’t bring forth bitter water.

5. All of us have seasons of discouragement and adversity. We all know from experience that this is the hardest time to have a cheerful countenance and a smile, but we aren’t called to do the easy thing – which is give over to depression. How we handle the bad times really shows what our characters are made of. It’s the tests that prove us. I really like this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

It is easy enough to be pleasant
When life flows by like a song.
But the one worthwhile is the one who can smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble
And it always comes with the years.
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through tears.

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*** It’s hard to be radiant when you aren’t feeling well or are run down. You need to take care of your health, which is the subject of the next chapter.

With all this talk about smiling through adversity, and radiating joy on dark days you might get the idea that you never should wipe that smile off your face. Not so. There are times when a radiant attitude and a smiling face are most inappropriate and can give the impression that you are unsympathetic or not understanding the seriousness of someone’s situation and what they are suffering.

There are times when you should offer sympathy and a quiet shoulder to cry on. Be sensitive to these times and learn when to tone down your attitude.

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Surrounded By Beauty

Emilie Barnes has always been an inspiration to me through the years. She has taught me that our environment, its “ambiance” is important for our own healthy outlook and also for those around us.

We show we care by making our homes comfortable, homey and lovely. It doesn’t take a lot of money…..and now with so many helps, like Pinterest, or the internet in general, we can figure out ways to make our environment special that is cost-effective! Our loved ones will appreciate it! And so will we!

It took us many years to get to where we are now. We lived in a little one-bedroom home with seven kids for 10 years on this property (adding a couple of bedrooms as big as boxes :) )!! But it was always “home” and I did my best to add touches to that little “shack”. The kids were sad to leave it….

So don’t get discouraged. Do what you can where you are….bloom where you are planted!

In this article Mrs. Barnes talks about surrounding ourselves with the things that we love and making it part of our home’s decor. I guess you can tell what we love around here. :)

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Home Warming by Emilie Barnes

Beauty is as necessary to the spirit as food and clothing are to the body. Fortunately, beauty is easy to invite into any home, for beauty has many faces. Beauty can be found in a hand-colored photograph or a hand-stitched quilt, or in shelves lined with bright-hued jelly jars. A pot of graceful ivy can be beautiful and so can a sweet potato vine growing in a jar.

Even the arrangement of a home can be beautiful. When furniture and objects, whatever the cost of the style, are combined with care and attention, the result can be warmly beautiful, even if the individual pieces are less than lovely.

What is beautiful to you? What makes you smile or your spirit soar? That is the beauty that should surround you in your home, and it will be shared with all who come to visit.

Seek out beauty in whatever form it speaks to you. Surround yourself with beauty. In the process, you will be creating something truly beautiful as well: a lovely home graced with a happy, welcoming spirit.

Personal Touches

I feel immediately at home in houses where people have surrounded themselves with what they love. I like to walk into a house and immediately have a sense of what they read, what they collect, what they like to cook, how they like spend their time. (This gives me something to talk about as well.) I enjoy meeting well-behaved pets and seeing evidence that there are children in the home.

Our home overflows with objects that remind me of who I am and what I love. Clusters of family photos – on a wall of our great room, on a table in the bedroom, on my desk, and on the refrigerator – fill the spaces of our home with smiling, familiar faces.

Teacups from my long-time collection retell their stories to me each time I look at them. My mother’s secretary and my auntie’s crystal build a bridge for my memories. Books and signs and plaques collected on our trips fit together like pieces that make up the puzzle of our lives.

Somehow, it all manages to come together in a homey atmosphere that says, “This is who we are. This is what we love. Please have a seat and let us get to know you, too.”

Cleanliness Creates Hominess

Bob used to tease me that I would die with a broom in my hand. And it’s true that the first thing I usually want to do when I come home from a trip is grab a broom and sweep off the front step. I love that sense of getting my home in order. To me, it’s hard to feel comfortable and at home in a house that is dirty, cluttered, or disorganized.

Create a comfortable nest where people you love, including yourself, can work and play and relax and visit without worrying about whether they will step on a toy or be faced with a discouraging pile of undone chores.

It Takes a Lifetime

It takes a lifetime, this process of making yourself at home.

Homes grow and change just as people do. But these simple secrets of “at-homeness” hold steady through the ongoing homemaking process.

Make yourself comfortable – and create a comfortable environment for yourself and others.

Add the little touches that make a house feel like a home.

Surround yourself with beauty.

Surround yourself with you.

Create peace by ordering your environment.

Above all else, listen to your dreams of home. Allow them to guide you as you learn to make yourself and others happily at home.

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Attitudes on Confession – Rev. George A. Kelly

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Rev. Fr. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook

Most Catholic parents fully respect their child’s right to privacy in regard to confession. Of course, you should not question him about what he told the priest, or what the priest told him. To do so would be depriving him of the right to privacy in confessional matters which is his. His decision to receive or not receive the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist also must be his to make.

While you must stand guard over your child’s spiritual welfare, never place him in a position where his failure to confess or receive Communion will make him conspicuous.

The reason for this warning is that a child who is unworthy to receive Communion or fears to confess his sins may be tempted to partake of the Holy Eucharist sacrilegiously if his failure to receive will make him stand out in the crowd.

Before the rule for the Eucharistic Fast was relaxed, a person who did not wish to receive Communion might create an excuse by saying that he had inadvertently swallowed water. Since beverages one hour before
Communion are now permitted, and water is permitted at any time, such an excuse is no longer valid.

The person who does not wish to receive may find it more difficult to hide the fact that he may not be in a state of grace. Be doubly cautious, therefore, that you do not use pressure upon your child so that he receives unworthily to hide the existence of another sin.

Parents should be alert for opportunities to suggest the reception of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, however. If a child consistently resists the sacraments, they may fairly assume that he is troubled by some moral problem.

Without mentioning the matter directly, a parent might tell him anew that God will forgive any sin and that any problems brought to the priest in the confessional will receive sympathetic consideration.

Children may need to be reassured that they have nothing to fear in confessing their sins and that their secrets will be kept from all mankind.

If your own attempts to encourage your child to frequent the sacraments prove unsuccessful, you should discuss the subject with your pastor.

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Vanity….and Cucumbers

Here’s the “Vanity” part of the post. Scroll down for the Cucumbers! :D.

Makeup and adornment can be a touchy subject among serious Catholics. Prudence, good taste and intention are important when it comes to these things.

I like this excerpt from the wonderful book “Christ in the Home” written in the 1950’s by Father Raoul Plus, S.J.

“She (a woman) has a genius for adornment. She must please. And that is right. No one need reproach her for striving to do so. ‘The pheasants are preening their feathers,’ Saint Francis de Sales humorously commented in answer to Saint Jane Frances de Chantal’s letter expressing worry over her daughters’ newly evidenced concern about their dress. ‘It is excess that is blameworthy…..’

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Another quote from Christ in the Home:

  PRAISEWORTHY VANITY

A HUSBAND who is a man of sense as well as a good Catholic proposes this question: Ought concern for their appearance be something foreign to Christian wives?

He answers the question himself: ‘That would be simply ridiculous. I confess that I feel thoroughly enraged when I see women who act as if they were being very virtuous by their slovenly appearance and poor taste in dress.

First of all,they commit a fault against beauty and grace which are God’s gifts. But their fault is graver still: Have these noble souls taken care to consult their husbands and to assure themselves that he approves of this treatment? Let them not be surprised then if their husbands look elsewhere for satisfaction.

Christian women must know once for all that to dress with taste and even with distinction is not a fault; that to use cosmetics is no fault either unless the results are esthetically to be regretted; that adornment as such is one of those questions of convention which is purely accidental and remains completely foreign to the moral order.

Virtue owes it to itself to be attractive and even strongly attractive. The only thing that must be avoided is excess. There is excess when a Christian woman devotes all the powers of her mind to becoming as exact a copy as possible of the models in Vogue or Charm to the point of neglecting her duty.

A woman who for love of dress would ruin her husband, neglect her children or even refuse to have them for fear of spoiling her figure would fail by excess.’
This viewpoint is full of wisdom; it defends right use and at the same time condemns abuse.”

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Now for cucumbers….

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The following are simple recipes for cleansing and nourishing your skin by the famous health guru Paavo Airola in the old book “Swedish Beauty Secrets”.  If I were feeling inclined to give myself a little “freshening up” these are the types of concoctions I would make and use. I thought they were worth sharing!

CUCUMBER ASTRINGENT

1 cup fresh cucumber juice (make your own juice extractor, or grate very fine and press through a cloth).

1/4 tsp. honey

Pour ingredients in an empty bottle and shake well. Apply with a cotton pad on your face and neck and let it dry. Leave it on overnight, if desired, or use as a base under makeup. Store in refrigerator. After a few day make a fresh batch.

Cucumbers contain natural vegetable hormones which are very beneficial for your skin. Cucumber is also a natural, harmless skin tightener, or astringent. It will do wonders to your wrinkles and lines. Cucumber is used extensively in Sweden and Germany as an active ingredient in commercially manufactured cosmetics. Even some American manufacturers are beginning to use cucumber in their cosmetics.

CUCUMBER BEAUTY MASK

1 small cucumber

1/4 cup skim milk

1/2 tsp. honey

1 tsp. crushed ice

Cut cucumber to about 1 inch pieces and mix in an electric mixer with skim milk, honey, and ice to a consistency of porridge. Don’t let the blender run too long so the formula becomes too liquid – only approximately three to five seconds at low speed.

Apply generously all over face, neck and hands. Lie down for ten or fifteen minutes, then wash off with cold water.

HONEY LOTION

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of honey in a cup of cold water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Apply with a cotton pad freely to you face, neck and arms, especially after a bath, if soap or shampoo was used. Leave it on and let it dry. It will moisturize and soften and help to restore natural acid to the skin. Honey is a a natural humectant, or skin softener. Beauty-conscious Swedish women have used honey as their cosmetic for centuries.

HONEY-EGG MASK

White of 1 egg

1/2 tsp. of honey

Beat the egg white with honey and apply to your face and neck liberally. Leave it on for about 10 to 15 minutes, then wash off with cold water without soap. You may save what is left over for the next day if you keep it tightly closed in the refrigerator.

This simple beauty mask will startle you with the most amazing results. Albumin of egg white is a natural astringent. It will “draw” your skin together and tighten it. Honey is a wonderful moisturizer and a softener. Together they work miracles on your skin.

SWEDISH FACIAL SAUNA

Swedish facial sauna is a very effective treatment for blackheads, pimples, acne, and other complexion blemishes, and for the thorough cleansing of your face.

Take a tablespoon of your favorite herbs – peppermint, anise, chamomile, or, as do the Swedish women, use pine needles or birch leaves. Put in a pot of water and bring to a roaring boil. Lower your head over the pot, cover it with a big  bath towel, and steam your face for about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn your face so that every part of it, as well as your neck will receive the benefit of this aromatic facial bath.

The herbal steam of distilled water and your own perspiration will clean your face thoroughly, open pores, and loosen old, stale makeup, blackheads and dirt, and make your complexion soft and beautifully clean.

After facial sauna, dry your face and gently apply Cucumber Astringent. Lie on your back and rest 10 to 15 minutes. Then look in your mirror and see the miraculous transformation which has taken place!

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And, of course, we are reminded, “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. A happy heart, a smiling face, loving words and deeds, and a desire to be of service, will make any woman beautiful.” – Mable Hale

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Patience With Our Own Faults and Imperfections

Picking ourselves up after we fall, not getting discouraged, not beating ourselves up……Father Jacques Philippe explains why this is fundamental to our climb in the spiritual life….

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Searching For and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe

When one has gone a certain distance in the spiritual life, when one truly desires to love the Lord with all his heart, when one has learned to have confidence in God and to abandon himself into His hands in the midst of difficulties, there remains for him, however, a circumstance in which he often risks losing his peace and tranquility of soul and which the devil frequently exploits to discourage and trouble him.

It concerns the vision of his misery, the experience of his own faults, the failures he continues to experience in such and such an area, despite his strong desire to correct himself.

But here also it is important to be aware that the sadness, the discouragement and the anguish of soul that we feel after committing a fault are not good and we must, on the contrary, do everything we can to remain at peace.

In the daily experience of our miseries and faults, this is the fundamental principle that must guide us. It is not so much a question of our making superhuman efforts to completely eliminate our imperfections and our sins (that which is, in any case, beyond our reach!), as it is a question of knowing how, as quickly as possible, to recapture our peace when we have fallen into sin or have been troubled by the experience of our imperfections, and to avoid sadness and discouragement.

This is not laxity, not resignation to mediocrity, but, on the contrary, a way in which to sanctify ourselves more rapidly. There are  a number of reasons for this.

The first reason is the fundamental principle that we have already mentioned many times: God acts in the peace of one’s soul. It is not by our own efforts that we succeed in liberating ourselves from sin; it is only the grace of God which attains this end. Rather than troubling ourselves, it is more efficacious to regain our peace and let God act.

The second reason is that this is more pleasing to God. What is more pleasing to God? Is it when, after experiencing a failure, we are discouraged and tormented, or when we react by saying: “Lord, I ask Your pardon, I have sinned again. This, alas, is what I am capable of doing on my own! But I abandon myself with confidence to Your mercy and Your pardon, I thank You for not allowing me to sin even more grievously. I abandon myself to You with confidence because I know that one day you will heal me completely and, in the meantime, I ask You that the experience of my misery would cause me to be more humble, more considerate of others, more conscious that I can do nothing by myself, but that I must rely solely on Your love and Your mercy.” The response is clear.

The third reason is that the trouble, the sadness and the discouragement that we feel regarding our failures and our faults are rarely pure; they are not very often the simple pain of having offended God. They are in good part mixed with pride. We are not sad and discouraged so much because God was offended, but because the ideal image that we have of ourselves has been brutally shaken. Our pain is very often that of wounded pride! This excessive pain is actually a sign that we have put our trust in ourselves – in our own strength and not in God.

Listen to Dom Lorenzo Scupoli whom we have already cited:

“A presumptuous man believes with certainty that he has acquired a distrust of himself and confidence in God (which are the foundations of the spiritual life and therefore that which one must make an effort to acquire), but this is an error that we never recognize better than when we have just experienced a failure. Because then, if one is troubled by it, if one feels afflicted by it, if it causes one to lose all hope of making new progress in virtue, this is a sign that one has placed all his confidence, not in God, but in himself, and the greater the sadness and despair, the more one must judge himself guilty.

Because he who mistrusts himself greatly and who puts great confidence in God, if he commits some fault, is hardly surprised, he is neither disturbed not chagrined because he sees clearly that this is the result of his weakness and the little care he took to establish his confidence in God.

His failure, on the contrary, teaches him to distrust even more his own strength and to put even greater trust in the help of Him who alone has power: he detests above all his sin; he condemns the passion or vicious habit which was the cause; he conceives a sharp pain for having offended his God, but his pain is always subdued and does not prevent him from returning to his primary occupations, to bear with his familiar trials and to battle until death with his cruel enemies….

It is, again, a very common illusion to attribute to a feeling of virtue this fear and trouble that one experiences after a sin; because, though the uneasiness that follows the sin is always accompanied by some pain, still it does not proceed only from a source of pride or from a secret presumption, caused by too great a confidence one’s own strength. Thus, then, whoever believes himself affirmed in virtue, is contemptuous toward temptations and comes to understand, by the sad experience of his failures, that he is fragile and a sinner like others, is surprised, as if by something that never should have happened; and, deprived of the feeble support on which he was counting, he allows himself to succumb to chagrin and despair.

This misfortune never happens to those who are humble, who do not presume on themselves and who rely only on God; when they have failed, they are neither surprised not chagrined because the light of truth which illuminates them makes them see that it is a natural result of their weakness and their inconstancy.

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Form in Your Child a Habit of Holiness

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Life becomes very busy. Let’s not forget that most important duty of teaching our children to love God above all things. We have them for only a few short years. Our influence is mighty and, with God’s grace, we can help our little people to make sanctity their goal. Mary Reed Newland reminds us of this important duty today…

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How to Raise Good Catholic Children   – Mary Reed Newland

It isn’t difficult to find opportunities for acknowledging the indwelling of the Trinity. For all it may sound affected when reduced to words on paper, it’s easy to find times when a child is alone with you, perhaps drying the dishes, making the beds, out in the garden with you planting the beans, when you can kneel down to his size and whisper, “Let’s be very still for a minute and think about the Holy Trinity in our souls, and let us love God very much.”

This is a very reasonable suggestion to a child, and if he has been taught, he will kneel and without any affectation say, “Holy Trinity, living in my soul, I love You very much. Please help me to love You more.” And he will return to planting his beans.

It’s such a little act, hardly enough to stir the surface of a minute, but it’s the one thing the Trinity awaits. God is bound by our own free wills; we must permit Him to move us, or He cannot.

But like the more mundane things — washing hands, brushing teeth, learning to say “please” and “thank you” — this will become a habit only if there is constant repetition. And there must be constant repetition, because the spiritual life is built upon this silent love of God.

This is the beginning of silence, and simplicity, and contemplation. This is the first tiny step toward union. This must be if there is to be any spiritual life at all.

God does the work, but He must have the opportunity. We can’t possibly reveal all His secrets to our children. We can’t illuminate their souls beyond the point of a kind of charting.

Grace does the illuminating, and through grace, they will discover the joy of a life lived in union with God. We work with grace toward this union when we teach our children to be still, to listen, to wait, to love.

We’re living at a time when love has been so defiled that to use the word in its Christian sense is to invite misunderstanding. People don’t get what we’re driving at when we talk of loving one another: it sounds much too unrestrained and, frankly, rather queer.

It has one meaning only, for most of the world, and that’s physical passion, with no understanding whatsoever that physical love is beautiful only when it imitates God’s love.

So it’s terribly urgent that we reveal to our children what love really is, who Love is, because they must love Him wildly if they are to protect themselves against the time when passion moves in and masquerades as beauty.

Physical passion is only one small fragment reflecting God’s love; and unless children recognize love as the source of serenity and peace and grace, they will be quite defenseless before the fragment that pretends to be the whole.

God will be loved by our children as much as we have permitted Him to be loved. In a strange way, He’s at our mercy, and so are they. In His love, He has brought them forth out of us, but He must wait for us to make Him known to them. And it’s God’s love — not brains, or brawn, or talent — that is the common denominator for all men.

A man is wise or a fool, safe or in danger, in proportion to his response to God’s love. If we’re tempted to doubt this, the lives of the child saints prove it over and over again.

Maria Goretti was poor, uneducated, the essence of simplicity. Heroic virtue, for her, was born of the love of God taught to her by a tired, overburdened mother to whom the intricacies of theological argument were as much a mystery as the geography of the moon.

But God and His love were not. They were as daily bread. Guided by the graces He sends to all mothers, she fed her child the best way she knew how. Obviously it could not have been better.

When they questioned this mother at her daughter’s canonization: “How does one go about raising a child who will be a saint?” her answer was simple. There was no secret available to her, she said, that is not available to all mothers. She merely taught her all she knew about God and His love, and His delight in a soul untouched by sin.

If an uneducated peasant woman can do it in the middle of a world reeking with hideous sin, we have little excuse for not doing it ourselves. Simplicity of soul is one of the prerequisites of sanctity, and it’s one of the things our children already possess.

We must be very careful not to contribute to the great cluttering up. We must make a heroic effort to rid our lives of all but one motive, that “impractical”
spirituality of the saints, a life in union with God.

If this is the undercurrent of our existence, we can expect the spiritual training of our children to bear fruit. Without it, what they learn of God as children will be easily shoved aside when the world begins to make its noise in their ears.

We inherited Heaven at the Cross, and a way of life that should lead us all to sublime heights. Our obligation as parents is heavy: we must raise children who are in love with God.

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Strive For Lasting Success

What is your measurement of success?  Father Garesche talks about striving for lasting success, success that is true and noble in this article.

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The Catholic Book of Character and Success by Fr. Edward F. Garesche

Before we speak of the means to achieve success, we should form a clear idea for ourselves as to what success means, in what it consists, for we cannot discuss the way sensibly unless we know where we are going.

Everyone who is not a fool desires success in life, but many fail to achieve it, even with their utmost effort, because they have not rightly conceived what really constitutes success.

A successful life is a life that achieves its purpose. Such a life is a happy one, even though its way may pass through suffering and difficulty, because happiness is one thing and pleasure another, and a person may have great pleasure and still be very unhappy, just as he may lack pleasure almost entirely and still be very happy.

What is the purpose of life?

The chorus of all generations of mankind, the general conclusion of history, is that the purpose of life is to do one’s duty to God and man, to make the most of one’s opportunities of service, to live virtuously, and thus enjoy the happiness here and hereafter that comes from such performance of duty.

I say this is the final conclusion of mankind. It is true that there are many individuals who put success in various forms of achievement. Some people look on success as the acquirement of great sums of money, and the reason they judge thus is that money means power; it means the acquirement of property and influence and the enjoyment of good things of this world. Hence, when men put success in business achievement, they confess that the good things of this world seem to them the way to happiness.

But is this so? A little reflection will show that it is not. Money is a means to an end, and very often a necessary means, because a man must live decently and must support his family, if he has one.

But some of the greatest failures in history have been those who have accumulated huge sums of money, but who have lacked moral principle and have been false to their duty; wherefore, they made gigantic failures.

The greatest persons of history have often been poor in material things, but they have always been rich in principle, in devotion to duty; otherwise they would have been not truly great.

There are others who have put success in the acquirement of honor or reputation, and here again they were wrong, because honor in itself is not so much in the person himself as in the thoughts of others. Honor does not bring a person lasting happiness.

Many a one has achieved immense reputation and then left, in his own writings, the record of his disillusionment and disappointment. It is not those who have achieved renown who are truly fortunate and happy, but those who have deserved honor by their virtue. What has been said of honor may be said, too, of power and influence.

These are not the real rewards of life. Here, again, many a man has succeeded in rising to great heights and yet made a failure of his life.

Remember the great Napoleon at St. Helena. He had climbed and fought to the peak of human greatness, and he left behind a name that will endure for many generations. Yet his career recalls at its end the saying of Solomon: “Vanity of vanities and all is vanity.”

Rather, it is the leading of a virtuous and upright life, the performance of one’s duties to God and man, the making the most of every opportunity for service, and the harmonious development of every faculty that make for real success in life and that lead to happiness here and a greater happiness hereafter.

You have only a few years in which to realize in your own person this end of dutiful service. To realize it, you may have to “scorn delights, and live laborious days”; you may be obliged to forget friendships, amusements, and even success, when these are against your conscience and your duty. But in this way, and in this way alone, lie true success and happiness.

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Woman – A Source of Happiness in the Home

This excerpt is taken from the lovely book True Womanhood by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly written in the early part of the 1900’s. Its timeless truths continue to inspire us to continue the good fight….that our job is not worthless, but worthy of great esteem. Each battle we overcome, each time we lay our own wills down for the good of those around us, we are slowly building the foundation of our home on Him who is the Rock and Who will protect and guide those within our four walls!

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Woman’s entire existence, in order to be a source of happiness to others as well as to herself, must be one of self-sacrifice.

The first step in this royal pathway to all goodness and greatness is to forget self. Self with its miserable little cares and affections is the root of all the wretchedness we cause to others, and all the misery we endure ourselves.

Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy.

The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good. So with unselfishness: the first step is to forget one’s own comfort in order to seek that of others; the next is to forget one’s own pains and suffering, in order to alleviate those of others, or even to discharge toward others the duties of sisterly or neighborly kindness.

We have known such great-souled women among the log-cabins of the forest settlements of Canada, in the crowded tenement houses and most ill-favored quarters of London and Liverpool and New York, as well as in the hard worked manufacturing population of the New-England towns and the poor slaves of Maryland: women animated, enlightened, and moved in all their actions by the Spirit of God,—the Spirit who filled Mary at Nazareth, Elizabeth in her mountain home, and Margaret of Scotland amid the manifold cares and duties of a kingdom.

What our country,—indeed, what every Christian country under the sun,—needs most, are these great-souled wives, mothers, and sisters in the dwellings of our over-burdened laborers; women for whom the roof above them and the four walls which enclose their dear ones are the only world they care to know, the little paradise which they set their hearts on making pleasant, sunny, and fragrant for the husband who is out in the hot sun or the bitter cold, beneath the pelting of the rain or the snow or the sleet,— who, poorly clad and shod, with his scanty fare of hard bread and cold tea, is working away for the little home and the wife and babes,—and who is singing in his heart as he bethinks him of the warm welcome that awaits him when the long day is over,—of the bright smile and the loving words that will be sure to greet him when he crosses the threshold of his own little Eden,—of the cheerful fire in winter and the humble meal made so delicious by the love that prepares it and the sweet words that season it,—of the rest and the security and the peace which force the overflowing heart of the husband and father and brother to think and to say that there is no spot of earth so dear and so blessed as the little sanctuary built up and adorned and made full of song by a true woman’s heart.

O woman, woman! if you only knew how much you have it in your power to do,—with His assistance who can never fail us when we do our best,—to make true men of the husband of your choice, of the sons whom God has given you as his most precious treasures; true women, in their turn, of the little girls who are growing up at your knee,— to be, when you are gone to your reward, mothers blessed and praised by all who know them!

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The Wife Desired Has a Sense of Humor

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The Wife Desiredby Fr. Leo Kinsella, 1950’s
A person may have a sense of humor without being a professional humorist or comedienne. Relatively few are gifted to travel in this rarefied air. It is more difficult to write humor than scientific treatises. One obvious proof of this is that there are libraries full of scientific books while works of humor are few.

One person is able to appreciate or even be enthralled by a sunset.
Another is able to put the sunset down on canvas and thus convey it to others. One can love music. Another can create it. The second person is an artist. It takes special talents, the right environment, and application to bring about an artist. Comparatively speaking, real artists are rare. Although we could use more of them, yet life would become unbearable if all people became artists. God keeps a balance in nature. All birds cannot be singing canaries, and we are happy for it.

Not many wives can be humorists or comediennes. Again, for this we can be grateful. But wives can have a sense of humor. They can have the fine perception of seeing things in their true perspective.

A sense of humor is the faculty of being able to see through things, to see the real worth of things. It could be called a sense of equilibrium. Not being lopsided herself the woman with a sense of humor can detect the lopsided. Because her vision is in focus, she can see and enjoy the incongruous.

A flower or a sunset is a reflection of a spark, so to speak, of God.
But these beautiful things are not a part of God: so, a sense of humor keeps even the artist from going daffy over flowers and sunsets and becoming a Pantheist. The wife may feel strongly about flowers and sunsets, but she doesn’t lose her sense of balance and become too serious about them.

The most serious thing in life is sin. Food, drink, and gold are just materials to keep us alive, means whereby we work out our eternal destiny. They exist for us. When we begin to exist for them and become gluttons and misers, we sin. We lose our sense of humor.
Our ability to see through things, our sense of humor, prevents us from getting too serious over gold, roast beef, and martinis.

A sense of humor might be likened to a sort of casual sense of balance. It is mental relaxation. The bane of all athletes is to “tighten up.” to get too serious over hitting home runs, high diving, and so forth. As soon as a golfer or bowler “tightens up,” she is off her best form. A person without a sense of humor has a sort of mental “charley-horse.” She “tightens up” mentally to the extent that her brain becomes sort of lame, unable to see things in their proper perspective.

Many years ago an effort was made to involve me as referee in a sort of neighborhood civil war. Little junior, let us call him Willie Baxter, was three years old and full of lemonade one day. He wandered two doors down the street under the window of an aged spinster. With a reputation of being a neighborhood crab she lived alone on the second floor of her two-flat building. She had had her eye on Willie before he began to poach on her property. As he began to pick flowers under her window, she was all ready for this affront with a pail of water. Willie was not too sure what happened, but his instincts told him that it was time to high tail it for home.

Before he could reach home base, the defender of public morals and private property had Willie’s mother on the telephone blessing her out. Willie arrived looking as if he had just swum the Channel. His appearance spurred mother on to a more direct contact with the assailant of her child. She ended up a few safe yards from the spot of Willie’s dastardly act and entered a screaming contest with the old lady.

By this time the old retired fireman on the first floor came to life from a nap. Thinking that the building surely was on fire, he rushed out the side door with a pail of water. Misinterpreting the designs of the erstwhile firefighter, the young mother beat a hasty retreat to her home. She felt that at least one of the Baxters should keep her powder dry. In the meantime Willie had pretty much become used to his soggy breeches and was having another glass of lemonade. Mother could carry on and finish the feud. Willie felt that he had done his bit in starting it.

Willie’s mother lacked a sense of humor or at least lost it momentarily. Instead of sitting down and having a good laugh over the lesson, which her little Willie had learned the easy way, she lost her sense of perspective and ruined her disposition for the rest of the day. Unwittingly, of course, she provided high comedy for the neighbors. The world is full of unremunerated comediennes.

Willie’s mother went so far as to attempt to enlist her husband’s support in feuding with the old lady. I am afraid that she even tried to nag him into “putting in his two cents.” He, however, seemed to know that the poor old lady was a character and that little Willie received no mortal hurt. In fact, I would not be surprised if he did not have to force back a few chuckles over the episode in the bringing up of Willie.

Anyone can understand that her mother’s instincts might carry her away at first. A sense of humor would bring back balance as the hours passed. She would begin to see the humorous side of the episode and bear no resentment against the spinster. She would have been spared the nuisance of contending for hours and days with revengeful thoughts.

If people are fortunate to be able to recover their mental equilibrium through a sense of humor, twice blessed are those who can see the humor of situations as they are developing. These wonderful people are a joy to themselves as well as to all who are privileged to know them. A young woman who possesses this crown of spiritual growth is a pearl of great price.

If it is dangerous to get too serious over roast beef or gold or martinis, it is fatal to get too serious over oneself. The devil certainly lacked a sense of humor when he vaunted himself in the face of God. He took himself just a little bit too seriously and laughter went out of his life forever. The light bearer before the God of life became the demon of the shadows of death.

Life is not a stage for buffoons. It is deadly serious. We walk a tight rope between heaven and hell. Of ourselves we can never make it. As long as we keep our faces turned up to God and our hands in His, we shall not lose our nerve and fall. Only those fall who think themselves to stand by their own merits.

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Character Building – Beautiful Girlhood

from Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale

“Let every man take heed how he buildeth.”*

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The most precious earthly treasure a girl can have is character. Her character is what she really is. If she will look beyond what she appears to be, and what people think of her, and look at her heart fairly and honestly, judging herself by the standards of right and wrong to which her own conscience gives sanction, then she can know whether she has a good character.

When a girl is misunderstood and misjudged, it is comforting to know that deep in her heart she has been true. But it will rob even her friends’ praises of the real pleasure if, in her heart, she knows she has been untrue.

Character is not given to us; we build it ourselves. Others may furnish the material, may set before us the right standards and ideals, may give us reproof and correction, may guide our actions and mold our thoughts—but after all, we build our own character. It is we, ourselves, who take of the influence about us, copy the ideals, reach the standards, and make ourselves what we are.

Youth is the building time. From infancy, throughout childhood, material has been brought together which we may use in our building. There are home influences and teachings, moral and intellectual instructions received in school, religious precepts and counsels of church, the moral standards of our childhood’s playmates, the characters of the men and women we know, and countless other avenues by which instruction has come to us, bringing material which we may use in our building.

The girl who has been reared in a Christian home, and by careful, watchful parents, has a far better opportunity to build a good character than she whose life has been less guarded.

It is in the days of youth that this assembled material is built into character. The nature is then pliable, and habits are more easily formed and more easily broken than in later years. Day by day the girl, whether conscious of what she is doing or not, is taking of the material which she has about her, and is putting it into her character.

Truth or falsehood, honesty or deceit, love or hatred, honor or reproach, obedience or rebellion, good or bad, day by day the building is going on. Through her infancy and childhood her parents have been responsible for her conduct; but now, when she has reached these important years, their responsibility is lessening and hers is increasing.

Sometimes girls who have been quite submissive and obedient through childhood become independent and rebellious at this period, building into their characters that which is a lifelong regret. But contrariwise, others who have been unruly as children now wake to their responsibility and begin laying into their building those things that are good, upright, honest and noble. But more often she who has learned to obey in her childhood builds the better character.

Character building is a serious undertaking. You would never guess it by watching the foolish behavior of some girls. Sometimes I have wondered that to youth should be given the responsibility of laying the foundation of life’s character, just when the heart is the gayest and the thoughts the least settled.

But if the responsibility came later, it would be at a time when the help of parents and teachers is not to be had. The builder would then have to work alone, while now she has many helpers. And since to youth is given such a serious undertaking, ought not our girl to take earnest thought to what she is doing, that no wrong material is placed in her building?

Can she afford, for the sake of present fun and frolic, to place in her building that which will give her weakness all through her life?

Character building goes on every day. There is not a day that does not tell for good or bad. Each sees another stone in the building, hewn straight and true, or all misshapen and crooked.

If temptations have been resisted and obstacles overcome, if evil thoughts and feelings have been quenched, and kind and noble thoughts encouraged in their place, then a stone has been hewn for victory and right.

But if temptations have been yielded to, and evil thoughts and feelings have been harbored and cultivated, if wrong motives have been allowed, then the stone is unfit for a good building. So, as the days go by, the builder sorts out and uses of the material at hand that which is put into the character which shall be hers through life.

A pattern is needed. No dressmaker would undertake a garment without some idea of how it should look when finished. She must by some means form in her mind the picture of the dress as it is to be when it is done. Nor would she undertake a lady’s cloak by a kimono pattern. She would ask for a perfect pattern to work by.

A carpenter would not start a building until he first had a draft which made clear to his mind just how the finished edifice should look. More than that, he would ask for a perfect pattern of every part of the building, so that he might have it correct all the way through.

No character is built good and true if the builder has not in her mind a picture of the woman she wants to be. And the pattern for a good character must be chosen carefully. The carpenter will not undertake a pretty cottage from the print of a barn, nor can a girl build a good, true character if she patterns after those whose lives are not good and true.

She who has an ideal character is first of all pure and true, then earnest and sincere, patient and gentle, and more ready to serve than to be served. It is easier to build a bad than a good character. One can always go downhill with less difficulty than up, and glide with the current than row against it, and it is easier to drift with the crowd than to stand for the right.

The bad character grows without effort. Just to be careless and indifferent to consequences may be the cause of downfall in one who would like to be noble. They who fall have been weak, for good character is strong.

Choose well as the days go by. Build for all time, not just for present pleasure. What you are building will bring you praise and satisfaction all your life, or it will be your curse and disgrace.

Keep your measuring rod at hand and use it without stint. Reject all that falls short, no matter how pleasant it may look. “Is it right?” “Would it be for my good?” “Does it meet the approval of my parents or teachers?” “Is it forbidden?” are questions which you should be continually asking yourself as you decide what to do and what to leave undone.

Many things that are fun end in wrong, much that seems pleasurable after awhile comes to be evil, and everything like this should be rejected without hesitation. To do right will often cost a struggle, but it is always worth the effort.

We dare not allow ourselves to be continually guided by what others do. Christ is our Perfect Pattern, and only those who form their lives after Him are building the best character. He is the one great Pattern for us, His children.

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