Tidbits/Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  May this season be very fruitful for our souls! As mentioned I will be taking a reprieve until Easter. I pray your Lent is full of blessings….getting closer to Our Lord being the Number One Blessing! 🙂

Our Meadows of Grace Shoppe will still be open, so you can purchase the Lenten Journal or any other gift items you like.

My daughter, Virginia, will be moderating the Meadows of Grace Facebook Page if any of you want to “Like” that page to see what is pretty and new!

Virginia (Gin)…the “Apron Lady”

Here is the list of audio suggestions where you can get in some good Lenten sermons, etc.

You can read past Lenten articles in the category of Lent here.

You can also take a peek at my Youtube Channel where I have some interesting videos, including a couple for Lent.

Please keep us in your prayers, especially our Rosie who is still struggling. She is Maid of Honor at Margy’s wedding in May. She is very close to Margy and wants, with all of her heart, to take part as much as she can. The way things have been going here….we will need a miracle. Please pray for us!

Also, our two girls, Hannah and Gemma, will be traveling to Chartres this spring. Prayers are appreciated! (And many, many thanks to any who were responsible for their sponsorship…God bless you abundantly!)

Photos by Walter Matt, Chartres Pilgrimage

See you at Easter!

A few thoughts….

Father gave a sermon this last Sunday. In it was a story. A priest in the 1940’s was distributing Holy Communion to the kneeling congregation at the altar rail. Each parishioner received Our Lord on the tongue. As the priest continued down the line, he approached a man who, unbeknownst to the priest, was mentally deranged. As Father reached down to give him the host, the man pulled a gun out and shot the priest in the chest.

The shot caused the priest to spring backward, the Ciborium spilling the consecrated hosts all over the sanctuary floor. The people, shocked and dismayed, began to come toward the priest to help him and to pick up the hosts. The priest, in his last breaths, lifted up his hand to stop his parishioners. He told them to stay back. Father, slowly and painfully, picked up each of the hosts and put them back in the Ciborium. He laid back down and died.

His last thought was of protecting the Blessed Sacrament. It is what he lived and died for.

In the next few weeks, may we work harder at making the Blessed Sacrament the center our lives.  Let us try this Lent to receive Him as often as we can!

A photo gallery of the recent Baptism of Devin and Theresa’s little Adam Joseph. It was a double Baptism with Devin’s brother, John Paul, and Julianna’s little Paulina.

A couple of excellent posts by The Catholic Gentleman for your Ash Wednesday!

“In my own experience, I often begin the Lenten season with the best of intentions. I imagine myself going into full monk mode, fasting and praying as ardently as one of the monastic fathers in the desert. And maybe for the first week I succeed through sheer strength of will. Then, just when I am feeling good about myself, everything falls apart and I come face to face with my own weakness…” Read more here….

Another post from The Catholic Gentleman.

Lent is a time for self-denial. But I would argue there is one hunger we should feed this Lent. Read more here….

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

It seems such a short time ago that we sought the Infant Christ at Bethlehem, adored Him, and were sure that we would never offend Him; and already on Septuagesima Sunday  in the Introit of the Mass He cries out with the weight of our sins: “The groans of death surrounded me and the sorrows of hell encompassed me….”

It is but three weeks before Lent when Septuagesima arrives, and this is a warning. We have sinned, and the time is coming when we must do penance.

When we are born, we are really very like Adam right after his sin, although there is this difference: we have been redeemed, and at that time, he was not.

We may do what he wished he could do. We may be born again in Baptism and start afresh, although in a fallen world, our souls now radiant with divine life burning there. Lent is the spanning of all that happened between Original Sin and Baptism.

It is the summing up and the climax of what started with Christmas.

The greatest of all mysteries is that God should love man so much.

When man sinned and forfeited his right to eternal life, and there was nowhere perfect obedience or flawless love in any man to merit Heaven, He became a man in order that He might pay the debts of the family He had chosen to join.

It is a kind of divine bargain They made, almost impossible to understand unless we put it in our own words.

It is as though the Father had said to the Son, “How can we work it out so man may still live with us forever as we planned?”

And as though the Son replied, “If there were but one perfect man, it could be done. One perfect sacrifice would pay their debt. One surrender of a man as perfect as Adam was when we created him. Alas, there is none.”

Then it is as though They gazed into one another with that Love that is the Spirit of both, and They knew how it could be done.

In Their gaze, a longing still burned for the creatures who had rebelled.

With a look of infinite love, the Father sent the Son and He became the Man. “0 happy fault, that merited so great a Redeemer.”

Let him know you appreciate all the little things he does. It is easy to just expect things from him, with nary a thanks or a smile. This is not the way to nurture a relationship. Go the extra mile….always be grateful…..and let him know that you are! 
Preparing for Lent Father gives us tips on growing in virtue to make this a great Lent….

Lenten Journal Available here.

 

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What is Worthwhile Now?

18fead99754e9237d2fa78633894f1f9What is Worthwhile Now?

by Father Lasance

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It is always worth while doing the good that just at this moment lies within my power to do.

St. Francis de Sales, when a student at the University of Paris, suffered long and cruelly from a horrible thought, that he was sure to be damned. At length he flung the temptation from him and conquered it quite, in this way.

He said manfully: “Well, if I am not to see and love God for eternity, at least I will love him with all my heart this hour while I may.”

It is worth while now for me, – now while the brief occasion lasts – to overcome one temptation, to do one small kindness, to improve my mind by one half hour of study, to wait in patience when there is nothing else to be done, to bear a headache, or sleeplessness, or some small pain.

Life cannot be filled with great deeds, nor deeds of manifest profit and advantage to oneself and mankind.

There must be margins and leavings in the web of human existence: there must be pieces over, the use of which is not apparent; and these leavings, as they seem void of good, are readily turned to evil use.

We shall find, if we think, that many of our sins are committed in these loose and unoccupied times; whereas our hours of active and successful work, or keen sport and play, are usually innocent.

The author of the “Imitation of Christ” has a chapter  “that we must apply ourselves to humble works when we are not up to our best.”

We must be content at certain times to do anything that is innocent and lawful; and console ourselves with the reflection that all lawful works are works of grace in him who is in the state of grace.

On the other hand, I must be jealous of the hours in which my faculties are bright and available for work. Even in my worldly interest I must be jealous of them.

Those are precious hours.

Keep your eyes fixed upon your heavenly home, upon the long, long, everlasting vacation, upon the eternal rest of the just.

“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.” – Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children

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Beautiful handmade items at Meadows of Grace!

Come Rack! Come Rope! is a historical novel by the English priest and writer Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914), a convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism. Set in Derbyshire at the time of the Elizabethan persecution of Catholics, when being or harbouring a priest was considered treason and was punishable with death, it tells the story of two young lovers who give up their chance of happiness together, choosing instead to face imprisonment and martyrdom, so that “God’s will” may be done. It is perhaps the best known of Benson’s novels, and has been reprinted several times…

Save

“The Earls of Ravenhurst must always stand for God and Our Blessed Lady, let the cost be what it may!” In seventeenth-century Scotland lies Ravenhurst, the stronghold of Clan Gordon, a family whose reputation for defending their people and their Catholic faith is legendary. But now the rights and lives of Scottish Catholics are in grave peril, and a traitorous usurper controls the clan. With the help of his mother, the “renegade priest,” and other heroic allies, young Charles Gordon must strive in the face of persecution and martyrdom to defend the true faith and restore to Ravenhurst a good, noble, loyal, and Catholic earl….

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Lent – Maria Von Trapp

Elsie’s prayer by Sidney Harold Meteyard (1868 – 1947)

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family

Lent is primarily known as a time devoted to fast and abstinence. Our non-Catholic friends feel sorry for us because we have to watch our food. “Isn’t it an awful strain?”

But this is only one side of the season of Lent, and not even the most important one. First and foremost, these weeks between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday are set aside as a time of preparation for the greatest feast of the year, Easter.

We are not fasting in commemoration of Our Lord’s fast of forty days, but are imitating Him in his fast of preparation–preparation for His great work of Redemption. It is the same with us. Once a year we take forty days out of the three hundred and sixty-five, and we too fast in preparation: in preparation for the commemoration of our Redemption.

We all should get together and work toward the restoration of the meaning of Lent. People nowadays see in it just a gloomy time full of “must nots.” That is a great pity, because Lent is a solemn season rich in hidden mysteries. We must also keep in mind that Lent is only a part of the great Easter season, that it is for Easter what Advent was for

Christmas, and that Lent taken by itself would make no more sense than Advent without Christmas at its end. Therefore, we should let Holy Mother Church take us by the hand and lead us–not each soul alone, but the whole family as a group–away from the noise of the world into a forty-day retreat.

No other time of the year has been so singled out by the Church as this, in that a completely different Mass is provided for every single day, beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing through the octave day of Easter; and again for the crowning feast of the Easter season, the eight days of Pentecost. If we keep the closed time as faithfully as our forefathers did–which means keeping away from all noisy outside entertainment such as cocktail parties and dances–then we shall find ample time for the imitation of Christ as it is outlined in every morning’s Mass.

The restoration of the season of Lent was begun in the year when the Holy Father gave back to us the Easter Night. As we now know that in this holiest of all nights we shall be permitted to be reborn in Christ, renewing solemnly, with a lighted candle in our hands, our baptismal vows, we understand more and more clearly the two great thoughts which the Church is developing throughout the whole of Lent: the instruction of the catechumens and the deepening of the contrition of the penitents.

Instruction and penance shall become our motto also for these holy weeks.

Instruction–this brings us to the Lenten reading program. The time saved through abstention from movies–and it is astonishing to find how much it is!–will be devoted to a carefully chosen reading program. Every year we should divide our reading into three parts: something for the mind, something for the heart, something for the soul.

Something for the mind: This should mean doing serious research. One year we might work on the history of the Church; another year on the sacraments; or we might carefully study a scholarly life of Our Lord

Jesus Christ; or a book on Christian ethics; or the Encyclicals of the Pope; or a book on dogma.

For the soul: This should be spiritual reading of a high order, from the works of the saints or saintly writers. For example, “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” by St. John of the Cross; “The Introduction to a Devout Life,” by St. Francis de Sales; “The Story of a Soul,” by St. Therese of Lisieux; “The Spiritual Castle,” by St. Teresa of Avila; “The Soul of the Apostolate,” by Abbot Chautard; the books of Abbot Marmion, and similar works.

For the heart: According to the old proverb, “Exempla trahunt,” it is most encouraging to read the biographies of people who started out as we did but had their minds set on following the word of Our Lord, “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.”

In other words, to read a well-written biography of a saint (canonized or not) will have the same effect on us as it had once on St. Augustine, who said, after watching saintly people living a holy life: “If he could do it, and she, why not I?”

But it has to be a well-written biography, that is, a book showing a human being in the round, with all his shortcomings that had to be overcome by faithful cooperation with grace–and not the old-fashioned hagiography in sugar-candy style with its doubtful statements, carefully stressing that the saint is born a full-fledged saint by describing how the holy baby refused his mother’s breast every Saturday in honor of the Blessed Mother (and, of course, the first words of these remarkable beings invariably must be a piously lisped “Jesus and Mary”).

These “saints” never made a mistake, never succumbed to temptation–in other words, their literary portraits are identical replicas of their statues in the show windows in Barclay Street and just as inspiring.

But we are lucky the worst seems to be behind us. A new school of writing of the lives of the saints has begun.

If every member of a family adopts this threefold reading program and comments on the books he has been working on, a great benefit will be flowing from one to the other as they exchange the spiritual goods obtained from their reading.

I remember how the enthusiasm of each reader made us exchange books after Lent was over. Years ago it began with the books of Henry Gheon first, “The Secret of the Little Flower,” followed by the other secrets of the saints.

Another year it was “The History of a Family,” with its background story of the most irresistible saint of our days, Therese of Lisieux. Recently we all found “St. Teresa of Avila,” by Marcelle Auclair, the best and most readable of all biographies of this great saint. After we had seen the great film, “Monsieur Vincent,” we were naturally interested in reading Monsignor Jean Calvet’s version of the saint’s life, “St. Vincent de Paul.”

There is no saying how much such an extensive reading program adds to the richness of family life, how many new topics are introduced, to be talked about during the family meals.

And one book that should certainly be read aloud during these days of the great retreat is the Holy Bible. It would be a good idea to lean, for one year at least, close to the selections the Church herself makes in the breviary of the priests. In another year one could take one of the prophets (Isaias during Advent, Jeremias during Lent), and go on from there until every book of Holy Scriptures has been read aloud and discussed in the family.

In this way we have read through the books of the Old and New Testaments more than once, and have found them an unending source of happiness and spiritual growth. Any family that has tried it will never want to give it up.

To set aside the “closed times” of the year for daily reading aloud is one of the most profitable uses of the time gained. As many questions will be asked, it will be necessary to obtain some source in which to find at least some of the answers. A commentary on the Holy Scriptures should be in every Christian house.

If the first thought recurring through the liturgy of Lent is instruction, the second is penance. To understand better what was originally meant by that word, let us go back to the beginning when the

Church was young and the zeal and fervor unbroken. Father Weiser, in his “Easter Book,” tells us about it:

“Persons who had committed serious public sin and scandal were enjoined on Ash Wednesday with the practice of ‘public penance.’ The period of the penance lasted until Holy Thursday when they were solemnly reconciled, absolved from their sins, and allowed to receive Holy Communion….

The imposition of public penance on Ash Wednesday was an official rite in Rome as early as the fourth century; and soon spread to all Christianized nations. Numerous descriptions of this ancient ceremony have been preserved in medieval manuscripts and, in every detail, breathe a spirit of harshness and humility really frightening to us of the present generation.

“Public sinners approached their priests shortly before Lent to accuse themselves of their misdeeds and were presented by the priests on Ash Wednesday to the bishop of the place. Outside the cathedral, poor and noble alike stood barefoot, dressed in sackcloth, heads bowed in humble contrition.

The bishop, assisted by his canons, assigned to each one particular acts of penance according to the nature and gravity of his crime. Whereupon they entered the church, the bishop leading one of them by the hand, the others following in single file, holding each other’s hands.

Before the altar, not only the penitents, but also the bishop and all his clergy recited the seven penitential psalms. [Psalms 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, 142.] Then, as each sinner approached, the bishop imposed his hands on him, sprinkled him with holy water, threw the blessed ashes on his head, and invested him with the hair shirt.

Finally he admonished (“with tears and sighs” as the regulation suggests): “Behold you are cast out from the sight of Holy Mother Church because of your sins and crimes, as Adam the first man was cast out of Paradise because of his transgression.”

After this ceremony the penitents were led out of the church and forbidden to re-enter until Holy Thursday (for the solemn rite of their reconciliation).

Meanwhile they would spend Lent apart from their families in a monastery or some other place of voluntary confinement, where they occupied themselves with prayer, manual labor, and works of charity. Among other things they had to go barefoot all through Lent, were forbidden to converse with others, were made to sleep on the ground or on a bedding of straw, and were unable to bathe or cut their hair.

“Such was the public penance (in addition to the general Lenten fast) for ‘ordinary’ cases of great sin and scandal….For especially shocking and heinous crimes a much longer term was imposed.

An ancient manuscript records the case of an English nobleman of the eleventh century who received a penance of seven years for notorious crimes and scandals committed.

The duties of his first year of public penance consisted of the following details: he must not bear arms (a bitter humiliation for a nobleman of that time!); he must not receive Holy Communion except in danger of death; he must not enter the church to attend Mass but remain standing outside the church door; he must eat very sparingly, taking meat only on Sundays and major feasts; on three days of the week he must abstain from wine; he must feed one poor person every day from what he would have spent on himself.

The document closes with the words: ‘If, however, thou shalt have borne this penance willingly for one year, in the future, with God’s grace, thou shalt be judged more leniently.'” (Francis X. Weiser, “The Easter Book,” pp. 46f. New York, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1954)

And Father Weiser adds a helpful remark. “These examples will make clear, perhaps, what an indulgence granted by the Church means in our time. An indulgence of seven years is the remission of temporal punishment for sins already forgiven to the extent of a seven years’ personal penance such as just described.”

After having seen what penance meant to our fathers in the faith, it will be interesting to see how much of it is still alive in our times.

“Lord, You know my weakness; every morning I make a resolution to practice humility, and every evening I acknowledge that I still have many failures. I am tempted to be discouraged by this, but I know that discouragement also has its source in pride. That is why I prefer to put my trust in You alone, O my God. Since You are all-powerful, deign to create in my soul the virtue for which I long”. – St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Ash Wednesday homily…

Coloring pages for your children…..

Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit….

My Book List

Book List for Catholic Men

Book List for the Youth

Lenten Way of the Cross – An Activity for Lent… With Printables!

Be ready for Lent with this lovely Lenten Activity!

I am very grateful to Mary Ann Scheeler for sharing with us this wonderful activity for our children that she has created! Thank you, Mary!

Remember The Spiritual Christmas Crib for Advent? Well, this is the Lenten version!

From Mary:

The first three on the list have to be drawn on a large sheet of paper, similar to the crib and its roof, namely the mountain, the paths and pitfalls.  Its not meant to be the Stations of the Cross, but a Spiritual Lenten Way of the Cross for children.  The prayers are adapted from the Advent Spiritual Crib, and from a book called Lent for Children – A Thought a Day, and some I made.
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So…get yourself a poster board….or more than one, depending on the size you are going to make the Way of the Cross. Some sharpie markers and crayons can be helpful…..and then draw the part that is applicable to the day as each day of Lent passes! OR use the clipart that Mary has provided here: Spiritual Lenten Children 40 Day Journey Printables

Get your children to color them on the corresponding day, and voila! you can add them to your Lenten scene!

You can also print out (or write out) the special prayer for the day and put the assigned one up so everyone can say it throughout the day.

This activity is a wonderful opportunity to make Lent more meaningful for all!

You can print out the instructions here: Spiritual Lenten Way of the Cross

A note from Mary Ann as you begin the activity:

This would be our first year, and everyone will draw/create theirs a little differently. The printables have almost three of everything, because I have three older kids who will be getting to have fun with it. If you have one child, you will only need one of everything and if you have more children you might need to print out more.

Some of the images like Jesus, or Mary, or Veronica, etc there is only one, because they are extra special.

The layout is something of the large mountain of Calvary, then there will be the long path, depending on how you draw it, could be steep, could be winding, or a little of both. The rest of the days are draw along the path wherever you want them.

You might start low and each day ascend a little higher, or you might just draw them wherever you think they fit. Some things like the crosses will probably be at the top. The very last day, the tomb, is separate, if you do the printables, and would be off to the side of mount Calvary. Hope this helps. 🙂

 

Here is the devotion:

1 – Ash Weds.                                    The Mountain of Calvary

2 – Thurs. after Ash Weds.               Path

3 – Fri. after Ash Weds.                   Pitfalls

4 – Sat. after Ash Weds.                  Bugs

 

1st Week of Lent:

5 – Mon.              Dust and Ashes

6 – Tues.              Bushes

7 – Weds.             Boulders

8 – Thurs.            Trees

9 – Fri.                 Pharisees/Crowd

10 – Sat.              Water and Basin

 

2nd Week of Lent:

11 – Mon.          3 Crosses

12 – Tues.         Skull and Bones

13 – Weds.        Dark Clouds

14 – Thurs.        Incense (myrrh)

15 – Fri.           Simon of Cyrene

16 – Sat.           Goats

 

3rd Week of Lent:

17 – Mon.            St. Veronica and Veil

18 – Tues.            Lambs

19 – Weds.           Palms

20 – Thurs.            Donkey

21 – Fri.               Purple Robe

22 – Sat.               Weeping Women of Jerusalem

 

4th Week of Lent:

23 – Mon.            Rope

24 – Tues.            Pillar

25 – Weds.           Scourges

26 – Thurs.             Thorns

27 – Fri.               Board with Inscription (INRI)

28 – Sat.               People passing by

 

5th Week of Lent:

29 – Mon.  Sponge of Vinegar

30 – Tues.            Nails

31 – Weds.           Lance

32 – Thurs.           Soldiers

33 – Fri.               Sorrowful Mother

34 – Sat.               Mary Magdalene

 

6th Week of Lent:

35 – Mon.            St. John

36 – Tues.           Two Thieves

37 – Weds.          Silver Coins

38 – Thurs.           Bread and Wine

39 – Fri.              Jesus 

40 – Sat.              Tomb

Beginning of Lent:

1 – Ash Weds.          

The Mount of Calvary

Our Dear Lord spends 40 days in the wilderness and even though the mountain is steep, we prepare our souls spiritually and bravely start on the path with Him.

  Offer Him your sinful heart as the mountain you will overcome this Lent. Now is the time my love to show. O Jesus dear, thy grace bestow.

2 – Thurs. after Ash Weds.      

Path

What path have I walked during my life?  If I haven’t gone in the right direction,  I will now follow you, dear Jesus, wherever You will go. Help me walk on the path to my true vocation.

          May I so live that I will be ready, dear Lord, when you call for me.

3 – Fri. after Ash Weds.

Pitfalls

Carefully walk around the pitfalls of temptation.  I will be generous with my brothers and sisters and avoid yelling or fighting over a silly excuse or toy.

          Jesus, help me to keep temptations out of my heart.

4 – Sat. after Ash Weds.

Bugs

Watch out for the pesky bugs of distraction as we start the climb up the mountain.  I will pay attention during prayers and during spiritual reading, but most especially at the Holy Mass.

Begone! I’ll say, when Satan bids me be lazy or sin. And since I fight for Heaven I shall win!

First Week of Lent:

5 – Mon.    Dust and Ashes

I will shake off the dust of perceived injury and not listen to foolish feelings of pride and envy when I realize my life is so short, but Heaven is forever.

          Angels, round me everywhere, please keep me in your loving care!

6 – Tues.     Bushes

See the bushes growing as weeds?   I will keep the garden of my heart clean by performing little acts of mortification,  by bearing the cold or sitting and standing erect.

          Dear Jesus, Who suffered so much for me, let me suffer for love of You.

7 – Weds.      Boulders

When anger seizes my heart like giant boulders, I will remember how meek my Jesus was when He suffered for me.  I will avoid harsh and mean words and be kind and gentle to all.

          Jesus, help me to be meek and humble like You.

8 – Thurs.      Trees

The trees stand so tall and yet one immediately obeyed and bowed its bark to become a humble cross for the King of Kings.  I will give up my own will and obey my superiors cheerfully and promptly.

Jesus, I wish to be useful to you;  like a steadfast tree, though small, but oh so true!

9 – Fri.       Pharisees/Crowd

I will diligently remove from my heart every inordinate desire to be praised.  I will help those in distress even if it means I will be laughed at or scorned; I will not join the mocking crowd.

          Jesus, I was made for Thee; never let us parted be!

10 – Sat.   Water and Basin

Have I gone to confession lately or do I pretend I am good?  Dear Jesus, I will wash my sins in the water of my tears and happily do the penance the priest gives me.

          Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest sins.

2nd Week of Lent

11 – Mon.     3 Crosses

I will renew my Lenten offerings to Our Lord and accept the small crosses He sends me through the day to comfort Him in His sorrowful Passion.

“Thy Will be Done,” I’ll quickly say, as soon as sorrow comes my way!

12 – Tues.         Skull and Bones

One day we shall die, shall I be remembered for good deeds or bad?   While I still have time, I will cheerfully obey the inspirations of my Guardian Angel and the guidance of my parents.

Jesus, immensely good to me, I want to live and die for Thee!

13 – Weds.        Dark Clouds

When bad health and sickness makes me feel so ill and the days are dark and long, I will cling to Our Lady and ask her to bring my misery to Our Lord as a gift to ease the coldness of men’s hearts.

“Remember Me,” dear Jesus. I hope to be in Paradise some day with You.

14 – Thurs.       Incense (myrrh)

Incense is a prayer before Your altar, Oh Lord, on the Cross. I will offer extra prayers, as incense, through the day for all those who are not in the state of grace but will die today.

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

15 – Fri.   Simon of Cyrene

I offer my strength to Your service as Simon of Cyrene; help me to use it in the service of others, especially those closest to me.

Jesus accept my service of love; I offer it for those who do not love You.

16 – Sat.  Goats

Am I like the goats that kick and butt as I do not finish tasks, but whine and complain and waste my time?  I will do the things I do not like without complaining, especially my homework or my chores, and make better use of my time.

Jesus, I need Thy holy grace; to help me every day and place.

3rd Week of Lent:

 

17 – Mon.       St Veronica and Veil

Does my mother need help with the baby or does my sister need help with her homework or does my brother need help to put on his shoes? May I see in my family Your image, Dear Lord, and help them in whatever they need.

As older I grow, my heart must remain; Childlike and humble, if Heaven I’ll gain.

18 – Tues.         Lambs

I will strive to be like a lamb, meek and patient. I will not murmur or talk behind my parents’ back when they give me a command.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours.

19 – Weds.       Palms

I will be a peacemaker in my home and not start or join petty fights with my brothers and sisters.

O Jesus, give me for my part, a tender and forgiving heart!

20 – Thurs.       Donkey

Do I stubbornly cling to a fault and try to excuse it? I will be grateful to God for the love He has shown me by dying for me and remember that my faults put Him on that cross.

Jesus, I need Thy grace all days, to free me from all my evil ways.

21 – Fri.        Purple Robe

Many times, my things are scattered here and there and not put away, even when my parents asked me to do so.  I will keep better care of my things, like my clothes, books or toys, and make sure to put them away when they should be.  I will thank God for what I have and remember others may not have the nice things I do and not take it for granted.

Oh Jesus, I wish my life could be, a hymn of gratitude to thee!

22 – Sat.       Weeping Women of Jerusalem

Today I will pray for all the children who have no parents to love them, and especially those children who died before they were born.

Little Innocents, pray to Jesus for me and my country!

4th Week of Lent:

23 – Mon.          Rope

Are my companions  good friends, who help me to love God more and obey His laws?  Or do they tell me I should do things that are not good, like a little rope pulling me away from the Ten Commandments?  I will take care to listen to good companions and be a good friend to them.

Jesus, teach me to love you above all things!

24 – Tues.         Pillar

I will study my Catechism well so that I can explain my Faith to my brothers and sisters and to anyone who might ask about Our Lord and His Church.

O Thou art mine and I am Thine; Thy cross is both my proof and sign.

25 – Weds.        Scourges

Do I forgive quickly and readily, or do I hold a grudge for a long time?  I will learn from Jesus to forget and forgive all who hurt and injured me.

O Jesus, give me true contrition; This, today, is my one petition!

26 – Thurs.      Thorns

Our Dear Lord is hurt daily by impure actions that drive the thorns deeper into His Head.  I can practice modesty in my words, deeds, dress and actions to amend for my past bad actions and those of the world.

Dear Jesus, close my heart to all that hurts You!

27 – Fri.      Board with Inscription (INRI)

When I hear Our Lord’s Holy name used in vain, do I join in or keep silent?  If I hear His name used badly, I will immediately say a silent prayer in reparation for the insult after all He has done for me.

Dearest Mary, help me praise His name, forever and ever. Amen!

28 – Sat.       People Passing By

So many people ignore Our Lord and reject His laws.  Do I disregard Him, too, and disobey my parents, whom He put in charge of me?  When my father or mother ask me to help, I will immediately do as they ask for love of God.

Jesus, obedient all Your life through, Oh, give me the grace to grow like You!

5th Week of Lent:

29 – Mon.         Sponge of Vinegar

Lots of children have nothing to eat today, but I often waste my food or refuse to eat what my mother has prepared for me.  At meal time, I will gratefully eat whatever is given me and even if it isn’t my favorite,  I will offer it for those who have nothing.

O Jesus, loving from the first, for Thee my longing soul doth thirst!

30 – Tues.         Nails

In my thoughts have I been jealous of another or thought something bad about them?  I will not give into rash judgments about my family or my friends.  Instead, I will think kindly of them and be happy for their good fortune.

My Jesus, I want to please You in all I do today.

31 – Weds.        Lance

I will not pierce Our Lord with ingratitude; instead I will thank Him for all the gifts He has given me in my home and family and my Faith.

Oh, I wish my life to be a thanksgiving song, Singing to Jesus the whole day long!

32 – Thurs.      Soldiers

I will be a soldier of Christ and learn from Him to silently and patiently bear refusals and disappointments.

Little self-denials win God’s grace and make my soul the leader of the race.

33 – Fri.      Sorrowful Mother

It is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and we see Our Mother sharing the torments of Jesus, embracing Him, kissing Him, and adoring Him.  Let us hasten to her with pure and loving hearts and under her lovely blue mantle let us hide for a moment of prayer.

O Mother of Sorrows, I grieve with thee, and beg forever thy child to be!

34 – Sat.      Mary Magdalene

She was forgiven all her sins by Our Lord because she loved Him so much! I shall be like Mary Magdalene and offer my love to Jesus throughout the day.

Jesus you’ve done so much for me, I’m in your debt eternally.

6th Week of Lent:

 

35 – Mon.        St. John

St. John comforted Our Lady in her great distress.  Do I comfort others when they are sad or hurting?  If I see someone hurting or sad, I will try to help them and comfort them when they are grieving.

O Jesus, make me very kind, so as to always fill my heart and mind!

36 – Tues.         Two Thieves

Every day I choose between two destinies: heaven or hell.  Are my habits good habits that help me choose Heaven? I will cultivate habits of being prompt and ready to go in the morning, doing my homework well, helping around the house and listening to my parents right away.

Oh, Jesus make me quick to see, that service which is dear to Thee!

37 – Weds.        Silver Coins

For 30 pieces of silver Judas betrayed Jesus.  Do I betray Jesus when I do not tell the truth or cause my brother or sister to get in trouble? I will not believe the devil any longer when he tempts me to lie because he will not bring me happiness.

Jesus, give me a loyal heart, where sin will not even have a small part.

38 – Thurs.       Bread and Wine

I will offer Our Lord acts and prayers of perfect love for these precious anniversaries: The First Mass and for giving Himself in Holy Communion.  Jesus, I thank you with all my heart for this gift of the Blessed Sacrament.

You knew I’d hunger, Lord, for Thee, So you found a way my Food to be.

39 – Fri.       Jesus      

What can I do today but kneel and watch You and to love You for giving Your very life for me – the price You paid to open heaven for me! I will kiss Your Sacred Feet, nailed to the Crucifix, as a sign that I will cling to You, and hold You, and never let You go.

I love You, Jesus, on that Tree; where you lovingly died for me.

40 – Sat.       Tomb

We prepare with Our Lady for the happy moment when Our Lord shall return by going to confession.  We have cast the “old man” of sin out and the “new man” will rise with Christ. We ask our angel to guard our soul as they guarded the tomb of Our Lord and we get ready to greet Him tomorrow.

Dear Jesus and Mary, I love you so!  Oh be there to greet me when home, one day, I will go!

A couple of pictures of the Lenten Way of the Cross in progress from last year:

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The Devil exults most when he can steal a man’s joy of spirit from him. He carries a powder with him to throw into any smallest possible chinks of our conscience, to soil the spotlessness of our mind and the purity of our life. But when spiritual joy fills our hearts, the Serpent pours out his deadly poison in vain. – St. Francis of Assisi

Lenten Journal Available here.

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Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

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Question Parents Ask About Their Children – Facts of Life, Nagging, etc.

Painting by John Arthur Elsley

From Questions Parents Ask About Their Children, Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R., 1950’s

At what age should a child be taught the facts of life?  

The boy or girl should be taught the facts of life from the dawn of reason on. Not all at once of course, but gradually, as interest awakens, questions are asked, and the child’s physical development calls for preparation through knowledge and information.

The trouble with most parental explanations of sex — if such explanation is given at all — is that it is usually given all at one time; and it is given either too early (this is rarely the case) or too late (this is too frequently the case).

The correct procedure is to allow the instruction to grow with and out of the child’s development. When he is approaching a physical crisis in his life, the crisis should be explained in advance. When he comes up with a question about these facts, the question should be answered in a way suited to his age.

The big developments in his life should be explained as they arise and in a casual and informal manner.

Sex instruction should be in other words matter of fact, gradual, suited to the development of the child, designed to meet and satisfy and allay his curiosities, and be presented as naturally and as simply as God intended all life to be.

I intend to instruct and train my boy, but I don’t want to nag him.  

Instructing is an art. Nagging is an abuse. Instructing is crisp, brief, pointed, personal, effective. Nagging is slow, iterated, querulous, dull, ineffective.

Correction should be given all at once — and then dropped quickly.   Nagging goes on and on.

Right correction distinguishes between things that are important and that need amending. Nagging is constantly to dog the child, to make little distinction between what is really important and what merely annoys the parent.

Correction should make a sharp impact upon the guilty.   Nagging is like the slow madness of the Chinese water torture — drip, drip, drip, until the victim thinks he is going mad.

Instruction, training, correction are blessed arts.   Nagging is a nasty nuisance.

If a sixteen-year-old daughter has never brought up the subject of sex, never asked questions about it, is it advisable for a parent to bring the subject up first?

Not answering the question right now . . . . I am reminded of the mother whose little girl, five, came to her and said: “Mommy, where did I come from?” The mother sighed. Now was the time, she felt, to answer honestly the question she had been asked.

So she said, solemnly, “Since you want to know, sit down and mummy will tell you.” And she did, in considerable detail.

At the end the child looked very bored and said, “Well I just wanted to know. The little girl next door said she came from Pittsburgh.”

As for the question . . . . . I’m afraid once more that sixteen is too, too late for the start of much intelligent instruction.

It may be that the girl is totally incurious. That is rare.   It may be that she had got instructions from other sources. These may have been very bad . . . . imperfect and incomplete . . . . . totally misleading . . . . , or correct.

Even if the last eventuality is true, the parents come with their explanations very tardily. If the other eventualities are true, the situation is worse.

A wise mother seeing a situation like this and realizing that up to the present she has not been wise at all might frankly ask the girl if she had any questions about birth and children that she wanted answered. If the mother is careful and observant, the daughter’s answer may be the mother’s lead.

She will know from the child’s apathy, embarrassment, quick flight, or frank interest what her assignment is.

It seems to me totally unnatural for children to discuss marriage with their parents.

A prolonged and detailed discussion of the sex relation by parents and adolescent children . . . . , that would be difficult.

A careful preparation by the parents of the children for the children’s physical development and future sex experiences . . . . . what could be more right and natural?

A discussion of the joys and obligations, the possibilities, the difficulties and delights of parenthood and home management, the happy associations of a good man and a virtuous wife . . . . these seem to me charming and gracious and wonderfully helpful.

To Mothers: “Instead of setting yourself up as a model of wisdom, it is much wiser for you to act the role of guide and confidante. This gives your child a much better feeling of security and fulfills your destiny of mother as well, because your children then find you a real individual in your own right. Personal success and happiness in life come only in the knowledge of our usefulness to others; as a mother, you have this opportunity in your own home at all times. You need not look elsewhere where for it.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2ChxzZA (afflink)

Be humble and your home will be a happier place! 🏡Wonderful sermon!

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book suggestions

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

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.

Combat Your Jealousy/In-Laws – Fr. Lovasik

Art by Veronica Algaba

Combat your jealousy

Jealousy makes you eager to have all the affection and attention of your spouse. It may also be an enemy of honesty and sincerity, and consequently of love and harmony.

A jealous husband is one who feels uncertain about his wife’s love – usually because he knows he is guilty of faults that make him undeserving of it – and who foolishly thinks that he can hold her loyalty to him only by preventing her from being friendly with anyone else. He deprives her of every kind of social life that he can forbid or prevent.

He is suspicious of every innocent friendly contact his wife makes with others. He tries to keep her separated completely from her own family. This jealous possessiveness transforms any feelings of love the wife once had for her husband into feelings of hate.

It makes a wife’s duty of fidelity to her husband much more difficult than it should be.

An unreasonably jealous wife is usually in some degree responsible for the wandering of her husband’s love. It is natural that after several years of married life, some degree of taking one another for granted sets in. It would be better if the courtesy, consideration, and thoughtfulness that marked your courtship and the first years of marriage could survive through the years.

Your husband may strain to appear his best before other women and show his worst side to you, not because he no longer loves you, but because he considers your love safely in his possession. This conduct is no reason for jealousy.

If you are a jealous wife, put yourself back into competition not only for your husband’s love but also for his kindly attention. It is your job to win and hold, by giving proofs of your own love, the love you may think is turning away from you.

Jealousy is not a constant passion. Even if you have never felt the sting of jealousy, you may, under certain circumstances, experience a blind surge of it. Be resolved to avoid with utmost care those things which might awaken the passion of jealousy in your spouse.

Be patient and understanding toward your in-laws

One of the most common sources of jealousy is in-law trouble, which can pull a couple apart more rapidly than many of the other disintegrating factors, if this is the chief reason for argument.

Marriage does not release a husband and wife from the duty of honoring and loving their mother and father. But it does make duties to their spouse supersede duties to their parents. That is what God said clearly of Adam, the first husband: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Some husbands and wives never quite leave their mothers and fathers. They permit them to have more to say over their actions and plans than their spouses do.

In-law trouble is very seldom caused solely by unreasonable jealousy on one side alone. If your spouse dislikes your relatives, look into yourself for whatever grounds you may have given for that aversion.

A wife who was spoiled and pampered by her family will sometimes seek an escape from new responsibility by running to those who will continue to baby her. At the first sign of disagreement, she will seek solace in the overindulgence of her parents. This will react unfavorably on her husband, who will gradually feel himself to be second in her affections when she has promised to hold him first.

Thus, antagonism for the parents-in-law will grow with every incident. If you are the husband of such a person, you will not awaken her to a sense of duty to you by violently asserting your rights or by using harsh language.

Never look upon in-laws as rivals for your partner’s affection. Filial love differs vastly from conjugal love, so there is room for both in the heart of every spouse.

As in courtship, you won your wife from possible rivals by making yourself appear so kind and noble that she could not resist your appeal, so after marriage you have to prove yourself superior to her parents and relatives in devotion to her.

You must back up your “rights” by continuous human expressions of love and interest. In this way, the competition between you and her relatives will soon end.

On the other hand, a husband who shows more than usual attachment to his parents almost always has trouble with jealousy on the part of his wife. He does not care what happens to his wife and children. His mother comes first.

He takes her side against his wife. He lets his wife suffer rather than deal sternly with his mother. This is especially the case if he feels that even after marriage he must donate a large part of his income to his parents, even though they are not in great need.

Getting along with in-laws calls for tact and diplomacy. You must make allowance for the tendency of parents to think of their married son or daughter as their little child whom they wish to mother still.

Try to keep the in-law relationships on an even keel by being patient and understanding, and you will have peace. If you think your husband is acting imprudently in giving help to his family, present your arguments to him in a kind way. You may even ask him to discuss the problem with a third and neutral person. Show goodwill by proposing a compromise.

Do not adopt a bitter, resentful attitude toward your husband, or say anything unkind about his relatives to him or to anyone else. Whether you win or lose your point, conquer and hide your feelings of bitterness. Showing them would be risking the peace and unity of your home.

Security for the future is bought at too great a price if it means that you are to be divided in spirit by a deeply rooted grudge. Many a home has been wrecked by such resentment, and there is little comfort in the wreckage even if you maintain you were right.

Give preference to your spouse

It is wise to establish distance from in-laws, if that is possible. It is true that there are many cases in which charity demands that an exception to this rule be made; nevertheless, there are other cases in which charity would be better served all around if some arrangement were made other than having an in-law in the same home.

After marriage, a wife’s first duty is to her husband, not to her mother. If her mother remains with her, it should be only on the condition that she will say and do nothing that would in any way mar the relationship between husband and wife.

If a mother who lives with her married daughter arouses suspicions in her daughter’s mind, if she interferes with her right to run her own home, if she nags and complains and makes unreasonable demands, the best thing to do is to rent an apartment for her and let her live alone.

Mothers-in-law should not be permitted to destroy family harmony. When you can do nothing except offer your home to an in-law, at the very outset try to come to an understanding and agreement with all the parties concerned as to the conditions under which you will live in peace together.

Let your in-law know that you are glad to be able to offer your home, but let it be made clear that the home remains yours, and that it is not to be spoiled by interference and meddling.

If there is no present way out of the difficulty, there may be room for an honest examination of conscience as to whether a wife is letting things get on her nerves that should be neutralized by a spirit of patience and charity.

Small annoyances, unavoidable with two women in the same household, can be blown up into major irritations. God will give sufficient grace to bear these annoyances and to better the situation by prudent firmness and willing charity. The advice of a wise priestly confessor will help.

A mother-in-law cannot be such a bad woman if she is the mother of the one you love very dearly. It is most important that you show that you prefer your husband or wife to everyone else in the world. You refuse this sign of preference when you insist on living with a parent, or taking a parent into your home when there is no urgent reason of necessity or charity to do so.

You are failing in your love if you pay more attention to what your parent wants than to what your spouse wants; if you are more concerned about your parent’s welfare and happiness; if you let a parent rule the household; or if you take your parent’s side in disputes.

This is like going back on the promise you made in marriage and acting contrary to God’s revealed plan for marriage.

“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.” -A Dominican Nun, 1954

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I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency…

Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent–sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies–these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.
If you enjoyed learning about holiday traditions in The Christmas Book, you are sure to love its sequel, The Easter Book.  Father Weiser has here applied his winning formula to an explanation of the fasts and feasts of the Lenten and Easter seasons with equally fascinating results.

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

The Winner Is! & Other Paraphernalia (New Grandbaby, etc.)

We have a new little grandbaby!

….this is number 31 and there are three more on the way! God is good.

Everything went well for Theresa. He is a little boy and his name is Adam Joseph, 7lbs. 12 oz.! They will have a double Baptism as Devin’s brother and sister-in-law, John Paul and Julianna, also had a baby on the same day!

Nurse Sarah with newborn baby.

Happy parents!

At the Birth Center for the post-partum checkup, two brothers with their wives pose for a picture.

Cousins…. (Paulina and Adam)

Grandma (me)

Theresa a couple days before baby was born.

New mamas…Theresa (Tweety) and Virginia (Gin)

St. Valentine’s Day Fun!

Gemma and Angelo headed up a lot of the activities for the evening.

Gemma had the kids write out St. Valentine cards for their cousins.

Fun conversations!

Colin…The holes are from hard work….(not to be in style) hehe

The girls decided to learn a little ukulele!

Vin & Gin…at home with their new ride.

The girls are at their favorite place…God’s Storehouse. Doing a little proselytizing.

Vincent is building this fireplace for our daughter and son-in-law, Mike and Jeanette.

Dominic and his niece, Anne Marie.

Anne Marie

Colin makes bread

Zaelie makes dinner. 🙂

Birthday party for our grandchild and Godchild, Agnes!

Hubby is not usually so much on the ball for St. Valentine’s Day. This year he surprised me with these beautiful roses!

A couple of Valentines!

Margy is making a blanket for David for St. Valentine’s Day.

Working on the Cabochons for my jewelry and rosaries.

Rag Curls on Margy!

“DON’T take a picture of my face!”

Curls, curls, curls!

Togetherness… Look at that hairdo on Avila! haha

When I am listening to Democrats. There. My big political statement of the year.

I want to thank all of you for your very kind words on the comments of the Giveaway! Not one of them went unnoticed and I was touched by your encouragement and goodness. You have been an amazing support to me as I continue to do this website. It is a joy to me…so are you. You are in my prayers, please keep us in yours. I depend on them. 

And now….

MARTHA WITTER!!

Congratulations, Martha! I have sent you an email!

 

The Wife Desired – In-Laws

From The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

It has been said somewhat captiously that a person can choose her friends but not her relatives. Marriage brings with it a new group of relatives for better or for worse. A few thoughts may be beneficial on how these new found relatives can work out for “better.”

There is no question that the problem of in-laws has earned for itself a very high rating among the causes of broken marriages. One need not be occupied in the work of counseling to be aware of this fact. The problem will vary in magnitude for each marriage.

Fortunately, for many, the problem will be of such small consequence as to be of little concern. After all, it is expected that every human relationship will give rise on occasions to the need of patient understanding. Between the best of friends there will be times when one will have to exercise resignation to the whims of the other.

It is most important that the ideal wife develop by the time of her marriage the attitude that there need be no conflict with her in-laws. Too many women acquire a real in-law complex even before they are married. They are determined that they are going to have difficulties with their husband’s relations. You may be sure that these people realize their expectations.

Let us suppose that her husband has a very normal mother. The wife cannot expect the mother to drop dead because she married her son. His mother still loves him and wants him to be happy. She does not know her daughter-in-law too well. It is going to take time for the mother to learn to relax in her presence and give her confidence.

Unless the wife realizes this, she may misinterpret this initial uneasiness on the mother’s part as suspicion of her or latent antagonism.

In-laws can be a great asset to a young wife. It is normal for grandparents to love and dote on their grandchildren. Financial help can come from them indirectly in the form of toys, gifts, and clothes for the children.

As long as these things are given with no “riders” attached, and as long as they do not “move in” and try to take over, their help can be accepted graciously. They are often a great help in times of sickness and other crises. Besides, they are good, dependable baby-sitters.

More than a girl perhaps realizes, she gets out of life just what she expects. If she expects opposition from her mother-in-law, the chances are high that she will get it.

Why should she look for trouble? Let her cross bridges when she comes to them. Let her realize that her mother-in-law and her husband’s relations are fundamentally his concern and possible problem. If he is half the man she married, he will handle any possible situation arising from that quarter.

It should be apparent that courtship and its problems do not fall within the scope of this chapter. Yet I feel that I must warn any young woman not to marry a boy who is still tied to his mother’s apron strings.

No matter what are his assets–wealth social position, or good looks, she should flee from him as she would flee from a plague.

If a woman finds herself practically married to a possessive mother-in-law, then she must marshal all the forces of her soul for the conflict. She will need the character and heroism of the saints.

My hat is off to the young wife who has been successful in aiding her husband to mature. The experience gained will stand by her in the raising of her own children.

Some men are still little boys at the time of their marriage, in spite of all the outward bluster of manhood. Incidentally, all the “hoopla” in connection with Mother’s Day notwithstanding, many a son has been ruined for life by a possessive mother.

Recently I talked with a young husband who was deeply attached to his mother. She was at fault in almost wrecking her son’s marriage. In this case mother insisted on doing his laundry.

Like a dutiful little boy he marched over to mother every week with his little package. If someone could have slipped up behind him and elevated him from the sidewalk with a strong foot vigorously applied in the right spot, he might have come to his senses.

His wife was not capable of doing this, nor did she have a big brother noted for any football punting prowess. Her attack had to be more subtle.

Carefully she saw to it that no batch of laundry was carried over to mother without one or two nice big lipstick smears. It was not long until these smears began to annoy mother. Somebody else was kissing her own little boy. With all her petty soul she wanted him just for herself.

As the weeks wore into months, the wife continued her little game.

With a sparkle of triumph in her eyes this ideal wife told me how this nonsense with the laundry stopped one day. Of what happened she still was not certain. Supposedly mother pushed him too far one evening.

Apparently they had a fight. The little husband began to grow up. There was more to the story of how this wonderful wife helped her husband mature into manhood and thus save his marriage. It was not as easy as might appear from the story of the laundry.

This case of a wife dealing successfully with perhaps the most difficult problem of marriage is presented because very many wives give up in the face of possessive mothers-in-law. Admittedly it is primarily the husband’s problem. He should solve it. Indeed, he should have solved it long before marriage, but he did not.

What a wonderful tribute to her that she possessed the personality and character to bring success out of what generally leads to the divorce courts. Their companionship now can weather any storm the years might bring. Through her leadership in their victory, mutual esteem and appreciation of each other presaged many happy years of loving companionship.

While a good wife may be unable to deal successfully with an in-law problem, there is no excuse for failure to handle her own blood relations. With them she is on familiar ground. She knows the personalities with which she must deal occasionally.

The ideal wife remembers the words of Scripture that she and her husband are to cling together as one. If it is necessary, she will resist the inroads of her relatives.

First of all, she has enough sense to keep her husband’s confidences and never talk them over with her mother. There may be a great temptation to run to mother for comfort and advice if she has a spat with her husband. To mother she pours out the sorrows of her poor, wounded soul.

Mother, be she ever so good, will find it difficult not to give in to black thoughts of revenge against the beast who has hurt her own flesh and blood. At the very least it will be more difficult for her mother to be natural and easy in the presence of her daughter’s husband.

The small consolations she may receive from confiding in mother are more likely to be far outweighed by future grief so deservedly earned. There is entirely too much of this running to mother with petty problems.

Perhaps mother is a sensible person and wants to stay out of her daughter’s affairs. Then why keep tempting her to interfere? The immature wife who acts this way is asking for trouble. Generally she gets more than she ever expected.

Too many young couples have begun their marriage by living with relatives. Although few are crazy enough to want this arrangement, yet too many feel that it is necessary. A housing shortage and poor finances are the common reasons given.

It has almost never worked out and never to complete satisfaction. Two families cannot live happily and comfortably in the same house or apartment.

The first year or so is very important to marriage. It is most difficult to get off to a good start under this abnormal and awkward situation. Everybody steps on everybody’s else’s feet.

Irritations are bound to appear. Nerves become frayed. Words are said and feelings hurt. Moreover, it is rather difficult for the husband to make love to his wife with “Pop” grinning behind his newspaper and “Sis” giggling in the next room.

Whatever financial advantages may be had from doubling up with parents, it is not worth the price. This is not theory. I am sure that all married couples, who have survived a situation like this, will shout assent on reading this.

An over ambitious wife may fall into the mistake of coaxing her husband into living with her parents. She might think that they will save money more quickly. She should realize that she is doing the thing most likely to sap whatever “get up” her husband may have about him. There is danger that his ambition to get somewhere in the world will ebb away.

Others are calling the tune all the time. Let them worry about responsibility. All this rationalizing brings him little peace of mind. He knows that he is in a mess, and the only way that he can solve it is by getting out on his own. The wife who resists his effort to break away does not know where her happiness lies.

Furthermore, this living with the in-laws is not always very economical. To escape the scrutiny of all eyes the young couple find themselves going out more and more evenings. This can be expensive.

In closing the discussion on living with parents it should be sufficient to say that all counselors on marriage advise young couples to endure almost any hardship rather than submit to this false security. The wife desired will resist the temptation to think that her case will be exceptional.

“The difference between this child and that one is often largely a matter of what he saw in and heard from his parents. His religious response, his sense of honesty, his ability to play with other children and be unselfish toward them, his attitude toward books, his appreciation of the beautiful, his sense of what is right and what is wrong, his quick apprehending of the charming and noble, his ready reaction to music that is good, his approval of heroism and his rejection of evil and cheapness – all these things need to be established in the child’s mind by the parents, who alone can deeply and strong-rootedly establish them!” – Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

Ladies and Gents…Don’t miss this one! You won’t regret it! Please say 3 Hail Marys for the priest.

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Ordinary Saints

From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1949

SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX

We have a striking example in our own days of a canonized saint who was actually given to us as an example of how to become holy, by what she herself tells us is the easy, the “little way” to Heaven.

St. Therese of Lisieux never worked a miracle, never enjoyed heavenly visions, never did anything extraordinary, but she did well all that she did.

She tells us that she went to Heaven in an elevator (a lift).

In the Carmelite convent in which she lived, none of the sisters remarked anything wonderful in her conduct. She was sweet and joyful and was the sunshine of the community. Possibly some of the other sisters prayed longer and did more rigorous penances than she did.

An incident which took place before her death shows how simple and unpretentious was her life.

It was the custom in the convent for the prioress to write a short account of the life of each sister after that sister’s death.

During the illness of St. Therese, two sisters were heard speaking of this. One said to the other, “Poor Mother Prioress, whatever will she find to write about poor little Sister Therese?”

Yet this dear little saint began to work so many wonders after her death and obtain so many favors for those who had recourse to her that the whole world rang with her praises. She was solemnly canonized after a remarkably short time.

What a consolation she offers to those who wish to be holy! Hers was the little, the easy way, the elevator (lift) by which we, too, no matter how weak we are, can go to Heaven.

BENIGNA CONSOLATA

A second example that will encourage the humblest of us is the story of Benigna Consolata.

Her life, her conduct were so ordinary that those who were most intimate with her had not the faintest idea that she was a saint. She did not spend her nights in prayer, nor did she fast more rigorously than the others; she never worked miracles, yet her pure, humble life attracted the love of Our Lord, who frequently appeared to her and treated her with the most loving intimacy.

When speaking to her, He addressed her by her pet name, “Nina Mia.”

Her name was Benigna Philomena Consolata. He revealed to her the most consoling doctrines and said to her, “My dear little Secretary, write all I tell you, that others may know it.”

The sisters who lived with her were utterly surprised when they learned after her death of her wonderful sanctity.

We ourselves may be surprised when we enter Heaven to see on high thrones those whom we knew on Earth but whose sanctity we did not suspect.

THE CHILDREN OF FATIMA

What happened more recently at Our Lady’s sanctuary in Fatima will serve as another lesson on how to reach great holiness by simple means.

The Angel Guardian of Portugal came to prepare the three chosen children who were later on destined to see Our Blessed Lady.

Three things the Angel bade them do, viz., to pray devoutly, to hate sin and to offer to God with patience the sufferings the Almighty would be pleased to send them, this for His greater glory and for the salvation of souls.

God’s Holy Mother herself, when she came, taught them the same lessons, which enabled these poor ignorant little children to become worthy of their glorious mission.

Can we not do what three poor, unlettered children did?

We ourselves from time to time meet with simple souls whose extraordinary virtue is made evident by a single act.

A dear old woman run over by a carriage in Dublin and horribly crushed was rushed to a hospital. One of the Mercy Nuns who became her nurse tried with infinite delicacy to comfort and console her. What was not the nun’s surprise when the patient opened her eyes and said, “Sister dear, are you telling me to be resigned to God’s holy will? Let me tell you that God’s holy will has been always to me as welcome as the fruit to the tree.”

Poor, with many sorrows and needs during her long life, she now, in the throes of agony, manifested her perfect union with the will of God.

Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, the convert son of the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, while still a priest, went for a short visit to Catholic Ireland, of which he had heard so much.

At his request, a friend took him to visit some of the poor sick in their little homes. He saw what he called “wonders.”

These dear sufferers amazed the young convert by their faith, patience and perfect resignation to the will of God.

One old man was suffering from an awful cancer, already in an advanced stage, which was eating away his breast. Father Benson, full of compassion, tried to say some words of comfort to him.

“Oh my, Father, it’s nothing,” replied the old man. “Sure in a few days I will be with God in Heaven. Didn’t He suffer much more for me?”

On his return to England, Father Benson wrote a touching article on the heroic patience and faith of these poor people. “They seem to see God,” he said.

Owing to political troubles, an unfortunate man slew his enemy, a crown official. Denounced by a perfidious friend of his own, he was arrested and condemned to death. He repented sincerely of his crime, but could not pardon his base accuser.

The chaplain of the prison used his utmost efforts to induce him to go to Confession. “This I cannot do,” he said, “because, though sorry for my crime, I cannot pardon my false friend. Thus my Confession would be bad.”

A good Sister of Mercy won his heart by her “infinite” kindness and delicacy. She too tried to induce him to confess.  In vain.

On the eve of his execution, she made a last, supreme effort. “Do you know who I am?” she asked him.

“Yes, Sister, you are an Angel from Heaven.”

“No, I am no Angel from Heaven, but I am the sister of the man whom you killed. I have pardoned you, I have fasted and prayed and done all I could to save your soul.”

Amazed, the poor man fell on his knees and, in a flood of tears, kissed her feet. “Yes, yes, Angel of God, for you are, indeed, an Angel. I forgive with all my heart my enemy, oh forgive me you.”

Hers, indeed, was heroic forgiveness. A single act, as we have said, reveals at times heroic sanctity.

The widow’s alms won Our Lord’s high approbation. “She has given more,” He said, “than all the rest.” She had given only a mite, but she gave it with all her heart.

The Good Thief’s plea for mercy on the cross obtained plenary pardon for all his crimes. The Publican’s short prayer: “O God, have mercy on me, a sinner” made his soul as white as snow.

We, as parents, press on each day, with our children’s best interests at heart, asking God to fill the gaps. Each day is an opportunity to spend time with them, to sacrifice, to touch their hearts and thereby be fulfilled ourselves. Our Lady of Good Success, Pray for Us!

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Sermon!

Excellent sermon! Truth is truth….too many Catholics are looking for loopholes. “Are you saved from eternal death by your conscience or by Jesus Christ? The primacy of conscience is the New Jansenism….”

Light and Peace by Quadrupani

Available here.

This is an awesome little book!! It really could be a handbook on life for Catholics.

The chapters are short but power packed with balanced wisdom and advice on such subjects like confession, sadness, zeal, prayer, temptations, interior peace, liberty of spirit and many others.

Many of the excerpts are from St. Francis de Sales….one of my very favorite saints to read!!

This is one book that has been invaluable to me throughout the daily grind, when struggles may abound. It gives a person the peace of knowing that God is ever there to help. He is merciful and kind.

It also gives logical and practical advice for those who may tend toward scruples, or towards sadness….those with more of a melancholic temperament.

You won’t be disappointed if you purchase this book and it finds its little nook on your bookshelf! 🙂

From the Back of the Book:

Light and Peace is a handbook for getting to Heaven – a short and practical course in proper Christian living that covers all the important aspects of our religious duties.

Far and away the telling feature of this little book is its immense common sense and good advice.

Light and Peace shows that perfecting one’s self is not a complicated task, but one which requires good, practical thinking and a knowledge of the task at hand – in short, “Light” on the path – which is what this book is.

Thereafter the result one’s knowing where he is going spiritually and how best to achieve this end is “Peace”, that peace which Our Lord promised and which the world cannot give.

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I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency…

Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent–sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies–these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.
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St. Valentine’s Day – An Opportunity, Mary Reed Newland

Some thoughts for Valentine’s Day…. The following is an excerpt from The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland who explains to us how we can use St. Valentine’s Day to get to the deeper meaning of love.

Most fun of all is making valentines at home. The materials cost little or nothing if you keep a supply of construction papers, pastes, and other such items on hand, and the work provides many opportunities for mothers and children to discuss the differences between friendship and love and the lamentable forcing of the boyfriend issue in the first grade. It is not always the children who are at fault.

Abetted by the teasing of grown-ups, children little more than babes make the unfortunate conclusion that boy must meet girl and be boyfriend and girlfriend at six years of age; they never do learn that it is possible to be that rare and wonderful creature: a friend who happens to be a boy.

The same parents who wring their hands over high-school children determined to go steady are the ones who encourage puppy love in the kindergarten. We ignore the fact that childhood crushes in the young are merely an awkward way of trying to be special friends, we do them no favors.

Of course children get crushes, and of course girls become boy-conscious, with vice becoming versa; but they need not be shoved and pushed so hard.

One of the most excruciating trials of youngsters who believe themselves to be in love these days is restraining their impulses of affection. Very few children deliberately set out in their first encounters with crushes to commit any sins of impurity.

In their innocence of experience, they do not know exactly how such sins can be, or if they know the theory, they do not know the fact. It is the task of Christian parents to convince them that these impulses must be held in check.

Held in check they are good, they are manifestations of sincere and genuine affection, but they can so easily be transformed into something that is not good. The reason it has become such a delicate and difficult task (although I suppose it always was a worry for parents) is not because this restraint is impossible but because so few today seem to practice it.

The example of promiscuous contemporaries is a powerful thing. It rarely helps to start lecturing on the subject once children reach high school; it does not help at all to pooh-pooh love or schoolgirl crushes or the boyfriend business once it begins for a son or daughter growing up. But such occasions as St. Valentine’s Day (with innumerable opportunities all year round, of course) open this subject for discussion in a pleasant way. We may use the evenings spent making valentines to have our own open forum on the subject of love and the showing of love and how it is that people fall in love, and how it is all related to God’s love.

Such Christian concepts as respect for girls and women, respect for our bodies and the bodies of others, the propriety and impropriety of kissing – whom and when – right judgment about the movies, their ads and their love-making, many other things can be formed at a very early age. We must use all our talent and love and conviction to form them in our children.

We are foolish if we think that our children, because they are nice children, are automatically safe. In the movie ads and posters they see, the newsstand magazines and comics, the covers of the paperbacks, slicks, and in a hundred ways promiscuity is preached to them – and it is not preached to what is nice in them but to the deplorable weakness left in human nature by the inheritance of Original Sin.

We can work to form in them the conviction that making love is something positive and beautiful that belongs with marriage, and this concept can exist even for the small ones without, as we might fear, any undertones of s-e-x.

Demonstrations of affection they can automatically connect with mommies and daddies, as well as with relatives and friends. When there are things to denounce, such as this week’s ad showing a movie siren and lover wrestling on the beach, we can make our denunciations more convincing if we avoid panic but rather express regret that some people persist in distorting out of its sacramental context what should be the beauty of human love.

There are many facets of this subject for parents to ponder. Each can adapt best the teaching for his children, but let us emphasize while they are still little that it is friendship that holds the joys of companionship for them. I suppose the free use of the word boyfriend has made it almost a synonym for friend, but not quite.

It may be a losing battle, but we continue to explain the difference. “Your friend, dear – your friend who is a girl. Little boys in second grade have friends, not girlfriends. Yes, I know – they tease and say you have a girlfriend, and that is too bad, because it is necessary that you love everyone with much more love than the word girlfriend intends.

You must try to love them as our Lord loves them, and you must try to see our Lord in them. If you like someone especially well, better than others, that is all right. Then they are among your special friends. Be glad and be careful of your friendship. Friendship is a beautiful, holy thing if you keep it that way.”

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Make your kitchen a place of warmth! “Wherever I’ve lived, the kitchen has always seemed to be the place where warmth and love reign. Family and friends are drawn there like chickens to their roosts. Of all the rooms in our home, the kitchen is the place of comfort, the preferred gathering place for shared conversations and the teamwork of preparing good meals for and with each other.” – Emilie Barnes

February 14th is the Feast of the great Catholic martyr and priest, St. Valentine. His persecutor, known to history as Claudius II, not only hated Catholicism, but also forbade his own Roman soldiers to marry. St. Valentine performed secret nuptial Masses for those Catholic soldiers that had found a spouse….

St. Valentine Coloring page…

Need a little help staying focused this Lent? The season is around the corner…

The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Lenten Journal!

For more information or to purchase visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe here.

Pdf Version here.

This journal will lay out some simple activities in which your children will be doing their sacrifices and will have a tangible means of “counting” them for Jesus. You, Mom, will have a place to put a check mark if that the activity is remembered and completed for the day. This journal also includes a place for you to check off whether you are fulfilling your own personal resolutions…your Spiritual Reading, your Family Rosary, etc. It makes it more palpable if you can check it off at the end of the day….there’s just something about putting pen to paper when an accomplishment has been fulfilled! It is filled with inspiring quotes, too! My hope is that this journal may help you stay focused on making this Lent fruitful for your own soul and the souls of those little people entrusted to your care!

 

  Father Weiser has here applied his winning formula to an explanation of the fasts and feasts of the Lenten and Easter seasons with equally fascinating results.

Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost’s role 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.

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