The Blessing of Things

From The Big Book of Sacramentals, Fr. Arthur Tonne

“And I will make them a blessing round about my hill: and I will send down the rain in its season, there shall be showers of blessings.” – Ezechiel, 34:26.

One of the most impressive and picturesque pageants of the South is the Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet, held each year at the beginning of the shrimp-seining season. (Definition of haul seine: a long net for commercial fishing one end of which is usually attached to the land and the other run around a school of fish which are then drawn ashore.)

The ceremony is held in late July or early August. Hundreds of shrimpers and oystermen who live and labor along the beautiful bayous and bays of Louisiana bring their ships to some central point for the blessing of Mother Church.

The quaint custom goes back to the banks of old Brittany where the women and children would gather on the shore to pray for their men-folk as they launched out to sea on their hazardous tasks. The dangers in Louisiana are less than those of Brittany, but the custom remains.

On the morning of the big day, as I recall it, the flagship “Jitterbug” was transformed into an altar of God. On the decks of their own boats clustered around, hundreds of fishermen and their families knelt devoutly during the entire Mass celebrated by Father Ambrose Kroger, a Franciscan priest, superior at the time of the many missions of the Franciscan Fathers along the levee from New Orleans to the gulf.

From the deck of the “Jitterbug” Father gave his blessing to all the ships, between 200 and 300 of them. This same custom is carried out in many other fishing communities of the French South.

The blessing of ships is just one of many blessings of things provided by Mother Church.

We might tell you something about this particular ceremony which is a rather elaborate and lengthy one. The Ritual has a blessing for a ship of any kind and then a special blessing for a fishing-boat.

After reciting Psalm 8, the priest says this prayer: “Graciously hearken to our prayers, O Lord, and with Thy holy hand bless this boat and all who sail hereon, as Thou didst deign to bless Noah’s ark in its course during the deluge. Stretch forth to them, O Lord, Thy right hand, as Thou didst reach out to Peter when he walked upon the sea.

Send Thy holy angel from heaven to guard this boat and ever keep it safe from every peril, together with all on board. And when threatened dangers have been removed, comfort Thy servants with a calm voyage and the desired harbor.

And having successfully transacted their business, recall them again when the time comes to the happiness of country and home. Thou who livest and reignest forevermore. Amen.”

The priest then reads a lengthy excerpt from the Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 21, verses 1 to 24. The ceremony concludes with another short appropriate prayer.

This solemn blessing of a fishing-boat will give you some idea of the pointed beauty of the Church’s blessing of things, of irrational things, if you will, but the things which God has created, the material things which we are to use in working out our salvation.

There is a blessing for animals in general, and two blessings for sick animals; a blessing for bees, for silkworms, and another for the salt and the oats for animals.

Mother Church even calls down God’s favor upon the stable, reminding us that the Son of God was born in a stable.

Are you interested in the sick? We have a blessing for the linens they use, for a stretcher, an ambulance, a wheelchair, another for wine that the sick may need, and still another for medicine.

Are you concerned about the gifts of the table? Mother Church blesses bread and cakes; she blesses beer and ale; she blesses cheese and butter and lard. She blesses grapes and meat.

Are you a farmer? You will recall that we spoke about the Sacramentals of Agriculture. The Ritual calls down a benediction upon seed, upon fire, upon young crops and vineyards, upon fields and pastures, upon the granary and the harvest, upon the mill, the well and the fountain.

You may be interested in industrial things. The Church provides a prayer for a bell that is not destined for the church or sanctuary, for a bridge, for a lime-kiln and a blast-furnace, for a railway and even a special blessing for railway cars.

We have a beautiful blessing for an airplane, for an automobile, for a fire-engine and for a dynamo.

Mother Church goes into the library and blesses it; she goes into the print shop and blesses the presses, the typewriters, and the tools we use. The blessing for telegraph instruments is a lengthy one.

And then, lest she may have overlooked something which her children use, some object that is unimportant to some, but valuable and necessary in the eyes of her sons and daughters, Mother Church provides a blessing for all things, a blessing which may be used by any priest for the blessing of anything which has no special prayer in the Ritual.

That blessing of all things is as follows:

“Our help is in the name of the Lord.” 

“Who made heaven and earth.” 

“The Lord be with you.” 

“And with thy spirit.” 

“Let us pray– O God, by whose word all things are made holy, pour out Thy blessing on this creature. And grant that whoever uses it in accordance with Thy will and Thy law, and with a spirit of thanksgiving, may experience by Thy power health of body and protection of soul, as he invokes Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The priest makes the sign of the cross during this prayer, as he does in the blessings of the Church, and then sprinkles the article or articles with holy water.

What thoughtfulness on the part of Mother Church to set aside these unthinking things, these irrational things, for the sole service of God!

Learn to appreciate and to use intelligently and lovingly these bountiful blessings of the Church. Amen.

Tip for gaining strength in tough times:‬ (from Stefanie Nicholas)

‪Pray a Rosary dedicated entirely to intentions based on gratitude. Say each Our Father and each Hail Mary like a “thank you” for something, big or small, and watch how beautiful your life looks. ‬

Blessed Mother Graceful Cloisonné Religious Pendant and Earring Set…Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted… Available here.

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The entire collection of twelve Books of Saints St. Joseph Picture Books, packaged in a handsome and sturdy slipcase….

Treasury of Novenas contains over 40 popular Novenas specifically arranged in accord with the Liturgical Year on the Feasts of Jesus, Mary, and many favorite Saints. By acclaimed author Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D., this book has a rich, gold-stamped brown Dura-Lux cover and is an excellent collection of Novenas for private devotion.

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The Psalm of Young Mothers

From Christ in the Home by Father Raoul Plus, S.J., 1951

A young mother–very true to her role of mother and at the same time very artistic–got the idea of comparing her role with that of cloistered sisters.

Between her washing, her cooking and the care of her youngest, she managed to compose “The Psalm of Young Mothers” which appeared in the 8 November issue of “Marriage Chretien.” It is full of love, full of spontaneity. Every young mother will recognize herself in these passages we are quoting:

“O my God

Like our sisters in the cloister

We have left all for you;

We have not imprisoned the youth of our faces in a wimple

and under a veil,

And though we have cut our hair, it is not in any spirit of

penance….

Deign nevertheless, O Lord, to cast a look of complaisance

On the humble little sacrifices

Which we offer You all day long,

Since the day our groaning flesh gave life to all these little

Christians

We are rearing for You.

Our liberty, O God, is in the hands of these little tyrants

who claim it every minute.

The house has become our cloister,

Our life has its unchanging Rule,

And each day its Office, always the same;

The Hours for dressing and for walks,

The Hours for feeding and for school,

We are bound by the thousand little demands of life.

Detached by necessity every moment from our own will,

We live in obedience.

Even our nights do not belong to us;

We too have our nocturnal Office,

When we must rise quickly for a sick child,

Or when between midnight and two o’clock,

When we are in the full sleep we need so badly

A little untimely chanter

Begins to sing his Matins.

We practically live retired from the world:

There is so much to be done in the house.

There is no possibility of going out anyway without a

faithful sitter for the little ones.

We measure out the time for visits parsimoniously.

We have no sisters to relieve us on another shift.

And when the calls for service reach high pitch for us

We have to sweep, to wash the dishes, scrape the carrots

for the stew, prepare a smooth puree for baby and keep

on going without stopping

From the children’s room to the kitchen and to and fro.

We do big washings we rub and we rinse

Aprons and shirts, underclothes and socks

And all the baby’s special things.

In this life of sacrifice, come to our help, O Jesus!

“The wise mother, having an eye to the future, will seek to initiate her daughter into the mysteries of housekeeping. Most young girls are interested in domestic affairs, and are never happier than when allowed to have their finger in the domestic pie; but in this as in other things a thorough grounding is the most satisfactory. It is a woman’s heritage.” -Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893

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Are you blessed by this site? Consider donating today. Our benefactors are remembered in our daily, family rosaries….

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

Tea-Time With Finer Fem – Purity for Boys, Family Devotions, Peace in the Family, etc.

Chatting with you today…

Question: A serious matter has come up between my husband and me. My husband is a very good man but I find we are disagreeing about this matter about the children. His stand on the subject is not something recommended as serious Catholics. What should I do?

Answer: I am sorry for your struggle and I can imagine your anguish in this situation. I agree with you…this is important. You have some time so this is what I would do. First, I would back off from verbally disagreeing with your husband. Sometimes it makes them dig their heels in even more. If you feel you need to state your stance in the matter, (although he already knows) that is fine, but then leave it at that…no arguing, etc. Most important, I would start a 54-day Rosary novena that God changes the heart of your husband. I can send you the link to get the little booklet for it. Then watch for the miracle.. You can get the booklet here.

Question: Do you have any beautiful, traditional prayers for husband and wife that you could share?

Answer:

Our Lady of This House

Mary, Virgin Mother of God, conceived without sin, we choose you today as the Queen and Mother of our home.

We ask you, through the Precious Blood of Jesus and your Immaculate Conception, to preserve us from sickness, fire and water, lightning and storms, from war and theft, from loss of faith and sudden death.

Bless and protect, O holy Virgin, all who live here and preserve us from every other temporal and spiritual misfortune. Amen.

A Prayer for a Family

O dear Jesus,
I humbly implore You to grant Your special graces to our family.
May our home be the shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith.
I beg You, dear Jesus,
to protect and bless all of us,
absent and present, living and dead.

O Mary,
loving Mother of Jesus,
and our Mother,
pray to Jesus for our family,
for all the families of the world,
to guard the cradle of the newborn,
the schools of the young and their vocations.

Blessed Saint Joseph,
holy guardian of Jesus and Mary,
assist us by your prayers
in all the necessities of life.
Ask of Jesus that special grace
which He granted to you,
to watch over our home
at the pillow of the sick and the dying,
so that with Mary and with you,
heaven may find our family unbroken
in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Amen.

Indulgenced Prayer for a Christian Family

O God of goodness and mercy, to Thy fatherly protection we commend our family, our household and all that belongs to us. We commit all to Thy love and keeping; do Thou fill this house with Thy blessings even as Thou didst fill the holy House of Nazareth with Thy presence.

Keep far from us, above all things else, the taint of sin, and do Thou alone reign in our midst by Thy law, by Thy most holy love and by the exercise of every Christian virtue.

Let each one of us obey Thee, love Thee and set himself to imitate in his own life Thine example, that of Mary, Thy Mother and our Mother most loving, and that of Thy blameless guardian, Saint Joseph.

Preserve us and our house from all evils and misfortunes, but grant that we may be ever resigned to Thy divine will even in the sorrows which it shall please Thee to send us.

Finally give unto all of us the grace to live in perfect harmony and in the fullness of love toward our neighbor. Grant that every one of us may deserve by a holy life the comfort of Thy holy Sacraments at the hour of death.

O Jesus, bless us and protect us. 0 Mary, Mother of grace and of mercy, defend us against the wicked spirit, reconcile us with Thy Son, commit us to His keeping, that so we may be made worthy of His promises.

Saint Joseph, foster-father of our Savior, guardian of His holy Mother, head of the Holy Family, intercede for us, bless us and defend our home at all times.

Saint Michael, defend us against all the wicked cunning of hell. Saint Gabriel, make us to understand the holy will of God. Saint Raphael, keep us free from all sickness and from every danger to our lives.

Our holy Guardian Angels, keep our feet safely on the path of salvation both day and night. Our holy Patrons, pray for us before the throne of God.

Yea, bless this house, O God the Father, who hast created us; O God the Son, who hast suffered for us upon the holy Cross, and Thou, O Holy Spirit, who hast sanctified us in holy Baptism.

May the one God in three divine Persons preserve our bodies, purify our minds, direct our hearts and bring us all to everlasting life.

Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, glory be to the Holy Ghost! Amen.

An indulgence of 500 days once a day.

Question: I often blame one of my teens for putting me in a bad mood. I wonder how to get around my own knee jerk reaction and be a virtuous woman in this regards. Any tips?

Answer: How about a memorized binding prayer for your teen’s attitude and for your own?  This quick one is worthy of saying:

In the name of Jesus, I bind the spirit of ______________ (examples: disrespect on your teen’s part and anger on your part) and cast it (them) to the foot of the Cross to be judged by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Remember, your angel is trying to influence you (and your child) one way, and the demon is trying to influence the other way. Who will win? Oftentimes, because of our knee-jerk reaction it is hard to get a handle on it. After memorizing this little prayer and using it in other areas of your life, you will be more apt to say it in these harder situations. And you will receive the power and grace to overcome…over time! Persevere!

Another bit of advice…thank God right away for whatever it is you are struggling with. This is also very powerful. And then put a smile on your lips and get back to your daily duties…ignoring the feelings.

Question: I would really appreciate it if you and your husband could share your experiences and knowledge/tips about preserving purity/chastity in your boys. I have 6 young boys, but they are starting to get older and more aware…..

Answer: Boys need to be kept busy. My father-in-law had 10 boys and he saw this necessity. So he moved from the city to a farm. The boys worked hard growing fruit and vegetables to sell. It was their main income. You don’t have to make such a move (although God rewards the sacrifices, that’s for sure!), but the boys must exert themselves to expend some of that testosterone.

Keep the movies and books at a high standard.

Have them say the 3 Hail Marys each day for purity…very powerful!

Teach them about the custody of the eyes….to lower their eyes when something immodest is in their view.

Always watch the company they keep. All it takes is one bad egg to soil the mind of your child.

Keep the Internet to a very minimum and if used at all, under the close vigilance of the parents.

Question: Do you have any ideas for a peaceful family life?

Answer: Yes, I do! The Rosary. How efficacious it is for this very thing! The Daily Rosary. See this post.

The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart promises peace in the family, also. Do some research and have your priest do it for you in your home.

If it is peace you want with your grown siblings who are also married…pray for them every day during the Rosary. Be the peacemaker. When talking to the other siblings, avoid criticizing or judgemental attitudes about the others. Always bring out the good in the other siblings. Train yourself to see the good. The others may take your example…

*NEWSFLASH*

David and Margy had their Solemn Engagement on Sunday. Here is a little bit about it from Catholic Online.

The giving of one’s troth — that is, one’s true faith or promise. Betrothal, in the Catholic Church, is a deliberate and free, mutual, true promise, externally expressed, of future marriage between determinate and fit persons.

It is a promise, compact, or agreement — not merely an intention; and, like all contracts, it must be entered into with deliberation proportionate to the obligation which it begets; it must be free from force, substantial error, and grave fear. The promise given must be mutual; a promise on the part of one only, with acceptance by the other, does not constitute a betrothal.

The consent, of course, as in all contracts, must be true, or sincere, not feigned; it must be given with the intention of binding oneself, and this intention must be expressed verbally, by writing, or by action, in person or by proxy.

Lastly, this contract, like matrimony, can exist only between two definite persons whose capacity is recognized by the Church; that is, between whom there is no matrimonial impediment, either as regards the licitness or validity of the contract.

The betrothal is a promise of future marriage, and hence it differs from the marriage contract itself, which deals with that state as in the present.

 

Mary, Undoer of Knots (This devotion is over 300 years old)

“Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it”. St. Irenaeus
“What are these knots?
There are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution … knots of discord in your family, lack of understanding between parents and children, pornography, disrespect, violence, the knots of deep hurts between husband and wife, the absence of peace and joy at home.
There are also the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, the dissolution of the family, the knots of a drug addict son or daughter, sick or separated from home or God, knots of alcoholism, the practice of abortion, depression, unemployment, fear, solitude…
Ah, the knots of our life! How they suffocate the soul, beat us down and betray the heart’s joy and separate us from God.”

Here is the prayer to Mary, “Undoer of Knots”

“Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in you heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life.

You know very well how desperate I am, my pain and how I am bound up by the Knots.

Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life.

No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone.

Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot… I beg you to undo it for the glory of god, once and for all. You are my hope.

O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution and with Christ the freedom from my chains.

Hear my plea.

Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge.”
Painting by Nellie Edwards, https://www.paintedfaith.net/

Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand. Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent. Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.
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A masterpiece that combines the visions of four great Catholic mystics into one coherent story on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Based primarily on the famous revelations of Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich and Ven. Mary of Agreda, it also includes many episodes described in the writings of St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Elizabeth of Schenau. To read this book, therefore, is to share in the magnificent visions granted to four of the most priviledged souls in the history of the Church.

In complete harmony with the Gospel story, this book reads like a masterfully written novel. It includes such fascinating details as the birth and infancy of Mary, her espousal to St. Joseph and her Assumption into Heaven where she was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

For young and old alike, The Life of Mary As Seen by the Mystics will forever impress the reader with an inspiring and truly unforgettable understanding of the otherwise unknown facts concerning Mary and the Holy Family. Imprimatur.

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

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In Praise of UnMarried Women – Fr. Daniel A. Lord

Painting by Joseph Rodefer DeCamp

By DANIEL A. LORD, S.J.

Australian Catholic Truth Society 1950

Whatever literature may say about spinsters, and however much history may ignore them – except for outstanding spinsters like Elizabeth of England – the Church’s attitude toward unmarried women has been, from the first, one of reverence.

This I came to know when my faith emerged from mere youthful practice to intelligent study and appreciation. Among the Jews a spinster was merely an unfortunate girl not lucky enough to have won a husband for herself. Among the pagans she was usually the slave or bondmaiden, the grudgingly tolerated hanger-on in the house of her parents or her luckier married sisters.

With St. Paul all that was changed. He loved virginity, and he turned to the ministrations and loyalty – as many a parish has done since – of the splendid young and older unmarried women of his time. The legends of St. Paul and St. Tecla – whose name was the Greek word for pearl – are many and beautiful. Phoebe, to whom Paul sends affectionate messages, seems to have been one of the first consecrated Catholic virgins.

ST. PAUL SPEAKS

It was left for the great St. Paul, who could find for marriage no more appropriate comparison than that of the love which Christ bears for His Church (see Ephesians 5: 21-32), to speak almost the first words in praise of those who deliberately did not marry or who, for any good reasons, remained unmarried.

“But,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they so remain, even as I.” (1 Cor 7: 8)

Then he directs to men who remain unmarried and cherish their virginity strong praise that quite clearly he means for both men and women. For he continues: “I would have you free from care. He who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please God.

Whereas he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided. And the unmarried woman, and the virgin, thinks about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and in spirit. Whereas she who is married thinks about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (1 Cor 7: 32-34)

UNMARRIED SAINTS

This was an astonishing teaching to people who had regarded virginity as rather a futile thing and the unmarried girl as the object of a none too gentle pity. Yet instantly the early Church, which loved the virgin Christ and the Virgin Mary and the beloved virgin John, took to heart the good advice. It is noteworthy that the virgin martyrs of those early days were not nuns in any modern sense. They had in some cases taken the veil of virginity at the hands of Peter or of Paul, but they lived at home, served the poor in the big cities, and, save for their intense concentration on the love of God and their neighbors, lived, as we would say, in the world.

Such was the young Agnes, the older Agatha, Cecilia, and half a dozen others forced into marriage against their will and carrying to God through martyrdom the glory of their virginity. They had detached themselves from the love of any man to give their whole love to the greatest of the sons of men.

They cared for their houses and were devoted to their parents. They ministered to the poor and at dawn or at dusk went to the catacombs for Mass and prayer. They were saintly spinsters, if you wish, or spinster saints. True, the pagan world regarded them as abnormal and queer and fit only for death. The Christians loved them unforgettably.

GREAT CONTRIBUTION

Their contribution to the early Church is beyond computation. They lived the purity that was supposed to characterize the religion of the Savior. They did the good works that He had listed as sign and proof of His followers.

They were personally the great correctives for the abuses of marriage and for the corruption of morals. They demonstrated with shining and spectacular force that it was possible for married couples to remain faithful since normal girls with all the normal desires and impulses could remain pure while unmarried.

They led along paths of maidenly modesty other girls who could not accept a lifetime of virginity, until premarital purity made them worthy to be mothers of the little sons and daughters of our God and Father.

The Church has never forgotten those first unmarried saints, the models of the millions who were to be the most distinctive and unique contribution of Christianity to world morality. Christian marriage would never have been possible without them. Christian virginity got its pattern from their unforgettable acceptance of Christ’s new purity.

It is not at all an exaggeration to say that the unmarried Catholic woman of the present can look upon herself as the legitimate successor to these virgins and martyrs of earliest Christian times. She may be proud of that association and conscious of the possibility within her to repeat in our generation their great contribution to life, love, and the decencies.

REWARD

No doubt about it, the unmarried woman has the chance to win a reward exceeding great.

She is able daily to offer to God the beautiful perfume that is her virginal innocence. God loves her for that and honors her with the same kind of reverence that is due Mary. So do those of His followers who see life and measure values with a Christ-like eye.

If the cup of cold water given in Christ’s name wins eternal reward, what of the food and drink and clothes and housing that are provided by these generous women again and again and again?

May this saintly woman come very close to God. For there is no interfering love in her life. Those she loves, she loves unselfishly, almost without human reward but in the calm certainly that God is pleased by her life. “Whatsoever you do for the least of these my little ones, you do for me.”

The words of the Savior, tremendously reassuring, never fitted anyone more perfectly than they do Catholic teachers, Catholic nurses, Catholic businesswomen, and those sisters, daughters, and aunts who do and do and do – endlessly and without probability of repayment – for the sons and daughters of others – and of God.

The fine Catholic example of this kind of women has far more influence than she herself dreams.

Her laborious unselfishness is a constant rebuke to the greed and self-indulgence of the world. She is one of those unrecognized heroines whose work is never properly praised but is always effective to a degree that will be measured by celestial weights and measures.

She is a not unworthy successor of the holy women of the primitive Church who, with the Apostles and the doctors of the Church, taught a new way of life to humanity.

 VISION

Nor can we forget the bright and inspiring vision of St. John. There upon the mount that is Sion he saw the Lamb of God surrounded by the specially honored one hundred and forty-four thousand, a mystical number embracing the vast host of those who will be nearest the Savior in eternity. Their closeness to the Savior, Saint John explains by one simple statement: “For they are virgins.” (See Rev 14:4)

Lift up your eyes, you heroines called spinsters! The Savior of the world loves you most especially and has a place for you in eternity in His own immediate company. It is a glorious certainty.

And if a certain group of spinsters will permit me to bring them back from those sublime heights to a more immediately grateful person . . . I thank you . . . and you . . . and you . . . and you . . . and all you others with whom it has been my happy privilege to be associated in a common enterprise during these many years. I know your holiness. I have felt your unselfishness. I know your shining beauty.

Surely my life has been made rich and full by the fact that I have counted you among my friends and partners in a work for the unmarried Christ and the Virgin Mary.

“Keep yourself at peace and in complete repose, never become upset and never trouble yourself about anything, forget the past, live as though the future does not exist, live for Jesus in every moment that you are living, or, better, live as though you have no life in yourself, but allow Jesus to live in you at His leisure; to walk thus, in all circumstances and in all encounters, without fear or worry as is becoming the children of Jesus and Mary; never think of yourself voluntarily; abandon the care of your soul to Jesus alone. Your soul belongs to Him. It is therefore up to Him to take care of it because it is His property. Generally speaking, banish all fear and replace this feeling with love; in all of this, act gently, sweetly, steadily, without haste, without anger. Walk in this fashion in all graciousness, abandonment and complete confidence.”-Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace of Heart

Finer Femininity is a small publication compiled to inspire Catholic women in their vocations. It consists of uplifting articles from authors with traditional values, with many of them from priests, written over 50 years ago. These anecdotes are timeless but, with the fast-paced “progress “of today’s world, the pearls within the articles are rarely meditated upon. This little magazine offers Catholic womankind support and inspiration as they travel that oftentimes lonely trail….the narrow road to heaven. The thoughts within the pages will enlighten us to regard the frequently monotonous path of our “daily duties” as the beautiful road to sanctity. Feminine souls need this kind of information to continue to “fight the good fight” in a world that has opposing values and seldom offers any kind of support to these courageous women. Inside the pages you will find inspiration for your roles as single women, as wives and as mothers. In between the thought-provoking articles, the pages are sprinkled with pictures, quotes and maybe even a recipe or two…
REVIEWS!!!
“I enjoyed this book so much. These are articles that can be read and reread many times especially when your spirits need a ‘pick-me-up’. I especially liked the little thoughts and sayings sprinkled throughout the book. So full of wisdom!” -Julie S.
“Oh it’s purely delightful to cuddle up with a cup of tea and my Finer Femininity Maglet. 🙂 I LOVE IT! Can’t wait for the Christmas edition!!” -Elizabeth V.
“This book is very refreshing to read. It is very beautifully written and easy to read. This book encourages you that your efforts are worth it, enlightens you to do better in a positive way and gives you confidence that you can be good in a not-so-good world. If you want an all-around good book this is it. I look forward to each new publication!” -Emily
“Love it! this is something I will pick up over and over to read.” -Sarah
Available here.

A wonderful book showing how the angels have visited people innumerable times in the past, how they do so today, and would do even more if we asked them. Also, how they prevent accidents, comfort us, help us, and protect us from the devils. Contains many beautiful stories about St. Michael, St. Raphael and St. Gabriel; plus, angel stories from St. Gemma Galgani, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Bosco, etc.

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A very optimistic book showing how an “ordinary” Catholic can become a great saint without ever doing anything “extraordinary”–just by using the many opportunities for holiness that to most people lie hidden in each day. Written with an assurance of success that is totally convincing and infectious. Many easy but infallible means of reaching great sanctity.

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Rewards for Cleaning House

by Emilie Barnes, Keep It Simple for Busy Women

Rewards for Cleaning House

I’m a firm believer in rewards! And I reward myself often when it comes to some of the more mundane tasks of cleaning house.

Discover your idea of bliss, and use it to make those tasks a little less mundane. Let me explain.

Cleaning house is a very personal issue. Start by not worrying about other people’s standards. Decide what clean means to you, and make that your goal.

Establish simple, bite-size priorities. Identify those tasks that absolutely have to be done, ones that should be done, and ones that would be nice to get done.

Work on them in that order-and forget the rest. Set time limits. Do what you can now and be happy about it.

Relish what you have accomplished instead of focusing on what still remains to be done. Finish one task before you begin another.

When you’ve finished, reward yourself for a job well-done. For me that often means a time of quiet-with my Bible, my journal, and a cup of tea-and my feet propped up. Discover your idea of bliss!

Simple Pleasures

*Experience a “lights out” night and live by candlelight.

*Share your favorite book with a friend and then find a quiet book shop to discuss your thoughts over coffee or tea.

*Settle into your favorite chair and breathe a sigh of relief.

Celebrating Femininity

We may never look like models or movie stars, but we can honor God’s gift of femininity by taking care of the unique person He created you and me to be.

My daily walks help me keep my figure under control. I look forward to how wonderful I feel after this brisk morning exercise.

It always restores my energy, lifts my spirits, and gives me a sense of well-being that makes it easier for me to reach out to others.

Yet, as much as I believe in taking care of myself, that’s not enough. True beauty comes from within. If that beauty is lacking, no exercise program, eating plan, or wardrobe update can put it there. No interior decorating scheme can give it to me.

First Peter 3:4 defines it wonderfully by telling us that, “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit… is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Today, take a few moments to reflect on the grace and peace that God offers you every day. Today, seek the beauty that comes from within. Its as simple as that.

Simple Pleasures

*Write your notes with a feathered pen. It’s so elegant!

*Pin a silk flower on your lapel or add it to your hair.

*Create a parlor look with stacks of books and warm fabrics.

The Lost Art of Eating Together

Don’t let our modern culture take away some of the most precious times you can have as a family One of those is sharing a meal together sometime during the day.

Here are some ideas on how to keep it simple. Pick at least one meal of the day when your chances for getting everyone around the table are best. If one meal each day is too demanding, compromise. Set a goal of eating as a family four days a week instead of seven.

Involve your children in planning and cooking those special meals. Preparing foods in a different way can capture kids’ interest. Use pasta in unusual shapes. Draw a smiling face on top of a casserole with cheese or veggie strips. Make it a time of fun and fellowship.

Even teenagers should be involved in meal preparation. It can be an important time for conversation and interaction. Then, when it’s time to eat, don’t forget to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.

Model a heart of gratitude, peace, and warmth around your table. Now, relax and enjoy the meal.

Great memories can come from these daily times of sharing!

Simple Pleasures

*Find some roses today. Buy one for yourself and one for someone you love.

*A fragrance spray can enliven any room in your house. *Draw a picture and mail it to a child with your words of encouragement.

In Just Five Minutes

Are you overwhelmed today by all the projects you feel you must accomplish? Do you find yourself on a treadmill of one thing after another, until you feel you’ll never get off?

How can you have time for the important things you want to do, like prayer time, reading to your kids, or making a special batch of cookies for your family?

Well, you can do it all, but it will take some planning.

First, be ruthless-get rid of extra paper! Almost 90 percent of the paper in your home (or office) is never referred to again. Get rid of it!

And then apply this simple rule, which I call the “five-minute pickup” rule.

Pick up and dust each room for five minutes-time yourself self with a kitchen timer! Discipline yourself to stop when the bell goes off.

Sometimes all it takes to eliminate mess, clutter, and confusion are a few hooks here, a basket or two there, and a bit of reshuffling of items on a shelf. Give it a try and make your life a lot simpler!

Simple Pleasures

*Begin collecting lovely toiletries-powders, unguents, creams.

*Start an evening ritual of herbal tea and a candle. Nourish a sense of calm.

*Pretty new pillowcases add a special touch

🧹 A housekeeping schedule to give you some ideas and to tweak to suit your needs….(not to stress you out!) From Time-Warp Wife.

“As a family, try to lead a hidden life with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Through holy Mass, offer yourselves through Mary’s hands as a sacrifice with Jesus; at Holy Communion, you will be changed into Jesus by divine grace so that you may live His life; by your visits to the tabernacle, you will enjoy His friendship in the midst of the many problems of life.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook (Photo from our daughter’s wedding)

Honey Bee Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Fully lined, quality material, made with care and detail. Available here.

Filled with inspiration, encouragement, and tried-and-true tips, this book is a must-have for every woman!

The good news is that a beautiful home doesn’t require too much money, too much energy, or too much time. Bestselling author and home-management expert Emilie Barnes shows readers how they can easily weave beauty and happiness into the fabric of their daily lives. With just a touch of inspiration, readers can

  • turn their homes into havens of welcome and blessing
  • build a lifestyle that beautifully reflects their unique personalities
  • enrich their spirits with growing things (even if their thumbs are several shades shy of green)
  • make mealtimes feasts of thanksgiving and kitchen duty fun
  • establish traditions of celebration that allow joy to filter through to everyday life

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Where There Is No Mass, There Is No Christianity

I was introduced to this book from a dear friend and it has been a source of joy and inspiration! The Holy Mass is there for us, do we take advantage of the multitude of graces it offers? Do we have special intentions, do we have anxieties and fears, do we have sinners to pray for? The Mass is the greatest prayer….life is short! Let’s get to it!

The Hidden Treasure by St. Leonard of Port Maurice

“Where there is no Mass,” writes one of the Fathers of the English Oratory, “there is also no Christianity.”

The reason is plain: Christ’s life was one of sacrifice—not merely of the figurative sacrifice of praise and prayer, but one of outward act, of suffering and of death.

His religion must be like Himself: it must be the continuation of the divine-human life that He led upon earth, representing and perpetuating, by some sacred rite, the sacrifice that began in the womb of Mary and ended upon the Cross of Calvary. That rite is the holy Mass.

Do we always realize it as such? Does the conviction sink deep into us, when offering, or assisting, at the adorable Sacrifice, that Jesus is reenacting, in our presence, the mysteries of His life and death?

The altar of the Mass is the holy house of Nazareth, the crib of Bethlehem, the Egyptian place of exile, the hill of Calvary, the garden-tomb in which Our Savior’s corpse reposed, and the Mount of Olives from which He ascended.

The Passion, it is true, is that which is primarily represented and continued in the holy Mass; yet the prayers and rites of the Sacrifice refer, at times, to other mysteries. Thus the dropping of a part of the sacred Host into the Chalice, before the Agnus Dei, represents the reunion of Christ’s soul with His body and blood on the morning of the Resurrection.

For a description of the many and beautiful analogies between the Eucharistic life of Our Lord and His sacred Infancy, we refer the reader to Father Faber’s Treatise on the Blessed Sacrament.

The Mass is truly a “hidden treasure,” and, alas, our cold, dead faith allows it to remain so. If we valued it as we ought, we would hurry every morning to the church, careless of the snows of winter and the heats of summer, in order to get a share of the riches of this treasure.

The saints knew the value of one Mass: that was a dark day in their calendar on which they were deprived of the happy privilege of saying or hearing Mass.

Although St. Francis de Sales was overburdened with apostolic work on the Mission of the Chablais, he made it a point never to miss his daily Mass. In order to keep his holy resolution, he had frequently to cross the river Drance, to the village of Marin, in which there was a Catholic church.

It happened, in the winter of 1596, that a great freshet carried away a portion of the bridge over the stream, and the passengers were, in consequence, compelled to cross on a plank laid over those arches of the broken structure that had withstood the waters.

Heavy falls of snow, followed by severe frosts, made this board very slippery, so that it became dangerous to attempt passing on it; but St. Francis was not to be deterred, for, despite the remonstrances of his friends, he made the perilous journey every morning, creeping over the icy plank on his hands and feet, thus daily risking his life rather than lose Mass.

Dear Christian reader! Beg this glorious Saint to obtain for you and me some portion of his burning love for the most holy and adorable Sacrifice of the altar.

 If we really have in our hearts good-will to men, we shall not only wish every one well, but we shall seek every opportunity to do good to every one, beginning with those at home. It will make us good wives, good mothers, good neighbors, kind, obliging, ready always to lend a hand, to do another a good turn. -Finer Femininity

A great gift, the Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet is for the young (and not-so-young), Catholic, Feminine Soul. It is a compilation of traditional, valuable Catholic articles on the subjects that touch the hearts of serious-minded Catholic young ladies. There are articles on courtship, purity, singleness, vocation, prayer, confession, friends, tea parties, obedience, etc. This information is solid, written by orthodox Catholic writers (most of them gone to their eternal home) that cared about the proper formation of a young Catholic adult in a confused world.

 

Churching of Women

From The Big Book of Sacramentals

“I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.” Genesis. 3:16.

Queen Victoria of England was one day visiting some soldiers who had been wounded in South Africa. One young man, broken by shot and shell, deeply distressed her. “Is there anything, son, that I can do for you?” she asked in her motherly way.

“Nothing, Your Majesty,” answered the soldier, “unless you would thank my nurse for her kindness to me.”

The queen turned to the nurse and with tears in her eyes said warmly: “With all my heart I do want to thank you for your kindness to this poor, wounded son of mine.”

What a delicate and beautiful sense of gratitude on the part of that young man! He forgot himself. He thought only of giving pleasure and praise to the woman who was waiting on him so faithfully.

It is with an even more delicate and charming sense of gratitude and self-forgetfulness that a Catholic mother comes to church after the birth of her child to ask the blessing of the priest and to thank God for her safe delivery.

Every mother is a soldier. Like a soldier she endures heroically the discomforts of child-bearing. Like a soldier she sacrifices the unimportant for the great task that is hers. Like a soldier she goes down into the valley of suffering, even into the valley of death, ready and willing to give life itself to perform her duty.

One would think that all the gratitude should be given her. Yet, though we honor mothers for what they have done and endured, it is mother herself who realizes her debt of gratitude to Almighty God for the high honor which He has given her.

All the peoples of the world kept a memory of the sentence of suffering which God pronounced on the first mother and all mothers: “I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.”

Among the Jews it was ceremonial law that a woman was considered unclean after childbirth, because woman had been the first to transgress the law of God. Sin came through a woman, Eve; redemption came through a woman, Mary.

Churching is an outgrowth and perfection of the Mosaic rite. However, there are essential differences.

The Jewish rite presumed legal defilement; the Catholic ceremony presumes honorable motherhood. The Jewish rite was necessary before a mother could assist at religious services; the Christian rite is an act of thanksgiving. The Jewish rite was of obligation; the Catholic ceremony does not bind even under pain of venial sin.

In a spirit of humility, and because Mary did it, Christian women of the early centuries began to ask the blessing of the priest, began to make their first visit to the altar one of thanksgiving for a safe delivery.

This blessing may be given only to those whose children were born in lawful wedlock. The Church urges, but does not oblige, mothers to receive it. The mother need not bring her child with her; many do.

The blessing may be given to those whose baby died, even without Baptism. Ordinarily the pastor or his representative has the right to give this blessing.

Churching may take place wherever Mass can be celebrated.

The woman shall kneel at the door of church, holding a lighted candle. In surplice and white stole the priest sprinkles her with holy water, and recites the twenty-third psalm. He presents her the end of his stole which hangs from his left shoulder, which she takes with her right hand.

They march up to the altar, as the priest prays: “Enter into the temple of God, adore the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has given thee fruitfulness of offspring.”

After certain verses and responses, and the Our Father, the priest offers this prayer: “Almighty, everlasting God, who through the delivery of the Blessed Virgin Mary hast changed the pains of childbirth into joy, look mercifully on this Thy handmaid, who comes in gladness to Thy temple to offer thanksgiving; and grant that, after this life, through the merits and intercession of the same Blessed Mary, she may be found worthy to attain, together with her offspring, to the joys of everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

In the United States the priest does not generally meet the woman at the church door, but at the altar rail. He stands at the inner side of the railing to perform the ceremony. Often more than one woman is blessed at the same time.

The churching of women is done in imitation of the Blessed Virgin who presented herself in the temple for purification. Mary made an offering at that time. It is customary, though not necessary, to make one at the time of churching.

Many priests turn the money back to the mother with the words: “Get something for the baby.”

Our Blessed Mother is interested in all mothers. You mothers want to be as much like Mary as possible. Like her go to God’s temple and receive the blessing of Mother Church on yourself and your child.

What a contrast between the woman who shuns childbirth, the woman who shuns by sinful means her sublime dignity of motherhood, what a contrast between her and the woman who has her baby and then asks God to bless her joy and her privilege.

What a contrast between the woman who complains against God when He asks her to share in His powers of creation, and the woman who comes to thank God for that high honor.

You guess which of the two will be more favored of God in this life, and especially which of the two will be more favored of God in the life to come. Amen.

What is our conversation like each day, especially with the members of our family? Do we continually talk about depressing news, do we regularly voice our negative opinions about the people and situations around us? Do we talk about our own sufferings and our needs in a complaining manner? How about a different approach? Let’s talk about the positive instead. If we are talking of people, let’s make the effort to only bring up the good. Want to talk about heroes? Our grandparents, parents, ordinary folk and how they have overcome obstacles would be a good testimony to your kids. We all have stories to tell….make sure they are bringing out the best in those who are listening! – Finer Femininity 💖

Blessed Mother Graceful Cloisonné Religious Pendant and Earring Set…Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted, Available here.

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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My Response is My Responsibility

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For Throwback Thursday….

I listened to this podcast more than once and got much out of it so I wanted to share it with you!

Based on the Podcast My Response is My Responsibility by Emerson Eggerichs of Love and Respect Ministries

Disclaimer

Think about this phrase for a moment, “My response is MY responsibility”. This is a very powerful phrase!

There is the story of a time during WWII Nazi Regime rule. A Christian French man who had been harboring Jews had been captured. German soldiers brought him before an SS Soldier known as “The Torturer”. Surprisingly to those around him, the French man was at peace and it shone through his eyes and his face.

The SS officer was not impressed! Taking it as insolence, he yelled, “Get that smirk off your face!”

Others who had entered into his presence were terrified and showed it.

The SS soldier once again looked at the French man and screamed, “Don’t you know who I am??!!”

“Yes, I do,” said the French man, “You are called ‘The Torturer’ and you have the power to have me tortured. You also have the power to condemn me to death” There was a pause. “But you do not have the power to get me to hate you.”

This story shows so clearly the control we have to be free from sinful attitudes and responses within ourselves even under the most trying circumstances! Other people cannot control our inner world.

My Response is my Responsibility – this phrase can change our lives!

People may be able to control us physically but they cannot control our thoughts! People can treat us unkindly but they cannot control our spirit!

I can rule my own inner responses – this is a God-given right. No one can make me hate them.

Even the Gestapo, as worldly powerful as they seemed to be, could not rule over the French man’s inner realm.

How does a person get to the point where they are no longer ruled by other’s treatment of them?

We begin by realizing My response is my responsibility!

We don’t need to mope or pout. We don’t need to give the silent treatment or let the rage build inside of us until it comes out of our mouths like a faucet – remember it is your responsibility to control your inner thoughts, those nasty habits that have gotten so out of hand. Time to look them square in the eye and say – I don’t have to listen to you….I don’t have to respond this way!!

If we let others control how we respond, then they are the master of our emotions. If they are mean and unjust, we will be unhappy. What we are saying, then, is that we are a hopeless and helpless emotional victim to the moods and attitudes of others around us!

When we are around uncaring and mean-spirited people, there is no hope for us. We are at the whim of these negative people and we will have a rotten day!

This does not have to be our reality!

Are you frustrated with your husband? Do you blame him for your unhappiness? Do you say to yourself, “If he loved me properly, I would in turn respect him and all would be well?”

That is making your husband “Lord” of your emotions and happiness.

That kind of power should not be given to another human being.

If this is how we think, then when our husband treats us imperfectly (and he will, as he is an imperfect human being) then we are moody and grumpy; we snap at him, we let that black cloud settle over us. We resort to resentment and anger and depression.

Because our husband, whom we have given power to rule over our inner spirit, lets us down, we are depressed. He is responsible for our happiness!

Ok, so let’s step back….. are we saying we shouldn’t be affected at all by what other people say and do?

Let’s take an analogy. A doctor taps our knee with a little hammer and our leg involuntarily kicks out. This is known as a “knee-jerk” reaction, right?

What about road rage? When someone cuts us off, we emotionally get angry…. but are we saying that we cannot help ourselves when we cuss at the person, try to cut him off in return or other such offensive actions?

Though we have involuntary emotions, that, yes, are acceptable, there are some that cross the line….and we usually know when and what those emotions are.

If our anger is not righteous indignation, if it is unrighteous, and if it has become a habit because we have given into those emotions throughout our life, then this is wrong and needs to be turned around.

Each person tends to blame their own bitterness, harshness and contempt on the other person. We claim it is involuntary; the other person caused the anger…..

Please hear a simple and profound truth….people do not CAUSE us to be who we are, they REVEAL who we are. Ouch. My response is my responsibility. The Nazi did not cause the Frenchman to react in kindness; he revealed the kindness within him.

How many times through the day is our inner person revealed: Those times when the kids are tugging on our skirt and we snap at them “What do you want AGAIN!” Little Jill spills her milk and we look at her and say through gritted teeth, “You are the most careless child I have ever met!” Hubby comes home tired and sees no dinner being fixed and complains (maybe unjustifiably) and we yell at him and give him the silent treatment the rest of the night.

These dear ones don’t CAUSE our anger, they reveal it. We do not HAVE to react this way….no, we don’t.

In each of these instances, we blame Johnny, Jill and our hubby. We say to ourselves, “I would never blow my stack if everyone behaves! Life stinks!”

We choose to live under the delusion that life experiences cause us to be upset and angry. Although we would never voice that we are a victim, this is how we sometimes live.

Living this way, in victim mode, changes the nursery rhyme:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Humpty Dumpty was pushed.”

Let’s just blame humanity. I would be happy if it wasn’t for people! Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

We have unrealistic expectations and requirements that everyone else around us (and especially hubby, since he is a grown human being) needs to meet! He must…..be perfect. 😛

We want to assign blame; there is something inside of us that wants to justify our bad behavior.

As Emerson points out, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent. The serpent didn’t have anyone to blame because he didn’t have a leg to stand on! 😀

Our Lord says these things come from the heart of man. It is something within us that cause us to react in these unedifying ways. I have evil thoughts because I have chosen to think bad things. I have a hateful reaction because it is in my heart. I slander because it is in my heart to bad mouth people and the list goes on….

Our response is not another’s responsibility.

This message is challenging.

It is hard to face up to.

These challenges may be small, everyday things, but it can also be huge struggles and sufferings like the French man.

We do have freedom to respond with dignity.

Can I do this when my blood is boiling? Can I choose not to react angrily?

This idea of blaming someone else of my bad attitudes is inappropriate. This doesn’t mean that bad behavior is to be sanctioned. This doesn’t mean that the other person doesn’t have to deal with their issues. They do. But that’s a different matter than my response to him. This is what we are talking about here.

We must not think that if we respond with dignity and love, that we are letting the other person off the hook. We have to come to the point that we realize that we can speak what is true and NECESSARY. But we do so in a kind, loving and respectful way. This empowers us.

If we become uncorked, it does not help us to govern the situation.  Your husband will eventually close his spirit if you are continually “letting him have it”! He will not want to be around you. You will have no credibility with him.

You may win a battle here and there by coming unglued and blaming everyone, but eventually you lose the war. This is a painful reality.

Let’s begin to react properly. But we need to give ourselves some grace. This is a process. We may know it, but our application of it will not be perfect.

Like the French man, in a concentration camp who made it through….. He observed and came to these conclusions:

Our purpose as humans is not to seek power or pleasure but to seek purpose. No situation has the power to control us. 

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves!

Everything can be taken from a man except one thing, to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances.

Between unloving or disrespectful behavior and my response, there is a space. In that space is that power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.

The one thing another can’t take away from me is the freedom to choose how to respond to what someone does to me.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, the freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

Our great freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.

The French man’s story really leaves the rest of us without excuse at some level. How in the world can I come uncorked when the person cuts me off in the road, or hubby is angry?

I do have a choice. Like the French man I can change my responses.

Remember, My Response is My Responsibility! Will I take this to heart?

“Happiness in marriage must be earned. It is something you must work out for yourself, chiefly by forgetting yourself and serving others. No marriage is a success unless less you make it so, and that takes persistent effort and, still more, a constant and humble reliance on God.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook

 Who can resist those little ditties, those lovely little sing-song verses called Nursery Rhymes!
Songs and rhymes for young children have been passed down from generation to generation. They are fun, children love them, and they provide a warm, nurturing experience for the whole family.
Nursery Rhymes can be very valuable in a child’s reading development. They are short and easy to repeat and they become some of the child’s first sentences. They also help the child practice the rhythm of language….pitch, volume and voice inflection.
Our own children grew up learning and repeating Nursery Rhymes. It was very enjoyable and it was an easy way to teach the children the use of rhythm and rhyme.
How much more meaningful those little poems would have been if there had been more depth in the considerations behind each little verse! That is where this book comes in. It gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children.
Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith.
It is important that young children learn to memorize through verse. Research shows children learn more in their first eight years than they do in the rest of their lives. This is a powerful time to teach them.
So, parents, here is a teaching tool that can help! Encourage your children to learn the poems in this book. Let them peruse the pages and look at the pictures. You will find that it will be a meaningful experience for all!

Inspire and delight your children with these lighthearted and faith-filled poems. Take a peek here.

Don't forget to sign up for the Giveaway for my book and the bracelet! I will pull the name from the hat Tuesday, May 10th!

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Volumes One and Two available here.

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The entire collection of twelve Books of Saints St. Joseph Picture Books, packaged in a handsome and sturdy slipcase….

Treasury of Novenas contains over 40 popular Novenas specifically arranged in accord with the Liturgical Year on the Feasts of Jesus, Mary, and many favorite Saints. By acclaimed author Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D., this book has a rich, gold-stamped brown Dura-Lux cover and is an excellent collection of Novenas for private devotion.

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Help Your Child to See Design in the Tempo of Daily Life

Painting by Alfredo Rodriguez

by Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children

Working in many art forms, using talent easily and spontaneously, finding that their creations are respected and useful, slowly children cross the bridge that connects art and work, and bring their sense of creating to bear on the more subtle arts of daily life.

They discover that setting a table — or hanging the wash, folding the sheets, planting the garden — can be a design.

They discover the rhythm for kneading dough, milking a goat, hammering a nail, rocking the baby. There’s a pace for raking, another for sweeping. There’s a pattern for scrubbing the floor, another for ironing a dress.

Kneeling to comfort a child is a reverence, as genuflecting. Praying out loud together is a harmony, just whispering together while the baby sleeps.

Walking with pails of water for the goats is measured and careful; walking back from Holy Communion has another measure.

These things children learn instinctively, but with more alacrity and with willingness to discover the beauty and satisfaction in ordinary acts if they have had many experiences exploring with their own creativeness.

No one is really “all thumbs.” Everyone has special gifts that set him apart from his fellows and make him a special person. But many times they’re never discovered.

It’s not work that’s ugly, nor working that’s unendurable, but the wrong work with the wrong person attempting it that can make it seem ugly and unendurable.

Creative artists we must have, and God provides them abundantly in every generation, but the others are no less creative for the practicality of their arts. And the gifts given to these are no less special; they must be sought just as carefully.

Creativity can be found in all types of work. We’ve committed many sins against man’s creativeness with our modern snobbery about work. We’ve accepted a norm for work that’s based on reward, approval, and selfish gain rather than on motive, integrity, and creative service.

We’ve become confused; we esteem work that’s respected rather than work that’s respectable. Horror is the reaction of most parents to whom it’s suggested that domestic service is appropriate work and training for a young girl looking forward to marriage.

It does not occur to such parents that the creative arts she would practice in so-called menial employment are the same arts she’ll practice (with greater grace for her training) when she’s a wife and mother.

How does sending her to work in a factory, to file papers and stack cards in an office, train her in the art of homemaking? This is how far we have strayed from the recognition and understanding of creativeness.

We respect people for the creativeness of their hobbies, not their lives, and admire the successful fellows who work creatively in wood or paint or whatever on their weekends, more than carpenters, plumbers, and farmers, who work creatively all week along.

For Christian parents who want to help their children find their whole usefulness, how to use their whole lives — not just certain departments— creatively in the service of God, these points need thinking out.

People are not haphazardly created with a dash of this and that added for interest by a Creator who dabbles in variations on the same old theme. Each one was made to serve Him in a special way.

The discovery of how begins when they’re very little and learn to make visible and tangible their own ideas, formed by the knowledge of God, His love for them, and the truths Christ teaches.

In your living room and bedrooms, you should have at least one symbol of your faith–a statue of the Savior and the Blessed Mother, a crucifix, pictures which bring to mind events in the life of Our Lord. -Rev. George Kelly, 1950’s https://amzn.to/2BjwE9x (afflink)

The Catholic Boy’s and Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journals! Let’s keep our youth engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their lives, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them… Available here.

Beautiful items at Meadows of Grace!

The Catholic Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journal

Let’s keep our young girls engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their life, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them!

Nothing is more valuable than this type of education…an education for life! That is where this journal comes in! It will give your girls a feel for keeping a To-Do List, with spiritual things at the forefront! What more could you want for them?

Let this journal help you along the way, Mothers! The girls will have 30 days of checklists, beautiful thoughts to inspire them for the day, some fun things…like drawing their day and other things to keep them focused.

This next 30 days will be invaluable to them…to learn life skills, to have the satisfaction of checking off the activities they finish, to learn to be thankful for the good things God has given us, to offer up their day for someone in need, etc.

This journal is for girls 8 (with the help of Mom) to 16 years of age.

It is a beautiful journal, full of color and loveliness! Your girls will treasure it and be able to look back on it for inspiration and encouragement!

Our attitude changes our life…it’s that simple. Our good attitude greatly affects those that we love, making our homes a more cheerier and peaceful dwelling! To have this control…to be able to turn around our attitude is a tremendous thing to think about!
This Gratitude Journal is here to help you focus on the good, the beautiful, the praiseworthy. “For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 – Douay Rheims).
Yes, we need to be thinking of these things throughout the day!
You will be disciplined, the next 30 days, to write positive, thankful thoughts down in this journal. You will be thinking about good memories, special moments, things and people you are grateful for, lovely and thought-provoking Catholic quotes, thoughts before bedtime, etc. Saying it, reading it, writing it, all helps to ingrain thankfulness into our hearts…and Our Lord so loves gratefulness! It makes us happier, too!

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VdP Catholic Family Life Gallery January 2020

Ah! Catholic Family Life! There is nothing like it.

Home should not be just a place. Rather, it must be the place. All else should be “outside.”

Home should be the center of activities and interests. It was built for births, courtship, marriage, and death. It is maintained so that children might grow, trained by precept and example – so that they will develop spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, just as they do physically.  -Fr. Lovasik

Below is a gallery of our doing’s in the last month. Don’t forget to read the comments to get the (amazing! hehe) narrative. And don’t forget to click on the first picture to view the gallery!