Unrest When We Have Decisions to Make

How many times in our lives would we just like to receive a letter from Our Lord?! “Just tell me, Lord, and I will do it!

Searching For and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe

The last reason that we are going to examine and which frequently causes us to lose our sense of peace is lack of certitude, the troubling of conscience that is experienced when it is necessary to make a decision and we are not able to see clearly. We are afraid to make a mistake that may have disturbing consequences, we are afraid that it may not be the will of the Lord.

Situations of this type can be very painful and certain dilemmas truly agonizing. The general stance of abandonment and confidence of which we have spoken, this approach of putting everything into the hands of God which enable us to avoid “dramatizing” anything (even the consequences that our errors might engender!) will be particularly precious in these situations of incertitude.

We would like, however, to make a few useful remarks for conserving our interior peace when making decisions.

The first thing to say (and this is in complete harmony with what we have said up to this point) is that, faced with an important decision, one of the errors to avoid is that of being excessively hurried or precipitous. A certain deliberation is often necessary in order to properly consider things and to allow our hearts to orient themselves peaceably and gently toward a good solution.

Saint Vincent de Paul made decisions that were presented to him after mature reflection (and above all prayer!), in such a way that some people who were close to him found him too slow to decide. But, one judges a tree by its fruit!

Before making a decision, it is necessary to do what is appropriate to see the situation clearly and not to decide precipitously or arbitrarily. We need to analyze the situation with its different aspects and to consider our motivations in order to decide with a pure heart and not in an effort to serve our personal interest. We need to pray for the light of the Holy Spirit and the grace to act in conformity with the will of God and, if necessary, to ask the advice of people who can enlighten us relative to the decision.

In this regard, we must know that everyone will encounter, above all in the spiritual life, certain situations where one would not have sufficient light, would be incapable of making a necessary discernment or of making a determination in peace, without recourse to a spiritual advisor.

The Lord does not want us to be self-sufficient and, as part of His pedagogy, He permits that sometime we find ourselves in the impossibility of finding enlightenment and peace by ourselves; we cannot receive them except through the intermediary of another person to whom we can open up.

There is, in this opening up of the heart relative to questions that we ask ourselves or dilemmas that we try to solve, a disposition of humility and trust which greatly pleases the Lord and frequently renders harmless the traps that the enemy sets there to deceive or trouble us.

Regarding this interior peace, which is so precious and of which we have spoken so much, we know that at certain moments in our lives we cannot find it by ourselves without the help of someone to whom we can open our souls.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori was an unparalleled director of souls, but with regard to that which concerned his own spiritual life, he was very often incapable of orienting himself without the aid of someone to whom he opened himself and toward whom he was obedient.

Having said that, it is important to know one thing. Whatever the precautions (prayer, reflection, advice) that one uses to obtain enlightenment before making a decision and in order to be sure of doing God’s will (it’s a duty to take these precautions, because we do not have the right, above all in domains of importance, to decide lightly), one will not always receive this light in a clear and unambiguous manner.

Confronted with a specific situation, we ask ourselves (and we must always do this!): “What must I do? What is the Lord’s will?” We will not always have a response!

When we make this effort at discernment and search for God’s will, often the Lord speaks to us in diverse ways and makes us understand in a clear way how we must act. Then we can make our decision in peace.

But, it may happen that the Lord does not respond to us. And this is completely normal. Sometimes, He simply leaves us free and sometimes, for reasons of His own, He does not manifest Himself.

It is good to know this, because it often happens that people, for fear of making a mistake, of not doing the will of God, seek at any price to have an answer.

They increase their reflections, their prayers, they open the Bible ten times looking for a text in order to obtain the desired enlightenment. And all this is troubling and disquieting more than anything else. We do not see things more clearly for all that; we have a text, but we don’t know how to interpret it.

When the Lord leave us thus in incertitude, we must quietly accept it. Rather than wanting to “force things” and torment ourselves unnecessarily because we do not have an evident response, we must follow the principle that Saint Faustina offers us:

When one does not know what is best, one must reflect, consider and take counsel, because one does not have the right to act in incertitude of conscience. In incertitude (if the incertitude remains) one must tell oneself: whatever I do , it will be good, provided that I have the intention to do good.

That which we consider good, God accepts and considers as good. Don’t be chagrined if, after a certain time, you see that these things are not good. God looks at the intention with which we begin and He grants the reward according to this intention. It is a principle that we must follow. (Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of the Servant of God, Sister Faustina Kowalska).

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For the guys: “The husband’s first duty, under God’s service, is to his wife. He must give himself to her as she has left all to follow him. His must be—from his bridal hour to his dying day—one long, uninterrupted, most loving and unstinted service to her. He must, every day that he rises, set her image higher in his heart; reverence her more, seek to have others know her worth better, and show her greater honor.” – Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, True Men as We Need Them, 1894 http://amzn.to/2yWw0j5 (afflink)

Coloring pages for your children…

 

From the Author … Treasures, however great and precious, are never appreciated until examined, counted over, and summed up. Hence it is, dear reader, that by many there is formed no due estimate of the holy and awful Sacrifice of the Mass. Though the greatest treasure which glorifies and enriches the Church of God, it is still a hidden treasure, and known to few. Ah, if this jewel of paradise were but known, who would not give up all things to obtain it! http://amzn.to/2tRWKyn

 

 

 

 

Spring Gallery! 2021

Happy Spring and praying that things get back to some mode of normalcy for all of you! Here is our Spring Gallery….

A Little Talk on Obedience For Your Children

I gave this talk to a group of girls. It would be a good thing to gather your children around and read it to them. 🙂

OR I can read it to them myself….

Today I am going to talk about the very vital virtue of obedience.

Stop to think about this for a moment.

Do you want to please God or do you want to please the devil?

I think that’s a pretty easy question for good Catholic children to answer and this is why I have chosen the virtue of obedience today. This virtue pleases Our Lord very much.

I am a wife and a mother. My first duty is to God. My second and very important duty is to be a good wife and a good mother. It is what God wants for me and I need to pray to become a better wife and mother, I need to read books that help me to become better and I need to avoid the things that may harm my path in being a good wife and mother.

You are children. You are different ages, it is true, and all of you have a first duty, like me, and that duty is to God.

Your second and very important duty is to love and honor your parents. You do this by being obedient. You need to listen to and obey your parents. You need to pray for this and avoid things and people that are obstacles in your path of being an obedient young lady.

Your parents love you very much. They are good parents. They are worthy of your obedience. Even if they were not you would have to obey them in everything but sin. You don’t have to worry about this part because your parents are good parents and will not ask you to sin.

Obedience is a virtue that Jesus loves very much! St. Augustine says it is the mother and root of all the virtues and St. Bonaventure says it is a ship in which one sails to heaven. When you die don’t you want to be on the ship that sails to heaven?

You are a young lady and obedience is very important to learn now. When you become a young woman and choose a vocation, whether it be the religious life or a wife and mother obedience is a very important virtue for both of these vocations.

The more you learn to be obedient now, the easier it will be later in life and the sweeter your life will be.

St. Francis de Sales says that he who is obedient will live sweetly and will be like a child in the arms of his mother, free from worry and from care. That’s a pretty awesome promise!

Even if you see faults in your parents (and you will see them because they are only human) you need to always show respect.

The fourth commandment does not say to honor a good or a perfect mother and father, it says to honor your mother and father. Period.

St. Thomas Moore was the Chancellor to the King. He had the second highest position in the country! He had his aging father living with him and when St. Thomas was called out on business of state, before leaving the house, he would get on his knees, kiss his father’s hand and ask him to bless him.

He was a grown man, he was Chancellor to the King and he still showed such love and respect for his father! How much more, as children, you need to show love and respect to your parents!

Think about Our Lady for a minute. When she was young she was happy, cheerful and she was obedient.

When Little Mary was out getting the water at the well or playing or doing an errand, her mother, St. Anne, would miss her because Mary made their home happy.

If you are gone does your mother miss you? Do you make your home happy? If your mother is glad and relieved when you are gone you have some work to do!

When the child Mary was called by St. Anne she came right away. She dropped whatever she was doing, no matter what it was and went to her mother.

This makes me think of the convent. Let’s imagine this.

The sisters are quiet. They work and they pray. Once a day recreation time comes. They get their sewing out and sit with the other sisters. They chat, they tell stories and they laugh. One of the sisters is telling a very interesting tale about her life when she was small. The sisters are all smiling and enjoying it. Suddenly the bell goes off to call the nuns back to work! The nun who was telling the story stops mid-sentence and does not continue. Oh, she so wanted to tell the rest of the story but she knew what obedience was. She lays down her sewing and goes back to work! What an example of wonderful obedience!!

When the child Mary was called in the morning, she jumped out of bed the very first time! It’s not a very good way to start the day if you lay in bed and make your mother call you more than once. I don’t think disobedience is a good way to start the day, do you?

Mary was not fussy about her food. She ate what was put in front of her.

St. Anne didn’t have to ask Mary to set the table. If Mary thought that it needed to be done, she offered to do it before she was asked.

Most importantly, and this is what makes obedience sweet, she did all these things with a smile….a cheerful heart. Why? To please God.

How many of these things that Mary did are you doing?

Do you come right away when your mother or father calls you? Do you jump out of bed the first time you are called? Do you eat what’s put in front of you without complaining? Do you offer to do things even before you are asked? And most importantly do you do them with a cheerful heart?

Obedience is not just doing your chores when you are told to, though that is very important. It is also the attitude of the heart.

When your mom or dad calls, you should answer respectfully. Be careful of the tone of voice you use. Make sure it is not impatient and rude. You should never show signs of an ill-mannered girl by sighing and rolling your eyes when your mom and dad are talking to you.

There is one quote in the Bible, and remember that the Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God, that has a very beautiful promise attached to it. The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother that you may live a long, full life in the land that God gives you.”  Who doesn’t want a long, full life??

And just remember your angel is always with you. He’s always helping you to be good and obedient. Do you pray to your angel? Are you listening to him?
You may have friends who are not obedient. They may tell lies and call names. They may make fun of people. You need to be a good example to help them. The very first way you can be a good example is to be obedient!

Is being obedient hard at times? You bet it is! Does it always makes sense? Is it always fair? No, sometimes it seems like it isn’t.
There is a special story about St. Francis of Assisi and the brothers at the friary. Even now, every year the brethren plant a cabbage in the garden and let it flower to remind them of this story. St. Francis told two young brothers to plant some cabbage plants upside down. One did, but the other knew better and planted his right side up. St. Francis asked the second brother to leave the monastery, for, he said, it had been a test of obedience, not of planting cabbages.
Then there is the story of St Therese of the Child Jesus. She was in the convent and her Mother Superior told her to go and water this branch….a branch that looked completely dry and dead! And she told her to water it every day!

Did that make sense to St. Therese? No, it didn’t. But she did it anyway. Every day you could see St. Therese out in the sister’s garden watering this twig. Maybe even some of the sisters were smiling to themselves because it seemed so silly.

One day St Therese went out to water it and was so surprised to see a beautiful bloom on that old, dead branch! Our Lord, to show His blessing and how pleased He was with her obedience, made that lifeless branch bloom for her!

So, no, obedience is not always easy. You must pray for grace each day. Don’t forget your morning and night prayers and don’t forget your rosary. God is good and gives us all things that are good for our souls. So if we pray for the virtue of obedience He will surely give it to us!

And if we are obedient life will be sweet!

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Here is a little prayer on obedience:

Dear Jesus, You are God’s Beloved Son and You obey Him completely, even if it meant giving Your life for all of us. Help me to live like You, trusting and obeying the will of the Father, through my parents each and every day. Help me increase my faith, that I may obey them quickly, fully and lovingly. Teach me to obey them for the right reason, which is simply because I love You.

You can print out this prayer card sheet, cut them out and give one to each of your children and all the children who visit, your neighbor children, the children you sit behind in church, etc.     😀

Obedience Prayer Card

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“I insist that it is every woman’s duty to know, or to acquire some practical knowledge of housekeeping, so that she may be ready for any emergency. Her fitness for it will be a perpetual source of satisfaction to her, for there is nothing more self-satisfying than to feel that one is capable; it gives confidence, strength, and self-reliance.”- Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893 http://amzn.to/2slSTay (afflink)

 

 

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Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

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The Safeguard of Family Life – My Prayer Book

From My Prayer Book by Fr. Lasance

In the Catholic Church, in the Catholic religion, the family finds its firm support, its sure safeguard and shield. For this Church alone fearlessly preaches at all times and in all places that in which consists the sole safeguard and support of the family, namely, the sacredness of the family, the indissolubility of marriage, the sanctity of matrimony as an institution ordained by God, as a religious contract, and a holy sacrament.

The family, or matrimony, is an institution ordained by God. Human beings, like plants and the lower animals, are, according to the all-wise designs of God, intended to propagate themselves until the end of time.

But man is an incomparably higher being than a plant or an animal; he is endowed with reason, free will, and immortality. God has consequently placed the manner in which the human race is to be continued on a high level.

He created woman especially, and gave her to the first man as a helper, uniting the two in the closest companionship. Thus did He call the first family into existence and hallow the continuation of the human race. And thus it devolves upon human beings to educate their offspring and to perpetuate family life. In the animal world no such thing exists; there is to be found no family life, properly so called, and no education.

For the family as ordained by God is the nursery of Christendom which fills the earth with true believers, one day to complete the number of the elect in heaven. Thus the family stands like a tree in the garden of God, its fruits being good children.

Impress firmly upon your mind the truth that the family is no mere human invention, but an institution ordained by God.

The Church has always pronounced marriage “a holy state, appointed by God,” thus emphatically refuting the false teaching of certain heretics who regarded marriage as an evil thing.

In the second place the safeguard of the family consists in understanding marriage as a religious contract. Marriage is a contract because it, like every other contract, is based upon the agreement and consent of two contracting parties.

It is, however, a religious contract, essentially distinct from every merely civil contract. The marriage contract is indissoluble according to divine law — moreover, the marriage contract imparts special, supernatural graces, which no other contract does. This contract is concluded before a minister of the Church, who imparts a special blessing at the nuptial Mass.

The Christian family maintains its exalted position owing to the fact that marriage is regarded as a sacred institution, as a holy sacrament.

We know marriage to be a sacrament, because the infallible Church teaches us that it is such, and commands us to believe this as a divinely revealed doctrine. And the following proofs may be adduced in support of this doctrine.

St. Paul expressly terms the union of a man and a woman in the marriage state a sacrament, when he says: “This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church.”

Marriage as a sacrament is like to the mystic union which exists between Christ and the Church. As the union of Christ with the Church is a sacred bond so is marriage between Christians.

Tradition shows us that the Catholic Church has always regarded marriage as a sacrament. The Fathers teach us that Christ was present at the marriage in Cana to show that He raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament. St. Augustine says: “The superiority of marriage among Christians consists in the sanctity of the sacrament.”

And it is easy to perceive from a purely natural point of view how useful and appropriate, nay more, how necessary it was that Jesus Christ should elevate marriage to the dignity of a sacrament.

Marriage is of the greatest importance for the whole human race. This state of life has very many weighty and permanent duties and burdens. On this account married people need special graces, and they receive them through Christ’s raising marriage to the dignity of a sacrament.

Thus we see that the safeguard and shield of the Christian family consist in regarding marriage as an institution ordained by God, as a religious contract, a holy sacrament. The Christian religion, the Catholic Church, is the only sure foundation for this security and protection.

The profanation and desecration of marriage, divorce, the disintegration of family life, and the moral deterioration of society are the evils of the present day. Therefore, my dear child, be ever on your guard against careless, worldly views of family life.

To The Holy Family

Jesus, whose almighty bidding

All created things fulfill,

Lived on earth in meek subjection

To His earthly parents’ will.

Sweetest Infant, make us patient

And obedient for Thy sake;

Teach us to be chaste and gentle,

All our stormy passions break.

Blessed Mary! thou wert chosen

To be Mother of thy Lord;

Thou didst guide the early footsteps

Of the great Incarnate Word.

Dearest Mother! make us humble;

For thy Son will take His rest

In the poor and lowly dwelling

Of a humble sinner’s breast.

Joseph! thou wert called the father

Of thy Maker and thy Lord;

Thine it was to save thy Savior

From the cruel Herod’s sword.

Suffer us to call thee father;

Show to us a father’s love;

Lead us safe through every danger

Till we meet in heaven above.

❤️🌹Our first line of defense is the bond we must have with our husband. Besides our spiritual life, which gives us the grace to do so, we must put our relationship with our husband first. It is something we work on each day.

How do we do this? Many times it is just by a tweaking of the attitude, seeing things from a different perspective. It is by practicing the virtues….self-sacrifice, submission, thankfulness, kindness, graciousness, etc.

The articles in this maglet will help you with these things. They are written by authors that are solid Catholics, as well as authors with old-fashioned values….
Available here.
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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

Home management expert and bestselling author Emilie Barnes comes to the aid of every clutter keeper with 101 simple ideas to rid rooms of piles, stacks, and disarray. Readers will rediscover space and peace in their home as they

  • stop making excuses for the useless items they keep
  • eliminate junk mail before it junks up a drawer
  • take back control over “stuff” and taste freedom
  • subtract an item before adding an item
  • reap the rewards of prioritizing time and space

Better than a how-to show, this compact resource can go anywhere a reader needs a little encouragement and lots of tips to transform clutter to cleaner at home, a friend’s house, church, or the office.

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Practical Expectations – Cleaning the Clutter

I get a lot out of Emilie Barnes’ ideas for taking care of clutter and organizing your life and your home. Here are a few tidbits for you to take to heart and incorporate into your hectic schedule….to make it less hectic! 🙂

101 Way to Clean Out the Clutter – Emilie Barnes

IMG_0507Unfinished Business

Do you ever feel like you’re running in circles? Do you put off new pursuits because you are spending your precious time juggling projects that are never completed?

Make a list of five projects you would love to finish. Tackle these one at a time. You’ll find that as you clear away the unfinished business, you’ll be free to reach for new pursuits.

Don’t delay your goals and aspirations. Which terminal projects are eating up the most time? Give yourself an absolute deadline to complete each one or consider letting go of the project altogether.

Which projects are the most overwhelming and which have the highest priority? If you take care of a couple that are time sensitive, you’ll give yourself breathing room and a sense of accomplishment.

Consider the ones that absolutely must get done because others are counting on them or because they have a deadline. There’s your starting place!

Practical Expectations

It’s nice to want things done right, but not if you’re crippled by the pressure. High expectations can lead to inactivity when you’re overwhelmed. By all means do the best job you can do in a reasonable amount of time. However, don’t get bogged down by perfectionism.

You may know the difference in the finished product, but your friends and guests probably won’t know or care if it’s not perfectly done.

If you’re preparing for guests, determine the cleaning that must be done versus the cleaning you want to get done. You’ll find that if you clean the areas your guests will be visiting and just tidy other areas, you’ll have a very welcoming environment.

Always keep in mind that you want your home to be inviting, not sterile and immaculate. Aim for inviting rather than ideal, and you’ll enjoy the time before and during your guests’ visits. You’ll be a much more sane hostess.

Break It Up

To accomplish a big task, break it into a few smaller parts—these become “instant tasks” that you can easily handle. It’s the big items that throw us and leave us in a panic.

Think of one project that you have put off because it seemed too big to take on after a busy day or in the middle of a hectic one.

For example, let’s choose cleaning out the refrigerator as your dreaded project. Can you give it 15 minutes? Even the craziest of days usually have a few breaks in them that could be put to good use.

Set a timer and work like mad for those 15 minutes evaluating leftovers, checking expiration dates, and wiping off shelves.

Tomorrow, set the timer and toss out old vegetables, refresh the ice trays, and rinse the meat and produce bins. In a day or two you’ll have invested two or three 15-minute sessions and completed the larger task of cleaning your refrigerator.

full-fridge-vintage-clipart

When Are You Most Productive?

Each of us operates efficiently at different times of the day. Pay attention to when you feel the most energetic and alert. Take a few days to observe which time periods and what parts of each day are best for you when it comes to cleaning, working, juggling multiple tasks, focusing on one, and being creative.

It might help to write out what you observe—it could be surprising. Maybe you always linger over breakfast and dishes to draw out the morning when it’s actually your most energetic time and should tackle a couple work projects.

Don’t use this awareness as an excuse to not perform well during your off period of the day. Instead, use it to be good to yourself and to enhance your life, productivity, sense of balance, and enjoyment.

Schedule taxing chores for the hours when your mind is sharpest. Do the physical chores when you have the most energy. File papers or sweep the floor when you need a task that doesn’t require too much thought and evaluation. This principle is good for work as well as at home.

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“Regularity in meals is another thing the wise housekeeper will insist upon in her abode. Regularity and punctuality, how delightful they are, and how they ease the roll of the domestic wheels! A punctual and tidy woman makes a punctual and tidy home.” -Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894

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Home management expert and bestselling author Emilie Barnes comes to the aid of every clutter keeper with 101 simple ideas to rid rooms of piles, stacks, and disarray…

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…

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

How to Judge a Boyfriend’s Conversion/Choice of Loves – Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage, Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage by Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

How to Judge a Boyfriend’s Conversion

Problem:

How is it possible to be sure that a boyfriend, in becoming a convert to the Catholic Church, is truly sincere in his conversion and not merely “going through the motions” for the sake of marriage?

I went out with this boy for a while, liked him quite a lot, but finally told him I would have to stop seeing him because I was determined never to marry anyone but a Catholic. Almost at once he said: “Then I’ll become a Catholic.”

I have seen similar cases in which the converted person turned out to be anything but a decent Catholic after marriage. I don’t want that to happen in my case. My boyfriend is taking instructions, but how can I be sure he is sincere?

Solution:

This is a very practical and important problem because there have indeed been many cases in which a boy went through all the requirements for becoming a Catholic, but turned out later to have done so only for the sake of “getting the girl.”

On the other hand it must be remembered that sincere converts make the best Catholics of all, and a Catholic girl should be very happy over the prospect of marrying such a man.

There are certain signs of sincerity in one who is taking instructions to become a Catholic that the girl should look for. She should, if at all possible, accompany him to the instructions he receives from the priest, both to give him confidence and to watch their effect on him.

If he is sincere in his study of the faith, he will show it in three ways:

1) By asking questions both of the priest who instructs him and of his girlfriend. A man who goes through a whole course of instructions without ever asking a question or raising a doubt, is probably not really interested in the faith at all.

2) By commenting to his girlfriend on the new things he is learning and on their wonderful appeal to his mind. If a man takes instructions to become a Catholic and never has a word to say about their effect on him, he cannot be very sincere.

3) By showing a new interest in prayer and church services within a short time after beginning to take instructions. True conversions are always marked by sincere prayers and a quickening desire to enter into the life of the Church. A man who would go through an entire course of instructions and never of his own accord go to Mass or any other Catholic church service until after his reception into the church, would offer evidence of indifference to the whole thing.

One final thing that a girl should do: she should bring up moral problems that being a Catholic raises in one’s life and see how her boyfriend would solve them. If he balks, for instance, at the Catholic principle concerning birth-control, and holds out against it, he is not sincerely converted.

Choice of Loves

Problem:

I am in love. The man I love is wonderful. I have never met anybody like him. Other men with whom I have gone out have almost invariably made indecent advances; this man never has. He respects my religion and would do nothing to lessen my regard for it. He even says he would like to become a Catholic.

There is only one drawback to my happiness. He was married before in the Protestant Church in which he was baptized. I promised to marry him because surely God will not condemn us when we need each other so badly.

Solution:

It is good that you have written to me so that I can answer shortly before Christmas. You say you have already made your decision. This means that Christmas is not for you. You have renounced it and rejected it, and none of its beauty or joy can have any meaning for your soul.

You say that “God will not condemn you because you need each other so badly.”

Despite your feelings, God has already condemned you. He who left heaven and gave up warm houses, soft clothing, even honor and respectability, and ultimately His life, to save you for heaven, has already pronounced sentence on a decision like yours.

He called marriages such as the one you have promised to attempt “adulterous”. And He said that there will be no unrepentant adulterer in heaven.

Therefore, take, if you will, the benefits of this attractive invalid marriage. But know what you are taking. You will never, so long as you live with this forbidden partner, be able to go to confession and receive God’s forgiveness for this or any other sin. You will never be permitted to kneel at the altar railing and receive the Son of God into your heart. You will never be able to look at a crucifix and say: “He died for me; therefore I will love Him and He will save me,” because you are rejecting Him by your bad marriage.

And there will be no “good tidings of great joy” for you on any Christmas, because what Christ came to give to those of good will, you will have exchanged for a home in which God cannot dwell.

It is not worth it, child. I know it is hard for a girl to give up a man whom she loves greatly. But so was the stable hard, and the manger and the cross. You don’t need any particular man in all the world. You do need God….the God-Man….and you will need Him forever. Don’t give Him up for any love.

“We as grandparents have a great opportunity to teach our grandchildren traditions, truths, and values that their parents may overlook or not have time for. Because of the various complexities of today’s society and family values, we can provide spiritual training when the grandchildren are with us.” – Bob & Emilie Barnes

Take your rosary wherever you go with this one decade, one Our Father lovely and graceful rosary bracelet! Matching earrings are included. Available here.

Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother’s role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God’s word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.

You’ll learn how to grow in wisdom and in love as you encounter the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten all marriages. As the author says: If someone were to give me many short bits of wool, most likely I would throw them away. A carpet weaver thinks differently. He knows the marvels we can achieve by using small things artfully and lovingly. Like the carpet weaver, the good wife must be an artist of love. She must remember her mission and never waste the little deeds that fill her day the precious bits of wool she s been given to weave the majestic tapestry of married love.

This remarkable book will show you how to start weaving love into the tapestry of your marriage today, as it leads you more deeply into the joys of love.

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

No Mass? Take Heart! The Amazing Efficacy of a Spiritual Communion….

Many of us may not be in a time of life where we can make it to daily Mass. And some of us…even Sunday Mass! Well, take heart! Once you read this you will realize you have, right at your fingertips, the powerful means of growing spiritually….amidst your daily duties!

From Jesus Our Eucharistic Love

Spiritual Communion

Spiritual Communion is the reserve of Eucharistic Life and Love always available for lovers of the Eucharistic Jesus. By means of spiritual Communion, the loving desires of the soul that wants to be united with Jesus, its dear Bridegroom, are satisfied.

Spiritual Communion is a union of love between the soul and Jesus in the Host. This union is spiritual but nonetheless real, more real than the union between the soul and the body, “because the soul lives more where it loves than where it lives,” says St. John of the Cross.

Faith, love, desire

As is evident, spiritual Communion assumes that we have faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle. It implies that we would like sacramental Communion, and it demands a gratitude for Jesus’ gift of this Sacrament.

All this is expressed simply and briefly in the formula of St. Alphonsus: “My Jesus, I believe that You are really present in the most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to possess You within my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. (Pause) I embrace You as being already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”

Spiritual Communion, as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori teach, produces effects similar to sacramental Communion according to the dispositions with which it is made, the greater or less earnestness with which Jesus is desired, and the greater or less love with which Jesus is welcomed and given due attention.

A special advantage of spiritual Communion is that we can make it as often as we like— even hundreds of times a day— when we like— even late at night— and wherever we like— even in a desert, or in an airplane.

It is fitting to make a spiritual Communion especially when we are attending Holy Mass and cannot receive Our Lord sacramentally. While the priest is receiving his Holy Communion, our soul should share in it by inviting Jesus into our heart. In this way every Holy Mass we hear is a complete one, with Offertory, sacrificial Consecration, and Holy Communion.

It would indeed be a supreme grace, to be implored with all one’s strength, if the desire of the Council of Trent “that all Christians should receive Holy Communion at every Mass they assist at” were in fact soon to be realized in the Church. So doing, anyone able to participate in more Masses every day, will also be able to make more spiritual Communions every day!

The two chalices

Jesus Himself told St. Catherine of Siena in a vision how precious a spiritual Communion is. The Saint was afraid that a spiritual Communion was nothing compared to a sacramental Communion.

In the vision, Our Lord held up two chalices, and said, “In this golden chalice I put your sacramental Communions. In this silver chalice I put your spiritual Communions. Both chalices are quite pleasing to Me.”

And Jesus once said to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Saint so assiduous in directing her burning desires to Him within the tabernacle: “So dear to Me is a soul’s desire to receive Me, that I hasten to it each time it summons Me by its yearnings.”

It is not hard to see how much spiritual Communion has been loved by the saints. Spiritual Communion, in part at least, satisfied their ardent desire to be united to their Beloved.

Jesus Himself said: “Abide in Me and I in you” (Jn. 15: 4). And spiritual Communion helps us stay united to Jesus, even when we are far from a church.

There is no other way to appease the fond yearning consuming the hearts of the saints. “O God, my whole soul longs for You. As a deer for running water, my whole soul thirsts for God” (Ps. 41: 2).

With the loving sigh of a saint, St. Catherine of Genoa exclaimed, “O dear Spouse (of my soul), I so strongly crave the joy of being with You, that it seems to me that if I were dead, I would come to life in order to receive You in Holy Communion.”

Blessed Agatha of the Cross felt such an acute yearning to live always united to Jesus in the Eucharist, that she remarked, “If the confessor had not taught me to make a spiritual Communion, it would have been impossible for me to live.”

For St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds as well, spiritual Communion provided the only relief from the acute pain she felt when shut up at home far from her beloved Lord, especially when she was not allowed to receive sacramental Communion.

At such times she went out on the terrace of her home and, looking at the church, tearfully sighed, “Happy are they who have received You today in the Blessed Sacrament, O Jesus. Blessed are the walls of the church that guard my Jesus. Blessed are the priests, who are always near Jesus most lovable.” Spiritual Communions alone were able to satisfy her a little.

During the day

Here is one of the counsels which St. Pio of Pietrelcina gave to one of his spiritual daughters: “In the course of the day, when it is not permitted you to do otherwise, call on Jesus, even in the midst of all your occupations, with a resigned sigh of the soul and He will come and will remain always united with your soul by means of His grace and His holy love. Fly with your spirit before the tabernacle, when you cannot stand before it bodily, and there pour out the ardent longings of your soul and embrace the Beloved of souls, even more than if you had been permitted to receive Him sacramentally.”

Let us, too, profit by this great gift. During the times that we suffer trials or feel abandoned, for example, what can be more valuable to us than the union of our Sacramental Lord by means of spiritual Communion?

This holy practice can easily fill our days with acts and sentiments of love, and can make us live in an embrace of love solely conditioned by a renewal so frequent that it seems uninterrupted.

St. Angela Merici was passionately fond of spiritual Communion. Not only did she make it often and exhort others to do it, but she went so far as to make it her daughters’ special heritage, because she wanted them ever after to practice it.

What shall we say of St. Francis de Sales? Does not his whole life seem like a chain of spiritual Communions? He resolved to make a spiritual Communion at least every quarter of an hour.

So, too, St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe even from his youth. A brief page from the spiritual diary of the Ven. Andrew Beltrami, tells us about what is in fact a little program for a life lived in uninterrupted spiritual Communion with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. These are his words: “Wherever I may be I will often think of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I will fix my thoughts on the holy tabernacle— even when I happen to wake up at night— adoring Him from where I am, calling to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, offering up to Him the action in which I am engaged.

I will install one telegraph cable from my study to the church, another from my bedroom, and a third from our refectory; and as often as I can, I will send messages of love to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”

What a stream of divine affections must have passed through those precious cables!

 

“We must have a daily habit of prayer; it should be ingrained in us. Morning and Night Prayers, the Rosary and frequent lifting of the mind to God will help us to hear His Voice.The daily habit of prayer leads us to spiritual health. We are more “tuned in” to know what God’s will is in our life, to desire it and to do it. By our habit of prayer we will experience the tranquility and happiness that comes from Him Who sees our efforts and loves us so much! He will give us the peace that passeth all understanding….” – Anne Joachim

Pray, hope, & do not worry. If Our Lord will provide for birds in the sky would He not help us who are made in His image & likeness? Trust in Him. Do not be anxious like the pagans.

A little reminder of the devotion of Divine Mercy along with the teaching of the little flower on having trust in Our Lord.

 

Beautiful Vintaj Wire Wrapped Rosaries! Lovely, Durable… 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. Available here.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

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

Pure and Noble Ideals – Beautiful Girlhood, Mabel Hale

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 “Strength and honor are her clothing.”

Painting by Marina Chulovich (1956, Russian)

Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale

What is your aim in life, or, rather, what would you have your life to be if you could have the choosing? What kind of life looks the best and most desirable to you? What are your ideals?

An ideal is a mental conception of perfection. It is a picture in the mind of things as we should like to have them. Every girl has her ideals and in one way or another is working toward them. She may be careless and hardly conscious of what she is doing, yet certainly she is following after her ideal. She has in her mind the picture of the woman she wants to be.

No girl can rise higher than her ideals. The ideal one has in mind is the limit of perfection to that person. It is impossible to attain to higher things than we strive for; and few, oh, so few, even reach their ideals. So it is imperative that a girl set before her good and pure ideals, that she set her mark high. It is better to aim at the impossible than to be content with the inferior.

Every girl is a woman in the making. Sometime she will stand in a woman’s place and take a woman s responsibilities. And now, while she is a girl, she is forming the character that shall be hers through womanhood. Her ideals are shaping her life.

What is an ideal woman? What sort of woman do you most admire? Who among your acquaintances seems the most admirable to you? Consider her lifework, her manner of speech, her influence upon those about her. Think of her as a housewife and a mother.

Is your ideal woman loud-spoken, or is her voice pitched low and sweet? Does she criticize others quickly and sharply, or has she always a good word for everyone? Is her dress quiet and becoming, or dashing and bold? Is she conspicuous for the ornaments and jewels upon her person, or is her adornment that of a quiet, Christian spirit? Is she a leader in society, or a quiet homebody? Is she a teacher, a housewife, or businesswoman? Is she an actress or a movie star? Is she earnest and sincere, or light and frivolous?

Whatever she is you admire, she is your ideal, and deep in your heart you wish to be like her. Because she is your ideal—your pattern of womanhood—you will be putting on ways like hers.

Out of these many traits let us together choose the ideal woman. First of all, she should be earnest and sincere. Our truly ideal woman will not be silly or frivolous, nor will she be guilty of actions that appear vulgar or unwomanly. She must be sweet-voiced and gentle—how a loud, boisterous woman jars on our feelings! She must always have a kind word for others—not a person who will unjustly criticize behind your back.

Her clothes are womanly and becoming, for our ideal woman will not wear anything that will cause others to jest and joke at her appearance! She will be known for the beauty of her character rather than the richness of her clothing or ornaments.

Her face may be pretty or it may not be. She should be home-loving and a lover of little children. She must be tenderhearted and sympathetic. She must be the kind of woman to whom one could come with her troubles, truehearted and loyal in friendship, never breaking faith.

She must be a Christian, serving God sincerely. With such a pattern before her any girl will be safe. But girls are liable, if they are not guided carefully, to become blinded by the glitter and gloss of things that are not pure gold.

The dressy, extravagant woman, the social queen, or the girl seen oftenest on the screen at the picture show, becomes brighter lit than the noble women whose lives are telling for good. You, my little friend, choose well; for she whom you choose becomes your pattern.

A right ideal is worth striving for. The best cannot be obtained without effort. Effort costs something. We do not drift to the best that is in us, but we gain the higher places by steep, hard climbing.

Every girl has much within her to be overcome, and much to be developed. If her ideals lie in gaining culture and education, then must come years of hard study and application. If her aspirations run out to music, drawing, painting, sculpture, these accomplishments are perfected only after years of hard work.

Does she aspire to be a housewife and mother? Then she must learn those homely arts that are woman’s part in homemaking. Perhaps this latter vocation takes more earnest application and persistent effort than any other: for home touches the life so closely everywhere. Does our girl aspire to be pure and noble? Then she must give up all that defiles and leave it out of her life.

It is not enough to have good ideals. There must be a careful and persistent effort to live up to them. To keep these ideals perfect often costs the sacrifice of other things that seem pleasant. Like the merchant of old who found a pearl of greatest price and sold all that he had to purchase it, so a girl, to keep her ideals pure, must be willing to give for that all else. And a girl will sacrifice much for her ideal, be it good or bad.

It is not enough to strive for a life morally pure and noble. That is good; but the truly ideal life is one lived for God. A life which does not in word and deed reflect the life and teachings of Christ fails that much in being ideal.

I never think of one who stands by her Christian ideals but that I remember a girl I knew years ago. She was a happy, blue-eyed girl with high ideals of morality and godliness, and with a purpose to be true to these in all her conduct. She had kept company with a young man for some time and they had become engaged to be married, and she gave him her whole heart’s love.

But he was not a Christian, and as their acquaintance became more intimate he saw more and more her determination to be guided in everything by her pattern, Christ. He loved the things of this life and desired that their lives together should be happy and full of worldly pleasure, while he saw plainly that her mind ran to things spiritual.

He thought it best for them to understand before marriage that their lives were not to be religious, but should be given to the things he loved. So one evening he told her plainly his position.

Her blue eyes opened wide in astonishment that he should set before her such a choice; for he had said that if she were not willing to give up her religion she must give him up. She was disappointed, for she had hoped to win him for the Lord. But her answer came firmly from her heart, “I will not give up my Lord for any man.”

This decision cost her his friendship and the fulfillment of all the hopes and plans they had built, but she had in her heart the consciousness of having stood by her convictions.

And you, too, must stand by your convictions at the cost of things you love. An ideal is worth little if it is not worth wholehearted, honest effort. Nothing is more pitiful than a woman whose mind admires purity and right, yet whose will is too weak to choose them and whose life is blighted by sin and mire about her. Be true, be noble, aim high, and God will give you strength to keep your ideals.

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“Friendship is a virtue, and the greatest saints have had friends without harm to their advancement along the road of perfection. Perfection does not consist in abstaining from friendships, but in having only those that are good and holy.” -St. Francis de Sales

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Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

Check it out! Books by Leane VanderPutten Package Special! Includes all 17 Books!

Available here.

In this book, Kennedy Hall explores the traditional wisdom of the Catholic Church on all things pertaining to masculinity. It is no secret that in our day it is hard to define what a man truly is, let alone how he should act. With all the modern obstacles that work against forming virtuous men, Kennedy Hall provides a solution with this book. Terror of Demons: Reclaiming Traditional Catholic Masculinity will help men of all ages and stages in life to develop heroic masculine virtue, something greatly needed in our time.

Here’s the award-winning classic that for over forty years has shown Christian men how to be the loving husbands and gentle fathers that Christ calls them to be.

Rooted firmly in Scripture, these pages call on husbands to stop thinking of themselves simply as bosses and breadwinners. Rather, says author Clayton Barbeau, husbands should see themselves as co-creators with God, imitators of Christ’s love for His people, high priests in the domestic Church, teachers of their children, witnesses to society, providers of spiritual and material goods, and models of holiness.

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

My Children Are Grown, What Do I Do Now?

by Leane VanderPutten

This is a repost. Since I wrote this, three years have passed! Hard to believe…and so much has happened in our personal lives, and in our world! This life is fleeting…live each moment to the fullest!

My Children Are Grown, What Do I Do Now?

Well, I am not quite there yet but I have definitely gone through a transition in the last ten years! My youngest, Angelo, is 12 years old (He is now 15, has a truck and works and thinks like a man). So, yes, definitely there are different dynamics from changing diapers, toddlers tugging on skirts, teaching school to many, praying (and trembling) about my boys riding dirt bikes, making dinner for hungry (and many) mouths, making lunches in the evening when your legs ache and your eyelids are drooping, etc.

I actually have free time now!! …Well, not a whole lot because I still have many things to do in the home, this website, babysitting grandkids, taking care of my mom and sister, etc.

I’ve never been afraid of this era in my life. I will always feel like a student in the Book of Life….ever growing, ever learning!

One reason I anticipate with joy this phase of my life is that most of my children live close by and I have several grandchildren that do and will be coming over in my golden years. My heart and my home is open to my children and grandchildren. I don’t deny that sometimes it is a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice that is well worth it. I love them dearly, I wish to give to them, even when it hurts and although I do not think about this much, I know they will take care of me.

(Note: We do not have to be slaves to our children and grandchildren but it is important to go the extra mile! Remember, “What goes around, comes around.” We don’t look for recompense…but it comes.)

I am needed and I think Grandmas are very much needed, especially in this day and age. Our children and our grandchildren need our support, our wisdom and….our cookies! 🙂

They need to be able to look to us as part of their stability and security, part of their beautiful lineage.

If you don’t have children and grandchildren close, that’s ok. There is still much to accomplish in your parish and community! And you can make sure and stay in contact with your loved ones through modern technology, hand-written letters (and stickers…children love stickers) and little gifts here and there. Oh yes, and, of course, Masses offered for them regularly!

Just lately, I was talking to someone who asked me, “Tell me, does it bother you that you are getting older and opportunities are less?”

I had to laugh. Are you kidding?! There are so many opportunities for fulfillment in our senior years. We have so much experience behind us; we can offer our services in so many areas. And it can be fun!

What about offering to start or lead a Legion of Mary Praesidium in your area? It could be a Junior Legion of Mary…for children. Or the Senior one…for the adults. Look it up…see if it could be a fit.

How about a Reading Circle? You can get your grandchildren together, or the children of the parish, once a week and take time to read to them. Make it simple but fun…offering refreshments, coloring pages, etc. And what a fine opportunity to talk to them about God, the saints, Our Lady…. The parents would so much appreciate your input and a little break for themselves.

How about starting a Finer Femininity meeting? The young ladies look to us as mentors. We don’t have to know everything…we may have stumbled along through life ourselves…but we have learned things, right? Why not pass some of that on? Besides, when we have an FF meeting, we can pass on information, our own experiences don’t have to dominate the meeting.

Titus 2:3-5 tells the older women to use their experience and knowledge to teach the younger women: “The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”  -Douay Rheims version.

Age should never be a barrier to making dreams come true! If anything, it should be an asset! And when we are Catholics we have powerful Sacramental grace backing us up, too! +

My aunt became a medical doctor in her late 50’s! She had a dream, her children were grown. So she went for it!

My mother started going to school as a Naturopath Doctor when she was pushing sixty! She is 82 now, still sees clients and has helped so many people. Loneliness? Are you kidding! She is amazing. She is still learning about health and is on top of the latest breakthroughs on the natural medicine world. She researches and gets excited! It is because she is doing something she loves.

And it is so precious to see my own grandchildren (her great-grandchildren) file up the sidewalk to her little apartment that is on the back of our house to get their “treat” from Grandma (a lollipop from the Health Store). Grandma never minds the interruptions, she revels in it. They are a blessed pause in her very busy day! And those children will always remember going up to Grandma’s door to receive their “Grandma goodie”! (As you can see from the picture the farm dogs also file up her sidewalk to get their goodies!)

(Mom has passed away since this post. See post here.)

Now, we as Catholic Grandmas have certain criteria we must follow before we pursue any life revolutionizing dreams…. We should ask these questions: Will our spiritual life suffer if we follow this dream? What does our spiritual director think? Is our husband on board (always consult your hubby!)? Will our family life suffer, etc.

Now, for me, I didn’t have the answers to all of these questions when I started this website. My husband wasn’t sure, either. But he was behind me. So, I had to test the waters. And it wasn’t easy at first.

Point being…you won’t get a written letter from God. So you must pray, trust, and if doors open, then act!

Don’t ever lose your enthusiasm and excitement for life! Being “too old” should never be an excuse…it shouldn’t even enter into your mind. (Even with health difficulties, we have much we can accomplish…being a prayer warrior is the best of all!)

You are needed! You have talents! Share them!

“As grandparents, we have the opportunity to be an encouragement to those all around us. People want to have us share some of the secrets of contentment. Being grandparents gives us an opportunity to really shape the next generation.” 101 Ways to Love Your Grandkids, Bob and Emilie Barnes http://amzn.to/2oFNjyD (afflink)

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Speaking of Prayer Warriors….Here is a book highly recommended by my mother who spends much time each day in prayer.

It is a unique little prayerbook of powerful prayers and devotions, including wonderful promises attached that were made by Our Lord or Our Lady to various famous Saints. Includes devotions to Our Lady, the Infant Jesus, Precious Blood, Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, St. Michael, etc. Shows that God wants to grant us favors–if we will just pray! Impr. 138 pgs 27 Illustrations

Available here.

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Doilies by Rosie! These are beautiful, lacy, handmade doilies made with size 10 crochet cotton. They have been blocked and starched and are ready to decorate and accent your home decor. “The quality & workmanship of this crocheted doily is suburb! And the beauty even more so–I am so happy to be able to purchase a handmade doily just as lovely as my grandma used to make…” Available here.

The Paschal Candle

From The Big Book of Catholic Sacramentals by Father Arthur Tonne

“I am the light of the world. He who follows me does not walk in the darkness, but will have the light.” – St. John, 8:12.

About forty miles west and a little south of Denver, Colorado, is the famous Gray’s Peak. It is over 14,000 feet high and is part of the Rocky Mountain Range. A traveler at the turn of the century described his experience in climbing that mountain.

He and his party started out early in the morning before the sun was up. He had heard so much of the glorious gorges, the snow-capped summits, the sparkling streams, the limpid waters of Green Lake, fringed with flowers of every hue and fragrance.

On they climbed, higher and higher, but the beauties he had hoped to behold, could not be seen. Heavy clouds, hanging low over the slopes, threw blankets of mist over the valleys below. He was disappointed, weary and chilled to the bone.

Suddenly he saw a golden shaft of light pierce the clouds. Soon the sun scattered the clouds entirely, uncovering crag and chasm, unveiling lake and stream, bathing the entire valley with a golden glow. As if by magic, darkness turned to light, cold to warmth, night to day.

The life of man is something like climbing a mountain. Especially is the life of a Catholic during Lent like climbing a misty mountain. It is desolate, chilling and wearying. But when the first light of the Easter Candle casts its Holy Saturday light into the darkness of Holy Week, we begin to see the beauties of our faith, we begin to see what Christ meant when He declared: “I am the light of the world.”

The Paschal Candle represents Christ, the Light of the world. Its wax is a “mysterious virginal production” of “the cleanly bees.” It represents the virginal flesh of Christ, formed in the virginal womb of His Mother Mary. The wick symbolizes His human soul; the flame shows forth His divine nature.

In the body of the candle you will notice five grains of incense–the five wounds of our Lord, arranged in the form of a cross. The grains of incense recall the spices used to prepare His sacred body for burial.

The blessing of the Paschal Candle on Holy Saturday morning is a strikingly beautiful ceremony. After the blessing of the new fire and the procession up the aisle to the sanctuary, during which the triple candle is lighted with the triple announcement to the world: “Lumen Christi”–“The Light of Christ,” the celebrant goes to the Epistle side of the altar.

The deacon takes the book, asks and receives a blessing, and then sings the glorious “Exultet” whose opening words give the theme and spirit of its message: “Let the angelic choirs of heaven rejoice.”

Toward the end of the Preface which follows, the deacon fixes the five blessed grains of incense in the Candle in the form of a cross. After asking the heavenly Father to accept the sacrifice of this incense, the deacon lights the Paschal Candle with one of the triple candles which had been lighted from the new fire using a taper to transfer the light. Then the lamps and candles on the altar are lighted.

The deacon sings on. Here is part of his song: “We beseech Thee, therefore, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated in honor of Thy name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweet savor, may it be mixed with the lights of heaven. May the morning star find its flame alive; that star, which knows no setting, that star which returning from hell or limbo, shone serenely upon mankind.”

The column of wax has become an inspiring sacramental. Standing at the Gospel side of the altar, it puts us in mind of Christ, the Light of the world. Lighted first during the early morning darkness of Holy Saturday, it represents our divine Redeemer Himself, who was dead, but is now risen to a new life, never to die again.

The forty days during which we see the Paschal Candle in the sanctuary represent the forty days our Lord remained upon this earth after His resurrection, to further instruct and inspire His apostles and followers.

It is lighted at the solemn Mass and Vespers of Easter Sunday, and on all the Sundays to the Ascension. It is not to be lighted on other days or feasts within the Easter time, unless in churches where such a custom exists.

The custom most generally followed in the United States, though by no means universal, is to have the Paschal Candle burn on Sundays during Easter time at all the Masses and at Vespers.

With the coming of Ascension Thursday we behold a simple, stirring ceremony after the Gospel of the Mass, when the server extinguishes the Paschal Candle. Christ, whom it represents, has ascended into heaven.

Seldom is this waxen pillar entirely consumed before Ascension. In the early centuries the faithful secured small portions to keep in their homes as protection against evils of soul and body. From this pious practice the Agnus Dei took its origin.

Try to be present for the blessing of the Paschal Candle on Holy Saturday morning. Follow in your missal the beautiful ceremonies with which this emblem of Christ is set up in the sanctuary. Let the Paschal Candle keep continually before your mind that Christ is the Light of the world, Christ is the Light of your life.

There is so much darkness in the world. There is so much darkness in the minds and hearts of men. There is so much darkness in our lives–darkness of ignorance, darkness of unkindness, darkness of sin. Only Christ, the true Light, can dispel that darkness.

Climbing up to God is like climbing up a difficult mountain, like climbing up Gray’s Peak. Mists of misunderstanding and doubt and sadness oppress us. In such times of darkness turn to Christ, the true Light. Amen.

Introduce your children into the family’s prayers at the earliest age possible. As often as possible, say morning and night prayers or the Rosary with your children. Train them to take part in prayers before and after meals. In time of danger or sorrow, resort to prayer as the first and most important source of help and consolation. -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2r8cxGP (afflink)

Son-in-law, Mike, and granddaughter, Agnes

Holy Family Aprons! Feminine and Beautiful! Fully lined, lace overlay, made with care and detail. Available here.

 

A book of your favorite litanies….

Chosen by God for the incomparable vocation of spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ; St. Joseph received magnificent divine graces and favors not granted even to the Old Testament Patriarchs. Known as the most humble of men; St. Joseph received from Almighty God the authority to command both Our Lady and the Son of God Himself; and in Heaven he continues to have great intercessory power with God.
The Divine Favors Granted to St. Joseph shows how this greatest of the Patriarchs is the patron of all Christians and how wonderfully he answers prayers; plus; it gives many of the ways of honoring him and many prayers to request his intercession. One of the finest books on St. Joseph; it will surely inspire the reader with a profound devotion to this great “Patron of the Universal Church.” Impr. 176 pgs;

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