The Golden Nuggets of Suffering

Lent is around the corner and it is a good time to meditate on suffering. A Throwback for Thursday:

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Lent makes us pause, gives us a chance to think of Our Lord’s suffering….a suffering we, as mere mortals, have a hard time wrapping our heads around.

I don’t pretend to understand the problem of human suffering. At times, it seems pointless, endless and utterly self-defeating…at times.

Those are the moments we are tempted to look up and say, “Ummmm….Dear Lord, are you SURE You know what You are doing here???”

But, good Catholics that we try to be, we resist the temptation to ask God what He is about, or why He does what He does….at least we try not to do it in accusing tones.

I believe God understands because, after all:

“Evil is a mystery, a scandal and it will always be so. It is necessary to do what one can to eliminate it, to relieve suffering, but it always remains present in our personal lives, as well as in the world.”

We are reassured that:

“Its place in the economy of redemption reveals the wisdom of God, which is not the wisdom of man; it always retains something incomprehensible. …. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9).” – Fr. Jacques Philippe

I have had two very strong examples in my life of suffering that was well borne.

I knew a couple…..a vibrant, lovely, cheerful young couple. They were always ready to lend a helping hand and they were loved by many.

They owned a business where they both worked hard. It was a business that brought people in from near and far….not only for their wares but, also, and maybe even most of all, for their magnetic and caring personalities.

One day, the husband had an accident that was to cause him pain and grief for the rest of his life. He had to sell his business and seek other employment. He had surgery after surgery to relieve the pain. Nothing seemed to work except stronger and stronger medications.

It got to the point where he could work no more and his sweet and lovely wife had to take a job. This particular man bore his pain and his unaccustomed weakness bravely. He hardly complained, he still held his hand out to those in need, and he was a pleasure to be around, joking and laughing, as always. You almost forgot what kind of anguish he bore within himself.

He handled his pain well but there was a problem…….He had. no. faith. He and his wife left the Church many years before the accident.

I would often think of this dear man with sadness. He had such a wealth of  power at his fingertips! The people he could have influenced, the pain he could have relieved, the sufferings of others that he could have borne…..if he had only known to offer up his pain to Our Lord….Pain that is such a valuable treasure! More riches than the whole world did he have!! And yet the years went by and his suffering was lost…..lost….spiraling down into the abyss of nothingness.

Let me tell you about another man.

This gentleman’s name was Jim. Though Jim was a young man, the Legion of Mary first met him in a retirement home. He was a quadriplegic…..he couldn’t move any of his limbs.

When you walked into Jim’s room it was as if you were walking into a tomb. It was quiet….still…..dimly-lit. I remember the first time going to see him, I was taken aback at the somberness of it all.

But once you got on the side of Jim’s bed where he could see you, you got quite another picture! Jim was so much alive despite his paralyzed body. His eyes danced and his lips curved into a smile!

You see, Jim had been a Harley Davidson guy in his mobile years. His life was spent seeking pleasures and empty diversions. It was a life of unhappy dissipation.

One day Jim had an accident. The accident left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Enter the Legion of Mary. Through many visits, Jim learned about the Catholic Faith and converted. He also learned about the value of suffering.

He learned that he had such a store of wealth that he could distribute among others who were hurting. He could offer it for his wife, who had left him after the accident. He could offer it for his two children, knowing that this would be his only influence and legacy he would leave them….a great legacy, indeed, though they may not know it in this life.

Jim became a dynamo of love. He was genuinely concerned for anyone who had hurts, who needed prayers. Many of us came to him with prayer requests, knowing that his prayers must be powerful with God! His wall was dotted with many photos of families that wanted him to pray for them…..and which he steadfastly did each day.

He told my friend, Mary Ann, the woman who was instrumental in converting Jim and who was his Godmother, that he was happier now than he had ever been in his former “walking” life. Imagine that! He was a living testimony of the Miracle of Faith!

Here is a picture of Jim with his Godparents, Mike and MaryAnn and their family. (The top girl on the left became my dear daughter-in-law.) Father Lontiev is posing with them.

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Jim died about 4 years ago now. He had such a hard life….and yet he was a man of incredible faith and influenced many lives. One day, we will see the influence of this one man’s suffering on the world around him. It will be great, I have no doubt.

Each day, we too, have sufferings, inconveniences, disappointments and hurts. These are great opportunities and valuable prayers. We have the opportunity to hand these golden nuggets to Our Lord.

As women, wives and mothers we care so very much for our loved ones. We hurt when they hurt. Oftentimes we feel helpless.

We don’t need to feel helpless. Let’s take each nugget of suffering and, instead of kicking against the goad, give them to Our Lady, who, in turn, can polish them up, rid these nuggets of the dirt and grime of our self-love, and lay them at the feet of Our Lord as only His Mother can do.

One day, we will see the influence of our own suffering well-borne in our little worlds: Our son was steered back to the faith, our sister was given insight into her marital troubles, our uncle was now willing to take his meds for his mental illness, Grandma found help for her arthritis, Susie’s obstinacy is being resolved, etc. etc. All because YOU offered your sufferings each day to Our Lord in your Morning Offering and all through the day.

From Father Raoul Plus, S.J.: “Of the three apostolates: prayer, action, and suffering, the most efficacious is suffering.

…..Our duty is evident. The work of redemption is binding upon both the Master and the disciples. The manner of redemption chosen by the Master must be adopted by the disciple. To be a Christian is to be not only one redeemed but also a redeemer, not only one saved but a savior. What nonsense, then to refuse sacrifice!”

And, as Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote “Pain, agony, disappointments, injustices-all these can be poured into a heavenly treasury from which the anemic, sinful, confused, ignorant souls may draw unto the healing of their wings.”

Remember that in God’s eyes, none of these sufferings are useless….they are nuggets….golden nuggets.

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“The woman was given a different assignment, that of helpmeet, mother, homemaker. We apply the word helpmeet to mean the role of the wife as she offers understanding, encouragement, support, and sometimes help. Since she is biologically created to bear children, her role as a mother is unquestioned. Her homemaking role is assumed: She must nurture her young and run the household, to free her husband to function as the provider.” -Helen Andelin

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How to Choose a Marriage Partner – Fr. Lovasik

 tumblr_miboefvbRu1r9qhhio1_1280Recently I posted a wonderful list by Father Daniel A. Lord on the qualities to look for in choosing a wife.

I am following up with this list that is not as extensive as Fr. Lord’s but very good for a woman to ponder as she keeps her eyes open for a good husband….and a man to think about to see if he needs to make some changes in his life.

From Father Lovasik:

The following questions will not only help you to fit yourself for leading a worthy and holy married life, but also enable you to choose a partner in marriage intelligently.
I. Friendship

1.Is your friendship morally beneficial? Are you morally better or worse for having been with him, and what can you expect in the future? Would marriage with him help you to observe God’s commandments and practice your religious duties faithfully?

2.Imagine a crisis in your life (poverty, sickness) that might demand a high quality of virtue to remain faithful to God. Would he be a help to the practice of such virtue?

3.Does he drink too much? Gamble?

4.Does he want to indulge in petting, passionate kissing, even at the expense of chastity?

5.Does he control his temper? Has he a sense of humor? Can he keep a secret?

6.Does he practice his religion?

7.What are his views on divorce, on having children, on Catholic education, on frequenting the sacraments?

8.Can you actually point out any definite virtuous qualities, or are they put on for your benefit now?

II.Agreement

1.Is there at least a reasonable degree of similarity between you in regard to the recreations you like?

2.Could you both enjoy staying at home in the evening, especially when children come?

3.Are there any habits now that not only get on your nerves but which you find extraordinarily difficult to overlook?

4.Do you both fit into about the same kind of social life?

5.Does he get along with your family and you with his?

6.Have you both sufficient health for marriage?

7.What are his habits of life: cleanliness, orderliness, good manners, good grammar?

8. Are you able to harmonize judgments on things that pertain to family life: food, kind of house, furnishings, etc.?

9. Have you the same religion and the same standards concerning its practice?

10. Have you the same attitude towards children and their education?

11. Do you feel at ease together, regardless of what you talk about? If you do not meet for some time, are you able to take up where you left off, with something of the naturalness of a family reunion, or do you have to try to work up an acquaintance all over again?

12. Has he a nagging or reforming disposition?

13. Do you see his failing, and are you willing to tolerate them? Does he admit them and is he willing to get over them?

14. With children in mind, would you say that this person would be just the right other parent for them?

III. Self – Sacrifice

1. Is your prospective companion thoughtful of others and has he the power of self-discipline?

2. In his home does he show thoughtfulness of parents and brothers and sisters, and do you get the impression that this is his regular attitude?

3. What little kindnesses, not only to you but to others, have you noticed in him?

4. When he is wrong, does he admit it and try to make up for it?

5. Does he easily and graciously pass over others’ mistakes?

6. Does he look for sympathy too much?

7. Can he give sympathy willingly, or does someone else’s trouble always bring out a greater trouble of his?

8. Does he show that he knows his temper, and that jealousy and other unpleasant traits ought to be controlled?

From Holy Matrimony: Choosing a Partner:

Signs of emotional immaturity:

1. Gloominess over little failures.
2. Pessimism over slight difficulties.
3. Complete panic when frightened or in an emergency.
4. Throwing or breaking things when angry or crossed.
5. Tears when thwarted, disappointed or upset.
6. Selfishness, aggressiveness, rebelliousness, stubbornness.
7. Needless and prolonged worry over trifles.
8. Morbid fears, strong hates, and unreasonable prejudices.

from Father Kelly:

Is it a husband you want: How does he like children? Does he like to work? Can he hold a job? Has he a sense of responsibility? Is he “grown up,” or does he have to be pampered? Too jealous? A braggart? An alibi-artist? Is he courteous?”

“At his home (each should know the other’s family) does he show thoughtfulness of parents and brothers and sisters and do you get the general impression that this is the regular thing?

What little kindnesses, not only to you but to others, have you noticed in him? When he is wrong does he admit it, and try to make up for it? Does he easily and graciously pass over others’ mistakes? Does he look for sympathy too much?

Can he give sympathy willingly, or does someone else’s trouble always bring out a greater trouble of his? Is he emotionally grown up; at least does he show that he knows his temper and jealousy and such things ought to be controlled?”

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“Pride must have no place in wedded life. There must never be any calculation as to whose place it is to make the apology or to yield first to the other. True love seeks not its own; it delights in being foremost in forgiving and yielding. There is no lesson that husbands and wives need more to learn, than instantly and always to seek forgiveness of each other whenever they are conscious of having in any way caused pain or committed a wrong. The pride which will never say, ‘I did wrong; forgive me,’ is not ready for wedded life!” -J.R. Miller
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Check out my Spring Maglet (magazine/booklet) at Meadows of Grace. Tidbits about Lent, Easter and just bunches of inspiration and encouragement!

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You can get all three volumes of the Maglets here:

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Play Can Be Prayer

Meditation…hard? Let the children show us the way!

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How to Raise Good Catholic Children, Mary Reed Newland, Sophia Institute Press

Play is prayer, too, although we all seem to think God wants only the whiny gifts and none of the shiny ones.

If a queen is crowned and people dance in the streets, the queen says she’s honored. But we have the idea that play, if it has any relation to God at all, is at best “time out” from serving Him with daily prayers and duties.

We have borrowed from St. Paul for our grace before meals, to help remind the children that the joys in life are prayers, too: “Whether we eat or sleep, whether we work or play, may it all be for the honor and glory of God.”

Many times a day, a mother may remind her children to offer their play as part of their prayer.

Trips into the house for drinks of water, mittens, coats on, coats off — all are opportunities to be reminded. “Having fun?” It’s what all mothers say. They can add, “Be sure to offer your fun to God, because He loves being prayed to with fun.”

It will help plant deep in their hearts the instinct for holy fun, for sensing that amusement that isn’t wholesome cannot be offered, and is therefore not fitting play if it doesn’t make fitting prayer.

Last of all, we can teach our children to practice mental prayer. Understood too little, mental prayer is simply “lifting the heart and the mind to God.” And for children with an understanding that prayer is talking to God, it’s no more difficult than daydreaming.

We have a kind of game to play at night that is really mental prayer, but which the children call “What shall I think about before I go to sleep?”

“Why don’t you pretend you’re walking down a street in Nazareth, and you come to a little house with a blue door. You knock at the door, and when it opens, there is the most beautiful lady in the world. The Blessed Mother!

And she says, ‘Why, Jamie! I was just thinking of you. Do come in, and have a glass of milk and some cookies, and we’ll have a good talk. Tell me all about your day. All the things that bothered you, and all the things that were fun. And afterward, you may go out to the carpenter shop in the back.

Jesus and Joseph are out there making me a birthday present, but they won’t tell me what it is. Maybe they will tell you, and let you help. And then you can go to the well with Jesus and get the water, and help Him milk the goat, and pick the peas for supper.”

From there on, they manage by themselves (I know only because they tell me). Sometimes they go up into the hills with Jesus to explore, or sometimes they take their lunch in little backpacks and eat it by a brook. Sometimes they discover that it’s a boat He’s making for His Mother, and they take it to the brook to see if it will sail. Sometimes they stay in the shop, and Joseph helps them make a jalopy.

And sometimes, best thing of all, they build a tree house, and the Blessed Mother makes sandwiches, and they scramble into the tree and eat them, roosting high in the sky with the Lord of the world.

Jesus is just their age, and likes to do just the things they like to do, and with help and suggestions and encouragement every night, He can become “really and truly my very best friend.”

To wander the last corridor to sleep with all the persons of the fairytales, with Thumbelina and Peter Pan is fun, but at best only entertainment; but to walk the streets of His town, sit with His mother, and work with His stepfather, to talk and eat and play with the boy Christ — this is fun that fans their love, is rich in grace, and teaches them a habit that is real and serious mental prayer.

There’s nothing good the day can hold that cannot be prayer. Helping children to pray, not only with their lips and their hearts, but with their work and play and hurts and dreaming — everything in their lives — this is teaching them to “pray always.”

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“Dear Girls, contemplating the final leap, I want you to understand that you can afford a great deal less to be careless after marriage than before. Men like what is bright and cheerful, and pleasant to behold. So far as you are concerned see that you are never an eyesore. Even if you have your own work to do, there is no necessity why you should be a dowdy or a slattern. Even a cotton dress clean and daintily made can be as becoming to you as a robe of silk and lace.” -Courtship and Marriage and the Gentle Art of Home-making, Annie S. Swan, 1894
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Too Young, Too Old for Dating? Married Employers – 1955 -Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

Is Sixteen Too Young for Dates?

 Problem:

“In the December Liguorian a girl of 16 complains about being permitted to have only one date a week.

I too am 16, but I am not permitted by my parents to go with boys at all, nor even to talk to them on a telephone.

They will not let me go with boys till I am 18. 1 hope to marry some day and have children, but to do that I have to have boy friends.

There are six in my family already married and they are all happy except one, who has nobody to blame but herself . . .”

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Solution:

The last statement in your letter indicates that the 18- year old rule your parents have laid down has worked out pretty well for your brothers and sisters.

If five of them are happy in marriage, and the 6th one having a tough time only through her own fault, the chances are all in your favor for a happy marriage under the parental plan.

You are too young, at 16, to be thinking of looking over the crop of boys, on regular dates, in order to pick a partner for marriage.

At 16, your inexperienced emotions are liable to run away with your reason, and before you know it you could find yourself madly in love with somebody at whom, if you were 18, you would take a second and a third and a tenth look before permitting yourself to be madly in love.

You might even feel that you had to marry a particular boy at 17 (in fact, you might have to marry him at 17 to keep out of sin), and then by the time you were 18 you could be wishing you still had your freedom to choose a partner more wisely.

If you answer that I seemed to O.K. the weekly dates of my December correspondent, you should recall that I said that these should be in company with other couples, and the dates should not be with the same person continuously.

In other words, a girl of 16 should not take a chance on becoming too attached to any boy because young love has its dangers and early marriage its drawbacks.

This is easier said than done if she goes in for dating; it is easier done than said if she does no dating.

I should add, however, that you can spoil the value of your parents’ ruling entirely by letting it make you bitter or rebellious.

There is an old saying that only an obedient girl can become a wise and prudent mother. You could ruin your character for any vocation by pouting, talking back, feeling aggrieved and persecuted.

Forget marriage and boys for a while, and work on your character and education, and I’ll prophesy a happier marriage for you than for any of your dating and courting classmates.

Dates with Married Employers

 Problem:

“I have a job as private secretary of an executive in a large company. It is a wonderful position and pays good wages.

My boss is a married man in his late thirties and I am 25.

My problem is that he is constantly asking me to go out to dinner with him, which usually means going to a show afterwards and spending the evening with him.

I have done this once or twice, but have not felt right about it.

He has told me that he does not get along too well with his wife, and that, therefore a little innocent recreation with a girl like me cannot do any harm.

He has all but hinted lately that it is a part of my job to go out with him, making me feel that if I don’t, he may look for somebody else to work for him.

Just what is my duty in this situation?”index

 Solution:

You are face to face with a set of circumstances that have been the occasion of the moral downfall of many a previously decent girl.

The pattern is much the same in these cases.

It starts with the hackneyed dodge of the married man that “his wife does not understand him.”

Then comes the devil’s suggestion that dating somebody else is a perfectly innocent pastime.

If this is not sufficient to break a girl down, economic pressure is used: “It is part of your job-your pay-envelope depends on it.”

The end of the story is usually the same, no matter how upright, trustworthy, “decent-minded”, the employer seemed to be in the beginning.

The end is adultery in one form or another.

You are in danger not only from the obvious weakness of your employer, but from your own.

Your own heart can become involved; his position of authority, his flattering attention to you, his “pathetic” confidence in your ability to make up for his wife’s shortcomings, can make you think you are in love with him.

If you don’t resist that, and all occasions that may lead to it, you are lost.

For the sake of your soul, your peace of mind, your future, I beg you not to be deceived. There is no such thing as a married man “innocently” dating and running around with a girl other than his wife.

It is not innocent at the start, even when it has not as yet led to outright sins of sensuality, because he owes his companionship to his wife alone.

And it will not be “innocent” of sinful actions very long.

Even if you may have to lose your good job, as a price of your integrity, let him know that you cannot be bought, as a companion for his wayward affections, at any price.

Company-Keeping in the Late Thirties

 Problem:

I am thirty-eight years old and am keeping company with a man who is a little past forty. We seem to get along wonderfully well, in fact are in love, and he has spoken to me about getting married.

One thing has made me hesitate.

If I marry at my age, must 1 do so with the thought of possibly having a family?

I have heard and read that bearing children for the first time in the late thirties is very dangerous.

Must I face that danger? If so, would it be wiser not to marry at all, or at least to wait for several years?

 Solution:

One thing should be ruled out very clearly from the start, and that is the thought of continuing your steady company-keeping with the intention of not marrying at least for several years.

To do that, while being, as you say, in love, would be to remain deliberately in a very proximate occasion of sin without necessity.

If for any reason you decide that marriage is out of the question for eight to ten years, the only prudent thing to do is to decide that close company-keeping should also be put off for close to eight or ten years.

If you think about marrying, you must do so with the consideration of the possibility that you may have children.

It would be gravely wrong to enter marriage with the idea of taking measures to prevent yourself from ever having children; indeed, the marriage would be an invalid one if you excluded from the contract the very right to such actions as might result in your having children.

We do not think there is sufficient reason for you to be over-fearful of the danger of child-bearing at your age.

If a thorough physical checkup reveals that you are in sound health, and if you are sufficiently stable of mind not to permit imaginary fears to make you panicky, you should be able to face marriage and its responsibilities with calmness and joy.

This should be especially easy if you possess solid religious principles and childlike confidence in God.

God’s interest in your welfare and His care of your future may be counted on to balance any special difficulties that may arise if you have a family.

And remember always that only God knows whether you will ever have a child.

I would say: Get married, but do so with unreserved acceptance of all the responsibilities of marriage, and with unshakable confidence in God.

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

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Lovely, Charming….

Made by my daughter Virginia, these hats are such a beautiful addition to the little girl’s wardrobe. Visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe  for a peek! 🙂 🙂

 

Helplessness in Trials, and the Trial of Helplessness

A3996I remember when my life was so very hectic, small children demanding every fraction of my time. I must have appeared more tired than usual because my mother-in-law was compelled to remind me to enjoy these times when all the children were small. She told me that even though this phase of parenthood was most demanding physically, it was special because we have a lot of control.

When the children become young adults, that control is no longer there. We must pray and hope that they make the right decisions. Sometimes we feel helpless.

Fr. Phillipe gives us words of much consolation when dealing with what seems to be a situation in which we feel absolutely powerless, whether it is with our children or spouse, or whatever the case may be.

Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe

There are times in every life when we find ourselves in situations of trial and difficulty, either affecting us or someone we love. We can do nothing. However much we turn things over and examine them from every angle, there is no solution.

The feeling of being helpless and powerless is a painful trial, especially when it concerns someone close to us: to see someone we love in difficulties without being able to help is one of the bitterest sufferings there is. Many parents experience it.

When children are small, there is always a way of intervening, helping them. When children are older and no longer heed advice, it can be terrible for parents to see their sons or daughters turning to drugs or launching destructive love affairs. Much as they want to help, they cannot.

At such times we should tell ourselves that even if we apparently have no way of intervening, we still, despite everything, can continue to believe, hope, and love.

We can believe that God will not abandon our child and our prayer will bear fruit in due course.

We can hope in the Lord’s faithfulness and power for everything.

We can love by continuing to carry that person in our heart and prayer, forgiving him and forgiving the wrong done to him; and expressing love in every way available to us, including trust, self-abandonment, and forgiveness.

The more devoid of means our love is, the purer and greater it is.

Even when, externally, there is nothing to be done, we still have inner freedom to continue to love.

No circumstance, however tragic, can rob us of that. For us, this should be a liberating and consoling certainty amidst the trial of powerlessness.

Even if we can do nothing, as long as we believe, hope, and love, something is happening whose fruits will appear sooner or later, in the time of God’s mercy.

Love, though bereft of means and apparently powerless, is always fruitful. It cannot be otherwise, because it is a participation in the being and life of God.

“Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

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Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of True Womanhood! 

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“Christian humility does not lower, it elevates; it does not cast down, but gives courage, for the more it reveals to the soul its nothingness and abjection, the more it moves it toward God with confidence and abandonment.” – Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

Accept Him As He Is

It would probably be a good thing to repost my disclaimer at this point. Here it is:

This post is a disclaimer.

I started this blog so that I could put out to you things that have helped me along the way. I do not necessarily agree with everything in every article that is written but if I post them I feel there are enough valuable points that bear listening to.

I think it is important to clarify that if you have a husband who has an abuse problem (alcohol, gambling, pornography, drugs or physical abuse) then these principles do not necessarily apply and may even cause some harm. So you need to decide, or get a good holy priest to help you decide, whether you need professional help.

BUT…if you are married to a regular wonderful man who is part virtue, part fault….be they annoying, in-your-face type faults, then the principles laid out in these articles can apply to you.

I also realize that it is not all the wife’s job to “fix” things. But when it comes right down to it, we can only change ourselves.

That is what this website focuses on….changing ourselves. And God will bless our efforts.

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Acceptance, to me, is the key to any good relationship. And it can become very difficult. When you live so close to someone and see all their faults, when you are going through tough times yourself or just plain stressed out, it is so easy to pick on the other person’s faults.

Let us work on accepting our husband unconditionally, as we would want him to do for us.

“God grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Amen.
From FW Index:

A man’s most fundamental need in marriage is for his wife to accept him and not try to change him.

 What exactly is acceptance?

Acceptance means you accept your husband as he is today with no changes. You realize that maybe he could and even should be better, but this is HIS responsibility.

You realize he has weaknesses (as you do) and you allow him the right to his own ideas.

Acceptance does not mean mere tolerance – just putting up with him. Nor do you deceive yourself into thinking he is perfect when he is not. You realize that he is part virtue and part fault.

Some faults you may need to accept are in the areas of personal habits, how they spend their time, duties, social behavior, desires and dreams, manly qualities, financial areas, relationship with children, and their religious convictions.

How do you react to your husband’s faults?

Do you accept them and look to his better side or do you try to change him?

If you do try to change him, why do you do it?

There are really only two reasons why…for your own good, or for his!

Do you reason that you would be happy and fulfilled if only your husband would change? Or do you think he would be more successful, happy and fulfilled if only he would get over his faults?

There are several reasons why trying to change him does not work.

1. It creates discord between you and he. You may have the best of intentions, but no matter how carefully you word your suggestions he does not react the way you suppose he should.

He may react with enraged feelings, resentment, and resistance. He expects you to be a safe haven. If he realizes he doesn’t measure up to your standards, it unhinges him.

2. It cools his feelings. Attempts to change him can dampen his feelings for you. Implications or open suggestions can cause him to reject you In some cases love can be destroyed.

3. It can cause rebellion (digging in his heels). Pressuring him to change will likely cause him to resist even when he knows you are right and sees it himself. His esteem is more important to him than the change you are trying to make.

4. Lastly, it just flat doesn’t work, so you might as well give up trying!

 You can, however, help a man change.

The first thing you must do is give him the freedom to be himself. He will be much more receptive to new ideas.

The second thing you must do is look to his better side. (We all wish people would see the better side of us.)  This will motivate him to become a better man.

At the heart of many attempts to change our husbands is the big fault of self-righteousness.

 When you have an attitude that you are better than he is, it makes you unhappy and dissatisfied. It causes you to be critical and judgmental.

Another fault women have toward their husbands is a feeling of superiority. You need to realize that you have faults too, but that yours are different.

The key to acceptance is humility.

Acceptance is not easy, but it does reap tremendous rewards.

It’s worth every effort.

Rules For Acceptance

Get rid of self-righteous attitude.

Accept him as part virtue and part fault.

Give him the freedom to be himself.

Don’t try to improve him.

Don’t use other men (including your family) as shining examples.

Look to his better side.

Express acceptance in words.

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“Like a knife, the tongue has a sharp, powerful edge that can either be used to heal or destroy. A knife in the hands of a skilled surgeon brings healing and life, but a knife in the hands of a felon brings death and destruction. Like the surgeon, we can study how to use our mouths to bring life to those around us. But it’s not easy, and the tongue is difficult to control.” – Sharon Jaynes, The Power of a Woman’s Words
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Get That Creativity Flowing!

A Throwback for Thursday!

I love creativity! And I am in a season of my life where I can spend more time on creative things!

I have more time now but all through those very busy years, when my kids were younger, I usually had some “crafty” thing going. It provided an outlet where I could relax and work towards a finished product that lasted. Even if I could not spend much time on it, it was something to look forward to when the work was done and a little leisure time was needed!

Everyone has their own type of creativity. My daughter, Theresa, does not like to do needlework and such. But she loves to bake, she loves to arrange flowers and decorate her home. She shares these things with her neighbors, friends and family, bringing smiles all the way around! These things are all a way of letting those creative juices flow!

We all have our hidden creativity laying dormant waiting to be used! And it is such good therapy for mothers who are very busy with hubby, house and children!

I love pictures of crochet thread and yarn! It gives one such a feeling of warmth and homey-ness. Virginia is working on these flowers which she will hang somewhere in her home. She also did a few of the lovely hearts that are found here which she will also hang up.Feb 17, 2014 066Iphone Feb. 8, 2014 062 Iphone Feb. 8, 2014 063

From Emilie Barnes:Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home: Creating a Place You and Your Family Will Love

I’ve heard it a million times-expressed with admiration and usually a little envy: “Oh, she’s so creative.”

Usually these words describe an “artsy” kind of person-someone who paints or writes or makes pottery.

Such creative pursuits can bring great joy to those who do them and to those who enjoy the results. But you really don’t have to be an artist to infuse your home and life with the benefits of creativity.

Creativity is a God-given ability to take something ordinary and make it into something special. It is an openness to doing old things in new ways and a willingness to adapt other people’s good ideas to suit our personal needs.

And creativity is an ability we all possess, although many of us keep it hidden in the deep corners of our lives.

Every single human being is creative.

The creative spirit is part of our heritage as children of the One who created all things. And nurturing our creativity is part of our responsibility as stewards of God’s good gifts.Feb 17, 2014 062 Feb 17, 2014 063Iphone Feb. 8, 2014 045

As wonderful as the results of our creativity can be, beautiful results are not the only benefit we receive when we’re willing to be creative.

The act of creating, of making beauty out of something ordinary, brings joy in itself.

Watching a brightly colored afghan emerge from a basket of yarn or a beat-up old table do a Cinderella act under the “magic wand” of a paintbrush can be incredibly fulfilling-and a spruced-up den is a wonderful extra.

The fun of serving brunch on miscellaneous but perfectly matched pottery and linens is second only to the creative fun of finding the plates at a garage sale, the cups at a local discount store, the tablecloth (a sheet) on a clearance table at J.C. Penney’s, and the napkins (another sheet) in the back of my linen closet.

Contrary to what some people think, creativity doesn’t have to be totally original.

Picking up ideas from books or magazines or borrowing a brainstorm from a friend are not “cheating.“

In fact, creativity stimulates more creativity.

The more ideas you collect from the outside, the more creative you will be in adapting those ideas and coming up with different ones of your own.

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“The Christian family will not be restored, nor will it be maintained, without the restoration and the maintenance of Christian practices—the noblest practices surely, and the most obligatory, but likewise the most insignificant in appearance.” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home

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Handcrafted, Wire-Wrapped Rosaries and Rosary Bracelets available at  my Meadows of Grace Shoppe!

 

Education to the Supernatural – Christ in the Home

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Education to the Supernatural…..This does not mean education to piety.

In Christian families this is properly provided for:

The children are taught their prayers, how to go to Confession, how to prepare for Holy Communion, how to assist at Holy Mass and other church services, how to say the rosary.

All this is fine, but perhaps it is not the essential!

The important thing is to teach the child who he is, who God is, and how God wants to mingle His life with his by coming to dwell in him, consecrating him thereby as a living tabernacle of the Most High.

When the child knows all this not merely as bookish knowledge but as knowledge lived out and often recalled, exercised by his faith and his young good will, then and then only, will there be a solid foundation on which to build religious instruction, to justify and demand exercises of piety.

It is absolutely essential that before all else the child be informed of the divine riches which his baptism brought him.

It must be explained to him that the day he was carried as a little baby to be received into the Church, God came to take possession of his soul.

He should be taught that when people come into the world they do not possess this divine life.

God gave it to Adam and Eve in the beginning but they lost it.

Right here is a splendid opportunity to explain the greatness and goodness of God, the marvel of our supernatural life, how God created man greater than nature, how He wanted to make all of us His children.

The little one knows well what a father is.

Explain to him that God is our Father in order to give him what is essential in all true piety, a filial spirit and an understanding of how true it is to call God, Good.

The story of creation fascinates children; so too does the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall.

What a lesson for the child is the example of the terrible punishment incurred by disobedience! . . . The divine life is lost!

But God still loves His poor human creatures just as mamma and papa continue to love their child after he has done wrong.

And what is God going to do to give back this lost supernatural life?

When one commits a fault, he must make up for it to obtain pardon. Who can make up for such a fault? God asks His own Son to do it.

His Son will come down to earth. And then follows the beautiful story of the Christmas Crib and the timely application of these truths:

How we should pity those who do evil and if we can, help them get out of their misery, their bodily and spiritual wretchedness!

Not only will Jesus live upon earth with us but He will die for us after living more than thirty years over in a little country where we can find many souvenirs of His stay—

the little town of His birth, the workshop of His foster-father, that noble carpenter named Joseph, the villages that heard Him preach to all, and especially to children, on how to get to heaven, the place of His death upon the Cross, that place of suffering where Mary His Mother stood beneath His instrument of torture…

All that, all that so that John, Paul, James, Henry, Peter, Louise, Camille, Leonie, Germaine may be even while they are still on earth, little–and yes very great—living tabernacles of God who is Goodness itself; so that later in heaven they may be with the God of their hearts forever.

Religious instruction is not sufficiently centered; it is not centered about the central mystery of Catholicism.

Even the catechism with its divisions of Dogma, Morals and the Sacraments—divisions that are perfectly logical and understandable but more adapted to theological authors than to the souls of children—can, if we are not careful, make one forget the beautiful wholeness of Christianity which is superbly majestic in its architectural lines, clear, and pulsing with life.

It is clear that everything centers about the dogma of grace and our supernatural elevation.

The best way to develop this idea with the child is to use the technique of an object lesson and explain the rites and ceremonies of baptism to him.

That will be a little drama in which he has been the hero, and consequently, it will hold tremendous interest for him.

It is something about himself, it is his own story he hears; he will be delighted.

Describe the ceremonies graphically for the little one.

As soon as feasible, take him to church.

Before showing him the tabernacle, the Eucharistic dwelling, take him to the baptismal font:

Here is where you became a living tabernacle of God.

At the words of the priest, “Go out of this child, unclean spirit; give place to the Holy Spirit,” the devil was forced to leave you, because of the power Our Lord gave to His priests.

Then the Holy Spirit came to dwell in you. And since the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son, God in His fullness came to dwell from then on in your heart—yes, there are three Persons, but there is just the same but one God; there are five fingers but they make only one hand—and that one God in all three Persons dwells in you.

God does not have to use an airplane like the one you saw landing from its flight the other day, but He does come down from heaven to dwell in your soul;

He came into each of us, Papa, Mamma and in you, in Henry and James and Pauline, in Genevieve and little Louise.

He comes on His own without anyone else sending Him and His coming is very real.

Besides all this, His dwelling in all of us does not keep Him from continuing to dwell in heaven, too.

He is all-powerful; it causes Him no difficulty to be at several places at once.

If He who exercises His power everywhere, comes especially into the souls of the baptized, it is to dwell there in a dwelling of love.

When your godmother or your grandfather come to spend a few years at your house, how happy you are

! It is to give you pleasure that they come; and they bring with them goodies and lovely presents….

God does the same thing when He comes to stay in you–He brings presents with Him; we call these gifts graces; that means favors, gifts He is not obliged to give but which He gives just because He is so good. Good, did we say?

Extraordinarily good! Much kinder than godmother or grandpa; kinder even than Papa or Mamma.

He is the One who made the kindness and goodness of fathers and mothers and of all good people on the earth.

Think how much greater is God’s goodness since He possesses all this goodness put together and a great deal more besides!

But then if God is like that, how ought James and Joseph and Henry and Isabelle and Louise and Madeline behave themselves?

Well, first of all, they should never do anything that would chase God from their souls; to do that is what we call mortal sin; mortal, because it forces God to leave just as if it killed Him.

God cannot die, but it is just as if the person would say to Him, “I don’t want anything more to do with You; if I could do away with You, I would do so!”

That is why mortal sin is such a vile thing. And it is not enough for you to keep from driving God out of your soul; no, there in the depths of your heart, you should try to keep Him company. Don’t you think so?

How sad that would be if He would be there within your soul and you would not pay any attention to Him, and seem to attach no importance at all to His Presence.

That would not be very nice. You ought to visit Him there within your soul, in the morning, in the evening and often during the day; speak to Him; tell Him that you love Him very much.

He who loves as a real Christian, a truly baptized soul, keeps God company since God is with him all the time.

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“Now, while we deplore hasty, improvident, ill-considered marriages, and hold that their consequences are very sad, there is a very supreme kind of selfishness in this over-cautiousness to marry which is not delightful to contemplate….the fear lest self should be inconvenienced or deprived in the very slightest degree; and all this does not tend to the highest development of human nature, but rather the reverse, since the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice is one of the loveliest attributes of human character.” -Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894

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The Wife Desired is a Physical Being – Fr. Leo Kinsella

That most beautiful virtue of purity! Fr. Kinsella stresses the importance of purity in the young woman as a requisite to a good and strong marriage.

One very strong safeguard for the virtue of purity is saying the 3 Hail Marys morning and evening for purity and modesty. Help is needed if we are to stay pure in a very impure world…especially as a young woman or man who is bombarded with images and temptations every step of the way!

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From The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

Some years ago a questionnaire was published in the Religious Bulletin of the University of Notre Dame. It listed some fifty virtues, qualities of mind and body and accomplishments. The list included such virtues as purity, humility, and justice; such qualities of the mind as tolerance and humor, of the body as figure and beauty: such accomplishments as skill at tennis, swimming and music.

Five hundred young men were asked to choose one virtue or quality or accomplishment which they would have above all others in their future wives.

Most of the choices were sensible and mature. However, out of five hundred young men we could expect some to be immature if not juvenile. I remember that one demanded of his future wife that she be an expert swimmer. He would have this above all else in his companion for life. He must have been an habitué of the swimming pool; perhaps he was on the swimming team. Evidently, he could visualize his wife swimming along through life by his side.

We should not be surprised that a dozen or two were not too serious or intelligent in their selections. You might not agree with the remaining choices. Although you might not decide on honesty, for example, yet you would probably hesitate in passing up this virtue.

Well over three hundred of these young men picked the virtue of purity. Instinctively young men realize that the virtue of purity is a prerequisite for marriage. The girl who lacks it is a bad risk for marriage, whatever else be her assets. No self-respecting young man will seek out for his wife a girl who has been pawed over by every Tom, Dick and Harry in the neighborhood.

A girl who develops the reputation for being “fast” with the boys will win dates from inconsequential young men. She will have what she thinks is a good time for a few years.

But she is wasting her time as far as finding a good mate for life. The worthwhile young man looking for the girl to be his inspiration, his faithful companion, and the mother of his children, will pass her up; or, if he should unknowingly become acquainted with her, will on learning of her real worth, drop her like a hot potato.

Allow me to say that this is not just theory. Remember the three hundred men at Notre Dame who chose purity in their future wives above all else.

Lest anyone need more convincing, it should be mentioned that authorities on family life are in agreement that violation of purity to the extent of sexual experience before marriage is a handicap for a future married life.

No one says that the handicap cannot be overcome. Yet, it remains a handicap, and the girl who is preparing herself to be the ideal wife heeds the voice of experience and avoids this obstacle to future happiness.

These opinions are held by some with no religious convictions about purity. Some of them do not seem overly concerned about religion. Their experience in dealing with marriage problems tells them that lack of purity often wrecks a marriage. This is their observation, and it is honestly stated.

By nature a girl is strongly inclined to modesty. It becomes her and enhances her charm. “Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord, for the grace of her modesty is above gold.” Ecc.VII, 21.

A good home life, her religion, and her school promote this natural instinct and carry it along to the full-blown, delicate flower of purity. It is a drastic change in the life of a girl for her to abandon, even temporarily, the virtue of purity. The cause must be considerable.

One great cause for loss of purity among girls of high school and college age is an inferiority complex.

Take Hattie for example. She was not a ravishing beauty. Yet, she was attractive enough; or at least she could have been if she worked along the correct lines. Hattie missed a prom or two. She was being passed over by the boys. Visions of her old maid aunt haunted her. Panic set in and she lost confidence in herself and in the future.

She began throwing herself at the boys. The word got around. And it was not long before she was receiving the attention of several of the most odious young reprobates of her neighborhood. You may be sure that these characters who contributed to the destruction of a girl’s virtue would not hesitate to ruin her reputation.

Hattie was now getting the attention which she craved. She now had dates, but she was a marked young lady. And time was quickly running out. Opportunities for a happy married life were growing dimmer with each succeeding “fast date.” Remember the choice of the young men at Notre Dame?

It is obvious that Hattie’s frantic efforts to have dates were her undoing. She lacked confidence in herself, the quiet confidence, which comes to the girl who is developing her personality.

It is not necessarily true that the girl who has the most dates during high school years will catch the best husband in the shortest time. This is especially true if she compromises her purity in order to acquire these dates.

The young lady who abandons purity or allows it to become tarnished sells herself much too cheaply. She is not preparing herself to become the ideal wife. In fact, she is frittering away her chances of becoming a wife at all.

How stupid it is to think that purity will scare away young men. If a girl is a “wall flower,” it is not because of her purity. It is in spite of it.

Purity of itself attracts. The self-absorbed girl has the makings of a “wall flower.” While this type of girl sits on the side lines, she has plenty of time to reflect. Often her reflections indicate a not overly generous soul.

If she attributes her own lack of popularity to the virtue of purity, to what does she attribute the popularity of many of her acquaintances? She refuses or is too dull to see that it is their vivacity. They are interesting people and can have a good time and can promote fun for others.

“Ah! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee. Ah! I know at last the secret of it all . . . For ’tis love and love alone the world is seeking.” No truer words were ever sung than these in the famous love song. The only excuse for our existence is the love of God. For this He made us, to love and be loved.

The virtue of purity is not an end in itself. It is the guardian of love. As we ascend toward God through His creatures, we are waylaid by a host of enemies. One of these is lust of the flesh. Its most subtle and overpowering assault is to masquerade as love.

Purity guides us around this trap. The path it takes us over at times is stony. This is particularly true for young people who are seriously courting or are engaged.

To love a person is to wish him well, to hope for and plan for and work for his happiness with all your being. A real Christian wishes all mankind happiness and thereby fulfills the great precepts of Christ to love his neighbor. This love of neighbor, all embracing and including the little Pigmy in far off Africa and even our enemies, is a spiritual thing. It emanates from the soul, from the mind and the will.

We know that the opposite sexes were made by God to attract each other. This attraction in itself is not love, unless it includes the spiritual side of our nature.

Many people physically attract each other even to the extent of marriage. Yet, many of them are not really in love. They do not seem capable of love. They are too self-centered.

Love is just the opposite. It looks outside for self, forgets self. The marriage built on physical attraction alone will last just as long as the infatuation lasts, and this generally is not very long.

For a normal, happy marriage there should be both the spiritual and physical attraction between husband and wife.

Ordinarily, love begins for a young girl when she becomes well enough acquainted with a young man to develop a spiritual affinity with him. She admires his qualities and abilities. She likes his attitude toward life in general. She begins to feel at ease, at home in his presence.

Then other things begin to happen. A simple phone call brings a flutter to her heart. Her pulse quickens when he calls at her home. She has eyes for no one but him.

With reason she wonders whether she is in love. Her doubts will vanish when she reaches the point of growth in love where all her being reaches out for him in the effort to bring him happiness. Her own whims and desires fade into the background. His happiness is her only real concern.

Obviously, this early stage of love, undeveloped and untested by actual married life though it be, poses a real problem for engaged couples. Their spiritual love for each other readily flows over into the physical side of their nature. These emotions quickly enkindle the sexual impulses. Here the virtue of purity, the watch-dog of love, must come into play to steady the two lovers.

Champions are not made overnight. Long and tedious practice must precede real success. The daily exercise of purity over the years is required to build up the virtue or facility of purity. It will be a safeguard for these engaged couples when they need it most in times of emotional stress. Intelligent reflection in moments of calm will show them the foolishness of hasty desires and the danger to their love and respect for each other in stealing privileges from their future married lives.

The period of engagement is a challenge to the sincerity of their love. It is a test of sacrifice and self-denial, without which loves flies out the window. How often the nascent flower of love has been choked off by the rank weeds of impurity.

The sham and insincerity of pretending to be better than one is renders the hypocrite obnoxious to all. The failing is more common after middle age, when the tendency of hiding sins and blemishes of character grows. Young people are more likely to be the victims of another hypocrisy, the pretense of being worse than they actually are.

I saw so much of this when I was overseas with the Air Forces during the war. Many of the young fliers, half-way through their allotted missions, seemed to feel it necessary to impress the recent arrivals from the States as to how reckless they were with the female population of Paris.

With divers’ winks and knowing looks these self-styled old reprobates (many were only nineteen or twenty) would have the young lambies believe that they had plumbed the depths of Pigalle from one end to the other.

I suppose that we should not begrudge the young blades the foible of parading as overwhelming lady killers. Yet, half of these fancied “wolves” would find themselves hard put later on in married life to fill the bill emotionally for all but the most feckless of wives.

Obviously, only the very young would be taken in by this display of masculinity.

But that is just the trouble. These hypocrites were dealing with the young. The hypocrisy of pretending to be better than reality hurts no one. The hypocrisy of pretending to be evil has led many a person into serious sin.

The power of example is prodigious, and what a calamity it is when failures in the virtue of purity have followed such a will o’ the wisp as the feigned example of the hypocrite.

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Holy Mother Church strongly urges the use of Holy Water upon her children. Every Catholic home should always have a supply of Holy Water. If sprinkled with faith and piety, it can move the Sacred Heart to bless your loved ones, present or absent, and protect them from all harm of soul and body. When worry and fear take possession of you, use Holy Water. The devil hates Holy Water because of its power over him. He cannot long abide in a place or near a person that is often sprinkled with Blessed Water. Bless Yourself, Bless Your Children! – The Living Rosary

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St. Valentine’s Day – An Opportunity, Mary Reed Newland

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

Most fun of all is making valentines at home. The materials cost little or nothing if you keep a supply of construction papers, pastes, and other such items on hand, and the work provides many opportunities for mothers and children to discuss the differences between friendship and love and the lamentable forcing of the boyfriend issue in the first grade.

It is not always the children who are at fault. Abetted by the teasing of grown-ups, children little more than babes make the unfortunate conclusion that boy must meet girl and be boyfriend and girlfriend at six years of age; they never do learn that it is possible to be that rare and wonderful creature: a friend who happens to be a boy.

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

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

One of the most excruciating trials of youngsters who believe themselves to be in love these days is restraining their impulses of affection.

Very few children deliberately set out in their first encounters with crushes to commit any sins of impurity.

In their innocence of experience, they do not know exactly how such sins can be, or if they know the theory, they do not know the fact.

It is the task of Christian parents to convince them that these impulses must be held in check.

Held in check they are good, they are manifestations of sincere and genuine affection, but they can so easily be transformed into something that is not good.

The reason it has become such a delicate and difficult task (although I suppose it always was a worry for parents) is not because this restraint is impossible but because so few today seem to practice it.

The example of promiscuous contemporaries is a powerful thing.

It rarely helps to start lecturing on the subject once children reach high school; it does not help at all to pooh-pooh love or schoolgirl crushes or the boyfriend business once it begins for a son or daughter growing up.f3e9a51d8b374639b5939e9fff4e9a53

But such occasions as St. Valentine’s Day (with innumerable opportunities all year round, of course) open this subject for discussion in a pleasant way.

We may use the evenings spent making valentines to have our own open forum on the subject of love and the showing of love and how it is that people fall in love, and how it is all related to God’s love.

Such Christian concepts as respect for girls and women, respect for our bodies and the bodies of others, the propriety and impropriety of kissing – whom and when – right judgment about the movies, their ads and their love-making, many other things can be formed at a very early age.

We must use all our talent and love and conviction to form them in our children.

We are foolish if we think that our children, because they are nice children, are automatically safe.

In the movie ads and posters they see, the newsstand magazines and comics, the covers of the paperbacks, slicks, and in a hundred ways promiscuity is preached to them – and it is not preached to what is nice in them but to the deplorable weakness left in human nature by the inheritance of Original Sin.

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

Demonstrations of affection they can automatically connect with mommies and daddies, as well as with relatives and friends.

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

There are many facets of this subject for parents to ponder.

Each can adapt best the teaching for his children, but let us emphasize while they are still little that it is friendship that holds the joys of companionship for them.

I suppose the free use of the word boyfriend has made it almost a synonym for friend, but not quite.

It may be a losing battle, but we continue to explain the difference.

“Your friend, dear – your friend who is a girl. Little boys in second grade have friends, not girlfriends.

Yes, I know – they tease and say you have a girlfriend, and that is too bad, because it is necessary that you love everyone with much more love than the word girlfriend intends. You must try to love them as our Lord loves them, and you must try to see our Lord in them.

If you like someone especially well, better than others, that is all right.

Then they are among your special friends. Be glad and be careful of your friendship. Friendship is a beautiful, holy thing if you keep it that way.”

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

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