Prayer and Self-Denial – Clean Love in Courtship by Fr. Lovasik

Father Lovasik mentions in here that a wonderful prayer for young people is the Holy Rosary. I think if couples say the rosary together during courtship and carry that “habit” throughout their married life, they are setting themselves up for a successful life together. After all, we have all heard it, “The family that prays together, stays together.” I firmly believe the rosary has helped our family tremendously and I am thankful we were in the habit of saying it before we got married so there was no problem carrying it through our marriage and our family life!

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Prayer

Prayer is an unfailing means of grace and salvation. Our Lord said, “Ask and you shall receive. ”

It is a particularly strong defense in time of temptation, for God will come to your aid when you call upon Him in your struggle against the serpent of impurity. Try to be always on friendly terms with God by getting into the good habit of praying frequently during the day by means of little ejaculatory prayers and aspirations.

If you regularly spend some time with God each day, you will find it easy to call upon Him when you need Him. Prayer lifts you above the sordid things of this world. It purifies your mind and strengthens your will. It keeps your soul seeking after God alone—the real purpose of life!

With the weapon of prayer at your disposal, you are invincible.

Prayer will keep you very close to your best Friends—Jesus and Mary. Never let a day pass without asking them to keep you from sin.

Never go on a date without first asking their blessing and protection and presence.

A powerful prayer that has always kept young people pure and happy is the Holy Rosary. Pledge yourself to say it daily, especially if you are contemplating marriage.

You can hardly make a better preparation.

Keep your conversation with God, Our Lady, the angels, the saints; and you will walk among the stars!

Self-Denial

A general spirit of self-denial is manifested by self-control. This is most important if you want to keep your dating chaste and happy.

Self-control can be exercised in these ways:

I. Though you cannot prevent feeling pleasurable sensations and disturbing imaginations, and cannot at times get rid of them, yet your will can refrain from consenting to and approving them; it can refrain from any external action that these things may urge you to do.

Your will can avoid even the sources of stimulation so that the sexual passions not even aroused, e.g., questionable books and movies, improper speech and intimacies.

II. Keep interested in something; otherwise you may easily turn to amuse yourself with conduct that is either sinful in itself or that quickly leads to sin.

This will keep you from developing morbid interest in sex.

III. Cultivate a sincere, wholesome attitude that sees other things in life besides sex, so that you may not react readily to sexual suggestions.

IV. Never let a day pass without denying yourself some lawful pleasure in eating, drinking, or entertainment for the love of God. If you can deny yourself in little things, you will be able to deny yourself in time of temptation.

Your cross in life is these temptations, these forbidden yet attractive pleasures. But Christ said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me . . . he that shall save his life shall lose it; and he that shall lose his life, for My sake, shall save it.”

By the cross of Christian chastity you will most assuredly suffer, but you have nothing to lose but everything worthwhile to gain.

Hold fast to the glory of your shining innocence! Nothing you can ever gain will compensate you for its loss. Your fidelity to your ideals may cost you much in money, in friends, in sacrifice.

But the surrender of your ideals will cost you more. For a passing gain you will barter eternity. A good conscience will be your sure reward. Only the heart without a stain knows perfect peace and joy.

“It is difficult for a child to be better than his home environment or for a nation to be superior to the level of its home life. In fulfilling its double purpose – the generation and formation of children – the home becomes a little world in itself, self-sufficient even in its youngest years. It is vital that you, as a mother or father, make of your home a training ground in character-building for your children, who will inherit the world’s problems. Home is a place in which the young grow in harmony with all that is good and noble, where hardship, happiness, and work are shared.” – Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2sDb6hw (afflink)

This is an excellent sermon on Christopher Columbus…get the true picture!

“Nearly 60 U.S. cities have now cancelled Columbus Day and have replaced it with, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. What they forget to add, however, is what the indigenous population was like in the New World before 1492…in the Pre-Columbian era. Well…to be blunt…there was slavery, headhunting, routine torture, rampant cannibalism, human sacrifice to false, demonic gods, mutilation of captives in war, participating in sporting events using human heads as balls, burning of whole villages…and I could go on. The New World was no Eden. I’m not sure how we would put this new holiday into practice. We must realize that we have revolutionaries in our midst filled with Marxist errors and Leftist claptrap. They have employed two dangerous methodologies in their plan of destroying our past. Those who control the past control the present. Those who control the present control the past. Do not let liberal revolutionaries destroy our patrimony. The great Catholic, Christopher Columbus, brought Christ to the New World. Without Christ and His Holy Catholic Church, the pagans in the Americas would have remained in darkness and would have been damned for all eternity. Fight for our sacred past and we will control the present. Fight to maintain our sacred monuments today and we will control the past.”

These books give us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children. Not only will they provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but they will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith…. Available here.

book suggestions

This booklet contains practical advice on the subjects of dating and choosing a spouse from the Catholic theological viewpoint. Father Lovasik points out clearly what one’s moral obligations are in this area, providing an invaluable aid to youthful readers. Additionally, he demonstrates that Catholic marriage is different from secular marriage and why it is important to choose a partner who is of the Catholic Faith if one would insure his or her personal happiness in marriage. With the rampant dangers to impurity today, with the lax moral standards of a large segment of our society, with divorce at epidemic levels, Clean Love in Courtship will be a welcome source of light and guidance to Catholics serious about their faith.

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A Frank, Yet Reverent Instruction on the Intimate Matters of Personal Life for Young Men. To our dear and noble Catholic youths who have preserved, or want to recover, their purity of heart, and are minded to retain it throughout life. For various reasons many good fathers of themselves are not able to give their sons this enlightenment on the mysteries of life properly and sufficiently. They may find this book helpful in the discharge of their parental responsibilities in so delicate a matter.

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The Land Without a Sunday – Maria Von Trapp

Newbury, Kansas

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family by Maria von Trapp

Our neighbors in Austria were a young couple, Baron and Baroness K. They were getting increasingly curious about Russia and what life there was really like. One day they decided to take a six-week trip all over Russia in their car. This was in the time when it was still possible to get a visa.

Of course, at the border they were received by a special guide who watched their every step and did not leave them for a moment until he deposited them safely again at the border, but they still managed to get a good first-hand impression.

Upon their return they wrote a book about their experiences, and when it was finished, they invited their neighbors and friends to their home in order to read some of their work to them.

I shall always recall how slowly and solemnly Baron K. read us the title “The Land Without a Sunday.”

Of all the things they had seen and observed, one experience had most deeply impressed them: that Russia had done away with Sunday. This had shocked them even more than what they saw of Siberian concentration camps or of the misery and hardship in cities and country. The absence of Sunday seemed to be the root of all the evil.

“Instead of a Sunday,” Baron K. told us, “the Russians have a day off.

This happens at certain intervals which vary in different parts of the country. First they had a five-day week, with the sixth day off, then they had a nine-day work period, with the tenth day off; then again it was an eight-day week. What a difference between a day off and a Sunday!

The people work in shifts. While one group enjoys its day off, the others continue to work in the factories or on the farms or in the stores, which are always open.

As a result the over-all impression throughout the country was that of incessant work, work, work. The atmosphere was one of constant rush and drive; finally, we confessed to each other that what we were missing most was not a well-cooked meal, or a hot bath, but a quiet, peaceful Sunday with church bells ringing and people resting after prayer.”

Here I must first tell what a typical Sunday in Austria was like in the old days up to the year before the Second World War. As I have spent most of my life in rural areas, it is Sunday in the country that I shall describe.

First of all, it begins on Saturday afternoon. In some parts of the country the church bell rings at three o’clock, in others at five o’clock, and the people call it “ringing in the Feierabend.”

Just as some of the big feasts begin the night before–on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Easter Eve–so every Sunday throughout the year also starts on its eve. That gives Saturday night its hallowed character.

When the church bell rings, the people cease working in the fields. They return with the horses and farm machinery, everything is stored away into the barns and sheds, and the barnyard is swept by the youngest farm-hand.

Then everyone takes “the” bath and the men shave. There is much activity in the kitchen as the mother prepares part of the Sunday dinner, perhaps a special dessert; the children get a good scrub; everyone gets ready his or her Sunday clothes, and it is usually the custom to put one’s room in order–all drawers, cupboards and closets.

Throughout the week the meals are usually short and hurried on a farm, but Saturday night everyone takes his time. Leisurely they come strolling to the table, standing around talking and gossiping. After the evening meal the rosary is said.

In front of the statue or picture of the Blessed Mother burns a vigil light. After the rosary the father will take a big book containing all the Epistles and Gospels of the Sundays and feast days of the year, and he will read the pertinent ones now to his family.

The village people usually go to Confession Saturday night, while the folks from the farms at a distance go on Sunday morning before Mass. Saturday night is a quiet night. There are no parties. People stay at home, getting attuned to Sunday. They go to bed rather early.

On Sunday everyone puts on his finery. The Sunday dress is exactly what its name implies–clothing reserved to be worn only on Sunday. We may have one or the other “better dress” besides. We may have evening gowns, party dresses–but this one is our Sunday best, set aside for the day of the Lord.

When we put it on, we invariably feel some of the Sunday spirit come over us. In those days everybody used to walk to church even though it might amount to a one or two hours’ hike down and up a mountain in rain or shine. Families usually went to the High Mass; only those who took care of the little children and the cooking had to go to the early Mass.

I feel sorry for everyone who has never experienced such a long, peaceful walk home from Sunday Mass, in the same way as I feel sorry for everyone who has never experienced the moments of twilight right after sunset before one would light the kerosene lamps. I know that automobiles and electric bulbs are more efficient, but still they are not complete substitutes for those other, more leisurely ways of living.

Throughout the country, all the smaller towns and villages have their cemeteries around the church; on Sunday, when the High Mass was over, the people would go and look for the graves of their dear ones, say a prayer, sprinkle holy water–a friendly Sunday visit with the family beyond the grave.

In most homes the Sunday dinner was at noon. The afternoon was often spent in visiting from house to house, especially visiting the sick.

The young people would meet on the village green on Sunday afternoons for hours of folk dancing; the children would play games; the grownups would very often sit together and make music. Sunday afternoon was a time for rejoicing, for being happy, each in his own way.

Until that night at Baron K.’s house we had done pretty much the same as everybody else. Saturday we had always kept as “Feierabend” for Sunday.

There was cleaning on Saturday morning throughout the house, there was cleaning in all the children’s quarters–desks and drawers and toys were put in order. There was the laying out of the Sunday clothes. There was the Saturday rosary, and then–early to bed.

On Sunday we often walked to the village church for High Mass, especially after we had started to sing. Later we used to go into the mountains with the children, taking along even the quite little ones, or we used to play an Austrian equivalent of baseball or volleyball, or we sat together and sang some of the songs we had collected ourselves on our hikes through the mountains.

We also did a good deal of folk dancing, we had company come or we went visiting ourselves–just as everybody else used to do.

And if anybody had asked us why we began our Sunday on Saturday in the late afternoon, why we celebrated our Sunday this way, we would have raised our eyebrows slightly and said, “Well, because that’s the way it’s always been done.”

But when my husband and I were walking home that night from Baron K.’s house, we realized that our complacency–so prevalent among people in pre-war days–had received a rude shock.

It dawned on us that we had taken something for granted that was, in reality, a privilege: namely, that we lived in a country where Sunday was not so much observed as it was celebrated as the day of the Lord.

This was a new way of looking at things, and the light was still rather dim, but I can see now in retrospect that a new chapter in our life as a Christian family began that very night.

Treat your boys as young men. You want them to grow up to be hardworking and confident. Is it not true, that the more productive we are, the better we feel? Then structure your children’s day to be active and busy—they will thrive under these conditions. -Finer Femininity

Painting by Mark Keathley, 1963

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Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.

Now with photographs from the original edition.

Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!

With the help of Maria Von Trapp, you, too, can provide Christian structure and vibrancy to your home. Soon your home will be a warm and loving place, an earthly reflection of our eternal home.

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The Palace of Chance

Our daughter and son-in-law 🙂

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

A modern writer describes marriage as “having an appointment with happiness in the palace of chance.”

Two persons are complete strangers to each other. One day they meet. They think they appreciate each other, understand each other. They encounter no serious obstacles; their social position is just about the same; their financial status similar; their health seems sufficient; their parents offer no objections; they become engaged. They exchange loving commonplaces wherein nothing of the depths of their souls is revealed. The days pass; the time comes–it is their wedding day.

They are married. In the beginning of their acquaintance, they did not know each other at all. They do not know each other much better now, or at least, they do not know each other intimately. They are bound together; possible mishaps matter little to them; they are going to make happiness for themselves together. It is a risk they decided to run.

That this procedure is the method followed by many can scarcely be denied.

Let us hope that we personally proceed with more prudence.

Upon the essential phases of life together, the engaged couple should hold loyal and sincere discussion. And in these discussions and exchange of ideas, each one should reveal himself as he really is, and let us hope that this revelation is one of true richness of soul.

To make a lover of a young man or young woman is not such a difficult achievement. But to discover in a young man before marriage the possibility, or better still, the assurance of a good husband who will become a father of the highest type, and in a young woman, the certain promise of the most desirable type of wife who has in her the makings of a real mother and a worthy educator–that is a masterpiece of achievement!

“To love each other before marriage! Gracious, that is simple,” exclaims a character in a play, “they do not know each other! The test will be to love each other when they really do get acquainted.” And he is not wrong.

In keeping with his thought is the witty answer given by a young married man to an old friend who came to visit him.

“I am an old friend of the family,” explained the visitor. “I knew your wife before you married her.”

“And I, unfortunately, did not know her until after I married her!”

But even when a man and woman do know each other deeply and truly before marriage, how many occasions they will still have for mutual forbearance. It is necessary for them to have daily association with each other in order to understand each other; for the woman, to understand what the masculine temperament is; for the man to understand what the feminine temperament is.

That may seem like a trifling thing; yet it goes a long way toward a happy marriage. To understand each other not only as being on his part a man and on her part a woman, but as being just such a man or just such a woman, that is to say, persons who in addition to the general characteristics of their species possess particular virtues and particular faults as a result of their individual temperaments- -that requires rare penetration!

A home is not drawn by lot, blindly. A palace of chance! No, indeed. If we want to turn it into a palace of happiness as far as that is possible here below, we must above all things refuse to have anything to do with chance. We must know what we are doing and where we are going.

Another daughter and son-in-law 🙂

Never weary in cheering your family with your smile. It is not enough to avoid depressing them; you must brighten them up and let their spirits expand. Be especially vigilant when the little ones are around. Give them the alms of a smile, hard though it be at times. What a pity when children have to say, “I don’t like it at home.” – Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J. http://amzn.to/2rHXstq (afflink)

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Painting by Alfredo Rodriguez

 

October – Month of the Holy Rosary

Pentecost

“All who accepted Peter’s words were baptized.”

On Pentecost, the Church’s birthday, 3000 candles were lit – 3000 souls enlightened with the grace of faith.

From the simple eloquence of the Apostle Peter went forth the power of God, and men who had that morning been citizens of a dozen nations, and strangers to one another, were now “one in Christ.”

A stupendous miracle of God’s grace, their sudden, spontaneous confession that a crucified Nazarene was God and Savior. But a testimonial as well to man’s inviolable free will.

The grace of Pentecost was offered to many, but it bore fruit only in those who opened their hearts to it.

My salvation – my “success story“-will be all God’s work, but not only God’s work. I must work hand-in-hand with God’s ever-present grace.

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Here is a marriage blueprint that every woman can follow. Happy marriages do not just happen, they are made. It takes three parties to make a good marriage; the husband, the wife, and the Lord. This book is concerned with helping the woman to become the wife desired and therefore loved that every man worth having wishes to find and keep.<P> This book sold over a quarter of a million copies shortly after its publication in 1951, and it was read by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It is a practical manual. It should be read by every woman considering entering the matrimonial state and also by those women who are already married. It can also be read by men who may wish to see what a real challenge it is for a woman to live up to their expectations and how grateful they should be if they are blessed to find the woman of their desires…

Armed with Barbeau s wisdom, you’ll grow closer to your wife and to your children, while deepening your love for God. You’ll be able to lead your family to holiness amidst the troubles and temptations that threaten even the best of families today: infidelity, divorce, materialism, loneliness, and despair.

The Father of the Family makes good fathers and good fathers are the secret to happy homes….

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Human Respect – Helps to Happiness

from Helps to Happiness by Father John Carr, C.SS.R.

What a queer unmanageable sort of term is Human Respect. We see it so often in print and in practice that we now easily recognize it; but really, if we met it for the first time, most of us should not be able to make head or tail of it.

Used in its ordinary sense it is a moral cowardice keeping men from speaking or acting as they know they should, through fear of what others may think or say of them.

On the other hand, we must be careful not to have wrong ideas about moral courage. Moral courage does not mean parading; flaunting our virtues, trumpeting our good deeds, sky-writing our excellences, as did that Pharisee in the temple who reminded God what a fine fellow he was and how well he compared with the sinner whom he looked at from the corner of a disdaining eye.

It does not mean saying prayers and doing good and holy deeds “that we may be seen by men.”

Nor does moral courage mean singularity, when singularity is not called for. (At times we must be singular if we are to follow our conscience). But some people set out to be singular and affect originality in serving God. This looks dangerously like vanity and love of notice.

Nor does moral courage mean intruding our piety and our zeal for God’s glory and the good of souls. To pull out our rosary in a crowded bus, for instance, and ask the passengers to join in prayers for peace; to accost our neighbor in the public thoroughfare and question him on his compliance with his religious duties; to treat our fellow-travelers in a railway compartment to a little holy reading—all such exploits in moral daring would no doubt be a brave defiance of human respect, but would show an alarming lack of common-sense.

Human respect has enormous crimes to its account. Here are two:

Pilate sent Jesus Christ to His death through fear of being reported to his Roman masters. Herod had St. John the Baptist beheaded through fear of what his company would think of him if he broke a stupid oath he made when well in his cups.

Human respect can make men ashamed of doing the right thing and proud of doing the wrong.

Writing of his sinful boyhood, Saint Augustine says : “I invented things I had not done, lest I might be held cowardly for being innocent, or contemptible for being chaste.”

There is much moral cowardice amongst us. A smutty story is told in company. What keeps people from treating the smutty raconteur as he or she deserves? Human respect.

The good name of another is attacked. What keeps us from dissociating ourselves from the attack, at least by our silence? Human respect.

What makes many people, even passing for good Catholics, more afraid of being caught with a holy book in their hands than with a risque novel? Human respect.

This statement once emanated from a body of Protestant bishops: “People are more ashamed today to mention God’s name than to tell an obscene story. It is scarcely too much to say that in our daily speech the Creator is almost taboo in His own creation.

Men seem to be the worst offenders in this matter. Men who would at once accept a challenge to fight, who would be heroes on the battlefield and the first over the top, who would risk life and limb to save a life, will shrivel up before a taunt or a sneer.

They would fear being caught with a rosary in their hand, or carrying a fair-sized prayerbook, or saluting a church, or joining a sodality, or going to Mass on a week-day, or making the Way of the Cross. They would fear what the other fellows might say—the other fellows and “their sisters and their cousins their aunts.”

And the folly of it! How often we fear that others are thinking queerly of us and they are not thinking of us at all!

Anyhow, they think little of us for following our conscience, they would probably think less of us for not following it through fear them.

How many bad Christians does not Human Respect keep from becoming good! How many good from becoming better!

October – Month of the Holy Rosary

The Nativity

For nearly 9 months Mary had born her God-Son in her womb; her time is now at hand. She would be thinking only of Him, of course, and of the Holy Family-to-be.

Joseph left her to her quiet meditation, but Caesar did not. In obedience to the emperor’s ambition, she traveled the wearying hills to Bethlehem, where a cave was her Son’s first home.

Sad? Unfortunate? Hard to take? Not for Mary. She obeyed the government; she went where Caesar could rightfully bid her go, as willingly as she had obeyed the Angel Gabriel, and for the same reason – she saw in both God’s will for her. A “fiat“ that is all mine!

The great St. Bernard wrote in his rule that whenever the monastic bell rang, the monks were to drop what they were doing and go to whatever they were being called to.

In our homes, our monastic bell is all the many things beckoning at us throughout the day…the diapers to be changed, the dishes that need doing, the laundry that needs to be done, etc.

We respond to these things right away, even though we many not want to, remembering that these duties are the very things that will make us holy.
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Sadness, Light and Peace, Quadrupani

My favorite chapter from one of my favorite books!

Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts

It is a dangerous error to seek recollection in sadness: it is the spirit of God that produces recollection; sadness is the work of the spirit of darkness.

Do not forget the rule given by Saint Francis de Sales for the discernment of spirits: any thought that troubles and disquiets us cannot come from the God of peace, who makes his dwelling-place only in peaceful souls.

“Yes, my daughter, I now tell you in writing what I before said to you in person, always be as happy as you can in well-doing, for it gives a double value to good works to be well done and to be done cheerfully. And when I say, rejoice in well-doing, I do not mean that if you happen to commit some fault you should on that account abandon yourself to sadness.

For God’s sake, no; for that would be to add defect to defect. But I mean that you should persevere in the wish to do well, that you return to it the moment you realize you have deviated from it, and that by means of this fidelity you live happily in the Lord…. May God be ever in our heart, my daughter…. Live joyfully and be generous, for this is the will of God, whom we love and to whose service we are consecrated.”—Saint Francis de Sales.

It is wrong to deny one’s self all diversion. The mind becomes fatigued and depressed by remaining always concentrated in itself and thus more easily falls a prey to sadness. Saint Thomas says explicitly that one may incur sin by refusing all innocent amusement. Every excess, no matter what its  nature, is contrary to order and consequently to virtue.

Recreations and amusements are to the life of the soul what seasoning is to our corporal food. Food that is too highly seasoned quickly becomes injurious and sometimes fatal in its effects; that which is not seasoned at all soon becomes unendurable because of its insipidity and unpalatableness.

As to the amount of diversion it is right to take, no absolute measure can be given: the rule is that each person should have as much as is necessary for him. This quantity varies according to the bent of the mind, the nature of the habitual occupations, and the greater or less predisposition to sadness one observes in his disposition.

When you find your heart growing sad, divert yourself without a moment’s delay; make a visit, enter into conversation with those around you, read some amusing book, take a walk, sing, do something, it matters not what, provided you close the door of your heart against this terrible enemy. As the sound of a trumpet gives the signal for a combat, so sad thoughts apprise the devil that a favorable moment has come for him to attack us.

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October – Month of the Holy Rosary…

The Ascension 

“Men of Galilee, why stand here looking heavenwards?“

The apostles stood on Olivet, eyes wide open, their gaze turned heavenward, their hearts beating hard. Jesus had just vanished from their sight above the silvery cloud that shimmered in the radiance of His glory. He had come to earth as a helpless Child; now He was returning to His Father’s house as the world’s Redeemer.

The little group on Olivet stood in silent, joyful prayer, their hearts ascending with Him. Heaven was reflected in their eyes – until an Angel’s chiding words brought them hurriedly down to earth.

Nothing succeeds like failure. Christ’s cross was the price of His glorious Ascension. That is why the angel sent the apostles back to the city – to suffer for Christ.

A lesson for me!

Painting by John Singleton Copley, 1775

“We often live with this illusion. With the impression that all would go better, we would like the things around us to change, that the circumstances would change. But this is often an error. It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all our hearts that must change.” –Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace

A BOOK REVIEW

The Family that Overtook Christ

Our family LOVES this book! All of us who are “of age” have read it, and more than once. It is a love story. A love story of one special family’s undying devotion to Christ.

The family story of St. Bernard will inspire you! It is written with an easy-to-read style and once you start, you won’t want to set it down. 🙂

Do you want to get your teenage children to read a great book? Hand them this one!

Review:

“He was called the man of his age, the voice of his century. His influence towered above that of his contemporaries, and his sanctity moved God himself.

Men flocked to him–some in wonder, others in curiosity, but all drawn by the magnetism of his spiritual gianthood. Bernard of Clairvaux–who or what fashioned him to be suitable for his role of counseling Popes, healing schisms, battling errors and filling the world with holy religious and profound spiritual doctrine?

Undoubtedly, Bernard is the product of God’s grace. But it is hard to say whether this grace is more evident in Bernard himself or in the extraordinary family in which God chose to situate this dynamic personality.

This book is the fascinating account of a family that took seriously the challenge to follow Christ… and to overtake Him. With warmth and realism, Venerable Tescelin, Blesseds Alice, Guy, Gerard, Humbeline, Andrew, Bartholomew, Nivard and St. Bernard step off these pages with the engaging naturalness that atttacks imitation.

Here is a book that makes centuries disappear, as each member of this unique family becomes an inspiration in our own quest of overtaking Christ.”

Father Raymond wrote many extraordinary books and these are some we especially like:

Three Religious Rebels: The Forefathers of the Trappists

Man Who Got Even With God

Burnt Out Incense (The saga of Citeaux. American Epoch)

Two of my very favorite books!

LIGHT AND PEACE is a handbook for getting to Heaven a short and practical course in proper Christian living that covers all the important aspects of our religious duties. By far, the most telling feature of this little book is its immense common sense and good advice. LIGHT AND PEACE shows that perfecting one’s self is not a complicated task, but one which requires good, practical thinking and a knowledge of the task at hand in short, Light on the path which is what this book is. Thereafter, the result of one s knowing where he is going spiritually and how best to achieve this end is Peace, that peace which Our Lord promised and which the world cannot give.

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We live in an age characterized by agitation and lack of peace. This tendency manifests itself in our spiritual as well as our secular life. In our search for God and holiness, in our service to our neighbor, a kind of restlessness and anxiety take the place of the confidence and peace which ought to be ours. What must we do to overcome the moments of fear and distress which assail us? How can we learn to place all our confidence in God and abandon ourselves into his loving care? This is what is taught in this simple, yet profound little treatise on peace of head. Taking concrete examples from our everyday life, the author invites us to respond in a Gospel fashion to the upsetting situations we must all confront. Since peace of heart is a pure gift of God, it is something we should seek, pursue and ask him for without cease. This book is here to help us in that pursuit.
Fall candles….

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Our Best Friends, The Angels – Maria Von Trapp, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan

 The spiritual world is very alive, very real!! Let’s not forget these angels and the role they have in our lives!

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From Around the Year With the Trapp Family by Maria Von Trapp

THE ANGELS

Long before our little children learn to know Peter Rabbit, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Winnie the Pooh, they must be made familiar with their most faithful companion–their best friend, their guardian angel.

The beauty of telling stories to little ones lies in their ready acceptance.

They believe that their guardian angel is around all the time, day and night, and they will talk to him, greeting him in the morning, discussing things with him during the day, thanking him in the evening.

When children grow up with a strong sense of a spiritual power at their service, instituted by God for the very special and sole purpose of being their very own helper and protector, such children need never be afraid, need never suffer from the modern ailment of insecurity.

It is up to us mothers to bring about this early and very personal friendship with their guardian angel. The feast of the Holy Guardian Angel on October 2nd should be a big event in our nurseries.

Once children are familiar with the world of the angels they will eagerly listen to other “angel stories” such as the one about the great hero Michael (whose feast day is September 29th) and his battle with his brother-angel Lucifer, who refused to serve God and had to be thrown out of heaven into the abyss where there is “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

A beautiful story is the one about the Archangel Raphael (feast day, October 24th), who was the friend and companion of young Tobias. Johannes Brahms set a lovely song about St. Raphael to music; we always sing it on that day.

And as we tell the children about the good angels, we shall also have to mention the bad ones who turned into devils. If the highest of them,

Satan himself, dared to tempt Our Lord, who are we to think that it “can’t happen to us” or that such stories belong to the Middle Ages and do not apply to modern times?

What St. Peter says to all of us we must tell to the little ones as well “Watch and pray, for the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”

From An Easy Way to Become a Saint, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan

OUR ANGEL GUARDIAN

One of the most marvelous dispensations of God’s Providence is the fact that He has given to each one of us a special Angel to watch over us.

At the moment of our birth God calls one of His glorious Princes, one of His mighty Angels, and bids this Angel guard and guide, defend and protect us. From that moment, this mighty Angel gives us all his loving care. He never leaves us, night or day. His duty after loving God is to love us. He devotes all his intelligence, all his strength, all his care to shield us from hurt and harm.

We can form no idea of the evils and dangers he saves us from, the countless great favors he has done us and is doing us every day. Not content to use all his own power to help us, he is constantly praying for us to God.

Reading the story of St. Raphael in the Sacred Scriptures, we marvel at the infinite goodness of God in sending this great Angel to accompany the young Tobias on his long journey. The Angel proved to be a trusty friend.

He not only accompanied him on his journey, protecting him from every danger, but he also obtained for him a most happy marriage and abundant wealth. He brought him home safely, to the delight of his parents, who were anxiously awaiting his return.

As a final gift, he cured Tobias’s old father, who had been blind. Before leaving the now happy family, he revealed himself to them as one of the seven great Angels who stand before the throne of God and bade them bless and thank the Good God who had sent him to them.

This is certainly one of the most consoling and wonderful stories in the Bible, revealing to us the infinite sweetness and goodness of God. Yet each one of us has a glorious Prince of Heaven with us, not for weeks or months but for all the long years of our lives, loving us most affectionately, defending us from countless evils and snatching us from dangers that we do not even see.

This dear Angel came to us at the moment of our birth and has been with us ever since. He will console us in Purgatory if we go there and will then accompany us to Heaven, where he will be with us forever and forever.

We marvel when reading this story of Raphael, but it is a much greater marvel that we have a glorious Angel ever at our sides and yet know and love him so little. Have we ever even thanked God for this astounding proof of His goodness?

The culpable neglect of our dear Angel is one of the most lamentable and shameful faults of our life.

From All About the Angels by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan

WHY IGNORE OUR BEST FRIENDS?

“Make friends with the Angels” is the advice which the great Pope, St. Leo, gives every Christian and it is advice that everyone should follow.

If we make friends with the Angels —and nothing is easier— we shall receive innumerable and great favors which otherwise we shall never obtain.

Our Angel friends, too, will shield and protect us from countless dangers, evils, sickness and accidents which, without their help, we could not possibly avoid.

In a word, these all-powerful and loving protectors will secure for us a degree of happiness that, without their assistance, we could not hope for in this vale of tears! Another reason we should make friends with the Angels is that they are our dearest and best friends. A good friend, a friend who is able and always ready to help us, a friend to whom we can have recourse in all our troubles and sorrows, is one of the greatest blessings God can give us.

Our human hearts thirst for love and sympathy. Among men we rarely or never find such a friend, but this is not so with the Angels. They are most desirous to be our friends and they love us with all the intensity of their angelic natures.

Since they are all-powerful and generous, we can have the fullest confidence in their help and friendship.

The one friendship on this Earth that gives us any idea of the love of the Angels is the affection of a mother. This is the purest, the most generous, the strongest of all human loves.

The mother loves her children with unbounded affection. God has placed in the mother’s heart an instinct of love so great that it almost borders on the supernatural. She forgets herself and thinks only of her children. She works for them, sacrifices herself for them, and gives them her all.

If one of them should fall sick or be plunged into some great sorrow, to that one she devotes a more special gentleness and a more loving care.

We sometimes see a frail woman watch by the bedside of her sick child— eating little, resting little, consumed with a poignant anxiety —for ten, twenty or even thirty days, never complaining, and never faltering. When these days of anguish and bitterness are past, this almost superhuman effort, these long, weary vigils,’ seem to have cost her nothing. The mother’s love sustained her.

Yet, strong men who lose their sleep for two or three consecutive nights complain that they find it hard to work the following day.

If a poor frail mother— she may be young or old, rich or poor, full of weaknesses and imperfections— can rise to such a height of love and abnegation as this, what may we not expect from God’s Angels, who have no defects, no imperfections and who love us with all the mighty power of their glorious angelic natures?

The teaching of the Church about the Angels is most beautiful and consoling, but unfortunately many Christians have scant knowledge of the great world of the Angels. They know little about these blessed Spirits, love them little and seldom pray to them. Worst of all, they do not realize their presence.

They show no confidence in them, and they do not call on them for help when dangers and difficulties press around.

As a result they forfeit a thousand blessings that they might easily enjoy and fall victim to a thousand accidents that they might easily have avoided.

HOW COMES IT THAT THE ANGELS ARE SO LITTLE KNOWN AND SO LITTLE LOVED?

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Simply because many, whose duty it is to teach this most important doctrine are gravely negligent in fulfilling their obligation.

First of all, Christian Mothers should instill deeply into the minds of their children a clear, vivid and abiding sense of the presence of their dear Angels.

It is not sufficient to give them vague, hazy, insufficient notions of these Blessed Spirits, nor is it enough to teach them to say a short prayer at morning and at night to their Angel Guardians.

They should devote much time and much attention to this all-important subject.

Children must be taught constantly from their tenderest years to have a real love and friendship for their Angels, to have boundless confidence in them. They must be accustomed to feel and realize the personal presence of their Angels, to call on them in all their fears and troubles.

How much better this would be than that the children should have their heads filled with foolish fear of ghosts and hobgoblins as so frequently happens.

Mothers who impress on their children this great lesson confer on them inestimable blessings during all the long years of their lives.

On the other hand, if they neglect this duty or make light of it, they do a great wrong to their dear ones for they deprive them of the best and most powerful friends.

Catechists, too, and teachers of the young in schools, colleges and convents are frequently remiss in teaching those in their charge all about the blessed Angels. The minds of their pupils are developing, and the teaching of the mothers in the home, no matter how good it might have been, must be perfected and developed.

Professors of older students, boys and girls, are perhaps greater offenders. They rarely mention the subject of the Angels in their classes.

Why? Do not the Angels exist? Are they not our best friends? Is there not much to be said about them?

Priests of course can do much to remedy the neglect of parents and teachers by preaching at times on the Angels, by wise counsels in the confessional and by exhorting the faithful to read books on the Angels. Priests who do so receive most striking graces.

We need to awaken in our hearts a real love and friendship for the Holy Angels, an abiding confidence in them, and above all to realize and feel vividly the presence of these loving Spirits ever by our sides.

 

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A coloring page for your children:

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The Scourging

Christ shrank from pain, but he did not refuse it. Late morning saw him flung against a praetorium pillar, while the hired man of Rome, giant barbarians with a muscle and moral sense of wild beasts, wore themselves out whipping and lashing Jesus near to death.
Every thump of the iron-weighted cords tore fresh fed rents in his flesh. Jesus, who the night before had turned wine to blood, now shed that blood like wine poured out.

His body is the chalice of his spilt-out blood, the cup He no longer asks his Father to remove.

When we ask God to relieve our sufferings, He sometimes answers our prayers with more wisdom by letting them continue. To accept pain as Jesus did, is to sanctify it – and myself.

finer fem quote for the day fall

“God has thus put into the hand of the parents at their own hearthstone, a power greater than that which kings and queens wield, and which must issue in either the weal or the woe of their children. It would surely seem to be worth while to make any sacrifice of personal comfort or pleasure—to transmit a legacy of holy memories which shall be through all the years, like a host of pure angels hovering over those we love, to guard and guide them.” J.R. Miller

Lovely Religious Pendants!

These graceful Vintaj necklaces can be worn every day as a reminder of your devotion. Get it blessed and you can use it also as a sacramental. Available here.

Now that the weather is cooling, it is a good time to steep some tea, cuddle up to the fire and grab a good book. Visit My Book List for some good reading recommendations….

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Where to Get Help When in Trouble (Part Two)

Disclaimer (or a word of caution): This article was written in the 1950’s when it may have been easier to find a psychologist/psychiatrist that was trustworthy. I believe they are still out there, but one must do the research. To open oneself up and become vulnerable to someone that has no religion (especially on an ongoing basis) can be dangerous. So do be careful in your search for a reliable source of help. On the flip side, don’t be so scrupulous, that you don’t use the resources available because they don’t completely see eye-to-eye with you. 

Painting by Alfredo Rodriguez

Part One is here.

Where to take your problems.

Knowing when you need help to solve family problems is not sufficient. You must also know where to take your problems. Some persons are eager to discuss their troubles with outsiders, but unfortunately the outsiders often are even less qualified to help than the individuals personally involved.

One social scientist asked sixty husbands and wives to whom they confided their troubles. He discovered that all discussed their problems with friends, relatives, neighbors and even the corner bartender–but none consulted a spiritual adviser, doctor or other person truly equipped to help.

One can only wonder how much continued heartbreak and misery is caused by the tendency of those blinded by their own emotional problems to seek guidance from those who are not capable of assisting them. This tendency is even more disturbing because more guidance, backed by scientific knowledge of physical and emotional processes, is now available than ever before.

Many persons think that their trouble is unique–that no one has ever faced so many complex problems before. The reverse is actually true. Any difficulty you experience in your married life or as parents has almost certainly been experienced by countless others. Consequently there exists a vast body of experience and understanding that you can draw upon.

For instance, almost 600 nation-wide agencies exist specifically to help persons in trouble. This list of organizations includes the National Association for Mental Health, which spreads information about mental illnesses and encourages the proper care of persons so afflicted; the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, organized to aid the poor, sick and helpless; the National Epilepsy League; Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped to restore hundreds of thousands of men and women to useful, sober lives; the Institute for the Crippled and Disabled, which aids handicapped persons to find useful work and lead normal lives.

Almost every diocese has a Catholic Charities’ office which provides a multitude of services to troubled parents and sick children. In addition, there are countless hundreds of books, pamphlets and other publications written to help you solve specific problems. Clearly, there is no lack of help available for you; all you need is a willingness to be helped.

Where can you get help? Any problems involving morals, which you cannot resolve after your prayerful efforts to do so, should be taken to your parish priest. By virtue of his long experience and whole-hearted dedication, he draws upon a reservoir of knowledge which is not available to you.

He probably can provide you with insights which you have overlooked. You should consult him as soon as you become aware that a serious moral danger exists. Many persons wait too long; by the time they appear at the rectory, great harm has already been done.

A typical problem which should be treated early is that of a wayward parent setting a bad example to his children. In one home, a father of three boys was firm in requiring them to attend Mass each Sunday. However, he always remained in bed and failed to perform his own duty.

The mother watched with apparent indifference when the boys reached adolescence and began copying their father by missing Mass when they felt like it. Not until the oldest son announced his intention of marrying a non-Catholic girl before a judge, did she seek the advice of her priest; by then, he could merely sympathize with her.

Had he had an early opportunity to discuss the danger to the family that would result from her husband’s indifference, he might have convinced the father that his children would follow his example and would be placed in moral danger as a result.

Moral problems often have roots elsewhere. For instance, when a couple is unable to spend the husband’s income intelligently, they may be tempted to practice artificial birth control. The priest can refer them to agencies which will help them budget their money in a careful way.

In other families, serious conflicts may arise over the inability of husband and wife to achieve sexual compatibility. They may be referred to special courses held under Catholic auspices and designed to give men and women deeper insights into the responsibilities and potentialities of their life together.

Sometimes problems stem from emotional disturbances. One girl of eight suddenly became, in her father’s words, “a pathological liar.” The girl seemed incapable of distinguishing truth in any area of her life, and especially when chided by her parents for committing acts she had been specifically forbidden to do.

She spread absurd stories to friends, neighbors and even her teacher. The wise priest to whom the parents took the problem, realized that the child lied because she was deeply upset emotionally and could best be treated by a psychiatrist.

Many behavior problems do not have a direct moral or religious connection, but result primarily from physical factors. For example, if your child fails to do school work expected of his age, you probably should consult your family doctor.

Some youngsters have trouble hearing or seeing normally, but their defects show up only upon investigation. Or they may suffer from diseases which are severe enough to keep them from doing good school work but not serious enough to force them to remain in bed.

Family troubles may result from economic factors. Sometimes a mother is distraught because her husband is ill for protracted periods of time and she lacks money to buy necessities for her children. False pride should not keep her from seeking aid from agencies established to help in such emergencies. Every diocese has a charitable organization to aid the needy, and communities usually also have nonsectarian welfare agencies. S

ometimes a mother is bedridden for long periods and receives inadequate care while her children are without the attention they require. Voluntary nurses’ associations will give her the home treatments prescribed by her doctor, and, if necessary, Catholic Charities or community agencies will provide temporary homes for her children until she recuperates.

If problems center around your child’s conduct at school, do not hesitate to ask his teacher or the school principal for advice. If you approach them with a determination to help your child, rather than to justify him or yourself, you will often gain a truer understanding of conditions that will enable you to handle his difficulties more successfully.

School principals report, however, that the typical parent appears with a chip on her shoulder. She ignores the experience of the educator which is based upon observations of thousands of children in various stages of development.

She would do better to pocket her pride, admit that either she or her youngster has been responsible for the difficulty in question, resist the impulse to accuse the teacher or principal of prejudice when there is no concrete evidence of it, and resolve to follow the advice given her.

A priest, doctor, principal or other expert may suggest that your problem can best be treated by a psychologist or psychiatrist. Generations ago, such a suggestion would have met great resistance, for the average person believed that consulting a psychologist or psychiatrist was a virtual admission of insanity.

Some persons also saw psychiatry as a threat to religion–a threat which rarely existed and does not now exist from any competent psychiatrist. Others felt that it was intrinsically shameful to admit that they could not solve their own problems and had to seek professional counsel.

While we cannot automatically be absolved of blame for emotional disturbances which require the services of psychiatry, nevertheless when a condition exists, it is all the more shameful to let false pride prevent us from doing something constructive about it.

Talking over one’s deepest feelings with a sympathetic, objective listener often helps a patient gain a new perspective about his problem. Once realizing why he feels and acts as he does, he is often enabled to change his patterns of reaction.

Sometimes patients achieve an understanding of their difficulties after a few hours of psychoanalysis. But treatment often lasts for months, even years. Obviously, the longer the condition has remained in the patient s subconscious, the more difficult it will be to reach and remove.

For this reason, psychoanalysis is often spectacularly successful in reaching the roots of youthful behavior problems. But since the child depends almost entirely upon his parents, the causes of most if not all of his problems rest in their conduct.

Therefore parents who bring their child to a psychiatrist usually must be prepared to hear that the child’s condition will improve only if they change their attitude toward him in one or several important particulars.

If you must choose a psychologist or psychiatrist, do so with the utmost care. Some persons will shop at half a dozen different stores before buying a pair of shoes, and then will choose from the phone book a professional consultant about whom they know nothing.

Responsible professional organizations like the National Association for Mental Health and the American Association of Marriage Counselors have warned of the widespread existence of psychological “quacks” who pose as experts on family problems.

Ask your pastor, school principal, family doctor, an official of Catholic Charities or another responsible welfare organization to recommend a reputable practitioner. They will gladly do so. This simple precaution may save you inestimable time and money and insure you of the best possible help in solving your problems.

The Visitation:

“Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country… And she entered the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth.“

Because Mary was ordinary – that is, a really human being, unselfish, heart full of affection – this Mystery tells me something remarkable about loving God.

The God-Man was now divinely conceived in her womb. Keep to your quiet home, Mary, (we might have advised) and love Him, love Him alone.

But Mary knew this secret about loving God: to love God alone is to love Him not at all. Of her Son’s commandment, “Love one another,” Mary’s visitation was an unconscious prophecy.

Loving God requires that I love everyone else – even those I cannot like! How do I do that? Practicing seeing Christ in others, and act accordingly.

“What you do for others, you do to Me.“ Christ meant that.

“God has so constituted us, that in loving and caring for our own children—the richest and best things in our natures are drawn out. Many of the deepest and most valuable lessons ever learned, are read from the pages of a child’s unfolding life. The thought of our responsibility for them, exalts every faculty of our souls. In the very care which they exact, they bring blessing to us.” J.R. Miller

St Theresa the Little Flower Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Fully lined, lace overlay, made with care and detail! Available here.

 

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

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

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

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

Fall candles!

 

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Where to Get Help When in Trouble (Part One)

Father Kelly points out in this article that, when serious troubles arise, a family should not be too proud to seek outside help. Alcoholic Anonymous, Catholic Charities, good priests, psychiatrists/counselors (carefully chosen) have their place. An answer will come, when the family is praying….

Part Two is here.Where to Get Help When in Trouble (Part Two)

by Father Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook

Probably no family exists that does not have some deep and serious problems. Sometimes the problems may result from personality conflicts between husband and wife or from a difference in their objectives.

Perhaps they derive from the interference of in-laws; from a harmful habit of one partner, such as drinking or gambling to excess; from the failure of children to respond to the training by parents, church or school; or from an almost unlimited variety of other factors.

When you were married you were not granted immunity from difficulty. Your marriage contract, in which you agreed to take your partner “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health,” clearly foresaw that your future life as a husband and father or wife and mother would be strewn with problems.

Therefore your success or failure as a parent will not depend upon the number of difficulties in your life, but rather upon how you handle those thrust upon you. To some extent, at least, the manner in which you deal with your problems is the primary measure of your adequacy as a marriage partner and a parent.

One of the greatest attributes you can develop is the ability to determine what is important in your life, what constitutes a danger for your family’s future, and whether you yourself possess resources to deal with any dangers that you foresee. Of equal, if not greater, importance is the attitude that any cross can be made bearable–if you display the courage and optimism which faith in God and His goodness can provide.

You must expect difficulties.

To achieve a truly happy family life, you must learn how to deal with troubles and tensions that are an ordinary part of existence together in a family unit. As “The Catholic Marriage Manual” points out, a husband and wife will view and do things differently.

They come from different backgrounds, and thus they will have different ideas about how money should be spent, how the household should be run, about recreation, eating, sleeping and many other activities of daily life. No couple can reasonably hope to live together in a continuously serene atmosphere, unmarred by disagreements.

Since children have their own distinct personalities, they too will differ with their parents alone and together, and with other children in the family. You must expect some difficulties.

But when disagreements go beyond normal levels, or when parents or children develop habits which continuously endanger their spiritual and emotional development or the happiness of the family at large, real trouble may be said to exist.

Danger signs of trouble.

One might cite an almost limitless number of attitudes which, if unchecked, could produce serious trouble.

For example, probably every child cries at some time to obtain what his parents do not wish him to have. If they give in to him to stop him from crying, he will always wail to gain his way, as a matter of course. Let them persist in giving him what he wants when he wants it and they will have a tyrant on their hands–a self-centered individual who will never adjust to the wishes and needs of others.

As he meets other children not so responsive to his tears, he will be unable to deal with them. Personality disorders of children have developed from such beginnings and have grown so severe that the help of outsiders was needed to make family life normal again.

A child may become shy and withdrawn, unable to do adequate work at school, because his mother or father treats him harshly and denies him love. Another may stutter because of an overdominant parent, or because a new brother or sister threatens his hold upon his parents.

A teen-ager rebels against authority and continually refuses to do his homework. A daughter reared in a very strict home cultivates undesirable companions to torment her parents.

Such conditions occur often. All have their starting point long before they reach a state where outsiders must be asked to help correct them. However, they do not typify the normal family problem.

They are exceptional for the very reason that mothers and fathers, acting on their inherent instincts as parents, can usually foresee dangerous tendencies in their family life and can forestall the development of major troubles.

Most parents have the qualities–patience, tolerance and willingness to admit their own faults–that are needed to handle the normal difficulties of living.

What should you do, however, when some condition upsets you and threatens to become more disturbing unless it is checked?

First, try to ascertain what is normal behavior. Many husbands have spells of irritability; one berates his wife because dinner is not ready at the regular time, but there is no reason to think that real trouble exists in his marriage. If, however, he continues resentful for hours after dinner, or if she delays meals every night despite his reaction, perhaps deeper and more serious factors than mere irritability are involved.

Likewise, some nagging by the wife is probably normal; if she did not continually remind her husband to repair a leaky faucet, the water bills might drive the family to the poorhouse. Again, husband and wife should realize what degree of nagging is reasonable. If she continually refuses to allow her husband to read his evening paper in peace, she probably nags to excess and there may be a more serious emotional disturbance beneath the surface.

You should have no difficulty in determining what behavior patterns to expect of your children. By recalling your own childhood, observing other youngsters in home and play situations, talking to teachers, and reading even a small amount of advice on child care problems, you can form a clear picture of what is normal.

Thus, you can expect that a brother will deliberately tease his sisters; that your children will often fight among themselves and that you will be required to separate them forcibly; that occasionally your child may accuse you of treating him unfairly; that sometimes he will disobey you–perhaps by reading in bed after lights should be out; that once in a while he will fail to do homework lessons assigned to him.

You probably should handle any of these problems by yourself.

When to seek guidance.

As a general principle, you should seek guidance when a problem presents a present or future serious danger to the well- being of one or more family members; when your own efforts to deal with it have failed; and when the disturbing condition is growing worse, rather than improving, with time. Some cases that conform to such a formula are described below.

A normal young child may have occasional nightmares. They are a subconscious reaction to fears or experiences in his waking state. One child, however, had them almost as a matter of course. Although his parents tried to assure him that he had nothing to fear, he began to dread going to bed.

They then permitted him to leave his bedroom door open and kept a light burning in the hall. Soon he resisted going to bed even under these conditions, and his fears began to affect his schoolwork, his relations with other children and with his parents. His mother took him to a counseling center.

A psychiatrist discovered after talking to him that he had become addicted to blood-and-bullets television programs, and spent most of his allowance each week on comic books of the horror type.

His parents had been unable to discern the real cause of his nightmares, for he did not appear to be unduly affected by what he read or saw on television. Clearly, therefore, this was a case calling for outside guidance.

Another boy seemed to be a model of good behavior until he reached his teens. When he entered high school, however, his parents noticed a striking change.

At some times he appeared to be strangely listless and to be given to excesses of daydreaming. At other times, he returned home in a state of feverish excitement. And on still other occasions, he responded in a violently quarrelsome way to gentle remarks by his parents.

The change was so marked, and the parents’ attempts to cope with it so ineffective, that they rightly consulted a doctor. What he discovered shocked them. The boy had taken a dare to smoke marijuana, and after a few experiences he had gone on to even more habit-forming drugs.

Fortunately, his parents acted quickly enough, and he was treated without the excruciating pain which more confirmed addicts often feel when they try to break the habit.

A young husband and his wife seemed to have made a fine adjustment to marriage until their first child arrived. Then he became quarrelsome and found fault with her conduct at the slightest provocation. She began to dread his return home at night, because she knew the evening would not end without angry words.

With greater insight, she might have realized that his attitude stemmed from immature fears that the infant might replace him in her affection. The couple’s relations continued to grow worse until a marriage counselor advised her to reassure her husband constantly of her love and to help him develop a responsible adult attitude.

Had experienced guidance not been available, the relations of this couple might have degenerated to a point where their future happiness would be endangered.

Jesus had a serene disregard for worldly renown. His birth had been obscure, His parents common folk. For many years He worked as a carpenter to support His widowed mother.

Though His miracles made Him a public figure, His “hard sayings“ won Him the wrath of the hypocrites, who “in the hour of darkness” had their way with Him.

On Calvary, He was surrounded by a jeering rabble, gloating that the self-styled King of the Jews was in His proper place-“with two other malefactors“.

But on Easter, there is no one with Him to rejoice at His Resurrection.

Jesus had many witnesses of His failures, but none at His crowning success. His loneliest moment was his triumphal Resurrection. He was a success first of all before God – the only worthwhile success.

Painting by Frank Ordaz

“Boys need that self-assured belief that they can do anything to grow into men of action and achievement—but they’ll never build that confidence if Mom and Dad never give them real responsibility. We have to give important jobs to our kids, and then we have to trust them and not worry about them messing up. It would certainly be easier for us to just do the hard stuff ourselves and let our boys play, but our goal isn’t to do what’s easy. It’s to raise men.” – Chasity Akiki

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A Companion to Her Husband – True Womanhood, 1877

The more we read this kind of inspiration, the more it sinks in just how much power we have in the home….and how much we must pray to have a right spirit within those four walls.

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From True Womanhood, Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, 1893

ANGELS GUARD THE CATHOLIC HOME

It is for every father, who is by the divine law of nature, king in his own family, to consider well the truth here presented to him, and to conceive of his own little kingdom the pure and lofty notion, which is that of the divine mind as well as the mind of the Church.

When a father, though never so poor, firmly believes that his little home and his hearth-stone are a thing so precious and so holy that God will have “His angel keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend it, and all who dwell therein,” he, too, will lift up his eyes and his heart to that Father over all and most loving Master, and exhort himself daily and hourly to walk before Him and be perfect.”

But it is to his companion,—the queen of that little kingdom, the wife,—that it is most necessary to have high and holy thoughts about the sacredness of her charge, the obligations incumbent on her, the incalculable good which she can do, and the many powerful helps toward its accomplishment that the All-Wise and Ever-Present is sure to multiply under her hand.

To every true man and woman now living there is no being on earth looked up to with so pure, so deep, so grateful, so lasting a love, as a mother.

Let us look at our mother, then, in that dear and holy relation of wife which she bears to him who was for us in childhood the representative of the God “of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named.”

WOMAN’S DUTIES AS WIFE

The first duty of the wife is to study to be in every way she can the companion, the help, and the friend of her husband.

Indeed on her capacity to be all this, and her earnest fulfillment of this threefold function depends all the happiness of both .their lives, as well as the well-being of the whole family.

Hence the obligation which is incumbent on parents providing for the establishment of their children, — to see to it, so far as is possible, that the person chosen to be a wife in the new home should be a true companion for their son, a true helpmate in all his toil, and a faithful friend through all the changes of fortune.

SHE OUGHT TO BE A COMPANION TO HER HUSBAND

One half of the unhappiness of married life comes from the fact that the wife is either unfitted or unwilling to be a true companion to her husband. This companionship requires that she should be suited by her qualities of mind and heart and temper to enter into her husband’s thoughts and tastes and amusements, so as to make him find in her company and conversation a perfect contentment and delight.

Persons who are perfectly companionable never weary of each other,—indeed, they are never perfectly happy while away from each other;—they enter into each other’s thoughts, reflect (and increase by the reflection) the light in each other’s mind; cultivate the same tastes, pursue the same ideals, and complete each other in the interchange of original or acquired knowledge.

But there is more than that in the companionship of the true wife. She studies to make herself agreeable, delightful, and even indispensable to him who is her choice among all men.

If true love be in her heart, it will suggest to her, day by day, a thousand new devices for charming the leisure of her husband.

Woman has been endowed by the Creator with a marvelous fertility of resource in this respect: it is an unlimited power, productive of infinite good when used for a holy purpose and within her own kingdom; but productive of infinite evil when employed in opposition to the design of the Giver, or allowed to lie idle when it should be used to promote the sacred ends of domestic felicity.

There are wives who will study certain languages, sciences, arts, or accomplishments, in order to make themselves the companions of the men they love, and thus be able to converse with them on the things they love most, or to charm the hours of home repose by music and song.

The writer of these lines remembers, that, while a young priest in Quebec, upward of thirty years ago, he was much struck by seeing a young lady of one of the best families there, applying herself assiduously to study the sign-language of the deaf-mutes in order to converse easily with her husband—a wealthy young merchant, thoroughly trained himself in the admirable Deaf and Dumb Institution of his native city.

They were devoted to each other, and the young wife’s earnestness in making herself companionable to her husband, must have brought many a blessing on the home in which the writer beheld them so rapt in each other, so virtuous, and so full of bright hope !

It must not be concluded from this, that a woman who applies herself to acquire knowledge for the purpose of being more of a companion to her husband, should thoroughly master either a language, a science, or an art. . . .

In the case of the young wife just mentioned, a thorough familiarity with the language of signs was indispensable as a means of easy conversation with her husband.

But this is evidently an exceptional case;—and is only mentioned to show what difficulties love will overcome to be helpful or agreeable to its companion.

The word helpful, just used, will furnish to every wife the true measure of the knowledge she may be prompted to acquire.

Her husband has to know perfectly whatever he knows, because his success as a professional man or a business man depends on this thorough knowledge, whereas his wife only acquires to please and to help her companion.

But there are other things beside this scientific, literary, or artistic knowledge, which may be more needful to a wife, if she would make herself of all earthly beings the most delightful and necessary companion to her husband.

She must study him,—his needs, his moods, his weak as well as his strong points,—and know how to make him forget himself when he is moody and selfish, and bring out every joyous side of his nature when he is prone to sadness.

God, who has made the soul both of man and of woman, and who has united them in the duties and burdens of home-life, wills that they should complete each other.

Man has bodily strength, because it is his duty to labor for the home and protect it; he has also certain mental and moral qualities which woman does not need, and which fit him for the battle of life and his continual struggle with the crowd.

But she has, on her part, far more of fortitude, of that power to bear and to forbear, to suffer silently and uncomplainingly herself while ministering with aching heart and head to the comfort, the cheerfulness, the happiness of all around her.

At any rate, she has by nature the power, the art, and the disposition to please, to soothe, to charm, and to captivate.

It is a wonderful power; and we see daily women exerting it in an evil way and for purposes that God cannot bless, and that every right conscience must condemn.

Why will not women who are truly good, or who sincerely strive to be so, not make it the chief study of their lives to find out and acquire the sovereign art of making their influence as healthful, as cheering, as blissful as the sunlight and the warmth are to their homes ?

Let us give an example of what is meant here—and this illustration will suggest, of itself, many other applications.

We all know—a mother more than anyone else—what a potent spell praise is in making children master whatever they are learning, and, what is far more difficult, acquire a mastery over themselves, both in repressing wrong inclinations and in gaining the habits of the noblest virtues.

A word of praise from a mother will stir the heart of every well-born child—and few children are ill-born, that is, with radically bad dispositions—to the most extraordinary exertions, and fill the whole soul with delight, when that word is sweetly spoken of successful efforts made.

We say nothing here of the stimulus which praise from the queen of the home gives to the zeal and conscientious labors of servants. We are concerned with the master of the home. Do you  not know that all men, even old men, even the proudest and coldest men, are only great children, who thirst for praise from a wife, a mother, or a sister’s lips?

There are men —and they are the noblest, the most high-souled—who care but little, if anything, for the praise or censure of the crowd, even of the learned or titled crowd; but their heart is stirred through all its depths by one sweet word from the lips of mother, sister, or wife.

Why, O women, are you so niggard of a money which you can bestow without making yourselves the poorer, and which your dear ones prize above gold and gems?

Give generously, but discerningly, what is held so dear as coming from you, and which will only encourage those you love above all the world to strive to-morrow for still higher excellence, and look forward to still sweeter praise.

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“We’re terribly in danger all the time of taking God’s goodness too much for granted; of bouncing up to Communion as if it were the most natural thing in the world, instead of being a supernatural thing belonging to another world.” – Msgr. Ronald Knox, 1948

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Octmystery of the rosary

The Agony in the Garden

Suffering did not come upon Christ unawares. In a very real sense, it had been on God’s mind from all eternity. The Virgin Mary had conceived a Victim. John held him as the meek Lamb of God, destined for slaughter.

Jesus himself spoke often of His death; invited others to do what He was about to do – “take up the Cross”; then deliberately went up to Jerusalem to his earthly doom.

But when that long-awaited suffering was only a sunrise away, Jesus Christ fell upon His face and bled at the thought of pain and asked that, if it were possible, the chalice be withheld.

To tremble at pain is Christlike. Suffering is not a good thing that merely appears evil. It is an evil, which human nature shrinks from – and Grace can sanctify.

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A very beautiful book, worthy of our attention. In it, you will find many pearls of wisdom for a woman striving to be the heart of the home, an inspiration to all who cross her path. You will be inspired to reconsider the importance of your role of wife and mother! Written by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly in 1894, the treasures found within its pages ring true and remain timeless…

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My Little Story About the Rosary….

Happy Feast of the Holy Rosary! Here is my little story of the Rosary…..

I’m a slow learner.

Sometimes it just takes me a long time to “get” some things.

At the tender age of twenty, the Rosary and the Consecration to Our Lady (St. Louis de Montfort style) was what set my feet on solid ground in a world that spun around me with all sorts of “answers” to life’s problems. And I wanted answers.

My friends were leaving the Catholic Church that was rocked by liberalism and they were going to greener pastures. It was all beckoning to me. The Catholic Church I attended didn’t seem to hold out any answers. I had attended a Catholic School and went to Mass every Sunday all my growing up years. I was involved in youth groups and church choirs. And yet I didn’t know about the True Presence until I was almost 20 years old! There was an emptiness…. but I didn’t know what the problem was.

Then something happened. I went to a few classes on St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary. I didn’t like them but I stepped out in faith and began by saying a decade of the rosary each day (while my thoughts traveled to those naysayers saying  “repetition of words are useless…dumb”….they also said…”IDOLATRY…you can’t pray to Mary”) but I persevered…..And then I consecrated myself to Our Lady…(once again, the horrible doubts and misgivings…) I did it anyway. It was not very comfortable.

I met hubby. We began our courtship and our marriage with the rosary…daily. It was a commitment. It wasn’t wonderful…or beautiful…. It was a commitment.

We had children. Many children. We said the rosary. So often, it seemed fruitless. Life was so distracted, so wrought with the everyday little crosses and duties…but it was a commitment and we stuck to it.

I knew it was a good thing. I knew Our Lady asked for the Family Rosary at Fatima:“I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to always pray the Rosary every day.” I believed. I was committed. Hubby was always committed. 🙂

I see now the fruits. I look around at a very crazy world and thank God through tears for what He has given to us…through no merit of our own.

I know that we could have really messed up. We were two people coming from very different backgrounds….both very strong-willed. We made our mistakes…..but we had the Rosary. And we stuck with it, day in and day out, year after year.

A family that prays together, stays together. I know that is not everything. If we have an open heart, the Rosary gives us the graces to make the necessary changes as we need them.Feb. 14, 2014 005-001

The Daily Family Rosary. Steady, Constant. Amid the crosses of daily life with many children, the misunderstandings between husband and wife, the financial burdens…we had the rosary.

When the kids got hurt or sick, when I was very ill, when hubby was in the hospital and we had no money to pay, through tragedies, accidents and fires, when I didn’t understand why God was letting things happen to us…. we were saying the Rosary.

Steady and constant, we prayed it every day, amid slouching kids, tired husband, cranky, pregnant wife.

Thank God for that Rosary. I know my life is not done yet. We still have children at home, children who can….and will….make a lot of mistakes. But for the record, they all (married ones, too) put their Faith first, amid their own struggles. They say the daily Rosary and it will be what holds them together through thick and thin.

If you have troubles, say the Rosary. If, amid your noisy and boisterous family, you are suffering loneliness, say the Rosary. Do you have fears and worries? Say the Rosary. Are your rosaries dry and distracted?…Keep saying it.

Truly, who knows better than Our Lady, Our Mother, our humanness, our failings, how small we are, how distracted we are. She will help. Persevere. Don’t give up.

It is just now that I am beginning more to understand the beauty, the mystery, the  deep, interior, spiritual growth that can take place through the Rosary. Like I said, I am a slow learner.

I am glad that God is very, very patient.

He has given us a very special gift. Don’t take it for granted and don’t go a day without saying it!

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The Annunciation “Hail, Full of Grace”

Another day had begun in the little home of Nazareth – a quiet, cool March day. Mary would spend it as she had spent countless others, quietly working about the house.

An ordinary girl, Mary, as the world judges; ordinary like the rest of the villagers, like Joseph…

Suddenly an angel was by her side: “Hail, full of grace!“

An ordinary person would be rather disturbed by such a visitor, and by such a greeting. And Mary was! “She was troubled at his word.“

The angel had implied that Mary loved God with all her heart, soul, mind, strength; that she loved God enough to become His Mother.
Loving God wholeheartedly – like Mary, I was created to do just that – and being “ordinary“ puts no barriers in my way!

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“It is difficult for a child to be better than his home environment or for a nation to be superior to the level of its home life. In fulfilling its double purpose – the generation and formation of children – the home becomes a little world in itself, self-sufficient even in its youngest years. It is vital that you, as a mother or father, make of your home a training ground in character-building for your children, who will inherit the world’s problems. Home is a place in which the young grow in harmony with all that is good and noble, where hardship, happiness, and work are shared.” – Father Lawrence G. Lovasik
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I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first!
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