St. Andrew Novena – The Special Christmas Novena!

From The Rosary and Gifts

A Favorite Christmas Novena ~
The St Andrew Novena

jesus-birthThe Christmas Novena, the St Andrew Novena  (November 30th – December 24th), is I believe, one of the most popular Catholic Advent prayers.

My family and I love to say this novena each year in preparation for Advent. We offer the intention as a family intention, one we wish to gain for the family as a whole, and also a private intention, one that each one of us would like to gain like a particular virtue or help in fighting against a vice.

Because the prayer is longer than nine (9) days, and not quite 27, it’s technically not a novena or a set of novenas, but, because it is prayed ‘novena style’, that is, repeatedly for a set amount of days, it is referred to as a novena.

In my family, we have found that we remember to say the novena best when we attach it to our daily Rosary. We set the slips of paper that we have written or printed the prayer out on next to our Rosary bowl. I do know other families say this novena with their grace before dinner while they light the candles as part of their Advent wreath prayers.

The prayer can be said at anytime during the day, but if you have a regular time the whole family is together like for the Rosary, morning/night prayers, or at meals, it might be a good idea to say the novena at a set, regular time.

Imagine a child who loves you…he is willing to do just about anything in his power to please you.

NOW imagine the Christ-Child. He too is willing to do just about anything for you. Everything is in His power to do and to give, as long as the petitioned favor isn’t contrary to what Our Lord deems necessary for your eternal salvation. This is an important caveat that I have trouble remembering! ;-)

In this Advent season of preparing for Christ’s coming, the St Andrew Christmas Novena is a loving way to prepare ourselves and our families.

St Andrew holds the honor of being the first apostle to be called by Christ to follow Him.

This novena is a bit different in that it does not invoke the intervention or aid of the saint himself, but is adoring, glorifying the hour of Christ’s birth and seeking aid from God Himself!

The novena is begun on the Feast of Saint Andrew, November 30th, and is said thru Christmas Eve, December 24th.

St Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and Blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.  In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Recite 15 times per day. It is permitted to break it up and pray 5x’s in the morning, afternoon and evening, but for the sake of missing one of the times and forgetting, I prefer to say them all at once.

Prepare for Miracles!


I made this Advent Chaplet to keep track of your 15 Christmas Novena prayers. It has a lovely brass crucifix, is durable and wire-wrapped to last for many Advents to come! Limited quantity. :)   Included is a laminated prayer card with the novena prayer on it. If you are interested go to Meadows of Grace.




It’s Time to Get Ready for the Spiritual Christmas Crib!

A beautiful devotion….I like to repost this each year as a reminder to get ready for this lovely family activity for the Advent season. The devotion starts December 1st so you have a little time to gather whatever materials are needed.

Nativity Wallpaper

It’s nice to follow this devotion from a book so consider getting the Finer Femininity Advent/Christmas Maglet.

This is a custom we have kept throughout the years. It is a beautiful little devotion preparing our hearts for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.

You can do the special activities indicated each day in this devotion in your own manger scene, using your imagination. When my older ones were young we made a 3D stable out of heavy cardboard and added the different themes each day…whether it was drawing in the cobwebs or making paper doll figurines for the nativity scene.

Or you can do what we have done the last few years. We put up 4 big white posterboard papers on an empty wall to make a big blank paper just waiting for the crayons and sharpies to make their mark! (You can make it as big or small as you like, using just one or two posterboards.) Each morning we draw the part of the manger scene that is applicable to that day.

I or one of the older girls usually do the drawing in pencil then the child whose day it is traces it with colored markers and colors it in.

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

We sometimes forget a couple days and have to back track. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a wonderful family devotion that helps to make Advent and Christmas meaningful!Photo 7

img_6183Photo 2-002Christmas Dance 2013 (101)

Here’s the devotion:

Start on December 1st.

Read the thought indicated
about Christ’s first crib.
Practice it during the day. Do this daily during
December and make your heart a worthy crib for
Christ on Christmas Day.

Frequently during the day offer your heart to the
little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home. –

Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and

See that the roof of the stable is in good
condition, so that the Infant Jesus is protected
from rain and snow. This you will do by carefully
avoiding every uncharitable remark. —Jesus,
teach me to love my neighbor as myself.

Carefully stop every crevice in the walls of the
stable, so that the wind and cold may not enter
there. Guard your senses against temptations. Guard
especially your ears against sinful
conversations.–Jesus, help me to keep
temptations out of my heart.

Clean the cobwebs from your spiritual crib.
Diligently remove from your heart every
inordinate desire of being praised. Renew this
intention at least three times today. —My Jesus,
I want to please You in all I do today.

Build a fence about the crib of your heart by
keeping a strict watch over your eyes, especially
at prayer. —Sweet Jesus, I long to see You.

Fix the best and warmest corner of your heart
for the manger of Jesus. You will do so by
abstaining from what you like most in the line of
comfort and amusement. —Mary, use these
sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in
Holy Communion.

Supply the manger of your heart with hay, by
overcoming all feelings of pride, anger or envy.
Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest

Provide your manger with soft straw by
performing little acts of mortification; for
instance, bear the cold without complaints; or sit
and stand erect. —Dear Jesus, Who suffered so
much for me, let me suffer for love of You.

Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding
your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and
thoughtfully. —Jesus let me love you more and

Provide the manger with soft warm
blankets. Avoid harsh and angry words; be kind and
gentle to all. —Jesus, help me to be meek and
humble like You.

Bring fuel to the crib of Jesus. Give up your own
will; obey your superiors cheerfully and
promptly. —Jesus, let me do Your will in all

Bring fresh clean water to the crib. Avoid every
untruthful word and every deceitful act.
Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for
my sins.

Bring a supply of food to the crib. Deprive
yourself of some food at mealtime or candy as a
treat. —Jesus, be my strength and nourishment.

See that the crib has sufficient light. Be
neat and orderly about your person; keep
everything in its place in your room. —Jesus, be
the life and light of my soul.

Take care to have the crib of your heart warmed
by a cozy fire. Be grateful to God for the love He
has shown us in becoming man; behave with grateful
respect towards your parents and relatives. —
Jesus, how can I return Your love; how can I show
my gratitude to You?

Lead the ox to the crib. Obey cheerfully without
making excuses and without asking “why.” —I will
obey for love of You, Jesus.

Bring the donkey to the crib. Offer to the Divine
Infant your bodily strength; use it in the service
of others. —Jesus, accept my service of love;
I offer it for those who do not love You.

Gather some presents for the Divine Infant and
His Blessed Mother. Give alms for the poor and say
an extra decade of the rosary. —Come, Jesus, to
accept my gifts and to take possession of my heart.

Strive to bring some little lambs, meek and
and patient. Do not murmur or complain.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make

my heart like Yours.

Invite the shepherds to pay homage to our newborn
King. Imitate their watchfulness; stress in your
speech and thoughts the idea that Christmas is
important because Jesus will be born again in
Jesus, teach me to love You above all things.

Provide the stable with a key to keep out
thieves. Exclude from your heart every sinful
thought, every rash judgment —Dear Jesus, close
my heart to all that hurts you.

Invite the angels to adore God with you.
Cheerfully obey the inspirations of
your guardian angel and of your conscience. —
Holy Guardian Angel, never let me forget that You
are with me always.

Accompany Saint Joseph from door to door. Learn
from him silently and patiently to bear refusals
and disappointments. Open wide your heart and beg
Him to enter with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saint Joseph, help me to prepare for a worthy
Christmas Communion.

Go meet your Blessed Mother. Lead her to the
manger of your heart and beg her to lay the
Divine Infant in it. Shorten your chats and
telephone conversations and spend more time today
thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You.


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Happy Thanksgiving from Finer Femininity!

Mothers, today on Thanksgiving, know how very special you are. You are the essence, the heart of your home. Your smile lightens the burdens, your words brighten the hearts of those who will be part of your festivities. The tone of this special family time is set by you! We, as mothers, are privileged to have such an important part in the making of our homes! May your day be filled with grace and love! <3



This Thanksgiving let us offer up our little inconveniences, our stresses, our fatigue for those less fortunate than ourselves. And, on the flip side, let’s start becoming more aware of the little things and thanking God for them.






Advent and the Stable

Wow, This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent!! We will be scurrying to try and be on time and have our Advent wreath out, our Advent Calendar up and our stable started.

Some years we don’t get started right on time and that’s okay. But we will give it a go this week and see how things turn out!

The big one is the stable. We make it our main focus throughout the Advent season.

Our four-wheeler is out of commission so we will be taking a walk through the field and dragging back big and small items from nature to begin our scene.

It is always a messy, fun time….branches, dirt and rock laying all over the area we  are working.

Below are older pictures to give you an idea of what we do for our stable. They are taken from two different years so don’t get confused.  All the figurines of the Nativity are added in slowly, with the Baby Jesus making His entrance after Midnight Mass.

A Beautiful Season – Busy Times Ahead

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Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas – A wondrous time for the family! Are you starting to feel some of the pressure?

Make sure your are not piling on too much. Let’s work at making this season special, but not to the point where… may be missing the point. The people in your home are most important. Take time for them…..and that is what this article is about! :)

Christmas Dance 2013 (26)

by Charlotte Siems

Warning: busy times are ahead. ‘Tis the season for extra baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating and entertaining. Starting with the Thanksgiving holiday and ending with New Year’s, the addition of extra activities on top of our regularly scheduled lives can be a mite stressful.

I’m definitely in favor of doing the extras. Holidays mark the passing of the year. Traditions create a sense of belonging and comfort. Children relish those things that “we always do,” and the once-a-year foods and décor call up a sense of wonder and excitement like nothing else.
But here’s a reminder: Don’t forget the small hours.

Don’t lose sight of the people that you live and work with during this busy season. Life happens in the moments. There’s a tendency to get impatient and frustrated with the moments when there’s so much to do.
Changing diapers, wiping noses, taking time to listen to a co-worker or child’s story–we’re in a hurry to give it a slap and a promise so we can get to the important stuff. The reality is that the small hours ARE the important stuff.

All the little moments of life add up to memories, relationships and atmosphere. Our attitude in dealing with the little things affects the entire holiday season (and life year-round).

A certain holiday season stands out in my mind. It was busy as always, running from one activity to the next. The usual gathering of family for Thanksgiving, then before we knew it, Christmas. That year was especially hectic, as several family members were preparing to leave the very next day for a mission trip to Mexico.

I remember a poignant moment, captured on video, when each family opened a certain gift in unison. It was a patchwork quilt, crafted from scraps of Grandma’s dresses. The family had gathered for her funeral a few months earlier. The grown grandchildren examined the quilts eagerly, pointing out dresses they remembered her wearing. (Who says what we wear isn’t noticed by children?)

What I now remember is not so much the quilt, but the fact that we didn’t know it would be my brother-in-law’s last holiday with us. He was killed in a car accident on the return trip from Mexico a few days later, and life changed forever for the family.
I remember having the feeling that I wished we could rewind, like an old VHS tape. But there are no rewinds, no do-overs, no going back and stopping the inevitable after it has begun.

This holiday season, which has already begun, stay aware of the small hours. Beware the tendency to skip reading aloud and tucking in bed. Live life at home intentionally, and keep things simple. Encourage and love by the caring actions of everyday life: cooking meals, brushing hair, doing laundry. Wherever you are, be there.

Childhood and life are fleeting moments, and our lives happen in these small hours.

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Thanksgiving Thoughts, A Gallery and a Give-Away!

Thanksgiving Thoughts…..

I have learned a new method for post-Communion meditation that has helped me to stay focused after receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist. I think it was originally meant for children….but hey, we are all supposed to be as little children, aren’t we?

It is easy and may help you, too. It is actually an acronym and some of you may use this method already. The acronym is FATHER and here is the method to use:

F – Acts of FAITH



H – Acts of HUMILITY

E – ENTREATY (Asking God for what we need)

R – RESOLUTION (Making a doable resolution to overcome our faults)

Easy enough to remember, right? And it fits right along with what we have learned about the four methods of prayer and the four ends of the sacrifice of the Mass – Adoration, Atonement, Thanksgiving, Petition….

When I get to the Thanksgiving part of this prayer, my heart overflows (when I am focused and not too distracted) with thankfulness for everything we have. It comes easily – to think of things I am grateful for.

It hasn’t always come easy. But I have had to train myself to regularly look at the glass half full instead of half empty.  I still get tripped up. But for the most part I am able to bring my mind back to what I have….which is so much.

There are so many suffering in this world of ours and when we are aware of this, it helps us to comprehend what we have. Although the news, etc. can bring us down, a proper dose (important – not too much!) of it makes us grateful. It gives us a reality check. And thankfulness SHOULD be our daily focus. Our Lord is very pleased with a thankful heart.

It may take a gratitude journal or just trying to remember to switch tracks on our train of thought if it begins to get negative and self-pitying. There is no room for that in a Catholic life. Let’s “boot it out” of our lives!(Speaking to myself here, too, of course)! I’m not an expert at it, but getting better…..

There are many, many little things that happen in every day life that we can be thankful for.  A good cup of tea or coffee?  A homemade apple pie?  A good movie?  A stranger’s smile?  A friend who cares?  In this time of disturbing world news, having a safe home, a haven to go home to is something to be very thankful for.  I’m grateful for the beautiful fall we have had.  I grew up in Canada and at this time of year winter is getting its tight grip on each day.

Thanksgiving is a great time to remember those big and little things that each of us has to be grateful for.  It’s also a good time to be thankful for the adversities in our lives because they have helped us to grow and to have compassion on others who are going through rough times.

Each day we need to practice having a thankful heart. All those little things I mentioned? Why not each day, be more aware of them and send a quick prayer of thanksgiving to God, who is the Author of all these things as we experience them throughout the day.

When you are having that tea and it warms your innards, thank God for it. When you are about to sit down with your family and play a board game and you realize what a gift your family is, thank God for it. When you get in that warm shower and the heat penetrates your sore body and gives it relief,  thank God for it. When you lay your head down at night and it feels so good because you are so tired., thank God for it. What better way to train your mind to be thankful!

I read these words from a very wise woman: ” Learn to enjoy life.  Be thankful.  Smile.  When you catch yourself becoming irritated or disturbed at circumstances, stop and laugh at the little things that steal your peace.  Count your blessings and learn to be appreciative.”

Cicero once said, “A grateful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”

So as the Thanksgiving weekend approaches,  let us offer up our little inconveniences, our stresses, our fatigue for those less fortunate than ourselves. And, on the flip side, let’s start becoming more aware of the little things and thanking God for them.

May you all be blessed with a lovely Thanksgiving. May Our Lord and Our Lady help us to become holy with hearts filled with love and gratefulness. Amen!


A Gallery:

Some pictures of our November so far. Rosie is not in most of these pictures. She has been suffering through October and November with the Epstein Barr Virus. It has taken her down….really down. In your charity, would you be so kind as to offer a prayer for her?

This is Gemma, Margy and Hannah. Margy (middle of the first pic)is my “right hand lady” since Rosie has been out of commission. She makes all the meals and fills in wherever there is a need. Gemma and Hannah help a lot, too!

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Our All Saint’s Day Party was a smashing hit. The March of Saints and then the Litany of the Saints started the evening off. The large hall was packed with kids and adults alike. Then came the potluck where we all were able to visit with each other and have some good camaraderie.  Next was the two short plays about the lives of the saints and then the games for the kids, with lots of prizes for everyone. There was the fishing pond, the cake walk and many other neat games that Margy prepared for the evening. We had a raffle for the door prize and a Pumpkin Carving Contest where the winners would take away the baskets shown below!



First Prize:


Second Prize:

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Third Prize:


Mid-November we held a Robin Hood Bow Shoot. Our family was very involved. There were about 45 people who shot the course. Families came and sat around the bonfire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. It turned out to be a wonderful time and we hope to have it each year! The profit from this event will be used to help the needy in our area this Christmas season.

bow shoot without logo K of C

One of the 3D targets:


Theresa is a good shot and won first place in the Women’s competition!



Our grandson (Theresa’s son) Brendan, was pretty good, too!


Grandson, Jacob:


Devin won second place in the Men’s Compound Bow Competition:


Our son-in-law, Mike, won first in the Men’s Competition:

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How do you like that for a pile of laundry!? Sheesh…. I stuck this one in as a reality check. :P


This is Angelo’s bed. I do believe he is going to be a Mad Professor . He’s got all sorts of contraptions rigged up. When I asked him why the beads were in the lid and precariously sitting on something suspended in the air, he proceeded to tell me it was his alarm clock. When Dominic gets up in the morning and switches on the light, somehow the fan fin will hit the lid, the beads will fall and it will wake Angelo up. :P


We have five birthdays within five days of each other in November. Angelo and Rosie’s birthday is on the same day. Rosie was able to get herself out of bed to blow out the candles.


Our sweetheart granddaughter, Agnes.


Our Amazon packages can hold some pretty amazing things!!


Since Rosie has not been able to make it to Mass for several weeks, Father, in his kindness, came and offered Mass at our house. Such a privilege!


These are pictures of Virginia’s flowers that she makes. Theresa is modeling them. They would make lovely “fascinators” for weddings.

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We have been taking part in the local bazaars to sell some of our handcrafted items.


All of the guys decided to take the birthday girls and Angelo out for dinner rather than buy gifts and have a party. This is the gang just before they left for the restaurant.


Rosie stayed behind. :(


This month we had a celebration as our Legion of Mary Praesidium welcomed nine new members! They made their promise and are now full-fledged Legionaires! It was very exciting!


Last year we had a Family Puppet Show for St. Nicholas Day. This year we plan to collaborate the Puppet Show with the Knights of the Altar Spaghetti Dinner for the whole parish! We will also have a special visit from St. Nicholas! I will take pictures for you.

st nicholas poster


A Give-Away!

With that, I would like to offer you today a Give-Away!

This is a handcrafted  brass, wire-wrapped rosary bracelet with matching earrings so you can carry your rosary wherever you go! (Notice the special German twisted wire….saved it just for you! )

Also included is a lovely Ribbon Ginjen Flower Accessory handcrafted by my daughter Jeanette! (The amount of work that goes into each of the petals is admirable as she cuts, burns, folds and glues each piece of ribbon!)

These two lovely gifts (that will bring festivity to your Christmas season) will be given to the person whose name is pulled from the “hat”! Just leave a comment here on the blog. It is always nice to hear from you! :)

I will pick the winner November 30th, St. Andrew’s Feast Day!

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The Mass: The Perfect Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Catholics take the opportunity to meditate on how much we have to be grateful for, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

Father Kenneth Walker’s First Mass:


Men have not only prayed in thanksgiving, but have offered in thanksgiving: something that was a sign of themselves, to show they were thankful for life, were sorry for their sins against the Giver of life, would give their lives in return, if they might, to the One they owe so much.

They made offerings in thanks for the things that sustain life, for the preservation of life. “Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat.”

“So Noah went out, he and his sons, his wife and the wives of his sons – all living things went out of the ark. And Noah built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowl that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar….”

They made bloody offerings, because the offering is a symbol of the offerer, and blood is the essence of life. Blood is life.

There were other offerings: “Melchizedek, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God, blessed him and said, `Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth.'”

“‘ .. Because bread maintains life, and wine enhances life. God told them what to sacrifice and how to sacrifice; but especially He told them to make the sacrifice of the Pasch, because it was a memorial to their freedom and their protection, a memorial of thanksgiving to the God who loved them: ”

. . . and it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, one year … and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening.” . . . ”

And this day shall be a memorial unto you: and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord … for with a strong hand the Lord hath brought you out of this place.”

He brought them through water, led them by fire, fed them with manna, and when they sinned against Him, He chastised them and accepted their sacrifices of expiation. He made it part of their Law, their Covenant, that they were to offer sacrifice: of reparation, of petition, of praise, of thanksgiving.

Then Christ came. When it was time for the thing to happen for which He came, He said to the Apostles, “This is my body, which is being given for you; do this, in remembrance of me.” And He said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you.”

This was the new covenant, the new Pasch … “in my blood,” He said. From that moment on, they were to make sacrifice “in my blood.”

The offering is a symbol of the offerer. Blood is the essence of life. This is our gift to offer: His Body and Blood, every day.

Think of all the things the Redemption accomplished, and do not forget this last: to put into our hands the perfect Gift, the pure Victim – “holy and spotless, the holy bread of everlasting life and the chalice of everlasting salvation.”



  • At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.
  • Every Mass will go with you to Judgment and will plead pardon for you.
  • By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less, according to your fervor.
  • By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.
  • Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
  • He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed. The Power of Satan over you is diminished.
  • By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
  • One Holy Mass heard during your life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.
  • Through the Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.
  • During Holy Mass you kneel amid a multitude of holy Angels, who are present at the Adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.
  • Through Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
  • When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honor of any particular Saint or Angel thanking God for the favors bestowed on him, you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honor, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection for yourself.
  • Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honor of the Saint of the day.

Encouraging Catholic Customs



From A Candle is Lighted, P. Stewart Craig


There is a whole school of thought that sniffs at the idea of encouraging Catholic customs in the home—or anywhere else, for that matter. Customs like the saying of the rosary together, the decorating of an altar in May seem to them too childish for consideration.

For them the doctrines of the Church are sufficient, without these extras. And indeed the doctrines of the Church are enough for anyone. They are like straight, unwinding roads that lead into eternity; only on either side of these roads are hedges and ditches and meadows and all sorts of flowers.

The ultra- catholic Catholic is not interested in these flowers or fields. Still, such things are to a road what Catholic customs are to the faith; they adorn it, enliven it, they help to keep one on the journey.

It is not strange that all sorts of devotional practices have sprung up round Catholicism, sometimes practices that may seem rather trifling until one realizes that customs cannot be worthless that have evolved from the faith of the people through many hundreds of years, sometimes through well over a thousand years.

What family is there that does not use certain sayings and phrases that have significance only for those belonging to the circle? What family exists that has no peculiar customs, nicknames, rites, birthday ceremonial that outsiders cannot be expected to appreciate?

I can remember an unfailing ritual that was observed among us as children when we ate porridge. First, you ate it all round the edge until half of it was gone and then straight across until the red and blue figure of Tom the piper’s son showed himself on the bottom of the plate, complete with pig and pursuing policeman.

Why we did that I have no idea and I doubt if anyone can account for the curious rites they observed as children. Those rites are not necessary for family life, but they adorn it and enliven it.

And since the Church is not an institution but a family that ranges from God and God’s mother and thence to the saints and thence to the souls in purgatory and from them to ourselves, is it astonishing that spiritual family rites and customs have sprung up?

It is surprising how few people think of this. But the parents who do enter into these spiritual family customs can give their children treasures, whose value they may not realize until eternity. And not only parents can do this, but anyone who works with young people and children, whether in school or clubs or any type of organization.

There is nothing forced in this idea: why does the church in her liturgy allot the various days to the honor of her saints, or to events in the lives of Christ and of Mary, if she does not wish us to celebrate them in some way?

These feasts are fixed, but the way they can be celebrated can vary—and does vary tremendously from place to place.

With the passing of time the festivities and the customs of the day have also changed, still the essence remains the same.


“Bank holidays are a poor exchange for the feasts of the Church. It means that people’s noses are now kept much longer to the grindstone than they ever were in the days when the civil year was based on the liturgy.

It means too that a popular, vivid, visual way of teaching the faith has almost disappeared. Those who work with young people, in schools or any sort of youth organizations, or those with families of young children are the only ones who can ensure that this way of making religion real does not vanish completely.

Many of the Church’s feasts were celebrated in a childish, obvious even crude way. This ought to be a recommendation, rather than a drawback. When boys and girls drift away from their faith the reason almost always is that this faith has never been a reality to them. The popular celebrations that obtained so long in this country did indeed help to make the faith real then to those who took part; it could do so again.”


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Prepare now for Advent and Christmas! This little Maglet (magazine/booklet) is full of inspiration and devotions for your Advent and Christmas Season! Check it out here.

513qOTMnl-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Pre-Order your Christmas/St. Andrew Novena Chaplet now so you have it on time! Take a peek at my shop here for details. il_570xN.854798013_cyca

Promote Happiness in Your Homes – My Prayer Book, Fr. Lasance



My Prayer-Book (Happiness in Goodness)

Be Affable Always

There are some who are affable and gracious to everyone as long as things go according to their wishes; but if they meet with a contradiction, if an accident, a reproach or even less should trouble the serenity of their soul, all around them must suffer the consequences. They grow dark and cross; very far from keeping up the conversation by their good humor, they answer only monosyllables to those who speak to them. Is this conduct reasonable? Is it Christian?


It is to be regretted that so many people who are very pious are very censorious in their comments upon their neighbors. Piety ought to find expression in kindness to our neighbors as well as in devotion to God. We should remember that the Christ who we serve was kind.



It is faith in something, and enthusiasm for something, that makes a life worth looking at. – Oliver Wendell Holmes.


Keep a hobby and ride it with enthusiasm. It will keep you out of mischief, to say the least; it will keep you cheerful. Here as in all things you can apply the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.


Home is the place where a man should appear at his best. He who is bearish at home and polite only abroad is no true gentleman; indeed, he who can not be considerate to those of his own household will never really be courteous to strangers. There is no better training for healthy and pleasant intercourse with the outer world than a bright and cheerful demeanor at home. It is in a man’s home that his real character is seen; as he appears there, so he is really elsewhere, however skillfully he may for the time conceal his true nature.


Promote Happiness in Your Homes

It would do much in the home if all the members of the family were to be as kind and courteous to one another as they are to guests. The visitor receives bright smiles, pleasant words, constant attention, and the fruits of efforts to please. But the home folks are often cross, rude, selfish, and faultfinding toward one another. Are not our own as worthy of our love and care as is the stranger temporarily within our gates?


A Sunshiny Disposition

There is a charm which compensates so much for the lack of good looks that they are never missed, and when combined with good looks it doubly enhances them. The name of this charm is a sunshiny disposition. If things go wrong, as they will go once in a while, does it mend matters to cry over them? Sensible women will say “No,” the women who do not know how to control themselves will say: “Yes, it does me good to cry; I feel better after it.”
There are times when tears must come, but these are beautiful, holy tears. Quite the contrary are the tears shed over selfish, petty annoyances “to relieve nerves.” The grandest quality of the human mind is self-control.


Father Lasance says:


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What Should We Do When We Have Sinned?

from Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe


From all that we have just said, there flows a rule of conduct that is very important to keep in mind when we should happen to commit a fault. We certainly must feel sorry for having sinned, ask God for pardon, humbly beg Him to accord us the grace not to offend Him again in this way, and resolve to go to confession at an opportune moment.

Without making ourselves sad or discouraged, we should recover our peace as quickly as possible thanks to graces from on high, and resume our normal spiritual life as if nothing had happened. The more quickly we recover our peace, the better it will be! We make much more progress in this way than by becoming irritated with ourselves!

A very important, concrete example is the following: When we commit some fault or other, under the assault of a trial that seizes us, we are often tempted to grow slack in our prayer life, to not spend, for example, our usual time in silent meditation. And we manage to find good justification for this: “How can I who have just fallen into sin, who have offended the Lord, how can I present myself before Him in this state?”

And we need sometimes several days before we can resume our normal habits of prayer. But this is a grave error; this is nothing but false humility inspired by the devil. We must above all not change our habits of prayer.

Quite the contrary. Where will we find healing for our faults if not close to Jesus? Our sins are a very poor pretext for distancing ourselves from Him, because the more we sin, the more we have a right precisely to approach Him who says: The healthy are not in need of a doctor – the sick areIndeed I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew 9:12-13).

If we wait until we are saints to have a regular life of prayer, we could wait a long time. On the contrary, it is in accepting to appear before the Lord in our state of sin that we will receive healing and will be transformed, little by little, into saints.

There is an important illusion that must be exposed: we would like to present ourselves before the Lord only when we art presentable, well-groomed and content with ourselves! In effect, we would like to bypass the need for mercy. But what is the nature of this pseudo-sanctity to which we sometimes aspire unconsciously and which would result in our thinking that we no longer have need of God?

True sanctity is, on the contrary, to increasingly recognize how much we absolutely depend upon His mercy!

To conclude, let us cite a last passage from The Spiritual Combat that recaptures everything we have said and indicates to us the path we should take when we have committed some kind of fault. It is entitled, “What one must do when one receives a wound in spiritual battle!”

When you feel wounded, that is to say, when you feel that you have committed some fault, whether it be from pure weakness or with reflection and malice, do not distress yourself too much over that; do not allow yourself to become chagrined and irritated; but address yourself immediately to God and tell Him, with humble confidence: “It is now, oh, my God, that I can see what I am. For what can one expect from a weak and blind creature like me but wrongdoing and failure?” Stop yourself there and imagine a sharp pain because of your fault.

Then, without becoming troubled, turn all of your anger against the passions that dominate you, principally against those that were the cause of your sin.

Lord, you will say, I could have committed a much worse crime if by your infinite goodness you had not saved me.

Afterwards, render a thousand thanks to the Father of Mercies; love Him more than ever, seeing that, far from resenting the hurt you just caused Him, He still extends His hand to you, for fear that you will fall again into a similar mess.

Finally, full of confidence, tell Him: “Show me, oh, my God, that which you are; help a humiliated sinner to feel your divine mercy; forgive me all my offenses; do not permit me to separate or distance myself from You, however little; fortify me with Your grace, so that I may never offend You again.”

After that, don’t try to determine whether God has pardoned you or not. That would be to upset yourself uselessly. It is a waste of time. It stems from pride and the illusions of the devil who, by disquieting your spirit, seeks to harm and torment you.

Rather, abandon yourself to His divine mercy and continue your exercises with your usual tranquility as if you had hardly committed any fault. Even should you have offended God several times in a single day, never lose confidence in Him, practice what I tell you, the second, the third and the last time as the first….

This way of combating the devil is the one that he fears the most because he knows that it pleases God very much and it always throws him into a great confusion, seeing himself overcome by the very person he was able to conquer so easily in other encounters.

So, if a fault that you may unfortunately have committed causes you to be troubled and discouraged, the first thing that you should do is to try to recover your peace of soul and your confidence in God…

To finish this point, we would like to add a remark: It is true that it is dangerous to do wrong and we must do everything we can to avoid doing wrong. But let us recognize that, given the way we are made, it would be dangerous for us to do only good!

In effect, marked by original sin, we have a deeply rooted tendency toward pride that makes it difficult for us, and even impossible, to do good without appropriating a little of it for ourselves, without attributing it, at least in part, to our abilities, our merits or our sanctity! If the Lord did not permit us, from time to time, to do wrong, to acquire some imperfection, we would be in great danger!

We would quickly fall into presumptuousness and contempt of others. We would forget that everything comes freely from God.

And nothing precludes true love more than this pride. In order to protect us from this great evil, the Lord sometimes allows a lesser evil which consists in committing some kind of fault, and we should thank Him for that, because without this safety net we would be in great danger of being lost!

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