Christian Perfection (Part Two) – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

the_angelusFrom Light and Peace, Quadrupani

Part One is here.

Never be afraid that you are not following the way of perfection because you still have defects and commit many faults. This was true of the greatest saints, for Saint Augustine declares that all of them could exclaim with the Apostle Saint John: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” “He who came into the world with sin,” says Saint Gregory the Great, “cannot live there without sin.”

“Act like the little child who, when it feels that its mother is holding it by the sleeve, runs about quite boldly and without being surprised at all the little falls it gets.Thus, as long as you find that God is holding you by the good will and the resolution He has given you to serve Him, go on bravely and do not be astonished that you stumble and fall occasionally.

There is no need to be troubled about it, provided that at certain intervals you cast yourself into your Father’s arms and embrace Him with the kiss of charity. Go on your way, then, cheerfully and heartily, doing the best you can; and if it cannot always be cheerfully, let it at least be always courageously and faithfully.” —Saint Francis de Sales.*

But we must bear in mind the vast difference that exists between the love of sin and sin committed inadvertently or from weakness. Affection for sin is the sole obstacle to perfection. Thus the most learned Fathers of the Church make a distinction between two kinds of tepidity: that which can be avoided and that which cannot be avoided. The former condition is that of a soul that retains an attachment for certain sins; the other, that of one falling into sin through frailty and from being taken unawares, which has been the case even with the greatest saints.

Therefore in place of troubling yourself about these accidental falls, inseparable from human nature, make them turn to your spiritual advantage by causing them to increase your humility. It often happens, says Saint Gregory the Great, that God allows great defects to remain in some souls at the beginning of their spiritual life that by means of them they may grow in self-knowledge and learn to place their entire confidence in Him.

Saint Augustine tells us that God in his infinite wisdom has been better pleased to bring forth good out of evil than to hinder the evil itself. Thus when you learn to draw fruits of humility from your faults, you correspond to the sublime designs of God’s unspeakable providence.

Should you happen to fear that you are not walking in the true way of perfection, consult your director and place implicit reliance upon the answer he gives you. Who is the saint that has not had to suffer because of a like doubt? But they were all reassured by the consideration of God’s infinite goodness and by obedience to their spiritual father.

Some persons, although conscious of a sincere desire to serve God, nevertheless are disposed to feel alarmed about their spiritual condition, at the remembrance of all they have heard and read in regard to false consciences, self-illusion and the deceptive security of those who are following a wrong path.

There are two ways of forming a false conscience: first, by choosing among our duties those for which we feel most attraction and natural tendency, and then, in order to give ourselves up to them more than is necessary, to persuade ourselves we can neglect the others.

Thus a person with a preference for exterior acts of religion will spend all day praying or attending sermons and offices of the Church and considers herself very devout, although she may have been neglecting her temporal duties.

Another, being differently disposed, will apply herself exclusively to the duties of her state of life, sacrificing to them without regret those of religion, quite convinced that one who is faithful in all the domestic relations, and gives to every one his due, cannot possibly be otherwise than pleasing to God.

The second way of making a false conscience consists in giving the preference in our esteem and practice to those among the Christian virtues which find their analogies in our natural dispositions, for there is not one of the virtues that has not its correlative amongst the various qualities of the human character.

Persons of a gentle and placid disposition will affect meekness, the practice of which will be very easy for them and require no effort; and imagining they exercise a christian virtue when in reality they only follow a natural bent, they are liable to fall into a culpable weakness.

Those who, on the contrary, have an exact and rigid mind will esteem justice and order above all else, making small account of meekness and charity; and thus justifying themselves falsely by their natural temperament, they follow the tendency of the flesh whilst believing they obey the spirit, and may easily become addicted to excessive severity.

It is evident, therefore, that the first rule to be observed in order to avoid these dangerous illusions and to walk securely in the way of perfection, is to apply ourselves in a special manner to the practice of those duties for which we feel least innate attraction, and always to mistrust our natural virtues however good they may appear.

Then there is one consideration that should serve to reassure all Christians who are in earnest about their salvation; whilst they act in good faith and deal frankly and sincerely with their confessor, it is impossible for them to become the victim of a false conscience.

In the following passage Saint Francis de Sales recommends us to watch carefully over our natural tendencies and to substitute for them as much as possible the inspirations of grace, which he calls living according to the spirit:

“To live according to the spirit, my beloved daughter, is to think, speak and act according to the virtues that are of the spirit, and not according to the senses and feelings which are of the flesh. These latter we should make serve us, but we must hold them in subjection and not allow them to control us; whereas with the spiritual virtues it is just the reverse; we should serve them and bring everything else under subjection to them….

See, my daughter, human nature wishes to have a share in everything that goes on, and loves itself so dearly that it considers nothing of any account unless it be mixed up in it.

The spirit, on the contrary, attaches itself to God and often says that whatever is not God’s is nothing to it; and as through a motive of charity it takes part in things committed to it, so through humility and self-denial it willingly gives up all share in those which are denied it….

I am diffident and have no self-confidence, and therefore I wish to be allowed to live in a way congenial to this disposition; any one can see that this is not according to the spirit…. But, although I am naturally timorous and retiring, I desire to try and overcome these traits of character and to fulfill all the requirements of the charge imposed upon me by obedience; who does not see that this is to live according to the spirit?

Hence, as I have said before, my dear daughter, to live according to the spirit is to have our actions, our words and our thoughts such as the spirit of God would require of us. When I say thoughts, I of course mean voluntary thoughts.

I am sad, says some one, consequently I shall not speak; magpies and parrots do the same: I am sad, but as charity requires me to speak, I shall do so; spiritual persons act thus: I am slighted and I get angry: so do peacocks and monkeys. I am slighted and I rejoice thereat: that is what the Apostles did.”

In fine, to live according to the spirit is to do in all circumstances and on all occasions whatever faith, hope and charity demand of us, without even waiting to consider if we are or are not influenced by our natural disposition. (The Imitation of Christ, B. III., Ch. LIV.)*

Reflections - 2zxD0-agcQ - printEven so, O Woman, within that world which is your home and kingdom, your face is to light up and brighten and beautify all things, and your heart is to be the source of that vital fire and strength without which the father can be no true father, the brother no true brother, the sister no true sister, since all have to learn from you how to love, how to labor lovingly, how to be forgetful of self, and mindful only of the welfare of others. -Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894 https://amzn.to/2DNdivg (afflink)

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Christ, the Teacher of Happiness

Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur

October 8, 1957

Clarence J. Enzler. My Other Self: Conversations with Christ on Living Your Faith

“Happy are the blameless, who walk in the way of the Lord.” Psalm 118:1

My dear friend, my greatest desire is that you be happy. It would be more impossible for me not to want you to be happy than for you not to want to eat when you are hungry.

I am not good merely as a creature is good. I am goodness. Goodness is of my very nature. You cannot fully comprehend that. I ask only that you believe it.

Believe that I am goodness itself. Believe that I want your happiness far more than you yourself want it. Believe that I can and will give you happiness.

I have made you in my own image, able to share in my divine life, and destined for that life. Give me your good will here on earth, and your happiness even in this life will surpass your dreams. And when you reach your eternal destiny, your joy will be such as you could never begin to imagine.

Do not refuse to do what will make you happy. Millions of your fellow men spurn me. Adam and Eve, anxious to do as they pleased, lost Paradise.

The chosen people of old, instructed by the prophets and even by my Father himself, refused to walk in his ways. They murdered the prophets. They worshiped idols and false gods. They gave themselves up to lust in the wilderness. And the wrath of the Lord was so kindled against them that he delivered them into the hands of nations who oppressed and humbled them.

I came upon the earth, sharing in your lowly manhood. By my own life I have shown you how to be happy.

Although I constantly teach men peace and contentment through my Church, many close their ears. They seek joy in a thousand vanities and ten thousand pleasures. But the happiness they pursue in sin turns to ashes in their mouths.

Listen to me. Turn to me, give me your mind, your heart, your soul. I shall not hide the truth from you. You desire happiness. I shall teach you the ways of happiness.

Happy is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, who does not walk in sin, who does not insult his Maker by foolish pride.

Happy is he who is considerate of the needy and the poor. Happy are the blameless who follow in my path, who keep my laws night and day, who seek me with their whole heart.

Happy are all who take refuge in me. I shall be their shield, encouraging them and protecting them against danger. They will not fear any evil, even though thousands of enemies are arrayed against them on every side. They will have great peace.

For them there is no stumbling block. I say to you, happy shall you be if you fear your Lord and walk trustingly in his way.

Yes, I will your happiness. Never believe that I desire anything but peace and contentment for you. I have given you my own happiness, my own joy, my very own peace.

I want you to be a peacemaker, a maker of joy and happiness for those about you. I have commissioned you to help reconcile the world with me, to bring my peace to earth.

I desire your love, and the product of love is not depression, but happiness, enthusiasm, joy. What have you to fear? Live joyfully! Live happily! Live enthusiastically!

Your joy is that God exists, ruling all, caring for all. You will not draw to me the souls I long for so greatly by being ill-natured, gloomy, a pessimist.

Did I not say, “When you fast, do not imitate the gloomy looking hypocrites”? And did I not say, “Come to me . . . and I will refresh you”?

It grieves me that so many believe that I am a stern, hard God, pleased by the spectacle of lowly man wiping the sweating brow of his soul while he asks himself, “Can I be saved? Can I possibly be saved?”

Did I give my life for you to torment you? To cause you anxiety? I do not dwell in gloom, darkness, or dejection, but in light, love, and joy.

Be of good heart. Even when men revile you and persecute you and speak all manner of evil against you falsely because of me, be glad and lighthearted.

I am your light and your salvation. Whom shall you fear?

I am the defense of your life. Whom shall you dread?

With a great desire, I desire your happiness. I can make you happy. I will make you happy. Be lighthearted, then, and rejoice in me that you may dwell in my house all the days of your life and enjoy my graciousness and kindness.

True happiness hides from us whenever we go after it out of egoism or devotion to our own personal convenience. But it comes running to meet us whenever we put self aside and, embracing what is noble, devote ourselves to duty, virtue, the good of our neighbor, God. – Achieving Peace of Heart, Fr. Narcis Irala https://amzn.to/2P5MiLh (afflink)

Package Deal! The Catholic Wife’s Maglet and The Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet

Available here.

Catholic Wife’s Maglet:
Dear Catholic Wives, The following pages are for you…to inspire you in your daily walk as a Godly, feminine, loving wife. As wives, we have a unique calling, a calling that causes us to reach into our innermost being in order to give ourselves to our husbands the way Christ would desire. As we learn in Finer Femininity, we, as women, have the awesome responsibility AND power to make or break our marriages and our relationships. Let’s not wait to fix it after it is broken. The principles laid out in this maglet will work if we work them. It is all about self-sacrifice, submission, thankfulness, kindness, graciousness, etc. The world around us teaches the opposite and it is so easy for us to slip into this mindset. Let us use Our Lady as our model and learn the virtues of true womanhood.

Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet:
This Maglet (magazine/booklet) is for you…dear young (and not-so-young), Catholic, Feminine Soul. It is a compilation of traditional, valuable Catholic articles on the subjects that touch the hearts of serious-minded Catholic young ladies. There are articles on courtship, purity, singleness, vocation, prayer, confession, friends, tea parties, obedience, etc. This information is solid, written by orthodox Catholic writers (most of them gone to their eternal home) that cared about the proper formation of a young Catholic adult in a confused world. Take this information to heart and your journey through adulthood will be filled with many blessings! It is 40 pages, packed with information. See photo for Table of Contents.
My Disclaimer: This book is, in general, appropriate for ages 14 and up.

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

The renowned spiritual writer Dubay gives surprising replies to these questions. He explains how material things are like extensions of our persons and thus of our love. If everyone lived this love there would be no destitution.

After presenting the richness of the Gospel message, more beautiful than any other world view, he explains how Gospel frugality is lived in each state of life.

“Reading this book was one of the
greatest graces of my life!”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux

In the late nineteenth century, Father Charles Arminjon, a priest from the mountains of southeastern France, assembled his flock in the town cathedral to preach a series of conferences to help them turn their thoughts away from this life’s mean material affairs—and toward the next life’s glorious spiritual reward. His wise and uncompromising words deepened in them the spirit of recollection that all Christians must have: the abiding conviction that heavenly aims, not temporal enthusiasms, must guide everything we think, say, and do.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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

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

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

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Painting by Daniel F. Gerhartz

From The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What is purity? Why is it important? How do we grow in this virtue?

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

The year is A.D. 299. Diocletian rules the Roman Empire. And the gods have suddenly fallen silent.

17-year-old Jurian doesn’t have time for the gods. He’s trying to hold his family together after his father died in disgrace, and piety — even to the Christ — just isn’t practical. But then a ruthless enemy targets his family, forcing Jurian to make a choice: will he pursue the glory he’s always wanted, or will he sacrifice everything to protect a faith that was never really his own?

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.

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You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher – Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George Kelly

DSC02632The Catholic Family Handbook
It cannot be repeated too often that you are your child’s most important teacher. As an adult, he will reflect your influence to a greater extent than you probably imagine–just as you reflect the personality of your own mother and father.

Even if you refused to exercise your God-given responsibility to train him,you would leave your imprint upon his personality nevertheless.

For instance, a father who deserts his family while his child is still an infant leaves an impression upon the youngster that will never be eradicated; he says, in effect, that parenthood is not worth the trouble and that a father’s obligations are more than a man should carry.

The storekeeper who calls it “good business” when he cheats his customers by selling inferior merchandise teaches his child that honesty is unimportant.

The mother who tells smutty stories need not deliver a speech downgrading purity; her actions, more effectively than words, teach this principle to her child.

And against such influences of the home, it is highly unlikely that the corrective teaching of church or school can prevail.

You have an awesome responsibility, therefore, but also a challenge–a challenge to which you will rise magnificently if you realize the benefits to humanity that can be achieved if you live by true Christian principles.

As we have noted, your influence as parent will extend not only to your children but to your children’s children and down to many other generations yet unborn.

Your simple acts of devoted motherhood or fatherhood may assist untold numbers to heaven–or your bad example may be the force which may lead them to hell. What your child needs.

In order to become an adult who will honor God and serve his fellow man in the way God intended, your child needs the sense of security that can come only from your unquestioned love and kindness.

When a baby is born, he enters a strange environment–one newer and more different to him than Mars might be to the first space traveler.

Before birth, your child was sheltered, warmed and fed in an automatic process. Then his world abruptly changed: he became an individual thrust from his warm, protecting shelter and forced to encounter cold, hunger and suffering.

Never again on earth will he enjoy the sense of peace and well-being that he experienced in the womb.

The newborn babe needs food and shelter, of course. But even more, he needs a substitute for the security he has lost. This need can be satisfied in a physical way at first–for instance, when he is held close to his mother’s body. Later, as he develops a sense of physical freedom as an individual, it must be supplied psychologically through love.

In his book “Your Child’s World,” Dr. Robert Odenwald, the psychiatrist, states that your child’s need for security will be the most important part of your relationship with him.

His behavior in later life will reflect whether you have provided or denied it, and how much maturity he acquires as an adult will depend directly upon how much security you give him in his early years.

“You can best foster a feeling of security in your infant or young child by giving him uniform, sympathetic care,” Dr. Odenwald states.  “Paying loving attention to his needs, like holding him and rocking him, creates a steadfast continuity which makes him feel secure.

One of the first things you will discover about your child is his urgent demand for consistency.

Take him from the crib to which he has become accustomed, change some characteristic of his feedings, misplace his favorite toy, get someone new to care for him for a short period, and he may wail for hours.

Is this an early evidence of perverseness on his part? No. It is evidence of his desire for security and his deep unhappiness when it is not provided for him.”

As your child develops, you can make him secure by constantly letting him know that you are interested in him as a person, and that you want him and love him.

Few parents would openly admit that they do not love their child; yet many reject their offspring by their actions.

Some couples find that a young child interferes with their pursuit of pleasure: they cannot go to many dancing parties or stay out until early morning when an infant demands their attention around the clock.

Others may subconsciously resent the fact that they no longer can spend as much as they would like on liquor, clothes or automobiles; they must tighten their purse strings to support their baby.

Other couples are immature and see the infant as a threat to their hold upon the affections of the partner.

When these resentments exist, the parents may not express them openly; it is not the “polite” thing to do. But they may develop attitudes which express their true feelings. One such attitude is perfectionism.

Those who would not dare reject their child in an obvious way–such as by leaving him upon a doorstep–can set up standards of behavior with which any human being would find it impossible to comply.

Typical perfectionist parents usually have only one or two children; they often are more concerned about what other people will think of them than about what is truly right, and they tend to be unable to give freely of themselves emotionally.

They upbraid their child for disturbing the sterile neatness of the living room, for  houting or singing in the house, or for returning dirty after playing outdoors.

These parents are really saying that what their child does naturally–and what  any normal child would do–is not suitable behavior. By setting up artificial standards, they do not allow him to develop in a normal way and thus they undermine his confidence in himself as a worth-while individual–the very basis of his security.

Other parents stifle their child through over protectiveness. Such parents also are saying that their child cannot be trusted to handle by himself the normal situations of everyday living which others of his age tackle with their own resources.

Visit a public park on a Sunday and you will see over protectiveness at its most appalling.  A young child wishes to run on the grass, but his mother holds him back because she fears he might fall and hurt himself.

Eight-year-olds playing a game are constantly warned not to throw the ball too far, lest they run out of the parents’ sight and thus risk getting lost.

These are extreme examples–the kind which often bring the child involved into a psychiatrist’s office years later, as an adult, when he lacks the initiative to perform even common tasks on his own.

Fortunately, few parents are guilty of such extreme behavior, yet lesser varieties of overprotectiveness–the kind summed up in the word “Momism”– are more common than most persons suspect.

You are overprotective when you implore your young child to eat his dinner every night for fear that he will not get proper nourishment.

If you withheld food between meals and let him hunger for a few days if necessary, he soon would eat what is offered at mealtime.

You are overprotective if you constantly warn him of dangers such as falling which are a normal risk in children’s games.

Likewise, you are overprotective if you repeatedly beseech your teenager  to wear his rubbers when it rains; after a few urgings on your part, it would be better for his full development as a self-reliant individual if he contracted a cold as a result of his failure to wear them and thus learned from his own experience.

For by constantly reminding your child to do what is a reasonable responsibility of his age, you indicate that you lack confidence in him and thus undermine his security.

It is obvious that a necessary chore when done for a young child may be sheer overprotectiveness when done for an older one.

When your two-year-old plays in front of your house, common prudence dictates that you remain close by, because he lacks the experience to know that he must not run into the street and possibly into the path of an oncoming car.

But to sit by for the same reason while your nine-year-old playsis sheer overprotectiveness.

Thus, to function effectively as a parent, try to understand what may reasonably be expected of your child at various stages of his development.1617605

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Let Fr. Lovasik strengthen your marriage and family as you discover:

  • Three things you can learn from the Holy Family about living as a family today
  • The secret of gaining God’s blessing and peace upon your family: do you know it?
  • Four crucial lessons no school can teach to your children (only you can!)
  • Why marital happiness is not automatic, but must be earned (and how to earn it)
  • Common mistakes fathers make that can damage their families irrevocably
  • The primary requirement for family happiness: does your family measure up?
  • The secret of overcoming the anger that can disrupt any relationship
  • Eleven simple steps you can take to bring harmony to your marriage right now
  • Are you selfish? Sixteen searching questions to ask yourself in order to find out
  • Four qualities that every good parent has: can you name them? Do you have them?
  • Sex education: how to navigate this minefield in a way that is good for your kids
  • Plus much more that will help you imbue your family with Catholic values!

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The Voice in the Dark – A Story by Rev. Gerald T. Brennan

A good story to read to your children. And a good lesson for us big people, too!

I suppose you would like to hear another story this morning! Well, I’m not going to disappoint you.

Today I have a story about a priest. A very holy priest by the name of Father Francis! Father Francis lived many years ago in the big city of Chicago. He had been a priest for more than forty years. During those years, Father Francis did his best to help people be good. But now he was an old man.

Even though he had worked hard, still he felt that there was too much sin in the world. So the priest worried a great deal. He worried about the world, the bad people in the world, the many sins that were being made every day.

He felt, too, that the devil had too many friends. These things bothered the old priest, and that’s why he prayed so hard.

Well, one night Father Francis said his prayers and went to bed. But the old priest couldn’t sleep. How could he sleep when he thought about all the sin and the evil in the world!

The more Father Francis thought about sin and the evil, the more he worried. He turned and tossed until long after midnight. He just couldn’t get to sleep.

As the priest lay there thinking, something very strange happened. All of a sudden, he heard a voice. It was the voice of Almighty God, and the voice spoke to Father Francis. “Why don’t you go to sleep?” asked the voice.

“Oh, I can’t go to sleep,” answered the priest. “I’m worried about this world and the way things are going.”

“Now, now,” said the voice, “you’re worrying too much. Just leave everything to Me! I’ll take care of the world. You go to sleep, and I’ll sit up the rest of the night!”

Father Francis couldn’t help but smile. God was closer than the old man thought. God was still on the job — looking after the world. And God knew everything.

Boys and girls, there’s one thing that Father Francis forgot, and very often, we forget the same thing. God is not dead. God isn’t even asleep. God is always awake. No matter what happens, God is always on the job.

Yes, God is always on the job —running this world — watching over everything — taking care of everybody. God sees everything and He knows everything. He sees every boy, every girl, every man, every woman.

God knows where you live. He knows your name, your age, where you go to school, where you go to church.

He knows all your secrets and you can’t hide anything from Him. God hears every word you speak — sees everything you do.

Yes, God knows everything. So, don’t ever feel that God is far away! God is very close to you. God is near you always. Oh, I know that some days things go wrong. But when things do go wrong, don’t get the idea that God has gone back on you!

Remember, God is running this world, and He does things in the way that He knows to be the best way. So, just leave everything to Him! God has been running this world for thousands of years. He knows His business, and He never makes a mistake.

Do you know, children, that I thought a lot about God last night? Yes, I did. I was reading the newspaper when, suddenly, something went wrong with the electric power. Every light in my house went out. The street lights went out, and the whole city was in darkness.

Well, do you know what I did? I looked out the window. Why, it was so dark outside that I couldn’t see across the street.

But then, I happened to look up at the sky. And what do you think? There were hundreds of stars shining brightly in the sky. Things were mighty dark down on the earth, but everything was bright up in heaven. God’s lights were shining brightly through the darkness.

Yes, children, at times things may look mighty dark and black to you. Things may go wrong with you. You may be disappointed. You may be sick. You may find it hard to learn. You may worry and even be afraid.

But just remember, God’s light always shines through the darkness. God is always on the job. He takes care of everything and He brings everything out all right.

When you say your prayers tonight, tell God that you know that He is very near! Tell God that you believe in Him! Tell Him that you hope in Him! Tell Him that you love Him! Ask God to watch over you every minute of the day and night!

I’ll show you just how to do it. Kneel down, children, and I’ll tell you just what you should say!

Now say these words after me:

“O God, I believe in You. . . . I hope in You. . . . I love You. . . . I know that You are very near. . . . Watch over me! . . . Protect me! . . . Keep me from harm!”

That was fine, children! I am sure that God was listening.

“Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy. The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good.” Rev. Bernard O’Reilly The Mirror of True Womanhood, 1893 (afflink)

Coloring pages for your children…. (click on image for full size)

Review (and photo): I rarely leave reviews, but I was so very impressed with the communication and customer service on this order that I wanted to publicly thank them. My impression only rose when I received the aprons and they were stunning. They are not only lovely, but sturdy and well made as well. My daughter and I have worn the aprons often and I could not be more pleased. In fact I purchased another for myself as well as some of the books and a Rosary. I ha e been beyond pleased with everything! Thank you for wonderful service and stunning products.
Visit www.meadowsofgrace.com for lovely handmade items and books!

This is a unique book of Catholic devotions for young children. There is nothing routine and formal about these stories. They are interesting, full of warmth and dipped right out of life. These anecdotes will help children know about God, as each one unfolds a truth about the saints, the Church, the virtues, etc. These are short faith-filled stories, with a few questions and a prayer following each one, enabling the moral of each story to sink into the minds of your little ones. The stories are only a page long so tired mothers, who still want to give that “tucking in” time a special touch, or pause a brief moment during their busy day to gather her children around her, can feel good about bringing the realities of our faith to the minds of her children in a childlike, (though not childish), way. There is a small poem and a picture at the end of each story. Your children will be straining their necks to see the sweet pictures! Through these small stories, parents will sow seeds of our Holy Catholic Faith that will enrich their families all the years to come!

This is the second Catholic Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme Book, The ALL-NEW Catholic Mother Goose, full-color, with completely different poems from the first book!These little sing-song verses can help you, dear parents, to instill our precious Catholic Faith into the hearts of your little people. Nursery Rhymes can be memorized and therefore, ingrained in their minds….much like the catechism is learned. This memorization is valuable, indeed!*********Who can resist those little ditties, those lovely little sing-song verses called Nursery Rhymes! Songs and rhymes for young children have been passed down from generation to generation. They are fun, children love them, and they provide a warm, nurturing experience for the whole family.Our own children grew up learning and repeating Nursery Rhymes. It was very enjoyable and it was an easy way to teach the children the use of rhythm and rhyme. How much more meaningful those little poems would have been if there had been more depth in the considerations behind each little verse!That is where this book comes in. It gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children. Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith.It is important that young children learn to memorize through verse.Research shows children learn more in their first eight years than they do in the rest of their lives. This is a powerful time to teach them.So, parents, here is a teaching tool that can help! Encourage your children to learn the poems in this book. Let them peruse the pages and look at the pictures. You will find that it will be a meaningful experience for all!

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The Little Things – Alice Von Hildebrand

– by Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand

By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride

Dear Julie,

I’m grateful for your frankness. It makes my duties as your godmother easier to fulfill.

You say that although the analogy of the stained-glass windows is very moving, nonetheless true lovers are concerned with “great things, beautiful things” and should not let themselves be troubled by small things.

Roy wouldn’t agree.

He and my friend Evelyn have been married thirty-five years. She’s sloppy and he’s meticulous. During their honeymoon, Roy noticed that she always left the toothpaste tube open. He asked Evelyn to put the cap on, but she laughed at him, claiming he had the habits of an old maid.

Time and again, Roy has asked her to change. Nothing doing! After thirty-five years, the cap still remains off and Roy has resigned himself to it.

Compare this to my own husband’s attitude. Early in our marriage, I noticed he would always leave the soap swimming in a small pool of water. It would slowly disintegrate into an unattractive, slimy goo – something I found unappealing. I drew it to his attention.

From that day on, he made a point of drying the soap after each use – to such an extent that I couldn’t tell from the “soap testimony” whether he had washed himself or not. (Moreover – and this is typical of him – he too developed a strong dislike for sticky soap.)

I was so moved by this, that to this day I feel a wave of loving gratitude for this small but significant gesture of love.

My husband was a great lover. And because he was one, he managed to relate the smallest things to love and was willing to change to please his beloved in all legitimate things. This characteristic is typical of great love.

I’m sure that as your love grows deeper, you, too, will come to see how the greater the love, the more it permeates even the smallest aspects of life.

With love,

LilyA-great-love-between

“Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy. The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good.” Rev. Bernard O’Reilly The Mirror of True Womanhood, 1893 (afflink)

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

Available here.

 

 

 

There’s nothing complicated or magical about learning to be kinder; it just takes greater attention to the things that you do and how you do them. The Hidden Power of Kindness shows you how to become more aware of even your most offhand daily actions. You’ll find simple, step-by-step, and spiritually crucial directions for how to overcome the habitual unkindnesses that creep undetected into the behavior of even the most careful souls.

From the thousands of personal letters by St. Francis de Sales comes this short, practical guide that will develop in you the soul-nourishing habits that lead to sanctity.
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Christian Perfection (Part One) – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

hummingbird_4796016_smLight and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts

Part Two is here.

A Christian is not obliged to be perfect, but to tend continually towards perfection; that is to say, he must labor unceasingly and with all his strength to increase in virtue. To make no attempt to advance is to go back.

You see it is a question not of succeeding but of laboring earnestly and sincerely. Success does not depend upon us. God grants that or refuses it or defers it according to what He knows is best for us.

“Let us do three things, my dear daughter, says Saint Francis de Sales: First, have a pure intention to look in all things to the honor and glory of God; second, do the little we can towards this end, according to the advice of our spiritual father; third, leave the care of all the rest to God.

Why should he torment himself who has God for the object of his intentions and does all that he can? Why should he be anxious? What has he to fear? God is not terrible for those whom He loves; He is satisfied with little for He knows well that we have not much to give.”

“Allow yourself to be governed by God; do not think so much of yourself; make a general and universal resolution to serve God in the best manner you are able and do not waste time in examining and sifting so minutely to find out what that may be.

This is simply an impertinence due to the condition of your acute and precise mind which wishes to tyrannize over your will and to control it by fraud and subtlety…. You know that in general God wishes us to serve Him by loving Him above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for love of Him; and in particular, to fulfill the duties of our state of life; that is all.

But it must be done in good faith, without deceit or subterfuge, and in the ordinary way of this world, which is not the home of perfection; humanly, too, and according to the limitations of time; to do it in a divine and angelic manner and according to eternity being reserved for a future life.

Do not therefore be so anxious to know whether or not you have attained perfection. This should never be; for were we the most perfect creatures on earth we ought not to dwell upon or glory in it but always consider ourselves imperfect.

Our self-examination must never be for the purpose of discovering if we are imperfect, for this we should never doubt. Hence it follows that we must not be surprised at seeing ourselves imperfect, since we can never be otherwise in this life; nor on that account give way to despondency, for there is no remedy for it.

But, yes; we can correct our faults gently and gradually, for that is the reason they are left in us. We shall be inexcusable if we do not try to amend them, but quite excusable if we are not entirely successful in doing so, for it is not the same with imperfections as with sins.”—Saint Francis de Sales.*

Now the means to be employed in laboring for perfection and in making progress in virtue do not consist in multiplying prayers, fasts and other religious practices. Some good religious who had fasted three times a week during an entire year, thought that in order to satisfy the obligation of advancing more and more in virtue they ought to fast four times a week the following year.

They consulted Saint Francis de Sales on the subject. He laughingly answered them: “If you fast four times a week this year so as to advance in perfection, you will be obliged for the same reason to fast five times the next year, then six, then seven times; and the number of your fasts being always the gauge of the degree of perfection you shall have attained, it will be necessary for you, under pain of advancing no more, thereafter to fast twice a day, then thrice, then four times, and so on.” What Saint Francis de Sales said of fasting is just as applicable to all other devout practices.

Instead, then, of continually adding to your religious exercises, study to perfect yourself in the practice of those you already perform, doing them with more love and peace of soul, and with greater purity of intention. Should it happen that you are unable to perform all your usual devotions conveniently, omit a portion of them so that the remainder may be done with greater tranquility.

The spirit of perfection, says Saint Bernard, does not consist in doing great things, but in doing common and ordinary things perfectly. Communia facere, sed non communiter.

“Most people when they wish to reform, pay much more attention to filling their life with certain difficult and extraordinary actions, than to purifying their intention and opposing their natural inclinations in the ordinary duties of their state.

In this they often deceive themselves, for it would be much better to make less change in the actions and more in the dispositions of the soul which prompt them.

When one is already leading a virtuous and well regulated life it is of far greater consequence, in order to become truly spiritual, to change the interior than the exterior.

God is not satisfied with the motions of the lips, the posture of the body, nor with external ceremonies: What He demands is a will no longer divided between Him and any creature; a will perfectly docile … that wishes unreservedly whatever He wishes and never under any pretext wishes aught that He does not wish.

This will, perfectly simple and entirely devoted to God, you should bear with you into all the circumstances of your life, and everywhere that divine Providence leads you…. Even mere amusements may be transformed into good works, if you enter into them only through a kindly motive and to conform to the order of God.

Happy indeed the heart of her for whom God opens this way of holy simplicity! She walks therein like a little child holding its mother’s hand and allowing her to lead it without any concern as to whither it is going. Content to be free, she is ready to speak or to be silent; when she cannot say edifying things she says common-place things with an equally good grace; she amuses herself by making what Saint Francis de Sales calls joyeusetés, playful little jests, with which she diverts others as well as herself.

You will tell me perhaps that you would prefer to be occupied with something more serious and solid. But God would not prefer it for you, seeing that He chooses what you would not choose, and you know His taste is better than yours: you would find more consolation in solid things for which He has given you a relish, and it is this consolation of which He wishes to deprive you, it is this relish which He wishes to mortify in you, although it may be good and salutary.

The very virtues, as they are practiced by us, need to be purified by the contradictions that God makes them suffer in order to detach them the better from all self will.

When piety is founded on the fundamental principle of God’s holy will, without consulting our own taste, or temperament or the sallies of an excessive zeal, oh! how simple, sweet, amiable, discreet and reliable it is in all its movements!

A pious person lives much as others do, quite unaffectedly and without apparent austerity, in a sociable and genial way; but with a constant subjection to every duty, an unrelenting renunciation of everything that does not enter into God’s designs in her regard, and, finally, with a clear view of God to whom she sacrifices all the irregular inclinations of nature.

This indeed is the adoration in spirit and in truth desired by Jesus Christ, our Lord, and His eternal Father. Without it all the rest is but a religion of ceremonial, and rather the shadow than the reality of Christianity.”—Fénelon.*

Apply yourself in a particular manner to become perfect in the fulfillment of the duties of your state of life; for on this all perfection and sanctity are grounded.

When God created the world He commanded the plants to produce fruit, but each one according to its kind: juxta genus suum. In like manner our souls are all obliged to produce fruits of holiness, but each according to its kind; that is to say, according to the position in which God has placed us.

Elias in the desert and David on the throne had not to become holy by a like process; and Joshua amidst the tumult of arms would have sought in vain to sanctify himself by the same means as Samuel in the peaceful retreat of the Temple.

This instruction is addressed to those who being placed in the world would wish to practice there the virtues of the cloister, or whilst residing in palaces would attempt to lead the life of the solitaries of the desert. They bear fruits which are excellent in themselves, no doubt, but not according to their kind, juxta genus suum, and hence they do not fulfill the will of God.

Perfection has but one aim and it is the same for all,—to wit, the love of God; but there are divers ways of attaining it. Among the saints themselves we find most striking differences.

Saint Benedict was never seen to laugh, whereas Saint Francis de Sales laughed frequently and was always animated, bright and cheerful.

Saint Hilarion considered it an act of sensuality to change his habit, whilst, on the other hand, Saint Catherine of Sienna was extremely particular about bodily cleanliness which she looked upon as a symbol of purity of soul.

If you consult Saint Jerome you hear only of fear of the terrible judgments of God: read Saint Augustine and you will find only the language of confidence and love.

The minds, dispositions and characters of men are as varied as their physiognomies; grace perfects them little by little but does not change their nature.

Hence in our endeavors to imitate the ways of such or such a saint for whom we feel a particular attraction, we should not condemn those of the others, but say with the Psalmist: Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum. Consult your director as to whom and what may be most suitable for your imitation.Do-not-wish-to-beWe need a Rule of Life to get through the day. Prayer, spiritual reading, mental prayer, when to get up, when to go to bed, etc. How do we do this? What about spiritual direction?

Vocations: The Married or Religious Life….”Similarly God has fitted and qualified each person for a peculiar sphere of life. Whoever adopts the life he is created for, and pursues it properly and fervently, will achieve great success and much happiness; whereas if one seeks to follow a life for which he is not adapted, he will necessarily incur disappointment and failure. Many a plant thrives wonderfully in the tropic zone, which is pitifully dwarfed and stunted in the temperate or arctic zone, In the same way many a person prospers immensely in a given vocation,who would be the merest bungler in another calling.” -Youth’s Pathfinder, Rev. Fulgence Meyer, 1927

Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit My Book List today….

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Smell the Roses Along the Way! A Gallery….

I love this time of the year. The roses are blooming and the yard is a galaxy of flowers!

We haven’t always had a yard that looks beautiful. But we have always tried, no matter how hard times were, to eke out a little bit to get some blossoms going. Flowers spread joy and happiness. They are a gift from God and therapy for the soul.

We lived in a very small, one-bedroom home for ten years. We had seven children in that home. We tacked on a couple of little make-shift bedrooms for the kids off of our own bedroom.

It took us a few years to build our new home and we moved in when it wasn’t really livable. But it was all good….an adventure. Maybe some day I will write about it and dig up some old pictures.

Anyway, when we lived in the little house, (which many called “the shack”) we always had flowers, though not an abundance like we do now. I didn’t plant perennials there and I am glad of that so I didn’t have to say good-bye to them. But we managed somehow to have our little annual flower garden.

This year, my husband, Vincent, and daughter, Rosie, along with Angelo, the youngest, have done most of the yard work. Vincent has his own small greenhouse now and is able to start a lot of the flowers…or over-winter them from last year. Their team work has paid off! We have lots of beautiful flowers!

So…if you can, plant some flowers, nurture them, watch them grow and bloom. Maybe each year you can get a perennial or two so you can enjoy them each growing season and one day have an abundance of easy-to-care-for blossoming smile-makers!

And when the winter months come, get yourself some African Violets for the house. They are not expensive and they will bring a smile to your heart. 🙂

I love this quote from My Prayer Book by Father Lasance:

“I have always noticed that wherever you find flowers, no matter whether in a garret or in a palace, it is a pretty sure sign that there is an inner refinement of which the world is not cognizant. I have seen flowers cultivated and cherished by some of the lowest and poorest of people. Where these emblems of purity are found, you may rest assured that they represent a hope, and speak of a goodness of heart not to be found where they are absent.”

These photos are  about flowers….and other tidbits of our summer…just stopping and smelling the roses! I hope you are doing the same. 🙂 Click on the first picture to view gallery. (The gallery ended up being a whole lot longer than it was supposed to be…. )

 

Morsels for Meditation from Achieving Peace of Heart – Fr. Narciso Irala

This book is much used in our family! It is always available to hand to any friend who is going through difficult times. The book review is here.

A Little Psychology Today from a great priest:

Achieving Peace of Heart

The following are some “Morsels for Meditation” for your day!

🌹A Fixation – Unpleasant impressions or thoughts tend to engrave themselves and become fixed in our minds by repetition unless we succeed in forgetting or ignoring them. They will be engraved even deeper if we give them importance and fear them.

A case in point would be that of the person who struggles against impure thoughts in a spirit of fear. They would gradually disappear if he despised them (instead of fearing them) and, in practice, went on as if he did not have them.

Worry is a fine thread of fear which traces a path across the life of our spirit. Unless we succeeded in breaking it early, while it is still weak, it will open up into a deep crevasse into which all our attention and thoughts will be channeled.

🌺An obsession – An impure thought or a thought of a present or imminent disaster will not leave us in peace for a moment, unless we busy ourselves with something extremely interesting. It struggles continually to occupy the center of our attention.

A scruple is no more than obsession of fear. The way to conquer it is by giving less importance to the imaginary eternal loss, convincing ourselves that it is an emotional illness which cannot have eternal consequences and by diverting our attention from the thought which produces the emotion.

So we shall refuse to follow that train of thought even for the sake of removing the doubt, in practice treating the thought with disdain.

🌻Exaggeration. – The ills or dangers that beset us will almost always tend to be exaggerated. If we surrender to this tendency to exaggerate, we shall end up terrified or infuriated by trivialities.

If we have caught ourselves in this type of exaggeration, we should learn a lesson to apply to our whole life: “I see that I have a personal tendency to exaggerate and I dread a hundred dangers where there is only one. Therefore, whenever I catch myself worrying a lot in advance, I shall react with a deliberately chosen attitude of joy and smiling peace, because I know that the reason for fear is insignificant.”

🌼If we make family life a haven of love, the negative emotions we may experience in office or factory will be counteracted.

If we have a sincere spiritual life, in it we shall find the best counterweight to daily dissatisfactions and fears.

If in prayer we take account of the fact that we are having an interview with Infinite Wisdom, Goodness and Power, this will give us a great degree of satisfaction.

And if, in the performance of activities we understand that we are fulfilling the will of God – that is, the ideal of Infinite Wisdom or, in other words, that we are doing the noblest and most useful task that anyone could accomplish in the circumstances – we can have hours of emotional fullness to immunize us against many psychosomatic illnesses.

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“Children must not feel that because of their littleness, their prayers lack power. Because of their stunning purity and their childlike love, their prayers are probably far more powerful than our own. We should encourage them to pray boldly and should point out all they can accomplish by uniting their prayers to Christ’s prayers for all men. This gives them the soundest, most mature, and most inspiring reason for acquiring habits of prayer.”
-Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2p51Nsz (afflink)

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The original writing was in 1944 and successful in many countries – finally translated to English/US in 1964 and thank God it was not lost to us. This book is written for our times; yes today, more than ever. Amazing manual in simple clear language with how to’s and immediate exercises to improve understanding, increase personal power. You will know it’s right because you will recognize some methods used in some of today’s top books on Improving. You will know when you read this book, it was probably the source for what we see today in these successful books. This is the source. -Maggie Meo

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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.

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Foster Good Taste in Your Child

Painting by Maurice Marlier

From How to Raise Good Catholic Children by Mary Reed Newland

Follow-up from the post Help Your Child to Discover and Develop His Gifts

This does not mean that children shouldn’t be exposed to good art, but the motive should be to stimulate and inspire them and to spark their own ideas, push back a bit farther their own horizons.

Unless parents know good art, however, they cannot know to what to expose their children.

So far, in the struggle between the “knows” and the “know-nots” (the one side deploring, the other defending), I don’t think that there’s yet a bridge over which the know-nots may cross.

It isn’t enough to realize that there’s such a thing as good art. It has also to be comprehended somehow, or it can’t be loved.

Byzantine mosaics I love dearly, yet it’s entirely understandable to me that someone who has never seen them before may protest, “But they’re childish, and unreal, and like dolls — cold and stiff.”

I believe that the know-nots secretly want to know, and I wish someone would start writing books for them: books with good illustration and texts that would do for good Christian art what good biographies have done for the saints.

Until then, the best they can do is visit museums, comb through bookstores in the hope of finding something that will explain rather than merely illustrate, search out magazines, and ask for help.

This “best” is, of course, excellent enough. Unless, however, they’re helped to see what’s great about, for instance, a Giotto, they are quite apt to end up standing in front of all the tonnage in a Rubens and deciding that this must be good, because it’s in a museum and painted by a famous painter and shows the descent from the Cross.

Children don’t come equipped with instinctively good taste. The things they draw themselves are usually good because they’re free of sophistication, but usually the things they admire are atrocious (unless they’ve been surrounded by good art from infancy) because they love all that is gaudy and sentimental and they’ve been exposed to so much sentimental rubbish that their taste has already been corrupted.

We should also encourage children to draw from models and landscapes and nature.

They won’t draw what we see, but they will enjoy drawing what they see, looking at a brother or sister or street or field and putting it down on paper, and it’s important that we save examples of the works they create, for reference and encouragement.

If we let them alone to create in their own way, they will reveal many things that we’re too old and sour to see ever again with our own eyes, and will recapture only now and then, when we see them through the eyes of children.

After living in the country for a long time and seeing many hayfields cut, I saw an entirely new pattern of a hayfield at a local exhibit of children’s art.

One little girl did a lovely thing with the pattern a baler makes as it goes round and round, dropping bales like the checkpoints in a labyrinth. It was exactly as a hayfield looks, but I was no longer simple enough to see it that way.

I’ve seen many pictures of shepherds receiving with joy the news of the angels at Bethlehem, but never one that explored the glory of the Gloria so gloriously as a four-year-old’s shepherds staggering down the hills with staves giddily swinging over their heads under rays of starlight that fell from the top of the sky to pierce the very stones, and at their heels laughing lambs.

It is this ability to make concrete their own vision that is the divine part of the gift of creating.

We help our children become articulate early in life when we encourage them to create. If we help them discover their abilities, we’re helping them to know what to do with their lives in maturity. If we teach them further that these things come from God and have a purpose, their early years’ creating will discover for them not only what works and skills and arts are theirs, but especially how they best speak and serve and praise God.

One child started with drawing, and discovered she had talent not for drawing but for drawing pictures, and drawing designs. She felt her way through modeling and decorating what she modeled, then to making doll clothes with lots of ribbons and beads for ornamentation, then to decorating cookies, and this led to cooking. When asked why she liked cooking best of all the creative arts, she answered, “Because it makes me feel like a woman.”

There could be no better end for creative activity for a girl than that it discover for her what womanliness is, and the arts and works that are womanly.

She may become a lawyer, a nurse, a teacher, a religious, or a mother, but whatever God wants her to be, if she is to serve well in it, she must be womanly.

Our society is by no means lacking in women who are unwomanly, to whom woman is synonymous with sexiness, not with womanliness.

It’s the quality of womanliness in a girl, manliness in a boy, governing the talents and expressed through their talents with tenderness, strength, humor, compassion, purity, and so many other ways, that will help these children discover whom God made when He made them.

The more they discover the things they can do with their heads and hands, with their eyes and ears and minds and bodies, and know that it is by grace they do them — grace freely given with the gift — the less they will be driven to imitate others, go where the crowd goes, do what the crowd does.

This is the only alternative for people who never discover the gifts God put in them or how to use them. Alone, they have no feeling of wholeness; they’re not someone, but anyone; and in a frantic effort to identify themselves as someone, they imitate what seems to be integrity in others, in tastes, attitudes, likes, dislikes, opinions, behavior — with nowhere a clue as to what they were meant to be themselves.

“The thought of the importance of your position as a Catholic mother should be a source of joy to you, but your battle will often be hard and your spiritual consolations few. It is good sometimes to know that although you have sacrificed many of the things modern ’emancipated’ women value so highly, your humble position is still the proudest in society. You are the possessor of the hand that rocks the cradle and rules the world. You are to be the comforter, the unchanging inspiration, and the educator of souls.” – Fr. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2rpzfu0 (afflink)

 

 

 

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

The renowned spiritual writer Dubay gives surprising replies to these questions. He explains how material things are like extensions of our persons and thus of our love. If everyone lived this love there would be no destitution.

After presenting the richness of the Gospel message, more beautiful than any other world view, he explains how Gospel frugality is lived in each state of life.


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