I get questions from you dear ladies now and again. I think the answers could be beneficial to others and so I have posted them here….I have changed some words to protect anonymity.

Disclaimer: If in doubt with anything I say, please check with your spiritual director. He know you and your situation and has the grace of state to advise you.

Question:

Hi,
I listened to your podcast today where you read about strength of will. And it makes sense but it left me discouraged. I am a very busy mom with many children and much going on in my life. I have already had to give up much because of pregnancies, etc. How will I strengthen my will if I am only doing what I know I can… I wonder if you can help explain?

Answer:

Dear Mama,

In very many ways, we wives and mothers can strengthen our wills without having to perform extra works.

You say that you have to give up much because of pregnancies. Of course you do! And by doing that, yes, even if it is something forced upon you, when you embrace that cross…you are doing what the podcast says…strengthening your will!

We live in “domestic monasteries” where the “bell” is going off constantly….a child is tugging at our skirt, dinner is to be made, a child is sick, we have to run to piano lessons, hubby needs lunch, etc. By doing these things as cheerfully as possible we are doing exactly what God wants from us at that moment…and in turn, we are strengthening our will.

The podcast was originally meant for the youth. They need to be reminded of the necessity of the will…and that it must be strengthened in order to live a Godly life.

It is a good reminder to all. But remember, our daily duty performed with greater joy and patience each day, is a perfect example of strengthening our will. We need look no further.

A quote:

If I am not capable of great things, I will not become discouraged, but I will do the small things! Sometimes, because we are unable to do great things, heroic acts, we neglect the small things that are available to us and which are, moreover, so fruitful for our spiritual progress and are such a source of joy: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things, I will now trust you with greater. Come and share your Master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21) -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace https://amzn.to/2WcepLs (afflink)

Question:

I have a few questions. As you know, we live in a world that is after our youth. It seems like everywhere we go there is inappropriate “everything”. It is very hard to find activities for our children that we feel are “good influences”. We were talking the other night and wondering if we should be “out and about” more with the teenage kids. We value family time and being at home, but are we home too much? How much socialization do you feel is good for teen boys? How do you handle this in your family?

Answer:

Yes, the young adults need socialization. We took part in activities in our parish. As the kids were growing up, they played soccer each Sunday with our priest and other kids of the parish. It wasn’t formal, just a lot of fun.

We had them involved in Legion of Mary.

Depending on the temperament of the children, they will crave this socialization. Even if they don’t, it is good for them.

The biggest thing we did for our family was have our children’s friends and other families over to our house for fun and games….regularly. This helped to fill the void. Oftentimes, we (their dad and I) played the games with the kids.

This was a huge way of getting to know the other kids and eventually led to some good courtships…

We did not send our kids out on their own to social events. For the most part, if it was an outside activity, we were all present…or at least one or the other of the parents or the older siblings. Someone was always there just overseeing things….well, and taking part in the fun, too!

It’s important for parents to seek out ways that their growing children can interact with other like-minded Catholics. Pray about it…God will open the doors.

Question:

Do you have any articles that deal with social engagements for small, young families? We homeschool and our area is quite progressive, including our parishes. We drive an hour to get to Mass for TLM, now. But my eldest is feeling isolated at times. How do you deal with this while learning and growing in your faith? Meaning- I can give her social opportunities but they conflict with our faith, especially when we are starting to adopt, although slowly, a more traditional faith life.

Answer:

We live in a community so this is not so much of a problem. But I know many who are in the same predicament as you. So they travel a bit. They make sure and come to our Traditional Family Weekend each year. They come to the Shakespeare Festival, the big parish events, etc. They scout around and find events that are in line with their family values and they plan the trips. This gives the kids something to look forward to and maybe they will be able to strike up a friendship and start a penpal relationship.

Mothers and fathers these days have to use their ingenuity. It is not easy but so important, to find good friends for our children. Be ready to go out of your comfort zone.

Invite like-minded families or kids to your home. Play games, indoor and outdoor. Keep it well-monitored. How many times I was so tired and just wanted to go to bed, but I waited until the “curfew” time was up for the visiting  kids to leave so I could lock the doors and know that all was well (I still do this). I didn’t go to bed before things were shut down here. And many times I would much prefer a quiet night at home…but in would march the friends to visit our own children and take part in some good fun. It was exhausting at times.

So..yes..be ready to step out of your comfort zone! It’s so worth it!

An aside:

And I will say…if you can move to a parish that is more conducive to your lifestyle…then by all means, do!

My father-in-law had an amazing and well-paying job as a supervisor in California. He could take his 9 kids at the time…(they eventually had 13) to Europe on vacation to see the wonderful Catholic sites! But he and his wife  saw the detriment the city would eventually have on the kids. They sold everything, picked up, didn’t know where they were going and left…eventually settling on a small farm in Ohio. So…it can be done!

That being said, if you make this move, and get close to a good community,  don’t expect that you will get along with everyone there and see eye-to-eye. That doesn’t happen, but there is usually a family or two that you click with. Parish events, days of recollection, sports, all of these things help the children grow…it is vital who we choose to do them with.

It’s important for the kids to see other families with values like your own (even if you don’t become close to those families). It helps them when they are looking around to see if they are the only “weirdos” on the planet earth. 😉 We need support.

Question:

Can I ask you an odd question? Is there a traditional Catholic view on makeup? I have heard things like makeup is an abomination before God and things like that, but didn’t know if there was really grounds for that. I have wrestled with this question for years. You seem to have found a lot of resources that stay true to God and the tradition of our faith. Have you ever found anything on makeup? What is the view that you have reached through prayer?

Answer:

This is a touchy subject for many, as well as the modesty issue. It hits us very personally…it is something we have learned to identify us as women.

I do not believe there is a hard and fast rule about makeup in the Catholic world. There are many opinions…and that is what mine will be.

This is my own take from all the reading I have done.

If done with taste, not done in a gaudy fashion, there is nothing wrong with a little makeup. As a mother, I have to remind my girls what that taste is. They can be flamboyant at times, they love colors and so…they can get carried away. A reminder now and again, is good, that the natural can be enhanced…but not covered up!

Here is an article…Vanity and Cucumbers.

And here is a great sermon on Modesty: Appearance & Accessories  

A Note on the sermon…you may just want to listen to it rather than watch the video. (That note was from Rosie…who didn’t like the pictures on the video). We usually just listen to the audio on this channel. It’s a great channel by the way!        Sensus Fidelium

Question:

What about jealousy? Do you have any articles on this. I seem to suffer from this vice quite a bit…

Answer:

Jealousy is a tough one…but it all starts in the thoughts. When those thoughts rear their ugly heads, we have to halt them. They usually start by comparing our life with someone else. Break the cycle, stop the thoughts. At first, this can seem like a cyclone: you try to halt the thought by replacing it, but that good thought gets swept away, then another and another. But eventually the dust will settle, the storm will pass and you will be free…until the next storm. Each “storm” should get less violent as you learn the method of nipping these thoughts in the bud.

Gratitude really helps to overcome this cycle. That is where my Gratitude Journal can help. Start to turn those thoughts around….

And here is a book that can help…Sins of the Tongue and Jealousy in a Woman’s Life

Question:

Would you have a special prayer to pray for your children’s vocations and if they are called to matrimony a prayer for their future spouses?

Answer:

Yes! I have the most wonderful prayer to St Raphael who is the patron of Happy Meetings and of Vocations. I love St. Raphael. He is very powerful with God and everyone should foster a devotion to him. He helped me to find my husband when I lived in a Catholic desert. He is patron of happy meetings, vocations, travel, sickness, etc. Here is the prayer:

St. Raphael, loving patron of those seeking a marriage partner, help me in this supreme decision of my life. Find for me as a helpmate in life the person whose character may reflect some of the traits of Jesus and Mary. May he (she) be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with chaste and unselfish love we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please God to entrust to our care.

St. Raphael, angel of chaste courtship, bless our friendship and our love that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely that our future home may ever be most like the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Offer your prayers to God for the both of us and obtain the blessing of God upon our marriage, as you were the herald of blessing for the marriage of Tobias and Sarah.

St. Raphael, friend of the young, be my friend, for I shall always be yours. I desire ever to invoke you in my needs.

To your special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future husband (wife). Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life, and attain to eternal joy in the next. Amen.

In honor of St. Raphael pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

Dear St. Raphael, bless, protect and guide my future spouse.

In this troubled world we need the prayers of children. Their souls are innocent, their petitions special in the Eyes of God. Let us get our children on their knees, and with fervor and the remarkable confidence of a child, let us get them to pray for our families, our country, our world….. www.finerfem.com

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