Combat Your Jealousy/In-Laws – Fr. Lovasik

Art by Veronica Algaba

Combat your jealousy

Jealousy makes you eager to have all the affection and attention of your spouse. It may also be an enemy of honesty and sincerity, and consequently of love and harmony.

A jealous husband is one who feels uncertain about his wife’s love – usually because he knows he is guilty of faults that make him undeserving of it – and who foolishly thinks that he can hold her loyalty to him only by preventing her from being friendly with anyone else. He deprives her of every kind of social life that he can forbid or prevent.

He is suspicious of every innocent friendly contact his wife makes with others. He tries to keep her separated completely from her own family. This jealous possessiveness transforms any feelings of love the wife once had for her husband into feelings of hate.

It makes a wife’s duty of fidelity to her husband much more difficult than it should be.

An unreasonably jealous wife is usually in some degree responsible for the wandering of her husband’s love. It is natural that after several years of married life, some degree of taking one another for granted sets in. It would be better if the courtesy, consideration, and thoughtfulness that marked your courtship and the first years of marriage could survive through the years.

Your husband may strain to appear his best before other women and show his worst side to you, not because he no longer loves you, but because he considers your love safely in his possession. This conduct is no reason for jealousy.

If you are a jealous wife, put yourself back into competition not only for your husband’s love but also for his kindly attention. It is your job to win and hold, by giving proofs of your own love, the love you may think is turning away from you.

Jealousy is not a constant passion. Even if you have never felt the sting of jealousy, you may, under certain circumstances, experience a blind surge of it. Be resolved to avoid with utmost care those things which might awaken the passion of jealousy in your spouse.

Be patient and understanding toward your in-laws

One of the most common sources of jealousy is in-law trouble, which can pull a couple apart more rapidly than many of the other disintegrating factors, if this is the chief reason for argument.

Marriage does not release a husband and wife from the duty of honoring and loving their mother and father. But it does make duties to their spouse supersede duties to their parents. That is what God said clearly of Adam, the first husband: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Some husbands and wives never quite leave their mothers and fathers. They permit them to have more to say over their actions and plans than their spouses do.

In-law trouble is very seldom caused solely by unreasonable jealousy on one side alone. If your spouse dislikes your relatives, look into yourself for whatever grounds you may have given for that aversion.

A wife who was spoiled and pampered by her family will sometimes seek an escape from new responsibility by running to those who will continue to baby her. At the first sign of disagreement, she will seek solace in the overindulgence of her parents. This will react unfavorably on her husband, who will gradually feel himself to be second in her affections when she has promised to hold him first.

Thus, antagonism for the parents-in-law will grow with every incident. If you are the husband of such a person, you will not awaken her to a sense of duty to you by violently asserting your rights or by using harsh language.

Never look upon in-laws as rivals for your partner’s affection. Filial love differs vastly from conjugal love, so there is room for both in the heart of every spouse.

As in courtship, you won your wife from possible rivals by making yourself appear so kind and noble that she could not resist your appeal, so after marriage you have to prove yourself superior to her parents and relatives in devotion to her.

You must back up your “rights” by continuous human expressions of love and interest. In this way, the competition between you and her relatives will soon end.

On the other hand, a husband who shows more than usual attachment to his parents almost always has trouble with jealousy on the part of his wife. He does not care what happens to his wife and children. His mother comes first.

He takes her side against his wife. He lets his wife suffer rather than deal sternly with his mother. This is especially the case if he feels that even after marriage he must donate a large part of his income to his parents, even though they are not in great need.

Getting along with in-laws calls for tact and diplomacy. You must make allowance for the tendency of parents to think of their married son or daughter as their little child whom they wish to mother still.

Try to keep the in-law relationships on an even keel by being patient and understanding, and you will have peace. If you think your husband is acting imprudently in giving help to his family, present your arguments to him in a kind way. You may even ask him to discuss the problem with a third and neutral person. Show goodwill by proposing a compromise.

Do not adopt a bitter, resentful attitude toward your husband, or say anything unkind about his relatives to him or to anyone else. Whether you win or lose your point, conquer and hide your feelings of bitterness. Showing them would be risking the peace and unity of your home.

Security for the future is bought at too great a price if it means that you are to be divided in spirit by a deeply rooted grudge. Many a home has been wrecked by such resentment, and there is little comfort in the wreckage even if you maintain you were right.

Give preference to your spouse

It is wise to establish distance from in-laws, if that is possible. It is true that there are many cases in which charity demands that an exception to this rule be made; nevertheless, there are other cases in which charity would be better served all around if some arrangement were made other than having an in-law in the same home.

After marriage, a wife’s first duty is to her husband, not to her mother. If her mother remains with her, it should be only on the condition that she will say and do nothing that would in any way mar the relationship between husband and wife.

If a mother who lives with her married daughter arouses suspicions in her daughter’s mind, if she interferes with her right to run her own home, if she nags and complains and makes unreasonable demands, the best thing to do is to rent an apartment for her and let her live alone.

Mothers-in-law should not be permitted to destroy family harmony. When you can do nothing except offer your home to an in-law, at the very outset try to come to an understanding and agreement with all the parties concerned as to the conditions under which you will live in peace together.

Let your in-law know that you are glad to be able to offer your home, but let it be made clear that the home remains yours, and that it is not to be spoiled by interference and meddling.

If there is no present way out of the difficulty, there may be room for an honest examination of conscience as to whether a wife is letting things get on her nerves that should be neutralized by a spirit of patience and charity.

Small annoyances, unavoidable with two women in the same household, can be blown up into major irritations. God will give sufficient grace to bear these annoyances and to better the situation by prudent firmness and willing charity. The advice of a wise priestly confessor will help.

A mother-in-law cannot be such a bad woman if she is the mother of the one you love very dearly. It is most important that you show that you prefer your husband or wife to everyone else in the world. You refuse this sign of preference when you insist on living with a parent, or taking a parent into your home when there is no urgent reason of necessity or charity to do so.

You are failing in your love if you pay more attention to what your parent wants than to what your spouse wants; if you are more concerned about your parent’s welfare and happiness; if you let a parent rule the household; or if you take your parent’s side in disputes.

This is like going back on the promise you made in marriage and acting contrary to God’s revealed plan for marriage.

“Never forget that it is God’s will that the parents should be the ones to teach the child to pray, as Mary and Joseph helped the boy Jesus to advance in wisdom and grace.” -A Dominican Nun, 1954

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I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency…

Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent–sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies–these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.
If you enjoyed learning about holiday traditions in The Christmas Book, you are sure to love its sequel, The Easter Book.  Father Weiser has here applied his winning formula to an explanation of the fasts and feasts of the Lenten and Easter seasons with equally fascinating results.

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The Winner Is! & Other Paraphernalia (New Grandbaby, etc.)

We have a new little grandbaby!

….this is number 31 and there are three more on the way! God is good.

Everything went well for Theresa. He is a little boy and his name is Adam Joseph, 7lbs. 12 oz.! They will have a double Baptism as Devin’s brother and sister-in-law, John Paul and Julianna, also had a baby on the same day!

Nurse Sarah with newborn baby.

Happy parents!

At the Birth Center for the post-partum checkup, two brothers with their wives pose for a picture.

Cousins…. (Paulina and Adam)

Grandma (me)

Theresa a couple days before baby was born.

New mamas…Theresa (Tweety) and Virginia (Gin)

St. Valentine’s Day Fun!

Gemma and Angelo headed up a lot of the activities for the evening.

Gemma had the kids write out St. Valentine cards for their cousins.

Fun conversations!

Colin…The holes are from hard work….(not to be in style) hehe

The girls decided to learn a little ukulele!

Vin & Gin…at home with their new ride.

The girls are at their favorite place…God’s Storehouse. Doing a little proselytizing.

Vincent is building this fireplace for our daughter and son-in-law, Mike and Jeanette.

Dominic and his niece, Anne Marie.

Anne Marie

Colin makes bread

Zaelie makes dinner. 🙂

Birthday party for our grandchild and Godchild, Agnes!

Hubby is not usually so much on the ball for St. Valentine’s Day. This year he surprised me with these beautiful roses!

A couple of Valentines!

Margy is making a blanket for David for St. Valentine’s Day.

Working on the Cabochons for my jewelry and rosaries.

Rag Curls on Margy!

“DON’T take a picture of my face!”

Curls, curls, curls!

Togetherness… Look at that hairdo on Avila! haha

When I am listening to Democrats. There. My big political statement of the year.

I want to thank all of you for your very kind words on the comments of the Giveaway! Not one of them went unnoticed and I was touched by your encouragement and goodness. You have been an amazing support to me as I continue to do this website. It is a joy to me…so are you. You are in my prayers, please keep us in yours. I depend on them. 

And now….

MARTHA WITTER!!

Congratulations, Martha! I have sent you an email!

 

The Wife Desired – In-Laws

From The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

It has been said somewhat captiously that a person can choose her friends but not her relatives. Marriage brings with it a new group of relatives for better or for worse. A few thoughts may be beneficial on how these new found relatives can work out for “better.”

There is no question that the problem of in-laws has earned for itself a very high rating among the causes of broken marriages. One need not be occupied in the work of counseling to be aware of this fact. The problem will vary in magnitude for each marriage.

Fortunately, for many, the problem will be of such small consequence as to be of little concern. After all, it is expected that every human relationship will give rise on occasions to the need of patient understanding. Between the best of friends there will be times when one will have to exercise resignation to the whims of the other.

It is most important that the ideal wife develop by the time of her marriage the attitude that there need be no conflict with her in-laws. Too many women acquire a real in-law complex even before they are married. They are determined that they are going to have difficulties with their husband’s relations. You may be sure that these people realize their expectations.

Let us suppose that her husband has a very normal mother. The wife cannot expect the mother to drop dead because she married her son. His mother still loves him and wants him to be happy. She does not know her daughter-in-law too well. It is going to take time for the mother to learn to relax in her presence and give her confidence.

Unless the wife realizes this, she may misinterpret this initial uneasiness on the mother’s part as suspicion of her or latent antagonism.

In-laws can be a great asset to a young wife. It is normal for grandparents to love and dote on their grandchildren. Financial help can come from them indirectly in the form of toys, gifts, and clothes for the children.

As long as these things are given with no “riders” attached, and as long as they do not “move in” and try to take over, their help can be accepted graciously. They are often a great help in times of sickness and other crises. Besides, they are good, dependable baby-sitters.

More than a girl perhaps realizes, she gets out of life just what she expects. If she expects opposition from her mother-in-law, the chances are high that she will get it.

Why should she look for trouble? Let her cross bridges when she comes to them. Let her realize that her mother-in-law and her husband’s relations are fundamentally his concern and possible problem. If he is half the man she married, he will handle any possible situation arising from that quarter.

It should be apparent that courtship and its problems do not fall within the scope of this chapter. Yet I feel that I must warn any young woman not to marry a boy who is still tied to his mother’s apron strings.

No matter what are his assets–wealth social position, or good looks, she should flee from him as she would flee from a plague.

If a woman finds herself practically married to a possessive mother-in-law, then she must marshal all the forces of her soul for the conflict. She will need the character and heroism of the saints.

My hat is off to the young wife who has been successful in aiding her husband to mature. The experience gained will stand by her in the raising of her own children.

Some men are still little boys at the time of their marriage, in spite of all the outward bluster of manhood. Incidentally, all the “hoopla” in connection with Mother’s Day notwithstanding, many a son has been ruined for life by a possessive mother.

Recently I talked with a young husband who was deeply attached to his mother. She was at fault in almost wrecking her son’s marriage. In this case mother insisted on doing his laundry.

Like a dutiful little boy he marched over to mother every week with his little package. If someone could have slipped up behind him and elevated him from the sidewalk with a strong foot vigorously applied in the right spot, he might have come to his senses.

His wife was not capable of doing this, nor did she have a big brother noted for any football punting prowess. Her attack had to be more subtle.

Carefully she saw to it that no batch of laundry was carried over to mother without one or two nice big lipstick smears. It was not long until these smears began to annoy mother. Somebody else was kissing her own little boy. With all her petty soul she wanted him just for herself.

As the weeks wore into months, the wife continued her little game.

With a sparkle of triumph in her eyes this ideal wife told me how this nonsense with the laundry stopped one day. Of what happened she still was not certain. Supposedly mother pushed him too far one evening.

Apparently they had a fight. The little husband began to grow up. There was more to the story of how this wonderful wife helped her husband mature into manhood and thus save his marriage. It was not as easy as might appear from the story of the laundry.

This case of a wife dealing successfully with perhaps the most difficult problem of marriage is presented because very many wives give up in the face of possessive mothers-in-law. Admittedly it is primarily the husband’s problem. He should solve it. Indeed, he should have solved it long before marriage, but he did not.

What a wonderful tribute to her that she possessed the personality and character to bring success out of what generally leads to the divorce courts. Their companionship now can weather any storm the years might bring. Through her leadership in their victory, mutual esteem and appreciation of each other presaged many happy years of loving companionship.

While a good wife may be unable to deal successfully with an in-law problem, there is no excuse for failure to handle her own blood relations. With them she is on familiar ground. She knows the personalities with which she must deal occasionally.

The ideal wife remembers the words of Scripture that she and her husband are to cling together as one. If it is necessary, she will resist the inroads of her relatives.

First of all, she has enough sense to keep her husband’s confidences and never talk them over with her mother. There may be a great temptation to run to mother for comfort and advice if she has a spat with her husband. To mother she pours out the sorrows of her poor, wounded soul.

Mother, be she ever so good, will find it difficult not to give in to black thoughts of revenge against the beast who has hurt her own flesh and blood. At the very least it will be more difficult for her mother to be natural and easy in the presence of her daughter’s husband.

The small consolations she may receive from confiding in mother are more likely to be far outweighed by future grief so deservedly earned. There is entirely too much of this running to mother with petty problems.

Perhaps mother is a sensible person and wants to stay out of her daughter’s affairs. Then why keep tempting her to interfere? The immature wife who acts this way is asking for trouble. Generally she gets more than she ever expected.

Too many young couples have begun their marriage by living with relatives. Although few are crazy enough to want this arrangement, yet too many feel that it is necessary. A housing shortage and poor finances are the common reasons given.

It has almost never worked out and never to complete satisfaction. Two families cannot live happily and comfortably in the same house or apartment.

The first year or so is very important to marriage. It is most difficult to get off to a good start under this abnormal and awkward situation. Everybody steps on everybody’s else’s feet.

Irritations are bound to appear. Nerves become frayed. Words are said and feelings hurt. Moreover, it is rather difficult for the husband to make love to his wife with “Pop” grinning behind his newspaper and “Sis” giggling in the next room.

Whatever financial advantages may be had from doubling up with parents, it is not worth the price. This is not theory. I am sure that all married couples, who have survived a situation like this, will shout assent on reading this.

An over ambitious wife may fall into the mistake of coaxing her husband into living with her parents. She might think that they will save money more quickly. She should realize that she is doing the thing most likely to sap whatever “get up” her husband may have about him. There is danger that his ambition to get somewhere in the world will ebb away.

Others are calling the tune all the time. Let them worry about responsibility. All this rationalizing brings him little peace of mind. He knows that he is in a mess, and the only way that he can solve it is by getting out on his own. The wife who resists his effort to break away does not know where her happiness lies.

Furthermore, this living with the in-laws is not always very economical. To escape the scrutiny of all eyes the young couple find themselves going out more and more evenings. This can be expensive.

In closing the discussion on living with parents it should be sufficient to say that all counselors on marriage advise young couples to endure almost any hardship rather than submit to this false security. The wife desired will resist the temptation to think that her case will be exceptional.

“The difference between this child and that one is often largely a matter of what he saw in and heard from his parents. His religious response, his sense of honesty, his ability to play with other children and be unselfish toward them, his attitude toward books, his appreciation of the beautiful, his sense of what is right and what is wrong, his quick apprehending of the charming and noble, his ready reaction to music that is good, his approval of heroism and his rejection of evil and cheapness – all these things need to be established in the child’s mind by the parents, who alone can deeply and strong-rootedly establish them!” – Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

Ladies and Gents…Don’t miss this one! You won’t regret it! Please say 3 Hail Marys for the priest.

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Ordinary Saints

From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1949

SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX

We have a striking example in our own days of a canonized saint who was actually given to us as an example of how to become holy, by what she herself tells us is the easy, the “little way” to Heaven.

St. Therese of Lisieux never worked a miracle, never enjoyed heavenly visions, never did anything extraordinary, but she did well all that she did.

She tells us that she went to Heaven in an elevator (a lift).

In the Carmelite convent in which she lived, none of the sisters remarked anything wonderful in her conduct. She was sweet and joyful and was the sunshine of the community. Possibly some of the other sisters prayed longer and did more rigorous penances than she did.

An incident which took place before her death shows how simple and unpretentious was her life.

It was the custom in the convent for the prioress to write a short account of the life of each sister after that sister’s death.

During the illness of St. Therese, two sisters were heard speaking of this. One said to the other, “Poor Mother Prioress, whatever will she find to write about poor little Sister Therese?”

Yet this dear little saint began to work so many wonders after her death and obtain so many favors for those who had recourse to her that the whole world rang with her praises. She was solemnly canonized after a remarkably short time.

What a consolation she offers to those who wish to be holy! Hers was the little, the easy way, the elevator (lift) by which we, too, no matter how weak we are, can go to Heaven.

BENIGNA CONSOLATA

A second example that will encourage the humblest of us is the story of Benigna Consolata.

Her life, her conduct were so ordinary that those who were most intimate with her had not the faintest idea that she was a saint. She did not spend her nights in prayer, nor did she fast more rigorously than the others; she never worked miracles, yet her pure, humble life attracted the love of Our Lord, who frequently appeared to her and treated her with the most loving intimacy.

When speaking to her, He addressed her by her pet name, “Nina Mia.”

Her name was Benigna Philomena Consolata. He revealed to her the most consoling doctrines and said to her, “My dear little Secretary, write all I tell you, that others may know it.”

The sisters who lived with her were utterly surprised when they learned after her death of her wonderful sanctity.

We ourselves may be surprised when we enter Heaven to see on high thrones those whom we knew on Earth but whose sanctity we did not suspect.

THE CHILDREN OF FATIMA

What happened more recently at Our Lady’s sanctuary in Fatima will serve as another lesson on how to reach great holiness by simple means.

The Angel Guardian of Portugal came to prepare the three chosen children who were later on destined to see Our Blessed Lady.

Three things the Angel bade them do, viz., to pray devoutly, to hate sin and to offer to God with patience the sufferings the Almighty would be pleased to send them, this for His greater glory and for the salvation of souls.

God’s Holy Mother herself, when she came, taught them the same lessons, which enabled these poor ignorant little children to become worthy of their glorious mission.

Can we not do what three poor, unlettered children did?

We ourselves from time to time meet with simple souls whose extraordinary virtue is made evident by a single act.

A dear old woman run over by a carriage in Dublin and horribly crushed was rushed to a hospital. One of the Mercy Nuns who became her nurse tried with infinite delicacy to comfort and console her. What was not the nun’s surprise when the patient opened her eyes and said, “Sister dear, are you telling me to be resigned to God’s holy will? Let me tell you that God’s holy will has been always to me as welcome as the fruit to the tree.”

Poor, with many sorrows and needs during her long life, she now, in the throes of agony, manifested her perfect union with the will of God.

Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, the convert son of the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, while still a priest, went for a short visit to Catholic Ireland, of which he had heard so much.

At his request, a friend took him to visit some of the poor sick in their little homes. He saw what he called “wonders.”

These dear sufferers amazed the young convert by their faith, patience and perfect resignation to the will of God.

One old man was suffering from an awful cancer, already in an advanced stage, which was eating away his breast. Father Benson, full of compassion, tried to say some words of comfort to him.

“Oh my, Father, it’s nothing,” replied the old man. “Sure in a few days I will be with God in Heaven. Didn’t He suffer much more for me?”

On his return to England, Father Benson wrote a touching article on the heroic patience and faith of these poor people. “They seem to see God,” he said.

Owing to political troubles, an unfortunate man slew his enemy, a crown official. Denounced by a perfidious friend of his own, he was arrested and condemned to death. He repented sincerely of his crime, but could not pardon his base accuser.

The chaplain of the prison used his utmost efforts to induce him to go to Confession. “This I cannot do,” he said, “because, though sorry for my crime, I cannot pardon my false friend. Thus my Confession would be bad.”

A good Sister of Mercy won his heart by her “infinite” kindness and delicacy. She too tried to induce him to confess.  In vain.

On the eve of his execution, she made a last, supreme effort. “Do you know who I am?” she asked him.

“Yes, Sister, you are an Angel from Heaven.”

“No, I am no Angel from Heaven, but I am the sister of the man whom you killed. I have pardoned you, I have fasted and prayed and done all I could to save your soul.”

Amazed, the poor man fell on his knees and, in a flood of tears, kissed her feet. “Yes, yes, Angel of God, for you are, indeed, an Angel. I forgive with all my heart my enemy, oh forgive me you.”

Hers, indeed, was heroic forgiveness. A single act, as we have said, reveals at times heroic sanctity.

The widow’s alms won Our Lord’s high approbation. “She has given more,” He said, “than all the rest.” She had given only a mite, but she gave it with all her heart.

The Good Thief’s plea for mercy on the cross obtained plenary pardon for all his crimes. The Publican’s short prayer: “O God, have mercy on me, a sinner” made his soul as white as snow.

We, as parents, press on each day, with our children’s best interests at heart, asking God to fill the gaps. Each day is an opportunity to spend time with them, to sacrifice, to touch their hearts and thereby be fulfilled ourselves. Our Lady of Good Success, Pray for Us!

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Sermon!

Excellent sermon! Truth is truth….too many Catholics are looking for loopholes. “Are you saved from eternal death by your conscience or by Jesus Christ? The primacy of conscience is the New Jansenism….”

Light and Peace by Quadrupani

Available here.

This is an awesome little book!! It really could be a handbook on life for Catholics.

The chapters are short but power packed with balanced wisdom and advice on such subjects like confession, sadness, zeal, prayer, temptations, interior peace, liberty of spirit and many others.

Many of the excerpts are from St. Francis de Sales….one of my very favorite saints to read!!

This is one book that has been invaluable to me throughout the daily grind, when struggles may abound. It gives a person the peace of knowing that God is ever there to help. He is merciful and kind.

It also gives logical and practical advice for those who may tend toward scruples, or towards sadness….those with more of a melancholic temperament.

You won’t be disappointed if you purchase this book and it finds its little nook on your bookshelf! 🙂

From the Back of the Book:

Light and Peace is a handbook for getting to Heaven – a short and practical course in proper Christian living that covers all the important aspects of our religious duties.

Far and away the telling feature of this little book is its immense common sense and good advice.

Light and Peace shows that perfecting one’s self is not a complicated task, but one which requires good, practical thinking and a knowledge of the task at hand – in short, “Light” on the path – which is what this book is.

Thereafter the result one’s knowing where he is going spiritually and how best to achieve this end is “Peace”, that peace which Our Lord promised and which the world cannot give.

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I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency…

Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent–sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies–these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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

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

Most fun of all is making valentines at home. The materials cost little or nothing if you keep a supply of construction papers, pastes, and other such items on hand, and the work provides many opportunities for mothers and children to discuss the differences between friendship and love and the lamentable forcing of the boyfriend issue in the first grade. It is not always the children who are at fault.

Abetted by the teasing of grown-ups, children little more than babes make the unfortunate conclusion that boy must meet girl and be boyfriend and girlfriend at six years of age; they never do learn that it is possible to be that rare and wonderful creature: a friend who happens to be a boy.

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

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

One of the most excruciating trials of youngsters who believe themselves to be in love these days is restraining their impulses of affection. Very few children deliberately set out in their first encounters with crushes to commit any sins of impurity.

In their innocence of experience, they do not know exactly how such sins can be, or if they know the theory, they do not know the fact. It is the task of Christian parents to convince them that these impulses must be held in check.

Held in check they are good, they are manifestations of sincere and genuine affection, but they can so easily be transformed into something that is not good. The reason it has become such a delicate and difficult task (although I suppose it always was a worry for parents) is not because this restraint is impossible but because so few today seem to practice it.

The example of promiscuous contemporaries is a powerful thing. It rarely helps to start lecturing on the subject once children reach high school; it does not help at all to pooh-pooh love or schoolgirl crushes or the boyfriend business once it begins for a son or daughter growing up. But such occasions as St. Valentine’s Day (with innumerable opportunities all year round, of course) open this subject for discussion in a pleasant way. We may use the evenings spent making valentines to have our own open forum on the subject of love and the showing of love and how it is that people fall in love, and how it is all related to God’s love.

Such Christian concepts as respect for girls and women, respect for our bodies and the bodies of others, the propriety and impropriety of kissing – whom and when – right judgment about the movies, their ads and their love-making, many other things can be formed at a very early age. We must use all our talent and love and conviction to form them in our children.

We are foolish if we think that our children, because they are nice children, are automatically safe. In the movie ads and posters they see, the newsstand magazines and comics, the covers of the paperbacks, slicks, and in a hundred ways promiscuity is preached to them – and it is not preached to what is nice in them but to the deplorable weakness left in human nature by the inheritance of Original Sin.

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

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

There are many facets of this subject for parents to ponder. Each can adapt best the teaching for his children, but let us emphasize while they are still little that it is friendship that holds the joys of companionship for them. I suppose the free use of the word boyfriend has made it almost a synonym for friend, but not quite.

It may be a losing battle, but we continue to explain the difference. “Your friend, dear – your friend who is a girl. Little boys in second grade have friends, not girlfriends. Yes, I know – they tease and say you have a girlfriend, and that is too bad, because it is necessary that you love everyone with much more love than the word girlfriend intends.

You must try to love them as our Lord loves them, and you must try to see our Lord in them. If you like someone especially well, better than others, that is all right. Then they are among your special friends. Be glad and be careful of your friendship. Friendship is a beautiful, holy thing if you keep it that way.”

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

February 14th is the Feast of the great Catholic martyr and priest, St. Valentine. His persecutor, known to history as Claudius II, not only hated Catholicism, but also forbade his own Roman soldiers to marry. St. Valentine performed secret nuptial Masses for those Catholic soldiers that had found a spouse….

St. Valentine Coloring page…

Need a little help staying focused this Lent? The season is around the corner…

The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Lenten Journal!

For more information or to purchase visit my Meadows of Grace Shoppe here.

Pdf Version here.

This journal will lay out some simple activities in which your children will be doing their sacrifices and will have a tangible means of “counting” them for Jesus. You, Mom, will have a place to put a check mark if that the activity is remembered and completed for the day. This journal also includes a place for you to check off whether you are fulfilling your own personal resolutions…your Spiritual Reading, your Family Rosary, etc. It makes it more palpable if you can check it off at the end of the day….there’s just something about putting pen to paper when an accomplishment has been fulfilled! It is filled with inspiring quotes, too! My hope is that this journal may help you stay focused on making this Lent fruitful for your own soul and the souls of those little people entrusted to your care!

 

  Father Weiser has here applied his winning formula to an explanation of the fasts and feasts of the Lenten and Easter seasons with equally fascinating results.

Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost’s role in medieval churches? How did a Belgian nun originate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament? Where did the Halloween mask and the jack-o’-lantern come from?

Learn the answer to these questions, as well as the history behind our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving, in this gem of a book by Father Weiser.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

 

Your Marriage; Be Ready to Forgive and Compromise – Father Lovasik

Painting by William Henry Gore

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Father Lovasik

Be ready to compromise and to forgive

There will be many disagreements in your married life. Marriage has many difficulties and trials that are inevitable when two human beings live together in a life-long union of the greatest intimacy, with all the changes in mood and temperament that the varying conditions of life occasion.

Self-sacrifice is one of the standards of measurement for true love. Self-sacrifice is opposed to selfishness. Selfishness means wanting your own way always. It makes you a dictator.

Self-sacrifice must take the form of compromise. This compromise does not surrender in matters of moral or spiritual principle, but does surrender in disputes over the use of money, leisure time, or material things.

If you always insist on having your way, on doing what you want, on buying what you want, on going where you choose, without considering the desires of your partner, there is selfishness in place of love. Such selfishness is the basis of all impatience, and anger is the fruit of impatience.

A happy marriage depends so much on cooperation, self-sacrifice, sacrifice, and understanding that whatever is gained by insisting on rights will be lost in peace and good will.

So never talk about what you have a right to do against the wishes of your partner. It is difficult, if not impossible, to bring peace into a home where either the husband or the wife is stubbornly insisting on some right against the judgment or wishes of the partner.

You cannot force a person to be a good companion. That must come from the person’s own desire and from his freedom from external tasks and worries. Rather than just laying down the law, you would do far better to show an interest in each other’s work and to make some effort, even with all your own responsibilities, to help each other with it.

The partnership of marriage requires give and take. There are still husbands who feel that only men are entitled to freedom of movement and outside-the-house contacts and associations.

Either they are very jealous men, who unreasonably fear that they might lose their wives’ affection if they permit them to mingle with people outside the home, or they are simply the dictator type, who feel that women should be subject to men and to their duties as wives and mothers, and that they should ask for nothing in the way of relaxation and recreation.

This is not normal, but it is something wives should accept patiently. They can use any reasonable means to correct the condition. Anger, resentment, and bitterness will not accomplish anything; rather they will serve only to harden some husbands in their unjust attitude.

If your husband has a kind of tyrannical temperament – if he thinks he knows it all as far as you are concerned – you will not change his opinion of his superior wisdom merely by butting your head against his will.

You must have a full measure of respect for the judgment and wishes of your spouse. Use spiritual motives to accept with peace the tyranny you cannot avoid without war.

If your husband insists on making all the decisions, no matter how intimately you may be involved, then only by the grace of God, combined with a constant effort to cultivate patience, prudence, and tact will you be able to solve your problem.

Furthermore, you accepted him “for better or for worse,” and when “the worse” comes out in him, remember your promise at God’s altar. Be thankful that you have a good Catholic husband, if that be the case, who does not, with all his faults, make it difficult for you to live up to your Faith and to save your soul.

Be forgiving

Self-sacrifice must take the form of forgiveness. Forgiveness means the sacrifice of anger, bitterness, resentment, and revenge against your partner. There is no marriage in which forgiveness is not sometimes required, because there are no perfect human beings on earth.

It is inevitable when you live with another person day after day that at times your feelings will be hurt, and you will think that your rights are abused. So do not be too sensitive, and do not feel sorry for yourself.

A nagging wife never wholeheartedly forgives, because she never lets her husband forget his faults and defects of character. A husband who bears grudges against his wife and enters into moody silences for long periods of time is too selfish to forgive from his heart.

The causes for disagreements are usually very trivial. If you have misunderstandings, do everything possible to straighten out these domestic problems as soon as possible, and try to keep harmony.

Balance your accounts every day: if you quarrel in the morning, try to be at peace by nightfall. If you have failed, admit the mistake, and your spouse should forgive and forget.

You need a technique for handling the differences that so often lead to explosions of temper in marriage. Try to discuss your differences with calmness and understanding and settle them through reason tempered with good will and love. Without these elements, no disagreement can be solved.

With the help of God and your good will, love, and understanding, a solution can be found for every difficulty.

Accept each other’s faults

The state of being in love is not a sufficient guide to the new life of marriage, as a pagan, secular world would have us believe. The implications of the vows of Matrimony become clear only gradually.

When you were married, each of you had to choose first the interests of the other. This choice could not be accomplished in a matter of days. When you began to live as one, you discovered in yourselves faults of temper and character of which previously you may not have been aware. Even to this day you will find these faults your stumbling blocks.

Your chance of happiness depends on your sincere determination and your capacity for self-sacrifice to get them out of your way. Learn to accept each other’s faults with patient love. Do not brood over them. If you do, you will pile one thing upon another and make mountains out of molehills.

Forgiveness is especially a necessary part of your relationship. If you see a fault in your spouse that you consider serious, and which makes you unhappy, be patient and bring it up to your partner in a kind, prudent way.

Be ready to accept correction for your own faults and failings. If you have complaints about your spouse, begin the process of correction by examining and correcting yourself. A case cannot be settled on the basis of one spouse’s complaints alone. The principal fault may be found on one side only, but you should not take it for granted without self-examination and humble self-improvement.

You must dare to put aside your petty personal pattern, your peeves and fears, and in humble trust and prayer beg the help of God, offered to you in the sacrament of Matrimony.

Make unpleasant experiences fewer. There will be numerous occasions when even loving personalities verge on hatred. There will be spells of boredom and dreariness that even real love does not dispel. There will be days and nights of weariness, discouragement, unhappiness, and almost despair.

Remember that you have enough help to assure you of improvement. Both of you are working for the ideal marriage, and both of you are eager to find ways of making your life happier.

If only you cooperate, God will give you innumerable graces -those particularly conferred by the sacrament of Matrimony – actual grace and sanctifying grace. This means a real lift to progress at the very moment you need it most.

Punctuality exacts self-discipline and detachment; it often asks us to interrupt some interesting, pleasant work in order to give ourselves to another kind, perhaps less attractive or less important.
However, it would be a great mistake to esteem our duties and to dedicate ourselves to them according to the attraction we have for them or according to their more or less apparent importance.
All is important and beautiful when it is the expression of the will of God, and the soul who wishes to live in this hole he will every minute of the day, will never omit the slightest act prescribed by its rule of life. -Divine Intimacy

“Did you ever bewail losses and mistakes in an exaggerated way, out of all proportion to their magnitude? We have all done so….” Fr. John Carr, C.SS.R., Helps to Happiness

The All-New, Full-Color Catholic Mother Goose Volume Two and The Catholic Mother Goose Volume One

Review: The volumes are so thick and worth the price! Both the black and white volume with its intricate pencil illustrations, and the volume with its bright wall-to-wall colors, have equal appeal each in their own way. It is a sturdy paperback, and will last in a house full of kids. Shipped quickly.

Review: Catholic Mother Goose, Volume Two, is a ‘one of a kind’ treasure for young and old alike! Little minds will be captivated by the beautifully colored and illustrated pages. Throughout the nursery rhymes, children will learn the lessons of kindness, unselfishness, the efficacy of suffering and the value of prayer! They will become more familiar with the lives of the Saints, St. Therese, St. Francis, etc. and their great love for Jesus and Mary. These beautifully written poems will plant the seed for good literature and a love for reading for years to come. This is how we make our Catholic faith and culture come alive for our children! This book is a must!

Available here.

Package Deal on Volumes One and Two here.

Originally written as a religious sister’s guide for daily adoration, 100 Holy Hours for Women contains a plethora of profound spiritual insight into the mystery of the Eucharist. 100 Holy Hours encourages Christian women, of every calling and stage of life, to enter into quiet, loving conversation with Jesus. This book enables all to comprehend the love of Christ, who gave us his Body and Blood that we might come closer to him. Only in the Eucharist can we find the perfect example of total humility, self-sacrificial love, and holy submission. Only through the Eucharist can we hope to attain happiness in this world and the next.

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Inspirational Quotes for Your Day & A Giveaway!!

How about some inspiring quotes for your day!?

But, first, let’s do a Giveaway!

I wanted to do one before I sign off for Lent. Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, will be my last post until Easter. A little regrouping, a little reprieve…I hope you all will be able to do the same, in some way!

Our Meadows of Grace Shoppe will still be open, so you can still purchase the Lenten Journal or any other gift items you like, and my daughter, Virginia, will be moderating the Meadows of Grace Facebook Page if any of you want to “Like” that page to see what is pretty and new! ❤  I will also provide you with some links for Lenten readings and good audios as Lent gets closer.

So…for  the Giveaway today, I would like to offer you my package of 5 Finer Femininity Maglets…something to peruse during the rest of the winter months….

Make a comment on this post here and I will add your name to the drawing. The winner will be announced next Tuesday, February 18th!

About the Maglets…

Finer Femininity is a small publication compiled to inspire Catholic women in their vocations. It consists of uplifting articles from authors with traditional values, with many of them from priests, written over 50 years ago. These anecdotes are timeless but, with the fast-paced “progress “of today’s world, the pearls within the articles are rarely meditated upon. This little magazine offers Catholic womankind support and inspiration as they travel that oftentimes lonely trail….the narrow road to heaven. The thoughts within the pages will enlighten us to regard the frequently monotonous path of our “daily duties” as the beautiful road to sanctity. Feminine souls need this kind of information to continue to “fight the good fight” in a world that has opposing values and seldom offers any kind of support to these courageous women. Inside the pages you will find inspiration for your roles as single women, as wives and as mothers. In between the thought-provoking articles, the pages are sprinkled with pictures, quotes and maybe even a recipe or two…

Inspiring Quotes!

True Love💗 “I look forward to being near you, my dear Louis. I love you with all my heart, and I feel even more my affection when you are not here with me. It would be impossible for me to live away from you.” Santa Zélia Martin

Saint Louis and Saint Zelie, pray for us!

“A true wife makes a man’s life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love ‘turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.’ While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is noblest and richest in his being. She inspires him with her courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path.” J.R.Miller

“As my children are growing and watching every move that I make I’m careful to put my best attitude forward. Whether it’s about waking early or hitting the books, I strive to reflect a level of enthusiasm in hopes that it might ignite a fire, and spur them on to embrace a good attitude of their own.” -Darlene Schacht, The Good Wife’s Guide https://amzn.to/2WpfMYf (afflink)

“We all carry two bags—each and every one of us—one is packed with virtue, the other our faults. I’m talking marriage here, when I say that somewhere between courtship and the seventh year many women have shifted their focus from one of adoration to fault finder. We start to analyze, dissect, and over analyze the faults that we find, hoping to reshape our husbands according to our version of the perfect man. Living in harmony requires patience on both sides as we work to rebuild our view of one another.” -The Good Wife’s Guide, Darlene Schacht

Creating a home filled with order and cleanliness communicates a heart that is ordered and pure. Take a moment today to make your home more simply organized and see how the sweet savor blesses those around you. -Emilie Barnes, Keep It Simple for Busy Women http://amzn.to/2y2JoN3 Photo by H. ARMSTRONG ROBERTS

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

When St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had become quite ill, she dragged herself with great effort to Church to receive Jesus. One morning, after Holy Communion, she was in her cell, exhausted. One of the sisters remarked that she should not exert herself so much. The Saint replied, “Oh, what are these sufferings to me in comparison with one daily Holy Communion!”— Something not permitted everywhere in her times. She ardently pleaded with Jesus: “Remain within me, as You do in the tabernacle. Do not ever withdraw Your presence from Your little host.” -Jesus Our Eucharistic Love https://amzn.to/2YKBYPX (afflink) , Painting from https://www.facebook.com/sanctuairetheresedelisieux/

“As a family, try to lead a hidden life with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Through holy Mass, offer yourselves through Mary’s hands as a sacrifice with Jesus; at Holy Communion, you will be changed into Jesus by divine grace so that you may live His life; by your visits to the tabernacle, you will enjoy His friendship in the midst of the many problems of life.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook (Photo from our daughter’s wedding)

“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)

Forgive. Decide you’re not only going to be his lover – you’re going to be his forgiver. Be quick to forgive and get good at it. You’ll probably have lots of opportunity to practice it.
Then forget. Once it’s been forgiven, put it behind you and never pick it back up again. Here’s the hard part: letting it go. Resist the temptation to grab it back and maybe even throw it at him when it happens again. I’m sorry, but this doesn’t count as true forgiveness. Forgive as God has forgiven you—as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103: 12). -Lisa Jacobson, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband https://amzn.to/2LtmBoj (afflink)

The beginning of courtship should be slow and reserved so that the girl may withdraw at any time without attracting comment. Before accepting constant attention from a man she should observe him seriously, and thus be in a position to prevent the full development of a courtship which cannot ripen into a happy marriage. A girl should not accept the marked admiration and favors of a man until she knows him well enough and favorably enough to accept his proposal. -Fr. Martin J. Scott, S.J., 1950’s

NEW!

Beautiful Blessed Mother Wire Wrapped Rosary! Lovely, Durable…

Madonna of Heaven Apron! Feminine and Beautiful!

 

I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency…

Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent–sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies–these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.

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The Holy Family: The Setting (Part Two) – Clothing, Housing

REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH

FRANCIS L. FILAS, S.J.

Imprimi Potest: Leo D. Sullivan, S.J., Praepositus Provincialis Provinciae Chicagiensis

Nihil obstat: Joannes A. Schulien, S.T.D., Censor librorum

Imprimatur: Moyses E. Koley, Archiepiscopus Milwaukiensis Die 15 Januarii, 1947

Part One is here.

Another personal detail that is highly interesting to us is the appearance of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Following the customs of their day Jesus and Joseph had three types of garments. In a climate so mild as that of Palestine no more were necessary. The innermost garment next to the body resembled our modern nightshirt and was called a sheet or sindon. During strenuous labor other clothing was discarded in order to permit freedom of action. Thus, for example, when some of the apostles were fishing “naked” on the Lake of Galilee at the time Jesus appeared to them (John 21), they were actually clad in this undergarment. In other words, to wear only this sindon was to be in a state of undress.

Over the sindon Jesus and Joseph wore the tunic–a sort of cassock or dressing gown open down the front. This made up the usual indoor costume at home or in the shop. A wide sash or girdle at the waist and rather billowy long sleeves gave the garment pleasing lines. For freedom in walking, the ankle-length skirt was slit about a foot from the bottom on each side. Blue was its common color although white with brown stripes or red, too, were favorites.

The third and outermost article of clothing was the cloak. The foster father and his Son wore this cloak outdoors for protection against cold and rain, or as a covering during sleep. When made of fleece it was especially warm, although cotton and woolen cloth were more usual. It resembled a vest in that it was sleeveless and had an open front, but in length it reached almost to the ground. Either this cloak or the tunic was the valuable “seamless garment” for which the soldiers cast lots when Christ was crucified on Calvary.

For headdress Jesus and Joseph wound a sort of long kerchief into a turban. Another kerchief covered the neck and shoulders for protection against the blazing sun. In Nazareth as in all the Orient it was considered disrespectful to pass anyone bareheaded, so the two men must have worn the turban almost always.

They were bearded and wore their hair long, as paintings universally represent them. Two locks–ringlets–dropped from their temples as a vestige of the old Hebrew tradition whereby the Israelites were distinguished from idolatrous peoples who cut these locks as an offering to their gods.

For foot covering the Holy Family used sandals during the summer and shoes during the winter or rainy season. The ordinary sandal consisted of a wood or leather sole with thongs attached, to be strapped around the instep. Shoes were made of coarse material and protected the entire foot. Socks were seldom if ever worn. Since footwear was prescribed strictly for outdoor use, it was always left at the entrance of the house.

Mary’s dress resembled the attire of her menfolk rather closely. Her distinctive mark was a veil and (for outdoor use) a mantle or great shawl. Judging from the colors usually employed, she wore a red dress with a blue mantle and a large white veil covering her whole body when she traveled in public. Her hair fell in long tresses, probably left unbraided, as it was more modest to do.

From our knowledge of Palestinian houses we can deduce rather closely the nature of the home of the Holy Family at Bethlehem and Nazareth. At the outset, however, we must rid ourselves of the preconceived notions which Western experience and legendary tale have given us.

Palestinian houses followed a rather uniform pattern. Like the present-day houses at Bethlehem, that of the Holy Family was probably built of rough-hewn limestone blocks cemented with limestone mortar. It had at least one upper room, built above a lower room at street level, and reached by outside stone stairs. The dimensions of these rooms approximated 15 feet in length, 12 feet in width, and 6 feet in height.

The lower room at Nazareth may well have been St. Joseph’s workshop, extending back as a cave into the hill rising directly behind the house. Artisans like St. Joseph worked in the street outside their shops. The shops themselves were merely places to keep equipment.

The living room of the Holy Family (the upper chamber) was windowless and very simply furnished. Its only light came through the doorway. There was no fireplace or chimney, but a hearth placed near the door provided a spot for cooking where the smoke could easily escape. On a ledge running around the wall the gaily colored mats which were spread on the floor at night for sleeping purposes were rolled up during the day.

A large lamp hanging from a center beam shed a dim light at night- -a rather curious looking lamp to us. It resembled a saucer with its sides folded together at one place, to form a neck for the cloth wick that rested in the supply of olive oil. Underneath this lamp was a painted stool or table together with a few chairs. Here the Three took their quiet meal.

The roof of their house was flat–a cemented or earthen surface overlaid on the beams that spanned the side walls. It was reached by the outside stairway. During the cool evenings of the summer Jesus, Mary, and Joseph retired to it for conversation and quiet prayer. They used the roof much as we use a front porch or veranda.

Joseph’s position as carpenter placed him in the respectable middle class of artisans. Judging from his occupation, he was not desperately poor, nor on the contrary could he be called wealthy. His tools were the hammer, saw, ax, plane, chisel, and bow drill.

Working in wood, he was a general handyman for making plows, milking tubs, winnowing fans, yokes, forks, and household furniture. Joseph on many occasions did not receive pay for each article as he fashioned it. Instead, he agreed under a sort of “blanket contract” barter system to look after the farm implements of his neighbors in so far as was necessary. In return for these services he received produce from his various customers at harvest time.

At this point we close our introductory picture of daily life with the Holy Family. One feature in particular stands out: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived a genuinely “human” life, using the good things of this earth as was proper. There was no puritanical refusal on their part to accept the blessings of God’s creation as if these gifts were evil in themselves. Rather, the inherent bounty of Nature gave them ever so many opportunities to praise and thank the eternal Father in heaven for what He saw fit to bestow on them according to His wisdom and providence.

This is a lesson we, too, should bear in mind. Everything God has created is good in itself, and evil and sin enter only in the misuse of a creature. The great rule of life is always the same, whether in the Holy Family of Nazareth or the Jones family of twentieth-century Smithville: Because all creation is good, we should make use of it in so far as it helps us to serve God and to save our souls.

“What a simple rule to remember!” you say. “How easy to live by! Why call it to my attention so sharply?”

Why? Because the cold pages of history testify that scores of heresies crashed, morally bankrupt, since they rested somehow or other on confusion of this truth of the goodness of creation. Before Christ came on this earth, the pagan world was in moral chaos because it could not accept the fact.

It could choose only between the two extreme errors. One group of pagans–the Stoics–thought that creation in itself was evil, and everything material must be avoided completely. Others held that creation could not be misused in any way whatever. These men represented the two excesses of human conduct that continued to harass the Church’s efforts later.

For instance, in Christian times there were heretics like the Manicheans of the second century, the Albigensians of the twelfth, and the rigid Calvinists of the sixteenth, who frowned on legitimate pleasures and looked on material things as evils to be tolerated at best if not to be shunned absolutely.

However, such a mode of living was impossible for a man made up of body and soul. It was an insult to the wisdom and goodness and love of his Creator, and it could lead him only to unhappiness, sin, and despair. One primitive heresy built on this philosophy of the anti- material (the Docetist group) even taught that Christ’s body was an appearance, that He was only a phantom, because as God He could not possess so evil a thing as a human body!

At the other extreme in all ages were the frankly materialistic pleasure seekers, who sank into all sorts of excesses in reveling in utter license and luxury.

Meanwhile the Church serenely kept pure the truth which Christ had confided to its charge, dauntlessly guarding it even though it conflicted violently with the extremists. Catholics were always taught that man is composed of soul and body; that the body is not something sinful although tendencies to sin are present in it because of original sin; that material things are to aid the body directly and the soul indirectly in order to attain man’s purpose in this world and in the next; and therefore that creation should be used (because it is good) but not misused (because it is only a means to eternal life, not eternal life itself).

Doilies by Rosie! These are beautiful, lacy, handmade doilies made with size 10 crochet cotton. They have been blocked and starched and are ready to decorate and accent your home decor.

“The quality & workmanship of this crocheted doily is suburb! And the beauty even more so–I am so happy to be able to purchase a handmade doily just as lovely as my grandma used to make…” Available here.

Review: For the spiritually-conscious couple this book is a must. Written in the 1920’s by a Catholic priest to counsel married couples on sexual morality, daily problems and child rearing.
Among many wonderful lessons, it describes plainly what I needed to know about which birth-control method is moral and which is immoral, from a Traditional Roman Catholic point of view.

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

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Septuagesima To Ash Wednesday – Maria von Trapp

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

With Septuagesima Sunday begins the cycle that has for its center the greatest of all solemnities, the feast of Easter. The Christmas cycle and the Easter cycle are like the water and wine at the Offertory when the priest prays: “Grant that by the mystery of this water and wine we may be made partakers of His Divinity, Who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord.”

For in the Christmas cycle we celebrate God having come down among us, clothing Himself with our humanity. This is the cycle of the Incarnation, corresponding to the cycle of the Redemption where we are shown this same Jesus Who “makes us partakers of His Divinity.”

These two and a half weeks–the Septuagesima, Sexuagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays, and the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday following Quinquagesima–serve as a time of transition for the soul, which must pass from Christmas joys (and through the merry time of Carnival) to the stern penance of the sacred forty days of Lent.

The fast is not yet an obligation, but the color of the vestments is already violet. The Gloria during Holy Mass is suspended, and the martyrology introduces Septuagesima Sunday as that Sunday on which “we lay aside the song of the Lord which is Alleluia.” In medieval times they used to “bury the Alleluia” solemnly in the cathedral and in the abbey churches.

This custom was nearly forgotten, but we came across it again on the happy day when we were privileged to celebrate Holy Mass in the creative and inspired parish of our friend, Monsignor Martin Hellriegel.

There, in a solemn procession, the school children carried a wooden tablet on which was engraved the word “Alleluia” through the main aisle of the church over to the altar of the Blessed Mother where they put it at her feet and covered it with a purple cloth. There it would remain until Easter, when, in a triumphant tone of voice, the priest would intone, for the first time after forty days, a three-fold Alleluia.

This impressed us so deeply that we wished it could be introduced into all parish churches, to make the congregation conscious that Alleluia is the ancient Hebrew chant of triumph with which a victor was hailed after the battle. It is also the chant St. John heard in heaven, as he tells us in the Apocalypse.

This Alleluia has to be suspended in a time devoted to fathoming the thought that we are “poor, banished children of Eve, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.” Only in the Easter festivities shall we again hail Our Lord, the victor over Satan, Who will reopen to us the kingdom of heaven.

In these weeks of the pre-Lenten season, the mother of the family has much to teach her children. She will introduce them to the meaning of the color of violet in church. She will prepare them for the forty sacred days of retreat, and will help them to formulate their Lenten resolutions, which should be written on a sheet of paper and placed on the house altar. It is important that Lenten resolutions do not use the negative approach only, such as, “I won’t do this” and “I won’t do that.”

They should start positively, with “I will use these three books” (this as soon as the child can read); “I will use the time I save by abstaining from television for this and this….” “I will use the money I save by not going to the movies for alms given to….”

It is a precious time, a time for the mother to introduce her children to the three ancient good works–prayer, fasting, and giving of alms–with which we can atone for our sins. It will take root in young hearts, never to be forgotten.

The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday. As we are summoned into church we find the program all laid out for us. Following the example of the people of Nineveh, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, the Church wants today to humble our pride by reminding us of our death sentence as a consequence of our sins.

She sprinkles our head with ashes and says:

“Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The ashes used have been made from burning the palm from the previous Palm Sunday. These ashes belong to the very powerful sacramentals (such as Epiphany water or candles from Candlemas Day).

The four prayers preceding the blessing of the ashes are so beautiful and so rich in meaning that they should be read aloud and discussed in the family circle on Ash Wednesday night.

In our time, when “how to” books are so popular, the Gospel seems most appropriate to instruct us on how to fast:

“At that time Jesus said to His disciples, `When you fast, be ye not as hypocrites, sad, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward, but thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face that thou appear not to men to fast but to thy Father Who sees in secret, and thy Father, Who sees in secret, will repay thee.'”

It is interesting to remind ourselves that fast and abstinence are such ancient practices that they are much older than the Catholic Church, as are ashes and haircloth as means of penance. The pages of the Old Testament are filled with references to sackcloth and ashes (Jonas 3:5 -8; Jeremias 6:26; 25:34; Judith 9:1).

The ancient notions about fast and abstinence compare to our modern Lenten regulations as a Roman chariot compares to a modern sports car.

Let us, first of all, straighten out what is fasting and what is abstinence.

The first has to do with the quantity of food that can be taken, and the latter refers to the kind of food.

In ancient times fasting really was fasting. The first meal was taken after vespers, and vespers were sung at sundown as evening prayer of the Church.

Abstinence in the old times (and the old times reached almost to the days of our grandparents) meant that nothing was eaten (or kept in the house) which comes from animals: no meat, no fish, no lard, no milk, butter, cheese, cream. The Lenten fare consisted exclusively of vegetables, fruit, and a bread made of flour and water and salt.

For our generation the law of abstinence means that all meat of warm-blooded animals and of birds and fowl and the soup made thereof is forbidden. It leaves free the wonderful world of seafood and the meat of other cold-blooded animals such as frogs, turtles, snails, etc.

The fast means that we are allowed one full meal every day and two other meals which, if put together, do not exceed in quantity the full meal.

When I inquired once why the law of fast and abstinence is so much more lenient for us than it was for previous generations, I was told that modern man is much too frail to undergo the awful rigors of the ancient practice. After all, have we not experienced two world wars in our generation which have weakened our constitutions?

That seemed to make perfect sense to me until just recently. I got infected by a neighbor of ours in Stowe with the popular preoccupation of which is the best diet.

Together we searched through a library of books, one more interesting than the other, the sum total of all them most confusing and astounding, however.

Among other things I learned that almost all the ancient and modern sages of the science of “how to live longer and look younger” (they all boast of a tradition going back into the gray dawn of time with the yogis of India) agree on several points:

(1) We are all over-eating–we should eat much less.

(2) We are all eating too much meat, which sours our system, and we absolutely have to abstain from meat for longer or shorter periods every year.

(3) If we could adapt ourselves to a diet of raw vegetables and fruit and whole-wheat bread, that would be the ideal.

(4) And now I could hardly believe my eyes when I read, not once, but in several places, that it would do simply miracles for our constitution if we only would let ourselves be persuaded to undergo a period of complete fast. (One authority suggests three days, others a week, ten days, up to thirty, forty, and even sixty days!)

I cannot help but think sadly: Woe if the Church ever had dared to make such a law or even give only a slight hint in the direction of undergoing a complete fast–for the love of God!

Obviously, modern man, after all, is not too frail to undergo the awful rigors of ancient fast and abstinence. The constitution of man seems not to have changed at all, then. What has changed are the motives.

While the early Christians abstained from food and drink and meat and eggs out of a great sense of sorrow for their sins, and for love of God took upon themselves these inconveniences, modern man has as motive the “body beautiful,” the “girlish figure,” the “how to look younger and live longer” motive. These selfish motives are strong enough to convince him that fasting is good for him–in fact, it is fun.

We ought to be grateful to these modern apostles, whether from India, Switzerland, Sweden, or Wisconsin, because their teaching shows that Holy Mother Church is equally interested in the spiritual welfare of her children and in their physical health. It also should make us better Christians.

It should be absolutely unbearable to us to think that there are thousands of people around us who pride themselves on rigorous feats of fast and abstinence for motives as flimsy as good looks, while we cannot bring ourselves to give up a bare minimum.

And so it might not be a bad idea after all, in fact a very modern one, to go back to the practice of former days and clear our house during the last day of Carnival of every trace of meat and butter and eggs, fish and lard and bouillon cubes, and spend six wholesome weeks in complete harmony with the health-food store around the corner: eating fresh fruit salads, drinking carrot juice, reveling in the exceeding richness of the vitamins we find in raw celery, fresh spinach, and pumpernickel.

I have repeatedly read now that there is absolutely nothing to it to undergo a complete fast. One can even continue one’s occupation, and afterwards (the afterwards can be after thirty days, I was assured) one feels newly born and twenty years younger.

All right, if this is so, let us not be so soft any more. What can be done “To feel twenty years younger” must be possible for our own reason: “that our fasts may be pleasing to Thee, O Lord, and a powerful remedy.” (Post Communion, Ash Wednesday).

“How beautiful it would be if, during their evening prayer together, there could be a pause such as the one for the examination of conscience during which time a husband and wife would pray silently for the other, recommending to God all the other’s intentions sensed, guessed, and known as well as those that only God the Master of consciences could know. Even more beautiful would it be if they would receive Holy Communion together frequently so that each of them could speak more intimately to Our Lord about the needs of the other, begging not only temporal but spiritual favors for this cherished soul. ” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home http://amzn.to/2sPR32w (afflink)

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My hope is that this journal may help you stay focused on making this Lent fruitful for your own soul and the souls of those little people entrusted to your care! More details here.

 

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

Now with photographs from the original edition.

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

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

The Home-Pleasures Which are a Safeguard – True Womanhood

Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

THE VANITY WHICH LEADS TO DISHONOR

Would it not be a most ungracious act to darken these pages with a description, though never so brief and lightly shaded, of the home, whether of rich or poor, ruined or made desolate by infidelity?

Better far, so our readers will think with us, to paint the heroic constancy and preternatural joys of the faithful wife—faithful even while “the hungry fire with its caverns of burning light” was trying and searching every corner of her heart.

Only let a priestly hand add a brief warning and as brief an exhortation.

If it be most true, and the voice of experience attests that it is, that the danger for the womanly heart tried to its utmost by marital unworthiness, lies in the need of sympathy; so, in happy homes, where there exists perfect love and neither unsuitability nor disappointment, ruin comes from vanity and from the appetite for display and enjoyment.

SAFEGUARD TO HONOR

Against this vanity there is no remedy, apart always from the grace of the sacraments and these aids which God may vouchsafe to some souls; there is no remedy, we say, but in a wife’s never seeking to please any other eye than that of her husband, or valuing any praise on dress, personal appearance, and accomplishment of any kind, but what falls from his dear lips, or caring for any amusement that is not shared by him, or in wishing to have any theater for the display of any gift natural or acquired, how transcendent soever, save the bosom of one’s own family.

We have heard of women, most gifted and most accomplished, who, blessed with a large family, and burdened with the care of a numerous household, made it a point of conscience to dress every day of their lives, even in extreme old age, with the greatest care, in order to please their husbands, and give them thereby an outward proof of undiminished love; and to please their children, by ever setting them an example worthy of imitation. With these admirable wives and mothers it had been a life-long study how to make their own gifts and accomplishments contribute daily to the delight of the family circle.

Intellectual and artistic culture, music and song, and the charming illusions of private dramatic entertainments, all was made to serve the one great purpose of rendering home the sweetest, brightest, dearest spot of earth.

THE LOVE OF DISPLAY WHICH KNOWS NOT PERIL

One need not fear to display to the utmost within the home sanctuary and for the delights of one’s own dearest, every best gift of God; the praise which comes from these dear lips is not that which intoxicates dangerously; the vanity which such praise may create is not that which is to be dreaded by mother or by daughter; and the delicious satisfaction enjoyed both by the delight a wife and mother gives, and by that which she receives in return, is not one which the good angels may look on with displeasure.

On the contrary, the love of praise and display, which is so common and so natural in a certain measure, will find its lawful and most healthful satisfaction in these home-pleasures and celebrations; in these lie the antidote or preservative against the vanity fraught with peril.

Home-life, home-pleasures, home-virtues, in this respect, as in so many others, are the great means Providence employs, and religion counsels, to prevent or to counteract the tendencies toward finding one’s only or chief distractions and enjoyments outside of home and the family circle.

There are men who only sleep at home, and spend the remainder of their time outside of it. They cannot be said to have a home, or to have any conception of what a home is or could be.

If they are blessed with wives able and anxious to make their homes a paradise for them, what shall we say of their folly or their guilt?

And who will pity them, if the home thus forsaken and absolutely neglected by its appointed guardian should become a prey to the Tempter?

But of the women who only make their homes a brief breathing or resting-place in their unbroken and eternal round of vanity and dissipation, we need only say what everybody sees,—that the curse is upon them, and that shame is ever flitting round their homes,—like these legendary evil spirits that haunt the precincts of families doomed to perdition.

To the nobility of true womanly natures we need not recommend to be watchful over the sanctity of the homes in which they are the priestesses of the family religion, the jealous guardians and loving teachers of the Ancestral Faith, and the custodians of that treasure,—dearer and more precious to every home where God is feared and men’s good opinion is valued than royal power or fabulous wealth,—the peerless jewel, Honor.

Penal rosaries and crucifixes have a wonderful story behind them. They were used during the times when religious objects were forbidden and it was illegal to be Catholic. Being caught with a rosary could mean imprisonment or worse. A penal rosary is a single decade with the crucifix on one end and, oftentimes, a ring on the other. When praying the penal rosary you would start with the ring on your thumb and the beads and crucifix of the rosary in your sleeve, as you moved on to the next decade you moved the ring to your next finger and so on and so forth. This allowed people to pray the rosary without the fear of being detected. Available here.

A very valuable book for the guys plucked out of the past and reprinted. It was written in 1894 by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly and the words on the pages will stir the hearts of the men to rise to virtue and chivalry…. Beautifully and eloquently written!

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

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.