Imperfect Family Life

by Charlotte Siems

One thing that’s true for all families is that life isn’t perfect. We can’t smooth everything out as easily as ironing a shirt. Work schedules, financial pressures, issues with children and much more require decisions on the part of parents.

Those decisions relate not only to adjustments and working with what you have, but also to the attitude you’re going to have about your circumstances.

Recently a married couple asked me about how to work their schedule around the husband’s shift work. We talked about the hours that changed every four days and the difficulty of keeping the children quiet so Dad could sleep during the day.

During the conversation, the wife tried to think of ways to create the best atmosphere for her husband’s sleep needs. Meanwhile, the husband would interrupt with comments that he could sleep through their noise, and he didn’t want them to feel stifled to stay quiet.

We all agreed that there was no perfect solution and that their situation would require constant adjusting and shifting. But most of all, I was struck by their mutual attitude of honor for each other. They were both trying to do what was best for the other person.

I pointed out that no matter what solutions they found, their children would grow up remembering that Mom and Dad loved and honored each other. They would look back with fondness on the times that their mother reminded them that they needed to let their father sleep because he worked hard for the family.

With that atmosphere in the home, a constantly changing schedule and inconvenient arrangements will be a minor complication. The attitude is what their children will catch, not the perfect answer for their schedule. All is not lost if the love and respect shine through.

No matter what family situation we’re dealing with, our daily attitude is what our children are watching. Better an imperfect schedule lived with an attitude of love and cheerfulness, than rigorous efficiency with a cost of aggravation and disappointment.

Life will never be perfect. Schedules will never run perfectly. Just when you think you have it all figured out, life will change. But living that life with grace for yourself and others will smooth out the wrinkles.

Often what we’re so stressed about today doesn’t even matter by next week. What does hang around is the damage to relationships and memories caused by our negative attitude and words. Be sure to keep the big picture in mind while you’re ironing out the details to deal with your circumstances.

“That they be loved in the things which they themselves like by a sharing in their youthful interests; in this way they will learn to see your love in matters which naturally speaking are not very pleasing to them, as is the case with study, discipline, and self-denial: in this way they will learn to do these things also with love.” -St. John Bosco

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

 

Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion….

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

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

The Advent Calendar by An Australian Grandmother

I’ve always wanted to make my own Advent Calendar. I love this dear Grandma’s calendar idea….

From the “Catholic Family” Magazine, Australia

In past years it was possible to go to a Catholic Liturgical Supplier and buy an Advent Calendar which delighted and instructed my children. The family took turns each day to open a small door, and disclose inside a picture or symbol connected with the coming Birthday.

This led to a discussion about the real meaning of Christmas, and why we were placing straws in a basket beside the hearth where the Crib would be set up, to represent the acts of sacrifice which were to be presents for the Newborn King.

However, the quality of these Advent Calendars declined as worldliness increased, and there was a year when there were lollipops and peppermint sticks and tinsel-wrapped presents behind the doors, so no more were purchased. Nowadays it is common to find real chocolates and other gaily-wrapped sweets inside the doors.

So passes the old austere Advent, and the new “Me” generation takes over. There are a number of ways in which traditional Catholic families can restore old traditions, and “Catholic Family” has been helping them powerfully to do so.

Here is a different form of Advent Calendar, and to make it all you need is: 1. A large sheet of cardboard, and a small cord, or bluetack to hang it. 2. Your last year’s Christmas cards — and old drawing skills if suitable pictures cannot be found. 3. Knowledge of the Christmas story — and this had better be good, because the children will have lots of questions to ask you as Advent passes.

To begin with, copy the calendar for the Advent season, ruling your sheet into the appropriate squares. The First Sunday of Advent is on 27th November, so in this year of 1994 you’ll have these four November days; on your calendar (some years, only December days appear).

You are going to need pictures or drawings, one for each square. The Sundays are simple — each of the 4 squares shows either the Advent Wreath with its 4 candles unlit, and the child whose turn it is “lights” one candle, the second Sunday another is “lit” (e.g. colored in with yellow biro), and so on.

It is also possible to cut out pictures of lit candles from your old cards, and in this case you will need 1 + 2 + 3 + 4, or 10 pictured candles. The child whose turn it is — you can begin with the eldest, or the youngest, as you prefer, then sticks the picture onto the appropriate square — you will have numbered each square in the top left-hand corner to leave room for the picture.

Now, after the ceremony of GLUING (a very serious subject at “kindy” for those who participate!) comes the discussion, and why there are four Sundays in Advent. Waiting for Christmas is hard for the little ones.

You then tell of sin, and the need for Redemption, and the thousands of years the world had to wait for the Redeemer…

You can light the candle on your Advent Wreath at this time, and read the prayer, and sing hymns, or whatever is your family custom.

Your remote preparation for making the calendar consists in gathering suitable little pictures for the story your calendar is going to tell. You are going to begin in Nazareth, and it is not hard to find pictures of Eastern towns — the children’s imaginations will supply what is missing.

The Holy House of Loreto — so tiny, so simple — you may know someone who has been to visit it. If not, reread St. Therese’s account of her visit with Celine (in Story of a Soul).

The Angel Gabriel — the Hail Mary will remind you of what to tell here. As the days go by, and the pictures grow in number, you will be recalling all those marvelous events as you gather together around your calendar.

Joseph — the little donkey he borrowed for the coming journey — the edict from Rome, a drawn scroll with tiny writing such as “every man must go to register…” — a lantern, a crook, a small casket for their needs and those of the Baby, and on 8th December, Our Lady. Here is the time to speak of her Immaculate Conception, and the part she plays in our Redemption.

“Setting out” can be the holy pair with their humble beast of burden. Then comes the long weary walk from Nazareth.

Pictures of a winding road, hills, trees, a few late tiny flowers, and you can explain the difference between the climates of the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Maybe your tree could be wind-blown? It was no easy journey, this. Snow. Other travelers along the way. Sheep in the fields. Shepherds. Jerusalem — King Herod? Bethlehem, “house of bread”. Inns with closed doors. The cave or stable. The Star. Angels. Straw. The ox.

Work it all out as well as you are able, and number your pictures on the back to correspond with the way your story is to be told. Keep the pictures in a large envelope.

Older children enjoy helping to prepare the pictures, drawing the ones not readily available, while the little ones enjoy the surprise element each day.

One four year old granddaughter of mine began in July to ask her mother “When will it be time to start our sticking-in for Jesus again?”

The empty crib is for the 24th, and the Babe for Christmas Day, and on 26th you can show the Holy Family together.

You can choose when best to introduce the shepherds, and their lambs which remind us of the Lamb of God.

Although Advent is over, you may like to complete the squares with scenes which tell of the Joys of Christmas — Mass, crowds going to church, carol music, choirs, and the Wise Men, camels and presents.

You’re in charge, and can plan it all as you think best. Each year you will improve through experience, and may each year see you and your family grow in love for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as you seek their help in recounting the Great Adventure of Advent and Christmas.

“Perfect harmony cannot be forced in a day, cannot indeed be forced at all—but must come through gentleness and perhaps only after much time.There must be mutual adaptation, and time must be allowed for this. The present duty is unselfish love. Each must forget self—in devotion to the other. There must be the largest and gentlest forbearance. There must be the determination on the part of both to make the marriage happy and to conquer everything which lies in the way. Then the very differences between the two lives will become their closest points of union. When they have passed through the process of blending, though it may for the time be painful and perilous—the result will be a wedded life of deep peace, quiet joy and inseparable affection.” -J.R. Miller, Art by Robert Papp

Baby Charlotte is home!! First time the siblings met her! ♥️ Thank you for your prayers! 

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

book suggestions

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

For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you’ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Teach Your Daughters the Art of Homemaking, Annie S. Swan, 1894

From Courtship and Marriage and the Gentle Art of Homemaking  by Annie S. Swan, 1894

Even a very young daughter can be of use to her mother, and her influence felt in the house, if she is taught how. Of course, the first concern, when our little maid gets out of the nursery, is that she should be educated, and her mental powers have the best possible chance of being brought to their full power.

The education of our girls is one of the great questions of the day—engrossing the interest of those in the highest places; and a healthy sign of the times it is. For since it is upon the women of to-day that the future of the race depends, what could be of greater importance than that all her powers, physical, mental, and moral, should be brought as near perfection as possible?

Do I of a set purpose mention the physical first? Yes; because the older I grow the more it comes home to me that unless we have sound and healthy bodies we can but poorly serve our day and generation.

Therefore the food the children eat should be one of our chief studies and concerns; because if we can send them out into the world with constitutions built upon a sure and common-sense foundation, it is the best possible service we can render them; and one for which they and theirs will be grateful always.

This question of education is rather a perplexing one, which gives parents a great deal of anxious thought.

It is gratifying to observe that many parents are awaking to the absurdity of insisting that their daughters shall acquire a superficial knowledge of certain accomplishments, whatever the bent of their minds. How much money, to say nothing of precious time, has been sacrificed in the vain pursuit of music, that sweetest of the arts; which is so often desecrated and tortured by unwilling and unsympathetic votaries.

It very soon becomes evident whether the child has an aptitude for music or not; and if she has not, but finds the study of it an imposition and a trial, what is the use of forcing her to such unwilling drudgery, when very likely she possesses some other aptitude, the cultivation of which will be both profitable and pleasant?

How many girls upon whom pounds and pounds have been spent never touch the piano when they are emancipated from schoolroom control; and how much more usefully could both time and money have been employed in the pursuit of something else!

Mothers are beginning to see this, and it is a welcome awakening. So long as our young maiden is occupied with school and lessons, she has not time to learn much else, since it is imperative that she has recreation likewise; it is when she leaves school that the wise mother, having an eye to the future, will at once seek to initiate her into the mysteries of housekeeping.

She ought not to be ignorant of what used to be considered the chief, if not the only occupation for women,—she ought to be fit to keep house on the shortest notice. It is a woman’s heritage.

Whatever she may or may not know, I hold that she ought to acquire a certain amount of domestic knowledge, whether she uses it or not. Most young girls are interested in domestic affairs, and are never happier than when allowed to have their finger in the domestic pie; but in this as in other things a thorough grounding is the most satisfactory.

It is astonishing what undreamed-of qualities a sense of responsibility awakens in a young soul; how the very idea that something depends on her, that she is being trusted, puts our little maid upon her mettle.

Therefore it is a good plan to leave to a young daughter some particular duty or duties for which she is entirely responsible. This may of course be a very slight thing to begin with—the dusting of a room, or the arrangement of flowers or books, or the superintendence of the tea-table; but whatever it is, the mother should insist that it be done regularly and at the appointed time.

Thus will she teach her child punctuality and a primary lesson in a method, which is the key to all perfect housekeeping.

Of course it is a little trouble to the mother to superintend the performance of such little duties, but she will have her reward in the daily increasing helpfulness of the daughter in the home.

Most young girls, if skillfully dealt with, speedily learn to take a special pride in their own little duties, especially if their efforts be met with appreciation.

Never snub a child; the young heart is very sensitive, and takes a long time to forget.

Little changes in the domestic routine will be introduced by the wise mother, in order that the work may not become irksome. Where there are several daughters, it is a good plan for them to exchange their particular duties for a time. Thus, one may assist with the cooking for a week, then change with her sister who has the care and arrangement of the drawing-room or sitting-room, or with the one who helps with the mending.

So the daily round would never become monotonous, and by gradual and pleasant degrees a knowledge of the whole system of housekeeping is acquired, which will be simply invaluable to her, whatever her future may be.

I again insist that it is every woman’s duty to know, or to acquire some practical knowledge of housekeeping. Her fitness for it will be a perpetual source of satisfaction to her, for there is nothing more self-satisfying than to feel that one is capable; it gives confidence, strength, and self-reliance.

One of the very necessary lessons to be taught a young girl is the value of money. The sooner she learns what equivalent in household necessaries money can procure the better. The day may come when the tired mother will be glad to be relieved even of the responsibility of spending, and when, thanks to her own wisdom and foresight, she can place the family purse in younger hands, knowing that the contents will not be recklessly or extravagantly spent.

Let our young maiden feel that she is entirely trusted, and that a great deal is expected of her, then will she display qualities undreamed-of. She will be eager to show what she can do; and when the word of encouragement and appreciation is not lacking she will be proud and happy indeed.

Of course there are perverse natures, of whom one is tempted at times to despair—irresponsible young persons who would make wild havoc in any establishment left to their care; but I am speaking of the average young girl, who may be expected to be thoughtless and forgetful often, as is the way of youth, but who nevertheless has the makings of a fine, gentle-hearted, noble woman in her.

She ought not to be ignorant of what used to be considered the chief, if not the only occupation for women,—she ought to be fit to keep house on the shortest notice. It is a woman’s heritage. -Gentle Art of Homemaking, Annie Swan https://amzn.to/2XhJsGS (afflink)

Many beautiful items at Meadows of Grace!

Country Autumn Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Available here.

Beautiful Vintaj Blessed Mother Wire Wrapped Rosary! Lovely, Durable… Available here.

Girl’s Lovely and Lacey Crocheted Veil. Available here.

Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion….

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

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

The Principle Duties of the Day (Part One)

From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1950’s

We shall now consider the principal duties of the day, each in particular, and see how we may avoid the many grave faults commonly committed in their performance, and on the contrary, we shall see how we may derive from these same duties the very greatest graces.

These duties are Prayer, Work, Eating, Sleeping and Suffering.

  1. PRAYER, OUR FIRST DUTY The most important duty in our everyday life is Prayer. On it depends all our happiness. We must, therefore, form clear ideas of how to pray.

Those who understand what prayer is find in it pleasure and delight. Prayer brings us into close, intimate, personal contact with God.

When we pray, Almighty God gives us all His attention. He is looking at us, hearing our every word, ready to give us everything that is good for us. He hears our every prayer.

If, as sometimes happens, we ask for what is not good for us, God does not give us that. Our prayer, however, is not lost, for in this case He gives us something else, something better. We rather gain than lose.

God is infinitely good. He loves us with a boundless love. He is our dearest Father and we are His children. Consequently He readily gives us all that can make us happy. Moreover, He has promised in the most explicit way to hear our prayers.

“Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” God never breaks His word. Yet many do not seem to believe Him! When they need something they use every possible means of getting it, except the best means of all, viz., prayer.

Prayer is an intimate and loving talk with God. We are really and truly in His presence. It is enough to bear this clearly in mind, and then our prayer becomes an intense consolation.

As in the case of other Christian duties, the trouble about prayer is our ignorance. We have not been properly instructed. The great reality of prayer has not been explained to and impressed upon us.

Two things we do in prayer: We offer God our love and adoration, as the Angels do in Heaven, and we ask Him for all we need. If God seems deaf to our prayers, it is simply because He wishes to prove our faith and confidence in Him. We must pray and pray on.

St. Peter tells us that we must take Heaven by violence, for the violent bear it away. The more we pray, the more we receive. By delaying to hear our prayer, God is actually giving us more and better graces.

We have a touching example of this in the case of the poor woman of Canaan who, crying out, said: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil. ” Who answered her not a word.

And his disciples came and besought him, saying, “Send her away, for she crieth after us.”And he answering, said, I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. ”

But she came and adored him, saying, “Lord, help me.”

Who answering, said: “It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs.”

But she said: “Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.”

Then Jesus [showing all His sweetness and love] answering, said to her, “O woman, great is thy faith, be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.” (Matt. 15:22-28).

In this touching story, we see the admirable confidence and perseverance of this poor woman, a striking example for us to follow. We also see how, not only was her daughter cured, but she herself was filled with joy and consolation.

What graces do not those receive who pray in this way, who blindly trust in the goodness of God and who storm His Sacred Heart!

Martyrdom by the little fires of hidden fidelities constantly adhered to, of tormenting temptations courageously and perseveringly repulsed, of the exact and loving fulfillment of duties toward God and neighbor, of prayer faithfully practiced despite disgust, aridity and the pressure of work–is it not a martyrdom? Who can estimate the value of its countless offerings which are not publicized but which cost . . . and which count! -Christ in the Home, (afflink) https://amzn.to/2Y2V1l3

As Sr. Lucia of Fatima said this is a time of diabolical disorientation. We find an amazing type or image of this in the life of St. John of the Cross. To conquer this inversion, as St. John did, we must remain firm and steadfast in our faith and employ the power of the Most Holy Trinity in casting the devil out of our lives. This is always done through the making of the Sign of the Cross. All throughout an exorcism, it is this sign, made in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, that ultimately frees the possessed soul from the grip of Satan and all evil. Let us, then, recognize its goodness, its power and the need to make it well and often… And when the time is right things will change and quickly. The promised victory will be ours….

 

Coloring pages for your children….

 

 

Advent is around the corner! If you use the Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal, here is your checklist so you are prepared! Journal available here.
E-copy is here.

Work Can Be Prayer and “Offer it Up” / Baby Charlotte Update

 How to Raise Good Catholic Children, Mary Reed Newland, Sophia Institute Press

Work can be prayer

And that brings us to work as a form of prayer, and helping children understand that work done for the love of God is as tangible an act of love as if they were to run to Him with an embrace.

In the beginning, learning to make our bed, dry the dishes, and polish shoes is fun and a kind of play at being grown up, but soon the novelty wears off, and the chores that started out being fun can lose their glamour and become unpleasant drudgery.

If they are prayer, however, it can be different. Not that tasks we hate doing are suddenly transformed into occasions of great spiritual joy; but there’s a great difference between doing them because you’re told you must, and doing them because they can be applied to the sufferings of some other child somewhere, who has no bed to make, who must spend his nights curled up in a hole, shivering, starved, unhappy, and with no one to care for him.

Then there’s a good reason to try to make our bed with care instead of pulling up the covers to hide the rumples underneath. Then smoothing the sheets, and squaring the corners, and plumping the pillows can be small ceremonies of love from a small girl who does them because Christ can use them as balm for one of His suffering members.

And one of the loveliest things about teaching children that work is prayer is that mothers can’t help having it rub off on them.

These diapers that are changed daily, these meals that are cooked again and again, these floors that are scrubbed today only to get dirty tomorrow — these are as truly prayer in a mother’s vocation as the watches and prayers of the religious are in theirs.

Encourage your child to offer up his sufferings

There is suffering, too, in the lives of children, and it is eloquent prayer. Mere stoicism has no part in the training of a Christian. Too often it’s the death knell to humility.

But suffering embraced and offered to the suffering Christ, even with howls and tears, is a mighty weapon.

The road to Calvary was one long, unending bruise, and it helps a child to remember when he’s hurt that Jesus was hurt like this, and much more, and this pain in a mysterious way can be poured on His wounds and will help make up for the pain He had to bear. Every mother in the world kisses the bumps and bruises of her young to “make them well.”

We can give them something much more tangible to do with their hurts than merely bring them to be kissed. We can comfort and calm and then direct them in the use of the pain, and it’s surprising how willingly they will learn the lesson of pain and its value.

“Offer it up, dear; give it to Jesus to help comfort Him for the pain of the nails in His poor hands and feet.”

Faced as he is with a lifetime of recurring suffering (in one way or another), we give a child the only wholesome weapon to be used when we teach him to take his own pain in his own two hands and apply it freely, as he does work and play and prayer, to the comforting of Christ and His work in His Church.

Many times, parents will turn to scolding the “naughty chair” or the “bad table” in an effort to ease the pain and insult of a child who comes to grief through his own carelessness.

In the process, they feed little desires for vengeance; they give him no recourse but senseless, continuing rebellion against anything and everything that crosses him.

One time, a man who lives in our town was working on his car with no success, growing more and more angry because the cursed (and I do mean cursed) car would not start.

In a rage, finally, he threw his wrench at it, broke a part, and instead of a tricky repair job, he had added to his woes the problem of thumbing a ride to a service station to buy a new part, thumbing a ride back, and starting from scratch to install the new part.

Perhaps his explosion was only the fault of an ungovernable temper, but perhaps — who knows? — it had its beginning long ago in childhood when the only solace for a barked shin was, “Naughty chair to hurt the baby. Kick it back, sonny, kick it back.”

Living in a fallen world, our children are bound to be hurt, both physically and spiritually. We will save them years of wasted opportunities if we teach them that, along with everything else, pain is part of their prayer.

“It is astonishing what undreamed-of qualities a sense of responsibility awakens in a young soul; how the very idea that something depends on her, that she is being trusted, puts our little maid upon her mettle. Therefore it is a good plan to leave to a young daughter some particular duty or duties for which she is entirely responsible. This may of course be a very slight thing to begin with—the dusting of a room, or the arrangement of flowers or books, or the superintendence of the tea-table; but whatever it is, the mother should insist that it be done regularly and at the appointed time. Thus will she teach her child punctuality and a primary lesson in a method, which is the key to all perfect housekeeping. Of course it is a little trouble to the mother to superintend the performance of such little duties, but she will have her reward in the daily increasing helpfulness of the daughter in the home.” – Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894

♥️UPDATE ON BABY CHARLOTTE:
Charlotte is still in the hospital. She has been taken off of everything, including and very recently, the anti-seizure medication. She still has a feeding tube and is being monitored as to how well she is nursing. Z is making daily trips to the hospital and staying for the day. Colin and Z are looking forward to the time when she can be at home and things settle back to some kind of normalcy. Thank you for your prayers! ♥️

Beautiful Vintaj Wire Wrapped Rosary! Lovely, Durable.. Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. Available here.

 

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

This revised 1922 classic offers gentle guidance for preteen and teenage girls on how to become a godly woman. Full of charm and sentiment, it will help mother and daughter establish a comfortable rapport for discussions about building character, friendships, obedience, high ideals, a cheerful spirit, modest dress, a pure heart, and a consecrated life.

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

 

Two Saints for the Married – St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Nov. 17th) and St. Gomer (Oct. 11th)

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from The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland

St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)

We have always loved this saint because she was so lovable, so beautiful, young, holy, and so much in love with her husband.

It is refreshing to find a saint who made a fool of herself over her husband, and St. Elizabeth surely did (or so the court thought, at any rate).

The legend that the bread in her basket turned to roses is probably not authentic, but it could have happened; so we like to tell it each year.

Elizabeth is supposed to have been taking bread to the poor and met her husband, King Ludwig, on the way. He asked what was in her basket, lifted the napkin, and there underneath he found roses.

Elizabeth, full of humility, was not exposed as the great benefactress of the poor. This is not consistent with her reputation for openly giving away to the poor everything thing she could get her hands on, but it is a charming story and gives us the cue for our St. Elizabeth’s Day custom.

We bake bread that afternoon so that it will be done by nightfall. It is shaped into large buns – or small loaves (if you prefer), wrapped carefully in linen napkins, and put into baskets.

The children bundle up, get their flashlights, take notes explaining the day and the custom, and go off down the lane to the neighbors with hot bread for their suppers.

It is given away for the love of Christ. Then, when you return home, the bread for your own supper tastes that much sweeter.

 

St. Gomer (October 11)

He is the patron of the unhappily married, and since everyone who ever gets married thinks sooner or later that he is unhappily married, it is high time we stirred up devotion to this saint.

He is probably an expert at showing up for what they are all hurt feelings, self-pity, piggishness, and all the other things we suffer or perpetrate but don’t admit.

For those truly unhappily married, I am sure that he will show them that eternal happiness is bought with such sufferings as theirs.

Omer Engelbert writes of him: “Courageous soldier and relative of Pepin the Short, who thought to reward him by making him marry Gwin Marie; he suffered terribly from the frightful disposition of this incorrigible woman.

He ended by leaving her and withdrawing to a solitary place which became after his death a place of pilgrimage and the site of the town of Lierre (Belgium).”

So this saint knows what an unhappy marriage is all about.

He is also the patron of woodcutters, turners, glove-makers, and cowherds, and is invoked against hernia.

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“Show an interest in your child’s welfare. You can do this by devoting time to him, every day if possible. Try to discuss with him his experiences, problems, successes and failures. By giving yourself to him in this intimate way, you give him the feeling that he can always depend upon you to understand and help him in his difficulties.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, How to Be a Good Father, Catholic Family Handbook

 

Coloring pages….

A beautiful way to deepen your Advent experience…for yourself and your family. The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal available here.

Advent Package Special! The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal & Celine’s Advent

 Available here.

Christmas St. Andrew Novena Brass, Wire-Wrapped Chaplet with Laminated Prayer Card available here.

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Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

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Duties of the Wife as the Dispenser of the Home Treasures

We are not perfect in our dispensing of the home treasures. And we need to allow ourselves the grace to admit that and ask Our Lady to supply for our insufficiency. At the same time, we are to strive, every day, to overcome our difficulties and to never give up.

From The Mirror of True Womanhood by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894

Who shall find a valiant (brave-hearted) woman? The heart of her husband trusteth in her. . . She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands. . . She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night. . . She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow. — Proverbs xxxi.

Nothing so animates the head of a family to honorable exertion as the certainty, that his wife bestows her utmost care in providing for the comfort of his home, in dispensing wisely the store which he places at her disposal; making it her rule to be just to him by never exceeding his means when she cannot increase them by her industry, in being just to her children by supplying them with becoming raiment, food, and instruction, just to her servants, whom she treats with a motherly tenderness which never condescends to familiarity; — and just to God’s poor, whose claims she holds to be most sacred.

But let us proceed understandingly. The first care of the wife is to establish discipline and order; — discipline, without which there may be much noise and agitation, but no work done; — and order, because where there is confusion everything is out of place, or done out of its proper time.

To have discipline, — where there are children and servants, — the mistress must have authority, and she must assert and establish her authority by being both firm and calm, and giving everyone to understand that she means what she says, and that what she says must be done.

Order means that every work must be done in its proper time, and everything in the house be put in its proper place.

Order means economy both of time and of labor. For where every occupation has its own appointed time, the household duties are sure to be attended to and to be fulfilled with singular ease and pleasure.

If this order and economy of time are necessary in large households, it is still more so in the home of the poor man, where everything has to be done single-handed by the wife. There are poor households,—those of the daily laborer, the poor tradesman,—where the wife, with a large family of children to care for, will quietly get through an amount of work of different kinds that would seem to require the joint energy of several persons.

Go into these bright and orderly homes, where the housewife rests not from early dawn till long after sunset of the longest day, and see the cleanliness, the tidiness, the calm and the contentment that fill the place like an atmosphere!

Of course there will be comfort for all where there is such order. For there can be comfort with poverty, or at least with little, though never with want.

There will be comfort for the husband when he returns to that bright, warm, pleasant hearth, where the deep love of his companion fills the house with a spiritual fragrance more pleasant than all the flowers of spring; there will be comfort at the simple meal set on the board shining with cleanliness; and there will be comfort in the sweet conversation in which the outside world is forgotten, in the joy of being all in all to each other; and there will be bliss in the night’s rest won by hard and hearty toil, and undisturbed by peevish ambition or by the dreams of a spirit at war with God or the neighbor.

There will be loveliness, too, in the home where true love causes order and comfort to reign. For the poorest room can be made lovely by a woman’s cunning hand.

She can have flowers at her window, and flowers on her mantel and her table. And the curtains of windows and beds may be beautified by some simple ornament devised by a woman’s taste and executed in spare moments by the hand of even the busiest.

There is not one among the readers of this book but has seen such homes—albeit lowly, narrow, and poor in the literal sense—in which this order, comfort, and loveliness gave the beholder the evidence of a womanly spirit that might have graced a palace.

 
“Modern mothers have been relying on psychology books to interpret child behavior for so long now that if all the psychology books were burned to a crisp, few mothers could relax with the conviction that God’s love, the maternal instinct, and divine grace could take their place. What we all — little or big — want is God; if we do not realize it, however, we choose many ignoble things in His place. And if we want to teach children to be good with a goodness that’s lasting, we must teach them to be good for the love of God.”
Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children, 1954 http://amzn.to/2qCq6Md (afflink)
 

Many beautiful handcrafted items at Meadows of Grace!

 

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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…

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My Mother – Fr. Bernard Vaughan, S.J.

by Father Bernard Vaughab, S.J., early 1900’s

I was only a little boy when we lost our mother. It was a loss I cannot think of even now, after half a century and more, without a shudder. To all of us she was the very ideal of everything that is lovely and holy.

We thought, and were brought up to think, that she was in every sense perfection. Hence her blessing was more to us even than her caress.

Well do I remember how we used to rush at her coming into the nursery to see who should be the first to kiss her hand with reverent devotion.

Then she would sit on the floor with half a dozen of us clinging to her, while she would give us her little crucifix and medals to venerate and fondle, or perhaps take out her watch, and placing it against the ear of one of us, would say, “Life is passing away just like that tiny ticking watch, but when the little heart stops beating here, we shall all know that God didn’t wind it up anymore because He wanted you home with Him for a never-ending holiday.”

Of course we used to kneel round her lap morning and evening to lisp after her our childlike prayers, and then were carried off, two in her arms, and others clinging to her skirts, to the chapel, where on great feasts we were privileged to kiss the altar-cloth, or even the altar itself.

Our mother reminded her children that, there in the Tabernacle, One who loved us more even than she did, was always abiding, ever ready to greet us when we went to see Him.

She loved her garden, but would have been shocked if the fairest flowers had been sent to her boudoir instead of to the chapel. She herself would gather nosegays for her children to place on our nursery altar or before the statue in her bedroom. When I look back it seems to me she could talk only about God, or the poor, or our father.

She made Heaven such a reality to us that we felt that we knew more about it, and liked it in a way far better even than our home, where, until she died, her children were wildly, supremely happy.

Religion under her teaching was made so attractive, and all the treasured items she gathered from the lives of the Saints made them so fascinating to us, that we loved them as our most intimate friends, which she assured us they most certainly were.

Our mother thought that it was her duty to teach her little ones in the nursery all manner of pious childlike practices, while the bigger children would often have to remind them not to forget God and His presence in their midst.

But it was of Our Lord’s Agony in the garden and His sacred Passion and Death that she never tired to remind us: “Look at those dear Five Wounds,” she would say; “fancy all that pain suffered, and all that blood shed, for you. You must never forget, no matter how long you live, to love more than anything on earth those Precious Wounds. If ever you are naughty and hurt God, it will be because you forget how much you have cost Him.”

What tricks and devices did we not resort to in order to be awake in the night nursery when, after dinner, Mother would pass from cot to cot blessing her children, crossing their hands upon their breast, and lulling them to sleep with such words as “Sweet Jesus, I do love Thee, Holy Mother of God, be a tender Mother to me, My good Angel, watch over me and keep me this night from all sin.”

It was not our mother’s practice to bring us any dainty from the dinner-table. We were never allowed to go down to dessert, our father thinking it might encourage greediness or undue fondness of food. We dined at our parents’ lunch and then were allowed to take what we liked.

I remember one day being offered some dish which I rejected with the incautious remark, “Thank you, Father, I don’t fancy it.” Should I live to the age of Methuselah I shall not forget how he turned upon me and in solemn voice said, “I do not wish any of my boys to indulge in fancies about food; fancies are the privilege of your sisters.”

On another occasion, when I had shown overmuch relish for some dish, my father reminded me that it was a poor thing to be a slave to any appetite or practice. Blushing to the roots of my hair, I ventured to retaliate, saying, ‘Well, Father, how is it that the snuffbox is brought to you every day at the end of dinner? — you always take out a big pinch.”

For a moment he was silent, and then made me fetch the box, and while in the act of tossing it into the fire he said, “There goes the box, and that is the end of that bit of slavery.”  His training was somewhat drastic, but it was a fine counterpart to that of the ever tender mother.

There were some fine customs which our father insisted on; for instance, that we should take our places with the village school children when they were catechized on Sunday afternoon in the chapel; and the chaplain was encouraged to be specially severe with us if we did not answer correctly.

Father liked us to give of what we had, and not merely our used-up toys, to the less well-off little ones, and nothing pleased him more than to see his children trudging off with their mother laden with good things for those who most wanted them.

When people expostulated with her for taking her children where they might catch something worse than a cold she would say, “Sickness would be a small price to pay for the exercise of this Christlike privilege — but God will take care of my children where my love fails.”

Her love of the poor was almost a passion, and but for her own children’s sake she would have parted with everything . Washing the bedridden, changing their bedding, sweeping their rooms, was the sort of thing in which she felt a real pride. Not even when she was very seriously ill would she call in any but the parish doctor, protesting that if he was good enough for her poorer sisters he would do very well for her.

As she herself could not seek perfection in the religious state, she strove to attain it in the sphere of life to which God had called her. I am told that she said the Divine Office daily, and when too ill to say it herself had it said for her. She died while Compline was being said in her room.

As a girl she had spent some considerable time in Paris receiving finishing lessons in drawing, painting, singing, and music, and nothing delighted us more than to gather about her in the round drawing-room, wild with joy, to hear her recite, or sing her own songs or hymns about Heaven as she accompanied herself on the harp. When our enthusiasm was thoroughly stirred she would pause to remind us that all this was but discord compared with what the rapturous music of Heaven would be. She was fond of whetting our appetites for Heaven.

In our mother’s time Courtfield was always so cheery, bright, and holy, that it used to be said in the county, “You nearly break your neck going, but more nearly break your heart leaving there.”

When I look back to those young days so crowded with life I cannot remember any quiet games entertaining us. Birds, dogs, other pets, and ponies were our chief delight. I fear we were dreadfully noisy, loving hare and hounds, blindman’s-buff, snapdragon, and above all theatricals, in which movement was a safety valve for what was called “the Vaughan spirits.”

On the Feast of Holy Innocents, when it was our custom to dress up in the habits of different religious orders, we used to hold high religious functions, and preach one another down till the result was a sort of pandemonium, ending in clouds of incense and a blaze of candles round the schoolroom statue, where we made peace.

I think I have sampled our early life fully enough for even an inordinate taste for childhood’s days, but I cannot end without referring to the irreparable loss that came upon us when God called our mother away. It was a catastrophe.

Personally I was too young fully to understand what had happened; what I do most vividly remember is going down to the library, where the blinds were drawn and everybody was in black.

I recollect my father’s grief-stricken countenance as, amid the sobs of his children, he called my eldest sister, Gladys, to his side, and, placing on her wrist my mother’s simple silver bracelet, with crucifix and medal attached, he told us that our mother had gone to Heaven and that the eldest girl must take her place.

I bit my lips, exclaiming internally, “She never shall with me.”

He said much more, but I did not quite understand what it all meant, or why everybody was crying. I felt sure, even if mother had gone to Heaven, she would somehow be back soon, for she was never away from us for long. It did not seem that one could possibly live without her.

Very gradually the reality of the loss came home to one, and then it seemed that nothing much mattered. We rarely spoke of mother because the mere mention of her name awakened feelings that could not be controlled.

Herbert even to the last was shy of speaking to me of her; sometimes when I ventured to plead for some of his reminiscences of her he would get red and hot, and after saying there was no one ever like her, he would turn to some other subject; and till shortly before his death he kept by him a tiny picture of :—

“That countenance in which did meet

Sweet records and promises as sweet.”

“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

Painting by Robert Papp

November – The Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory

The Suffering Souls are very powerful with God. You take care of them and they will be praying for you!
Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which Thou didst suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane, have mercy on these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel scourging, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross to Calvary, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which Thou didst suffer in breathing forth Thy Blessed Soul, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

(Recommend yourself to the Souls in Purgatory and mention your intentions here)

Blessed Souls, I have prayed for thee; I entreat thee, who are so dear to God, and who are secure of never losing Him, to pray for me a miserable sinner, who is in danger of being damned, and of losing God forever. Amen.

Written by St. Alphonsus Liguori this novena has prayers for each day which are followed by the Prayer to Our Suffering Savior for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Little Girl’s Lovely and Lacey Crocheted Veils

Available here.

Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother’s role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God’s word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.

You’ll learn how to grow in wisdom and in love as you encounter the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten all marriages. As the author says: If someone were to give me many short bits of wool, most likely I would throw them away. A carpet weaver thinks differently. He knows the marvels we can achieve by using small things artfully and lovingly. Like the carpet weaver, the good wife must be an artist of love. She must remember her mission and never waste the little deeds that fill her day the precious bits of wool she s been given to weave the majestic tapestry of married love.

This remarkable book will show you how to start weaving love into the tapestry of your marriage today, as it leads you more deeply into the joys of love.

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Encouraging Catholic Customs

This is a post on Catholic customs…a very important part of our spiritual walk with our families….

Just an aside….Advent is around the corner and it is always nice to be prepared. Many years I put off getting things together because there is so much going on! But if we can think a bit each day about this wonderful season that is approaching, the things we want to accomplish, what materials we will need, and get it together before that first Sunday of Advent (Dec. 2nd this year), we will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

If you have been following my site, you may have adopted some of the customs we talk about here. So, I am going to post this page from my Traditional Advent Journal to get you thinking. You can print it out as a checklist on what to get together before Advent arrives…

Digital version the Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal here.

  

From A Candle is Lighted, P. Stewart Craig

THE FAMILY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit Finer Femininity on Facebook. It is full of quotes and inspirations to brighten your day!

“These diapers that are changed daily, these meals that are cooked again and again, these floors that are scrubbed today only to get dirty tomorrow — these are as truly prayer in a mother’s vocation as the watches and prayers of the religious are in theirs.” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2vBGgH7 (afflink)

If you would like to order this St. Andrew/Christmas Novena Chaplet click here. The novena starts the end of this month!! A very powerful novena, indeed! I will post more on this as it gets closer.

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

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3 Maglets available here.

All 5 Maglets available 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.

 

Without Me You Can Do Nothing

A beautiful articles that reminds us how important peace is to the soul and that in order to achieve it, we must realize, truly and deeply, that without God we can do nothing!

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Searching for and Maintaining Peace

by Father Jacques Phillipe (with permission)

In order to understand how fundamental it is for the development of the Christian life to strive to acquire and maintain peace of heart, the first thing of which we must be convinced is that all the good that we can do comes from God and from Him alone: Apart from Me, you can do nothing, Jesus said (John 15:5).

He did not say, “you can’t do much,” but, you can do nothing. It is essential that we be persuaded of this truth.

We often have to experience failures, trials and humiliations, permitted by God, before this truth imposes itself on us, not only on an intellectual level, but as an experience of our entire being.

God would spare us, if He could, all these trials, but they are necessary in order that we should be convinced of our complete powerlessness to do good by ourselves.

According to the testimony of all the saints, it is indispensable for us to acquire this knowledge.

It is, in effect, a necessary prelude to all the great things that God will do in us by the power of His grace.

This is why St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, would say that the best thing that God could have done in her soul was “to have shown her her smallness, her powerlessness.”

If we take seriously the words cited above from the Gospel of St. John, then we understand that the fundamental problem of our spiritual life becomes this. How can I let Jesus act in me? How can I permit the grace of God to freely operate in my life?

That at which we should aim is, then, not principally to impose a lot of things on ourselves, as good as they may seem with our own intelligence, according to our projects, etc.

Rather, we must try to discover the disposition of our soul, the profound attitude of our heart and the spiritual conditions that permit God to act in us. It is only thus that we can bear fruit — fruit that will last (John 15:16).

To the question, “What must we do in order to let the grace of God act freely in our lives?”, there is no unequivocal answer, no master key.

In order to respond to this question completely, it would be necessary to do an entire treatise of the Christian life in which one would speak of prayer (principally of meditation, which is so fundamental in this regard), of the sacraments, of the purification of our hearts, of docility to the Holy Spirit, and so forth, and of all the ways in which the grace of God could further penetrate us.

In this small work, we do not wish to address all these themes. We simply want to concern ourselves with one element of the response to the question posed above.

We chose to speak of it because it is absolutely of fundamental importance.

Furthermore, it is too little known and taken into consideration in day-to-day life for most Christians, even those who are very strong in their faith.

The essential truth that we wish to present and develop is the following: To permit the grace of God to act in us and to produce in us (with the cooperation, of course, of our will, our intelligence and our capabilities) all those good works for which God prepared us beforehand, so that we might lead our lives in the performance of good works (Ephesians 2:10), it is of the greatest importance that we strive to acquire and maintain an interior peace, the peace of our hearts.

In order to understand this, we can use an image (without exaggerating, as we should always avoid doing in making comparisons); but one that can be illuminating.

Consider the surface of a lake, above which the sun is shining. If the surface of the lake is peaceful and tranquil, the sun will be reflected in this lake; and the more peaceful the lake, the more perfectly will it be reflected.

If, on the contrary, the surface of the lake is agitated, undulating, then the image of the sun can not be reflected in it.

It is a little bit like this with regard to our soul in relationship to God. The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the more His grace acts through us.

On the other hand, if our soul is agitated and troubled, the grace of God is able to act only with much greater difficulty.

All the good that we can do is a reflection of the Essential Good, which is God. The more our soul is peaceful, balanced and surrendered, the more this Good communicates itself to us and to others through us.

The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace, scripture says (Psalm 29:11). God is a God of peace.

He does not speak and does not operate except in peace, not in trouble and agitation.

Let us remember the experience of the prophet Elijah of Horeb: God was not in the hurricane, nor the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the whisper of a gentle breeze (cf. 1 Kings 19)!

Often, we cause ourselves to become agitated and disturbed by trying to resolve everything by ourselves, when it would be more efficacious to remain peacefully before the gaze of God and to allow Him to act and work in us with His wisdom and power, which are infinitely superior to ours.

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: By waiting and by calm you shall be saved; in quiet and in trust your strength lies, but you would have none of it (Isaiah 30:15).

Our discussion is not, it is well understood, an invitation to laziness and inaction. It is an invitation to act, even to act considerably sometimes, but under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, which is a gentle and peaceful spirit.

And not in a spirit of disquietude, agitation or excessive hurry, which is too often the case with us.

Our zeal, even for God, is often badly illuminated.

Saint Vincent de Paul, the last person anyone would ever suspect of being lazy, used to say: “The good that God does is done by God Himself, almost without our being aware of it. It is necessary that we be more inactive than active.”

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Do you love your kids? Do you want the very best for them? Then love your husband, respect him. Show it. It is the best gift you can give to your children!

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Excellent sermon! Lukewarmness is the enemy of fervent souls. ” Being lukewarm is a spiritual disease, where one gradually slips from fervor due to a lessening of effort in prayer and other crucial acts of piety. If he doesn’t correct this, he will prepare himself for mortal sin. The best remedy against lukewarmness is (i) devotion to Blessed Mary, (ii) obey a good spiritual director and (iii) recommit to the duties of ones state of life.”

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