Lessons from Our Lord’s Agony

Painting by Giovanni Bellini

From Words of Encouragement, 1934

Notes of Instructions delivered by Rev. Daniel Considine, S.J.

To some of us will come at times some taste of that horrible perplexity Our Lord had in the Garden of Olives. At times it will seem almost impossible to do what we know God wants us to do.

There was a moment when Our Lord seemed to waver and balance as to whether He would go on with His Passion. It must cost us something, if we mean to do something memorable for God. That is the time of the greatest anguish of mind, when we are balancing the question. Thereafter came that complete calm which Our Lord never lost during His Passion, save in that moment of His dereliction on the Cross. Continue reading

Care and Common Sense in Choosing a Partner

Clean Love in Courtshipby Father Lovasik

The decision of supreme importance in your life is the choice of a helpmate for life. The consequences of that choice reach even into eternity. It follows that your choice should be made with the greatest care, prudence and wisdom.

Company-keeping and courtship have no other reason for existence except to assist you in becoming better acquainted and in making a wise choice. Acquaintance and friendship between the sexes should be fairly extensive. Dances, dramatics, and social affairs are designed to promote such acquaintance.

Meet many young people of good reputation and character. Mingle and talk with them in a friendly way. Learn their interests, disposition and character.

Out of many friendships you are likely to form one based upon disposition, character, training, outlook and convictions—one which will ripen into conjugal love. In courtship you must first of all be true to yourself. Because a choice is made while the emotions tend to disturb the even functioning of the mind, you stand at that time in particular need of guidance.

confession_custom-cd4250f874907662d42d33c0930196ed2b74c31a-s6-c30 Continue reading

Give Up Complaining for Lent?

Cheri wrote this article about having a complaint-free month. Well, let’s stretch that into all the 40 days of Lent! (Don’t take off Sundays….it needs to be a Day of Rest from complaining, too!)

Then, by the time Lent is over, we will be more aware of our complaining habit…not just with our husbands, but with everyone we come in contact with.

da612d48c5d849e0ce7290b16298b152with permission by Cheri Gregory on Happy Wives Daily Blog

Every January for the last seven years, I’ve taken the Complaint-Free Challenge: one whole month without complaining.

Of course, this has not meant ignoring legitimate problems. Will Bowen, author of A Complaint-Free World, makes a clear distinction between complaining and problem-solving. Complaining is making energetic statements focused on the problem at hand rather than the resolution, while problemsolving is speaking directly and only to the person who can resolve the issue. Continue reading

Ash Wednesday – Divine Intimacy

Santa Teresa de Jesús, by Adolfo Lozano Sidro

From the wonderful Meditation book, Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

MEDITATION

“Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19).

These words, spoken for the first time by God to Adam after he had committed sin, are repeated today by the Church to every Christian, in order to remind him of two fundamental truths–his nothingness and the reality of death.

Dust, the ashes which the priest puts on our foreheads today, has no substance; the lightest breath will disperse it. It is a good representation of man’s nothingness: “O Lord, my substance is as nothing before Thee” (Psalm 38:6), exclaims the Psalmist.

Our pride, our arrogance, needs to grasp this truth, to realize that everything in us is nothing. Drawn from nothing by the creative power of God, by His infinite love which willed to communicate His being and His life to us, we cannot–because of sin–be reunited with Him for eternity without passing through the dark reality of death. Continue reading

Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  May this season be very fruitful in our souls!

A couple of excellent posts by The Catholic Gentleman for your Ash Wednesday!

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“In my own experience, I often begin the Lenten season with the best of intentions. I imagine myself going into full monk mode, fasting and praying as ardently as one of the monastic fathers in the desert. And maybe for the first week I succeed through sheer strength of will. Then, just when I am feeling good about myself, everything falls apart and I come face to face with my own weakness…” Read more here….

Another post from The Catholic Genleman.

Lent is a time for self-denial. But I would argue there is one hunger we should feed this Lent. Read more here….

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

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It seems such a short time ago that we sought the Infant Christ at Bethlehem, adored Him, and were sure that we would never offend Him; and already on Septuagesima Sunday  in the Introit of the Mass He cries out with the weight of our sins: “The groans of death surrounded me and the sorrows of hell encompassed me….” Continue reading

Lenten Way of the Cross – An Activity for Lent… With Printables!

I am very grateful to Mary Ann Scheeler for sharing with us this wonderful activity for our children that she has created! Thank you, Mary!

Remember The Spiritual Christmas Crib for Advent? Well, this is the Lenten version!

From Mary:

The first three on the list have to be drawn on a large sheet of paper, similar to the crib and its roof, namely the mountain, the paths and pitfalls.  Its not meant to be the Stations of the Cross, but a Spiritual Lenten Way of the Cross for children.  The prayers are adapted from the Advent Spiritual Crib, and from a book called Lent for Children – A Thought a Day, and some I made.
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So…get yourself a poster board….or more than one, depending on the size you are going to make the Way of the Cross. Some sharpie markers and crayons can be helpful…..and then draw the part that is applicable to the day as each day of Lent passes! OR use the clipart that Mary has provided here: Spiritual Lenten Children 40 Day Journey Printables

Get your children to color them on the corresponding day, and voila! you can add them to your Lenten scene!

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

This activity is a wonderful opportunity to make Lent more meaningful for all!

You can print out the instructions here: Spiritual Lenten Way of the Cross

A note from Mary Ann as you begin the activity:

This would be our first year, and everyone will draw/create theirs a little differently. The printables have almost three of everything, because I have three older kids who will be getting to have fun with it. If you have one child, you will only need one of everything and if you have more children you might need to print out more.

Some of the images like Jesus, or Mary, or Veronica, etc there is only one, because they are extra special.

The layout is something of the large mountain of Calvary, then there will be the long path, depending on how you draw it, could be steep, could be winding, or a little of both. The rest of the days are draw along the path wherever you want them.

You might start low and each day ascend a little higher, or you might just draw them wherever you think they fit. Some things like the crosses will probably be at the top. The very last day, the tomb, is separate, if you do the printables, and would be off to the side of mount Calvary. Hope this helps. 🙂

Continue reading

The Faults and Shortcomings of Others that Threaten to Rob Our Peace

This is from the small, but excellent book Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Phillipe. Our priest made this book available to all of us a few years ago and I am very grateful as it is an excellent meditation on how important peace of heart is in the spiritual life. It is full of practical advice on how to avoid the pitfalls and work toward keeping that most necessary quality of peace in our hearts!

From Father Philippe:

I stated that disquietude, in the face of some evil that threatens or overcomes our own person or those who are dear to us, is the most frequent reason why we lose our interior peace.

And the response: confident abandonment into the Hands of God, Who delivers us from all evil, or Who, if He allows it, gives us the strength to endure it and makes it turn to our advantage. Continue reading

Notable Quotes and the Winner of the Giveaway is…

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“It is wrong to deny one’s self all diversion. The mind becomes fatigued and depressed by remaining always concentrated in itself and thus more easily falls a prey to sadness. Saint Thomas says explicitly that one may incur sin by refusing all innocent amusement. Every excess, no matter what its nature, is contrary to order and consequently to virtue.” – Light and Peace, Quadrupani, 1795

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✽✾✿❀❁❃✽✾✿❀❁❃✽✾✿❀❁❃✽✾✿❀❁❃✽✾✿❀❁❃✽✾✿❀❁❃✽✾✿❀❁❃✽✾✿❀❁❃ Continue reading

Just Pray and Get Out of the Way

I think it would be very difficult for a woman to just “watch and pray” when it comes to a differing Religion in their home. It is what matters most to us who want to do what is right by our family. How hard it would be not to needle and nag the one we live closest to, so he will see things “our way” …for the sake of the family! You can relate? Me, too! It would be an awful struggle and I’m glad that’s one I haven’t had to tackle!

God bless my friend, Anne, who has lived and learned this lesson. Read and listen as she tells of her own walk in this area in the following testimony:

Just Pray and Get Out of the Way

(or the Power of the Rosary)

Anne Ross Kootz

How often I am my own worst enemy!

A cradle Catholic, I never left the Church. I always thought myself among the most devout and dedicated. Oddly enough, I did not insist on this quality when I met and married my husband, Buddy. Brought up as a Methodist, now he was essentially agnostic….and my temperamental opposite, though I didn’t see that yet. A very good man in every respect except this area of religion.

Most of my extended family married Protestants of one stripe or another. All converted to the True Faith within a couple of years. Buddy already courteously attended Mass with me; surely he will convert in short order. I believed, when I thought about it at all, this problem would be easy to fix.

Those of you in ‘mature’ marriages are chuckling. Little details, insignificant in the glow of romance, glare in day to day married life. High expectations soon submit to dull reality. I advised Buddy of his need for religious growth. But what began as warm, loving suggestions gradually became shrill.  Five years later I was at my wit’s end. This had become the greatest handicap to my domestic bliss. Completely out of patience, I shook my fist at Our Lord (forgive me!) and shouted – OK. I’ve done ALL I can. This is NOT my problem anymore. It is YOURS!

Notice it was my issue, not Buddy’s. As I struggled at this time, I did read a helpful book on temperaments. It was an eye-opener. So Buddy really wasn’t trying to make me crazy? God made him that way! Our personality conflicts – choleric wife and phlegmatic husband – became more acceptable. However, the disconnect in our spiritual lives did not mend. Not that this was the only trouble.

Months and then years passed. No children. Nine failed attempts to adopt. At the nine year point, with both the spiritual and fertility issues unresolved, I needed a diversion – a challenging occupational interest. I began the process to enroll in Optometry school.

Of course! Hearing me resolved to accept His Will in this as in all things, suddenly Our Lord stepped in. On our return from a Christmas holiday a phone message greeted us.  Our 10th attempt had succeeded in the adoption of our first son. Our 2nd son was underway within two days. Go ahead – no one laughed louder than Buddy!

Our family life became intense. There was no time to pine about our spiritual disagreements – babies to feed, toddlers to corral, and children to prepare for First Communion. Nonetheless, our common adversary was not idle. At 16 years a new, very painful threat to our marriage emerged.

In agony, I pleaded with Our Lord. In response, a still, small voice whispered, ‘You say you are such a good Catholic. Have you been praying for your husband?’ Oh — my! Immediately I started a daily rosary, for ‘whatever Buddy needs.’

At precisely the 90 day point in my desperation-novena, Buddy returned from a long, work-related trip. He invited me out for a drink. Understand, we never went ‘out for a drink.’ I could hear it coming… “I want a divorce.” With nothing left to lose, I got a sitter and joined him at a nearby bar for a cocktail.

You guessed it. “I’ve decided to join the Catholic Church.” A pause to pick my jaw up off the floor! Our Lady had interceded so completely – beyond my wildest imagination! As he related the process, during that long trip he had decided to quietly “try on the decision, like a shoe you wanted to buy. Then if I didn’t like it…” So like him to be ultra cautious! But Our Lady had the last laugh. Once he had ‘tried it on,’ it stuck!

Buddy was received into the church about a year later. He remains steady, if not overtly, devout. On occasion he relates a funny exchange with co-workers in which he defends the Church. He quietly endures his extended family’s preferred misinterpretation … “well, Anne is so outspoken, he finally gave in.” Sadly, never has his parents or siblings or in-laws offered him an opportunity to explain himself. It is our little secret.

Meanwhile, our 4th, and evidently final son, Peter was born, named in honor of our family’s safety in the Barque of Peter. But even here I am still wary of my own worst enemy.

Like Finer Femininity on FacebookHave-confidence-in-the

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“A decent young man really respects the young woman who quietly refuses to be ‘pawed over’ and ‘necked’; he wants a wife who has kept pure.
A decent girl breathes a sigh of relief when she finds that a young man respects her as a human being, as a friend, and as a lady.
There is nothing so beautiful and so powerful as virtuous loveliness. Riches, high position, physical beauty—none of these entrances as does sinlessness. Self-control, purity, exalts the soul while preserving it from defilement.” – Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship

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A Holy House – True Womanhood

Two wonderful articles on the atmosphere of a Catholic Home……

IMG_7795-003From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, O.F.M., 1927

The parents of the family will at once take it upon themselves to give their home the air of a house of God.

In other words, they will supply it with those emblems that ought to have a place in every Catholic home.

Of these emblems the first and foremost is the crucifix of which mention was made before.

Besides it there ought to be other representations of our Lord, his mother, and the Saints, discreetly placed about the home.

Whilst the house needs not to be turned into a holy picture gallery, yet a prudent selection of holy pictures will become a Catholic home. They are indicative of faith, and of a certain gratitude for, and pride in, the faith.

In the meantime they are a continuous reminder of God and his saints, the heroes and heroines of virtue, to the family, and thus provide it with a potent stimulant to piety and goodness. Continue reading