Month of May, Month of Mary!

Happy Month of May! What an incredible blessing to have a Mother like Mary…a powerful advocate for our needs! Let’s remember throughout the day to think of her, to take her hand and have her lead us through each seemingly unimportant happening….she cares very much!

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Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year

The heart of every Christian turns spontaneously toward his heavenly Mother, with a desire to live in closer intimacy with her and to strengthen the sweet ties which bind him to her. It is a great comfort on our spiritual way, which is often fatiguing and bristling with difficulties, to meet the gentle presence of a mother.

One is so at ease near one’s mother. With her, everything becomes easier; the weary, discouraged heart, disturbed by storms, finds new hope and strength, and continues the journey with fresh courage.

“If the winds of temptation arise,” sings St. Bernard, “if you run into the reefs of trials, look to the star, call upon Mary. In danger, sorrow or perplexity, think of Mary, call upon Mary.”

There are times when the hard road of the “nothing” frightens us, miserable as we are; and then, more then ever, we need her help, the help of our Mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary has, before us, trodden the straight and narrow path which leads to sanctity; before us she has carried the cross, before us she has known the ascents of the spirit through suffering.

Sometimes, perhaps, we do not dare to look at Jesus the God-Man, who because of His divinity seems too far above us; but near Him is Mary, His Mother and our Mother, a privileged creature surely, yet a creature like ourselves, and therefore a model more accessible for our weakness.

Mary comes to meet us during this month, to take us by the hand, to initiate us into the secret of her interior life, which must become the model and norm of our own.

We must consider Mary in the concrete picture of her earthly life. It is a simple, humble picture, which never leaves the framework of the ordinary life common to all mothers; under this aspect, Mary is truly imitable.

Our program for the month of May, then, will be to contemplate the grandeurs of Mary, that we may be stimulated to imitate her virtues.

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The mother who holds the Blessed Virgin as her model develops the love and patience which nurture the spiritual and emotional growth of her children. – Fr. George Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook

The month of May is a great month of devotion to the Blessed Mother. In this Fr.  goes over the Motherhood of God & examines the heresy of Nestorianism that attacked this truth….

Visit My Book List for some great reading suggestions!

Book List for Catholic Men

Book List for the Youth

 

 

 

Christ and Women (Part Two) – Fr. Daniel A. Lord

A beautiful meditation on Christ’s love for His mother and for all womankind….

Christ and Women (1)

All Through His Life

Writers have sometimes stated that women had little place in the life of Christ. This is a strange, unintelligible statement utterly without foundation.

Once, the writers argue, when He sat by a well and talked with a Samaritan woman, the Apostles were surprised. The writers forget that the disciples would have been equally surprised had they found Him talking with a Samaritan man. Samaritans were the hated enemies of the of Jews, and with them the Jews had no sort of voluntary communication.

Certainly the Apostles who had accompanied Him so intimately could hardly have been surprised that He showed this needy woman interest and sympathy. They had never seen Him show any woman anything else.

Later on they were to hear Him speak sternly to a pagan woman; but this was to make the faith of an outcast woman shame unbelieving Jewish men. Women walk through the pages of Christ’s life with calm frequency. They are often close to Him, in His company, playing dramatic roles in His life’s story.

They are consistently the recipients of His kindness and His gracious favors. To talk or write as if Christ ignored or avoided or had little dealing with women is simply to leave out or pass over whole sections of the Gospel story. It is utterly to misunderstand Christ.

For women were His loyal followers, His devoted friends, who saw in Him their tactful advocate and courageous protector. Christ’s attitude toward women is just one of the beautiful and consoling things in His character.

We falsify our picture of Christ by talking or writing as if He shunned or positively disliked women.

A World Cruel to Women

What makes His attitude the more notable is its contrast with the attitude toward women that prevailed when He came into the world. The world had been a sad place for women. Pagan slave markets were full of them, and their price was graded to their physical charm or the breadth of their backs for carrying burdens.

They got their value from their ability to please the eye or serve the whim of man, the master. Rome and Greece talked much about their respect for good women, but they saw to it that the life of a good woman was almost that of a slave.

Woman was barred the larger life of her times unless, as was the case especially in the golden age of Greece, she bought liberty at the price of shame.

Courtesans made great places for themselves in public life; good women were almost prisoners in their homes. The lot of a Jewish woman was, of course, immeasurably higher; but even she was the servant, the inferior, whose fate was so completely in the hands of her master that custom had come to permit a husband to divorce her for the crime of an unsatisfactory breakfast.

A lower place in the temple, an inferior seat at table, the task of waiting hand and foot even on her own sons, was regarded as her unquestioned lot. If she fell by some sad fate a victim to man’s pursuing instincts and lost the innocence with which she might purchase dull respectability, there was not the slightest chance of her rising from the mud.

Pagan and Jew alike kept the fallen woman in the gutter. For her there was neither hope nor opportunity for repentance. Men made sin easy for her, but they were unforgiving once she had gratified their cruel passion.

Christ Comes to Womankind

Into this world so hard and merciless to women walked Jesus, with pity in His eyes for all womankind. Was it strange, when we come to think of it, that women should mean so much to Him?

There was only one person in the world to whom He, the God-Man, could properly be said to owe anything. That was the woman Mary, His mother. No human father had given Him what fathers give to the rest of mankind.

His whole body was given Him by His mother. We may be sure that His features were hers; if her hair curled back from her forehead, so, in all probability, did His; even His eyes took their color from hers.

She was His only human parent, and whatever resemblance He bore to any human being was the resemblance He bore to Mary.

During the formative years when He advanced in age, wisdom, and grace, it was intimacy with a woman which shaped His human characteristics. Her voice was the first He heard, and from it He caught, as children always do, her little tricks of speech.

She taught Him all the dear things that Only a mother can teach a son and that put
upon a boy the seal of a mother’s personality. By her side He experienced sorrow, exile, joy, peace, every human emotion.

Naturally His human heart, feeling the burden of His debt to Mary, must have been tender to the whole race of women.

His Debt to a Woman

If Jesus may be said to owe anything to anyone, then surely he owes all to a woman. She paid dearly for the privilege of being his mother. Because she accepted that tremendous responsibility, she experienced the stable and exile in a foreign land.

She gave Him through the years of childhood the patient care with which a mother wraps round her little one. She trained the growing Boy, tasted the poverty that He chose for His lot, the long, tedious separation of His public life, the agony on Calvary.

No woman but can lift her head in proud joy when she remembers that one of her sex gave to the God-Man all that humanly went into the molding of His man’s nature.

And Jesus, who repaid all debts a hundredfold, seems to have repaid his debt to Mary in the kindness and gentleness He showed to all her sisters, the women of the human race.

Perhaps, in addition, Christ brought to earth something of that yearning, almost motherly, with which God regarded His chosen people.

“Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb?” Isaiah 19:15.

Certainly there was an exquisite tenderness in the tears which He shared over Jerusalem as he compared himself to the mother hen longing to gather her chickens under her wing, and there is a gentleness in His parable of the lost sheep, the prodigal son, and the Good Samaritan.

The son of Mary never forgot that the first and great influence in his life was the influence of His mother, and He brought to every woman that tenderness and gentleness which every good son of every good mother feels toward womankind.

His treatment of them is part payment of His debt to his mother.

“The bone-dry definitions in the catechism are as essential as the recipe for the cake, but if we put them together with imagination and enthusiasm, and add love and experience, then set them afire with the teaching of Christ, His stories, His life, the Old Testament as well as the New, and the lives of the saints, we can make the study of catechism a tremendous adventure.” -Mary Reed Newland, http://amzn.to/2wSJI3wBlessed Mother Graceful Religious Earring Sets…Handcrafted, Hypoallergenic. Available here.


Drawing on the experience of dozens of saints, Fr. Plus explains sure ways we can recollect ourselves before prayer so that once we begin to pray, our prayers will be richer and more productive; he teaches us how to practice interior silence habitually, even in the rush and noise of the world; and he explains each of the kinds of prayer and shows when we should and should not employ each.

We all pray, but few of us pray well. And although that’s troubling, few of us have found a spiritual director capable of leading us further along the path of prayer.

Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., is such a director, and reading this little book about the four types of prayer will be for you like hearing the voice of the wise and gentle counsellor you long for but can’t find: one who knows your soul well and understands its needs.

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

Christ and Women- Fr. Daniel A. Lord (Part One)

This is very beautiful and touches upon the depths of a woman’s soul and the loneliness within. We are reminded that our husbands cannot fill our every need and longing…they are human, too, and have their own battles to fight…

Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

by Father Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

The loneliest thing in all the world is a woman’s heart. Human hearts are all, it is true, doomed through life to a certain amount of loneliness. Separated from the rest of the world by a thin but impenetrable wall of flesh, their deepest emotions, their moments of supreme exultation and crushing grief cannot really be shared by anyone.

We humans may express fluently enough our surface feelings, those momentary enthusiasms or joys; but the things that are of deepest concern remain for the most part locked forever unuttered in our secret hearts.

Great love, great sorrow, great joy leave us inarticulate, silent.

If this be true of all mankind, as it surely is, it is particularly true of women. There have been great men who caught the essence of their loves or sorrows between their two hands and imprisoned it forever in a poem for the whole world to see.

Dramatists have with rough fingers stripped their hearts naked and made them play their parts upon the stage. Musicians have turned inarticulate cries of pain and sorrow into the terrifying harmonies of a great symphony. Men have even, at rare times, dragged out their secret selves to walk through the pages of a diary.

But for every hundred men who have given the world the secrets of their hearts in drama, poetry, novel, or music there has scarcely been one woman who did so.

Men have tried in literature to tell the secret emotions of women’s hearts (as if for a moment they really could divine them); but when one reads these studies of women by men, one wonders if the most brilliant of them has touched ever so lightly even the surface of woman’s soul.

At any rate, self-revelation by a woman is rare in literature and rare in life. Her heart is an unentered sanctuary, a sealed casket, a secret garden guarded from all intrusion.

Whether from shyness or from fear, woman has kept to herself the feelings that concern her most deeply. Her moments of truest emotional significance she keeps hidden in her locked heart. She shares them with no one.

Who Knows Her Heart?

Who but the girl herself knows how she feels as the day of her wedding draws near and she faces the realization that soon she will place her whole happiness in the keeping of one who, for all the fact that he is dear to her, is still almost a stranger?

No nun, as far as I have read or heard, has ever told the emotions that filled her heart when on her vow day she went to meet her invisible Bridegroom.

Men have written beautifully of motherhood and given us the glorious Madonnas: but what mother has really been able to share with a curious world the glory, the deep peace, the sense of blessed accomplishment, the flood of maternal love that suddenly overflowed as her first-born child was laid against her breast?

Priests have attempted, badly in most cases, to describe the emotions that exalted them on the day of their first Mass; but the little mother kneeling there in the first pew and looking up with joyous astonishment as her son brings her God down upon the altar is mutely inarticulate.

And though the world is full of Pietas, statues of the Mother holding her dead Son in her arms, not the mother of Christ nor the bereaved mother of any first-born has told us the anguish of her heart at that terrible moment of loss.

In its sharpest joy and sorrow, in its supreme happiness and grief, the heart of a woman is alone and lonely. Certainly no man understands it—least of all, perhaps, the man who is surest that he does.

No One Who Understands

Yet loneliness is not only a sad, it is a perilous thing. Pent-up emotions are explosive; sometimes they are poisonous. God gave us our instinct for human companionship and our possibilities of social intercourse and confidence just because we all, men and women alike, need someone to share our emotional life and help us bear burdens too heavy for us to bear alone.

Yet with women this outlet is almost always extremely limited.

Man, her natural companion, is, by the very force of his nature, preoccupied, intent on the ruthless fight and hunt that is life.

He must give so much of his physical and mental energy to the crude problems of food, clothes and shelter. Even in the most civilized man there is something of the warrior and hunter going forth at dawn to beat back the enemies that close in about his home and to bring back at the day’s end the food and skins he has gathered.

This is a desperately tiring and engrossing business, and it kills, often enough, the finer responses of his emotions and the keener sympathies and sensibilities of his soul.

Men are frequently so busy with the fight for their own existence and the existence of their dependents that women find them, even the men who tenderly love them, absorbed, abstracted, matter-of-fact, out of touch with the thought and emotions that fill a woman’s life.

The most devoted husband, the most affectionate son, the most loyal brother is still the hunter and fighter of the family; and hunting and fighting, even in their very civilized forms, do not fit a man to be consistently gentle, understanding, or sympathetic where a woman’s emotions are concerned.

Besides, about a woman’s heart God has placed as a protective armor her natural modesty and reticence. She draws back instinctively from giving her real confidences.

Men will, she feels, be bored by them. Some men will be cruel enough to take advantage of them. Her sad experience has made her wonder just how far she is safe in trusting not merely the casual stranger but even the close but thus far untested friend.
Can Any Man Satisfy?

“Is there anywhere in the world,” women have asked from the depths of their lonely hearts, “anyone who will give us the sympathy, understanding, and response that we crave?”

That question has been at the back of all the yearning for romance that fills a woman’s life, a yearning that does not die from the dawn of girlhood to the golden glow of far maturity.

Its answer would be, of course, the perfect man, who could receive confidences without abusing them, understand scarcely understood hearts without troubling them, give affection without presumption, strength tempered with gentleness, and a sympathy that could be accepted with safety.

The unceasing search of a woman’s lonely heart is for the ideal man. Is there such a man? For a long period in the history of the world there was not.

Now, thank God, there is—the man to whom women turn trustingly, who understands them better than they understand themselves, who fulfills in every detail the ideal which women carry in their hearts, who is strong but kind, heroic but gentle, never impatient, never abstracted or self-centered, who knows women so thoroughly that they hardly need to tell Him their secrets, and who unfailingly solves the problems that they bring to Him —Jesus Christ.

Forgive. “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” ~ Ruth Bell Graham. This is one of the truest statements ever made. 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. -Lisa Jacobson, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband https://amzn.to/2EkBO3F (afflink)

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St. Rita

St. Rose of Lima

Here is a marriage blueprint that every woman can follow. Happy marriages do not just happen, they are made. It takes three parties to make a good marriage; the husband, the wife, and the Lord. This book is concerned with helping the woman to become the wife desired and therefore loved that every man worth having wishes to find and keep.<P> This book sold over a quarter of a million copies shortly after its publication in 1951, and it was read by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It is a practical manual. It should be read by every woman considering entering the matrimonial state and also by those women who are already married. It can also be read by men who may wish to see what a real challenge it is for a woman to live up to their expectations and how grateful they should be if they are blessed to find the woman of their desires…

Armed with Barbeaus wisdom, you’ll grow closer to your wife and to your children, while deepening your love for God. You’ll be able to lead your family to holiness amidst the troubles and temptations that threaten even the best of families today: infidelity, divorce, materialism, loneliness, and despair.

The Father of the Family makes good fathers and good fathers are the secret to happy homes….

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Take Courage! – The Catholic Girl’s Guide

Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

Take Courage!

In my last instruction I exhorted you to “fight and conquer.” My watchword today is: Take courage! I have attempted to portray the difficult nature of the struggle which must be carried on if chastity is to be preserved; and to describe how terrible a thing it is when a young girl who has hitherto been pious and virtuous falls into the snares of the evil one and is ruined.

When you think of your own future your heart is doubtless filled with dread and anxiety. Let not this dread and anxiety lead you to discouragement, or to despair. Take courage! I say for your consolation only: Take courage! For if, even after living in sin for years, it is quite possible to be truly converted, how much less difficult it is to preserve oneself from leading such a life, and to keep the robe of innocence pure and unstained!

About 400 years after Christ there lived a girl in one of the great cities of Egypt (a virgin I can-not call her, for she was a notorious sinner). Driven by an unclean spirit, she left her parents when she was only twelve years old, so as to be able to give free rein to her passions.

For seventeen years she carried on her life of sin without the vengeance of Heaven falling upon her; for seventeen long years she lived in such a manner that when upon one occasion a stranger asked her who she was, she replied: “If I were to tell you the story of my life you would be filled with such loathing that you would fly from me as from a serpent.”

If anyone had told this poor miserable sinner, in the midst of her evil life, that when she had reached the age of twenty-nine she would begin to lead the life of an angel, while yet in the same body which had been so stained and polluted by sin, and that for forty-seven years she would continue to lead this life; that she would shed floods of tears, doing ceaseless penance, mortifying herself in every way, allowing herself no pleasure or indulgence, but enduring this martyrdom for forty-seven years; if, I say, any one had told her this beforehand she would, no doubt, have laughed aloud, and imagined that a sorry jest was being made at her expense!

Yet that which appeared impossible actually took place. The notorious sinner became the renowned and holy penitent St. Mary of Egypt.

Seventeen years she had been the slave of sin; but at length, touched by divine grace and aided by the Mother of God, she was converted. From that time forth she led a life of angelic purity.

After doing penance for forty-seven years in a remote and desolate wilderness she passed at length into the presence of Him who has said: “I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.”

Well then, my dear young friend, if it was possible for this penitent, with the help of God’s grace, to burst the strong iron bonds of the worst imaginable habits, and to lead a pure life, how much easier is it for you to preserve the precious treasure of chastity, which as yet you have never lost!

This is indeed a most consoling thought. “With God all things are possible,” and “I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me.”

God gives no commands which man cannot keep. Look in winter at the dry branches of the trees. If you had not been taught by experience, you would never believe that from the boughs, which to all appearance are dead, there would spring, not a few leaves only, but hundreds of beautiful blossoms and succulent fruits. Yet so it is when the life-giving breath of spring blows over the earth.

Far greater are the wonders worked by the breath of divine grace, which enlightens the understanding and inclines the will to do what is right.

Therefore never think or say, “The tendency to evil is so strong in me I am compelled to yield to it; I cannot do otherwise!” How deeply must such language grieve the fatherly heart of God, how false is the idea which it conveys in regard to Him!

It is an article of faith that God desires the salvation of all men. “It is not the will of your Father, who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

Such are the consoling words which proceeded from the mouth of the Son of God Himself, and of all the millions of human beings inhabiting the earth there is not one who cannot say to himself that God desires his salvation more earnestly than the tenderest mother could.

Take courage! God means what He says. When a huntsman climbs one rocky peak after another, being daunted neither by thorny thickets nor yawning precipices, nobody can deny that he is in earnest, that he does really wish to capture the game he is pursuing.

And who can doubt that Almighty God does seriously desire our salvation?

The man who could thus think could surely never have seen the picture of an Ecce Homo, or gazed upon a crucifix. From the crown of His sacred head to the soles of His feet this Man of sorrows, our Redeemer, is covered with blood. Each one of His wounds cries to us with a loud voice: ”O child of man, whoever thou mayest be, see how terribly in earnest thy God was in His desire to help and save thee, else would He not have done so much for thee.”

He gives us grace sufficient to overcome temptation; as St. Paul says: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it.”

Some persons assert that it is too difficult to keep the commandments, and especially to preserve chastity. To this St. Chrysostom replies as follows: “The commands of God are not difficult in themselves; they appear difficult only because of the indolence and cowardice of man.”

Slothful sinners say that it is difficult to avoid occasions of sin. Is it not very wearisome to lie for weeks and months in bed, in compliance with the order of a physician? Yet this is done to recover health.

It is a veritable martyrdom to submit to a painful operation, yet it is undergone that life may be prolonged, and in the time of an epidemic one has to remain in seclusion to avoid contagion; though this is irksome, it is gladly done.

How far more willing ought we to be to make a sacrifice in order to escape eternal death!

Therefore take courage, my dear child! However great may be the temptation, however difficult it may sometimes appear to you to avoid this or that occasion of sin; nay, though sometimes it may seem utterly impossible; though at a later period of your life you may be so unhappy as to yield to temptation, and incur disgrace, misery and want, never give way to despair, never cease to believe in the grace and mercy of God.

 

If fierce temptation’s waves beat high

And threatening clouds obscure the sky,

Let not thy sinking heart despair.

But raise thy voice to God in prayer.

Fear not lest, thus tempest-tost,

Thou should’st be forever lost;

God thy helper sure will be,

Will part the clouds and calm the sea.

Marriage is of the greatest importance for the whole human race. This state of life has very many weighty and permanent duties and burdens. On this account married people need special graces, and they receive them through Christ’s raising marriage to the dignity of a sacrament. -Fr. Lasance, My Prayer Book

 

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

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

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

 

 

Dignity of Labor/Patience/Praise – True Womanhood

Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

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

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE DIGNITY OF LABOR

Your boys, your girls must be trained early to be industrious. Not that they must be set to work before their time; God forbid! But it must be your care to give them, from the very beginning, habits of cleanliness, order, industry, self-respect and self-reliance.

You must be careful not to allow them to fancy for one moment that there is in your own laborious habits or in their father’s occupation or trade, anything that is not most honorable, praiseworthy, and pleasing to God.

Recall to them frequently that the most glorious names in heaven or on earth were those of men and women whose daily life was one of toil like your own: how Adam and the great patriarchs who succeeded him were tillers of the soil, husbandmen, and shepherds; that such were the great men and women who founded God’s people in the Old Law, Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, Israel (or Jacob) and his wife Rachel, Joseph who ruled Egypt after having been like his brothers a farmer and a shepherd, as well as Moses, the figure of our Lord, who kept the flocks of his father-in-law.

Labor was most honored always down to the days of our Lord, who himself learned the carpenter’s trade and worked at it with his foster-father, Joseph,—a prince of the royal blood of David.

Teach them to look upon idleness as a shame and disgrace, upon sloth as most degrading, and as leading to all manner of evil courses. You can always keep them joyous children, while you make them industrious and laborious children; you can make them and keep them bright, pleasant-faced, and cheerful while coaxing them to learn something new every day and to apply themselves heartily to the tasks you set for them at the appointed hours.

KNOW HOW TO PRAISE THEM

We have already seen what good a true wife can do by praising generously and judiciously her husband, and encouraging him thereby to rise every day higher and higher in her esteem and in his own.

Far greater is the good she can do every one of her children by judicious praise. We say “judicious ; ” for praise bestowed at every moment and for trifles loses its value by becoming common.

Praise only when something is done which deserves it, and praise in well-weighed words. Never give praise when it is not well deserved; for then it would be unjust, and you would make your children suspect your truthfulness and your honesty.

BE GENTLE, LOW-VOICED, AND PATIENT

Be gentle. That does not mean to be spiritless. It means to be the opposite of violent, irascible, ill-tempered, and moody. Study to be so, for your own soul’s sake, and as if you lived in God’s presence, always keeping down for his holy love every movement of anger, irritability, temper, or moodiness.

And be gentle,—precisely because you have much to do, much to bear, many cares to burden you, many things which continually try your temper.

Be low-voiced. It is wonderful what effect a mother’s gentle manner and low voice,—when she teaches, or corrects, or praises,—will have on a band of children.

Take a schoolroom filled with very young boys or girls. Let their teacher be nervous, fidgety, and irritable; you will see all these little ones thrown into a ferment and fever and agitation, which is nothing more than a kind of disorder which they catch from the teacher’s manner. Let her be loud-voiced, teaching or speaking in loud, quick, nervous tones, and it is ten to one but you will see within a few minutes all these children becoming restless, talkative, inattentive, and ungovernable.

Now, let some quiet, gentle, calm-mannered, and low-voiced person come in, and all these children will become quieted, stop talking, listen, and be ready to give their whole attention to what is said, or to set to work, and work steadily as long as the calm eye is on them and the gentle, low voice is directing them.

You will spare yourselves and your dear ones much trouble and much unhappiness by laying this lesson to heart. You can do what you like with them,—if you are perfectly mistress of yourself.

Besides, what a service you do them; and how they will bless their mother in after life for having taught them this gentleness!

Be patient. Not only when you are suffering from aching limbs and head and heart, but when you do not succeed in making your dear ones all that you would wish.

There are certain dispositions and characters which seem naturally to defy all control, or teaching, or improvement. They will learn more than you think; and they profit much more than you can see by your lessons, and especially by your example.

Even should son or daughter of yours turn out to be everything but what you trained them to be, the memory of their gentle, patient, loving mother will remain in their souls to their dying day, like a silent voice from the past bidding them return to God and to the paths of their childhood.

Some say that steel beaten into its due form and given a keen edge while cold, is more apt to preserve both form and edge forever. So is it with the temper your patient gentleness will impart to your children’s souls. And this firmness, which is only one of the most precious dispositions of true manhood and womanhood, will be both of infinite value to them and of indispensable necessity.

“The objection that a child should wait until he can understand what he’s doing when he receives Holy Communion is no objection at all. He understands as well at seven as at seventy. The Holy Eucharist is a mystery as profound and unfathomable as the Trinity. One does not understand how Christ can assume the form of bread and wine. One believes.” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2qKqcTO (afflink)

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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.

Live, Instead of Waiting to Live

from Interior Freedom by Father Jacques Philippe

Our present life is always something good, for the Creator has endowed it with a blessing He will never cancel, even though sin has complicated things.

“God saw that it was good,” the Book of Genesis tells us. For God, “seeing” means not merely taking note but actually conferring reality. This fundamental goodness of life is also expressed by Jesus: “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Sometimes, though, it isn’t worry that causes us to focus on the future, but the hope of something better or happier.

It may be a very specific event, like a reunion with someone we love or coming home after a long, tiring journey.

Or it may be less well-defined: the time when things will go better, circumstances will change, life will be more interesting.

At present, we tell ourselves, we don’t really have a life, but later we will “live life to the full.”

There is nothing wrong with that, but it does contain a certain danger. We may spend our whole lives waiting to live. Thus we risk not fully accepting the reality of our present lives.

Yet, what guarantee is there that we won’t be disappointed when the long-awaited time arrives? Meanwhile we don’t put our hearts sufficiently into today, and so miss graces we should be receiving. Let us live each moment to the full, not worrying about whether time is going quickly or slowly but welcoming everything given us moment by moment.

To live today well we also should remember that God only asks for one thing at a time, never two.

It doesn’t matter whether the job we have in hand is sweeping the kitchen floor or giving a speech to forty thousand people. We must put our hearts into it, simply and calmly, and not try to solve more than one problem at a time.

Even when what we’re doing is genuinely trifling, it’s a mistake to rush through it as though we felt we were wasting our time.

If something, no matter how ordinary, needs to be done and is part of our lives, it’s worth doing for its own sake, and worth putting our hearts into.

LIVING IN THE PRESENT INSTANT:

Be docile and pliable in the hands of God. You know what you must do to achieve this.

Keep yourself at peace and in complete repose, never become upset and never trouble yourself about anything, forget the past, live as though the future does not exist, live for Jesus in every moment that you are living, or, better, live as though you have no life in yourself, but allow Jesus to live in you at His leisure; to walk thus, in all circumstances and in all encounters, without fear or worry as is becoming the children of Jesus and Mary; never think of yourself voluntarily; abandon the care of your soul to Jesus alone, etc.

It is He who takes the soul by force; it belongs to Him. It is therefore up to Him to take care of it because it is His property. Do not fear so much the judgment of such a tender Master.

Generally speaking, banish all fear and replace this feeling with love; in all of this, act gently, sweetly, steadily, without haste, without anger. Act as if you were dead when the need is there.

Walk in this fashion in all graciousness, abandonment and complete confidence. The time of this exile will end and Jesus will belong to us and we to Him.

Then each of our tribulations will be a crown of glory for us that we will place on the head of Jesus, because all glory is His alone.

“Think of the Queen of Heaven and Lady of the World as humble housewife at the same time that she is mother and caretaker of God’s Son. It makes me sigh of tenderness, fills me with goodwill and love for the small and great chores of the home. How fragrant would be the robes that this pure lily washed. How tasty would be the food her delicate hands prepared. From her holy lips, not a whisper, no complaint or claim, only praise and sweet words. A life of worship and continuous obedience, in the freedom of those who choose to love – were she to kneel in prayer or clean the floor.” -Veronica Mendes, A Mulher Forte

Coloring pages for your children. Click on individual picture to get fullsize.

Need some great reading suggestions? Visit My Book List here.

 

Sharing Our Creativity….

The following post is for your creative inspiration. It is good to have some kind of craft or hobby going. It lightens the spirit!

Being creative is something that we love to do here!

We all have some sort of creativity within us. Oftentimes it lays dormant because of busy lifestyles, lack of ambition, finances, etc.

This post is meant to encourage you to pick up that needle, that paintbrush, pick that bouquet for the middle of your table, get your camera and go out in nature to take a photo, etc. These things bring joy to the one who is creating and joy to the recipients! It doesn’t have to take a degree, lots of money or tons of time.

I think it is very important to bring back to life the creativity that God has given us! Don’t let your lifestyle get so busy that you don’t squeak in a little something, just a moment or two where you can let those creative juices flow! It is like therapy to a weary soul!

These past few months we have done some creating around here. I love the beauty of such innovative things and so…. I take pictures!!

Some of my girls are not creative in the way you would think of creativity. I tell you this because there are many ways to express ourselves….baking, a lovely dinner, a beautiful garden, etc. It’s not all about a needle and some yarn….Find your niche and begin your innovative path!

Here’s a picture of me with all of my girls. They are all so unique and very special! They have creative streaks, every one of them, expressing  them in different ways. I don’t have pictures of each one’s “streaks” but I have included some of them here.

Rosie has been working on crocheting the Baptismal gown for David and Margy’s new little one that is due in about a week. She finally got it done, down to all the embellishments and waited for a good moment to present it to them. Margy was pleased!

Gin made the slip and crocheted the emblem of Our Lady on it. So sweet!

 

Our daughter-in-law, Sarah, loves to make tallow (rendered from beef) and soap (made with her fresh goat milk). She is very savvy when it comes to matters pertaining to natural healing. So, depending what the person she is giving the gift to is going through, she may add some special essential oil to the lovely tallow that seems to work wonders for many skin conditions!

Dominic is getting ready to cut the soap.

Augustine helps….

Her lovely tallow.

Augustine helps….haha

Here’s Margy’s cute egg for Easter….

She has been into needlework lately, too. Here is what she is working on for someone who is probably looking at these pictures. Namely…me and hubby! Time consuming and detailed, that’s for sure!

 

Gin is busy with many things! Here is a pinafore she made for Emma….

Here is a dress she made for herself. Pretty complicated…..

At a cousin’s wedding….

More projects for Easter…..

Colin and Z’s projects right now include putting up fencing and taking care of their many goats they are raising. Wish I had some photos…but next time! Here are a couple from Easter. Charlotte finds her basket! And the kids are happy!

Jeanette has been busy with many things outside! She has a new greenhouse this year and is excited about starting many plants in it! Her and Mike have been planting trees and flowers and other projects to beautify their home.

I went to Theresa’s to do a photo shoot for her new line of wonderful, completely natural homemade soap! Right now she is selling locally but hopes to expand onto my Etsy Shop eventually. Here’s a peek….

Coffee Cedarwood Exfoliating:

Coffee Cedarwood Exfoliating

Activated Charcoal (very good for drawing impurities out of the skin):

Honey Oatmeal Soap….

Sunrise (Lemon Mint, I think)

Rosemary Mint….

Lavender….

A gift for my birthday….

Here’s a little bit of God’s Handiwork. We had a pretty good snow 3 days ago. It covered the blossoming trees and tulips, etc. The first picture was taken in our yard in the morning. The second one of the same place in the evening….

We must take great care to be encouragers of our children. They will only be with us for a short time. What kind of legacy do we want to leave for our children? ….One of hope, love and inspiration or one of negativity and criticism? Take those moments today to listen to them, to smile at them and to see the wonderful good inside of them. Let’s start the habit today of seeing the positive in our children!

NEW! Blessed Mother Graceful Religious Pendant and Earring Set…Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted. Available here.

 

Hands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world. It doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means looking our loved ones in the eye and giving them the gift of our undivided attention, living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.

With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M. https://amzn.to/2T06u28 (afflink)

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I Give Up!

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Disclaimer   🙂

A pep talk….

I talk to a lot of women and we all have something in common when it comes to our marriages…there are times when we struggle.

Marriage is difficult. The daily irritations that rub, like sandpaper, can cause wounds that make it hard to love and respect the one whom you are called to do just that…..love and respect.

Oh sure, we’ve picked up the books. We’ve made a few changes here and there. Things seemed to get better, then something hits the fan, and we are right back where we started. Round and round it goes. We’re tired of it! We want to just throw up our hands and say, “I give up! I am going to just shut down, live my life and he can live his!”

This is a temptation. Do you remember what St. Paul says? “I have run the race, I have fought the good fight.” I don’t think he meant to say “I have fought the good fight until I just couldn’t take it anymore” or “I have run the race…. until I got tired…nobody was paying attention and it didn’t seem to make a difference!”

Nope, we must never give up. I know that the struggles women have are very real. How do I know? Because I am a wife. I was raised in the city, my hubby is a country guy, I am a melancholic/sanguine, hubby is a choleric. On yes, and I forgot, he is a man, I am a woman. HUGE DIFFERENCES! It is not easy….. Our Lord never said it would be. 😛

You say you do your part, he doesn’t do his. You make the changes, he just stays grumpy and ill-tempered. You are the only one working on this relationship and he doesn’t care…..he’s not making any changes himself! You say, “I give up!”

I listened to a podcast recently. It was from the “Respect and Love” site.
Mr. Eggerich said in it that “you must be married to one pretty bad dude if he does not respond to you being more respectful and loving to him”.

It is true, there are a small percentage of men who are narcissistic and on the other hand, there are women who are divas. This situation can be very difficult because they just don’t see outside themselves.
BUT, if you are married to a regular guy, with regular faults, it is hard for me to believe that he will not respond to your efforts, if you are truly trying to change. And when I say respond to your efforts, I mean that he usually ends up doing some changing himself!

Remember, we can’t change him, we must accept and respect him. We must recall the things we loved about him when we first knew him. Sit down and write those things out. Make the effort, even if it doesn’t seem like it will help. God is not outdone in generosity! He will meet you more than halfway!

We should never give up seeking for ways to make our relationship better. It is what we are called to do.

So do not give up the good fight….run the race until the finish line! Be humble, search for answers.
Read the right books, talk to the right people. Do not talk to those who are giving you bad advice (and there are lots of those out there). They do much damage as they fan the fires of self-pity within ourselves. That is straight from the devil.

Yes, I know the struggles are real. The solutions are, too, if we keep looking and striving. It may not be overnight, but, in time, you will see that your perseverance has paid off!

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In your living room and bedrooms, you should have at least one symbol of your faith–a statue of the Savior and the Blessed Mother, a crucifix, pictures which bring to mind events in the life of Our Lord. -Rev. George Kelly, 1950’s https://amzn.to/2BjwE9x (afflink)

Excellent sermon on the Eucharist!

This is a unique book I have written 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. Available here.

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In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him…..

Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God’s will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer–a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the “arrogance of evil” that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.

He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God–even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”

Respecting Him

We are in regular need of these reminders….especially since the world (and sometimes our pride and human nature) want to tell us the opposite.

Remember that respect is not all about the words that we use. It is our actions, our tone of voice, our looks. And all of these spring from what is going on in the heart.

Pray for the grace to be a humble and good wife.

Painting by Frederick Sands Brunner

by Lisa Jacobson, Marriage Wisdom for Her

A wise woman makes healthy deposits of respect into her husband’s soul account. I’m sure St. Paul thought he made it simple enough in Ephesians 5:33: “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Except that this respect thing isn’t quite as clear as I’d like it to be. Not like love. I know what it looks like to love. That’s an easy one.

Love is when he spends time with me. Listens to me. Cares about me. Looks after me. Takes a keen interest in my thoughts and ideas. No, love is any easy one to figure out.

But respect? That’s an entirely different matter. Apparently, it’s an important matter, though. So important that you’ll find respect toward the top of his list.

Yes, respect is highly-rated among the men. I’ve even heard it said they would rather be unloved than disrespected – is that wild or what?

Now the fact is that I do respect my husband. I honestly do. I guess it’s the showing of it that gets to be something of a challenge. Because you’ve heard how we each have our own unique “love language”? Well, I suspect there must be some kind of “respect language” too. You know, “what says respect to him” or something along those lines.

So one day I just up and asked him. Straight out. “What makes you feel respected? By me?”

And I waited for his answer. And waited. After a while, he mentioned a thing or two. Things like how I’ll talk positively about him in public. Or how I’ll ask him to do something, rather than order him around about what needs to be done to the house. Then he added that he likes how I’ll stop what I’m doing to greet him when he comes in the door.

These were meaningful things to him. But for the most part? I was on my own. I made it a point to study what made him smile, as well as what made him flinch. It was up to me to figure out what made him feel respected.

So why not ask your own husband what makes him feel respected? Take to heart whatever he shares with you and then add to that list from what you’re able to learn by watching him.

Pray about it and ask God to show you the ways you can lovingly respect your husband. You might be surprised to see what a difference it makes in your marriage.

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This is a guide designed for girls who would like to please Our Lord more and make reparation for those who do not honor Him. Written and complied by two Catholic mothers and the aid of Catholic priests, it includes many beautiful pictures, teachings of Holy Mother Church, and quotes from saints and popes as well as examples from their lives. All these are lovingly included in this book so that it will hopefully help aid you on your journey towards greater sanctity.

On Marrying a Relative, Reading Books About Sex, etc. – Questions Young People Ask, Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R

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Painting by Lucius Rossi (Italian, 1846–1913)

Questions Young People Ask Before Marriage by Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

On Marrying a Relative

Problem:

Several years ago I fell in love with my second cousin. We had planned to be married by my parish priest (with a dispensation), but my mother was so violently opposed to the idea that I could not even talk to her about it.

Finally I called off the engagement. Several months ago I met a young man in the armed forces, and we started going together until he was sent overseas. I am very fond of him and we correspond regularly.

Meanwhile I see my cousin now and then and I know he is still in love with me. I feel guilty about having hurt him. Do you think I am still in love with him, or did I do the right thing in breaking off our engagement?

Solution:

It is always good to escape from a situation in which you have to apply for a dispensation from the general laws governing marriage. There are serious reasons behind the law that prohibits relatives (second cousins or closer) to marry.

A wedding between cousins is not quite a normal wedding, and though the Church does grant a dispensation for such in exceptional cases and for grave reasons, she does so with reluctance, preferring to see her children marry without seeking exceptions to the natural and ecclesiastical law.

Things have turned out so well for you that you have reason to be grateful that obstacles prevented your marriage to a cousin. Your feeling for the latter is now more one of sympathy and pity than of real love.

You should not accept any dates with him, because that would only make things difficult both for him and you. You are bound to see him when there is a gathering of relatives, but on such occasions you should avoid as much as possible, tete-a-tetes and sad reminiscences.

You need have no fear that his life will be ruined as a result of your broken engagement. Just as you have been fortunate enough to find anew boy friend, so he, in time, will find someone whom he can love and will want to marry. Neither of you will then have to go through life with the thought that you broke through the barriers that nature has set up to prevent close relatives from marrying each other.

On Reading Books about Sex

Problem:

Is it lawful or advisable for engaged couples to read one or the other of the many books that are published about sex and the details of married life before they are married? My boy friend and I have heard our non-Catholic friends talking about such books, and have even been offered one by a friend.

He thinks we should read it because so much is said nowadays about the harm done by ignorance in the married. I have held off because I had my doubts about such books, and wanted first to ask you to discuss the matter in your column.

Solution:

This much can be said as certain: It would be exceedingly dangerous, so much so as to be wrong, for an engaged couple to read any books on sex that might be offered to them by a friend.

On no type of writing must more caution and discrimination be exercised than on books dealing with matters of sex. There are too many bad books of this kind, books that teach immoral practices, books that stress the importance of the physical aspects of sex far out of proportion to their real place and purpose in human lives, to make it lawful for even engaged couples to pick up and read any book about sex.

Another thing that is certain: There should be no thought of any sort of special study, or reading or discussion of sex science until very shortly before actual marriage. This is assuming that a young man and woman have the ordinary, general knowledge of the purpose of sex and of sex morality that is a part of any decent education.

If, as happens once in a while, that much is lacking, a general briefing on the subject should be sought from a priest.

But to read detailed, or so-called “scientific” books before marriage would be foolhardy and wrong.

It is not wrong, but rather reasonable and even necessary, for an engaged couple to seek clear knowledge of the privileges and duties, the rights and wrongs, of married life, shortly before their marriage.

The priest who prepares them for marriage has an obligation to impart such instruction. If he fails to offer it, a couple should ask for it, or go to another priest to receive it. He may direct them to sound and good reading matter that will supplement the instruction he gives and help to prepare them for happy married life.Michael and Jeanett's engagement pics 268

“A young woman who prevails on her fiancé to approach the Sacraments with her at regular intervals builds up a strong bulwark against improper advances and obtains the best guarantee for a happy future.True love gives strength of character and assists in the acquisition of self-control. It never takes advantage of another for the sake of personal gratification. Good and pure-minded women inspire respect and make the task of a young man easy, for he will have no difficulty in keeping the right distance.” – Fr. Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship http://amzn.to/2tcBqSC (afflink)

Beautiful Lava Bead Saints Louis and Zelie Wire Wrapped Rosary! Lovely, Durable… Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. 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…

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