Tea-Time With FinerFem (Questions/My Answers Post) Jealousy, Children’s Recreation, Willpower, Vocation Prayer, Makeup

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

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


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


Dear Mama,

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

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

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

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

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

A quote:

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


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


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

We had them involved in Legion of Mary.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

An aside:

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

Here is an article…Vanity and Cucumbers.

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Don’t Be Idiotic! The Value of My Life – Tidbits from Fr. Daniel Considine, S.J.

Painting by Charles Courtney Curran

by Fr. Daniel Considine, 1950’s

The Value of my Life

There is no such thing as ‘the world’ to God. Each one of us is a world to Him. It is a common mistake not to think half enough of ourselves. To think of ourselves in “general” is an imperfect way of thinking. We each cost the Eternal Son of God His Blood. We are so important to God, we carry out His Will.

In spite of my sins and imperfections, God follows all my history with incessant care and interest. What does it matter if in this year I am a little better or a little worse? In God’s eye a great deal. Continue reading

A New Podcast! The Will to Win – A Call to American Boys and Girls

This podcast is an excerpt from the book The Will to Win. It is a battle call to all American boys and girls…a battle to strengthen the will, our greatest possession!

(I had fun using our Fourth of July photos for the Youtube podcast. I also have the audio available underneath the video, for those who prefer.)

by Fr. E Boyd Barrett, 1917

“I have tried to show you , that you cannot become good and strong men and women, that is, men and women of character, unless you have Will-power, and further that you will be of little or no use to your country if you are weak-willed. It has been well said that ‘the only way to be a patriotic American is to do your best to become a perfect man.’ and a perfect man you will not be unless your Will is strong….”




Continue reading

Is Your Time Spent Well?

A somber reading for today reminding us of the value of time…not to make us scrupulous, though. Busy mothers need legitimate recreation and time to recharge. Keeping that in mind, let us read today’s article asking ourselves if our pursuits are worthy….if the time spent doing our duties, which can be taxing indeed, is embraced with an attitude that this, yes this, is what is important.


From Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers

by The Very Venerable Reverend P. Lejeune

Need we be astonished at the fidelity with which the Saints have put their maxims into practice? I defy anyone to find even one of them who did not employ his time to the best advantage.

Are not holiness and the proper employment of time intimately related then? A saint who would have trifled with time, who would have squandered it, or thrown it to the winds of vanity or frivolity, would be one whom we might well ridicule, and you yourselves would politely invite him to descend from a pedestal to which he had no right.

St. Francis Borgia, when he was yet in the world, thus answered those who sought to have him devote a part of his time to the vanities of social life “Let me alone, for I prefer to pass for a common person, rather than lose my time.” Continue reading

General Notions About Will-Training

by Father E. Boyd Barrett, 1917

Those who think of devoting themselves to body-training are not repelled by the knowledge that daily exercises, which demand a certain sacrifice of time, and a certain expenditure of effort, are called for.

It seems to them quite reasonable to pay the cost of what they buy. They are purchasers of well-developed muscles and finely shaped limbs, and they pay readily in daily portions the price, which is bodily exercise.

In like manner those who wish to train their memories are quite prepared to undertake certain tasks at certain times.

It would be strange if it were otherwise with those who desire to train their wills. Will-training is, of course, a gradual process, and in this it resembles body-training and memory-training.

Little by little the will is built up. Little by little it is developed and perfected and frees itself from taint and disease. It is a slow process, but a very sure process. It demands, needless to say, much time and much earnestness. Continue reading

Transform Your Life!/NEW! Gratitude Journal!


The Catholic Woman’s Traditional Gratitude Journal is available here.

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
St. Ambrose

Sometimes gratefulness comes easy.

Other times, it can be difficult to be thankful, especially when we are going through stuff. I think, too, that if we have trained our mind to be negative, to see the bad things first, we will always find being grateful difficult.

If we are to have peace and joy, we must turn our thoughts to the spirit of gratefulness….not only for the good things, but also for those trials that cross our path…seeing God’s Hand in all things.

The saints have all realized the need for gratitude. Many of them had profound advice that can encourage us in our daily struggle to be thankful.

Gratefulness can transform our life. Do we struggle with discouragement? Do we compare our life to others and therefore let jealousy enter in? Are we impatient? Do we seem to be dissatisfied a lot? Are our duties irksome? Continue reading

One Day at a Time – Fr. Jacques Philippe

From The Way of Trust and Love: A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux, Fr. Jacques Philippe

One day at a time. This is very important. Very often we exhaust ourselves going over the past again and again and also our fears about the future.

But when we live in the present moment, we mysteriously find strength. We have the grace to live through what we encounter today.

If tomorrow we must face more difficult situations, God will increase his grace. God’s grace is given at the right time for it, day by day.

Sometimes we would like to lay in reserves, to stockpile strength for ourselves. But that isn’t possible.

Think of the image of the manna that fed the Israelites in the desert: if you tried to store it up, it spoiled.  God gave it daily, in the measure needed, neither more nor less; and what’s more, it tasted like whatever each person liked best.

When we say the Our Father, we don’t ask for large reserves (what would we do with them?), but simply the bread for today. And God gives it to us. We ought never to be anxious.

A Dominican priest once said to me, “What tires me out is not the work I do, it’s the work I don’t manage to do!” Often it’s worrying that wears us out.

By contrast, when we live in the present moment, in abandonment and trust in our Lord, we are given strength that enables us to live day by day, beginning again each morning.

Forgetting the distance already traveled, as St. Paul says, today we choose anew to believe, we choose to hope, we choose to love. And tomorrow we’ll begin again, without getting upset.

The spiritual life consists of that. Living in the present moment means accepting the poverty in us: not insisting on going over and over the past or taking control of the future, but contenting ourselves with today. But this is very liberating.

God does not dole out grace by a sort of profit-and-loss accounting of my past based on my good and bad actions. He gives me grace according to my faith today: “Be it done for you as you have believed!” The past doesn’t matter.

If today I make the decision to believe, to hope, and to love, I can be certain of having all God’s love to rely on. That is what happened to the good thief: “Today you will be with me in Paradise!”

“We often live with this illusion. With the impression that all would go better, we would like the things around us to change, that the circumstances would change. But this is often an error. It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all our hearts that must change.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace, http://amzn.to/2oqVOv8 (afflink)
Illustration: http://www.mon-nuage-sucre.fr/genevieve-godbout/

A beautiful book to help you on your path to a peaceful and Godly Catholic life!  (afflink) Available here:  http://amzn.to/2mcepZY

“We live in an age characterized by agitation and lack of peace. This tendency manifests itself in our spiritual as well as our secular life. In our search for God and holiness, in our service to our neighbor, a kind of restlessness and anxiety take the place of the confidence and peace which ought to be ours. What must we do to overcome the moments of fear and distress which assail us? How can we learn to place all our confidence in God and abandon ourselves into his loving care? This is what is taught in this simple, yet profound little treatise on peace of head. Taking concrete examples from our everyday life, the author invites us to respond in a Gospel fashion to the upsetting situations we must all confront. Since peace of heart is a pure gift of God, it is something we should seek, pursue and ask him for without cease. This book is here to help us in that pursuit.”







How Not to be an Eeyore – Charlotte Siems

I enjoy Winnie-the-Pooh! And I find Eeyore a lovable pessimist. He really is very funny how he can be so negative…all the time, even when he is trying to be an optimist!

Most of us have Eeyore moments. Some of us more than others, depending on our temperament and our environment. That’s why Eeyore can be endearing. We relate!

In this article from Charlotte Siems, she helps us to see those Eeyore moments for what they are and choose the higher road!

How Not to be an Eeyore
Charlotte Siems

As a young mom I remember wondering “How do I change my attitude?”

There had to be a better way than getting mired in discouragement every day.
 Thoughts took me wherever they wanted to go and I went along for the ride. 

It felt like that was just the way things were, since I wasn’t blessed with a cheerful personality and an easy life.

I felt like Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh stories:
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
It took years to realize that the power to change my attitude was in my own choices.
Of course we can’t control which thoughts pop into our heads. But we can control which thoughts to dwell on.
Watching the clock and letting self-pity and resentment overtake me when the baby wakes up crying every two hours?
Extending grace to a tiny person who hasn’t lived on the earth for very long and realizing the truth that this season of babyhood is very short and less sleep isn’t going to kill me, especially when I don’t think that it will?


Sighing with martyrdom and self-righteousness when I have to pick up my husband’s dirty clothes, slinging them in anger for good measure?
Thinking affectionately of this man who works hard and being grateful I have a husband to pick up after?
Feeling annoyed and snappish when children don’t follow my nicely planned homeschool schedule?
Realizing that the interruptions and imperfections are exactly the life that God is sending to me today, and staying aware that even the homeschool years are a fleeting season.
Note that the circumstances in each scenario didn’t change. Only my choice of thoughts.
Our first thought could very well be the aggravation-resentment-self-pity one.
But at that point we get to choose which thoughts to focus on and strengthen.
 It’s our choice which thoughts to bring to the front of our minds and water and fertilize and carefully tend.
The truth is, sometimes we don’t WANT to choose gracious, loving thoughts. It seems unfair.
We’d rather focus on ourselves and our rights, with a bit of foot-stomping and crossed arms. Waahh.
But of course we can’t escape the inevitable reaping of what we sow.
When we scatter seeds of self-pity and resentment, we harvest bitterness and grouchiness and all manner of ugliness.
If you don’t want to think positive, that’s okay.
Just get rid of all the negative thoughts in your mind and whatever is left will be fine.
Choose your thoughts wisely, for as a woman thinks in her heart, so is she.
We don’t want our family to remember us as a stressed-out, grouchy, sad-faced, aggravated Mom.
You CAN change your attitude. Nobody wants to be an Eeyore, so don’t think like one.
“Welcome home! That’s what I want my life to say to everyone whose path crosses mine. I want to create an atmosphere of serenity and joy, of blessing and belonging, that embraces people (myself included) and draws them in – an atmosphere that makes them feel loved and special and cared for.” – Emilie Barnes, The Spirit of Loveliness http://amzn.to/2oiwM07 (afflink)
Are your thoughts building a castle or a manure pile? It is vital to control the thoughts we have in our most important relationship…the one with our husband!

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How About a Little Enthusiasm!?

A repost for Throwback Thursday….


Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing when we are enthusiastic about the right things. How important it is for us to be enthusiastic about our lives as women, wives and mothers!

As pointed out in the “Purpose of Finer Femininity” we have the awesome power and responsibility to make or break our relationships! Hey! That means our attitudes affect everyone around us….the most important people in our lives…our families! What a great reason to be enthusiastic! We are not just numbers, our lives are not humdrum, we have an incredible impact on our own little worlds….which will impact society in a much bigger way!! It starts with US!!

The following are a few things that I am passionate about ….and very grateful for! Maybe you will recognize some of  them as your own reasons for enthusiasm!

I’m excited about being a homemaker! I am not the greatest at it but I love to see the end result of keeping my home generally picked up and looking friendly and warm. I don’t obsess (look in my cupboards and you’ll agree…ahem, I probably should obsess a little more) but my home truly is my castle and I love being its queen!!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to stay at home, be my own boss, look after my own children!! I’ve been out in the work world….I don’t like it! When I got home from my job I was so exhausted I couldn’t hardly do anything else. And that was when I was single. I don’t know how mothers do it when they are working!

Running my own home means I am “self-employed” and I am enthusiastic about that!! I need to use my skills, talents and smarts to accomplish all the things a mother and wife need to accomplish in a day! That’s no small task…as you well know!

In a lot of ways I can call the shots in my own home. Of course, I have a General Manager and I need to listen to him, but in many ways I am my own woman! I am very grateful to my husband for this!

I am enthusiastic about my Catholic Faith! Not so much about gathering “head” knowledge (though I know that is important), but more about gathering “heart”-knowledge! I am excited about learning to lean more on Our Lord and His Mother, rather than on my own petty nothingness. I am keen on  learning to give more to Him, knowing He will take care of my needs!

Don’t we all experience the ups and downs of life? Why is it that some people have more enthusiasm than others? Is it a matter of being born with a good dose of it??

“Most people acknowledge the possibility of personality change in connection with hate, fear and other common forms of conflict, but seem to doubt that they can be made over into enthusiastic persons. They argue, ‘Sure I would like to have enthusiasm, but what if you just haven’t got it? You cannot make yourself enthusiastic can you?’ This is always said in anticipation of an of-course-you-can’t agreement. But I do not agree at all. For you can make yourself an optimist. You can develop enthusiasm, and of a type that is continuous and joyous in nature.

The important fact is that you can deliberately make yourself enthusiastic. Actually you can go further and develop a quality of enthusiasm so meaningful and in such depth that it will not decline or run dry no matter what strain it is put to.” Dr. Norman Peale

One thing that can help in regaining and maintaining enthusiasm is reading. We need to read about improving….. becoming a better woman, especially in our vocations! It is great to set goals for ourselves…to read encouraging, uplifting things that keep the attitude up.

Make our list each morning. Let’s not make the list unreasonable but include our spiritual goals for the day, the priorities as far as our duties go and maybe one or two things we’d like to see done that day that is over the norm. We will then enthusiastically check off those items as we accomplish them.

We need to remind ourselves that God loves us and cares about every detail of our life and that Our Lady has us under Her mantle. Pray, Trust. Isn’t that what St. Therese did in her little way? She had such a confidence in God, in spite of knowing what a sinner she was or what was going on in the world around her.

We must do the same, We need to perk up our attitudes regularly for the sake of those around us…each and every day!

(As a side note, I think we need to be careful about the negativity we voluntarily submit ourselves to. Constantly bombarding ourselves with the latest news and how it is playing out can really put a damper on our enthusiasm. We don’t need to hide our heads in the sand, but we have got to protect ourselves from the constant onslaught of evil in the world. In the old days, people did not know about everything that happened in every city, state and country of the world on an ongoing basis. They did not have to carry this load upon their shoulders…..their own daily crosses were attended to and it was enough. Although I am not advocating not knowing what is going on, there comes a point where we need to recognize if this is bringing us down. Instead, we should add some extra daily prayers for those who are suffering. That will do a whole lot more good than reading and watching YouTubes and becoming depressed about the state of the world!)

Know that you have a very important job…the most important job of raising godly men and women. What could be more important than that?! You need to keep on your toes, learn the skills necessary and roll up your sleeves each day and dig in!

“It has been said that every tomorrow has two handles. You can take hold of either the handle of anxiety or the handle of enthusiasm. The continued choice of handle determines the character of your multiplying days. Choose enthusiasm daily and you are likely to have it permanently.”*

“Every man is enthusiastic at times. One man has enthusiasm for thirty minutes, another has it for thirty days–but it is the man that has it for thirty years who makes a success in life.”–Unknown (The Catholic Layman)




“This art of housekeeping is not learned in a day; those of us who have been engaged in it for years are constantly finding out how little we know, and how far we are, after all, from perfection. It requires a clever woman to keep house; and as I said before there is ample scope, even within the four walls of a house (a sphere which some affect to despise), for the exercise of originality, organizing power, administrative ability. And to the majority of women I would fain believe it is the most interesting and satisfactory of all feminine occupations.” –Annie S. Swan Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making

The artist of the painting: Trisha Romance, “Spring Wash Day”


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What is a Home? Pope Pius XII Speaks to Married Couples…

From Dear Newlyweds, Pope Pius XII Speaks to Married Couples, January 27, 1943

What is a Home?

The joy we always experience in receiving the young husband and wives who come to ask our benediction arises, among other reasons, from the hope we derive in reflecting upon the vast and holy work which God entrusts to them: to restore and promote a strong and healthy society, motivated by a deeply practical Christian spirit and feeling.

Is not the vocation to found a home what He really asks of them?

Home! How many times, dear newlyweds, especially since you have thought of marriage after your engagement, has this word resounded in your ears in the chorus of felicitations and good wishes from your relatives and friends!

How many times has it risen spontaneously from your hearts! How many times has it filled you with ineffable sweetness, embodying an entire dream, an entire ideal, an entire life!

A word of love, a magic word, which all good souls understand and delight to hear, whether they be tasting its actual intimacy, or whether they be thinking of it painfully at great distance, in absence, in prison or whether they joyously greet the hope of its quick return!

And yet perhaps this very magic easily leads us to conceive of the home in a vague way, as if it were wrapped in a rosy and gilded cloud.

This morning, therefore, we would like to have you probe its meaning. An accurate concept will detract nothing from its poetry; rather will it better reveal its beauty, its grandeur and its fruitfulness.

But this beautiful name must be merited by fulfilling two conditions: concentration of heat and radiation of light.

Surely it is not a home where the only satisfaction of young husbands and wives consists in going out of the house as often as possible and where they are discontented without holidays, visits, journeys, vacations, and worldly or more than worldly amusements. No.

A dwelling that is neglected, cold, deserted, silent, dark, and without the serenity and bright warmth of family living, is not a home.

Nor are those dwellings true homes if they are too closed up, barred and almost inaccessible, as if they were prisons or solitary hermitages, where light and heat neither enter from outside nor radiate outward.

And yet, an intimate home is so beautiful if it radiates!

May yours be like this, dear sons and daughters, in the image and likeness of the home of Nazareth! There was never a home more intimate but at the same time more cordial, more lovable, more peaceful in poverty, or more radiant; why does it not live on even now and illumine all Christian society by its radiation?

To the degree in which it is forgotten, you see, to that degree the world grows dark and cold.

But what are these rays which must originate in your home and there find the power to expand into broad flashes of light and heat? Like those which emanate from the sun, they vary in an infinite range of colors and gradation—some brighter, others warmer.

They are the graces and the attractions of the spirit, of the heart, and of the soul; we call them qualities, gifts, talents.

The qualities are the treasures of a two-fold ancestral heritage; the talents have been acquired by work, energy and struggle; the most precious are the gifts, those virtues mysteriously infused into human nature by the gracious love of the Holy Ghost and increased by the practice of Christian life.

Until yesterday your two families were still strangers to each other. Each family had its own traditions, its own memories, its own particular traits of spirit and heart which gave it its own character; each had its own relationships among parents and friends.

And now, on the day of your marriage, your two hearts are joined in a new harmony which will extend through your descendants but which has already begun to resound around you.

Enriched by this two-fold heritage, you take pleasure in your combined personal attainments.

The events and encounters of your domestic, professional and social lives, your conversations, your reading, your studies in literature, in science and art, perhaps even in philosophy, and above all in religion, bring you a most worthwhile return in your hours of intimacy, like bees, heavy with nectar, returning to the hive.

And in your confidences you can distill the sweetest honey, nourishing yourselves and sharing it, perhaps even unconsciously, with all who come in contact with you.

In your daily relationships and the needful meeting of minds which is attained through innumerable little concessions and innumerable little victories, you will acquire and raise to a higher level all the moral virtues: strength and mildness, enthusiasm and patience, frankness and tact.

They will unite you in an overgrowing love, will place your imprint on the education of your children, and will give your dwelling a fascinating attraction which will never cease to radiate to the social circle you frequent or which surrounds you.

These should be the virtues of a family home. In Christian husbands and wives and in Christian families, these are sanctified and elevated to a supernatural order and are therefore incomparably superior to all natural capacities, for when you become children of God there were instilled in your souls, through grace, faculties of a divine order which no purely human effort, however heroic, would be able to generate even in the lowest grade.

Intelligent choice of a mate must not look only to mutual physical attraction, but more so to harmony of tastes, feelings, desires, aspirations, and of temperament. It must weigh spiritual more than physical values.

What has begun as a mere sex intimacy is not likely to end in a happy marriage.

In courtship you must be honest and honorable towards your partner. -Fr. Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship https://amzn.to/2OIKwye (afflink)


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