The Government of the Tongue

Article from Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers by The Very Reverend P. Lejeune, 1913

No one has described better than the Apostle St. James, how great a power the tongue has for good or evil in our spiritual life “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. He is able also with a bridle to turn about the whole body.

“For if we put bits into the mouths of horses, that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body.

“Behold also ships, whereas they are great, and are driven by strong winds, yet are they turned about by a small helm, whithersoever the force of the governor willeth.

“Even so the tongue is, indeed, a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood.

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell.

“For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of the rest, is tamed, and hath been tamed by man.

“But the tongue no man can tame a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

“By it we bless God and the Father: and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God.

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (St. James, Ch. III, verse 2-10.)

Which of the two, man or woman, guards the tongue better, and suffers less from a prurience to speak? This is an odious question which I shall not venture to answer. I shall leave it to those moralists who are more solicitous to give point to an epigram than to observe facts.

It is relatively easy to ridicule woman’s excessive desire to talk, and her horror of silence. But a man who might have at his service the wit of Rabelais, or the cunning humor of La Fontaine, would not be a fair judge in a debate of this kind.

Therefore the simplest way out of the difficulty is to confess that this prurience to talk is a defect of human nature, and a temptation which all of us, men and women alike, must vigorously combat.

What is the aim of that woman who gives herself up to continual babbling? Her aim, of course, is to shine among her acquaintances, to win their esteem, and compel their admiration.

But she often finds that she has attained a result diametrically opposed to that which she sought.

If she is wise, she can often read on the faces of her listeners, those words which were uttered in the time of Cicero : “Empty barrels make the most noise.” She seeks to please those with whom she converses, and lo! she wearies and fatigues them.

“If babblers suffered as much as they make others suffer,” says one of the ancients, “they would soon be cured of their excessive desire to speak.”

My daughters, here is a just duty which is incumbent upon you. You must keep a severe guard over your conversation.

Now your principle aim, I take it, is not to have yourselves reputed as persons of fine style and agreeable intercourse. You are Christians, hence you regard the opinion of God a thousand times more than that of the world. Therefore, you will pay more attention to arguments of the supernatural order, than to worldly arguments.

I conjure you to exercise a severe vigilance over your words, because, according to the teaching of Holy Scripture, sin is always accompanied by an unbridled loquacity and useless babbling.

My daughters, you know from experience that all conversation in which you have not guarded the tongue, was a source of remorse to you. You know well that from such and such a visit, during which you have yielded to your excessive desire to gossip, you have come away with a troubled conscience.

The question arose in your mind and demanded an answer, “Was the fault that I committed grave?”

Now this question did not always proceed from an exaggerated delicacy of conscience. It was the expression of a well-founded fear of having fallen into mortal sin.

Be on your guard, my daughters. You are on dangerous ground when you give expression to every thought that passes through your mind.

You must take counsel from God, and say to Him: “Have I the right to say this?”

If you are not extremely watchful you will fall before you know it, and unwittingly exceed the limit which separates venial from mortal sin.

Let me give you the teaching of Catholic theology on this matter : Every slander is grave when it is of such a nature as to cause serious injury to your neighbor’s reputation.

It is not necessary to know the gravity of the slander by searching out what damage it has actually caused to your neighbor. It is sufficient to ask yourself this question: “Was this slander of such a nature as to injure my neighbor?” If it was not, there is a venial sin, if it was, the sin is mortal.

To know why this teaching of Catholic theology is so severe, let us invert the order.

Suppose you have been slandered. Oh then what a clamor you make. All vengeance, divine and human united cannot weigh too heavily upon the impudent wretch who has dared to sully your reputation.

Judge then the value that your neighbor attaches to her reputation and conclude that God is right in becoming the defender of the absent against the wickedness of the slanderer.

It is useless to affirm to yourselves or your friends, with your eyes raised towards Heaven, that you have the purest of intentions. This fashion of stabbing your neighbor, for the greater glory of God, is disgusting. It cannot be too deeply branded.

I know of no more repugnant spectacle than that of a person who makes a profession of piety, and then tears her neighbor’s reputation to pieces.

But how shall we brand the act of that person who communicates frequently, and who, in a gathering of friends, becomes the echo of malevolent words which do injury to some good work, or taint the reputation of some cleric.

“Oh my dear, I do not believe a word of it myself, but this is what someone said about Father so and so.”

But are you, who repeat these remarks, aware that in thus converting these slanderous words into one stream, you become the echo of the slander of others? I judge your action very severely, and I tremble when I find you piously posing before the Holy Table on the next morning.

“When a doctor visits a sick man,” says a certain moralist, “he asks to see his tongue. That organ gives him a certain indication as to the general health of the sick man. So, from a spiritual point of view, we can tell the condition of the soul by the tongue.”

My daughters, if you abandon yourselves to all the intemperances of the tongue, it is a positive sign that your souls are spiritually ill. If, on the contrary, you keep a strict watch over the tongue and prevent its excesses, rejoice: your soul is spiritually healthy.

Learn to judge yourselves by this rule. Generously sacrifice for God’s sake, every word however trivial it may be, which might offend against the virtue of charity, or cause injury to your neighbor.

The homes of many who pretend to be Christians are often schools of slander, mockery and disparagement. If an unbeliever were to assist at a repast in one of these families pretending to Christian etiquette, and reputed to be practical Catholics, he would be astonished to find malignity where he looked for the full blossom of charity, that chosen flower of the Master.

What a responsibility hangs over those mothers who tolerate these detestable practices, and who, instead of holding up a high ideal to their children, let them wallow in vulgar gossip, and even encourage them in their deplorable propensity to criticize and defame every one and everything.

I conjure you, my daughters, to preserve a strict watch over your tongues, and never to pronounce before your children one single word that is contrary to charity. Then only will you have the right to preach the horror of scandal to them.

Moreover, in this matter, your example is the only preaching needed. You are the model for all the members of your family. Let this sentiment of your responsibility, stimulate you to reject from your conversation, all rash judgments, and every habit of criticism which your children might adopt unknown to you.

St. Augustine had these words posted in his refectory: “Speak not ill of the absent.” This motto proved that he was not only a saint but also a man of honor.

My daughters, you will do well to post up this motto in your homes, at least in practice. You yourselves should see that your family lives up to it.

Your voice, with a sweet firmness, should remind those who are prone to forget, that with you, and before you, no evil must be spoken of the absent.

“A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. A woman who is not beautiful cannot properly fill her place. But, mark you, true beauty is not of the face, but of the soul. There is a beauty so deep and lasting that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it comely. This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the mind and heart and is manifested in word and deed.” – Beautiful Girlhood, Mabel Hale (afflink) Illustration by

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Vanity, Vanity, All is Vanity….. True Womanhood, 1894


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This article is a good reminder that, although we may not have the wealth that is talked about, we still must protect our hearts from the vanity of the world, and anything else that wants to eke its way into our hearts and be a stumbling block to being a gracious, loving and lovely Catholic woman! Put down the romance novels, the secular magazines and turn a deaf ear to the vain and worldly television shows. The devil uses these things to get a foothold into our lives and cause havoc wherever he can. We must fight for what is pure and good and holy….and it starts with our minds and what we are putting into it!

It is also a reminder that we must pray and ask God for guidance when choosing a spouse, as this unfortunate man must not have been taught!

How the selfishness and folly of a fashionable woman can make the most magnificent home intolerable.


From True Womanhood, Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, 1893

We wish the reader to understand the term “fashionable woman” in the odious or objectionable sense in which it is taken by the sound judgment of people of the world.

With “fashions” in so far as they are unobjectionable and mark the changes in dress to which even the best and least worldly persons in society—men as well as women—have to conform, we do not mean to find fault; this would be foreign to our present purpose and serve only to distract the reader unprofitably.

It will be seen by a glance at what we have to say, that our censure addresses itself to an exceptional class of wealthy women, whose number, unhappily, is increasing daily. The home of the wealthiest, we take it, no matter how splendid outwardly or how magnificent and luxurious within, can be at best but splendid misery, where unselfish and devoted love does not preside over the household, provide for the comfort of every person there, and minister to their happiness by the bright cheerfulness without which the most gorgeous furniture has no luster, and the electric warmth of affection, without which courtly manners are but a lifeless show.

Here is a man who has fought a hard battle with fortune, but has won it at last. Like true soldiers on every field, he has not cared during his long struggle for many comforts, —luxury was beyond his reach. But now that fortune lavishes her favors on him, he wishes to enjoy life in a home that shall be, he hopes, a paradise.

Would that many of our most thrifty and fortunate men, though never so upright and honorable, would remember the old pagan superstition about exposing one’s bliss to the eyes of the gods or flaunting one’s prosperity in the sunlight! The “loudest” wealth is never likely to yield unmixed or lasting felicity; this is better secured by quiet tastes, and the repose enjoyed in the shade and with the select few.

But our fortunate man has built and furnished a home so comfortable that only a companion who can be devoted to him is wanting to complete it. He has been attracted by a handsome face and a name without reproach.

Perhaps, on his part, there has been none of that romantic feeling to which the superficial world gives the name of love; but there is in his choice the hearty purpose of finding one who will love him truly, and to whose happiness he wishes to devote his fortune and himself.

She is a woman, young, indeed, and stainless, but selfish and vain; fond of dress, of admiration, of display, and who is anxious to wed a fortune large enough to permit her to gratify all her frivolous tastes.

Her husband had the ambition to succeed in business,—that ambition is now gratified; but he had other and nobler aims which he had to forego in the hard striving after wealth, and which now possess his soul.

He would fain cultivate his mind; he would indulge his taste for such of the fine arts as make home beautiful and home enjoyments more delightful.

In the wife’s family were several persons noted for their culture and scientific attainments; indeed, an accidental acquaintance with one of these had led to a first introduction to the woman whom he had made his bride, and in whom he hoped to find a perfect sympathy for the intellectual aspirations which served to brighten the future before him.

But the literary tastes and scientific pursuits of her relatives had been this woman’s aversion from girlhood; and her husband was not slow in discovering that there was not one particle of intellectualism in her composition.

Her honeymoon, instead of being spent in traveling, was taken up with an unbroken round of receptions and parties. Her powers of endurance, when the ball-room or the theater were concerned, seemed to be unlimited; but, once in her privacy, she seemed never to think that her husband wished to enjoy her companionship, or that she was expected to converse with him, to play or sing for him, or to make a single effort at being his companion for a single hour.

The afternoons were spent in the park, when her equipage had to outshine the richest, and her toilet was made to eclipse the most fashionable. The evenings, for the most part, were consumed in interminable sittings with her French maid, who decked her mistress out with incomparable art for the ball or the theater.

The bridegroom had hoped that this thirst for display and dissipation would be quenched by the unlimited indulgence of the first year of married life, and that after this necessary infliction he should have the quiet of his home and the sweet company of his young wife. Besides, his health could not stand the serious disturbance caused in his regular habits by late hours and this unnatural changing of day into night and night into day.

The second and third years of his matrimonial life found him disappointed, dispirited, and utterly miserable, with the certainty, moreover, of having bound himself for life to a woman who never could be a companion to him, who had neither head nor heart, nothing, in fine, to recommend her but a pretty face, like a painted mask covering an empty skull.

His beautiful home became intolerable to him; and there is no knowing what desperate or downward course the heart-broken man might have pursued, if he had not been asked by one of his wife’s relatives to accompany him on a scientific expedition to our Western territories.

This offer kindled once more his purest ambition; and, after limiting to a very generous amount the monthly expenditure of his young wife, he was glad to escape from his home and to seek knowledge and fame in the field of science.

She, meanwhile, had but one purpose in life, to dress. At the death of a distinguished fellow-citizen she literally spent three whole days and nights visiting the most fashionable warehouses and closeted with the most reputed milliners, to find out what style of hat and what dress she might wear at the funeral, so as to throw the whole of “Vanity Fair” into the shade.

When the springtide of that heartless beauty had passed away, it was already autumn for her. The complexion which was her only charm had been early ruined by the reckless and needless use of cosmetics, much more even than by her feverish life of enjoyment.

No splendor of dress could conceal the fatal decay, and no depth of paint could mask it. And with the consciousness of this premature decline, her fretfulness and peevishness made her intercourse intolerable, unrelieved as its dullness was by a single mental accomplishment, or a solitary conversational grace.

There are showy trees in our American forests whose brilliant flowers attract the eye in spring; but the flowers themselves are of an offensive odor, and they bear no wholesome fruit, while the wood itself is unfit for any useful purpose.

The husband, on his return from the West, sought relief from the dreariness of his home-life in the speculations of the stock-exchange, heeding little, if at all, the remonstrances of a wife he heartily despised.

When last heard of, his name was mentioned as one of many ruined by some sudden fall in railroad stocks. His house and furniture passed out of his possession, and he was left alone with poverty, obscurity, and a wife without head or heart or even beauty.

“I have seen on earth angelic and heavenly manners, admirable beauties in this world, insomuch that the remembrance charms and afflicts me; for all that I now behold seem but dreams, shadows, and smoke. Love, wisdom, merit, sensibility, and grief, formed, in weeping, a sweeter concert than any other ever heard on earth, and the hearers were so attentive to this harmony, that not a leaf trembled on the branches, such was the sweetness which pervaded all the air around.— Henelm Digby, 1848

“It is strange and amazing that those very women who are so delicate that the mere humming of a bee is sufficient to chase them from the most delightful garden of the world, should have the courage to introduce discord into their houses.”— La Moin, La Devotion Aisee.



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The Power of a Good Book

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

St. Augustine was one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived. Unfortunately, he was plunged for many years in error and vice. One of the chief means which made him a great saint was the reading of a good book, the life of St. Antony of the Desert.

St. Ignatius was a rough soldier, trained in the camp and not given much to piety, yet by reading one book he became the great saint that he is. He himself has written a book, The Spiritual Exercises, which has converted and sanctified thousands of its readers.

St. John Columbini was a very lax and indifferent Christian. Dinner was delayed one day, and he became very irritated. His wife offered him a book to amuse him until such time as dinner was served. Glancing at the title and seeing that it was a pious book, he flung it on the floor in a fury.

Regretting this insult to his wife, he picked it up sat down and began to read it. So great was the impression it made on him that he changed his whole life and became a saint.

La Harpe taught the most impious doctrines, which he published in books very cleverly written, causing great harm to his readers. He was thrown into prison, where the solitude proved almost intolerable.

He found a pious book, which, though far from his liking, he read for amusement. Gradually, he became engrossed in it and read chapter after chapter. He was completely converted.

On leaving the prison, he dedicated the rest of his life to writing charming books, in a noble effort to undo all the mischief he had formerly done.

One of the gravest problems that defied the ablest American statesmen for many years was abolition of slavery. Congress after Congress, Administration after Administration came and went in the effort to help the unfortunate slaves.

Finally, a lady writer published a book, the story of a poor slave, which aroused the indignation of all who read it. This book made it feasible for the government to abolish slavery forever in the United States and to set free the millions of slaves who were held in cruel bondage.

A good book that appeals to us is the best and most powerful of preachers. It enlightens us, it stimulates us, it consoles us. We ourselves see every day the wonderful results obtained by the reading of even short, pithy pamphlets.

A celebrated London barrister, himself a convert, distributes small pamphlets, leaving them in trams and trains, on benches in the parks or streets. By this means he has done considerable good. We shall mention one case.

Returning home after a busy day, he put one of these leaflets on a railing in front of a house. A Protestant policeman seeing it, put it in his pocket and went home. As a result of reading it, he and all his family became fervent Catholics.

Frank Estis, a young American officer, wounded in the War, found the long hours in bed so tiresome that he asked his friends to bring him something to read. They brought Catholic magazines, which were eagerly read, not only by Frank but by all the men in the hospital ward.

At the end of eight months, he was able to count on many conversions of Protestants and lapsed Catholics!

On leaving the hospital, he and some others began to visit the hospitals, prisons of the city, the houses of the poor, and they now count hundreds of conversions every year.

It is then sheer madness for Catholics not to give ten or fifteen minutes every day to reading some good book. No one should dare to dispense himself from this imperative duty.

St. Dominic, great saint as he was, though constantly preaching, and spending whole nights in prayer, yet found time to read assiduously the lives of the Saints.

St. Thomas of Aquinas, a prodigy of learning and sanctity, did likewise and found his delights in such reading. And so, too, did all the Saints.

Good reading is so pleasant and easy a way of reaching an eminent degree of sanctity that it commends itself to everyone.

“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,

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Make Your Child Feel Secure – Poor Grades, New Sibling, Finding Courage in God

Painting by Richard Sohn (1834 – 1912, German)

Encourage poor students to try hard in school

The Curé d’Ars is a wonderful saint for children who have to struggle with their schoolwork. He had a terrible time in school; by all the standards, he seemed to be quite dumb. But the kind of wisdom that springs from a soul in love with God the Curé never lacked, and there’s no one today who would dare call him a blockhead.

God counts most how you try, not whether you succeed, and for children who try but still bring home poor report cards, there’s strength to be found in praise for honest effort.

A teacher we know was about to give up with a boy who would not study. She had coaxed and appealed and challenged and scolded, and nothing did any good. Then one day she pretended he had tried. “You know, you’re doing much better. I knew you could, if you’d try.”

From that day on, he began to change. Weeks later, she met his parents, and then she said, “Now I know what was wrong. That child had never been praised for anything. He never even wanted to try.”

Herman the Cripple is the friend of all children who are crippled or badly disfigured. “He could not stand, let alone walk; could hardly sit, even in the special chair they made for him; even his fingers were all but too weak and knotted for him to write; even his mouth and palate were deformed, and he could hardly be understood when he spoke.”

During all his life, Herman was never comfortable, but he was a cheerful soul who spoke of himself as “the least of Christ’s poor ones and yes . . . slower than any donkey.”

Out of all this pain and disfigurement came great glory to God, not only from his industry and determination, for he made astrolabes and clocks and even musical instruments, but from his love — for it’s pretty much agreed that Blessed Herman wrote the Hail Holy Queen.

Children do not need to be protected in their afflictions; they need to know how to use them. When they are used to draw people closer to God, they cease to be afflictions, and they become blessings.

Help your child to accept a new sibling

Jealousy is another insecurity, but only when we lose sight of how we are loved by God. Love is not divided with the coming of a new child in the family, only multiplied. One more baby means another brother or sister to be loved by, as well as another to love.

Helping to care for the baby, doing little chores at bath time and feeding time, thinking of him as “my baby,” gradually wear away at the quite normal jealousy of a child who has suddenly lost the spotlight to a new member of the family.

But the best cure is to see that the baby is a gift of God’s love. “This is really wonderful, when you think what it means. God knew all the time what a fine boy you are, and how you’d make a fine brother. So He sent you a baby to be a brother to. Brothers are grand things to have. They teach things to babies and take care of them. Our baby is so lucky to have a brother like you.”

Most of all, a new baby is like Mary’s Baby, and children who still resent his intrusion will often forget immediately if they are helped to see how like the little Jesus he is. “Little hands, and little feet, and a tiny nose, and such a weak little cry. Just think, this is how Baby Jesus was.”

Reminding them that God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit live happily in the soul of the newly baptized baby, just as They do in our own when we are free of serious sin, helps them learn reverence for him, and saying the night prayers beside the new baby helps to sweeten what little resentments are left.

For older children, praise, special and privileged chores, and especially warm and loving appreciation help to quiet jealousy. “We’re so glad God gave us you. Whatever would we do without you? He knew we’d need someone special to help us, someone with your talents, just your kind of person, and the special one He picked for us was you.”

Encourage your child to find courage in God

Danger — real or imagined — can destroy a child’s security and make some children physically ill, and it never helps a child to make him do something he’s afraid to do. Even the things that cannot be avoided, like entering the hospital or going off to school alone for the first time, can be prepared for with prayer, and grace will come to help.

Our own children suffered a terrible fear of dogs at one time, and the twice-daily walk to the bus and back was running the gamut of fear for them. The dogs they passed never bit them, but they barked so ferociously that certain death was suggested at every turn, and it was only through prayer for faith and trust that they conquered this fear.

God knew about the dogs, and He knew about the children. There was nothing to do but pray for the grace to be unafraid. And when you ask God to protect you, you have to try to act unafraid, even if you still are, a little.

So they made tremendous acts of faith and started out. And they made tremendous acts of will (and didn’t run in front of the dogs). And, of course, because they didn’t run, the dogs didn’t chase, and in a week they were no longer afraid of dogs.

There’s a great difference between walking past dogs alone, and walking past dogs with God, and once children have tasted success with such a simple thing as this, they know how to go about battling the fears that will follow.

Life will never be painless for our children, try as we might to spare them. We are foolish to think that we can. And it’s wise not to waste time trying.

We can bend every energy to giving a child the full measure of God, and in the end, with His help, they can learn to accept and bear, and one day find joy, in whatever assaults their sense of security will have to endure.

“The facts are that Church teaching is supported upon a bedrock of logic and that many of the foremost thinkers throughout history have found her doctrines unassailable. Therefore if you yourself cannot cope with your adolescent’s arguments, you can refer him to Catholic books, literature, and other sources of information.
Do not expect your child to accept a religious teaching simply and solely because the Church says it is so. As an individual with a growing intellectual capacity of his own, he has a legitimate right to know why the Church maintains a certain position.
When helped in a friendly way to understand that position, he will become a stronger Catholic as a result.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook, 1950’s

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The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God and make us more like Him.

No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart! In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life, a simplicity which in the saints is completely focused on its true center, God.

That’s easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.

For our lives are complicated and our personalities too. (We even make our prayers and devotions more complicated than they need be!)

In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for the even the most tangled lives.

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Tidbits for Your Day

We Have a Choice

-Emilie Barnes

If you have been married for any length of time, you realize that your mate is certainly different from yourself.

You may often ask, “Why can’t he [or she] be like me?” The saying around our house is: “Men are weird, and wives are strange.” That is so very true—and God designed us that way!

We are in a real sense “prescription babies” in that God has a custom design for every individual, equipping each for specific achievement and purpose.

As a couple, we can move into our marriage relationship with the confidence that God has put each partner on the earth for a special purpose. As loving mates, our task is to investigate to see what that purpose is and then do all we can to encourage and assist our mates so they can become all that God has planned for them.

We have a choice: We can live in war zones fueled by conflict and frustration or we can live in homes filled with the precious and pleasant riches that come from understanding and accepting our differences.

Make Some Changes, Starting Today!

-Emilie Barnes

Start with yourself. Find out what causes confusion in your life. Establish your own plan on what changes must be made.
Keep it simple. Don’t make your plans too complicated.
Have designated places for everything. Avoid piling up papers, toys, clothes, and so on.
Store like items together. Designate certain places for specific groups: bills, invoices, coffee/tea items, gardening tools, laundry, and so on.
Get rid of items you don’t use. If you haven’t used the item in the last year, give it away, throw it away, or have a garage sale.
Invest in proper tools. Use bins, hooks, racks, containers, lazy Susans to maintain order.
Keep master lists. Keep an inventory of where things are stored in binders, file cards, a computer, or journals.
Use labels and signs. Label everything—specific items, drawers, and bins.


Make Bedtime Special!

-Bob Barnes

Ah, bedtime! The children have played hard, had a filling dinner, taken a warm bath or shower, dressed in their pajamas, and prepared for bed.

This is the relaxing time, the cooling-down period of the day, just before they fall asleep for a good night’s rest.

The easiest thing to do is shuffle them off to bed with a good-night kiss and a possible short “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer.

But if you hastily put them to bed, you miss an opportunity to establish a great legacy that will last all their lives. You can impart so much in this short period of time.

Whether you sing with the children, pray, or share a story, you are creating very special memories in those children’s lives.


-Marva Collins

When you must reprimand your child, do so in a loving manner. Don’t ever try to degrade or humiliate him. His ego is a precious thing worth preserving.

Try saying: “I love you very much but I will not have that kind of behavior. Do you know why I won’t tolerate that? Simply because you are too bright to behave that way.”

Whenever a child does something positive, always take the time to say, “I am so proud of you, bright boy or girl.”

When a child makes a mistake, never call him stupid; simply say “let’s proofread this” or “very good try.”

When the child has a temper tantrum, say to the child, “I don’t know that person who is acting out right now, but I am sure my bright, well-behaved child will return very quickly now. So I’ll just leave the room until he returns.”

Whatever you do to discipline your child, it must be done consistently. Many times we promise rewards for good behavior and never pay up-this teaches the child that your word cannot be trusted.


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  • turn their homes into havens of welcome and blessing
  • build a lifestyle that beautifully reflects their unique personalities
  • enrich their spirits with growing things (even if their thumbs are several shades shy of green)
  • make mealtimes feasts of thanksgiving and kitchen duty fun
  • establish traditions of celebration that allow joy to filter through to everyday life

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Peace and Courage – St. Francis de Sales

If we were to keep these tidbits ever before us our lives would change. Our feathers would get ruffled less, pettiness would vanish, each event that happens throughout the day would become meaningful. Let’s take them to heart…these loving and consoling thoughts!

Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life with fear; rather look upon them with strong hope that, as they arise, God, Whose child you are, will deliver you from them.

He has kept you hitherto—do you but hold fast to His dear Hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; where you cannot walk He will bear you in His Arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same Everlasting Father Who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Take courage, and turn troubles which you cannot remedy into material for spiritual progress.

Often turn to Our Lord, Who is watching you, poor frail little being that you are, amid your labors and distractions. He sends you help and blesses your afflictions. This thought should enable you to bear your troubles patiently and quietly, for love of Him Who only allows you to be tried for your own good.

Raise your heart continually to God, seek His aid, and let the foundation of your consolation be your happiness in being His.

All vexations and annoyances will be powerless to move you while you remember that you have such a Friend—such a Stay, such a Refuge.

Strive to see God in all things without exception, and acquiesce in His Will with absolute submission. Do everything for God, uniting yourself to Him by an upward glance, or by the overflowing of your heart towards Him.

Do not be eager for anything; do everything tranquilly and peacefully. Be comforted.

When the shore is gained, who will heed the toil and the storm? We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our hearts are right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.

If at times we are somewhat stunned by the tempest, never fear; let us take breath and go on afresh. Do not be disconcerted by the fits of vexation and uneasiness which are sometimes produced by the multiplicity of your worries. No indeed, dearest child, all these are but opportunities of strengthening yourself in the loving forbearing graces which Our Lord sets before us.

Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever; not even if your whole world seems upset. Recommend all things to God, and keep yourself tranquil and in repose on the bosom of His Paternal Providence.

Whatever happens, abide steadfastly in a determination to cling simply to God, trusting to His eternal love for you. If you find that you have wandered forth from this Shelter, recall your heart quietly and simply.

Maintain a holy simplicity of mind and do not burden yourself with a host of cares, wishes, or longings, under any pretext whatever.

I would have you invoke God often through the day, saying with St. Paul “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”

“Wouldst Thou have me serve Thee in the lowest ministries of Thy house? Too happy, if I may but serve Thee in any way.”

When any special thing is hard for you, ask, “Wouldst Thou have me do it? Then, unworthy though I be, I will do it most willingly.” Oh, what treasures you will gain in this way—greater than you can conceive!

Every morning compose your soul for a tranquil day. All through it be careful often to recall your resolution, and bring yourself back to it, again and again.

If something discomposes you, do not be upset or troubled; but, having discovered the fact, humble yourself gently before God, and try to bring your mind into a quiet attitude. Say to yourself, “Well I have made a false step; now I must go more carefully and watchfully.”

Do this each time, however frequently you fall. Make constant acts of meekness; seek to be calm, even in the most trifling things. Above all, do not be discouraged; be patient; wait; strive to attain a calm, gentle spirit.

Treat your boys as young men. You want them to grow up to be hardworking and confident. Is it not true, that the more productive we are, the better we feel? Then structure your children’s day to be active and busy—they will thrive under these conditions. -Finer Femininity

Coloring pages…


A sermon for your day! The Real Presence: He is Really There!

Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit My Book List…











Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!

From The Big Book of Catholic Sacramentals by Father Arthur Tonne

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.” – Isaias, 61:10.

On July 21, 1906, Bill Reilly, an eighteen-year old Catholic soldier, was decorated by the President of the United States. He owes his decoration to the scapular which he wore constantly.

On the night of April 10 of the previous spring the two regiments of General Wood were resting after routing a band of Filipinos. After this short rest they were to resume the march.

They were already folding their tents, when a wounded horse galloped into the camp. They examined the animal and found under the saddle a message:

“Don’t depart before daybreak; the Filipinos are lying in ambush.”

General Wood took the advice. In the morning his men found fourteen of his messengers horribly mutilated. Among them was Bill Reilly. He was still living, though unconscious. His life had been spared by the Filipinos.

Why? About his neck Reilly wore his scapular. The Catholic Filipinos out of respect for the scapular spared his life. Reilly was thus enabled to get the message through that saved the entire regiment of 2,500 Americans.

The scapular is much more important as a means of saving souls. It is a popular and powerful sacramental.

The scapular is a badge of religious membership. It consists of two pieces of cloth, one of which is worn on the breast and the other on the back. The two pieces are joined by bands or strings passing over the shoulders. The word is derived from the Latin “scapula” which means shoulder-blade.

A scapular gives its wearer a share in the merits, prayers and spiritual benefits of the group whose badge it is. In some cases it makes the wearer a sort of lay member of some great religious order.

In some religious orders like the Benedictines and Carmelites an outer or additional garment is worn. It is called a scapular. It is a long, wide piece of cloth hanging from the shoulders before and behind to the shoe tops.

In the Middle Ages devout lay people were allowed to become oblates of these orders. That meant they remained in the world but assisted in many of the monastic services and shared in the benefits of the order. As a pledge of this privilege they were permitted to wear the scapular.

With time, and for convenience, this was made smaller. Today we have the large and small scapular. The former is about 5 by 2-1/2 inches and is worn, for example, by the world-wide Third Order of St. Francis.

The small scapular is about 2 by 2-1/2 inches. The scapular of Mount Carmel is about that size.

There are many general regulations with regard to the wearing of this spiritual garment:

  1. The scapular may be given to any Catholic, even to a baby.
  2. It may be given in any place, even in a sick room.
  3. It must be worn in such a way that one part hangs on the breast, the other part on the back. Over the shoulders must be bands connecting the two pieces of cloth. If worn or carried in any other way, the indulgences are not gained. It may be worn under or over all the clothing, or between the under and outer clothing.
  4. When a person has been invested, it is not necessary to bless a new scapular in case the old one is worn out or lost. The wearer simply secures a new one and puts it on. However, one can have it blessed.
  5. The scapular must be worn constantly to share in certain spiritual benefits. Putting it aside for a short time, like an hour or a day, will not deprive of the blessings. If put off for a longer time, one loses all the benefits during that time.

There are about sixteen approved scapulars. The more common are the white, representing the Most Holy Trinity; the red, emblematic of the Passion of our Lord; the brown or Mount Carmel scapular in honor of our Blessed Mother; the black, in honor of the Seven Sorrows of Mary; the blue of the Immaculate Conception; the brown of the Franciscan Third Order.

Aptly has the scapular been called “The Queen’s Uniform.”

If earthly kings and queens honor their deserving subjects by investing them in special orders and companies, if membership in these orders carries with it special privileges and the right to wear the distinctive badge of that group, and if that badge or uniform is respected by all the king’s men and all the queen’s women, surely it is most proper and reasonable that the glorious Queen of heaven and earth, our Blessed Mother, should have special groups of her faithful children on earth who become members officially and thus obtain the right to many spiritual privileges and the right to wear some distinctive garb.

Some idea of the favors possible can be gathered from the prayer as the priest invests with the scapular of Mount Carmel:

“Receive this blessed habit; praying the most holy Virgin that by her merits thou mayest wear it without stain; and that she may guard thee from all evil, and bring thee to life everlasting….

By the power granted me, I admit thee to the participation of all the spiritual good works, which through the gracious help of Jesus Christ are performed by the Religious of Mount Carmel….

May the Creator of heaven and earth. Almighty God, bless (cross) thee; who hath deigned to unite thee to the confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.

We beseech her, in the hour of thy death, to crush the head of the old serpent; so that thou mayest in the end win the everlasting palm and crown of the heavenly inheritance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

May many of you be like Bill Reilly. May you wear the Queen’s uniform–the scapular–faithfully and thoughtfully. May it be a means of many graces, the means also of the greatest grace everlasting life. Amen.

For some good FAQ’s on the scapular visit this post.

In this special month dedicated to Our Lady and her Rosary, let us keep the Blessed Mother’s statue or her picture in the living room daily decorated with fresh flowers and candles.
We can add one or the other prayer, mornings and nights, such as the “Salve Regina “or the “Memorare” or the “Magnificat.” It is traditional throughout the Catholic world to sing hymns in honor of Mary the Mother of God. -Maria von Trapp (afflink)

“The one expenditure necessary for families who would grow in the love and knowledge of the Church is books. These sometimes seem to be entirely out of reach, until we reassess our values and compare how much we spend to feed the bodies, which will one day be dust, and how little to feed the minds, which will live forever. It is worth sacrificing to buy books.” –Mary Reed Newland, The Year and Our Children

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The Hunter and His Son – Plain Talks on Marriage


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

A man who had long given up the practice of his holy faith had a son of about fourteen years of age who had just received his first solemn Communion with sincere piety.

The father was very fond of him.

Shortly after the boy’s first solemn Communion the father accosted him one Sunday morning, saying he should get ready, for they were to go out together to hunt all day.

The boy replied; “Papa, I must go to Mass first.”

At this the father seemed to be peeved, and he rejoined: “Oh, you need not go to Mass now anymore; you are getting old enough to have more liberty.”

Now the boy appeared hurt, and asked: “Papa, does not the Third Commandment say: ‘Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day?'”

“Third Commandment, nothing,” answered the irate father; “that does not mean anything.” The boy gravely looked up at his father and said solemnly: “Papa, if the Third Commandment does not mean anything, then the Fourth Commandment which says: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother,’ does not count either. If I do not have to honor God, I need not honor you.”

At this utterance the father grew pensive. He feared if he would not relent, he would lose his hold on his son. He therefore said cautiously: “Well, maybe it is better that you go to Mass; and I will go with you.”

He continued to accompany his son to Mass ever after to his own and the family’s welfare and happiness. The reason many Catholic parents lose out with their children and have no sway over them is often because they themselves disobey God and ignore his authority.

“If God’s authority means so little to them,” the children argue, “why should my parents’ authority mean anything to me?”

A Catholic couple shows the fear of the Lord by receiving the sacraments worthily and often.

They would dread to take the chance of doing without the heavenly food of our Lord’s Body and Blood for too long. They go frequently, of possible; even every day. They not only approach the holy rail themselves, but they see to it, that all the members of the family communicate often. Their example alone will usually be a sufficient factor to bring this about.



“One of the first essential elements in a wife is faithfulness, in the largest sense. The heart of her husband safely trusts in her. Perfect confidence is the basis of all true affection. A shadow of doubt destroys the peace of married life. A true wife, by her character and by her conduct, proves herself worthy of her husband’s trust. He has confidence in her affection; he knows that her heart is unalterably true to him.” -.J.R.Miller

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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.

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“The Power of a Woman”

by Paul Edwards, 1952, Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur

“The Power of a Woman”

A modern philosopher a few years ago made this statement: “There is nothing in an age that so sharply mirrors its philosophy as the lives of its women.”

By that standard, how does our age measure up? Do the lives of its women mirror a way of life of which we can be proud?

There comes before our eyes a picture of Jesus as a young man thirty years of age. He has left His Mother in Nazareth, and has set out on His work of teaching the people. One day He returns to His native village and enters the synagogue to teach His fellow-townsmen His doctrine and give them the good news of salvation. After He speaks to them they refuse to accept Him, and finally He warns them that they are in danger of losing the special graces God is offering to them.

In sudden rage they rise up and drive Him from the building and up the hill to the cliff. They would cast Him off. He was worthy of death.

The news soon reaches Mary. She rises quickly and rushes into the street to follow the mad crowd, thus putting her own life in danger. If her Son is to die, she is willing to die with Him.

But then events take a new turn. There is a confusion in the crowd. The shouting subsides, and soon a thwarted mob slinks down the hill. Mary steps aside and watches them pass. She realizes now that Jesus has miraculously disappeared.

Today there is a chapel on that hill to commemorate this sorrowful moment in Mary’s life. It is called the Chapel of Mary weeping.

Is the modern attitude toward women tantamount to a rejection of Christ? Would Mary have cause to weep for the women of our age?

Catholic Women to the Fore

The world is filled with crime and sin. In the press, the theater, in books, on the radio and television, the noble ideals of womanhood are being attacked. In such a world which is flaunting morality, Catholic women must defend the standards of Christ and Mary.

Catholic women must reject sinful fashions aimed at arousing the lower passions of men: they must live so as to inspire men to look on woman-hood with pure eyes; Catholic women must rebuild the ideals of marriage. By and large, women will set the moral standards of society.

Catholic women, if they are to fulfill their mission, must dare to be different.

It is up to Catholic women to take the lead in restoring family life and society. If they are to be successful, they cannot be content to go along with the modern tide of paganism.

To get back to Christian standards, requires strong Catholic womanly ideals, a spirit of virtue and self-sacrifice; the spirit spoken of in Solomon’s remark over two thousand years ago: “Who shall find a valiant woman? Her value extends far and wide to the end of the earth.”

We would have a much wider living of the Catholic ideals if every Catholic woman would only realize her tremendous influence for good or evil, out of all proportion to her seemingly small place in the world.

There is more truth than we might suspect in the old proverb: “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”

In the Catholic pattern, women hold a lofty and important spot, and a place with far-reaching responsibilities. A woman need not be in the public eye, in politics or in business to influence the world. “Not in the branches of a tree but in its roots do force and power reside,” wrote one woman very much aware of the potentialities of womanhood.

Woman is a powerful influence in the roots of society. When those roots become strong, pure and healthy, then society will manifest a new life.

It was the Holy Father himself who reminded the world: “Every woman has then, mark it well, the obligation in conscience . . . to go into action in a manner and way suitable to each, so as to hold back those currents which threaten the home, so as to oppose those doctrines which undermine its foundations, so as to prepare, organize and achieve its restoration.”

The formula is simple. Mary, a humble girl, living, in an obscure town left a lasting imprint on womanhood, on family life and on the world.

Today the life of a Catholic woman will have a similar effect on the world IN SO FAR AS HER LIFE IS A REFLECTION OF MARY’S. That briefly ought to be the ideal of every Catholic woman.

~ The friend is one to whom we go for sympathy, encouragement, helpful advice, and inspiration; he is one with whom we can share joy and sorrow; he is, in fine, another self. ~ Friendship should have a positive influence for moral good. The appreciation of the worthiness of the friend should inspire one to a similar worthiness. It lifts up; it brings both nearer to God; it is a union in Christ. -Fr. Gerald Kelly, 1950’s, Painting by Andrew Loomis

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

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

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

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Family Tidbits – Fr. Fulgence Meyer, 1927

From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, 1927

Nature’s Sexual Mysteries

At the age of puberty, when the girls are about thirteen and the boys about fourteen years old, certain physical developments take place in the human organism, with the nature and purposes of which it is wholesome for the children to become acquainted gradually and circumspectly.

It is the part of the father to instruct his sons, and the duty of the mother to instruct her daughters regarding the origin, the meaning and the reproduction of life. It is far better that the children obtain, this valuable and necessary information from wise parents in a decent and sacred manner, than that they get it in a vicious and objectionable way from tainted and corrupt companions.

This instruction properly given will serve the children as a safeguard and protection in the dangerous years of adolescence.

When the angel informed our Blessed Mother that she was to be the Mother of God, she replied: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” (Luke, 1, 34). Evidently, though she was but about sixteen years old at the time, she had a knowledge of the sacred process of human generation; and yet she was the purest of the pure, and more innocent than any angel of God.

Little Crosses: Big Crosses

Little children are said to be little crosses, while big children are said to be big crosses. Formerly it used to be said, that little children step on the mother’s dress, while big children step on their mother’s heart. Woman’s dress today renders this proverb out of date, but the nature of children is the same as ever.

Whatever those sayings may mean and be backed up by, parents make a big mistake in believing that their growing or adolescent children need their attention and correction less than before. They often need them more, although perhaps in a different way.

To achieve the best results in educating their children in the fear of the Lord, it is above all necessary that father and mother work harmoniously and mutually supplementarily.

In other words they work together hand in hand, upholding and endorsing one another, and the one supplies what the other lacks.

The mother will usually abound in grace, tenderness, sympathy, gentleness and kindness: the father will represent dignity, power, firmness, authority and discipline.

As marriage in general, the burden of education will be carried like a yoke. If both go into the same direction, aim at the same goal, and keep about the same tempo, the burden becomes easy, light and agreeable: whereas if one insists on going one way, and the other is stubborn about going into the opposite direction, there will be nothing but confusion, failure, disappointment and ruin.

For the sake of harmony, then, in this very important department of family life, wise concessions from both parties are much in order, and worth all they cost.

The Deadly Lake Ride

A story is told about the evil consequences of division or disharmony of parents in the upbringing of their children.

A girl had asked permission of her father to take a ride in a launch on the lake. It was Sunday afternoon. The father refused permission. He would not accede to the request, no matter how much his daughter pleaded.

When he left the house for a walk, the girl entreated her mother to allow her to take the ride. The mother yielded, but cautioned the child not to let her father suspect that she granted her the permission.

Several hours later a storm suddenly swept over the lake and surrounding territory. The father, who had returned home, was just telling his wife how much he was congratulating himself for not allowing his daughter to go on the lake, when a messenger knocked at the door to bring the sad news that the launch containing the girl and her companions was upset in the storm, and that all its passengers were drowned.

He added, that the corpse of the girl had been recovered, and was ready to be brought in by the men who were waiting outside. Imagine the consternation of the father, and the guilty and crushed feeling of the mother.

Such a catastrophe may not happen often in the physical order, but morally it is, alas, but too frequent.

The Shipwreck of the Soul

Many Catholic children suffer moral and religious shipwreck due to a lack of union and cooperation of father and mother in their education. And what has been said regarding the parents in their relation to one another in this matter, ought to comprise the teachers and pastors of their children also, in the sense that parents should cooperate all they can with them, too, in promoting the welfare of their children.

They will consequently defend and support the authority of pastors and teachers in all things, and never permit the children to make faultfinding or otherwise derogatory remarks about them; much less will they ever openly take a child’s part against the teacher or pastor.

No one is faultless. Teachers and pastors make mistakes as do other human agents.  But it damages rather than benefits the children, if their parents tolerate, or even endorse a critical, carping, disparaging and rebellious attitude on their part towards teachers and priests.

The Power of Love

The best, the most agreeable and effective way for parents to achieve fine results in rearing their children is by harboring for them, and plainly exhibiting towards them genuine, consistent, impartial, generous, sympathetic and unselfish love.

Love begets and elicits counter-love. It is easy for you to guide and train a child that sincerely and fondly loves you.

Enter into their interests, take part in their games and pastimes, as much as possible, and help them with their studies and other laudable efforts towards success. You will thus win their trust and confidence.

They will tell you their secrets, acquaint you with their ambitions, and inform you of their friendships and their loves. They will appreciate your counsels, and welcome your guidance.

It will be easy for you then to know the company they keep, the amusements they frequent, and the acquaintances they make. In other words, parental watchfulness, instead of being an irksome task, will be for you an agreeable duty.

Fortunate the child whose mother stands by its cradle like a Guardian Angel to inspire and lead it in the path of goodness! – Pope Pius XII

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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.

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