A Tribute to Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day to Mothers Everywhere…..to mothers who give and give and then give some more. It is what we were made for, it is what we live for and it will be what we die for. Once a mother, always a mother. We watch them come into the world, we nurture them, try to solve their problems, and then watch them as they leave and embark on their own journeys.

We pray for them, we hurt for them, we rejoice for them. Whether they are near or far, our hearts are entwined with theirs. It is bittersweet…..more sweet than bitter!

“A mother will never desert her boy. For she loves him with a love that is as strong and deep as life itself.”

Angelo and Mom (me)

My Mom

A Tribute to Mothers by Rev. John A. O’Brien, 1953

By universal proclamation our nation has added another memorial day to her calendar – Mother’s Day.

It is a day on which we pause to pay the tribute of our love and reverence to our mothers if living, to their memory if dead. It is eminently fitting that we should thus pause for a brief moment in the turmoil of life to give explicit expression to sentiments which have been latent in the hearts of each of us throughout all the days of the year.

It is good psychology to give fitting expression to such sentiments. For instead of allowing them to wane, we thereby strengthen and intensify them.

Such considerations are, moreover, wholesome and salutary for us because they render us more clearly conscious of the debt we owe our mothers.

“Motherhood,” says Frederick A. Stowe, “is the Gethsemane of nature.”

When the child is born the mother begins to die—die for the new life dearer than her own, die in service for another, die in dreams of peaceful valleys she shall not enter, die upon battlefields whose shouts of victory she shall not hear.

No sacrifice for the young is begrudged by the mother. Toward the sun of a new life, all nature turns. The springtide bursts with prodigality but there is not a drop of sap for the autumnal leaf. At the meridian declination begins. Reproduction is the inexorable ambition of the material world.

“In its spiritual aspects, motherhood is isolated because it is great. There is no speculation as to mother’s status. Conceded eminence is as lonely as some crag which lifts its head above the fugitive clouds and defies the furious winds below.

Youth loves to dwell in the warm valleys of patronage. It is eager for adventure and the conquests of blood. It rushes toward prospects and is ever willing to take a chance.

Reflection is the fruit of maturity. We do not begin to bear sense until passions are spent, and Time, which is a strict accountant, demands an audit.”

Various Kinds of Love

There are various kinds of love on this earth. There is the love of a friend for a friend, of a chum for his chum.

It is a beautiful sentiment and one which all the world admires. But friends fall out at times; the love cools and even turns to hatred.

There is the love of sweethearts. It is beautiful and tender and sweet. But sometimes the fancy changes, the romance fades, and sweethearts part.

There is the love of husband and wife, tender true and sanctified by divine grace. But the world witnesses at times the separation even of husband and wife, the pitiful tragedy of a broken home.

Then there is the love of a mother for her child. It is the climax of all human love – as strong as the great rugged Alpine Mountain peaks, as tender as the breath of an angel, as infinite as the measureless waters of the ocean, as changeless as the stars that shine eternally in the skies.

Friends may fall out, the romance of sweethearts may fade, husband and wife may separate, but a mother will never desert her boy. For she loves him with a love that is as strong and deep as life itself.

Aye, it seems to rise above all human love, and to burn with a spark that was caught from the flame of the love that is eternal and divine–the love of God for man.

I like to think that God has given us a foreshadowing and a foretaste of His own infinite love for human souls in the love He has planted in a mother’s breast.

From the Prayer Book Precious Blood and Mother:

There are soft words murmured by dear, dear lips,
Far richer than any other;
But the sweetest word that the ear hath heard
Is the blessed name of “Mother.”

O magical word! May it never die,
From the lips that love to speak it.
Nor melt away from the trusting heart,
That even would break to keep it.

Was there ever a name that lived like this?
Will there ever be such another?
The Angels have reared in Heaven a shrine
To the holy name of “Mother.”

 

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Mother Songs:

This first video/song was the song for our Mother and Son Dance at my son’s (Colin’s) wedding.

Colin and I, Mother-Son Dance

It has beautiful words and brings tears to my eyes each time I hear it. ๐Ÿ™‚

This song is beautiful, also. A Mother’s song by Celtic Thunder.

“For years, while raising children, a mother’s time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out and demanding something. Hence, a mother raising children, perhaps in a more privileged way even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her will, to constantly stretch her heart.”

 

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

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

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

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

Tidbits from True Womanhood

This is a beautiful excerpt from a beautiful book.
What struck me in the first small part was this power we have, as mothers, to instill in our children the habits and general dispositions they will tend toward as they grow older. It causes us to “pull up our socks”, once again. We have such great influence over our children’s lives! And what a noble calling motherhood is! We are blessed to realize it!

From: The Mirror Of True Womanhood: A Book Of Instruction
For the Women In The World

Omnis honos, omms admiratio, omne studium ad mrtutem et ad eas actiones
qucB virtuti sunt consentanece refertur.

“All honor, admiration, and zealous endeavor is referred to virtue and to the actions which are conformable to it.” CICERO.

It is said of one of the most celebrated men of the last century, that, when a mere babe, he was made to love flowers and all beautiful things in nature. His father, a distinguished naturalist, would take the child with him into the garden, and while he was busied watering the plants and examining how it fared with each of them, he would place in the child’s hands and on his lap bunches of the loveliest flowers.

Whether or not it was an inbred disposition in the child, he would, so the story of his life relates, amuse himself with the bright and fragrant things, admiring and studying them more and more as he grew up, till this pursuit became an irresistible fascination; and thus, from botany to other departments of natural science, the student progressed, revealing to his fellow-men the wonders that he had discovered, and leaving behind him an immortal name.

Even so is it possible to place in the hands and keep before the eyes of childhood some of the loveliest and most fragrant flowers of goodness, purity, and heroism which bloom innumerable in the Church of God, and thereby awaken in the innocent soul the sense of moral beauty, till the study and pursuit of all that is ennobling and elevating becomes an absorbing passion.

Virtues of a Mother

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Generosity, devotedness, self-sacrifice are the characteristic virtues of woman: in Him they shine forth with surpassing splendor; and, next to Him, the Blessed Mother, so near and dear to Him, is the most perfect mirror of womanly perfection. She is the โ€œWoman clothed with the Sun.”

She gave him the Sacred Body in which He practiced the sweet human virtues befitting childhood, boyhood, and manhood, the deeds which graced the lowly home of Joseph and Mary at Nazareth, and those which adorned the three years of his public life, till His work was consummated on the cross.

Enlightened and warmed by this close and continual union with Him, who is the true Sun of Holiness, during the thirty years of intimacy at Nazareth, this Mother, blessed among women, could not help reflecting more perfectly than any other human being the thoughts, the aims, the sentiments, the humility and the self-sacrificing charity of her divine Son.

Thus her life was invested from this most privileged intimacy, with such a light of supernatural holiness, that it vividly pictured the life of Jesus. She had been closest, nearest, and dearest to Him, had studied Him most attentively and lovingly, had followed faithfully in His footsteps from the manger to the cross, and was, when He ascended to heaven, the living image of her crucified love to all who believed in His Name.

We are all the children of these great parents, and are therefore bound to become like to them in mind and heart and conduct. None can attain to the eternal glory of the children of God in the life to come, but such as will have acquired this living likeness by generosity in imitating God’s incarnate Son.

“Always act patiently and answer graciously. That it takes the ‘patience of an angel’ to rule vigilantly over the little world of the family is beyond question.
Affability is essential.
By good will you will gain hearts and souls without exception. Loving much is the key to gain all.”
-Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., 1950’s https://amzn.to/2D7CSvt (afflink)

๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’™This Maglet is for you, lovely wives, who have dedicated your life to your faith and to your husband.
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If it is in Godโ€™s providence you bring children into the world, your goal is to raise a wholesome, dedicated Catholic familyโ€ฆin an ungodly world. This is a seemingly insurmountable task considering the obstacles before us.
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Our first line of defense is the bond we must have with our husband. Besides our spiritual life, which gives us the grace to do so, we must put our relationship with our husband first. It is something we work on each day.
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How do we do this? Many times it is just by a tweaking of the attitude, seeing things from a different perspective. It is by practicing the virtuesโ€ฆ.self-sacrifice, submission, thankfulness, kindness, graciousness, etc.
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The articles in this maglet will help you with these things. They are written by authors that are solid Catholics, as well as authors with old-fashioned values.
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Take this information to heart and your life will be filled with many blessings!
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The Excellence of Motherhood

 

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

Nature’s Great Mystery

The labor of childbirth for the mother remains one of the deepest mysteries of nature. Why something that is so necessary for the preservation of the human race should be coupled with so much difficulty, pain and danger baffles our understanding.

The fall in paradise and the consequent curse inflicted by the Lord upon woman hardly accounts for what we call the natural mystery; for human nature, whilst it dropped from its preternatural and supernatural elevation through the fall, is not worse or otherwise than it would have been, had it never been elevated.

Why then is childbirth naturally so arduous and perilous?

The Excellence of Motherhood

The best explanation seems to be given by the high dignity and sublime prerogative of motherhood. Nature demands a corresponding payment for whatever distinctions and privileges she bestows.

She confers no higher excellence and gives no loftier station than that of motherhood: hence the big price she demands in return in the way of maternal suffering, anxiety and dread.

Her reward for their endurance, however, is also in proportion to their size and intensity.

Our Lord expresses it thus: “A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John, 16, 21).

By common consent mankind gives more consideration, appreciation and gratitude to the mother than to the father. We have a fine historical illustration of this in the rapturous exclamation of the woman in regard to our Savior: “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee” (Luke, 11, 27).

She centered all her admiration and gave all the credit to the mother. Jesus had no father according to the flesh, of course; yet the woman was not aware of this when she declared her sentiments.

The mother naturally seems also to get greater joy out of parenthood than does the father. She feels a sweeter transport and a higher pride in being able to point to her children and say with the ancient Roman matron: “Behold my jewels.”

In view of all this a sensible woman willingly resigns herself to the ordeal of motherhood when she feels called to it by God.

What Mankind Owes to Motherhood

It was in and through motherhood that one of our kin was elevated to the highest dignity, and endowed with the sublimest sanctity any actual or possible created being is capable of :โ€” at the incarnation of the Son of God.

Through becoming His Mother, Mary at once and forever rose above all the angels and archangels of heaven. Through her divine motherhood she more than repaired the loss inflicted upon mankind by the first woman.

For the paradise Eve deprived us of Mary gave us heaven: a prettier, a more blessed and a more glorious heaven than we should have had, had Eve never seduced Adam to sin.

So much we owe to motherhood. What a grand privilege, then, accrues to every woman who becomes and is a mother after God’s own heart!

Your job is to help them reach this state of full and complete independence in a gradual fashion. And your success as a mother will depend to a great extent upon the amount of emancipation you permit them as they step progressively toward adulthood. Therefore you should try to judge realistically when your children truly need your help and when they do not. -Fr. George Kelly, 1950’s https://amzn.to/2NXlMld

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The Catholic and His Medals

In these times of much evil, when truly the devil goes about “seeking whom he may devour”, let us make as much use of what Holy Mother Church gives us in order to put on our “armor” for each day, dodging the attacks that may come upon us!

-Father Arthur Tonne, The Big Book of Sacramentals

MEDALS

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected that is accepted with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” – I Timothy, 4:4

The magazine, Ave Maria, of May 2, 1942, reported a human interest story sent in by a war correspondent. It concerned a certain Second Lieut. Clarence Sanford, a pursuit pilot, whose life was saved by the medal he wore.

When he became separated from five other American fighter planes, he lost his way in the South Pacific. His fuel ran low, and he was forced down into the gulf of Carpentaria which indents Australia on the north. He was over two miles from the closest island. He stripped off his clothes and began to swim. He made the beach but fell exhausted in a sound slumber.

He awoke to see two natives leaning over him with the points of their spears aimed at his chest. Suddenly their expressions changed; they noticed the medal about Sanford’s neck. In difficult English one of them declared: “All right, Jesus No. 1 Man.”

The natives helped the exhausted flyer to a mission nearby, the only civilized spot within 500 miles. From there he finally made his way back to his squadron.

A medal saved that soldier’s life.

Similar instances of physical protection secured through the wearing of a religious medal are so numerous that one cannot question the heavenly aid which they secure for the body of man.

Much more important, however, is the spiritual aid which they give to those who wear them devoutly and thoughtfully. That is the principal reason Mother Church approves and fosters the wearing of them. It is putting another creature–metal from the earth–to a sacred use.

Religious medals are pieces of metal resembling coins of various sizes and shapes. They are designed to increase devotion, to commemorate some religious event, to protect the soul and body of the wearer, and to serve as a badge of membership in some society, sodality, or other spiritual group.

When they are blessed, they become sacramentals. Some blessed medals also bring indulgences to the one who uses them.

Religious medals have been used from the dawn of Christianity. Many have been found in the catacombs, with the name of Christ and figures of the saints upon them.

In the Middle Ages certain souvenirs in the form of medals were brought home as keepsakes by pilgrims to famous shrines and places of devotion.

In 1950 many who visit Rome will bring home some such reminder of their pilgrimage. The variety of medals is almost without limit as to size, shape, color, weight, type of material, and especially purpose.

We might divide them into three principal groups:

1.Those in honor of our Lord, like the medal of the Sacred Heart, the Savior of the World, the Holy Childhood, the Infant of Prague, and the Ecce Homo or Behold the Man medal. We even have a medal representing the Holy Spirit as a dove.

2.Those in honor of the Blessed Virgin are numerous: The Sorrowful Mother, Our Lady of Victory, Mount Carmel, Good Counsel, Perpetual Help, Lourdes, Guadalupe and Fatima. The Miraculous Medal is perhaps the best known and most widely worn.

In 1830 our Immaculate Mother appeared several times to a young French nun, Sister Catherine Laboure. She appeared as if in an oval picture, standing on a globe, half of which was visible. Mary was clothed in a white robe and a mantle of shining blue.

Her hands seemed covered with diamonds. Rays shone from these diamonds upon the earth. A voice explained: “These rays are symbolic of the graces Mary obtains for men, and the point upon which they fall most abundantly is France.”

Around the picture in golden letters were these words: “O Mary! Conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

On the reverse is the letter “M” surmounted by a cross, having a bar at its base. Beneath the “M” are the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Mary asked that medals be struck from this model. These miraculous medals are highly treasured.

3.We also wear medals in honor of the saints–St. Joseph, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, St. Anthony, St. Aloysius, St. Agnes, St. Ann, St. Christopher, the Little Flower, St. Benedict and many others.

4.Another group includes those in honor of religious events like First Communion, Confirmation, jubilees, Eucharistic Congresses, and the Holy Year. These coin-like sacramentals have three meanings: for the person who wears them; for the person who sees them; with regard to Christ, Mary and the saints represented.

1.For the wearerโ€”

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  a.A medal is a means of power. It helps the wearer to share in the rich treasures of prayer and good works of the Church. Definitely there is no superstition in this. We do not expect that piece of metal to save us, but we do expect, and rightly, that when we honor those represented, we will share in their good works.

ย  ย ย ย ย ย ย  b.It is a reminder that the wearer must be worthy to carry the representation of such holy people.

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  c.It prompts the one using this sacramental to perform every act in way worthy of it.

2.For those who see itโ€”

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  a.If Catholics, they recognize the wearer as one of their faith, just as the natives with their menacing spears recognized the pilot of our story.

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  b.If non-Catholics, they know this Catholic is not ashamed of his faith.

3.For those whose image it bears, the medalโ€”

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  a.Is a source of honor and veneration.

ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  b.A reminder of the virtues and influence of that individual. Again we emphasize that you don’t have to wear a medal or medals to be a Catholic, no more than you had to wear a dog-tag or identification disc as a soldier during the war.

But–the medal identifies you. It wins for you the heavenly help of the one pictured upon it. It tells others about your faith. It reminds you constantly that you must be worthy to wear it. Make the most of this sacramental. Amen.

St. Benedict Medal

You can make your greatest contribution to your family as the heart of your home. From you, your children should learn to love others and to give of themselves unstintingly in the spirit of sacrifice. Never underestimate the importance of your role. -Rev. George Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook, 1950’s https://amzn.to/2LmAHch (afflink)

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The rosary, scapulars, formal prayers and blessings, holy water, incense, altar candles. . . . The sacramentals of the Holy Catholic Church express the supreme beauty and goodness of Almighty God. The words and language of the blessings are beautiful; the form and art of statues and pictures inspire the best in us. The sacramentals of themselves do not save souls, but they are the means for securing heavenly help for those who use them properly. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to help devotion, and thus secure grace and take away venial sin or the temporal punishment due to sin. This beautiful compendium of Catholic sacramentals contains more than 60,000 words and over 50 full color illustrations that make the time-tested sacramental traditions of the Church โ€“ many of which have been forgotten since Vatican II โ€“ readily available to every believer.

Month of May, Month of Mary!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Let-us-run_Mary-Quotes-1024x683Never-been_Mary-Quotes

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

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

Visit My Book List for some great reading suggestions!

 

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Patience Towards Others

butterflies-smell-lovely-scent-1367-2054x1769From Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Phillipe.

Let us apply this then to a desire that we have that others around us would behave better: that this desire would be peaceful and without distress. Let us know how to remain calm even when others around us act in a manner that seems to us erroneous and unjust.

We should clearly do what depends on us to help them, even to see that they are reproved and corrected, in line with the potential responsibilities that we have to assume with regard to them, but everything should be done in gentleness and peace. When we are powerless, let us be quiet and let God act.

How many people lose their peace because they want, at any price, to change those around him! How many married people become agitated and irritated because they would like their spouses not to have this or that fault!

The Lord asks us, on the contrary, to bear with patience the faults of others. You must reason as follows: if the Lord has still not transformed this person, has not relieved him of such and such an imperfection, it is because He puts up with him as he is! He waits, with patience, the opportune moment.

Then I must do likewise. I must pray and be patient. Why be more demanding and impatient than God?

I think sometimes that my haste is motivated by love. But, God loves infinitely more than I do; however He is less hurried!

Therefore be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Think of the farmer: how he waits for the precious yield of the earth, patiently waiting until it receives the early and late rains! (James 5:7).

This patience is all the more important in that it brings about in us a purification that is absolutely indispensable.

We believe that we wish the good of others, or our own good, but this wish is frequently mixed with a great deal of hidden search for oneself, our own will, our attachment to personal beliefs, narrow and limited, to which we cling so much and that we wish to impose on others and sometimes even on God.

We must at all costs be free of this narrowness of heart and judgment, in order that it is the good, not such as we imagine it or conceive it, that is realized, but that which corresponds to the designs of God, so much more vast and appealing.

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When children are taught that their chores can be prayer….that the drudgery can be applied to the sufferings of some other child somewhere, who has no bed to make, who must spend his nights curled up in a hole, shivering, starved, unhappy, and with no one to care for him…those same chores can be changed into great spiritual joy! -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2op5ZSs (afflink)

BOOK REVIEW!

This book, Divine Intimacy, has been an invaluable meditation book for me and for my family!

From Baronius Press

About the Book:

This Book of Meditations is a classic and is seeped in Carmelite spirituality. For every day it offers two meditations, in liturgical arrangement, that enable the soul to enter the conscious presence of God and to reflect on the theme of the day. These are followed by a โ€˜Colloquyโ€™ that helps the person at prayer to start a friendly conversation with God where acts of praise and love, petition and thanksgiving are made, together with good resolutions for the future. Here we are at the very heart of prayer, which is a heart-to-heart encounter in faith with the living God.

Divine Intimacy is the highest state attainable on earth. In this union of love, the soul produces acts of love which have an immense apostolic influence on a multitude of souls. This knowledge of the ways that lead to God, according to the teaching of the renowned Spanish mystics, is distilled into the pages of this book.

About the Author:
Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., was a Discalced Carmelite priest who became one of the most revered masters of the spiritual life. He acquired a vast knowledge of the ways that lead to holiness and to union with God. His experience with souls, whom he guided to the heights of perfection, was outstanding. He was an expert in the spiritual and mystical doctrine of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) and of St. John of the Cross. The Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of St. Joseph in Rome were the heirs of the Father Gabrielโ€™s vast output of published works and private manuscripts. For ten years, he guided these nuns as their confessor and spiritual director, and it was they who helped him to arrange his material in line with the course of the liturgical year, while following the ascent of the soul to transforming union with God, or to โ€˜Divine Intimacy.โ€™

This is a great review from Jennifer D. Walker

This book is a remarkable tool of apologetics and devotion, intellectual understanding and spiritual fervor, for here is the result of a combination of the strength of the Dominicans, who are noted for their exemplary preaching, eloquence and philosophy and the strength of the Carmelites, noted prayer warriors, marked by their sanctity, fervor and total devotion to God.

Each entry begins with a brief ejaculatory prayer meant to place one in a deeper awareness of the presence of God. This is followed by 2 meditations on the given subject, which is loosely related to the older (pre-Vatican II) Catholic calendar of daily Scriptural readings. The meditations are concluded with an inspired prayer, frequently one penned by a Carmelite Saint, such as Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity or Saint Therese or a Dominican such as Saint Catherine of Sienna, Saint Dominic or Saint Thomas Aquinas.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Waking of the Love Nature

Painting by Marcel Marlier

by Helen Andelin, Beautiful Girlhood

โ€œLove is of God.โ€*

Every real woman loves. Her first love is that of the little child for its mother. Once, to lie in her motherโ€™s arms and to look up into that dear face filled all her little heart. After a while she was conscious of her father and her brothers and sisters, and gradually they began to fill a large place in her affections.

By and by her widening circle of love took in her little friends, and older people who were kind to her, until at last the schoolgirl of ten or twelve, if her childhood had been what it should be, stood at the door of beautiful girlhood with a wealth of love in her own heart, and with just as bountiful a measure of love bestowed upon her by others.

It is at this time that another love nature begins to waken, something the little girl has heard about, but never has felt before. The cause of this awakening lies in the changes that are taking place in her body. Organs that have been asleep all these years begin now to rouse from their stupor and to stir into growth and action, her whole body grows very rapidly and takes on a new form, and new feelings and emotions are awakened and thrill her very soul.

This change in the body is so rapid, and it affects the disposition so greatly, that the girl gets all out of harmony with herself. It is as if she should come home some evening, to the very house where she had been living all the time, and, going in, should find the rugs and curtains all changed and considerable new furniture about, but nobody present to tell her what it all meant.

How bewildered she would feel as she stood for a while trying to understand, and how awkward and confused she would feel! At such a time she would very likely call out for her mother, that she might understand the changes that had taken place in the home.

Just so it is with the girl of twelve or thirteen. It is her same body, she is herself, but for reasons that she cannot fathom everything seems different. New feelings and emotions have come into her heart like new furniture, while her love for her dolls and many childish games seems to have been set back out of the way.

If the girl at this time will call out to her mother for explanation and guidance, she will get along all right; but some girls turn resolutely from their mother just now when they need her most, and get themselves into tangles that almost spoil their young lives.

One of the strongest new emotions that come to furnish this house the girl is to live in is her new love nature. By this nature I mean that affection which comes between boys and girls, and which is meant in time to prepare them properly to choose a companion for life.

The effects of this awakening are peculiar. The boy becomes bashful and painfully self-conscious. He feels awkward and ill at ease and has a great dread of strangers, especially if they are women or girls, keeping himself out of sight at such times as much as possible.

The girl, on the other hand, is liable to be more bold, and you will see her, if she is not properly guided by a wise mother, doing many things that are bold and daring. She dresses her hair in new and extravagant ways, is very particular about her dress, and studies her face to make it as beautiful as possible, all that she may be attractive and pleasing. Often she is unconscious that her attitude toward the boys has anything to do with her extreme care as to appearance; but it has a great deal to do with it. Her new nature is waking.

This new love nature wants someone to love, and is soon reaching out to find that one; but it is not wise to allow it to have its own way, or the purpose of God will be frustrated. This nature is intended to assist in the choice of a lifemate when the girl has grown older. Now it should be guarded carefully and allowed to grow and develop until the girl is capable of loving in a true, womanly manner. It is impossible to choose understandingly for life while yet in extreme youth, and those who are wise wait till they are older.

If girls allow themselves to fancy they are in love when they are yet very young, they will form extreme attachments, imagining they are desperately in love, only to have this passion pass away to give place to a new fancy. Thus in a few years the store of love that should have been saved till the good time when they should have a husband and home, is frittered away on this one and that, and they are left almost without ability to love.

This new nature that is waking should be thought of as a beautiful plant given of God to be protected and cherished till it has become large and strong. If you had a delicate house plant that was meant to be handled carefully and kept from the wind and heat, would you not be foolish to carry it out with you exhibiting it to everyone you met, letting it feel the hot sun, the sharp wind, and even the bitter cold? Your plant would either soon die entirely, or be stunted and never become perfect in beauty.

So it is with this new nature within you. If it is kept carefully as a sacred trust, it will grow into strong, warm affection that will be a rich store of joy and happiness for you by and by; but if brought out now and allowed to go to this one and that one it will wear itself away and lose its warmth and ardor.

Mary Wells often felt that her life was made hard because she was not allowed to go into young company as Bessie Wilson did. They were about the same age, neither of the girls being yet sixteen. Mary was treated as a little girl in that she seldom was allowed out at night, never โ€œwent with the boys,โ€ was kept regularly in school, and was referred to as Mr. Wellsโ€™ little daughter.

Bessie, on the other hand, dressed like a young woman, was often out to parties and theaters, had a sweetheart, and passed among the older girls as one of them. In school Mary was ahead of Bessie, who was just ready to quit because she was โ€œtired of schoolโ€ and had so little time for it.

โ€œPapa,โ€ said Mary one day, โ€œI am as old as Bessie Wilson, I am in a higher class in school, and I am as tall as she is, yet I may never do the things she does, but have to look and act like a child. When are you going to let me grow up?โ€

โ€œMary, do you remember that lily that blossomed here in the window so early this spring?โ€

โ€œYes, but it is dead now. It seemed to give its whole strength to make that one blossom. It looked pretty then, but really those which blossomed at the right time were prettier,โ€ said Mary.

โ€œThat is just what I wanted you to remember. That lily was pretty, but it was forced along too fast, blossomed before its time, and died. That is the way with many girls. They blossom before their time. I want my daughter to come to her full, mature beauty.โ€

โ€œDo you mean that Bessie is blossoming too young?โ€ asked Mary.

โ€œWhen you come to the fullness of your youth, when you are like a rose in full bloom, poor Bessie will already be fading.โ€

Mary said no more, but she watched, and her fatherโ€™s prophecy was true. When Mary came to the full beauty of her young womanhood, Bessie was already a disappointed young wife, with her health gone.

Girls who are guided properly through the age of first love are reserved and careful. It is not always easy for a girl to submit to the advice of Mother and Father, to keep out of the social whirl, to remain a little girl, to dress modestly and act as quietly as she should; but every girl who will bring herself into obedience now will have much to be thankful for in coming years. At no time in a girlโ€™s life does she need her motherโ€™s oversight as in those years when the love nature is waking, and new experiences are crowding in upon her.

A girl should not go out alone with boy company, nor should she be one of a crowd of boys and girls out at night or off on a long hike or ride unless they are properly chaperoned. All these safeguards about a girl are like a wall of protection to her.

โ€œYou act as though you cannot trust me,โ€ said one girl because her mother insisted that during these years she should be carefully guarded.

โ€œI do trust you, Daughter; but I would not have you placed in a position in which I could not personally vouch for your conduct if any question should come up. You are not yet old enough to be safe in relying wholly on your own judgment.โ€

Generally when a girl has passed her sixteenth birthday she begins to see things more clearly, is not so broken up in her nature, and possibly begins to understand what a blessing her motherโ€™s care has been to her. If she is a girl of ordinarily good judgment, she will in another year or two begin to look at things from the standpoint of a young woman, not with the excited eyes of a child.

“With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.”
–Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church

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

This is the book that traditionally minded Catholic family women have been looking for. Long out of print, this rare jewel is destined to become the favored spiritual guide for Catholic wives and mothers. Msgr. Landriot gave these conferences over 100 years ago but they are as relevant to us today as the Gospels. Think of this book as a practical guide for women who want to achieve sanctity in the home. Reading this book is the best thing you could do for your husband and children, as well as yourself, if a common sense plan for becoming a Valiant Woman yourself is what you need. To help women to raise truly Catholic families and keep them Catholic and striving for sanctity is why this book was published. This is not a book that will be read once and then gather dust for years on the shelf. It is a handbook and will be read over and over again….


How to be a Good Father – Rev. George A. Kelly

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Wonderful book! The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. Kelly, 1950’s

Yesterday I published How to be a Good Mother, and here is the follow-up…

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Probably nobody denies that the typical father exercises less authority in his home today than at any time in history. Reasons for this decline probably are of no interest or help in the present discussion; but the effect of it cannot be overlooked. For evidence accumulated by psychiatrists, social workers and similar experts proves unmistakably that when children lack a strong father to guide them, they suffer serious damage in many important ways.

Consider these facts:

There is a startling growth in homosexual tendencies among the young, and most authorities agree that the boy who develops feminine characteristics usually has had unsatisfactory relations with his father in one or several important respects.

Increases in juvenile delinquency–a headlined trend in every part of the country–are also due to the weak position of the father; the lack of an affectionate and understanding relationship between father and son is a prevalent characteristic in the background of boys charged with criminal offenses.

Many authorities also blame the shocking rates of divorce and marriage breakdowns to this cause. The fathers of those who cannot succeed in marriage often never gave their children a realistic example of how a man should live with his wife in this relationship.

The importance of the father as an example of manhood to his son and daughter probably cannot be overestimated.

For example, one day your son may marry and have a family.

To be a successful father, he should know how to train his children; how to treat his wife and their mother in their presence; what to discuss with them about his work; how to show them manual skills, such as repairing a chair or painting furniture; how to perform in countless other important areas. The best way to learn how to act as a father is to observe one in action.

What ideals will he display as husband and father? To a large extent, that answer will depend upon those he has learned from you, his father, in your own home. What part will he play in the religious education of his children? The answer will largely depend upon whether you have led the family to Mass each Sunday, whether you say grace before meals in your home, whether you take an active part in the spiritual life of your parish.

How should he act toward his wife–aloof, affectionate, domineering, docile? Here too the answer will mainly depend upon your example.

The adage, “Like father, like son,” is firmly based on fact. No matter how much he may resist your influence, your son will be like you in many different ways.

If your influence is wholesome, the effect upon him will be wholesome.

If you are a bad father, you will almost surely corrupt him in some significant way.

Remember also that you represent God before your child because you are–or should be–the figure of authority in your home.

He will be taught that he can always depend upon the mercy and goodness of the eternal Father, but it will be difficult for him to grasp the full importance of that teaching if he cannot rely upon the goodness of his earthly father.

It has been said that, in addition to giving wholesome example, a good father follows four fundamental rules in his dealing with his children.

First, he shows himself to be truly and sincerely interested in their welfare. Secondly, he accepts each child for what he is, and encourages any special talent which the youngster possesses. Thirdly, he takes an active part in disciplining his children. And finally, he keeps lines of communication open with them at all times. Each of these rules is worth detailed consideration, because the typical American father often ignores one or more of them.

  1. Show an interest in your child’s welfare. You can do this by devoting time to him, every day if possible. Try to discuss with him his experiences, problems, successes and failures. By giving yourself to him in this intimate way, you give him the feeling that he can always depend upon you to understand and help him in his difficulties.

In a large family, it is especially important that you find time for intimate moments with each child. Every youngster should know that his father is interested in him as an individual, and is sympathetic with him and devoted to his welfare.

Modern fathers may find it more difficult to make their children an intimate part of their lives than did men of a few generations ago.

Today’s fathers often work many miles away from home. They leave for their jobs early in the morning and do not return until late in the evening, perhaps after the children are in bed. Unlike the men of an earlier age who often worked close to their homes, today’s fathers may seldom see their youngsters during the week. To offset this condition, they should try to devote as much of their week ends to them as possible.

This does not mean that you should be a “pal” to your children or that you must act like a juvenile, when aging bones may not permit this. But at family gatherings, picnics, trips to the ball park or even visits to the school, you are sharing leisure moments with them.

  1. Accept your child and encourage his talents. One man hoped for a son, and found it impossible to conceal his disappointment when a girl was born. He now spends much time trying to inculcate masculine virtues in her and berates her constantly because she is not proficient at sports.

A successful lawyer prides himself upon his intellect and once hoped that his son would achieve great scholastic success. But the lad, now in high school, has shown no pronounced ability in academic work; however, he is skilled at working with his hands. He must face unending sneers from his father about his “stupidity.

A third man married a beautiful woman and expected his daughters to be beauties too. One girl is extremely plain, however. Even at the age of ten she knows that she is a complete disappointment to her father.

All of these examples indicate ways in which fathers display a lack of acceptance of their children. It is a fact that the qualities a child inherits–his physical attributes, aptitudes, and many other characteristics–are the result of chance. He may be a genius or an idiot: you should not claim credit if the first possibility occurs any more than you should feel ashamed for the second.

The moral is plain: your children are a gift from God, and you should always accept each of them in a spirit of gratitude. In fact, the saintly father will accept a defective child with greater gratitude, for God has offered him an opportunity to provide more love, affection and direction than the ordinary youngster might need.

Remember also that your child is an individual, with talents which you perhaps cannot appreciate. Let him develop them in the best way possible.

In attempting to learn why many gifted children do not go to college, researchers have found that their parents often have actively discouraged them. In a typical case, a father became wealthy through real estate investments and could easily afford college for a son with a strong aptitude in science. But the father accused the boy of trying to “put on airs” whenever college was discussed. Thanks to him, the son is now a misfit.

  1. Don’t shirk unpleasant tasks of parenthood. “See your mother; don’t bother me” is a remark commonly made by one type of father. He returns from work, eats his dinner and then settles down to an evening behind his newspaper or before the television screen. When his children seek his aid with their homework or when they become unruly and require a strong parental hand, he is “too busy” to pay attention. Such an attitude tells a child that his mother is the true figure of importance in the family, while Dad is only the boarder who pays the bills.

It is not fair for fathers to enjoy all the pleasures of parenthood–to play with the children, to boast about their growth–and to give mothers all the painful duties. A father should discipline as often as the mother. If he fails to do so, he gives the children the idea that he does not stand with the mother in her efforts to instill proper manners and acceptable forms of behavior. As a matter of fact, in major matters the good father is likely to be the court of last resort. This is as it should be for his authority is more impressive and its effect more lasting than that of the mother.

  1. Keep lines of communication open with your children. Teenagers often say that they cannot talk to their fathers about questions which disturb them. This breakdown in communication usually stems from one of three factors, or a combination of them. The father may be so severe in his discipline that he appears as a dictator in the youngster’s mind; in the past he has always been “too busy” to keep on close terms with his boy; or he has not given his youngster the respectful attention he should have.

Stalin-type fathers fortunately are on the way out in America, for most men have learned that it is easier to train a child with loving kindness than with brute force. But some stern unyielding fathers remain. They may beat their child into patterns of behavior that offend no one, but in the process they often create a bitter adult who is never able to confide fully in another human being.

The second and third possible explanations for a child’s unwillingness or inability to confide in his father may have even worse effects than the first. In the first instance, unless the father is a calloused brute, his child may at least discern evidence that his father is interested in his welfare. But when a father does not even care enough to concern himself with the child’s upbringing in any serious way, he evidences a complete absence of love or interest.

There are many things that human beings prefer to keep to themselves, and it is probably good that this is so. Your child should not feel that he must lay bare his innermost thoughts and desires. But he should know that in times of stress and strain he has a sympathetic and loving adviser to turn to. You will fulfill that role if you strive always to treat him with courtesy and sympathy, and with an understanding based upon your memory of the difficulties, problems, fears and aspirations of your own boyhood. Never ridicule him: it is the opposite of sympathy and probably locks more doors between father and son than any other action.

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quote for the day2

One who, in order to please God, perseveres in prayer although he finds no consolation in it, but rather repugnance, gives Him a beautiful proof of true love. โ€“Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, Divine Intimacy

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Download the Finer Femininity App on Android or Iphone! A neat perk about the App is that even if you are not on Facebook you can still look at the beautiful quotes and pictures that are updated several times a day on the FB icon….filling your heart with inspiration and encouragement!

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Mother’s Day Coming Up!

Lady in Blue “Mother” Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Fully lined, hand-embroidered, made with care and detail.

Available here.

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book suggestions

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SaveRooted firmly in Scripture, these pages call on husbands to stop thinking of themselves simply as bosses and breadwinners. Rather, says author Clayton Barbeau, husbands should see themselves as co-creators with God, imitators of Christ’s love for His people, high priests in the domestic Church, teachers of their children, witnesses to society, providers of spiritual and material goods, and models of holiness…

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

How To Be a Good Mother – Rev. George A. Kelly

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Close to Mother’s Day is a good time to think about motherhood.

Timeless advice from a very smart priest!

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The Catholic Family Handbook – Father George Kelly

In view of the many social evils resulting from the decline in the father’s influence, one of the most important functions the modern mother should perform is to help maintain or restore the father’s position of authority in the family. In doing so, you will fulfill your own role as a wife and mother to a greater extent than is possible when you permit your husband to be the lesser figure.

This was the secret of the success of olden fathers. Even though they worked twelve hours a day, their dominant role in the home was guaranteed and protected by the mother.

You can make your greatest contribution to your family as the heart of your home–not its head. From you, your children should learn to love others and to give of themselves unstintingly in the spirit of sacrifice. Never underestimate the importance of your role. For upon you depends the emotional growth of your children, and such growth will better prepare them to live happy and holy lives than any amount of intellectual training they may receive.

Most of us know persons who have received the finest educations which universities can bestow, who yet lead miserable lives because they have never achieved a capacity to love.

On the other hand, we also know of men and women whose intellectual achievements are below normal but whose lives are filled with happiness because their mothers showed them how to love other human beings.

It follows that in helping your child to satisfy his basic emotional needs to love and be loved, you give something as necessary as food for his full development. So do not be beguiled by aspirations for a worldly career or by the desire to prove yourself as intelligent as men or as capable in affairs of the world as they.

The father must always remain a public figure. The mother is the domestic figure par excellence. In teaching your child the meaning of unselfish love you will achieve a greater good than almost any other accomplishment of which human beings are capable.

You are the most important person your child will ever know. Your relationship with him will transcend, in depth of feeling, any other relationship he probably will ever have–even the one with his marriage partner.

As noted above, from you he will learn what true love really is. From the tenderness you show and the security you give, you will develop his attitudes toward other human beings which will always remain with him.

However, his dependence on you begins to wane soon after birth–and continues to wane for the rest of your life. In his first years, naturally, he will rely upon you almost entirely–not only for food, but also to help him perform his most elementary acts.

But soon he learns to walk and to do other things for himself; when he goes to school he can dress himself; when he reaches adolescence and strives for the freedom that adults know, he will try to throw off his dependence so violently that you may fear that you have lost all hold upon him.

Your job is to help him reach this state of full and complete independence in a gradual fashion. And your success as a mother will depend to a great extent upon the amount of emancipation you permit him as he steps progressively toward adulthood. Therefore you should try to judge realistically when your child truly needs your help and when he does not.

If you can reach the happy medium wherein you do for your child only what he cannot do for himself, you will avoid dominating him or overindulging him.

The dominant mother makes all decisions for Johnny and treats him as though he had no mind of his own; the overindulgent mother will never permit her Mary to be frustrated in any wish, or to be forbidden any pleasure her little heart desires.

The overindulgent mother may do without the shoes she needs to buy a doll for her Annie; she may stop what she is doing to help Johnny find the comic book he has misplaced; she may eat the leftovers in the refrigerator while she gives the freshly prepared food to her children.

The overindulgent mother is a common character in literature. Probably every American woman has seen movies and television programs, and has read stories in magazines and newspapers, in which these defects were pointed out.

Yet every new generation of mothers seems to practice the same extreme of behavior. Some excuse themselves by saying that they want to give their children every advantage in life.

Such an intention is laudable, perhaps, but the method is impractical. If you want to do the best for your child, let him develop so that he can face life on his own feet. Overindulging him denies him his right to develop his own resources and thus defeats the purpose of your mission as a mother.

Someone once remarked in jest that as part of her education for motherhood, every woman should visit the psychiatric ward of an army hospital. If you could see the countless examples of mental disorders caused largely by the failure of mothers to sever the apron strings to their child, you could easily understand why–for the sake of your child’s emotional self–you must make it a primary aim to help him to develop as an independent person.

Priests and psychiatrists often see problems from different angles, yet they display striking agreement in pinpointing other kinds of maternal conduct which do great harm to the child. Their advice might be summarized as follows:

Don’t be an autocrat who always knows best. Your child may have his own way of doing things, which may seem to be inefficient or time-consuming. Have patience and let him do things his way, thus giving him the opportunity to learn by trial and error.

Don’t be a martyr. Naturally, you must make sacrifices. But do not go to such extremes that your child feels guilty when you deny yourself something which rightfully should be yours, in order to give him what rightfully should not be his.

A typical martyr worked at night in a laundry to pay her son’s way through college. Before his graduation, he asked her not to appear at the ceremony–he said she would be dressed so poorly that he would be embarrassed.

Don’t think you have the perfect child. Some mothers, when their child receives low grades, appear at school to determine, not what is wrong with him, but what is wrong with the teachers.

When such a mother learns that her son has been punished for disobedience, she descends upon the school officials and demands an apology. By her actions she undermines the child’s respect for all authority–including her own.

You will probably be on safe ground, until your child is canonized at St. Peter’s, if you conclude that he has the same human faults and weaknesses that you see in your neighbors’ children.

Don’t use a sickbed as your throne. The “whining” mother feigns illness to attract sympathy and to force her children to do as she wills. Who would deny the last wish of a dying person? In this vein she often gets what she wants–for a while. The usual, final result, however, is that her children lose both sympathy and respect for her.

Don’t be a “glamor girl.” Motherhood is not a task for a woman who thinks that ordinary housework–preparing meals, making beds, washing clothes–is beneath her.

Of course, mothers should strive to maintain a pleasing appearance, but they should also realize that they are most attractive when they are fulfilling the duties of their noble vocation.

You would embarrass your family if you insisted on acting and dressing like a teenager; and, if you adopted a demeaning attitude toward household tasks, you would teach your children that motherhood and its responsibilities are unworthy of respect.

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“In the Catholic home there is that modern rarity–fidelity between husband and wife. There is great reverence for parents by the children, great protection of weaker members by the stronger, and a great awareness of the dignity and rights of every member of the family. The Catholic woman has attained a height of respect and authority which cannot be found anywhere else, and the chief factor in her improvement has been the Church’s teaching on chastity, conjugal equality, the sacredness of motherhood, and the supernatural end of the family, in imitation of the Holy Family of Nazareth.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook

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๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒบThese Handcrafted Vintaj necklaces are perfect for the Catholic woman! Get them blessed and they are Sacramentals! Available at www.meadowsofgrace.com

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The Mirror of True Womanhood

A very beautiful book, worthy of our attention. In it, you will find many pearls of wisdom for a woman striving to be the heart of the home, an inspiration to all who cross her path. You will be inspired to reconsider the importance of your role of wife and mother! Written by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly in 1894, the treasures found within its pages ring true and remain timeless…

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Romantic Love…A Subtle Thing

An excellent article reminding those who are contemplating marriage on what to look for and those who are already married on what they can do to rekindle love.

From Cana is Forever by Rev. Charles Hugo Doyle

Romantic love is such a subtle thing that human intelligence must be assisted by divine grace to be able to discern the true from the false. Few realize that true love is, as defined by Webster, “a desire for and earnest effort to promote the welfare of another,” and not simply another name for external manifestations of affection and sex satisfaction.

Nuptial love that is built on passion alone is doomed to failure. Almost all passions are temporary by nature. We know from experience that the passion of anger, for instance, is rarely able to be sustained at a high pitch. Once we “get even” with our enemy, the force of the rage is spent.

The same is true of love as a passion, for from this point of view the chief pleasure is in anticipation and once its object is attained it may wane and even pall. Marriage must be built on a much firmer basis.

A happy marriage depends on one’s early education in what real love is and what it is not, and what its end and object are. A happy marriage depends too on one’s capacity during courtship to discern true love from mere infatuation. Love whets the appetite; infatuation leaves hunger still.

“Love hath its seat

In reason and is judicious,”

says Milton, while infatuation directs action without reason and precludes judgment.

Love is a learned quality; infatuation is a play of humor in the blood. Infatuation can even be a one-sided affair, but not so, love, for as the Italian proverb says, “To love and not be loved is time lost.” One strives in vain to light a cigarette from a dead coal.

A doctor of medicine, a close friend of mine, and I were discussing a young man, a problem child, in whose case we had both become concerned. I ventured to suggest that what really ailed the boy was that “he had a touch of love.”

“You ought to know better than that,” said the doctor. “Love is like diabetes. There is no such thing as a touch of it. You have it or you don’t have it.”

Granted that one knows when he or she is in love, is there no infallible way of telling the genuine from the unreasonable facsimile? I’m afraid not, but I hasten to say that you can be morally certain your love is true and genuine if you find gentleness, beauty, refinement, generosity and intelligence and a reciprocal love made up of all these qualities and one that outdistances your love, day by day, month by month.

What? No sex? Yes, indeed, but when two persons are really in love and that love is genuine, the sex feelings are so controlled that, without realizing it, they find great pleasure merely in being in one another’s company.

Newell W. Edson of the American Social Hygiene Association, in a pamphlet entitled “Love in the Making,” has listed the following signs as indicative of true love:

  1. A genuine interest in the other person and all that he or she says or does.
  2. A community of tastes, ideals, and standards with no serious clashes.
  3. A greater happiness in being with this one person than with any other.
  4. A real unhappiness when the other person is absent.
  5. A great feeling of comradeship.
  6. A willingness to give and take.
  7. A disposition to give fair consideration to the other party’s judgment.
  8. A pride in the other person when comparisons are made.
  9. A wealth of things to say and do together.

Mr. Edson neglected to mention something that I consider a most indicative sign of love, and that is a willingness to sacrifice oneself for another–to sacrifice something prized by the giver.

Sacrifice stimulates love while expressing it. It was Antoine deSaint-Exupery, I think, who said: “The mother gives nourishment from her own body for her child. By her giving she creates her love. To create love we must begin by sacrifice. Afterwards it is love that makes the sacrifices. But it is we who must take the first step.”

Emerson sums up the whole problem in his own inimitable way as follows: “All that is in the world, which is or ought to be known, is cunningly wrought into the texture of man and woman:

The person love does to us fit

Like Manna, has the taste of all in it.”

Upon parents, teachers, and clergy alike falls the grave obligation of forewarning and forearming teen-age youths against the folly of permitting themselves to “go steady” during high-school years.

Youth must be taught the dangers of this procedure well in advance of its actuality, for once the love-bug gets them they become blind to reason and deaf to admonition. Teen-agers must be shown that the wisdom of nature must be respected and that ventures into love demand maturity–physical, intellectual, and emotional maturity.

The bird does not leave the nest until its wings are grown strong enough to carry it. The chrysalis does not tear open until there are wings to take the tiny insect aloft. Teenagers likewise ought to wait until they are of proper age before going steady or being allowed to do so.

My experience with adolescents has been that under ordinary circumstances, they react favorably to logic. For instance, few teenagers would let themselves fall in love during their highschool years if they knew that more than sixty-nine per cent of those who were madly in love during that period of their lives did not marry the object of this youthful affection at or after the age of twenty-one. This proves simply that a person at twenty-one has a different sense of values than at, say, sixteen or seventeen.

No, youth would fail to condemn the folly of a sixteen-year-old lad who had set his heart on a red convertible coupe and had gone so far as to have a car salesman give him several road demonstrations, but who at the same time had no money to buy a car, no money for its upkeep, no place to keep a car, and, lastly, couldn’t drive a car.

Now, applying the same reasoning to steady company-keeping by minors, it is easy to point out the utter folly of permitting themselves to fall in love until they are old enough to distinguish real love from mere infatuation; until they are mature enough to assume the complex and responsible duty of parenthood; and until they have the income sufficient to establish and maintain a home.

Teenagers should ponder the wisdom of the words of Owen Felltham, who warns that “love is never lasting which flames before it burns.”

A person may not vote until his twenty-first birthday has been reached. Now, this legislation was enacted simply because the politicians felt that anyone younger lacked mature judgment.

Anyone who is too immature to vote is too immature to choose a life partner. There are physical reasons also involved in such a decision. The Germans, according to Julius Caesar, ruled that the act of reproduction in marriage was not permitted to anyone under twenty-one without incurring infamy: and to this he attributed the great strength and fine stature of that simple people.

But is it possible to keep from falling in love? It is, if kissing and petting are not indulged in, no endearing terms expressed through little intimacies, no gifts exchanged, and no confession of love made. It’s just as simple as all that.

Ovid, a writer in ancient times, said “Love gives place to business. Attend to business and you will be safe.”

It is a wise thing to have a few, good, well-founded principles to guide you when about to choose a mate. One of those principles should be that beauty of face and figure will not be the sole motivating factor in your choice.

Remember that “you can never tell the depth of the well by the length of the handle on the pump.”

A ready smile, a bright mind, a pleasing personality, a courteous manner are all more important than a pretty face. All the flaunted beauty of certain screen actresses and actors has not served so well in keeping them happily married.

To those who are intellectually, physically, vocationally, and emotionally mature enough to fall in love, we say emphatically that enduring love is ever built on virtue which cannot be seen in the other person at once.

Long acquaintanceship–one to five years–has better prospects than “love at first sight.”

Above all, we remind them that many more qualities than the severely practical go into the composition of married life and home building. Abstract traits are beautiful and indispensable, but:

“Will the love that you are rich in

Build a fire in the kitchen

Or the little god of Love turn the spit, spit, spit?

Flour is the chief and most quantitative ingredient in a good cake, but flour alone won’t make a cake. You also need baking powder, salt, sugar, shortening, eggs and milk, a lot of sifting and mixing, a smooth batter, and just the right amount of heat.

Love is the chief ingredient requisite for a happy marriage but not the only one. A good many other things go into the making of a happy marriage, especially in these modern times with changing attitudes. Speaking of recipes, here is an old grandmother’s recipe that has a lot of wisdom in it:

“When once you have made your selection, let it remain forever settled and give your entire thoughts to preparation for domestic use. Some wives keep their husbands in pickle, others in hot water.

Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender and good by garnishing with patience, well sweetened with smiles and flavored with kisses. Wrap in a mantle of charity, keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion. Serve often with peaches and cream. When thus prepared, husbands will keep for years.”

But getting back to our main topic–love–most readers will agree wholeheartedly with what we have stated thus far. There will be perfect agreement with the tenet that a person ought to know what real love is and be so well grounded in the knowledge that the true can be easily detected from the false.

Sound advice, all this is, for those who have not yet entered holy wedlock, but what about those already married who find the fires of love reduced to but smoldering embers, if not, as some protest, gone out completely?

To such persons we say that were it not within the power of man to “will to love,” there would be no solution to such a problem and most marriages would rarely remain happy for more than a few years at best. That it is not impossible to foster love for one’s husband or wife is being proven daily by thousands of thoughtful men and women who, while disillusioned as to the fitness of their match, nevertheless have forced themselves to look for the good and noble in each other, with the amazing result that a new understanding and respect has grown up between them.

No matter who it is, there is some loveliness in everyone that lurks undiscovered, and patient, kindly exploration will render it easily discernible and upon this a new comradeship can be born and fostered.

Always remember that the great bridge that now spans Niagara Falls first began with the spreading from side to side of a tiny wire. The wire was used to haul across a rope and at the end of the rope was a heavy cable, and so on until a bridge was begun that today supports the traffic of trains, cars, and honeymooners.

The point is that someone had to will that a bridge be built across Niagara Falls and from that will flowed the determination that provided the means for overcoming what appeared at first to be insurmountable obstacles.

The same holds true in marriage, and while one or both parties may not experience all the rapturous moments of happiness that they might have had had they chosen their life partner more wisely, consider that few marriages are a tale of uninterrupted bliss.

That everyone has within him the power “to will to love” is proved by the fact that in certain countries, in the past, there was no free choices of mates, and yet such a deep sense of the duty of loving was taught in the home–and not only a great and high sense of duty but the grandeur of loving–that the husband and wife usually managed to make a good job of mutually respecting one another.

So successful was this sort of thing that some wag–Lyttleton or Shaftesbury, I think–said: “Marriages would be happier if they were all arranged by the Lord Chancellor.”

The person who says, “I do not love my wife or my husband any more,” acknowledges simply that “the will to love” is absent. Such a person lacks good sportsmanship too, for a good sport will take pride in succeeding in every adventure, and marriage is one of life’s chief adventures.

Morton puts it this way: “In love, as in religion, faith worketh miracles.”

Whatever you do, give love time. “Love,” says Blucher, “is the river of life in this world. Think not that ye know it who stand at the little tinkling rill, the first small fountain. Not until you have gone through the rocky gorges and not lost the stream; not until you have gone through the meadow and the stream has widened and deepened until fleets could ride on its bosom; not until beyond the meadow you have come to the unfathomable ocean, and poured your treasures into its depths–not until then can you know what love is!”

And the measure of love? Mrs. Browning gave the world a wondrous formula:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use,

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith;

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints,–I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life!–and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

There is every reason to believe that all the ancient Jewish customs were observed at the marriage in Cana. If that be true, Our

Blessed Lord and His Virgin Mother witnessed a most significant reminder of the fragility of love.

According to custom, from time to time during Jewish wedding feasts, someone would put somewhat of a check on the joyous festivities by shattering the wine glasses of the happy pair. The idea was to remind the bride and the groom that all felicity is subject to instability, and that love, like a glass once dashed to the ground, could be shattered into a thousand pieces–and were repair possible, the cracks would always show.

In this, as in so many other ways, the lessons of Cana are tremendous and Cana Is Forever.

“Your most powerful ally in your noble struggle for decency is your religion. It takes you by the hand, guiding you over the pitfalls that beset your way, and puts your feet safely upon the paths that lead to the sunlit mountain peaks of nobility of character and purity. Not only does it make clear the moral law and supply sanctions for its observance, but it offers you aids to carry out that law.” -Clean Love in Courtship, Fr. Lovasik https://amzn.to/2rk4yFl (afflink)

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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.

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