My Response is My Responsibility

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For Throwback Thursday….

I listened to this podcast more than once and got much out of it so I wanted to share it with you!

Based on the Podcast My Response is My Responsibility by Emerson Eggerichs of Love and Respect Ministries

Disclaimer

Think about this phrase for a moment, “My response is MY responsibility”. This is a very powerful phrase!

There is the story of a time during WWII Nazi Regime rule. A Christian French man who had been harboring Jews had been captured. German soldiers brought him before an SS Soldier known as “The Torturer”. Surprisingly to those around him, the French man was at peace and it shone through his eyes and his face.

The SS officer was not impressed! Taking it as insolence, he yelled, “Get that smirk off your face!”

Others who had entered into his presence were terrified and showed it.

The SS soldier once again looked at the French man and screamed, “Don’t you know who I am??!!”

“Yes, I do,” said the French man, “You are called ‘The Torturer’ and you have the power to have me tortured. You also have the power to condemn me to death” There was a pause. “But you do not have the power to get me to hate you.”

This story shows so clearly the control we have to be free from sinful attitudes and responses within ourselves even under the most trying circumstances! Other people cannot control our inner world.

My Response is my Responsibility – this phrase can change our lives!

People may be able to control us physically but they cannot control our thoughts! People can treat us unkindly but they cannot control our spirit!

I can rule my own inner responses – this is a God-given right. No one can make me hate them.

Even the Gestapo, as worldly powerful as they seemed to be, could not rule over the French man’s inner realm.

How does a person get to the point where they are no longer ruled by other’s treatment of them?

We begin by realizing My response is my responsibility!

We don’t need to mope or pout. We don’t need to give the silent treatment or let the rage build inside of us until it comes out of our mouths like a faucet – remember it is your responsibility to control your inner thoughts, those nasty habits that have gotten so out of hand. Time to look them square in the eye and say – I don’t have to listen to you….I don’t have to respond this way!!

If we let others control how we respond, then they are the master of our emotions. If they are mean and unjust, we will be unhappy. What we are saying, then, is that we are a hopeless and helpless emotional victim to the moods and attitudes of others around us!

When we are around uncaring and mean-spirited people, there is no hope for us. We are at the whim of these negative people and we will have a rotten day!

This does not have to be our reality!

Are you frustrated with your husband? Do you blame him for your unhappiness? Do you say to yourself, “If he loved me properly, I would in turn respect him and all would be well?”

That is making your husband “Lord” of your emotions and happiness.

That kind of power should not be given to another human being.

If this is how we think, then when our husband treats us imperfectly (and he will, as he is an imperfect human being) then we are moody and grumpy; we snap at him, we let that black cloud settle over us. We resort to resentment and anger and depression.

Because our husband, whom we have given power to rule over our inner spirit, lets us down, we are depressed. He is responsible for our happiness!

Ok, so let’s step back….. are we saying we shouldn’t be affected at all by what other people say and do?

Let’s take an analogy. A doctor taps our knee with a little hammer and our leg involuntarily kicks out. This is known as a “knee-jerk” reaction, right?

What about road rage? When someone cuts us off, we emotionally get angry…. but are we saying that we cannot help ourselves when we cuss at the person, try to cut him off in return or other such offensive actions?

Though we have involuntary emotions, that, yes, are acceptable, there are some that cross the line….and we usually know when and what those emotions are.

If our anger is not righteous indignation, if it is unrighteous, and if it has become a habit because we have given into those emotions throughout our life, then this is wrong and needs to be turned around.

Each person tends to blame their own bitterness, harshness and contempt on the other person. We claim it is involuntary; the other person caused the anger…..

Please hear a simple and profound truth….people do not CAUSE us to be who we are, they REVEAL who we are. Ouch. My response is my responsibility. The Nazi did not cause the Frenchman to react in kindness; he revealed the kindness within him.

How many times through the day is our inner person revealed: Those times when the kids are tugging on our skirt and we snap at them “What do you want AGAIN!” Little Jill spills her milk and we look at her and say through gritted teeth, “You are the most careless child I have ever met!” Hubby comes home tired and sees no dinner being fixed and complains (maybe unjustifiably) and we yell at him and give him the silent treatment the rest of the night.

These dear ones don’t CAUSE our anger, they reveal it. We do not HAVE to react this way….no, we don’t.

In each of these instances, we blame Johnny, Jill and our hubby. We say to ourselves, “I would never blow my stack if everyone behaves! Life stinks!”

We choose to live under the delusion that life experiences cause us to be upset and angry. Although we would never voice that we are a victim, this is how we sometimes live.

Living this way, in victim mode, changes the nursery rhyme:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Humpty Dumpty was pushed.”

Let’s just blame humanity. I would be happy if it wasn’t for people! Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

We have unrealistic expectations and requirements that everyone else around us (and especially hubby, since he is a grown human being) needs to meet! He must…..be perfect. 😛

We want to assign blame; there is something inside of us that wants to justify our bad behavior.

As Emerson points out, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent. The serpent didn’t have anyone to blame because he didn’t have a leg to stand on! 😀

Our Lord says these things come from the heart of man. It is something within us that cause us to react in these unedifying ways. I have evil thoughts because I have chosen to think bad things. I have a hateful reaction because it is in my heart. I slander because it is in my heart to bad mouth people and the list goes on….

Our response is not another’s responsibility.

This message is challenging.

It is hard to face up to.

These challenges may be small, everyday things, but it can also be huge struggles and sufferings like the French man.

We do have freedom to respond with dignity.

Can I do this when my blood is boiling? Can I choose not to react angrily?

This idea of blaming someone else of my bad attitudes is inappropriate. This doesn’t mean that bad behavior is to be sanctioned. This doesn’t mean that the other person doesn’t have to deal with their issues. They do. But that’s a different matter than my response to him. This is what we are talking about here.

We must not think that if we respond with dignity and love, that we are letting the other person off the hook. We have to come to the point that we realize that we can speak what is true and NECESSARY. But we do so in a kind, loving and respectful way. This empowers us.

If we become uncorked, it does not help us to govern the situation.  Your husband will eventually close his spirit if you are continually “letting him have it”! He will not want to be around you. You will have no credibility with him.

You may win a battle here and there by coming unglued and blaming everyone, but eventually you lose the war. This is a painful reality.

Let’s begin to react properly. But we need to give ourselves some grace. This is a process. We may know it, but our application of it will not be perfect.

Like the French man, in a concentration camp who made it through….. He observed and came to these conclusions:

Our purpose as humans is not to seek power or pleasure but to seek purpose. No situation has the power to control us. 

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves!

Everything can be taken from a man except one thing, to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances.

Between unloving or disrespectful behavior and my response, there is a space. In that space is that power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.

The one thing another can’t take away from me is the freedom to choose how to respond to what someone does to me.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, the freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

Our great freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.

The French man’s story really leaves the rest of us without excuse at some level. How in the world can I come uncorked when the person cuts me off in the road, or hubby is angry?

I do have a choice. Like the French man I can change my responses.

Remember, My Response is My Responsibility! Will I take this to heart?

“Happiness in marriage must be earned. It is something you must work out for yourself, chiefly by forgetting yourself and serving others. No marriage is a success unless less you make it so, and that takes persistent effort and, still more, a constant and humble reliance on God.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook

 Who can resist those little ditties, those lovely little sing-song verses called Nursery Rhymes!
Songs and rhymes for young children have been passed down from generation to generation. They are fun, children love them, and they provide a warm, nurturing experience for the whole family.
Nursery Rhymes can be very valuable in a child’s reading development. They are short and easy to repeat and they become some of the child’s first sentences. They also help the child practice the rhythm of language….pitch, volume and voice inflection.
Our own children grew up learning and repeating Nursery Rhymes. It was very enjoyable and it was an easy way to teach the children the use of rhythm and rhyme.
How much more meaningful those little poems would have been if there had been more depth in the considerations behind each little verse! That is where this book comes in. It gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children.
Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith.
It is important that young children learn to memorize through verse. Research shows children learn more in their first eight years than they do in the rest of their lives. This is a powerful time to teach them.
So, parents, here is a teaching tool that can help! Encourage your children to learn the poems in this book. Let them peruse the pages and look at the pictures. You will find that it will be a meaningful experience for all!

Inspire and delight your children with these lighthearted and faith-filled poems. Take a peek here.

Don't forget to sign up for the Giveaway for my book and the bracelet! I will pull the name from the hat Tuesday, May 10th!

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Volumes One and Two available here.

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The entire collection of twelve Books of Saints St. Joseph Picture Books, packaged in a handsome and sturdy slipcase….

Treasury of Novenas contains over 40 popular Novenas specifically arranged in accord with the Liturgical Year on the Feasts of Jesus, Mary, and many favorite Saints. By acclaimed author Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D., this book has a rich, gold-stamped brown Dura-Lux cover and is an excellent collection of Novenas for private devotion.

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

Help Your Child to See Design in the Tempo of Daily Life

Painting by Alfredo Rodriguez

by Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children

Working in many art forms, using talent easily and spontaneously, finding that their creations are respected and useful, slowly children cross the bridge that connects art and work, and bring their sense of creating to bear on the more subtle arts of daily life.

They discover that setting a table — or hanging the wash, folding the sheets, planting the garden — can be a design.

They discover the rhythm for kneading dough, milking a goat, hammering a nail, rocking the baby. There’s a pace for raking, another for sweeping. There’s a pattern for scrubbing the floor, another for ironing a dress.

Kneeling to comfort a child is a reverence, as genuflecting. Praying out loud together is a harmony, just whispering together while the baby sleeps.

Walking with pails of water for the goats is measured and careful; walking back from Holy Communion has another measure.

These things children learn instinctively, but with more alacrity and with willingness to discover the beauty and satisfaction in ordinary acts if they have had many experiences exploring with their own creativeness.

No one is really “all thumbs.” Everyone has special gifts that set him apart from his fellows and make him a special person. But many times they’re never discovered.

It’s not work that’s ugly, nor working that’s unendurable, but the wrong work with the wrong person attempting it that can make it seem ugly and unendurable.

Creative artists we must have, and God provides them abundantly in every generation, but the others are no less creative for the practicality of their arts. And the gifts given to these are no less special; they must be sought just as carefully.

Creativity can be found in all types of work. We’ve committed many sins against man’s creativeness with our modern snobbery about work. We’ve accepted a norm for work that’s based on reward, approval, and selfish gain rather than on motive, integrity, and creative service.

We’ve become confused; we esteem work that’s respected rather than work that’s respectable. Horror is the reaction of most parents to whom it’s suggested that domestic service is appropriate work and training for a young girl looking forward to marriage.

It does not occur to such parents that the creative arts she would practice in so-called menial employment are the same arts she’ll practice (with greater grace for her training) when she’s a wife and mother.

How does sending her to work in a factory, to file papers and stack cards in an office, train her in the art of homemaking? This is how far we have strayed from the recognition and understanding of creativeness.

We respect people for the creativeness of their hobbies, not their lives, and admire the successful fellows who work creatively in wood or paint or whatever on their weekends, more than carpenters, plumbers, and farmers, who work creatively all week along.

For Christian parents who want to help their children find their whole usefulness, how to use their whole lives — not just certain departments— creatively in the service of God, these points need thinking out.

People are not haphazardly created with a dash of this and that added for interest by a Creator who dabbles in variations on the same old theme. Each one was made to serve Him in a special way.

The discovery of how begins when they’re very little and learn to make visible and tangible their own ideas, formed by the knowledge of God, His love for them, and the truths Christ teaches.

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

The Catholic Boy’s and Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journals! Let’s keep our youth engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their lives, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them… Available here.

Beautiful items at Meadows of Grace!

The Catholic Girl’s Traditional 30-Day Journal

Let’s keep our young girls engaged in the Faith! Let’s teach them how to be organized, how to prioritize, how to keep on top of, first, the Spiritual things in their life, and then the other daily duties that God requires of them!

Nothing is more valuable than this type of education…an education for life! That is where this journal comes in! It will give your girls a feel for keeping a To-Do List, with spiritual things at the forefront! What more could you want for them?

Let this journal help you along the way, Mothers! The girls will have 30 days of checklists, beautiful thoughts to inspire them for the day, some fun things…like drawing their day and other things to keep them focused.

This next 30 days will be invaluable to them…to learn life skills, to have the satisfaction of checking off the activities they finish, to learn to be thankful for the good things God has given us, to offer up their day for someone in need, etc.

This journal is for girls 8 (with the help of Mom) to 16 years of age.

It is a beautiful journal, full of color and loveliness! Your girls will treasure it and be able to look back on it for inspiration and encouragement!

Our attitude changes our life…it’s that simple. Our good attitude greatly affects those that we love, making our homes a more cheerier and peaceful dwelling! To have this control…to be able to turn around our attitude is a tremendous thing to think about!
This Gratitude Journal is here to help you focus on the good, the beautiful, the praiseworthy. “For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 – Douay Rheims).
Yes, we need to be thinking of these things throughout the day!
You will be disciplined, the next 30 days, to write positive, thankful thoughts down in this journal. You will be thinking about good memories, special moments, things and people you are grateful for, lovely and thought-provoking Catholic quotes, thoughts before bedtime, etc. Saying it, reading it, writing it, all helps to ingrain thankfulness into our hearts…and Our Lord so loves gratefulness! It makes us happier, too!

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

VdP Catholic Family Life Gallery January 2020

Ah! Catholic Family Life! There is nothing like it.

Home should not be just a place. Rather, it must be the place. All else should be “outside.”

Home should be the center of activities and interests. It was built for births, courtship, marriage, and death. It is maintained so that children might grow, trained by precept and example – so that they will develop spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, just as they do physically.  -Fr. Lovasik

Below is a gallery of our doing’s in the last month. Don’t forget to read the comments to get the (amazing! hehe) narrative. And don’t forget to click on the first picture to view the gallery!

The Principal Duties of the Day (Part Four) – Sleeping

Part One is here.

Part Two is here.

Part Three is here.

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

We devote 7 or 8 hours a day to sleep, that is a third part of our lives. Few Christians derive from their rest the merit they might easily obtain.

These 7 or 8 hours of every day are for many lost hours, and in some cases the occasion of sins of slothfulness. What a pity to lose 8 hours every day!

Some sleep too little, some too much, some yield to excessive laziness in arising.

The following suggestions will enable us to transform these 8 hour’s sleep into 8 hours of prayer and merit.

a) Our sleep is a sacred duty imposed on us by God, and its fulfillment ought to be an act of obedience to God.

b) We ought to say our night prayers slowly and devoutly, asking for a good night’s rest. c) Let us offer our sleep to Our Lord in union with His sleep during His life on Earth. Bear in mind that every action united to the acts of Our Lord has an indescribable value. Priests, before beginning their Office, unite it with the prayer of Jesus when on Earth.

d) Let us offer every breath we draw, every beating of our hearts during the night as so many acts of love for God. Thousands of acts of love every night!

e) Our dear Angel Guardian is with us all night, watching over us, just as a tender mother watches over her sick child. Say a few loving words to this dear Angel before closing your eyes.

J) Good Christians sprinkle holy water every night over their persons and bed as defense against the devil.

g) If we cannot sleep, let us offer this weariness in honor of the three hours Jesus Christ passed on the hard bed of the Cross. Let us go on repeating the Name of Jesus, and this will help us to get the desired rest.

h) Regarding rising, we ought to form the habit of getting up immediately when our clock strikes or when we are called. The habit of jumping up quickly makes rising more easy. Laziness or delay in getting up makes it more difficult. It is also a bad beginning for the day, a beginning claimed by the devil.

i) When dressing, we should accustom ourselves to repeat frequently the Holy Name of Jesus. These first moments of the day are most precious, and we should offer them to God. This habit will guarantee us the help and protection of God during all the day.

An amusing fact is told of a young woman who was rather lazy and slow in getting up. On being called one morning she turned over again and said, “I am tired this morning; I will sleep a bit longer.”

She heard a voice, as of one lying beside her, which said, “Do, do, and I will remain with you.” Recognizing the devil, she bounded from her bed and was never again inclined to sloth when arising.

We may well apply this fact to ourselves, for it is quite certain that if we are lazy and slothful, the devil is really beside us and snatches the first fruits of the day from God.

How many thousand Catholics could easily hear Holy Mass and receive its indescribable graces if they were less lazy in getting up!

Frequently, too, laziness in arising makes us hurry over our morning prayers or even neglect them entirely. This is a very grave fault and may cause disastrous consequences. No one should dare to omit or say hurriedly his morning prayers.

Every morning, we may be tempted to put off our prayers until “later” or skip them altogether because we have much to do and action is where it is at. If we allow the devil to win in this very first struggle of the day, he will win many more of the battles throughout the day. Our Morning Prayers, whether they be said while nursing a baby or changing a diaper, need to be a priority and the very foundation of our daily life. -Finer Femininity

What are the roles for men & women? What are the duties at home? In marriage…

Do you need some good book suggestions? Visit My Book List….

 

The Meaning and Beauty of Candles

by Father Arthur Tonne, 1950’s

“It was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.” St. John, 1:9.

The story of Erna Bilkau and her so-called Mystic Candles is a tragic yet triumphant one.

Born in Russia, she moved to Germany, where she married a German boy. They honeymooned in America, learning to love the land of hope and freedom. Back in Germany she was separated a few years later from her husband by the war. With her two-year-old son she fled to America.

She was making a modest living for herself and her son when he suddenly became seriously ill and passed away at the age of thirteen. The shock almost drove the mother insane.

For months she walked the streets every night, peeking with aching agony into homes where there were children. Friends tried to console her. To no avail. At last she took refuge with God. She knelt by her bed, and with folded hands asked the Almighty to assist her.

Peace and courage came with her prayer. She put up a crudely constructed altar to the memory of her dead boy, and put upon it two lighted candles. They seemed to give her new hope.

The candles, however, burned down too quickly. She recalled some secrets of candle-making learned from her father. She experimented until she developed a candle that would burn down the center and not burn the outer shell. It gave off a strange mystical glow. She called them her Mystic Candles.

A young couple across the street accepted a few of the candles and found in them the courage to make up the differences that were slowly driving them to divorce. Others wanted candles like them. Others found peace and quiet and courage in having those candles in their homes.

She was swamped with orders. A thriving business developed. In this work she found a release from her overwhelming grief.

Today thousands find inspiration and help in the Mystic Candles of Erna Bilkau, the mother who lost a son.

Inspiring as this story may be, it pales before the ageless, world-wide story of the Catholic candle, which you see glowing upon our altars, which you see in every sacrament except Confession.

Allow me to point out that the candle is one of the oldest and most widely used sacramentals in the Church. It is one of the richest religious symbols or instruments used to express spiritual ideas.

What does the candle mean? Why do we use them? The wax, produced by virgin worker bees, is a beautiful figure of the pure body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary. The wick represents the soul of Christ; the flame represents His divinity, the fact that He was God.

The lighted candle reminds us of Christ’s gospel, the Holy Bible, which dispels the darkness of sin and ignorance; the lighted candle also stands for the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.

For the individual Christian the candle’s flame means the faith that makes us “children of the light”; its warmth and heat show us the fiery tongues of Pentecost, “which does not consume but enlightens.”

When given to the Church, candles signify Christian self-sacrifice. As the burning taper consumes itself, so the Christian should burn up his energies in serving God.

Photo of the Oxford Oratory

Light is one of the most fitting and appropriate symbols of God, who is absolutely pure light. Light is pure in itself; light penetrates long distances and into farthest corners; light moves with unbelievable speed; light awakens and nourishes life in the organic kingdom; light brightens with its brilliance all that comes within its influence.

  1. Holy Scripture makes frequent use of this symbolic meaning:

a. The wisdom of the Son is spoken of as “the brightness of his glory.”    Hebrews 1:3. b. And the psalmist exclaims: “Thou art clothed with light as with a garment.” Psalm 103:2.

  1. Light also represents the mission of our divine Lord upon earth. The prophet Isaias (9:2) calls Christ a great light and foretells that “to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death light is risen.” The saintly Simeon declared that He is “a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” To this St. John added that Christ “was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.” St. John, 1:9.

    And Christ says of Himself, “I am the light of the world.” St. John, 8:12.

  1. Lights are also symbols of respect. They are used on occasions when we wish to show more than ordinary deference to distinguished personages or to holy things. Even the pagans used lights to show honor to their gods and to prominent personages.

The Catholic Church uses blessed beeswax candles at the administration of all the sacraments that are given publicly, except Confession and in private Baptism, when only water is available.

She uses them at Mass and Benediction and in other church services like blessings and processions. She gives a lighted candle to the newly baptized with these solemn words: “Receive this burning light so as to keep thy Baptism without blame. Keep the commandments of God, so that when our Lord shall come to His nuptials thou mayest meet Him together with all the saints….”

And when that Christian is dying we place a candle in his hand.

It is not that we need their light, although in the early centuries that was their practical use, in the catacombs, in the caves and underground passages where the first Catholics had to conduct their services.

Mother Church has a higher and a deeper reason than that. She uses every possible means for raising our minds to heaven. Among the sacramentals the candle is outstanding.

We love to look at a candle and see in its soft white wax the pure flesh of our Infant Savior. We see the wick penetrating the wax, and representing the soul of Christ.

Let our candles be true spiritual inspirations to us, even more than the candles of Erna Bilkau were to her friends. Have them in your home. Use them in times peaceful and times perturbed. They represent the true light of the world. Amen.

“The difference between this child and that one is often largely a matter of what he saw in and heard from his parents. His religious response, his sense of honesty, his ability to play with other children and be unselfish toward them, his attitude toward books, his appreciation of the beautiful, his sense of what is right and what is wrong, his quick apprehending of the charming and noble, his ready reaction to music that is good, his approval of heroism and his rejection of evil and cheapness – all these things need to be established in the child’s mind by the parents, who alone can deeply and strong-rootedly establish them!” – Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

Lovely gifts! Beautiful and graceful, these Religious necklaces can be worn to show your devotion to your Heavenly Friends! Get it blessed and wear it as a sacramental! Available here.

Why do we call Christmas songs carols? And is the Christmas tree a pagan symbol? Were there really three kings? These questions and so many others are explored in a way that is scholarly and yet delightful to read. Enjoy learning about the history of the many Christmas traditions we celebrate in this country!

Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost Hole in medieval churches? How did a Belgian nun originate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament? Where did the Halloween mask and the jack-o’-lantern come from?

Learn the answer to these questions, as well as the history behind our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving, in this gem of a book by Father Weiser.

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Enthusiasm for Teaching!

This article is meant, not just for teachers, not just for Religious, but for all of us who touch and teach the hearts of children. We women have an awesome responsibility…as mothers, as teachers, as single women, as Religious…to carry out the forming of those little minds and hearts to serve Our Lord in His Church to the utmost of our ability! Enthusiasm?? We must!

This is an excerpt taken from a treasure of a book published in 1924 called The Catholic Teacher’s Companion – A Book of Inspiration and Self-Help.

ENTHUSIASM FOR TEACHING

I ever held it sweet either to learn, to teach or to write.—SAINT BEDE.

Enthusiasm is the thing which makes the world go round. Without its driving power nothing worth doing has ever been done. Love, friendship, altruism, devotion to career or hobby—all these, and most of the other good things in life, are forms of enthusiasm.

THE DRIVING POWER

Real teaching is ninety-percent enthusiasm. Amid the numberless duties of her profession the teacher must be animated with the spirit that made Theodore Roosevelt spurn the sympathy of the visitor who pitied the President toiling, on a sultry afternoon in July, at his desk piled high with work.

Though the beads of perspiration stood on his brow, Roosevelt smiled his brightest and broadest smile: “Keep your sympathy; I am happy because I like my job.”

I like my job may well be the watchword of the teacher. A model teacher, like a model physician, will think her profession the finest in the world. She will possess for her noble calling the enthusiasm of the idealist and the firm faith that moves mountains, without either of which no good work was ever accomplished.

To succeed, the teacher must, day after day, enter the schoolroom live and fresh and active-minded. As soon as she discovers that her interest in her work is flagging, that she is growing weary of certain phases of her task, she must be alarmed over her fitness for her vocation, and she is in duty bound to use all means available to re-create in her soul the spirit that animated her on that first morning of her teaching career when her heart was singing a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Bridegroom of her soul for having called her to the most sublime work open to woman.

Nor should it be difficult for a religious teacher to glow with enthusiasm for her exalted mission. It might be difficult for her to grow enthusiastic about dress or other vanities. But it should be easy for her to glow with the idea of having committed to her care the mind and the will—the immortal souls—of boys and girls destined one day to constitute the main body of the Church Militant in the greatest country on earth.

Where is the Sister who could remain cold at the idea of having placed into her hand this clay plastic of Catholic manhood and womanhood, and to be told:

“Here is your material to work with. Each and every one of these children is a prospective citizen of heaven, and it is for you to make them all worthy of that high destiny.

This boy has talents that should enable him to do great things for God and America. His talents are entrusted to your keeping, and must be developed by you.

That other boy is less gifted intellectually, but has in him the making of a real man, and the material to inspire thousands with the example of his struggle against odds . . .

This girl has all the marks of a religious vocation, and it is for you to develop, by example and precept, her character, into one worthy of her sublime calling.

Those other girls may someday be nurses, teachers, or mothers of families; and one and all should be trained by you for the best that they are capable of.”

WORKING FOR ETERNITY

To the Catholic teacher the eloquent words of Daniel Webster may mean more than the orator ever dreamed of: “If we work upon marble, it will perish; upon brass, time will efface it; but if we work upon immortal souls, if we imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love of our fellowmen, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten to all eternity.”

She may in a similar way attach a deeper meaning to Frank W. Simonds’ appreciation of the teacher’s profession:

“If an Agassiz finds pleasure among fossils in order that he may interpret the great story of pre-historic life; if a Thoreau by Walden Pond is delighted with his studies of bugs and beetles; if a John Burroughs on his little patch of ground in the valley of the Mohawk gloried in his life among the birds and bees; if a Burbank is enraptured with his work of transforming a worthless desert cactus into an edible fruit, or in producing sweeter rose or fairer lily;

if these and other workers, whose names are legion, revel in the love of their work—then by what term shall we designate the joy that should be the teacher’s, who works not with mere fossils, nor with bugs or beetles, nor with birds, bees or flowers, but with the child; who is at once the most complex, the most plastic, the most beautiful, the most wonderful of all God’s creation?

Yes, it is a wonderful thing to be a teacher; it is a great thing to teach school.”

Responsibility is the trait of getting a job done that has been entrusted to you, and doing the job right, to the best of your ability, and having it done on time. This trait is especially needed when you have no one looking over your shoulder to make sure the job gets done.

This is what so many wives of today are lacking – a sense of responsibility for the work they do in their homes and for their families. You don’t have a time clock to punch or a manager coming by to check on you to make sure the job is getting done. Without this outside pressure, many of us just don’t do as good of a job at home as we would do somewhere else. What’s missing? That trait of responsibility. -Fascinating Womanhood, Helen Andelin

Coloring pages for your children…

E-book now available! Our attitude changes our life…it’s that simple. Our good attitude greatly affects those that we love, making our homes a more cheerier and peaceful dwelling! To have this control…to be able to turn around our attitude is a tremendous thing to think about!
This Gratitude Journal is here to help you focus on the good, the beautiful, the praiseworthy. “For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 – Douay Rheims).
Yes, we need to be thinking of these things throughout the day!
You will be disciplined, the next 30 days, to write positive, thankful thoughts down in this journal. You will be thinking about good memories, special moments, things and people you are grateful for, lovely and thought-provoking Catholic quotes, thoughts before bedtime, etc. Saying it, reading it, writing it, all helps to ingrain thankfulness into our hearts…and Our Lord so loves gratefulness! It makes us happier, too!

E-book is here.

Paperback is here.

S

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

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

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

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

Give Your Loved Ones the Gift of Courtesy this Year

This is such a beautiful excerpt that gives us an opportunity to meditate on something that should never grow old…that old-fashioned virtue, Courtesy.  Yes, it is very “in” to be courteous, especially to those within our four walls.

by J.R. Miller

A secret of happiness in married life is courtesy. By what law of nature or of life is it, that after the peals of the wedding bells have died away, and they have established themselves in their own home, so many husbands and wives drop the charming little amenities and refinements of manner toward each other, that so invariably and delightfully characterized their interaction before marriage?

Is there no necessity for these civilities any longer ? Are they so sure now of each other’s love, that they do not need to give expression to it, either in affectionate word or act? Is wedded love such a strong, vigorous and self-sufficing plant that it never needs sunshine, rain or dew?

Is politeness merely a manner that is necessary in interaction with the outside world, and not required when we are alone with those we love the best? Are home hearts so peculiarly constituted, that they are not pained or offended by things that would never be pardoned in us, if done in ordinary society?

Are we under no obligations to be respectful and to pay homage to our dearest friends— while even to the rudest clown, or the greatest stranger, which we meet outside our own doors— we feel ourselves bound to show the most perfect civility?

On the contrary, there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained, as in the home. There are no hearts which hunger so, for expressions of affection, as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love which so needs its daily bread—as the love that is strongest and holiest.

There is no place where rudeness or incivility is so unpardonable, as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved! The tenderer the love and the truer— the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart!

It is not costly presents at Christmas and on birthdays and anniversaries, that are needed ; these are only mockeries— if the days between are empty of affectionate expressions.

Jewelry and silks will never atone for the lack of warmth and tenderness. Between husband and wife there should be maintained , without break or pause— the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the utmost affectionateness!

Coleridge says, “The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling .”

These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted.

It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife— which fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter— but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been forever very happy in each other— had their early love but been cherished and nourished.

“Do the things you don’t want to do. Do them cheerfully and well. E.Schaeffer wrote, ‘Somebody has to get up early, stay up late, do more than the others, if the human garden is to be a thing of beauty.’ At first glance it doesn’t seem fair, but there are hidden and precious rewards for dying to self and serving. Stomping and self-pity cancel the reward points.” 😊 -Charlotte Siems

Inspire Your Children!

Review: Catholic Mother Goose, Volume Two, is a ‘one of a kind’ treasure for young and old alike! Little minds will be captivated by the beautifully colored and illustrated pages. Throughout the nursery rhymes, children will learn the lessons of kindness, unselfishness, the efficacy of suffering and the value of prayer! They will become more familiar with the lives of the Saints, St. Therese, St. Francis, etc. and their great love for Jesus and Mary. These beautifully written poems will plant the seed for good literature and a love for reading for years to come. This is how we make our Catholic faith and culture come alive for our children! This book is a must!
Available here.

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The Three Kings

From Christian Feasts and Customs by Fr. Frank Weiser, 1950’s

In the High Middle Ages popular devotion turned to the Magi themselves on January 6. They are called “saints” for the first time in the writings of Archbishop Hildebert of Tours (1133).

In the twelfth century their veneration spread over all of Europe. The authorities of the Church did not prohibit this cult, and Epiphany acquired the popular name of “Feast of the Three Holy Kings” in most countries of Europe.

The name Magi is not a Hebrew word, but of Indo-European origin, and means “great, illustrious.” Saint Matthew mentioned the term without explanation because it was well known to the people of Palestine.

The Magi originated in Media (Persia), and their caste later spread to other Oriental countries. They were a highly esteemed class of priestly scholars, devoting themselves not only to religion but also to the study of natural sciences, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, and astrology. In several countries they were members of the king’s council.

Where did the Magi come from? Saint Matthew gives a general answer: “Wise men from the East.”

Speaking in modern terms, it could have been from any one of the countries of Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, or India. It has never been exactly determined from which of these countries they came.

History and Liturgy

Quite early in the Christian era a popular tradition conferred on them the title of “kings.” This tradition became universal at the end of the sixth century.

It was based on Biblical prophecies which described the conversion of the pagans and, although not referring to the Magi, were applied to their visit: The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Sheba shall bring gifts. (Psalms 71, 10)

The kings shall walk in the brightness of thy rising. . . . They all shall come from Sheba, bringing gold and frankincense. (Isaiah 60, 3-6)

The Gospel does not tell us how many they were. The Christians in the Orient had an old tradition of twelve Magi. In early paintings and mosaics they are represented as two, three, four, and even more.

In the occidental Church a slowly spreading tradition put their number at three. It does not seem to have any historical foundation, but was probably based on the fact of the threefold presents.

Another reason for the number three was the early legend that they represented all humanity in its three great races.

Thus one of them was pictured as a member of the black race, and this choice seemed to be confirmed by the Bible: Let the great ones come forth from Egypt, let Ethiopia stretch out her arms to God. (Psalms 67, 32)

The book Collectanea et Flores, ascribed to Saint Bede the Venerable, records an earlier legend of their names and appearance: The first was called Melchior; he was an old man, with white hair and long beard; he offered gold to the Lord as to his king.

The second, Gaspar by name, young, beardless, of ruddy hue, offered to Jesus his gift of incense, the homage due to Divinity.

The third, of black complexion, with heavy beard, was called Baltasar; the myrrh he held in his hands prefigured the death of the Son of man.

There is an old legend that when many years had passed the Magi were visited by Saint Thomas the Apostle, who, after instructing them in Christianity, baptized them. They were then ordained to the priesthood and made bishops.

It is said that once more the star of Bethlehem appeared to them and reunited them toward the end of their lives. The city of Sewa in the Orient is given as the place of their burial.

The legendary relics of the Magi were brought from Constantinople to Milan in the sixth century. In 1164 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa obtained them from the archbishop of Milan and transferred them to Cologne.

Their shrine in Cologne was, and still is, the center of many pilgrimages.

Happy Epiphany! “Were they at first, even for an instant, bitterly taken aback? Did they almost turn away in disappointment from the dark mouth of this unguarded stable? But when they saw the Child, all of Christmas welled up in their souls. A Child they had come to seek. Yet in all the world there was no Child like this.” -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, Painting by Corbert Gauthier http://www.corbertgauthier.net/gallery1.php

These books give us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children. Not only will they provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but they will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith…. Available here.

 

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

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The Epiphany and Some Blessings

The following is some inspiration to make your Epiphany special. There are many ways to do this; Mary Reed Newland tells of her family’s customs. Also included are some blessings that the father of the house or anyone who takes the role of “Leader” can do. These types of traditions not only make the day special with a certain solemnity but they bestow grace on the family.

by Mary Reed Newland, The Year and the Family

January 6 is the feast of the Epiphany, the celebration of the Three Kings’ journey to Bethlehem with their gifts; the day the children of the household journey to Bethlehem to take Him the gifts they have made during Advent, and the day the tiny kings join the rest of the Nativity figures in the creche.

They have been slowly inching their way across the mantel with their camel train, nearer each day. We bake a delicious Crown cake for the evening. Crown cake, King’s cake, Epiphany cake – any name you wish to give it – is baked in a tube pan so that it looks like a crown.

We have borrowed Mrs. Berger’s icing from Cooking for Christ, fluffy white and decorated with gumdrop jewels.

From the French we borrow the custom of baking a bean and a pea in the cake, as well as assorted objects of our own inspiration that have symbolisms, entirely invented. The bean and pea were supposed to fall to the king and queen for the night, but we have the bean portend a trip to Boston and the pea tells that you are a princess (secretly, of course).

A button means you will be a bachelor; a thimble, a seamstress. A penny means that you are going to be poor, and a dime, rich.

A ring? You’ll be married for sure. A raisin – I hate to tell you – you’ll be wrinkled. A chocolate bit? You’re sweet. You got nothing? That is to remind you that God loves you. Remember what our Lord said, “Blessed are those who believe and yet do not see.”

These things have only one purpose – fun. One caution: chew carefully.

Next the crowns are cut from aluminum foil or leftover Christmas wrappings. Where there are more than three children, the limited number would seem to pose a problem; but happily there is a possibility that there were more than three kings!

Some say it was assumed that the kings were three because the gifts were three; and some say it is because in Psalm 71, used in the Epiphany Mass, it is stated, “The kings of Tharsis and the Islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts.”

They were probably not kings as we think of kings, for “Magi were Persian pseudo-scientists devoted especially to astrology and medicine.”

The Jews of the Dispersion who had been captured in wars or had migrated to foreign ports to trade had kept their faith, and it was undoubtedly from these that the Magi knew of the expected Messiah.

In the Middle Ages, the kings were given the familiar names Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. The Fathers of the Church interpreted their gifts mystically as symbols of Christ’s kingship (gold), His divinity (frankincense, because it was used for worship in the temple), and His mortal humanity (myrrh, because it was used in the burial of the dead).

As for the attempts of modern astronomers to identify the star as a juncture of comets or as Halley’s or another comet, they have entirely ignored the miraculous nature of the Star of Bethlehem, its appearance, movement, and disappearance.

This may seem to complicate the celebration of the feast of the three kings – who were not kings, nor three. But if not kings by rank, they were kings by faith and noble bearing and persevering determination.

So we arrange crowns for the heads of as many kings as we must crown (visiting kings as well).

Epiphany means “manifestation”: this is the feast of God’s showing His Son to the world. One week after Epiphany we will celebrate another manifestation: when our Lord was baptized by St. John the Baptist, and God the Father spoke from Heaven, identifying Him.

And the second Sunday after Epiphany we celebrate the third great manifestation, heralding the beginning of His public life: the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana, where our Lord showed openly His divine power.

Many blessings are given traditionally on the Epiphany: the Blessing of Chalk; the Blessing of Gold and Frankincense; the Blessing of Bread, of Eggs, and of Salt; and the Blessing of Homes.

There is a difference between blessings given by a priest and the same blessings read by the father or some older member of the family when it is not possible to have the priest present.

But it is a mistake to consider them without efficacy when the layman reads them. By our Baptism we have a share in Christ’s Priesthood. If we are part of Christ in His Mystical Body, and He is High Priest, we share this with Him.

Ours is not the same as the power of the consecrated priest, but it is our right and privilege to ask God’s blessing on the things we use in daily life, and we should exercise this privilege often.

The Blessing of Chalk is usually given by a priest at church. The chalk is then distributed to the people, who take it home to use after the Blessing of the Home.

(Keep in mind that these prayers are originally for the priest, so it would not be appropriate for the leader to make the sign of the cross over anything.)

BLESSING OF CHALK

Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
Leader: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
Bless, 0 Lord God, this creature chalk to render it helpful to men. Grant that they who use it in faith and with it inscribe scribe upon the entrance of their homes the names of thy saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, may, through their merits and intercession, enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Sprinkle chalk with holy water.) If this blessing is not ordinarily given at church, perhaps it could be if enough parishioners requested it; at any rate, it may be read by the father or one of the grown-ups at home.

In some parishes, it is a custom for the pastor to bless the homes of the parish from the church doorway, the people reading the words of the blessing at the same hour in their homes, and going in procession from room to room, sprinkling the house with holy water.

At the end of this procession, the father or another grown-up writes over the front door with the blessed chalk the year and the initials of the three kings, separated by crosses; for instance, 19 + C + B + M + 56.

BLESSING OF HOMES ON EPIPHANY

Leader: Peace be to this house.

All: And to all that dwell herein.

All: From the East, the Magi came to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures, they offered costly gifts: gold to the great King, incense to the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. Alleluia.

Now follows the reading of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).

The home is sprinkled with holy water, and following the Magnificat the antiphon is repeated: From the East …

Then the Our Father, silently.

Leader: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

Leader: Many shall come from Saba.

All: Bearing gold and incense.

Leader: 0 Lord, hear my prayer.

All: And let my cry come unto thee.

Leader: The Lord be with you.

All: And with thy spirit.

Let us pray. 0 God, who, by the guidance of a star, didst this day reveal Thy sole-begotten Son to the Gentiles, grant that we who now know Thee by faith may be brought to the contemplation of Thy heavenly majesty. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.

All: Be enlightened and shine forth, 0 Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and upon thee is risen the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.

Leader: Nations shall walk in Thy light, and kings in the splendor of Thy birth. All: And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Let us pray. Bless, 0 Lord, almighty God, this home that it be the shelter of health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to the commandments, and thanksgiving to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May blessing remain for all time upon this dwelling and them that live herein. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Blessing of Any Victual may be used for the salt:

BLESSING OF ANY VICTUAL

Let us pray. Bless, 0 Lord, this creature salt, so that it be a saving help to humankind; and grant that, by calling on Thy holy name, all who eat of it may experience health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Sprinkle salt with holy water.)

Last, there is the: BLESSING OF THE EGGS

Let us pray. Let Thy blessing, Lord, come upon these eggs, that they be salutary food for the faithful who eat them in thanksgiving for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee forever and ever. Amen. (Sprinkle eggs with holy water.)

We have neither gold nor frankincense to bless this day, alas, unless we include our “Magi’s Gold” when we bless the food.

This is nothing more than candied orange peel made with the rinds of the Christmas oranges (navel oranges are best, but watch out that the children don’t peel them in little scraps and throw the peel away). Packed in small tin boxes with gilt paper and gilt bows, they are lovely gifts for friends.

All cookbooks have recipes for candied orange peel. Be sure to sprinkle the peel with granulated sugar (not all include this) because it gives it a beautiful jeweled look. Save the sugar that falls off for the tops of cookies.

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Happy Twelfth Day of Christmas! This is the time of year that you should be able to get some Epiphany Water in your home! It is very powerful (and who doesn’t need some good power going on in their homes)! The blessing of Epiphany water has special exorcism prayers that no other holy water has. Use it often….teach your children the value of it and get them used to blessing themselves with it.

Coloring pages for your children….

 

Catholic Hearth Stories are tales filled with traditional, old-fashioned values. They are about everyday situations in the life of a Catholic family…Tales about home, friends, fun, sacrifice, prayer, etc. These are full-color books sure to capture the heart of your children.

All 4 available here.

TWO TEA PARTIES AND A SACRIFICE

Meet Agnes, a fourteen-year-old Catholic girl, who is challenged to make a sacrifice. Will she cheerfully accept what she knows is God’s will in this situation?

JOSEPH AND THE BOW SHOOT

Meet Joseph, a Catholic boy who wants to enter the Parish Bow Shoot but doesn’t have a bow. How does he overcome this obstacle and what lessons does he learn along the way?

Brendan, The Seafarer

It’s Brendan’s birthday and he is fighting pirates, steering ships and wielding swords! He learns of St. Brendan, the Navigator and the pious Christopher Columbus. Life is a nautical adventure for him! Will his daydreaming cause him trouble? What lessons does he learn?

Celine’s Advent

Take a walk through Advent as Celine and her family prepare for the coming of the Baby Jesus at Christmas! You will enjoy celebrating the beauty of the season with Celine as she helps her mom with the special traditions and activities that make the liturgy come alive in their home! Her “peanut gallery” consists of a mouse named Percy and some charming and delightful Christmas Angels!

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Epiphany: “Where is He That Was Born King of the Jews?”

A beautiful meditation on Epiphany….

Illustration of traditional Christian Christmas Nativity scene with the three wise men going to meet baby Jesus in the manger.

by Father Daniel A. Lord

“Where is He that was born King of the Jews?”

The question, repeated a thousand times along their tedious way through the desert and sprawling villages and nomadic tribes and smug, white-roofed cities, was answered with shrugged shoulders and cynically turned backs, with significant touching of foreheads and frankly contemptuous laughter.

Undismayed, the Magi were drawn forward on their quest by the vague hope of finding a Child.

More than likely they dreamed of palace gates swinging wide to welcome them as grooms swept forward to catch their camels by their tinkling bridles and pages helped them to dismount.

Surely the child of a king would rest upon the softest down, under coverlets of purple damask. Hushed attendants might permit them a glimpse of newborn royalty between the crossed lances of sleepless sentinels. Yet even this glimpse would be reward enough, they felt, for their weary desert road, the tireless swaying of their camels and the night-long journeys in pursuit of a forward moving star.

For here was a Child tall enough to light a blaze in the heavens. In the ancient papyri written for a mighty Cyrus by a Jew named Daniel, they were assured that this was no ordinary child who was born under a flaming star.

Were they at first, even for an instant, bitterly taken aback? Did they almost turn away in disappointment from the dark mouth of this unguarded stable? Probably they caught up their silken gowns as they stepped through cattle pens and sheepfolds to the dark hill cave, unlighted except for the now motionless star.

But when they saw the Child, all of Christmas welled up in their souls. What did it matter that He lay, not on orient silk, but on crackling straw; that an exquisite maid and a dignified carpenter (strange contradiction, to their aristocratic minds, a carpenter with such poise and dignity) were His only courtiers; that the bleak walls of the stable, rough-hewn from the black earth of the hill, were bare of heraldic standards or banners of scarlet and gold; that no sentries flashed repelling swords to hold back intruders?

Faith swept them forward in its high tide. A Child they had come to seek. Yet in all the world there was no Child like this.

He wore His swaddling clothes as if they were Tyrian purple. He lay in a manger that seemed like a conquered world. He opened His tiny arms, and their circle was vast enough to embrace all humanity. He smiled, and the light of a new era dawned.

They had come to find a Child King who was to conquer and save the world. Naturally they had dreamed of a kingship proved by files of palace guards and fluttering choirs of nurses, by carved ebony and beaten gold upon his crib, and breathless statesmen adding his name to the line of royal ancestors — he the heir of their greatness and their petty crimes, their occasional acts of kingliness and their frequent baseness and stupid cruelty and criminal lust. They knew no other kings nor sons of kings than these.

They had not dared dream of a Child whose evident kingship made a palace out of a stable and a throne out of straw heaped for oxen. They had not wildly imagined a sovereign who could conquer because he was without weapons and who won His followers, not by the cold aloofness of power, but by the warm approachableness of His weakness and His love.

Before this Child of the poor these rich men eagerly poured the tribute of their gifts. Before this Infant who contained all that the world needed to save it, these wise men bent submissive knees.

Although the shepherds in their simple ignorance and the Magi in their deep wisdom were unaware of it, around the Child, from the very beginning, vortexed the complete drama of humanity’s best and basest emotions.

He had been welcomed, as every great benefactor of humanity is welcomed, with cruel indifference and rudely slammed doors. Yet, if the doors of earth were barred in His face, the gates of heaven broken open to welcome Him!

 
Look for traits in his character to appreciate such as honesty, dependability, kindness, and love. When you appreciate these virtues you help him become a better man and strengthen your relationship. -Fascinating Womanhood https://amzn.to/2MUoQk3 (afflink)
Coloring pages for your children….
Happy Eleventh Day Of Christmas!

The Twelve Days of Christmas all in one place! Thank you, Catholics Know the Answer for these!

Feast of the Epiphany. A little story of the three wise men, now saints, & their faith that led them to the Christ child….

Beautiful Vintaj Wire Wrapped Cloisonné Rosaries! Lovely, Durable. Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. Available here.

Looking for some good reading suggestions? Visit these Book Lists…

My Book List

Catholic Men’s Book List

Catholic Youth’s Book List

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