Develop Union With God Through Prayer (Part One)

by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Progress in Divine Union

Fidelity during the hours of prayer engenders an almost natural facility in prayer at other times. While this is not its only advantage, it is one that is valuable and easy to understand. The very act of forcing ourselves to spend generously at the feet of God the moments that our life, if intelligently planned, allots to prayer, brings us during that time to a degree of intimate divine union.  

Were this the only result, our gain would be immense. If, in conversation with a sincere friend, we find enrichment, how much more we can expect from converse with our Friend above all friends. Prayer brings into view new horizons of thought.  

When we have been absorbed in a divine atmosphere for some time – and let us hope that this time is never grudgingly given – our whole being becomes penetrated with the divine: our intellect dwells on the supernatural, our feelings are caught up by the supernatural, and our imagination fixes itself on the supernatural. 

 Little by little, the supernatural becomes the normal atmosphere of our soul. God, Christ, and the Blessed Virgin are no longer mere names but living personalities. The presence of the Holy Trinity in the depths of our soul, the life of the Savior in the Host, the marvel of the immense and fruitful communion of souls in the state of grace, are no longer nebulous theories but vital realities.  

The kingdom of God, which our Lord told us is within, is no longer an accessory in our life, but it is our very life. “First things first, and all other things in their place,” becomes our principle, with the result that all the human affairs of everyday existence assume their proper place, which is by far not the first.  

Our soul accustoms itself to live in truth, that is, in the divine. Our feet rest solidly on the earth but our conversation, that is, the whole tenor of our life, is in Heaven. The supernatural takes precedence over the natural. Our efforts to approach divine realities constrain divine realities to respond, and by the normal workings of habit, they begin to control us, to dominate us.  

If one tries often and for long periods to adapt himself to a certain climate, he will eventually feel as if the climate has adapted itself to him, becoming a part of his existence.  

We are all familiar with the expression “master an idea”; it would be much better to say, “Be mastered by an idea.” Prayer achieves this for us. It establishes union with God not only while we pray, but makes this union relatively easy for us, in keeping with our character and occupations, even when we are not explicitly occupied with prayer.  

Consider again a conversation with a friend. Once the conversation has ended, the contact is not broken; it is less lively, perhaps, less real, more diffuse, but effective still. Multiple memories arise: the words spoken, the dear face, the continued sense of the happiness of being together.  

Our friend has gone and yet remains. No one else sees him, but we never cease seeing him, and all that we do, we do in the light of his invisible presence, just as a young wife finds her whole house brightened by her husband band even when he is away at work.  

When we deal with our divine Friend, the supernatural action of grace cooperates with the normal and human workings of habit. God never allows Himself to be outdone in generosity. He seeks those who seek Him. He pursues with His attentions the soul that places its happiness in loving Him or at least puts forth effort to give Him, whenever it can, a proof of love.  

When we exert ourselves in prayer to think only of Him, He comes to us in the midst of our occupations. That is characteristic of the Holy Spirit. He is magnificently grateful, reciprocating a hundredfold every little attention we pay Him.  

Of course, it is true, as was suggested before, that our occupations, some of which are so absorbing, our disposition and temperament frequently so unstable, our imagination and feelings constantly active, are sometimes helps and very often hindrances to these divine contacts, these occasional and fleeting communications.

But the law holds: to pray sometimes helps to pray often; nothing more readily develops the spirit of prayer than prayer; nothing so impels God to unite Himself to us at every moment as our resolute effort to meet Him at fixed times for prayerful repose close to His Heart. We must not expect God to make all the advances; we, too, must expend some effort. 

 Before we try to arrive at an intelligent understanding of what this effort means, we will give some thought to the meaning of prayer. Our “elevation toward God,” which is prayer, can take place in three ways.  

In its weakest form, it consists simply in being in the state of grace. According to many authors, all acts placed when this fundamental state of union exists and the soul possesses divine life can justifiably be called prayer. 

Others claim that to have prayer, in the strict sense of the word, there must be in addition to the fundamental state of grace an intention of elevation toward God. This intention can be actual or virtual. It is actual if formulated at the moment one starts to act: “My God, I offer You this work,” whether the words be said explicitly or implied by an equivalent act.  

It is virtual if it has been formulated at a time considerably antecedent to the beginning of the act it elevates to God. For example, in the morning on arising we can direct to the Most High through the Morning Offering, or any other formula, all the activity of the day. Then, as the hours and minutes roll by, the various actions rise in homage to God. We may, too, from time to time throughout the day, think of raising our mind and heart to God. 

 At the time we make these intentions, the Morning Offering, and the other periodic offerings, they are clearly actual; their effect of “elevation” governs virtually the length of time that follows until the next actual intention. In this way, strong states and weak states follow upon one another to constitute a continuous and almost constant elevation of the soul.  

What we would like to stress here is the manner of making the good intention as constantly actual as possible. We know that “to pray always” does not command us to a state of constant actual elevation exclusively, and that the majority of souls united to God live rather in a state of virtual elevation.  

Our Lord does not require continuous acts of union that, we might say, are for the most part impossible, but a continuous state of offering. In other words, God asks not so much for constant attention to Him as for the constant intention to do nothing that is not wholly for Him.  

We will not rest satisfied with a virtual intention only, but seek to attain a union with God that is morally constant and actual. We say morally constant, because, clearly, aside from special graces, our capacity for attention, even when wisely and consistently disciplined, is too weak and our occupations in many instances are too distracting to permit the twin effort necessary to think at one and the same time of what we are doing and of God, for whom we work.

Coloring pages for your children….

As Sr. Lucia of Fatima said this is a time of diabolical disorientation. We find an amazing type or image of this in the life of St. John of the Cross. To conquer this inversion, as St. John did, we must remain firm and steadfast in our faith and employ the power of the Most Holy Trinity in casting the devil out of our lives. This is always done through the making of the Sign of the Cross…

Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit…

My Book List

Book List for Catholic Men

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Nurturing the Gift of Femininity

I do enjoy Emilie Barnes’ enthusiasm and joy as she relishes in her femininity and shares her zeal with us!

From The Spirit of Loveliness by Emilie Barnes

At its best, our femininity arises naturally out of who we are and finds its expression in the way we live our lives and make our homes. But in our hectic, hard-driving society, it’s easy to lose track of our gentle, feminine side.

Femininity is something we must nurture in ourselves and in our homes, and celebrate as God’s gift to us.

Femininity can be cultivated in many ways. A few drops of fragrant oil or perfume in the bathwater. A daisy on your desk. A lace scarf or an embroidered hanky in your pocket. A crocheted shawl around your shoulders.

Whatever awakens a calm and gentle spirit within you will nurture beauty in your life.

The expression of femininity is a very personal thing, for it is an expression of a woman’s unique self. It is closely tied with identity and with style. Many of the most feminine women I know develop a signature or trademark that marks their distinctiveness.

One woman always wears hats. Another enhances her distinctive presence with a favorite fragrance. Still another adopts a theme or motif that becomes part of her identity.

My friend Marilyn’s theme is roses. All her correspondence is “rosy,” whether with a sticker, a rubber stamp, or her own distinctive stationery. Her home, too, is full of roses – on everything from bedspreads to dessert dishes to rose-scented potpourri.

Marita, one of my publicists, loves rabbits. When she was little, her nickname was “Bunny,” and she has carried this trademark into adulthood.

Marita and her husband, Chuck, have bunny T-shirts and bunny candle holders, and at one time even a live bunny as a pet. Anytime I see anything thing with a rabbit on it I think of Marita, and at Christmas or on her birthday she always gets a bunny gift. Finding personalized presents is fun for me and Marita. It’s one way of celebrating her unique, feminine personality.

Rejoicing in the Senses

Femininity includes a wholesome sensuality – a rejoicing in the fragrances and textures and sounds of God’s world.

We honor God and express our own femininity when we become excited about the beauty around us, when we cultivate the senses that God created in us.

What is the first thing you do when you pick a rose? You put it to your nose to enjoy the fragrance. How does it make you feel? Maybe it brings a pleasant memory of that little girl inside you – of a time when you picked a flower for your mother or grandmother.

Beautiful fragrances can waft the beauty of femininity all around the house. A lavender sachet thrown in your underwear drawer, sewing box, or stocking box-or hung on a hanger in the closet-imparts its delicate fragrance at the most unexpected times.

Spray a little cologne on your notepaper, the bathroom throw rug, or even the toilet bowl. Fill your house with pine at Christmas, or boil a little pot of cinnamon and other spices on the stove.

And enjoy your other senses as well. Put on lively music while you do your housework, and take time out to dance before the Lord.

Experiment with herbs and spices in your cooking, and don’t be afraid to try new dishes. Slipcover a rough-textured sofa with a cool, smooth sheet, and banish your scratchy, uncomfortable sweaters.

There is nothing self-indulgent or worldly about such small pleasures when we approach them with a spirit of gratitude because God’s gifts help us go about the tasks he has given us.

When we feel that the little things in our lives are pleasant and satisfying, it’s amazing how the outside stresses and disappointments fade, at least for the moment.

We can then regroup, prioritize, and pray – cultivating a quiet, feminine spirit and preparing ourselves to be God’s people in the world.

 

“Boys need that self-assured belief that they can do anything to grow into men of action and achievement—but they’ll never build that confidence if Mom and Dad never give them real responsibility. We have to give important jobs to our kids, and then we have to trust them and not worry about them messing up. It would certainly be easier for us to just do the hard stuff ourselves and let our boys play, but our goal isn’t to do what’s easy. It’s to raise men.” – Chasity Akiki

Sign up for the Apron Giveaway by clicking the link here!

Oh how powerful is the Holy Rosary with God and His Holy Mother! It can do all things for us. Listen Sr. Lucia of Fatima sum up everything I have been trying to impart to you today: “The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary…..

 

 

Woman’s Lovely Veil/ Chapel Veil/ Traditional Head Coverings….Old World Veil. A beautiful long chapel veil…made with care and detail from black lace. Available here.

 

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.

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

 

Necessary advice to Catholic parents building a Catholic home. Reliable advice that is almost completely lost today, from people who know how it’s done. How to make it. How to live it. How to keep it. This book covers every aspect of Catholicizing your home–from spiritual matters like prayer and catechism to nuts and bolts topics like Keeping the Family Budget, Games and Toys, Harmony between School and Home, Family Prayers, Good Reading in the Home, Necessity of Home Life and much more

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An Apron Giveaway! And a Mother Goose Podcast!

NEW CHEERFUL CHATS FOR CATHOLIC CHILDREN PODCAST!

Catholic Mother Goose ~ Jack and Jill, Sing a Song of Sixpence, The Rats are in the Monastery, etc.

Join me as we read some delightful poems from Catholic Mother Goose….highlighting the beautiful traditions of our Faith. The Children will be reminded of such things as the sacramentals, the timeless truths of the Catholic Religion, the Works of Mercy, etc.

What a fun and easy way to turn those little minds to what is most important in their lives….their Catholic Faith!

Today, I’d like to offer you a Spring Giveaway!!

The winner will receive this lovely, fully lined Apron made by Gin!

Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! 🌺 💗

Just leave a comment here, and your name will be added! It is always so great to hear from you. 🙂

I will announce the winner next Thursday, June 26th!

To see more of Gin’s aprons for sale visit our Etsy Shop here.

“Let not your imperfections discourage you; your God does not despise you because you are imperfect and infirm; on the contrary, He loves you because you desire to cure your ills. He will come to your assistance and make you more perfect than you would have dared to hope, and adorned by His own hand, your beauty will be unequaled, like His own goodness.” Divine Intimacy

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

Here is a complete guide to mature, responsible, even noble behavior in our complex modern society. Written in the 1930s by a wise Jesuit priest and steeped in the wisdom of the ages, these pages teach the timeless principles that have led countless souls to true success and lasting happiness.

Without condescension, Fr. Garesché shows how to maintain a healthy mind, resist temptations, grow temperate, practice fortitude, think kindly of others, and choose worthwhile amusements. He even explains how to accept criticism graciously and how to develop the kind of confidence that is not rooted in pride, but is the necessary foundation for any life that will be productive and holy. Once you assimilate the wisdom here, you’ll know how to find genuine success the success that transcends money, fame, and pleasure.

Fr. Garesché shows you how to become an apostle for Christ in myriad ways, not only at home among your family and friends, but even at work. You’ll learn how to talk about religion with your friends as naturally as you discuss sports or current events. He even gives you tips on how you can bear witness to your faith in Jesus Christ not just in what you say, but in what you do.

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Hectic Days for Helen

by Leane VanderPutten

The July day was sunny, the scent of petunias wafted in the air. The air was cooling off a bit and the breeze softly wafted through the branches of the trees. Summer was at its peak.

But Helen was not enjoying the breeze or the flowers.

Helen was tired. Not for any particular reason. Yes, it was summer, the kids were done with their home school and, instead of life slowing down, things seemed to have sped up.

June and July had been particularly hot, they didn’t have a pool, so the children spent time indoors during the heat of the day. Without the schedule of school, mayhem seemed to reign with more frequency than Helen liked.

Helen’s husband, Mark, was working lots of hours. Summer was the time his work became very demanding because he was in the construction field. So he was not around much to help out. And when he got home he was tired and even cranky at times.

“Such is life,” Helen sighed. Lately, things hadn’t been working out the way she had imagined. Instead of enjoying the so-called “lazy days of summer” she was fighting inner turmoil.  She was struggling through the days, battling thoughts of self-pity and complaining.

“Why can’t the kids be quiet now on again?”

“Dirty diapers, dishes, it’s discouraging,” she thought. “And life is only going to get more and more hectic as the years go by. I just don’t know if I can do this!”

This day had been particularly trying so when rosary time came around, amid the slouching children and wriggling baby, she implored Our Lady to help her.

The next day Helen woke up with a terrific pain in her side that didn’t want to leave. It was debilitating so she had to call in a babysitter to take over.

That night was sleepless. The next day, after a doctor’s appointment, she started an antibiotic for a bladder infection.

The antibiotic didn’t work so another one was tried. That one alleviated some of the symptoms for a short while but they came back with a vengeance.

The next couple of weeks were harder than ever for Helen. The worst part was the worry. She didn’t know what this mysterious pain was and, since they didn’t have insurance, she wasn’t going to run in and have a bunch of tests done. At least not right away.

So she was stuck worrying. What happens if it was something really bad? She’d find herself looking at her kids and imagine leaving them to fend for themselves in a crazy world.

When her husband came home,  her thoughts wandered to whether he would be left alone… If this was something that could actually take her life? She pushed a lot of those thoughts away but with her melancholic nature, they kept creeping back.

After a very bad night, finally, Helen went back to the doctor….this time a different doctor. He heard all the symptoms and told her that it sounded like she was just trying to pass a kidney stone.

This was news to Helen! She didn’t understand why the first doctor didn’t spot that?

Her step was a little lighter as she left the doctor’s office even though she still had pain. She got home and drank lots and lots of lemon water and took hydrangea tincture.

Within a few of days, she passed that kidney stone and was feeling much better!

The pain was gone, but the best part was that the worry was gone! With all the imaginings of her having a dread disease she had been tied up in knots!
Now that she knew things were OK, her heart filled with joy and thanksgiving!

The following days things began to get back to normal – hectic life came back full force.

But Helen’s heart had changed, indeed!

It still wasn’t easy to drag herself out of bed in the morning, but her heart was filled with thanksgiving because she could actually get up and take care of her children. Were the children any quieter? No. But she appreciated the laughter and the noise instead of always fighting against it. Did hubby come home earlier? No. But she was grateful that her husband had the work that he did and was not upset that he wasn’t around to help.

Her heart sang as she did the dishes.

She still got impatient, things weren’t flawless, but Helen was seeing things through different eyes.

She thought back on that evening when she implored Our Lady, during the rosary, to help her. She realized how much she had helped – maybe not in the way she had wanted or expected but it didn’t matter. She knew it was a gift right from her Mother‘s hands!

The summer days passed quickly. There were many joys in between the rough spots. Helen had learned a lesson. She hoped it would stick. She prayed it would stick.

Those weeks when things got rather dark for her taught her something special besides being grateful for the daily grind. She made up her mind that she would thank God for her crosses as she was going through them, knowing that He had the best possible plan in mind for her and that good would come from them.

It also came home to her that each new day was a gift. She would work hard at tuning her mind into that at the beginning of the day so that when the day ramped up she would have a spirit of gratefulness in spite of everything else.

As Helen sat outside in the early autumn breeze of the evening, amidst the floating aroma of the petunias, she thought to herself, “Indeed, it has been a very productive summer!”

Is it all about being right when we are having a disagreement? Do we need to be on the defensive each time we feel he is being unreasonable? That only seems fair, doesn’t it? Well, go ahead. But your relationship will suffer. It is more important, not that you “win” or that you always come out feeling like you gave the last verbal punch. Like Our Lord, we win through kindness and meekness.
What it comes down to is: Do you want to be RIGHT or do you want to be HAPPY? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” www.finerfem.com

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Sacred Heart Graceful Religious Pendant and Earring Set…Wire-Wrapped, Handcrafted. Get the necklace blessed and wear it as a sacramental!

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Father talks about how important our duties of our vocation are, that they are the will of God for us, we need look no further. He touches on the specific duties of each of our different walks of life….

 

 

 

Immodest Conversation/Dangerous Reading

Very good reading for all. Sometimes the temptations get confused with sin. Fr. Lovasik lays it out pretty clear so you know where the line is drawn…

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From Clean Love in Courtship, Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik

Immodest Conversation and Speaking

MORTAL SIN

 Immodest conversation with the intention of exciting the hearers to lust. Course language which would scandalize and excite the young and innocent.

VENIAL SIN:

 Immodest conversation which is merely suggestive or slightly objectionable.

No SIN:

 Serious conversation about sexual topics is permissible when there is a sufficient reason for it and proper precautions are taken.

Listening

MORTAL SIN:

To listen to obscene conversation for the sake of the sensual pleasure that it excites.

VENIAL SIN:

 To listen out of curiosity or to laugh at obscene jokes from human respect. Many people who tell stories with sexy content are not bothered by them, but they have to assume some responsibility for their listeners.

Things like this can easily give scandal, especially in a mature mixed group, and above all when adolescents are present. The mere fun of telling a story is never a sufficient reason for the uncertain danger of temptation which is practically always present.

A smutty story displays your lack of a sense of decency and the state of your soul. It proclaims the meagerness of your sources of entertainment, the coarseness of your ideas of humor, the inadequacy of your means of expression.

It soils the imagination of your hearers, hanging vulgar pictures in the inner chambers of their minds. A dirty story disgusts people of finer sensibilities who care for the clean, wholesome things of life, but hate dirt.

It dishonors your parents, your friends, your God and yourself! Off-color and suggestive stories and jokes may be serious occasions of sin in company-keeping.

They easily arouse passions and lead the way to sin. Make it a point of honor that you will never soil your date with a single dirty story. Say nothing that you would not want your mother to hear.

God sees and hears you. Never take willful pleasure listening to a dirty story. If you are not in a position to silence the Story-teller or change the trend of conversation, or leave, at least refrain from encouraging him by your interest or expression of pleasure and approval.

Let him see from your attitude that you are not interested. Avoid the company of those who tell filthy jokes or stories. If your friend belongs to this class, you have made a very poor choice.

Dangerous Reading

MORTAL SIN:

 The reading of a very obscene book without sufficient reason. The reading of slightly objectionable books with an evil intention.

VENIAL SIN:

 The reading of slightly objectionable books out of mere curiosity and without evil intentions, e.g., a novel with too passionate love.

No SIN:

 Those who have a serious reason for reading (doctors, nurses, spiritual directors, teachers, young people about to be married who need instruction) do not sin, even though they should be strongly excited, provided that they control their wills. The greater the danger to the virtue of chastity, the greater must be the justifying reason for reading dangerous books.

Even mere entertainment justifies one in ignoring occasional slight motions of passion caused by a few suggestive pictures or  passages in books or magazines that are otherwise decent.

But mere entertainment is not usually a complete justification for reading things that one finds strongly stimulating, even in an otherwise decent book or magazine.

One of the great enemies to the moral cleanliness of youth is the avalanche of filth being poured upon them today by smutty magazines, lewd pictures and newspapers which relate the details of sexual crimes and divorce scandals.

Such literature poisons the minds, befouls the imaginations and sullies the hearts of youth. The publishers of these filthy, sex inciting magazines are the arch criminals of our day, the criminals who turn out others by the hundreds.

Make it a point of honor never to read any literature which you know to be in any way objectionable. Refrain from reading cheap books and magazines that will scarcely be an inspiration to you.

Read and promote Catholic books, magazines and pamphlets in order to become a better Catholic and help the cause of truth and virtue. You cannot appreciate anything you know little about.

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“Let us ask God every day and in every prayer we ever say to make us love Him. Let us offer every good act we do that He may give us this, the greatest of all graces, His blessed love. In our morning prayers and evening prayers, in our Rosary, at Mass, in our Communions, let it be our first, our most earnest petition, that we may love God. Let us never say any prayer in which this is not our outstanding wish and intention.” – Rev. Fr. Paul O’Sullivan. An Easy Way To Become A Saint, 1943
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This is a must-read for Catholic youth. The do’s and don’t s of dating, how to keep pure, what is a sin and what is just a temptation, the qualities to look for in a good spouse, etc. It is small, but power-packed, straightforward and balanced! http://amzn.to/2niVm2T (afflink)
Sermon for today. “What are the dangers of dating? What is the purpose of marriage? What does the Church teach is OK to & not OK to do with members of the opposite gender?”

Beautiful, New Aprons! Fully lined, hand-embroidered, quality material, made with care and detail!

Make a statement with these lovely and graceful, handcrafted aprons! Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! 🌺 💗

Available here.

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you’ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.
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True Womanhood ~ Supernatural Atmosphere of the Home

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Painting by Loren Entz

With inspiring and beautiful words, Rev. O’Reilly compares the role of womanhood in the home to the fire and warmth of the sun, which, were its light to go out, all would wither and die.

He talks about the how the “springs of true joy” will flourish in our homes if we have certain virtues flourishing within its four walls. In this short piece he talks about the first and most important virtue, faith.

From True Womanhood

The most learned men of modern times agree in saying, that the sun’s light and warmth are, in the order established by the Creator, the sources of all vegetable and animal life on the surface of our globe.

They regulate the succession of seasons, the growth of all the wonderful varieties of tree and shrub and flower and grass that make of the surface of the earth an image of Paradise.

They give health and vigor to the myriads of animals of every kind that live in the air or in the waters or on the dry land, and to which, in turn, the vegetable world furnishes food and sustenance.

The very motion given to the rain in falling, to the rivers in their course, to the oceans and their currents, comes from that sun-force, as well as the clouds which sail above our heads in the firmament and the lovely colors which paint them.

Nay, there is not a single beauty in the million-million shades which embellish the flowers of grove or garden or field, or clothe, at dawn or noontide or sunset, the face of earth and heaven, which is not a creation of glorious light, the visible image of His divine countenance in whom is the source of all splendor and life and beauty.

Even so, O Woman, within that world which is your home and kingdom, your face is to light up and brighten and beautify all things, and your heart is to be the source of that vital fire and strength without which the father can be no true father, the brother no true brother, the sister no true sister, since all have to learn from you how to love, how to labor lovingly, how to be forgetful of self, and mindful only of the welfare of others.

The natural affection by which the Creator of our souls draws to each other husband and wife, and which, in turn, they pour out on their children and receive back from these in filial regard and reverence, is the very source of domestic happiness.

We cannot estimate too highly this holy mutual love which knits together the hearts of parents and children.

It is as necessary to the peace, the comfort, the prosperity, and the bliss of every home, as the dew and the rain and the streams of running water are necessary to the husbandman for the fertility of the land he cultivates and the growth of the harvest on which depend both his subsistence and his wealth.

Let the dew and rain of heaven cease to fall on the fairest valley, let the springs of living water be dried up all over its bosom, and the rivers which brighten and fertilize it cease to flow but for a few seasons, and it will be like the vale of death, forsaken of every living thing.

Do you wish, O reader, to learn how the springs of true life, of true love and joy, may flow, unfailing and eternal, within the little paradise of your home?

Then weigh well the words of the great Martyr-Pope placed at the head of this chapter:
“Who is not struck with beholding your lively faith; your piety full of sweetness and modesty; your generous hospitality; the holiness which reigns within your families; the serenity and innocence of your conversation?” ST. CLEMENT, Pope and Martyr.

These point out the virtues and qualities which should adorn every household in which Christ is worshiped : a lively faith, a piety full of sweetness and modesty, a generous hospitality; holiness of life, serenity and innocence of conversation.

Let us examine together how much there is in every one of these.

We need not send to a great distance for one of those men famed for their skill in discovering hidden and plentiful springs of water beneath the surface of the ground.

Their mysterious knowledge and the use of their magic wand are useless here. For, here we have seven pure and exhaust-less wells of living water, created for our home by the Maker of all things, and placed ready to our hand for every need.

And, first of all, is a lively faith. We Christians are given that eye of the soul which enables us to see the invisible world, as if the veil which hides it were withdrawn. God becomes to us an ever-present, most sweet and most comforting reality.

The great patriarch, Abraham, was bidden, in his long exile, and as a sure means of bearing up against his manifold trials, to walk before God, that is, to have God ever present before the eye of his soul.

This sense of the Divine Majesty as a vision always accompanying us in our every occupation, in labor as well as repose just as the pillar of cloud went with the Israelites in their journeying toward the Promised Land gives wonderful light to us in our darkness and difficulties, cheers us marvelously in distress and adversity, lightens the hardest labor and the most intolerable burden, imparts a divine strength in the hour of temptation…

For, what can we not undertake and accomplish, what enemy can we not resist and put to flight, when we feel that His eye is on us, that we have him there face to face, that His arm is ever stretched out to support and to shield us, and that all the love of His fatherly heart sweetens the bitterness of our struggle, and rewards our generosity in overcoming all for his sake?

Joseph and Mary at Nazareth were privileged above all human beings to behold that Wisdom which created the world living and laboring daily beneath their humble roof, and growing up into the successive perfection of holy infancy, boyhood, and manhood, while concealing his quality from the surrounding multitude, and revealing only to a few like themselves his Godhead and his mission.

It is certain, that he practiced all the virtues and fulfilled all the duties of his age and station in the way best fitted to glorify his Father : he was enlightening the world, sanctifying himself, and marking out the path of life as truly for every one of us, during these long and obscure years of his abode in Nazareth, as when his teaching and his miracles drew around him all Galilee and Judea.

And what an eloquent lesson was there, exemplifying that “life of faith,” without which the existence of the Christian man or woman is barren of all supernatural merit!

Christ, in the helpless years of his infancy and boyhood, when his life was one of entire dependence and submission, glorified and pleased his Father by solely seeking his good will and pleasure in obeying those appointed his earthly parents, and in accomplishing the obscure duties of his age.

This lesson Mary and Joseph were not slow to learn and to practice. They read in the rapt charity with which their worshiped Charge offered to the Divine Majesty every day and hour and moment of these golden years of humility and toil, this all-important law of life for the children of God: ‘ That the value of what we do does not depend on the greatness or publicity of the work accomplished ; but on the spirit of love toward the Father with which it is undertaken and carried out ; and that the pure purpose and offering of the heart is what God prizes above all else.

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“When we hold that tiny bundle in our arms for the very first time, a flood of hopes and dreams emerges like a great blue whale cresting to spout his spray into the air. But somewhere in the day-to-day busyness of life, encouraging words can get lost among the to-dos and not-to-dos. We need to take a fresh look at motherhood and recapture the commitment to be the great encouragers along a child’s journey toward adulthood.” -Sharon Jaynes, The Power of a Woman’s Words (Painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau)

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sermon recommendation

Excellent Sermon! We need to trust God as little children trust their parents….

 

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There’s nothing complicated or magical about learning to be kinder; it just takes greater attention to the things that you do and how you do them. The Hidden Power of Kindness shows you how to become more aware of even your most offhand daily actions. You’ll find simple, step-by-step, and spiritually crucial directions for how to overcome the habitual unkindnesses that creep undetected into the behavior of even the most careful souls.

From the thousands of personal letters by St. Francis de Sales comes this short, practical guide that will develop in you the soul-nourishing habits that lead to sanctity.
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One Day at a Time – Fr. Jacques Philippe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you need some other good reading suggestions? Visit My Book List here.

 

 

 

 

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How to Control Your Anger (Conclusion) ~ Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

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Continued from….

How to Control Your Anger (Part One) here.

How to control Your Anger (Part Two) here.

6. POUTING

Anger can express itself through silence. The silence that anger sometimes adopts as an offensive weapon is not to be confused with the silence that should be employed to keep oneself from violent expressions of anger. A person who is often tempted to hasty and intemperate speech can cure that defect only by learning to be silent when the fury of anger is upon him.

Angry silence takes the form of pouting. It is a silence that bristles, that charges an atmosphere with tension. It is usually a prolonged silence that refuses to take part even in the most trivial conversation. Introspective, sensitive, and moody persons find themselves especially tempted to show their anger in this way, as the following questions will reveal.

1. I have been hurt or angered by someone. I know that harsh words would be an ineffective response. Do I therefore show my anger by withdrawing into a shell and refusing to say anything for a period of time?

2. Have I at times lapsed into an aggrieved silence over some fancied injury, only to find out afterward that the one who provoked my anger was utterly unaware of what it was that upset me?

3. When angry at someone, do I make him (or her) feel it by showing absolutely no interest in anything, not even in things that are ordinarily my favorite topics or activities?

4. If accused of pouting, do I adopt an attitude of woebegone sadness, and answer every attempt to shake me out of it with ‘I don’t care’ or ‘Just leave me alone’?

There is little hope that the ‘pouter’ will overcome his bad habit unless he faces the fact that his temperament inclines him to take offense where none is intended and then, hopeless of making others repent in any other way, to lapse into an unmistakably aggrieved or angry silence. Such persons can remain free from the fault of angry silence only when they learn to make allowances both for the shortcomings of others and for their own touchy sensitiveness.

7. IRRITABILITY

Irritability is the flaw of character whereby people permit themselves to be unpleasant, curt, and ill-mannered with others for no other reason than that they do not happen to be feeling just right. Irritability manifests itself when nothing has been said or done that could possibly be taken as an offence. When a person is in an irritable mood, it is impossible to say anything to him that will not occasion grumbling and unkindness.

Everyone is exposed to the irritability of others from time to time, and every such experience should make one more determined not to permit this fault to appear in one’s own conduct. Ask yourself these questions and see if you show signs of irritability.

1. When someone asks you an innocent question, is your response unnecessarily sharp, mean, or critical of the questioner?

2. As a parent, an employer, or a person in authority do you speak harshly to those for whom you are responsible, even when they are doing everything correctly?

3. When a little mistake is made or when a person somehow bothers or disturbs you in some small matter, do you respond in a way that is totally out of proportion to the action that has taken place? Irritable people make many smooth excuses for their weakness. Some say that it is due to their nerves, which are in bad shape. Others attribute it to high blood pressure or low blood pressure or insomnia or indigestion. Still others say that their unpleasantness with those around them is due to the fact that they have so many worries and responsibilities that they cannot be expected to show a consideration toward the feelings of other people.

All such excuses are just that – excuses. Irritability signifies a lack of personal control and an inability to subject one’s feelings to the demands of charity. There is no reason for a person to display signs of irritability. Like any other form of anger, it must be brought under control and not allowed to grow. So, stop making excuses.

One who is often cross and unpleasant with others for no apparent reason needs to come face to face with the fact that he is thinking too much of himself. The irritable person forgets that the other person has feelings, too, and does not like to be shouted at or abused for no reason at all.

8. TAKING REVENGE

With some people, anger expresses itself in attempts to take revenge on the one who occasioned it. There is a wide variety of ways in which this may be done, from attempts to do grave bodily harm to the person, to scheming attempts to make the person suffer some form of retribution. Many will find themselves subject to seeking revenge in one of the following forms, some of which can be serious sins.

1. If someone angers me, do I seek revenge by running that person down in my conversation with others, revealing his secret faults, perhaps even exaggerating them and lying about them?

2. After a quarrel with my spouse do I speak uncharitably about him (or her) to my children or my own blood relatives?

3. Do I try to alienate the friends of someone with whom I am angry, by making that person appear to be unworthy of their friendship or trust?

4. Do I attempt to take revenge on my spouse when I have been angered, by refusing to fulfill the duties of marriage or to carry on with my essential tasks?

5. Do I try to take revenge on a person who, I think, has injured me, by spoiling his chances for advancement or recognition?

One who invariably seeks to take revenge against another has an exaggerated or wrong sense of justice, and no regard for Christian charity at all. Christ dramatically insisted not only that his followers are not to strike back at those who injure them but that when they are struck on one cheek, they should turn and offer the other (See Mt 5:38-39). This was one of his forceful ways of saying that revenge is sinful. So, develop true Christian charity.

9. HATRED

Hatred is the final, fixed, and spiritually fatal outcome of undisciplined anger. Hatred is persevering bad will. It is the deliberate crystallizing of one’s anger into a state of total dislike. Hatred is not to be confused with involuntary dislike or antipathy for a certain person. Everybody experiences this feeling at times but it is not sinful when it is successfully concealed.

Hatred is not involuntary. It is a will act whereby one, both internally and externally, surrenders to acts of enmity toward another. These questions reveal the presence of hatred in a person.

1. Do I find myself deliberately fostering the desire to hurt, or to see hurt seriously, the one who has injured me?

2. Do I deliberately rejoice in the serious misfortunes that befall my enemy, and wish they would be multiplied? Do I even want him to be condemned to hell?

3. When I pray, do I deliberately try to exclude my enemy in my prayers which I know I am bound to say for all men? Worse, do I ask God to send great problems and misfortunes into the life of this person?

4. Do I show my hatred by refusing even to say hello to my enemy, either when we meet alone or in the presence of others? Does this go on for a considerable period of time?

One who has fallen into hatred of another must be made mindful of the fact that deliberately to hate a fellow human being is similar to hating God who is present within that person. He is inviting God’s condemnation on himself. Every time he says the Our Father, he asks God to forgive his trespasses as he forgives others. He asks God’s pardon only in the measure he is willing to forgive those who have wronged him. No matter how great the injury or injustice received, the offending person still must be forgiven. The remedy for overcoming hatred is to pray the Lord’s Prayer and really mean it.

CONCLUSION

It should now be clear that anger can be expressed in many forms. It can be spoken in angry or sarcastic words. Nagging or quarreling are especially divisive forms of anger. It can be expressed in a mood like irritability or in the silence of pouting. It can also be physically demonstrated through violent actions. Revenge and hatred are often the most extreme forms of anger.

To allow oneself to exhibit any of these forms of anger is bad. It is a sign of a flaw in one’s character and personality. More devastating than the effects on the person himself are the evil effects that anger can have on other people. Anger destroys harmony in the home. It can endanger peace in a neighborhood, a city, country, or even in the world. Angry people cause problems wherever they go – on the job, in a meeting, or at a party.

Anger is also a stumbling block on the road to Christian perfection. For some people it is just a small obstacle. For others it is a major stumbling block. Either way a person must work diligently each day and in every human situation to remedy this great problem of anger. With hard work and the ever-present assistance of God’s grace, this problem can be remedied. Unnecessary and unreasonable anger can be stopped.

“Blessed is the home where unkind speech does not enter, nor cursing, nor bad literature, nor intemperance, for on that home will be heaped the blessings of peace.” – Fr. Lawrence Lovasik

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Catholic Mother Goose 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.

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

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How to Control Your Anger (Part Two) ~ Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

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Continued from Part One

The following thoughts will consider various ways in which anger is expressed and the remedies to be applied. Self-examination questions are provided. Let these become the means by which you will resolve to conquer your own personal tendencies to anger.

1. ANGRY WORDS

The most common form of anger is that of harsh, loud, strident, intemperate words. Question yourself as to whether you may be guilty in any of the following things:

1. Do I find myself raising my voice to anything from a shout to a scream when I feel upset or unnerved by something that is said or done to hurt my feelings?

2. Do I catch myself saying harsh and bitter things without pausing to think of the meaning of what I am saying, then afterward regretting what I said? ‘I hate you.’ ‘I wish I were dead.’ ‘I wish you had never been born.’

3. Do I use profanity or vulgar and obscene words when I am angry, obviously wanting to shock and hurt those who cross me?

4. Do I make accusations against others that I know I have no right to make when I feel resentful against them?

There is only one remedy for the intemperate language one is tempted to use in anger. That remedy is silence. One has to learn the art of saying nothing at all when one knows that anything said will hurt another in some way. A mother tempted to anger against her children should train herself to keep silence for 30 seconds when she feels on the verge of screaming at them, and in that time she should say a little prayer for patience. Then she may give orders and correct the children, and she will do so reasonably and effectively.

2. SARCASTIC WORDS

Anger does not always take the form of loud and violent language. Sometimes it speaks quietly, but its quiet is that of a knife cutting into the very heart of another. Sarcasm is the weapon that anger often uses in these cases. See whether you have used it.

1. Do I speak with scornful exaggeration of the virtues of my wife or husband or children when I am angry at one of them? ‘Of course you know it all.’ ‘Of course you can do no wrong.’ ‘Of course you’re perfect and never commit a fault.’

2. Do I refer sarcastically to what other people have and what I might have if I were not tied down to this home when my anger boils over? ‘What a fool I was for not marrying somebody else!’ ‘Other wives (or husbands) have something to say in their own homes; but I’m just a servant without getting paid for it.’

3. Do I belittle the actions of another person whose efforts are better than mine? His success has made me angry and so I must strike back and cut down his achievements. ‘That’s a good job but with all those years of experience you should be able to do better than that.’ ‘You think that’s good. If I had your talents I’d really be able to go places.’

Sarcasm is very often motivated by pride. Someone is better than we are and we are angered to see them get ahead of us. In our anger we attempt to cut them down and build ourselves up. To avoid sarcasm we need humility and honesty. We must accept ourselves as we are and not become angered by those who are better.

3. VIOLENT ACTIONS

The tendency of unrestrained anger is to hurt the person who has aroused the anger. In some people the tendency has been so little restrained that it seeks to hurt not only by words but by actions. Violence is one of the worst forms that anger can take and may, if serious injury is attempted or done to another, constitute a serious sin. Search your soul for this weakness.

1. When angry at my children, do I strike them in a fury of passion that reveals a willingness to hurt them severely?

2. Have I ever used cruel and inhuman instruments of punishment in my anger, which could easily do serious or lasting damage?

3. Have I ever left marks, bruises, cuts, disfigurements on another as a result of attacking that person in my anger?

4. Do I throw things, kick things, break things, in giving way to my anger, thus destroying valuable property besides trying to hurt the person who aroused my anger?

A person who permits anger to be displayed in the form of violent actions against another person reveals himself as a person with very little self-control. For a violent person to change he must adopt a rigorous program of self-discipline. He will have to use all his strength to keep himself under control rather than allowing this force to be turned against another person in an angry display of violent action.

4. QUARRELING

Anger leads not only to sudden and momentary outbursts of harsh and cutting language and violent deeds; it is also responsible for protracted quarrels. We mean quarrels, not in the sense of fistfights or physical encounters, but in the sense of angry altercations that may go on for long periods of time. Husbands and wives as well as brothers and sisters may find them-selves addicted to quarreling. This can also be a problem at work, in school, or wherever people gather to talk. Here are some questions to ask yourselves.

1. If somebody states that I am wrong in holding a certain opinion, do I argue long and loud, less concerned with truth than with browbeating the one who disagrees with me?

2. If I am gently (or even harshly) corrected for something I have done or said, do I go into a tantrum of self-defense and accusation against the one who corrected me, until we are both shouting about the faults we dislike in each other?

3. Do I start quarrels by saying things that I know are certain to arouse the ire of another, with the result that we usually end up in a torrent of counter-charges?

Common sense, combined with just a bit of fraternal charity, should enable one to avoid quarreling. Common sense reveals that angry quarreling is about the most useless thing we can engage in. A good, honest, intellectual discussion with some-one is profitable, even though it grows warm at times. Quarreling always centers around personalities, and its arguments are inspired by passion and pride rather than reason. It never convinces anybody of anything, and only leaves lingering bitterness in its wake. Charity demands that a person try to say nothing that will aggravate another, and that, if unwittingly he has said something that has that effect, he withdraw from the argument immediately. It takes two to quarrel; one is enough to stop a quarrel.

5. NAGGING

Anger can explode, and anger can simmer and sputter for days or weeks, even sometimes for years. The nagger is the person whose anger takes the form of constant complaining, repeated statements of his (or her) grievances, ever-recurring expressions of spite and resentment. The chronic complainer, the person who is never satisfied, would also fit into this category. When nagging and complaining enter into a household, peace and comfort fly out the window. Some people do not know that they are naggers, but they will know it if they honestly answer these questions.

1. Do I have one particular grievance (e.g., against my husband, that ‘he does not make enough money,’ or against my wife, that ‘she spends too much money’) to which I give expression in petulant or accusing language at least once every day?

2. Whenever the least bit of difference, an argument, or misunderstanding arises do I find that I inevitably bring up a long past fault or mistake of the other, which I have mentioned at least a thousand times before?

3. Do I find that I rarely go through one full day without complaining to my wife (or husband) about something that I don’t like in her (or him)?

Nagging is one of the infallible signs of self-pity and a lack of that wholesome generosity of spirit that alone makes full forgiveness of the shortcomings of another possible. Naggers defend themselves on the ground that anybody would complain who had to bear the terrible things inflicted on them by another. They are right in that anybody with as small and pinched a spirit as theirs, and as great a devotion to their own superiority, would always find some-thing to complain about. To get out of that class of small souls, the nagger needs to learn the spirit of humility, gratitude, and forgiveness.

To be continued…..

 

quote for the day2

“Keep a hobby and ride it with enthusiasm. It will keep you out of mischief, to say the least; it will keep you cheerful. Here as in all things you can apply the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (for the greater glory of God).” – Fr. Lasance, My Prayer Book

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A mother of eleven, grandmother of forty-one discusses the dynamics of Catholic family life that helped them to form their children into God-fearing, joyful Catholics…

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Penal Rosaries! Penal rosaries and crucifixes have a wonderful story behind them. They were used during the times when religious objects were forbidden and it was illegal to be Catholic. Being caught with a rosary could mean imprisonment or worse. A penal rosary is a single decade with the crucifix on one end and, oftentimes, a ring on the other. When praying the penal rosary you would start with the ring on your thumb and the beads and crucifix of the rosary in your sleeve, as you moved on to the next decade you moved the ring to your next finger and so on and so forth. This allowed people to pray the rosary without the fear of being detected.

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

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How To Control Your Anger (Part One)

by Donald F. Miller, C.SS.R., 1950’s

Part Two is here.

INTRODUCTION

Long before a child has gone to school and learned to read and write, he has learned much about anger. No doubt he has seen parents displaying anger toward each other and to other adults.

At times this adult anger has been directed toward the child himself. The young child has seen expressions of anger among his playmates. Most likely he has also demonstrated his childhood ability to become very angry in certain situations.

A newly ordained priest will have to spend only a short time in the confessional before he realizes how universal a problem anger really is. Brothers and sisters confess angrily fighting with one another. Husbands and wives release feelings of anger toward the person they should love the most.

Beyond the family there are displays of anger throughout the community and in the business world. Neighbors can’t get along. Employers are angered by their workers. Employees become upset with their employers.

Anger is one of the biggest problems in daily living. It harms not only the angry person himself but it inflicts pain on many others as well. There are few vices that are more widespread yet are so readily excused and defended. People can think of a hundred reasons to get angry and hundreds more to justify the anger they have shown.

Anger crops up everywhere. Husband and wife find themselves expressing impatience and anger toward each other. Parents react angrily toward their children and brothers and sisters toward one another. Anger then reaches outside the home to include relatives, neighbors, and fellow-workers.

Just as a person grows in size and image, so too does one’s anger grow. An angry little boy grows up to find himself with a man-sized anger. Anger never remains at the same level. It grows. Unchecked, anger can begin to rule a person completely.

From the start it should be noted that there is an important distinction to be made between feelings of anger and sins of anger.

Every human being in the world, except perhaps the rare few who are so temperamentally pliable and unassertive that they want peace at all costs, will at some time feel impatient with others or be tempted to a bitter or angry retort or be carried away by interior feelings of resentment toward someone.

Such feelings are not sinful if they are kept from appearing in one’s external conduct in any way or from becoming a deliberate desire that the other person be hurt in some way as a result of one’s anger. To avoid sins of anger takes a great deal of self-discipline and the help of God’s grace.

The sin of anger is chiefly a sin of expression; a person manifests ill will toward another person. It can be momentary or it can last a lifetime. It could even be a sin if the anger were not expressed but just remained a firm desire.

There is a sharp distinction to be made between the sin of anger and reasonable, forceful attempts to correct others who are subject to one’s authority. Recall the proper anger of Christ as he made a whip and chased the money changers out of the temple turning over their stands and tables (See Jn 2:13-17).

Remember also the strong words of Jesus when Peter was showing his pride and his ignorance as Jesus spoke of his own death. (See Mk 9:33 where Jesus says, ‘Get behind me, Satan.’)

Anger is actually defined as the disordered desire to correct or punish someone. It may be disordered because the correction or punishment administered is clearly motivated by passion or fury. It could also be wrong if the methods used (mental cruelty, cursing, physical abuse, violence, etc.) are sinful in themselves and capable of doing more harm than good.

The duty of correcting others is carried out only when reason, not passion, motivates the action. The words and actions used must be designed to help and not hurt the person being corrected.

Once these initial distinctions have been made about the problem of anger, several forms of anger can be noted. They include thoughts, words, and actions. Most of them are slight faults.

Even in anger, people do not often intend to seriously hurt the one who has provoked them. Yet there are cases where the anger is either so intense or so prolonged that it can be quite a serious matter.

The fact that many of these faults of anger are not serious should not lessen the desire to overcome them. If these simple faults go unchecked, they are sure to grow and could lead to serious sins.

It is offenses like these that destroy the peace and harmony of the home, that strain relationships with relatives, that disrupt the smooth running of a business, and that divide the local community.

quote for the day2

“Modern mothers have been relying on psychology books to interpret child behavior for so long now that if all the psychology books were burned to a crisp, few mothers could relax with the conviction that God’s love, the maternal instinct, and divine grace could take their place. What we all — little or big — want is God; if we do not realize it, however, we choose many ignoble things in His place. And if we want to teach children to be good with a goodness that’s lasting, we must teach them to be good for the love of God.”
Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children, 1954

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In the words of this humble seventeenth-century lay Carmelite, “we must trust God once and for all and abandon ourselves to Him alone.” This difficult task necessarily requires perseverance and continual conversation with God in all activities great and small: “speaking humbly and talking lovingly with Him at all times, at every moment, without rule or system…” In reading these conversations, letters, and spiritual maxims, we learn the key to endless joy.

In short, this little spiritual classic — in its fresh, contemporary English translation — renders the simple wisdom of Brother Lawrence accessible to every Christian who yearns for the fullness of life….

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