The Happiness of Family Life ~ My Prayer Book

From My Prayer Book, Fr. Lasance

The sphere of woman’s activity, especially in the class for which I write, is preeminently the home. The object to be kept in view in a girl’s education, whether she be brought up at home or in a boarding-school, is to fit her for domestic life, to give her a love of domesticity, founded on the fear of God.

This you, my daughter, must seek to acquire; in order that later on, in whatever position you may find yourself, whether you live with your parents, take a situation as housekeeper, or preside over a household of your own, you may for the love of God lead a life of self-sacrificing devotion, unseen and unnoticed, working to promote the welfare of the family, the maintenance of religion and good principles.

Let us consider the conditions requisite for happiness in the family. Beginning at the foundation, I wish to show in the first place that the happiness of family life is based upon religion.

A young wife who was passionately fond of reading novels said to her husband: “How tiresome it is that novels always come to a conclusion when once people are married.”

“My dear child,” the husband replied, “that cannot be otherwise, for if the story were carried on further it would be one of disenchantment.”

That is true in many cases!

How many young persons find themselves bitterly disappointed very soon after their marriage! Wherefore is this the case? Why do they see their brightest hopes vanish like a mirage in the desert? It is because so many newly married couples do not build their hopes of happiness on the firm basis of religion and piety.

Foolish indeed it is to say, as too many do: “One can do very well without religion.” Is this true? Can one do without religion? One can accumulate money and property, indulge in sensual pleasures, and lead a riotous, dissipated life.

But without religion no one can enjoy that sweet heavenly peace of which the children of this world are wholly ignorant, and that joy which is abiding even amidst sorrows and trials.

Yes; a true religious spirit must prevail. One often hears persons say: “Certainly, religion is necessary, but it is quite possible to be religious without believing everything taught from the pulpit, or being so pious or so scrupulous in matters of religion.”

As a rule such persons look for a cloak to hide their laxity or lukewarmness. Religion and morals, faith and practice are not to be separated. Do not allow yourself to be deceived by language such as theirs.

Fathers and mothers may indeed parade their civic righteousness and virtue before the world, but unless their conduct is inspired by faith and true piety as the guide of their life, their family happiness lacks a firm footing, a sure foundation. Only too many examples of this are to be met with in daily life.

Families in which no time is found for prayer, for obligatory attendance at church, for the instruction of the children; where only temporal affairs and material prosperity are considered to be of importance, where gold is eagerly sought after, and higher interests are ignored; in such families true happiness cannot be found, though riches may abound, with a superfluity of all good things; even though the palatial mansion is furnished in the most luxurious style, and its inmates are clothed in silk and satin and adorned with glittering gems and precious jewels.

There is another important point to be remarked. Even the happiest family life is and must ever be a life of sacrifice. It is difficult to realize that this is the case when one sees how young people marry nowadays, imagining themselves to be entering an earthly paradise where their days will be spent in pleasure and enjoyment, and their path will be between the hedges of roses, roses without thorns!

How different is the reality found to be, with its cares and crosses, labors, and sorrows! What a spirit of self-sacrifice must the various members of a family possess if peace and happiness are not to be altogether lost!

Religion alone is able to impart to them this spirit of unselfishness, of self-renunciation and sacrifice. It alone will enable them to persevere in that spirit until death. Hence we see that in this case also the peace and happiness of every family must be built upon the foundation of religion.

And in yet another case this is true. If family happiness is to be complete it is essential that the children should be well reared; without religion this is impossible.

The infidel father who entrusted the education of his children to Religious because it was, as he said, a perfect hell to believe in nothing, confirmed this truth in a striking manner. An unbeliever pronounced unbelief to be a hell upon earth. This saying proclaims with a loud voice that the education of youth is a very serious thing.

In regard to this subject St. John Chrysostom thus expresses himself: “What grander task can anyone have than that of guiding souls, of training the young? I esteem him who understands how to mold and educate youth more highly than the painter, the sculptor, and every other artist, whoever he may be.”

But where, in what family, do we find that true and wise system of education which is so important a factor in family happiness? There only where the spirit of religion and piety pervades the house, rendering it a temple in which God dwells.

Only parents who possess this spirit of faith can train their children in Christian obedience, and inspire them with a horror of vice. They alone will seek assistance from God and remind their children of His presence who regard Him as the real Master of their house, and who model all their thoughts and actions, their words and works, according to the commands of His holy religion.

Now, my dear child, thank God from the bottom of your heart if He has given you parents such as these; parents who lay the greatest stress upon faith, upon religion and piety, and make every effort to bring you up or cause you to be brought up in the right way. No greater benefit could possibly be bestowed upon you!

Parents who act thus lay the foundation of happiness for their family both in time and in eternity; they bear in mind the truth of these lines:

If on Faith’s firm basis founded,

By the fear of God surrounded,

Fast as a rock thy house shall stand,

Dreading no storm or hostile hand.

The Agony

“If I ask, my Father will send Me twelve legions of angels.”

Poverty was a favorite theme with Jesus. “Do not lay up treasures on earth,” He said, in His first sermon; “and the people heard him gladly,” because they were poor.

He grieved openly over the rich, young man, possessed by his possessions. He told the pointed tale of a fool who dreamed of bigger barns on his deathbed. He praised the widow, who put her last penny into the temple treasury.

And what He preached, Jesus practiced.

The night before He died, He renounced an army of glorious angels, His possession by right, and entered upon His passion, (as he had entered the world) in utter poverty.

In these meditations, dear Lord, help me to understand why You speak of poverty as a blessing.

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This is an excellent prayer book.

Originally published in 1908 by the venerable Benziger Bros., this book has everything–all the basic prayers, litanies and Order (now known as Extraordinary Form) of the Mass. It also has excellent meditations for Eucharistic meditation and prayers for reception of Holy Communion.

The distinguishing feature of this prayer book, however, is that it is chock-full with helpful meditations and inspiring quotes for living the full Christian life. Father Lasance was obviously a very wise man and a holy priest. -T. Berry

Quite possibly the most comprehensive (pre-Vatican II) Prayerbook of the Roman Catholic rite. This is a veritable treasure-trove of prayers, containing both familiar standbys, and many that one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
At 1227 pages, it is remarkably compact and easy to carry.

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False Goods and Friendship ~ St. Francis de Sales / New Podcast! Holy Week ~ Maria von Trapp

St. Francis de Sales warns us of false friendships, and that oftentimes the things we deem as something to be sought after in a friend are really vain and shallow.


In the Orchard, 1891, Tarbell, Edmund

Friendship by St. Francis de Sales

Among the passions, love holds first place: It is the king of the heart’s movements and it converts everything to it, rendering the one who loves similar to the one loved.

Be very careful, therefore, dear Reader, not to have any evil love, because you will in turn quickly become evil yourself.

Friendship is the most dangerous of all loves. Why? Because other loves can exist without communication, exchange, closeness. But friendship is completely founded upon communication and exchange and cannot exist in practice without sharing in the qualities and defects of the friend loved.

Not all love is friendship: First of all, because one can love without being loved. It may then be love, but not friendship. For friendship is mutual, reciprocal, and if it is not reciprocated, it is not friendship.

Secondly, because it is not enough that it be reciprocal; it is also essential that those who love each other recognize their mutual love. If they are unaware of it, it is not friendship.

Thirdly, because in friendship there must exist some kind of exchange or communication, for such is the foundation of friendship.

Friendship differs according to the different kinds of communication, and the communications differ according to the variety of goods exchanged. If these are false goods, then the friendship is false.

Honey gathered from the best flowers is the best. So too, the better the goods exchanged, the better the friendship. It is said that the honey of Heraclea, gathered from aconite, which is very abundant in that region, renders mad those who eat it.

So too, friendship founded on the exchange of false and vicious goods is itself completely false and vicious.

The exchange of carnal delights ought not to be called friendship in human relations any more than it would be called such in donkeys or horses.

If marriage implied only this kind of exchange, it would no longer deserve to be called friendship. In addition to this there must be a communication of life, of work, of feelings, and finally an indissoluble fidelity.

With these dimensions the friendship of marriage is a true and holy friendship. Friendship founded on the exchange of sensual pleasures is gross and unworthy of the name of friendship, and so too is that based on vain and frivolous qualities, since these also depend on the senses.

I call sensual pleasures those which are attached directly and principally to the five senses: the pleasure of seeing beauty, of hearing a sweet voice, of touching pleasant things… I term frivolous qualities those capacities, innate or acquired, which superficial people call “virtues” or “perfections.”

Just listen to young people; they do not hesitate to conclude that a person has great qualities simply because he dances well, dresses well, sings well, chats pleasantly, has a fine appearance or is skilled in all kinds of games.

Do not charlatans consider the biggest clowns to be the most accomplished people in their group? Since all this relates only to the level of the senses, we can qualify as sensual those friendships based on such.

They really deserve to be called amusements rather than friendships. Such are ordinarily the friendships among young people, stopping as they often do at such things as moustaches, hair, glances, clothing, attractiveness, small talk – friendships worthy of that age whose virtue is still only downy and whose judgment is just in the bud: friendships which are but fleeting, melting like snow in the sun.

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Friendships in the family require care and culture—as do other friendships. We must win one another’s love inside the home doors just as we win the love of outside friends. We must prove ourselves worthy; we must show ourselves unselfish, self forgetful, thoughtful, and kind, tender, patient, helpful. Then when we have won each other we must keep the treasure of affection and confidence, just as we do in the case of friends not in the sacred circle of home. -J.R. Miller

“There is an old legend circulating in the old country, still fervently believed by the children, that all the bells fly to Rome on Holy Thursday, where the Holy Father blesses them; they return in time for the Gloria on Holy Saturday…..”

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In this engrossing work, the seraphic doctor, Saint Bonaventure, and Arnold of Bonneval, a Benedictine abbot, offer some of the most profound insights into the seven last words of Christ. Arnold, a friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, is believed to be the first person to write on the seven last words, inspiring Bonaventure. While the seven last words have been glossed over for centuries by Christians, it is now time to uncover their hidden and powerful meaning—for there is no greater meditation than pondering the Teacher’s last lecture. In Christ’s seven last words, we find the necessary direction to reach the heights of perfection.

Don Dolindo offers spiritual wisdom that you can apply to your daily life and shows you how to prepare for a holy death and the glory of the world to come. He describes the remarkable mystical experience of the soul’s awe-inspiring entrance into Heaven and explains the unique power of Our Blessed Mother to help us get there.

You’ll also learn:

  • The most important prayers that help free the Holy Souls in Purgatory
  • Why even venial sin impairs our relationship with God
  • Why good works, almsgiving, and penances are powerful atonements for sin
  • Why we need Our Lady’s maternity, humility, and love for souls
  • Why the saints delight in interceding for us
  • The sublime ecstasy and complete fulfillment that await us when we behold the Holy Trinity in Heaven

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Overcoming Sadness, Discouragement, etc.

This little excerpt is from the excellent book, Achieving Peace of Heart by Father Narciso Irala, S.J. written over 60 years ago.

Father talks about the re-education of the mind and the will when overcome with sadness, discouragement or depression. He goes more in depth in his book, but through this excerpt you are able to see that often the cure is simple, if applied consistently and with perseverance….and that the cure is in our hands.

Exercise Conscious Life

When you are not engaged in intellectual work, rest your mind by receiving conscious sensations with an easy, peaceful attention to the things of the external world.

And when doing mental work exert yourself in concentrating all your attention there. Forget the past, future and yourself. In the beginning you will do this easily for a few moments.

Then by progressive increase of attention you will attain normal concentration. The root of the evil is in domination of conscious mental activity by the unconscious.

Now the acts prescribed above are in themselves insignificant. Yet, because they are fully conscious and often repeated during the day, they attack the root of the evil directly. They produce a reaction of greater joy, peace and mastery.

Don’t Be Discouraged

Do not think it strange if in the morning you notice a greater sensation of the symptoms, discouragement or fatigue, and if fatigue is less and sadness almost gone by the afternoon or after doing some work.

The reason is that the unconscious is in control during sleep. And there is danger after awakening of continuing under its disturbing influence. After some controlled acts, however, joy returns again and our vigor is rejuvenated.

Nor should you wonder at the periodic appearance of enthusiasm and discouragement, progress and apparent setbacks. This happens in many mental and nervous illnesses.

Fight Pessimism

An uncontrolled imagination drives a man toward pessimism and exaggeration of his troubles, and hence to discouragement and despair. For sad events and experiences, at one time conscious but now perhaps forgotten, continue to be active on the unconscious level. They tend to add a pessimistic overtone to all mental images.

If we reflect on our thoughts and feelings we shall see that even insignificant beginnings can have terrifying consequences. A brief daily examination in writing of the course of your pessimistic imaginings will quickly convince you of this.

You will then belittle those fears, troubles and worries. If you discount your fears by 90 percent, you will be closer to reality.

Give no importance then to imagined ills or fears for the future. Better still, once you recognize the error or exaggeration of your unconscious mental associations, deliberately come to the opposite conclusion: enthusiasm, joy, courage, optimism.

For, as Father Gar-Mar again said, the shadow of the cross is often larger than the cross itself. So black, so sad, so crushing are the crosses we dream up for ourselves.

Foster Joy and Optimism

Insist upon joy and optimism as opposed to the sadness and discouragement which sometimes seem so natural.  Do this by briefly changing your occupation and busying yourself with thoughts, readings and conversations which make the mind happy and elevate it.

Do not pretend to drown melancholy in alcohol for, as a modern author says, drinking does not drown our troubles but only irrigates them.

The central powerhouse which supplies current to our organs is optimism, either instinctive or acquired.

Feelings of joy and health stimulate blood circulation and accelerate nutritional processes. If you doubt your forces and think yourself sick, you are already beginning to be sick. Then the central powerhouse has lowered its potential. All lights grow dim. Your organs do not work so well.

Sad passions, such as fear, worry, discouragement, agitation, anger, scorn, anxiety, make us realize the truth in the common phrase, “It makes me sick!”

All joy is curative and all discouragement tends to increase our troubles. Gladness is a swimming pool of health where we should bathe each day.

Get Down To Work

If you suffer from any of the personality maladjustments remember that there is no lesion in your higher faculties, above all in you will.

What happens is that you do not know how to use them. These faculties are marvelous forces. When well directed they are capable of transforming any mental pattern and curing any abnormality.

But you must know how to avail yourself of their benefits. This is easily attained by re-education. You have the cure in your own hands. A little constancy and method is enough.

Your thoughts are the limit of your activities. No one takes a single step further than his convictions. If you imagine to yourself that you cannot do this or that, you will never do it.

“Possunt quia posse videntur,” the old Romans used to say. “They can because they think they can.”

Aside from the times when you need the ministrations or advice of a profession physician, your six best doctors are sun, water, air, exercise, diet and joy. They are always there waiting for you. They cure your ills and do not cost you a cent.

The Crucifixion

“What I have written, I have written.”

The soldiers, followed by the crowd, led Jesus away to Calvary. Pilate was alone in the palace, intensely angry with himself, and with the Pharisees.

He played the coward; and far worse, he realized that the Jews had used his cowardice to gain their purpose – the death of Jesus.

Pilate had retaliated, as cowards will; he had a placard nailed to the top of the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

The Pharisees were indignant, but Pilate stood his ground. “What I have written, I have written.”

There is much of the Pharisee in Pilate. He gave in on the great issue, Christ’s death; but he was adamant in the petty wraangle about the placard.

Do I fuss over trifles, and neglect things vital to my soul?

Speaking of your thoughts…..

Are your thoughts building a castle or a manure pile? It is vital to control the thoughts we have in our most important relationship…the one with our husband!

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Why Am I Unhappy? ~ Jesus Dies on the Cross

From The Stations of the Cross and Their Relation to Family Life

By Joseph A. Breig, 1950’s

The harsh word you spoke to your wife…the nagging you inflicted on your husband…the feud you had with your neighbor…the impatient blow you struck one of your children, or the loveless punishment to which you subjected him because he did something that annoyed you….

These are among the things for which Christ died, and for which Mary, in intolerable anguish, watched Him die. These things are not the least of the things that scourged Him and crowned Him with thorns, and hung Him on the Cross. They are not the least of the things that condemned Our Lady to stand helpless before Him, unable to ease His pain, to comfort His heart, to wipe away the blood from His face that His nailed hands could not touch.

Oh, we are angry, and rightly angry, over the inhumanities, the abominations, inflicted upon men and women and children, and upon the cardinals and bishops and priests of Christ, by the Stalins and the Hitlers and the Titos. But usually there is nothing that we can directly do to stop that sort of thing.

It is not so with the inhumanities that we commit against those nearest to us–our own fathers and mothers, our own wives and husbands, our own children and neighbors. Those inhumanities, we can do something about. We can stop them.

We complain, too, about the attacks of anti-Catholics upon the Church–the lies they tell about her, the preposterous charges they voice, the calumnies and slanders and insinuations they publish. Sometimes we can do something to correct such situations, and sometimes we can’t. But always we can do something about our own coldness to Christ. And cold we are. Cold!

Each day the Church offers us the Mass; offers us the opportunity to join with Mary and Joseph, with the angels and saints, in adoring and thanking Christ as He immolates Himself again for us. Are we there? How few are present in the parish church each morning! How few families are represented by even one member! And why are we not represented? Because we are slothful. Just plain slothful.

Sloth is that insidious, that sneaking, that small and mean and cheap weakness which counsels us to be careless and indolent about spiritual things. Sloth whispers to us that we need our sleep; that we are too tired to rise twenty or thirty minutes earlier in the morning in order to be at Mass. What a thieving and lying thing is sloth, and how it deludes us into depriving ourselves, through our own fault, of riches beyond the wildest power of words to describe!

Each day the Church offers Communion to us; offers Christ Himself to be the invigoration and the sanctification of our souls, the enlightenment of our minds–indeed, even the protection of our bodies, our families, our homes and our country. But sloth, that miserable thing, makes fools of us and leaves us lying abed, missing the greatest things that life can give to us.

We ask ourselves, when we stop to think, why did I quarrel with my wife or husband? Why was I short-tempered, even mean, perhaps even cruel, with the children? Why did I fall into this sin or that sin? Why am I so petty, so uncharitable, so quick to pride and anger and vanity? Why do I complain about everything, and appreciate almost nothing?

Why am I unhappy? Why do I not walk through life singing and smiling, uplifted by the beauty of things? Why am I short and surly with the woman I love and the children I love–with the very persons who, if they were dead before me, my heart would be broken, my life would be desolated?

Why, why, why? The answer is immediately at hand. The answer is our failure, through laziness and self-indulgence, to take advantage of the sources of grace that would transform our souls into shining things,that would open our minds and hearts to the nobility of existence.

The Mass is there, Holy Communion is there, the Sacrament of Penance is there, the Blessed Sacrament is there, the Stations of the Cross are there, the Rosary is within reach whenever we want to stretch out our hands to it.

Christ died to redeem us and to offer us holiness. He died in a world-shaking agony to try to drive home to us the great lesson of what we are. He died to try to make us see ourselves as He sees us. And how does Christ see us?

Let us look at ourselves through the eyes of Christ. What was it God said when He created us? “Let us make man to our image and likeness.”

Now, everything that exists is a reflection of God. The sunset, the flowers reflect His beauty. The wind, the waterfall reflect His power.

The mountains, and great seas, reflect His majesty. The night sky, the stars, the blazing sun, the moon, the trees, the rocks and sands, the animals and insects, the corn growing on the prairie, the tomato ripening on the vine, the worm industriously fertilizing the soil–all reflect something of God’s infinite perfection.

God said, “Let us make man to our image and likeness.” And He gathered up in man something of all these reflections. From all the created kingdoms he took a part of man, so that when Adam and Eve stood before Him, all creation stood there.

Man is mineral, man is vegetable, man is sensitive like the animals, man is spiritual. The nobility of man’s nature is beyond the power of words to express fully. And yet this, all this, is only a beginning.

On the Cross, Christ took man and added the divine. Through His sacraments, He supernaturalizes the inexpressible natural nobility of man. Man now becomes God’s own son and daughter; we are made princes and princesses of Christ’s eternal and infinite kingdom.

Why, it would not be too much to say that angels are stricken with awe at the sight of us, because we are filled with Christ, we are temples of the Holy Spirit, and in us the Son of Man and the Son of God takes up His abode, as He promised, with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

This, then, is a Christian. This is a baptized man or woman. This is one who can walk into the House of God, and go forward toward the altar, and receive the Risen Christ, true God and yet true man–our Creator, our Redeemer and our Brother–for food and drink for the soul.

That is what we are; and yet we snap at one another, we fill our homes with disputes and contentions, with grabbings, with jealousies and suspicions, with ungodliness and inhumanities toward one another.

What preposterous foolishness! What imbecility!

No; we cannot talk around it; we cannot refuse to face it. Christ dying on the Cross is dying to make us like unto Him; to make our homes like the House at Nazareth; to make our families like the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

There is no use in our sitting around telling ourselves that sanctity is for monks and hermits, for priests and Brothers and Sisters. Yes, sanctity is for them; but sanctity is for us, too.

It is our business, we who are husbands and wives and children, we who are family and home people–it is our business to “Christize” ourselves and our houses and our neighborhoods. That is the business that we ought to be about. If we were about it as we ought to be, gradually we would “Christize” all the world; we would create world peace; we would disarm and harmonize the nations.

The Mass and the Sacraments are there at our beck and call, to give us the power and wisdom and zeal we need. Only one thing remains: Are we going to do something about it, or are we going to leave untapped, or hardly touched, the power that would flow to us from Christ Crucified if only we would open our hearts to it?

The Way of the Cross

“Thereupon Pilate gave Jesus up.”
God is no respecter of persons, but man is. When the Magi spoke of the Savior’s birth, “all Jerusalem was troubled” – but only because Herod was troubled. And another Herod had not wanted to kill John the Baptist; he consented only “out of respect for his guests.”
The whole purpose of life, thought the Pharisees, was to impress people with a show of piety. Human respect led Peter to deny Christ. And human respect led Pilate to condemn Him to death.
When the crowd shouted, “If you free Him, you’re no friend of Caesar,” Pilate’s resistance gave way, and he left Jesus to their mercy.
Human respect – fearing what others will think about our actions – often generates sin, and robs even virtue of its merit.
Do I act to please God – or men?

Painting by Tintoretto, 1566

When the children were still very small, I said to them on the way to church on a Passion Sunday morning, “Now watch and tell me what is different today in church!” On the way home they said eagerly that the statues and crosses on the altars were covered with violet cloth.
“And why don’t we do it at home, Mother? Shouldn’t we cover the crucifix and statues in the living room and in our bedrooms, too?”
As I had no good reason to offer against it, we bought a few yards of violet cloth the next day and did at home what we had seen in church. In the following years we were ready for the covering ceremony on Saturday before Passion Sunday.
The older ones among the children also had noticed that the prayers at the foot of the altar were much shorter and that there was no “Gloria Patri” after the Introit and the Lavabo.
To let the children watch for such changes in the liturgy makes them much more eager than if they are told everything in advance.
Promptly, when we came in our evening prayers to the “Gloria Patri,” a warning, hissing “Sssh” from the children’s side made us aware that “Gloria Patri,” even if only in family prayers, should be omitted for these holy days of mourning.
I am sure it would be the case in every family, as it was in ours, that the children are the ones who most eagerly want to carry into the home as much of holy liturgy as they possibly can.
~Maria von Trapp

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Painting by By Weistling Morgan





“Lady Day” ~ March 25th, The Annunciation

Annunciation Painting by Svitozar Nenyuk

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation!

by Joanna Bogle, Catholic Family Australian Magazine

On March 25th we celebrate the Annunciation—the day on which Mary was told she was to be the Mother of the world’s Redeemer.

Why March 25th? Because it is exactly nine months before Christ’s birth celebrations on December 25th.

Everything in the Church’s calendar makes sense. When Mary heard the message of the Angel, she was also told that her cousin Elizabeth was to have a child and was indeed already in her sixth month of pregnancy. So count three months on to complete the pregnancy and you come to June—now we celebrate the nativity of St. John the Baptist, on June 24th.

The old name for the feast of the Annunciation is Lady Day. In an age which fails to respect unborn life, Lady Day is a day for honoring Christ in the womb of His mother, for celebrating the Incarnation and remembering that when the Word was made flesh, it was as an unborn baby.

Do you know that beautiful prayer, the Angelus? It is said at noon. Some churches still ring out an Angelus bell. You are meant to stop what you are doing for just a couple of minutes, to recall the Incarnation and thank God for it.

The Angelus

The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary…

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

Be it done unto me according to Thy Word.

Hail Mary…

And the Word was made flesh (genuflect or bow your head)

And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary…

Pray for us, 0 Holy Mother of God.

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech thee, 0 Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Death be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through Christ Our Lord Amen.

(Note: we know of several homes where the Angelus is recited. What a beautiful custom to restore in your family!)

Devotion to Mary in the Middle Ages was responsible for forming attitudes towards women in Christian Europe. The idea of chivalry was formed around it: in honoring Mary, men honored, in a sense, the whole female sex.

Women were no longer to be regarded as slaves or playthings for males. They must not be associated with degradation or regarded merely with sensuality. Instead, through Mary, women were to receive a sort of homage, a huge respect.

Manners, good taste, and the concept of mutual courtesy were all associated with this. It lingers still in the old ideas about a man taking off his hat to a lady, offering his seat to her in a bus or train, opening a door for her, rising when she enters a room.

In denouncing all this, as both males and females (but, alas, especially females) have done in recent years, we have denounced a precious part of our heritage.


Waffles (wafers, gauffres, it’s all the same word) were eaten rather generally on feast days, in much of Europe, starting at least in the twelfth century. But they were eaten especially on the Feast of the Annunciation.

In some places the crumbs were buried in the fields. The prayer was clearly that Mary, who was blessed on this day with fruit, would bless the harvest of the farmers.


Here are Swedish waffles for the Annunciation.

Light and crisp, these make excellent dessert waffles.. They are traditionally eaten with whipped cream and cloud-berry preserves. Cloud-berries are first cousins to our raspberries.

  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons melted sweet butter

Whip the cream until stiff. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the water to make a smooth batter. Fold the whipped cream into the batter. Stir in the melted butter.

Heat the waffle iron. (If it is well used, it will not need to be greased). Fill the grid surface about two-thirds full of batter. Bake until golden brown.

Place on a rack to keep crisp while you make the rest of the waffles.

Yield: about 8 waffles. (recipe from “A Continual Feast” by Evelyn Birge Wilz).

Build your husband up in your children’s presence. It is up to you to assure he is a hero in their eyes. They should know why he works so hard….and that it is the reason for the roof over their heads and the food on the table. That time when Dad arrives home needs to be a highlight in their day! -Finer Femininity 💕

The Crowing With Thorns

“Thy own lips have called me King.”

On Christ’s own testimony, Pilate sinned less than Caiphas and the Pharisees. “The one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

The Pharisees has seen Jesus heal on the Sabbath; saw Him dispossess devils with a word; stood by the tomb as Lazarus came forth; heard Christ preach the Kingdom of God, His own Kingdom; then with superb malice plotted His death.

Pilate spoke with Jesus for just a few minutes; saw no miracles; knew nothing of His teaching. But Pilate did know that Jesus was a King; and part of his sin was to allow the Savior’s bloody coronation.

Pilate sinned through cowardice, not through malice. But he sinned mortally.

Fortitude to resist temptation is a gift of God, mine for the asking.

All 6 Maglets! Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet, Catholic Wife’s Maglet, Catholic Mother’s Maglet, Sunshiny Disposition, True Womanhood and Advent/Christmas Package of 6! Available here.
“I enjoyed this book so much. These are articles that can be read and reread many times especially when your spirits need a ‘pick-me-up’. I especially liked the little thoughts and sayings sprinkled throughout the book. So full of wisdom!” -Julie S.
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Celebrate the Faith with your kids all year round!

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.

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Let Mrs. Newland show you how to introduce even your littlest ones to God and develop in your growing children virtues such as:

  • The habit of regular prayer
  • Genuine love of the Rosary
  • A sense of the dignity of work
  • Devotion to Mary and the saints
  • A proper love for the things of this world and for the things of Heaven
  • Attentiveness at Mass
  • Love for the Eucharist
  • An understanding and love of purity
  • The ability to make good confessions
  • And dozens of other skills, habits, and virtues that every good Catholic child needs

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The Catholic and His Medals

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

-Father Arthur Tonne, The Big Book of Sacramentals


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

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

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

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

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

A medal saved that soldier’s life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We might divide them into three principal groups:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the wearer—

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

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

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

For those who see it—

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

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

For those whose image it bears, the medal—

           a. Is a source of honor and veneration.

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

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

The Scourging

“Pilate scourged Jesus.”
Pilate was disturbed by the meek majesty of his prisoner. He turned abruptly and disappeared into his palace, then had Jesus brought before him – to remind Christ, that He was only a prisoner, nothing more.
“What is your crime?” asked Pilate, hiding his interest beneath the mask of official boredom.
Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
That was indeed his crime in the eyes of his accusers; their kingdom was very much of this world.
Pilate knew that Jesus was no criminal; but Pilate was a worldling, like the Pharisees. So he sent Jesus to be scourged.
God so loved the world as to die for it. Pilate so loved the world as to crucify Christ.
Do I love the world as Christ did – or as Pilate loved it?

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

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

Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo’s Surrender Prayer brought understanding and peace to countless souls amid the turbulence of the last century. Now, in our age of incomparable uncertainty, this miracle-worker and visionary writer offers the assurance you need to resolutely face the final things: death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell.

Read these pages, and you’ll embark on the ultimate journey of discovery into what happens to the soul after death. You’ll read true stories of the dead who have communicated to loved ones from the great beyond; you’ll learn how the saints described their mystical experiences, and you’ll investigate stunning supernatural phenomena that remain unexplained by science.

Notably, Don Dolindo provides proof for the existence of Purgatory and explains what it’s like for the souls suffering there. Moreover, he describes the consequences of sin and how the souls in Purgatory are awaiting our sacrificial suffering to be released into Paradise.

Best of all, Don Dolindo offers spiritual wisdom that you can apply to your daily life and shows you how to prepare for a holy death and the glory of the world to come. He describes the remarkable mystical experience of the soul’s awe-inspiring entrance into Heaven and explains the unique power of Our Blessed Mother to help us get there.

You’ll also learn:

  • The most important prayers that help free the Holy Souls in Purgatory
  • Why even venial sin impairs our relationship with God
  • Why good works, almsgiving, and penances are powerful atonements for sin
  • Why we need Our Lady’s maternity, humility, and love for souls
  • Why the saints delight in interceding for us
  • The sublime ecstasy and complete fulfillment that await us when we behold the Holy Trinity in Heaven

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High School and Secret Company-Keeping ~ 1955, Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

Too Young to Keep Company?


I am 14 years old, a sophomore in high school, and I have a boy friend who is 16. We go out together twice a week, sometimes more often. My mother tells me I’m too young to be keeping company like that, but all the kids are doing it. I can’t see that there is anything wrong with it. Is there?


Our answer to the above question must be directed chiefly to 14, 15, and 16 year-old high school girls who have not yet gone in for company keeping. (There are many such, despite our correspondent’s statement about “all the kids.”)

It is our sad experience that there is little use in talking to very young girls who already have their “steady” boy friends.

Keeping company makes them feel wise beyond their years. Because they are acting as if they were adults by this practice, they usually feel that they have a right to talk back to adults who tell them it is unwise, dangerous, and harmful to their later lives.

We hope our correspondent is an exception, though the way she tosses aside her mother’s advice would indicate otherwise.

Steady company keeping is only for those who have a right to think about marrying within a reasonable time; who are free from responsibilities that company keeping would interfere with; and who are mature enough to recognize and resist the dangers that go with company keeping.

A 14 or 15 year-old girl in high school fulfills none of these conditions. She shouldn’t and ordinarily doesn’t want to think of getting married for a good number of years.

She should be occupied with the business of getting an education, and nothing can so thoroughly nullify her efforts in that regard as the excitement of puppy love and the time wasted on frequent dates.

Above all, she is too young to be aware of the danger of sin that is inherent in her own nature and that may be presented by her equally immature boy friend in the close associations of adolescent company keeping.

There is great need of a corps of young people of high school age who will resist the all too common practice of regular dating and steady company keeping.

Such young people must be humble enough to realize that their elders are not talking through their hats nor adopting the roll of kill-joys when they advise against the practice. They must know that while again America makes light of it, true Christian principle condemns it. 

Secret Company-keeping


Is it wrong to continue to see a certain boy secretly when your parents have forbidden you to go out with him?

I am 21 years old and my father is quite wealthy. The boy I have been going with comes from an ordinary family and he is working his way through business college, hoping to obtain a good job when he finishes.

My mother and father argue that he will probably never be able to provide for me as they have done all my life so far. That is why they have forbidden me to see him.

But I think I am in love with him, and I don’t care if we do have to live on a small income after he graduates.

Of course I wouldn’t marry him until then, but if I don’t see him in the meantime once in a while I shall probably lose him.

I’ve been having lunch with him now and then when I’ve gone shopping, and I want to continue to do so.


Even though you are 21, with some right to decide your own vocation, there is a presumption in favor of the wisdom of your parents’ requests and commands.

That presumption will yield only to clear indications that they are unreasonably interfering with the happiness of your future and the will of God for you.

On the side of the wisdom of your parents is the fact that ordinarily it is not easy for a girl who has had all the conveniences and luxuries that wealth can provide to adjust her mode of living to a much lower standard.

Nor, ordinarily, can a girl be very happy if, in order to marry, she has had to incur the displeasure and lasting opposition of her family, especially if she has had a pleasant and easy life with her family.

Only if a girl has a strong, spiritual character, a proven capacity for mortification and sacrifice, and a great earnestness about her task in life, should she consider a marriage that will mean giving up much that she is accustomed to.

Since it is pretty hard for you to judge whether you have all these qualities, I suggest that you obey your parents to this extent: tell the boy of your parents’ wishes and commands; tell him that in obedience to them you will not see him for three months; during the three months test yourself, by rather rigorous mortification, to learn how many of the luxuries of your home you can do without; and at the same time try to convince your parents, in all kindness, that they should permit you to see the boy at least once in a while, on condition that you will make no decision to marry him without talking it over thoroughly with them.

High School Company-Keeping


I am 16 years old, and in my last year of high school.

My parents permit me to go out with boys only once a week, and then they insist that I go out in the company of my older brother.

All the other girls of my age have dates as often as they like, and I feel that I am old enough to go out like that too. I know the dangers of going out, but I feel that I have to face them sometime. Don’t you think my parents are too strict?


The chief reason you give for demanding that your parents permit you to go out freely, viz., because other parents let their daughters have all the dates they like, is not a good one.

I realize that it makes a young girl like yourself feel persecuted when she cannot do what other girls are permitted to do; at the same time, you must remember that if your parents were content just to follow the example of  other parents, they could let you find your way into all kinds of trouble.

There are too many weak and foolish parents in the world today; too many whose example would be the worst possible thing for your  parents to follow.

Your question is, then, apart from what the other girls are permitted to do, this: Should a high schoolgirl of 16 be permitted to go out with a boy (or boys) more than once a week, and should she be permitted to do so without having a protective older brother tagging along?

To the first part of the question I would say that once a week is a generous quota of dates for a high school girl who wants to get some lasting good out of her high school studies.

If you go out two or three times a week, it is almost certain that you won’t do very well in your studies, and never in your whole life will you be able to make up for that. Furthermore, I would say that it would be very imprudent for you to go out even as often as once a week if it were always with the same boy.

That would add greatly to the danger of sin and to the wasting of time in high school. I know you will tell me that there are dozens of girls who do this, and I will answer that by telling you that there are dozens of high school girls who fall into sin and wreck their characters and waste their education by steady company-keeping.

As to having your older brother with you on your dates, there is much to commend this safeguard.

High school girls and boys are best off in crowds or, at least, groups of four or six.

When young people insist on their right to be alone with their dates, there is a suspicion that they want to be free to do things that are wrong, such as kissing, petting, etc.

Your parents are pretty wise, but I feel sure that if you convince them that you are not going to permit any evil actions by any boy, they will let you go out once in awhile on your own.

The Agony

“Do not interfere with this innocent man.”
While Jesus was in torments in Gethsemani, Pilate’s wife, asleep in her palace, had a dream. She saw Jesus, and learned that He was altogether sinless; and she saw herself suffering much on account of Him.
Claudia Procla spent a restless morning; and her anxiety became acute when she heard that Jesus of Nazareth was on trial for His life before her husband. Immediately she sent a message to Pilate: “This Man is innocent; let Him be.”
Pilate knew Christ was guiltless, and his wife’s remarkable message proved it. Even so, he crucified Christ.
Such is the power I also have to oppose the grace of God. I should pray every day for the grace not to resist grace.

“Never be ashamed of your home or family because it is humble. People who look down on those whose home is humble and who lack social prominence are not worthy of the friendship of decent families. The most important things in life are character, honest work, humility, loyalty, friendliness, and love.” -Fr. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook (afflink)

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One of the powerful weapons in spiritual combat is the St. Benedict medal. Used for centuries, this medal has been associated with many miracles, as well as with powers of exorcism.

St. Benedict medals are used in many ways, but always as a protection against evil. Some people bury them in the foundations of new buildings to keep them free from evil influences, while others attach them to rosaries or hang them on the wall in their homes. But the most common way to use the St. Benedict medal is to wear it. The medal can be worn by itself or embedded in a crucifix.

Regardless of how it is used, the medal should always be blessed with the special St. Benedict blessing. While, in former times, only Benedictines could bless the medal, now any priest can.

Visit My Book List for the Youth for some good reading material!




The “Power” of a Woman

We women will leave a lasting imprint on the world…

by Paul Edwards, 1952, Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur

“The Power of a Woman”

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

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

There comes before our eyes a picture of Jesus as a young man thirty years of age. He has left His Mother in Nazareth, and has set out on His work of teaching the people.

One day He returns to His native village and enters the synagogue to teach His fellow-townsmen His doctrine and give them the good news of salvation. After He speaks to them they refuse to accept Him, and finally He warns them that they are in danger of losing the special graces God is offering to them.

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

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

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

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

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

Catholic Women to the Fore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Death will come when God permits it to come, and not before; and if we are Christ’s own when it comes, then it cannot come otherwise than as the one truly tremendous and permanent victory of our life…”

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

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

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

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A Meditation on St. Joseph

HP_St_Joseph_10St. Joseph’s Feast Day, March 19th, landed on a Sunday this year, so today is the day the Church is celebrating it! Happy Feast Day!

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

Among the responsibilities that came crowding into St. Joseph’s life after he discovered that all innocently he had taken as his betrothed the one who would be Mother of God, that which must have frightened him most, I should think, was that of being “father” to a Child who is God.

It was not that his love was wanting. Joseph had dedicated his life to God. He longed with an ardor like Mary’s for the coming of the Messiah.

A devout Jew felt so keenly the greatness and majesty and unspeakable mystery of God that even Christ, when He called His Apostles, let recognition of His divinity come to them slowly.

To have known unmistakably at the outset would have put such a gulf between them as to make impossible the intimacy He needed with them in order to teach them as He wished. And here was Joseph, having lived a most holy life, deeply recollected, far advanced in prayer – asked to be “father” to the Messiah!

One gasps at this sort of thing. “But I’m afraid … I can’t … I don’t know … I’m not good enough .. . what will I do?” These must have been somewhat his sentiments.

Then the angel said to him, “Do not fear….” and we see that it was God’s will that Joseph be Mary’s husband. He could do what he could do; beyond that, he could do no more. Apparently it did not dawn on this humble man that he could do what God had prepared him to do.

Do not doubt that he had been prepared. St. Joseph did not just happen along during the preparation for the Redemption.

He had been chosen, as Mary; and although he was not given her Immaculate privilege, in every way he was God’s work.

Strangely enough, what God needed for His divine Son was a father, and that was not a role to entrust to just anyone. He was to be father in the everyday sense of the word.

This Boy could not grow up and prepare for His mission out of some bizarre situation where there was no father. There must be nothing irregular. He must have a mother and a father, relatives, a craft, a home, a town – everything ordinary that boys have.

At least they must have the appearance of the ordinary; if they were extraordinary, no one need know – now.

The only answer to the puzzle of how to raise the Child who was God was to raise Him as every Jewish boy was raised: with the help of God, perfectly.

We assume, of course, perfectly. He was God. He was perfect. As though our Lady and St. Joseph were puppets with no will, no judgment, decisions of their own.

She was full of grace; so her will in every matter was perfect. He was full of love of God and dedicated to Him; so with grace his will was perfect, too.

But it is not as though they had no choices to make. Aside from the approval of his marriage, the message to go to Egypt, or the message to return, no divine revelations told Joseph how to father the Christ Child.

He had what all Jewish fathers had as guide: the Law, and that was all. The pattern was given by God: parents have authority over their children; children are bound to respect and obey their parents.

And St. Joseph had, as reservoir to draw on, his own rich personal life with God out of which he drew his wisdom and formed his decisions.

It was the father’s role to decide where they would live, and Joseph had to make this decision a number of times.

He must have learned once and for all on Christmas Eve that it would be up to him to decide.

No angel appeared that night to show them a lodging. It was his role to teach this Boy to pray the prescribed daily prayers, to conduct Him and His mother to synagogue, where He sat with His father, and on pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifice.

He taught Him His trade and, with it, how to barter honestly, how to fix a just price for his work, how to evaluate wood, a respect for tools, the techniques of a good workman. He taught Him of crops, for almost every Jewish craftsman depended partly on the food he could grow to help support his family.

If we read our Lord’s parables over and see how many of them tell of the works of a man – building, planting, harvesting – we have a clue to the things Joseph must have talked about with Jesus.

And although it was His Mother who formed His interior life as a Child, still there were long hours of meditation and recollection shared by Jesus and Joseph as they worked together in silence, praising God for the wood, for their hands, for the work He sent them, for the barter and monies paid them which “kept the family going.”

If Joseph waited for some sign from this Boy that He could do His growing and learning without any help, it did not come.

He did the things all boys did, but with a graciousness and beauty that must have made Joseph think of Adam before he destroyed the harmony of his nature.

Joseph must have wondered how He would redeem men. He must have watched Him sometimes and wondered when it would begin.

He must have known, suddenly – and then as though he had always known it – that he would never see it.

Again and again, when there was something to learn, some counsel to be sought, this Boy must have come to him as quite the most ordinary boy would, and asked, “Father, do you think I should do it this way, or is it better another way?”

And Joseph, giving his best judgment and the reasons why, must have told him, as all fathers do, of some experience fetched up from his own youth, and afterward thought, “But He knew. He already knew about my boyhood….”

But He gave no sign. Joseph was as fully and wholly and totally obligated to be father to this Child and husband to His Mother as any other Hebrew husband and father.

On the Cross, the Boy, grown to a man, said to St. John, “Behold thy Mother.”

Our present Holy Father has said, “The mother of the Head is the mother of the Body.” Then what of the father?

Pope Leo XIII tells of the father in his Encyclical Quamquam Pluries:

The Divine household, which Joseph governed as with paternal authority, contained the beginnings of the Church. The Virgin most holy is the mother of all Christians since she is the Mother of Jesus and since she gave birth to them on the mount of Calvary amid the unspeakable sufferings of the Redeemer. Jesus is, as it were, the first-born of Christians, who are His brothers by adoption and redemption.

From these considerations we conclude that the blessed Patriarch [Joseph] must regard all the multitude of Christians who constitute the Church as confided to his care in a certain special manner. This is his numberless family, scattered throughout all lands, over which he rules with a sort of paternal authority, because he is the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus Christ. Thus it is conformable to reason and in every way becoming to Blessed Joseph, that as once it was his sacred trust to guard with watchful care the family of Nazareth, no matter what befell, so now, by virtue of his heavenly patronage, he is to turn to protect and to defend the Church of Christ.

With Christ as our Head, we are the Church. We are St. Joseph’s family. Family life was the only life St. Joseph knew. He was not a monk or a hermit or a priest or a bishop. He was a husband and father.

It is significant. The Child was the Priest. The father taught the Child who became High Priest, who offered Himself in sacrifice; who paid for the sins of men.

For all the years He spent with His father, He showed the mark.

He was formed by the father as well as by the mother; Joseph and Mary, husband and wife, father and mother, prepared this Boy for His vocation.

saint-joseph1“Holiness means happiness. Holy people are happy people at peace with God, with others, and with themselves.
There is only one requirement. You must do God’s will. This embraces various obligations and gives you corresponding rights and privileges.
This is the lesson of the Holy Family. The will of God must count for everything in our daily lives. Prosaic deeds done for God can lead to spectacular holiness.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were human, intensely human in the best sense of the word. They show us how our lives, too, should be human–truly warm and Godlike.” -Fr. Lovasik

Awesome prayer! ❤️ I say this daily.

Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers.
Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

Coloring pages for your children….

These graceful wire-wrapped necklaces can be worn every day as a reminder of your devotion! Get them blessed and you can use them also as sacramentals.

Available here.


10.25″ St. Joseph Figurine With Base Joseph Studio Heavenly Protect by Roman…

No words of St. Joseph are recorded In Scripture. In fact. little mention is made of him there. Yet. despite these seeming limitations. the Church nonetheless possesses an indescribably rich knowledge of St. Joseph. This book will astound most readers both with its scope and with its profundity. Based mainly on Scripture, but supported also by Tradition and the depositions of saints. it is a carefully reasoned analysis of the entirety of that great saint’s role in the history of Salvation and the life of the Church. Includes details about his spiritual life and noble lineage; how he was prefigured in the Old Testament; his relationship to Mary and Jesus; why he has been named by Pope Pius IX “The Patron of the Universal Church;” and so forth. Many beautiful insights…..

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Laetare Sunday to Palm Sunday ~ Maria Von Trapp

In this article, Maria von Trapp brings to us the lovely customs of the mid to latter part of Lent that enrich a Catholic home and make the Faith fully alive to all….

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family, 1955, Sophia Institute Press

In the middle of Lent comes the Sunday Laetare, also called “Rose Sunday.” It is as if Holy Mother Church wants to give us a break by interrupting the solemn chant of mourning, the unaccompanied cadences and the use of the violet vestments, bursting out suddenly in the word “Laetare” (“Rejoice”), allowing her priests to vest in rose-colored garments, to have flowers on the altar and an organ accompaniment for chant.

It is also called “Rose Sunday” because on that day the Pope in Rome blesses a golden rose, an ornament made of gold and precious stones.

The Holy Father prays that the Church may bring forth the fruit of good works and “the perfume of the ointment of the flowers from the root of Jesse.” Then he sends the golden rose to some church or city in the world or to a person who has been of great service to the Church.

Only recently I discovered that this Sunday used to be known as “Mothering Sunday.” This seems to go back to an ancient custom. People in every city would visit the cathedral, or mother church, inspired by a reference in the Epistle read on the Fourth Sunday of Lent: “That Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is our Mother.”

And there grew up, first in England, from where it spread over the continent, the idea that children who did not live at home visited their mothers that day and brought them a gift.

This is, in fact, the precursor of our Mother’s Day. Expecting their visiting children, the mothers are said to have baked a special cake in which they used equal amounts of sugar and flour (two cups of each); from this came the name “Simmel Cake,” derived from the Latin word “similis”, meaning “like” or “same.”

Here is the recipe:

Simmel Cake

3/4 cup butter                1/3 cup shredded lemon &

2 cups sugar                       orange peel

2 cups flour                  1 cup currants

4 eggs                        almond paste

1/2 tsp. salt.

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift the flour and salt and add to the first mixture. Dust the peel and currants with a little flour and add to the batter. Line cake tin with waxed paper and pour in half the dough. Add a layer of almond paste and remaining dough. Bake at 300 degrees F. for one hour. Ice with a thin white icing, flavored with a few drops of almond extract.


Passion Sunday To Holy Saturday

The liturgy follows Christ’s early life step by step. At Christmas season we learn of the birth in the stable, the adoration of the shepherds, the slaughter of the innocents, the flight into Egypt, the adoration of the Magi, and finally the return from Egypt.

Then we meet Our Lord again at His baptism, we accompany Him into the desert on his fast, and we go with Him for the first and second years of His public life, we listen to His parables, we admire His miracles, and we unite our hearts with Him in His life of toil and missionary love for us.

Now four weeks of instruction have passed. We have followed Our Lord in His apostolic ministry and we have reached the moment when, together with Holy Mother Church, we shall contemplate the sorrowful happenings of the last year (during Passion Week) and the last week (during Holy Week) of His life on earth.

We can feel the hatred of Christ’s enemies growing day by day. On Good Friday we shall witness once more the most frightening of all happenings, foretold by the prophets and even by Our Lord Himself, the bloody drama of Calvary.

The purpose of Passiontide is to call to our memory the persecutions of which Our Lord was the object during His public life and especially toward the end. If Septuagesima season acts as a remote preparation for Easter, and Lent the proximate one, the last two weeks of Passiontide are the immediate preparation.


When the children were still very small, I said to them on the way to church on a Passion Sunday morning, “Now watch and tell me what is different today in church!” On the way home they said eagerly that the statues and crosses on the altars were covered with violet cloth.

“And why don’t we do it at home, Mother? Shouldn’t we cover the crucifix and statues in the living room and in our bedrooms, too?”

As I had no good reason to offer against it, we bought a few yards of violet cloth the next day and did at home what we had seen in church. In the following years we were ready for the covering ceremony on Saturday before Passion Sunday.

The older ones among the children also had noticed that the prayers at the foot of the altar were much shorter and that there was no “Gloria Patri” after the Introit and the Lavabo.

To let the children watch for such changes in the liturgy makes them much more eager than if they are told everything in advance.

Promptly, when we came in our evening prayers to the “Gloria Patri,” a warning, hissing “Sssh” from the children’s side made us aware that “Gloria Patri,” even if only in family prayers, should be omitted for these holy days of mourning.

I am sure it would be the case in every family, as it was in ours, that the children are the ones who most eagerly want to carry into the home as much of holy liturgy as they possibly can.

For instance, when I answered their question as to how the ashes are obtained which are to be blessed on Ash Wednesday, telling them that the blessed palms from the previous Palm Sunday are burned, they asked a most logical question “But, Mother, if you burn a blessed object, aren’t the ashes already blessed? And if so, shouldn’t we burn all the blessed palms around the place too and sprinkle the ashes over the garden?” And so we did!

After we had established this as a firm family custom, I read that this is done in many places in the Austrian Alps, only there the people strew the ashes not over the garden but over the fields.


Then comes the week which is called in the missal “Hebdomada Major”–our “Holy Week” in which we accompany Our Lord day by day through the last week of His life, as it is told in the Gospels. First we join Him in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

As soon as the Church had been freed by the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, the Christians began to celebrate Palm Sunday in a very dramatic way in Jerusalem.

On the very spot where it had happened, the holy texts were read: “Rejoice, daughter of Sion, behold Thy King will come to thee….”

The crowd spread their garments on the ground, crying aloud, “Blessed be the King Who cometh in the Name of the Lord.” The bishop, mounted on an ass, would ride up to the church on the Mount of Olives, surrounded by a multitude carrying palms and singing hymns and joyful anthems.

From Jerusalem this re-enactment of Christ’s solemn entry into His holy city came to Rome, where the Church soon adopted the same practice. The ceremony, however, was preceded by the solemn reading of the passage from Holy Scriptures relating the flight from Egypt, thus reminding Christ’s people that Christ, the new Moses, in giving them the real manna, is delivering them out of the Egypt of sin and nourishing them in the Eucharist.

Around the ninth century the Church added a new rite. The palms, which the people would hold in their hands when they accompanied their bishop, were solemnly blessed.

We have already witnessed several of these specially solemn blessings, on Epiphany, on Candlemas Day, on Ash Wednesday. Again these texts are so rich in beautiful thoughts for meditation that families should read them together–not only read them, but read them prayerfully.

From Rome the idea to re-enact Our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem spread all over the Christian world. In medieval times the faithful and the clergy met at a chapel or a wayside shrine outside of town where the palms were blessed, and from there moved in a solemn procession to the cathedral.

Our Lord was represented either by the bishop riding on an ass or, in some places, by the Blessed Sacrament carried by the king or, in other places, by a crucifix carried ahead. In some Austrian villages the figure of Christ sitting on an ass, carved in wood, is carried.

The Christian people had an unerring instinct for the efficacy of those solemnly blessed sacramentals, and just as they carried home Epiphany water and holy candles, they also would bring home with them blessed palms.

In the old country this was quite an elaborate function of “the liturgy in the home.” As we did not have real palms growing in Austria, we used evergreens and pussy willows, which at that time were the first children of spring.

Like all other Austrian families living in the country, we made as many little bouquets as there were divisions on our grounds–one for the vegetable garden, one for the orchard, one for the flower garden, one for each pasture, and one for each field. Each of these little bouquets was fastened to a stick about three feet high.

Besides, there were many single twigs of pussy willow which would be placed behind pictures all around the house. These bouquets were gaily adorned with colored ribbons or dyed shavings from the carpenter shop.

The children carried them into the church and vied with each other, during the blessing, as to who held his stick highest to get most of the holy water sprinkled on it. Then bouquets were carried in a liturgical procession and afterwards were brought home.

In the afternoon the whole family would follow the father throughout the house and all over the grounds and he would place in the middle of every lot one of those sticks carrying the blessed bouquets as a means of protecting his property against the influence of evil spirits, against the damage of hail storms and floods.

While the family would proceed from lot to lot, they would say the rosary. We would alternate between decades of the rosary and the chants of the day, “Pueri Hebraeorum” and “Gloria, laus et honor.” On

Easter Sunday the family would revisit these sticks, bringing along little bottles filled with Easter water (holy water blessed solemnly on Easter morning). These little bottles would be tied to sticks, thus adding another sacramental.

Quote from The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland

This prayer is a very old and beautiful invocation to St. Joseph. It is said to have been found in the fiftieth year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. St. Joseph was invoked for protection against a sudden death, drowning, poisoning; for protection against falling into the hands of the enemy, being burned in a fire or overpowered in battle. This prayer can be said for nine days as a novena prayer…

“Your joy in your children should outweigh by far any disadvantages they may cause. In them you will find your own happiness.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook. (afflink)


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

Book List for Catholic Men

Book List for the Youth

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