Tea~Time With Finer Femininity ~ Isolation, Books for Dating, Whistling, Etc.

I am putting up another “Tea~Time” post because I found some questions that I have neglected (because I didn’t see them) on my Finer Femininity FB page. I am not always quick on answering any questions but these ones I did not even see. Please forgive my tardiness.

I get questions from you now and again and I think the answers could be beneficial to others and so I have posted them here….I have changed some words to protect anonymity.

Disclaimer: If in doubt with anything I say, please check with your spiritual director. He knows you and your situation and has the grace of state to advise you.

Question: Do you have any book recommendations with guidelines for the parents for children who are beginning to date?

Answer: Yes I do.

One of the best books I recommend is this one by Father Lovasik. It is called Clean Love in Courtship

Another one is  The Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love by Father Kelly.

Both of these are written in the 1950’s. Outdated? Well, are temptation and sin outdated? 🙂

You can also read this post here called Chaperones Again?

Dating Non-Catholics is a good post. (There is a part two to this post).

This post is called Choosing a Partner (There is a part two to this post).

And this post How to Choose a Marriage Partner.

This is another book called Youth’s Pathfinder. It is old, too. Early 1900’s. I have loaned mine to Tan Books in order to have it reprinted. Right now, the price is daunting. It is not only about courtship but about vocations to the religious life and virtues in general for the youth. A lovely book, indeed!

Here are two newer ones. I don’t know much about them so you would have to do your own research. But I have heard the names of them tossed around in Catholic circles:

 The ABC’s of Choosing a Good Husband-Stephen Wood

The ABC’s of Choosing a Good Wife: How to find & marry a great girl-Stephen Wood

These are good to share with the kids, too:

Question: I have many children and am expecting another. I feel isolated and wish there were more like-minded people around us. I would love to get together with other families once in a while so my kids could experience some good and wholesome friendships. I also don’t have anyone around to help me out once in a while. Life is hectic.

I would like to move somewhere where there is a thriving parish and community life. My husband won’t hear of it because of his job and I resent that at times…I feel like he is putting his career above the family. Any suggestions or input?

Answer: In this day and age, when serious Catholics are in the minority, it is not hard to feel isolated. The Internet becomes a good resource but can’t replace a living community.

I would say…and I have seen many do it, including my husband and I… pick up and move. A geographical move is hard but if the intentions are good, God will bless that.

BUT, You said your husband doesn’t want to move…

Continue to respect your husband, nip the resentful thoughts in the bud. Replace them with prayers of thanksgiving to Our Lord for taking care of this situation and then, as you pray about it, leave it in Our Lord’s Hands. Nothing wrong with mentioning it to your husband again, talking to him about it, etc. Even if he gets a bit testy about it. 🙂 Don’t be too pushy, though. Leave that up to Our Lord.

AND, I would say a St. Joseph’s Novena (below) and a 54-Day Rosary Novena. Powerful prayers!

St. Joseph Prayer/Novena (I say this prayer 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.

On another note…Maybe it won’t take a geographical move. Maybe God will bring another family into your life. OR, and as I saw with one young couple, the “community” ended up coming to them in quite a miraculous way. They lived in the boonies and some nuns moved close by, along with a good Traditional Priest. This circumstance has been drawing more people and the community has been slowly growing. So…we never know how God will answer our prayers. But He will!

As far as having no help, I do understand this. I was lonely when we moved to Kansas. My family was in Canada. So, even though I lived by a community, help was not easily come by. It was pretty much up to me. And we lived in a tiny house with many children, homeschooling, etc.! Whew! When I think of it now I am astounded at the graces received at the time! (Not that it was easy.)

I have told my children to be very grateful for what they have….lots of family around to help out. It’s an incredible blessing! But it’s not one that everyone has.

We have a Heavenly Family that looks out for us, though, and helps us along the way to find our answers. We must turn to them for those answers. The sufferings we endure along the way only serve to make us stronger, more compassionate towards others and are powerful prayers we can offer up each day (in our Morning Offering) to assist ourselves and those we love!

Question: Hello, I am young and newly married. I am a little bit lost about marriage and motherhood. Can you help me?

Answer: Yes, I can. Make Books your Best Friends. Here is My Book List. It is how I learned many of the things I used as a mother and wife. Because, I, too, was a bit lost. My family, as I was growing up, was in survival mode, living in a big city, with no women with traditional values and homespun skills around me. So…I learned it all from books.

Go to My Book List. But don’t stop there. If you want to have healthy children, seek out balanced health books. If you want to homeschool, read about it. If you want to nurse your babies, find a good book on it, etc., etc. Be an avid and hungry learner. It will so pay off!

And stick around here. I share a lot of the stuff that helped to form me as a single woman and then as a wife and mother.

It takes work, but the rewards are immense!

Question: I have grown up loving to whistle. I think I learned, from your blog, that one of the good traditional priests insisted that it is immodest for women to whistle. Your thoughts?

Answer: Hmmm….I don’t recall putting up anything like this.

If this has been said, I tend not to agree, but that is my opinion. Whistling is a happy sound. We all need cheeriness in our lives, don’t you think? To whistle is, to me, like humming. And, unless it is annoying someone else, it is a good and wholesome thing. You can come and whistle in my home any time! We like happy sounds!

If whistling helps to lighten your heart, this is good.

I know I have made this simplistic and not very theological. Sometimes simplicity on these matters is best. To analyze too much can be very burdensome and cause one to slip into scrupulosity…which is a spiritual sickness that is hard to deal with.

But when in doubt, ask a good, balanced priest. And, like anything that is given up for a good intention, if you give up whistling, God will bless you for it.

Question: I’m looking for a book that explains a Catholic father’s duties. My husband is open to guidance in raising our children in a less worldly way than he was raised. Any suggestions?

Answer: Although I have not read all of these, I am going to put them down for you and you can do the research before you buy. If anyone else has good tried and true books, please leave a comment on this post.

The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George Kelly ( I had a dad profusely thank me for introducing him to this book…so I think it is very helpful for fathers.)

The Catholic Family Handbook by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik (Excellent book)

Terror of Demons (This is a newer book and looks good.)

True Men as We Need Them: A Book of Instruction for Men of the World, Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894  

Some Notes for the Guidance of Parents – Fr. Daniel A. Lord

Father of the Family: A Christian Perspective – Clayton Barbeau (This one I would recommend!)

Christ in the Home,Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J. (Excellent book)

Fatherhood and Family, A compilation from Integrity Magazine, 1950’s

“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. For upon you depends the emotional growth of your children, and such growth will better prepare them to live happy and holy lives than any amount of intellectual training they may receive.” Fr. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2nqUivn (afflink)

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Your Child – Lying, Stealing, etc., by Rev. George A. Kelly

The Catholic Family Handbook – Father George Kelly, 1950’s

Father Kelly helps to get it into perspective:

Lying and stealing

Minor transgressions can be expected of every pre-school child; if nothing more, they indicate his desire to learn exactly what penalty will be imposed if he violates your rules. The three or four year-old probably cannot understand that all of us must obey God’s laws. Later, of course, he must be taught that lying and stealing are sins because they violate that law.

It takes a wise parent to understand the difference between a young child’s imagination and his lying. When children learn that speech has the power to affect others, they often make up stories simply to notice the effect upon adults. In such cases, you probably need not do any more than indicate your mild disbelief.

Untruths affecting others are a different matter, however. If your child lies deliberately about a serious matter, you should point out to him that his action is sinful; that it harms those about whom he lies; and that it harms him by causing people to lose confidence in him.

The best way to discourage lying is to encourage truthfulness. The child who admits the truth and is willing to face the consequences of his actions displays a fine sense of maturity and deserves to be complimented for it. But do not carry your commendation for truthfulness to extremes, as though it were a novelty.

Whenever one little boy did something wrong, he ran to his father and confessed. The father invariably praised him for his honesty and neglected to punish him for his actions “because he told the truth.” The youngster, now sixteen, is the most truthful boy in town–and the greatest mischief-maker. He firmly believes that simply telling the truth absolves him of all blame for his conduct.

Children also do a certain amount of stealing. Vinnie, three years old, sees a toy which Billy is playing with and takes it as soon as he can so that he too may enjoy it. He is simply doing what comes naturally; he wants the toy and sees no reason why he should not have it. Obviously, he commits no sin. He must be taught in a calm way, however, that he must not take things which do not belong to him.

You can strengthen your child’s resistance against the impulse to steal by strengthening his own sense of possessiveness. If you treat his possessions with respect, making it plain to him that you would not use them without his permission, you make it easier for him to comprehend his obligations to others.

Probably all children pass through a “stealing” stage during which you can impress upon them the importance of not taking what belongs to others. This tendency to pilfer others’ possessions usually decreases and ceases to be a source of difficulty by the time the child is seven.

If he continues to steal after that, it may indicate that some of his strong and legitimate desires are not satisfied. For instance, the parents of a ten-year-old boy habitually compared him unfavorably with others of his age. He had a compelling urge to show that he was their superior, and he began to steal watches and other jewelry and to flaunt them before his classmates as presents he had received from his rich, admiring relatives.

Other youngsters may steal to relieve their boredom: boys who raid a fruitstand may simply crave excitement. If your child steals after he has reached the age of reason and is morally responsible for his actions, do not minimize the fact that he has sinned; but also seek to determine whether any psychological reason may have been important in causing him to act as he does.

A child should always be required to pay for objects he has stolen, even if he must work on Saturdays or forgo his allowance for months to do so.

Early sex experimentation

A child cannot commit sin until he reaches the age of reason. It follows that no moral guilt is associated with his early sex experimentation. Some parents might mistakenly regard as masturbation a baby’s holding of his sex organ, but it is as natural for him to display this interest as it is for him to examine his hands, feet or other parts of his body. He may experience pleasure when he touches his genitals, but this act has no greater moral significance than has sucking his fingers.

The normal child generally discontinues his sex experimentation when he finds other interests–and you can help him do so by giving him rattles to hold or toys to play with. However, if he continues to touch his genitals habitually after he begins to walk, he may be developing a pattern which will make masturbation more difficult to resist in later years.

You should gently and casually remove his hands each time you see him doing so. It is best to discourage this conduct in a matter-of-fact way, much as you might prevent him from picking his nose. Do not overemphasize its importance; otherwise you may accentuate his interest instead of changing it.

Sometimes two and three year-olds display a curiosity about the organs of the other sex. This interest also is natural and no evil intent is involved, but it is not proper and should not be permitted. Likewise, the little girl who lifts her dress in company is not guilty of any moral wrong, but she should be told not to do it.

By the time boys and girls are about three years old, their training in modesty should begin. They should learn that certain parts of the body must not be exposed before anyone except their parents.

A young child usually can be easily trained to be modest if his mother will tell him in a calm, unemotional way what is expected of him. Much difficulty with children in this regard results from the inability or unwillingness of parents to discuss the process of elimination without a sense of shame, and without giving it an undue importance in the child’s mind.

Sex experimentation usually ceases well before the child reaches the age of reason, and sex does not emerge as a serious problem in his development until adolescence. If your child continues to touch his genitals habitually after the age of six or seven, perhaps he seeks the pleasure which he derives from the action to compensate for some sense of insecurity. If your efforts to stop the practice fail, you should discuss his case with a doctor.

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vintage_background_5_by_dianascreations-d481ld1“The bone-dry definitions in the catechism are as essential as the recipe for the cake, but if we put them together with imagination and enthusiasm, and add love and experience, then set them afire with the teaching of Christ, His stories, His life, the Old Testament as well as the New, and the lives of the saints, we can make the study of catechism a tremendous adventure.” -Mary Reed Newland

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Before Embarking – Christ in the Home

From Christ in the Home by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

Whoever desires to marry ought to prepare himself for that great step:

–First of all, by preserving chastity.

–Then, by praying much for his future home and family.

By preserving chastity: Whoever cannot see the need for this will not be likely to understand the need for anything. But one must be able to see the need for more than this, to desire more.

The practice of purity in its entirety involves not only the avoidance of serious wrongdoing harmful to the integrity of the body but also whatever sullies imagination, thought or desire.

Consequently questionable companions, flirtations, and imprudent reading are out of the question. Custody of the eyes is essential. Death enters in through the windows of the body. Eve and David both sinned through their eyes.

For certain temperaments, such vigilance demands great generosity. No one can deny it.

“The good is more difficult than the evil,” wrote Paul Claudel in response to Jacques Riviere who had explained that to remain pure was difficult. “But there is a return. The good opens up before us incomparable horizons because it alone is in keeping with our reality, our nature, our life and our vocation. This is particularly true where love is concerned. How ridiculous the romantic fever of a purely fleshly love seems to me!”

Sensing the old classic objection in his correspondent, Claudel took the offensive:

“As for the emotional cramping Christianity imposes upon you, I can scarcely understand what you mean. When you speak of sins, I suppose you refer to sins of the flesh, because I cannot imagine that you have any tendency to drunkenness, avarice, acts of violence or similar things.

“The first answer to your difficulty is that when we become Christians, it is not for our pleasure or personal comfort, and further, if God does us the honor of asking sacrifice of us, there is nothing to do but consent with joy.

“The second answer is that these sacrifices amount to very little or practically nothing. We are still living in the old romantic idea that the supreme happiness, the greatest interest, the only delight of existence consists in our relations with women and in the sensual satisfactions we get from them.

But we forget one fact, the fact that the soul, the spirit, are realities just as strong, just as demanding as the flesh–even more so; we forget that if we accord to the flesh everything it demands, we shall do so with the consequent loss of other joys, other regions of delight which will be eternally closed for us.

We shall be draining a glass of bad wine in a hovel or in a drawing room and be unmindful of that virginal sea which stretches out before others under the rising sun.”

How splendidly Shakespeare has expressed the same thoughts:

What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.
Who buys a minute’s mirth to wail a week?
Or sees eternity to get a toy?
For one sweet grape who will the wine destroy?
Or, what fond beggar, but to touch the crown,
Would with the sceptre straight be strucken down?
(Rape of Lucrece, Stanza 31)

This is also what Saint Augustine has written in his own
epigrammatic style:” momentaneum quod delectat, aeternum
quod cruciat:.
One instant of pleasure, an eternity of
suffering….”

Let me examine my own soul. Have I come to marriage entirely chaste? Chaste in body? Chaste in thought? Chaste in heart?

If my answer is Yes, then I must thank God. It is a choice grace.

If my answer is No, then what can I do to make reparation, to obtain from God the grace of entire fidelity to my duty, from now on?
In addition to the preservation of chastity, the person aspiring to marriage has a second great duty–to pray much.

An old proverb wisely states, “Before embarking on the sea, pray once. Before leaving for war, pray twice. Before marrying, pray three times.”

And this necessity of praying more before marriage than before a voyage or a battle is evident for several reasons.

Consider the risk of associating oneself closely with a creature who has many limitations; with a creature about whom one knows very little particularly in the matter of shortcomings, since during the period of courtship and betrothal one unconsciously does everything not to reveal himself; with a creature whom one loves with all one’s heart but who possesses not only lovable traits, but also faults which can cause suffering; with a creature who can bestow the greatest joy, but who can also unfortunately inflict the deepest pain.

Furthermore, in order to bear joys as well as possible trials, do we not need much help from God? And to obtain this help, must we not pray much?

Another reason for the necessity of such prayer when one desires to establish a home is that from a union once sanctioned by the Church and consummated there is no possible withdrawal.

It is a choice which is definitely established. For two changeable human beings to dare to bind themselves to each other forever in a relationship so intimate as the realities of marriage, is not God’s sustaining help a prime requisite? And to obtain this help is it not necessary to pray much?

Has my life before marriage been one of sanctification and of prayer in preparation for my marriage? Or have I confided solely in the human merits existing on both sides and neglected to place under God’s protection the union I was about to contract?

If I have been neglectful, I must make up for it now. There is still time.

If, on the contrary, I prayed much before my marriage, I may not leave off earnest prayer now that I am married. The greater the place God holds in my life, the greater can be my assurance that my home shall be supernaturally happy and, without a doubt, humanly happy as well.

“To you, O Mary, my good Mother, I confide my marriage and my home. It seems that marriage is the means of sanctification destined for me by God as it is for the chosen soul whom you have given me.

Together we shall do our best to glorify God–this is our firm resolution.

Bless us, help us, strengthen us. Sailors call you Stella Maris. Be for us, too, the Star of the Sea and keep us safe throughout our crossing; we put under your care our vessel and its crew. You shall be the Queen on board ship.”

Prayer to the Archangel Raphael for a Marriage Partner:

Glorious Saint Raphael, Patron and lover of the young, I feel the need of call­ing to you and of pleading for your help. In all confidence I open my heart to you to beg your guidance and assistance in the important task of planning my future. Obtain for me through your intercession the light of God’s grace so that I may de­cide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life. Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand to find each other. May all our movements be guided by your light and transfigured by your joy. As you led the young Tobias to Sara and opened up a new life of happi­ness with her to holy marriage, lead me to such a one whom in your angelic wisdom you judge best suited to be united with me in marriage.

Saint Raphael, loving Patron of those seeking a marriage partner, help me in this supreme decision of my life. Find for me as a help‑mate in life the person whose character may reflect some of the traits of Jesus and Mary. May he (she) be up­right, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with chaste and unselfish love we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please God to en­trust to our care.

Saint Raphael, Angel of chaste court­ship, bless our friendship and our love that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely that our future home may ever be most like the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Offer your prayers to God for the both of us and obtain the blessing of God upon our marriage, as you were the herald of blessing for the marriage of Tobias and Sara.

Saint Raphael, Friend of the young, be my Friend, for I shall always be yours. I desire ever to invoke you in my needs. To your special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future husband (wife). Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love, and harmony in this life, and attain to eternal joy in the next. Amen. 

In honor of Saint Raphael: Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!

 

This is a unique book of Catholic devotions for young children. There is nothing routine and formal about these stories. They are interesting, full of warmth and dipped right out of life. These anecdotes will help children know about God, as each one unfolds a truth about the saints, the Church, the virtues, etc….

Review: “I’ve long been wanting a book on various virtues to help my children become better Catholics. But most books focused on the virtues make being bad seem funny or attractive in order to teach the child a lesson. I’ve always found them to be detrimental to the younger ones who’s logic hasn’t formed. This book does an awesome job in showing a GOOD example in each of the children with all the various struggles children commonly struggle with (lying, hiding things, being grumpy, you name it.) But this book isn’t JUST virtue training… it’s also just sweet little chats about our love for God, God’s greatness, etc…
And the best thing of all? They are SHORT! I have lots of books that are wonderful, but to be honest I rarely pick them up because I just don’t have the time to read a huge, long story. These are super short, just one page, and very to the point. The second page has a poem, picture, a short prayer and a few questions for the kids to get them thinking. It works really, really well right before our bedtime prayers and only takes a few minutes at most.
If you like “Leading the Little ones to Mary” then you will like these… they are a little more focused on ALL age groups, not just little ones… so are perfect for a family activity even through the teenage years, down to your toddler.”

A masterpiece that combines the visions of four great Catholic mystics into one coherent story on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Based primarily on the famous revelations of Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich and Ven. Mary of Agreda, it also includes many episodes described in the writings of St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Elizabeth of Schenau. To read this book, therefore, is to share in the magnificent visions granted to four of the most priviledged souls in the history of the Church.

In complete harmony with the Gospel story, this book reads like a masterfully written novel. It includes such fascinating details as the birth and infancy of Mary, her espousal to St. Joseph and her Assumption into Heaven where she was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

For young and old alike, The Life of Mary As Seen by the Mystics will forever impress the reader with an inspiring and truly unforgettable understanding of the otherwise unknown facts concerning Mary and the Holy Family. Imprimatur.

He was called the man of his age, the voice of his century. His influence towered above that of his contemporaries, and his sanctity moved God himself. Men flocked to him–some in wonder, others in curiosity, but all drawn by the magnetism of his spiritual gianthood. Bernard of Clairvaux–who or what fashioned him to be suitable for his role of counseling Popes, healing schisms, battling errors and filling the world with holy religious and profound spiritual doctrine? Undoubtedly, Bernard is the product of God’s grace. But it is hard to say whether this grace is more evident in Bernard himself or in the extraordinary family in which God choose to situate this dynamic personality. This book is the fascinating account of a family that took seriously the challenge to follow Christ… and to overtake Him. With warmth and realism, Venerable Tescelin, Blesseds Alice, Guy, Gerard, Humbeline, Andrew, Bartholomew, Nivard and St. Bernard step off these pages with the engaging naturalness that atttacks imitation. Here is a book that makes centuries disappear, as each member of this unique family becomes an inspiration in our own quest of overtaking Christ.

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A Woman’s Happiness – The Blessed Sacrament

Although written for a Sister, it can apply to all. Our best friend is Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist! What a grace, when we truly come to realize this!

We may not have our Lord in the same house with us, but He is there for us always within our heart….and to make visits to the Blessed Sacrament, to go to daily Mass is something we should strive for.

from The Catholic Teacher’s Companion by Rev. Felix M. Kirsch, O.M., 1924

It has been said that a woman’s happiness consists in loving and being loved. Here we have the deepest reason for the respect that the Sister receives from men: they honor her for having given her heart to the greatest love that can come to woman, the special love of Christ.

The same love is the source of the Sister’s strength. Frail and delicate she may be, but she does superhuman work in the schoolroom. And the source of her strength? Look at her after Holy Communion or while she kneels before the Blessed Sacrament, and you will know the source of her strength.

After hours she slips into the chapel to commune with her Lord and Spouse, and she returns to her work, refreshed and strengthened with supernatural vigor, for she has conversed with Him to who she has vowed eternal loyalty.

WOMAN’S HAPPINESS

Guynemer, the brilliant aviator, whose countrymen called him “The Bright Sword of France”, was asked whence he derived strength and courage.

He pointed to the tabernacle. Guynemer went to Communion daily.

For the Sister daily Communion and the presence of the Eucharistic King in the same house with her will be a source of untold blessings.

She should therefore esteem this privilege of living under the same roof with Christ as did Cardinal Newman when he wrote to Henry Wilberforce: “I am writing next room to the chapel. It is such an incomprehensible blessing to have Christ’s bodily Presence in one’s house, within one’s walls, as swallows up all other privileges and destroys, or should destroy, every pain. To know that He is close by—to be able again and again through the day to go in to Him…”

In the Holy Eucharist the Sister learns to understand in what consists the true liberty of children of God: Here she learns a truth which the modern world cannot understand, viz., that the highest exercise of man’s freedom is in the most perfect subjection to God’s will in all things.

How much will that lesson mean for her perfect happiness!

For of the Sister, too, we may say what the Rev. Charles Quirk, S.J., says so beautifully of the priest:

“Not my will, but Thine be done!”—

These sweet, these awful words are spun

Through all his life’s oblivion,

From rise, ah yes! to set o’ sun!

From the perfect obedience of Christ in the Holy Eucharist she will also learn to render always genuine service. We are loath to accept counterfeit money from anyone. But how often are we tempted to render counterfeit service to the Lord?

Again, the Eucharistic Presence should give the Sister a feeling of security. In the shadow of the Blessed Sacrament she may feel like the chick under the wings of the mother-hen. The chick is small and weak and helpless and lost in the darkness of its mother’s wings; yet while there it is hid away in the very safest place.

So the Sister, too, though she may be in darkness and even in the shadow of death, will be most secure as long as she remains in the shadow of God’s wings.

‘The theater of all my actions is fallen,” said an ancient hero when his chief friend was dead; and they are fortunate who get a theater where the audience demands their best. How fortunate is, then, the Sister, for her chief friend is Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. She may apply to herself the words of Christ: “I will not now call you servants; but I have called you friends. You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain.”

A friend has been described as one who knows us and yet loves us. The description is good. It shows how Christ, who knows the Sister best, is her best Friend. It shows, too, that friendship must be founded on truth.

“We all like to bring back to our mind the happy thought of our childhood days. It was at our Mother’s knee that we first began to whisper the name of God, and to make the sign of the cross, the sign of our Redemption. Our own hand being guided by that of our Mother, at the same time repeating: the words “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen”. Thus it was at home the little seed of our faith and love of God began to develop, making us the beloved and cherished children of God.” -Precious Blood and Family Prayer Book

Father Lovasik Tidbit:

Coloring pages for your children.   “It’s what we Catholics do on Sundays…”

 

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

Dutch Artist: Nicolaas van der Waay, 1936

 

 

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Why Do Catholics Have Statues?

There are many misconstrued ideas about Catholics….and one of them is the use of statues. Father Tonne explains…

Painting by Toby Edward Rosenthal (1848 – 1917)

by Father Arthur Tonne, The NuEvan Press Big Book of Catholic Sacramentals, 1950’s

“Render to all whatever is their due; tribute to whom tribute is due; taxes to whom taxes are due; fear to whom fear is due; honor to whom honor is due.” – Romans 13:7

A pastor in the Middle West recently bought a two-foot statue of St. Joseph for the sisters’ convent. When the statue was delivered he placed it on top of the ice-box temporarily, until he would have a chance to present it to the good sisters.

The housekeeper at the rectory, who is not a Catholic, was entranced with the beauty of the statue.

The assistant pastor took it upon himself to explain who was represented. “That is a statue of St. Joseph,” he told her. “It is for the sisters’ home. They are especially devoted to St. Joseph, who was the protector and guardian of the Blessed Mother, the model of all women religious.”

“And is that Jesus he is holding?” asked the housekeeper.

“Yes, that is the Christ-Child,” the priest explained. “St. Joseph was his foster-father. Notice the kindly but strong features of the saint. Everybody likes St. Joseph.”

And then with sincerity she exclaimed: “I like him, too, even though I just met him.”

That image of the head of the Holy Family was serving one of its principal purposes–to teach, to help instruct.

Images have many other purposes, which we will point out after we have shown the foundation or reason for having statues at all.

They are sacramentals blessed by Mother Church.

We have statues of our Lord, our Blessed Mother and of the saints. These figures in stone and bronze and marble and even plastic remind us of the holy people they represent.

St. Paul told the Romans to render honor to whom honor was due. Honor certainly is due to Christ. In a different and lower degree honor is also due to those heroic men and women who tried to follow Christ. That is the basis, the principle for our veneration of the sculptured likenesses.

Let me explain some of the purposes of this practice:

  1. With statues we adorn our churches and homes. Go from any Catholic to any non-Catholic church building, or vice versa, and immediately you notice the difference.

Beauty, a feeling of companionship and company, are experienced in the Catholic house of worship. This homelike feeling is due principally to the Presence of Christ, but the warm life-like statues add to that considerably.

Even your non-Catholic and your pagan ornaments his dwellings with products of the chisel. Yes, we even find statues of Catholics embellishing some Protestant Churches. In the church of St. John the Divine in New York stands a statue of our own St. Francis of Assisi.

  1. Then we use these sculptorings to instruct. The state and the city erect statues of Washington and Lincoln to teach patriotism and loyalty. The Church erects statues of Christ, His Mother and the saints to teach her citizens loyalty to God.

During the many ages before the invention of printing, from what did the Catholic study but from the figures of the saints and holy scenes?

My little story of the non-Catholic housekeeper who learned in a few minutes to appreciate and even to be attracted to St. Joseph by means of an expressive statue of him, is an example of the instructiveness of such images.

  1. Furthermore, statues spur us on to put in to practice what we have learned about the people represented. Don’t you want to be more big-souled, more honest, more unselfish, every time you look at a statue of Lincoln or Washington? Don’t you feel a surge of loyalty to and pride in your glorious United States?

Just so, don’t you want to be more modest and pureminded, more thoughtful of God and of others, every time you see a carving of Christ and His saints?

Who can gaze upon a marble reproduction of the crucifixion without experiencing the same feeling as the penitent thief hanging by the dying God-Man?

Whoever cast his eyes upon the sweet face of a Madonna, chiseled in immaculate marble, and did not wish to share the priceless purity that beams from her motherly countenance?

Were it not so often repeated we would feel it useless to answer the charge that the veneration of statues is idolatry. The simplest Catholic will tell you that he does not worship or adore or in any way honor the actual marble or stone of that figure. He honors the one represented.

Let Mother Church explain her stand officially.

We quote from the Council of Trent: “The images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and the other saints, are to be kept especially in churches. Due honor and veneration is to be paid to them, not that we believe there is any divinity or power in them, not that anything is to be asked of them, not that any trust is to be placed in them, as the heathens of old trusted in their idols…on the contrary, the honor we pay to images is referred to the originals whom they represent; so that by means of images which we kiss and before which we bow, we adore Jesus Christ and we venerate His saints.”

Mother Church stresses the importance of religious atmosphere and environment, not only in the house of God, but also in the homes of the children of God. Yet, how many Catholic homes are barren, totally barren of religious images of any kind. What is the cause?

It is not ignorance, for you know full well that a little Catholic air in your home is good for your spiritual health. Catholic atmosphere makes the home peaceful and happy.

The cause is indifference and thoughtlessness. Perhaps these few remarks on the usefulness and reasonableness of statues will induce you to put one or the other in your home, will lead you to appreciate the beautiful statues we have here in church, will prompt you to remember more often and more devoutly the holy people they represent. Amen.

 

“Don’t look at the whole mess, but break the big tasks down into smaller tasks. That way you aren’t overwhelmed with what you see. Psychologically, a small part is easier to assimilate than the whole.

For example, start with one room at a time. Then focus on one corner at a time. Look at small projects within that area. The most blatant projects are often the “procrastination piles”—the items, papers, or projects that accumulate in corners and on dressers, chairs, or any surface area for that matter!

You intend to get to these eventually so you leave them out in the open, but soon they are not visual reminders—only eye sores.

Tackle these. Decide which projects should still happen, which could be tossed, which are outdated, and which could be delegated. Small steps will transform your home in big ways.” -Emilie Barnes, 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter https://amzn.to/2Ml71cn (afflink)

 

New Apron!

Make a statement with this lovely and graceful handcrafted aprons….fully lined, ….made with care. 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.

Book Suggestions….

 

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.

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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

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

“I Just Can’t be Cheerful in the Morning.” ~ Alice von Hildebrand

From By Love Refined, Alice Von Hildebrand

“I just can’t be cheerful in the morning.”

Dear Julie,

The French author Balzac writes, “It’s easier to be a lover than a husband, because it’s easier to say witty things occasionally than to be witty every day.”

Balzac is highlighting the fact that an illicit relationship is limited to a short time, when you put on your most attractive face. But marriage is marriage, early in the morning and late at night.

This is one of the difficulties all spouses encounter in marriage: they’re together when they’re not at their best.

As you’ve discovered, sleeping together is a great and beautiful intimacy; but it also means you wake up together, which for most of us isn’t the best moment of the day.

We’re disheveled, groggy with sleep, not interested in talking, and usually rushing around to get ready for the day’s work.

Unless this potentially disillusioning aspect of the intimacy of marriage is counter-balanced by a deepening of your love and spiritual life – and a great measure of patience – it’s bound to cause difficulties that don’t crop up in a casual relationship.

There are ways to deal with these problems. If you’re not cheery in the morning, then talk with Michael about it – but do it later, when you’re brighter and more clearheaded.

Let him know you’re sorry and are trying to change, but aren’t having much success. Assure him that in the early morning he just isn’t encountering your true self and ask him to avoid discussions at these times, because they’re bound to end badly. (Hasn’t Michael asked you to do the same for him when he comes home from work tired and grumpy?)

Yes, Balzac is right: it is easier to be a lover than a spouse, because it’s easier to be at your best occasionally than to be at your best all the time.

But our concern isn’t with what is easier; our concern is with what is more beautiful: a relationship based on the feelings of the moment or a deep enduring love, sealed by marriage, in which the spouses love each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until they’re parted by death.

Marriage is the beautiful mystery of faithful love – a theme so profound and so fascinating that it unleashes in me a torrent of thoughts which I long to share with you.

Your marriage will be blessed because you and Michael see many of the dangers and you’re working to avoid them with your love.

Please give my fondest greetings to Michael,

Lily

We are called to be great Apostles of Love in our ordinary, daily life. We are Christ’s Hands and Feet as we wipe noses, feed hungry little ones and change diapers with an attitude of service and love. When we are cheerful to those we rub shoulders with each day, when we kindly open our door to those who enter into our home, we are taking part in Christ’s Apostolic Work. “Jesus was an Apostle in the stable of Bethlehem, in the shop of St. Joseph, in His anguish in Gethsemane and on Calvary no less than when He was going through Palestine, teaching the multitudes or disputing with the doctors of the law.” – Divine Intimacy, Painting by Morgan Weistling http://amzn.to/2p0dxg8 (afflink)

Spiritual Reading on audio!

Free MP3 Downloads for you to enjoy… such titles as Introduction to a Devout Life, An Easy Way to Become a Saint, How to be Happy; How to be Holy, Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers, etc. Look for them here.

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Book suggestions…

Few realize that a person can pursue a truly supernatural vocation by consecrating himself or herself to perpetual celibacy while yet living in the world. Here Fr. Unger describes the main guidelines for such a religious vocation, showing the nature of this vocation and the manner of dedicating oneself to it. The author gives the history in the Church of consecrated celibate living, plus some basic helps in safeguarding purity in such a life. Based on the Pope Pius XII encyclical On Holy Virginity, this book shows that the consecrated life in the world is just one more example of the rich Tradition of the Church in providing for the needs of all her children. The Mystery of Love for the Single will bring much-needed encouragement and enlightenment to those generous souls who wish to pursue a supernatural vocation and yet remain single and celibate while living in the world.

In this ground-breaking book, Colleen Hammond challenges today’s fashions and provides you the information you need to protect yourself and your loved ones from the onslaught of tasteless, immodest clothing. Colleen Hammond shares real-life examples of how women can accentuate the grace and beauty of their femininity, and she shows that modest definitely does not mean frumpy !! DRESSING WITH DIGNITY covers it all . . . The history and forces behind the changes in fashion. How to talk to teenagers about the privilege of femininity so they will want to dress with dignity. How to awaken chivalry in men and be treated with respect. How to regain and teach the lost charm of interior and exterior femininity! How to dress in an attractive, dignified, classy manner! Specific documents about manners of dress from the Magisterium, the Popes and the Saints. Comprehensive guidelines for choosing tasteful attire. Resources on where to find beautiful, modest clothing. And much, much more!

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

Becoming An Adult the Easy Way

The message is clear. Father Kelly reminds the young adult that they have to follow the rules like everyone else….no, they are not the exception. And that choosing the ideal will lead them to success in their lives….

The Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love, Rev. George A. Kelly

In this business of life that you’ll devote yourself to for the next forty or fifty years, you’ll face of thousands of situations which demand your decision. The “in-between” stage of adolescence you’re now in is the time when you should learn to take on these responsibilities of adulthood, and to begin to find the answers to your problems for yourself.

As an adult you’ll make decisions about the kind of work you do in life, the person you marry, how you’ll educate your children, where you’ll live, how you’ll plan for your own and your family’s future, and thousands of other questions.

Obviously, you want to make these decisions successfully. By successfully, I don t mean that you’ll come up with the right answers all the time, but your batting average should be good enough to let you feel that you’re not a miserable flop.

Four principles to guide you.

You won’t be too far off the beam at any given time if you bear a few basic principles in mind. I stress these because, almost without fail, those having a hard time in some part of their lives—the poor student, the person who can’t make or keep friends, the man who can’t get a job, and others who can’t latch on to a successful way of living – all fail because they can’t or won’t accept four principles which apply to us all.

These principles may be difficult for you to accept – they are, for many people. But once you accept them and use them in your everyday affairs, you’ll find that you can do things easier than you’ve ever done them before.

On the other hand, if you won’t face these four fundamentals, you’ll continually do things the hard way—-experiencing difficulties in many areas of your life, unable to make the progress that others around you are achieving.

Some people fight these ideas I’m about to express. But they’re batting their heads against a stone wall. Because it’s not until they’re willing to accept them that they begin to make a success of their lives. Some sad souls never learn them. They go to their graves miserably wondering why they lacked what it takes to be happy. And blame everyone else but themselves.

You’re not greatly different from everybody else.

Of course, you have an individual soul and mind. No one in the world is quite like you, nor has anyone been quite like you since time began. You’re a distinct, unique individual.

But you’re more like other people than you are unlike them. Thank God for it! Otherwise man could never make progress. When you were born, the doctor could be confident in what he is doing: he knew that your birth would be like that of other babies. When you were first fed, your mother could give you food that would help your growth, because babies generally all need the same kind of nourishment.

When you become ill, the same medicines that cured other people are used to cure you.

The fact that you’re basically like others makes a teacher’s job easier. For instance: most seven-year-olds are ready to read. So forty children can march into a classroom and learn together. Imagine how fouled up schools would be if one learned to read at two, and another didn’t begin until he was twelve.

You’re also like others in the characteristics of your soul.

Example: We all have a conscience which tells us the difference between right and wrong. What a crazy world it would be if your conscience told you that it was okay to lie and steal, my conscience said it was okay to dishonor my parents, and another’s conscience said it was right to commit adultery!

But fortunately we’re alike: we all have the same instinctive knowledge of what God wants us to do.

Why is this point so important? Simply because we must understand that regulations for other people apply to ourselves as well. We can’t think that somehow, some way, conditions that apply to others don’t apply to us.

I’ve watched many young people move on to successful lives and others who’ve been failures. Some of the latter make a mess of everything—job, marriage, parenthood. Almost without exception, those who win success do so because they abide by the rules.

The failures, consciously or otherwise, can’t accept the fact that they must live by conditions that affect everybody else.

Let me explain. Three years ago, Jim and Ed were high school sophomores. Both were C students, doing just enough to get by. One day, they were given a guidance lecture.

They heard they had better get on the ball if they hoped to go to college because more and more youngsters were trying to get in. They also were told that the man without a college degree now was finding more and more doors to careers closed to him.

The moral was plain. Jim decided that he’d better work his average up to where he’d be accepted by the college he had his eyes on.

Ed heard the same talk, but thought he’d be the exception – the C student who could land in any college he chose. He couldn’t or wouldn’t accept the fact that he wasn’t something very special.
Jim’s now in college. Ed isn’t. His marks were so low he has no chance of gaining admission anywhere. Too late, he has discovered that the rules that apply to other people, also apply to him.

One Saturday night recently a speeding car with a drunken driver at the wheel became involved in an accident. Four people were killed. Everybody old enough to drive has read many times that a drinking driver takes a terrible gamble. Why, then, does the driver who drinks risk his life? Just because he believes that he’s the glorious exception to the rule.

Divorce courts also are packed with people who think they’re exceptions—the ones who can beat the odds. Here’s a woman who became an older man’s fourth wife. She knew that three others had failed to live happily with him, and that he must be difficult to get along with.

Here’s a man who married a beautiful girl without a brain in her head.  He’d heard many times it takes more than sexual attraction to make marriage happy.

Over there is a woman married to a man still tied to his mother’s apron strings. She’d been warned that such a man was immature and a poor risk – that chances of making a successful adjustment with him would be mighty slim.

How much heartbreak all these people would have avoided had they set out in life determined to follow the rules which have been found to apply to virtually all human beings.

These rules are the voice of experiences. You wouldn’t jump off a tall building, walk in front of an oncoming railroad locomotive, or hold a loaded pistol to your head while you pulled the trigger. You’d know that such actions would kill you.

While most of us accept the fact that we’re physically like others, we like to think that we have different personalities, different qualities which somehow enable us to overcome obstacles which stand in the way of other people.

Any number of psychological tests have proved, however, that all people have the same basic needs.

It probably hurts us to admit that, under the skin, we’re not much different from other people—especially people we don’t like. We all like to consider ourselves as being one of a kind, with instincts, aspirations and abilities unmatched by any other human. It takes humility to admit that we’re like other people.

But once you accept that fact, you’ll make tremendous strides in your personal life. You’ll find your future lined with guideposts to help you reach your goals. You’ll find help in solving every problem you face.

You’ll be able to follow the best rules for your good health, to choose your vocation wisely, to avoid pitfalls which might cause you to make a bad marriage.

You’ll learn that most important requirement—how to get along with other people.

God’s love is personal and individual. Each of us has every right to say: “God loves me as he loves nobody else in the world!” God does not love two people in the same way because it is actually His love that creates our personality, a different personality for each. “There is a much greater difference between people’s souls than between their faces,” says St. Teresa of Avila. -Fr. Jacques Philippe

This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls.I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! Available here. Advent package available here.

Printable available here.
“There are few works to aid Catholic women in becoming the saints they desire to be. Motherhood is a sacred state of life and an excellent place to become a great saint. How many of our great saints had saintly mothers about whom little is said. And yet without saintly mothers, the world would become a den of iniquity. We offer this book in the hope of inspiring women to become saints.” -Available here.

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The Hail Mary of a Protestant

A little six-year-old Protestant boy had often heard his Catholic companions reciting the prayer “Hail Mary.” He liked it so much that he copied it, memorized it and would recite it every day.

“Look, Mommy, what a beautiful prayer,” he said to his mother one day.

“Never again say it,” answered the mother. “It is a superstitious prayer of Catholics who adore idols and think Mary a goddess. After all, she is a woman like any other. Come on, take this Bible and read it. It contains everything that we are bound to do and have to do.”

From that day on the little boy discontinued his daily “Hail Mary” and gave himself more time to reading the Bible instead.

One day, while reading the Gospel, he came across the passage about the Annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady. Full of joy, the little boy ran to his mother and said: “Mommy, I have found the ‘Hail Mary’ in the Bible which says: ‘Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women.’ Why do you call it a superstitious prayer?”

On another occasion he found that beautiful Salutation of St. Elizabeth to the Virgin Mary and the wonderful canticle MAGNIFICAT in which Mary foretold that “the generations would call her blessed.”

He said no more about it to his mother but started to recite the “Hail Mary” every day as before. He felt pleasure in addressing those charming words to the Mother of Jesus, our Savior.

When he was fourteen, he one day heard a discussion on Our Lady among the members of his family. Every one said that Mary was a common woman like any other woman.

The boy, after listening to their erroneous reasoning could not bear it any longer, and full of indignation, he interrupted them, saying:

“Mary is not like any other children of Adam, stained with sin. No! The Angel called her FULL OF GRACE AND BLESSED AMONGST WOMEN. Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and consequently Mother of God.

There is no higher dignity to which a creature can be raised. The Gospel says that the generations will proclaim her blessed and you are trying to despise her and look down on her. Your spirit is not the spirit of the Gospel or of the Bible which you proclaim to be the foundation of the Christian religion.”

So deep was the impression which the boy’s talk had made that his mother many times cried out sorrowfully: “Oh my God! I fear that this son of mine will one day join the Catholic religion, the religion of Popes!”

And indeed, not very long afterwards, having made a serious study of both Protestantism and Catholicism, the boy found the latter to be the only true religion and embraced it and became one of its most ardent apostles.

Sometime after his conversion, he met his married sister who rebuked him and said indignantly: “You little know how much I love my children. Should any one of them desire to become a Catholic, I would sooner pierce his heart with a dagger than allow him to embrace the religion of the Popes!”

Her anger and temper were as furious as those of St. Paul before his conversion. However, she would change her ways, just as St. Paul did on his way to Damascus.

It so happened that one of her sons fell dangerously ill and the doctors gave up hope of recovery. Her brother then approached her and spoke to her affectionately, saying:

“My dear sister, you naturally wish to have your child cured. Very well, then, do what I ask you to do. Follow me, let us pray one ‘Hail Mary’ and promise God that, if your son recovers his health, you would seriously study the Catholic doctrine, and should you come to the conclusion that Catholicism is the only true religion, you would embrace it no matter what the sacrifices may be.”

His sister was somewhat reluctant at the beginning, but as she wished for her son’s recovery, she accepted her brother’s proposal and recited the “Hail Mary” together with him.

The next day her son was completely cured. The mother fulfilled her promise and she studied the Catholic doctrine. After long preparation she received Baptism together with her whole family, thanking her brother for being an apostle to her. The story was related during a sermon given by the Rev. Fr. Tuckwell. “Brethren,” he went on and said, “the boy who became a Catholic and converted his sister to Catholicism dedicated his whole life to the service of God.

He is the priest who is speaking to you now! What I am I owe to Our Lady.

You, too, my dear brethren, be entirely dedicated also to Our Lady and never let a day pass without saying the beautiful prayer, ‘Hail Mary’, and your Rosary.

Ask her to enlighten the minds of Protestants who are separated from the true Church of Christ founded on the Rock (Peter) and against whom the gates of hell shall never prevail.'”

A mother holds her baby in her arms, looks up to God, and knows that she, by months of suffering and patience, has co-operated with Him in making and bringing into the world a little body housing a priceless soul. A father stands above his new-born son resting in the arms of his wife, and knows as he picks him up and weighs him tenderly that he has shared with God the Father His very fatherhood; for this mite of humanity, immortal in destiny, is truly his son. Mother and father together have co-operated with God in the astonishing creation of a human being. -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s

 Coloring Pages for your children…

Join me as I read to you this lovely article by Joseph Breig, husband and father, who wrote his thoughts about the great influence the rosary has had on his life and his family….”When I get to heaven – as I trust I shall – something very embarrassing is bound to happen. As sure as shooting; somebody who has known me rather too well for comfort on this earth is going to come up to me and say, in a loud voice enough for everybody to hear, ‘How in the world did you get in here?'”

Lovely and Graceful, these handcrafted, wire-wrapped Blessed Mother Necklaces can be blessed and worn as Sacramentals. They would make a special gift for someone! Available here.

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SSet of all 20 Children’s Saints Lives

For ages 10 and up. Great stories of the saints for youth that are easy to read; yet extremely edifying and instructing! We all need good examples how to live a good Catholic life — these books will not overwhelm or turn off those who need them most.

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

Lovely Quotes & Tea~Time With Finer Femininity (Addendum) ~ Why We Wear Dresses

Here are some lovely quotes for your encouragement and inspiration. Following is an Addendum to the Tea~Time With Finer Femininity from the other day….

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

Domestic Queens are not ordinary run-of-the-mill women. They add homey touches to their work with things that please the senses and make a person feel welcome and loved. A warmth of spirit permeates her household as if you walked in from clouds to a bright sunny day. She radiates understanding, love and happiness and makes the home a place her man wants to come home to. -Fascinating Womanhood http://amzn.to/2oRS2Nm (afflink)

“There is nothing insignificant in the life which we live within our own doors. There is nothing which is without influence in the building up of character. . Let no one think that the history of any day in the life of a home, is not recorded imperishably on the sensitive lives of the children.” -J.R. MIller

Alice von Hildebrand – “St. Francis de Sales tells us that pious women should be well-dressed, but this doesn’t mean they must become slaves of fashion. There’s a way of dressing which is attractive, even elegant, but at the same time modest and simple. More importantly, attractiveness shouldn’t be reserved for guests and those you meet outside the home, while you ‘let yourself go’ when you’re at home. The moment a couple marries, they should begin to try always to be at their best for each other, physically (and above all) spiritually.” The Privilege of Being a Woman, http://amzn.to/2p2Oyrr (afflink)

“There is, however, a second class of saints, ordinary saints. Bear in mind that these saints are no less saints than the others; they are true saints and have reached exalted heights of sanctity, though in a different way. They lead humble, simple lives, performing their daily duties well and using the ordinary but abundant means of sanctity given by God to all Christians. These means we too can use, and by them we can attain a high degree of holiness.” -Rev. Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, An Easy Way To Become A Saint, 1947 http://amzn.to/2fduYWW (afflink)

“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 http://amzn.to/2y7iaFI (afflink)

There will be lives only if there are mothers, mothers who respond to their essential and divine vocation. “Give me, O my God, the grace through respect for You and for Your work, always to have a devotion to and a respect for life.. Grant me also the grace to be in Your Hands a not too unworthy instrument of Your creative power. Let me be ‘up-to-date’ whenever it is a question of enrolling a new name in the Book of Life.” – Christ in the Home, http://amzn.to/2mpCpcV Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., 1950’s (afflink)

Given unconditional love, boundaries to live by, and a Faith to cherish, your children will blossom. They will know that no matter how bad things may be on the outside there is a place of hope and acceptance with family. -Finer Femininity

“The Sacrament of our marriage will impart to us the graces necessary to keep our good resolutions. How few understand this Sacrament! How few prepare themselves for it and expect to receive from it the graces it can give to those who seek them worthily.” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home http://amzn.to/2f0NuOy (afflink)

Tea~Time With Finer Femininity

This is an addendum to this post.

I get questions from you now and again and I think the answers could be beneficial to others and so I have posted them here….I have changed some words to protect anonymity.

Disclaimer: If in doubt with anything I say, please check with your spiritual director. He knows you and your situation and has the grace of state to advise you.

Question: What is the reason you and your daughters wear dresses vs. slacks? I think it’s wonderful but would like to know the thoughts behind it. Thank you.

Answer: Thank you for your question and well, since you asked…

I am not a confrontational person…at least I don’t think I am. So I would like to be able to say that what a woman wears is a personal choice, it is up to them. But, I think all of us would have to admit, this is not true in so many spheres of the moral order. What we do (and what we wear) affects those around us…greatly! Especially our men, when it comes to our clothing. So here is why we don’t wear slacks…

Pants accentuates our curves. It’s as simple as that. A skirt is more modest and concealing, (provided the woman/girl is wearing a modest skirt).

They are also more feminine. This is what Father Ripperger has to say:

While it is not sinful for a woman to wear pants, nevertheless it is more perfect or virtuous for a woman to wear a dress rather than pants. It more perfectly fits her as a woman. It is more feminine. Therefore it is more modest because it is more decorous.

I remember reading an article about the Latin Mass. It said that the liturgy will actually form who we are, if we give it enough time. The more we attend, the more It will change us on the inside..

Well, I feel the same way about our dress.

There is a saying….

“The body is the shell of the soul, and the dress the husk of that shell. But the husk often tells what the kernel is.”

What is that saying to us? Our externals matter. Our husk, our clothing, reveals who we are on the inside. And on the reverse, our mode of dressing, will work to change us intimately, too.

The virtuous person will manifest this virtue through the use of proper dress.

From Cardinal Siri, 1960:

The clothes a person wears conditions, determines and modifies that person’s gestures, attitudes and behavior such that from merely being worn on the outside, clothing comes to impose a particular frame of mind on the inside. So when a person changes their dress it will change how that person views her self image. On the converse of that, if she has a distorted self-image it will be manifested in her dress.

Fr. Ripperger:

Women who go back to dressing like women find an inner change which occurs within them. They feel more feminine. Which is a good thing…femininity is a perfection proper to a woman. And those perfections are very admirable.

I believe and have experienced this myself, that when we, as women, dress like women, we will change. We will become more feminine in what we do, the way we walk, the activities we take part in, the way we think. This is good. We will see a very positive change in ourselves. We will also see a positive change in how others treat us.

Another important tidbit was something I read quite a bit later along my modesty journey.  And it served to reinforce in me and my girls our decision as a family. It was this…

From Dressing With Dignity:

Advertising agencies quickly prepared marketing research to find out the reaction of men to a woman wearing pants. Do you know what they found? Using newly developed technology, they tracked the path that a man’s eyes take when looking at a woman in pants.

They found that when a man looked at a woman in pants from the back, he looked directly at her bottom. When he looked at a woman wearing pants from the front, advertisers found that his eyes dropped directly to a woman’s most private and intimate area. Not her face! Not her chest!

Advertisers figured out a long time ago how to apply Gestalt psychology and the Law of Closure (Humans tend to enclose a space by completing a contour and ignoring gaps in the figure) and the Law of Good Continuation (Humans tend to continue contours whenever the elements of the pattern establish an implied direction) when devising advertising that is aimed at men.

Gracious, what does all of that mean? It means that the eye will follow a line, and a viewer will complete the picture with his or her imagination.

Advertisers know that the same holds true when a man views a woman wearing slacks or a skirt with slits. Men’s eyes will follow the lines right up her legs and finish the picture in their imagination.

Women’s eyes may do the same thing, but since women don’t have the same type of temptations, their imaginations don’t complete the picture in the same way as men’s do.

Because we have raised our girls in dresses, this negative aspect of why we dress modestly is not something we dwell on too much.  We don’t think about it…dressing this way is part of who we are. And we like to focus on the positive aspects of wearing dresses. There are so many…

Consistently wearing dresses may seem over-the-top to many these days. And that’s okay. The rewards are great! (And every one of my daughters and daughters-in-law will attest to that!)

 

Cardinal Siri wrote a strong article in support of dresses for women. The article is here.

This Maglet (magazine/booklet) is for you…dear young (and not-so-young), Catholic, Feminine Soul. It is a compilation of traditional, valuable Catholic articles on the subjects that touch the hearts of serious-minded Catholic young ladies. There are articles on courtship, purity, singleness, vocation, prayer, confession, friends, tea parties, obedience, etc. This information is solid, written by orthodox Catholic writers (most of them gone to their eternal home) that cared about the proper formation of a young Catholic adult in a confused world. Take this information to heart and your journey through adulthood will be filled with many blessings! It is 40 pages, packed with information. See photo for Table of Contents.
My Disclaimer: This book is, in general, appropriate for ages 14 and up. There are some articles on purity in courtship, etc. These do not go into graphic detail but you are the only ones to decide if it is good timing. I would let my own 14 year old read it. If she came up with questions, good. I would answer them. Ignorance is not innocence.

Available here.

Package of all 3 Maglets here.

This booklet contains practical advice on the subjects of dating and choosing a spouse from the Catholic theological viewpoint. Father Lovasik points out clearly what one’s moral obligations are in this area, providing an invaluable aid to youthful readers. Additionally, he demonstrates that Catholic marriage is different from secular marriage and why it is important to choose a partner who is of the Catholic Faith if one would insure his or her personal happiness in marriage. With the rampant dangers to impurity today, with the lax moral standards of a large segment of our society, with divorce at epidemic levels, Clean Love in Courtship will be a welcome source of light and guidance to Catholics serious about their faith.

Save

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A Frank, Yet Reverent Instruction on the Intimate Matters of Personal Life for Young Men. To our dear and noble Catholic youths who have preserved, or want to recover, their purity of heart, and are minded to retain it throughout life. For various reasons many good fathers of themselves are not able to give their sons this enlightenment on the mysteries of life properly and sufficiently. They may find this book helpful in the discharge of their parental responsibilities in so delicate a matter.

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

The Holy Mass for Tradesmen & Artisans ~ The Hidden Treasure

A strong reminder of the efficacy of the Mass…and not to take lightly our duty to attend on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation…

FOR TRADESMEN AND ARTISANS

The idol of our times is self-interest, and, alas, how many prostrate themselves before it offering to it at all times and in all places their undivided homage!

And thence it comes that, pursuing this idol, they forget the true God, and so come to plunge themselves into an abyss of evil, and a perpetual destitution of all true good; whereas, the holy Royal Prophet declares that all who in the first place seek God shall not encounter any evil, but shall abound in all good. Inquirentes Dominum non deficient omni bono (Ps. 33:11).

This is amply verified in those who, before applying to their business, manage first to assist at holy Mass, as the adventure which is told of certain traders of Gubbio well illustrates.

They had gone to a public fair held in the town of Cisternino, and having made a clearance of their wares, two of them began to speak of going, and fixed to start the next day at dawn, so as to arrive by evening in their own neighborhood.

But the third would not consent to start then, and protested that, next day being Sunday, he could never think of commencing a journey without having first heard holy Mass; that then, after a little food, they might take their departure more to their satisfaction, and that, should they not succeed in getting to Gubbio that evening, there was no want of comfortable inns on the road.

His companions did not yield to this wise and salutary counsel, but, bent on arriving at home next night, they answered that Almighty God would have compassion on them if they lost Mass for once.

So on Sunday morning before dawn, without ever entering church, they took their way on horseback toward home. They arrived near the river Corfuone.

By the violent rain which had fallen during the night it was now excessively swollen, and the current beating strongly against the wooden bridge had somewhat shaken and weakened it. They advanced upon it with their horses, and no sooner had they reached the middle than a still further rise and furious rush of the flood broke down and swept away the whole structure.

The two unhappy traders were, of course, plunged with their horses into the river and drowned, losing at once their money, their goods, their lives.

At the sound of the crash, and sight of the havoc, the peasants ran to the spot, and contrived with hooks to draw the corpses out, which they then left stretched out on the bank, in order that, if possible, they might be recognized and obtain burial.

Soon after, the third trader, who had been detained by his wish to satisfy the precept of attending Mass, and who had then taken to the road with joyful alacrity, came up to the river and beheld the two bodies on the bank.

Drawing up to observe them, he instantly recognized his two companions, and heard from the bystanders all the miserable catastrophe with the utmost agitation of spirit.

Then he lifted his hands to Heaven, returning thanks to the Most High, Who had so mercifully preserved him; and he blessed a thousand times the hour in which he assisted at the Holy Sacrifice, clearly recognizing the source of his safety.

When again at home, he announced the sad intelligence, got the relations to procure proper interment for the departed, and stirred up among all a lively desire of daily attendance at holy Mass. (Lohner. tom. 2, tit. 64.)

O accursed avarice!—let me give vent to what I feel— accursed passion, that cuttest off the heart from God, and takest away, as it were, from us the very faculty of free will, so far as regards the power of attending to the great business of eternal salvation!

That the avaricious may enter into themselves, I will illustrate my meaning by an example from Holy Scripture.

Samson, you are aware, was bound in vain even with the sinews of oxen, and with fresh ropes never before used. At last he informed his treacherous wife that the secret of his strength lay hid in the locks of his hair; and so no sooner were they cut off than he lost all his wonderful strength, fell into the power of the Philistines, was made blind by them, and condemned to work a mill.

Now, what was the chief and prime error of Samson? Was it, perhaps, in allowing himself to be so securely bound? That was not his error. The evil lay in telling the secret of his strength, and thus allowing the loss of his mysterious locks, which once gone, he was no longer himself.

Now, a man engaged in trade doubtless permits himself to be bound by a thousand ties of traffic, of accounts, of exchange, and so on. Does the deadly peril of avarice consist in all this? No, not in all this. The danger lies in cutting off the locks of hair. Let me explain.

Suppose a man in trade to have never so great a pressure of business, but hearing betimes every morning the bells that call to Mass, says to himself, “Business, wait a little; have patience; let us get our Mass safely settled”: such a man is Samson bound but not shorn—bound by the thousand cords of business, but not shorn of the secret source of strength.

Another is also caught in a multitude of cords: workmen to pay, accounts to clear, letters to write, correspondents with whom to negotiate: one man expects an answer, another his money. Alas, what a labyrinth of bonds!

No matter, Sunday at last comes  round, or the festival of some saint, his patron perhaps; he breaks loose from all, and goes with devotion to hear some Masses and offer up his prayers. This man also is a Samson bound but not shorn; for, amid all his affairs, he never loses sight of the great business of eternal salvation.

But attend to me now: if you are bound by a thousand ties of interest, without vigor to snap them through, if you fail to come forth at the proper time, and cease firmly to frequent the Sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice, then woe to you; then are you both bound and shorn.

In this case, though your gains be just, yet at such a cost they are sinful; there is within you a coarse and horrid avarice, which will treat you as Samson was treated, until, at last, as with Samson, the roof overhead shall fall in upon you. Then quae parasti cujus erunt?— “whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20.)

But you are thinking that the avaricious will never listen except to a tune in their own key. Well, then, be it so. Get rich, gather up, make profit. What is the surest way? I will show you: daily hear holy Mass with thorough devotion.

It is plainly seen in the case of two artisans whom I could point out. Both pursue the same trade; one is burdened with a family: wife, children, grandchildren; the other is alone with his wife. The first has brought up his family in great comfort and even style, and all his transactions turn out wonderfully. Customers at his shop, and sales despatched.

So he has gone on, till he finds himself putting by every year a good round sum, to serve in time for marriage-portions for his daughters. The other, who is without children, at one time got little employment, was half famished, and was, in short, a ruined man.

One day he said confidentially to his neighbor, “How is it you do? In your home there rains down every blessing of God; while I, poor wretch, cannot hold up my head, and all sorts of calamities light on my house.”

“I will tell you,” said his neighbor; “tomorrow morning I shall be with you, and will point out the place from which I draw so much.”

Next morning he took him to church to hear Mass, and then led him back to his workshop; and so two or three different times, till at last the poor man said, “If nothing else is wanted than to go to church to hear Mass, I know the way well enough, without putting you to inconvenience.”

“Just so,” said the other; “hear holy Mass, my friend, with devotion, every day, and you will see a change on the face of your fortune.”

And, in fact, so it was. Beginning to hear holy Mass every morning, he be came well provided with work, shortly paid his debts, and put his house once more in capital condition. (Sar. in Vit. S. Joan. Eleem.)

Trust to the words of the Gospel. And if you do so, how can you doubt the fact? Does it not say clearly, Quaerite primum regnum Dei. . . et haec omnia adjicientur vobis? “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33.)

Make but the trial for a year; hear holy Mass every morning with true earnest devotion for one year, and if your temporal interests do not take a better turn, lay the blame on me. But there is little fear of that; you will rather have many reasons to thank me.

At a certain moment when going to confession to a Capuchin father, she came to understand that it was just the opposite: her “defects did not displease God” and her littleness attracted God’s love, just as a father is moved by the weakness of his children and loves them still more as soon as he sees their good will and sincere love. ~ Fr. Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love – A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux

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