Home Life ~ Beautiful Girlhood

This is truly beautiful. So many important, simple truths to ponder….

From Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”*

Not every language has a word equivalent to the English word home, but instead use a word meaning about the same as house. How much more the thought of home brings to our minds than merely the thought of the house in which we live! The beloved ones living there and our associations with each other, our hopes and fears and joys and sorrows, all mingle together in one place of rest and sweet communion—home.

Home is a little community with authority, laws, and citizens each having a part to perform that life there may be perfect. The form of government in this community is very simple. Father and Mother begin a partnership in which each has responsibility and rights. There have to be laws to govern the conduct of this community as it grows in numbers and responsibility and authority to execute these laws.

It is just as impossible for a home to be safe and happy without its members obeying the rules of right deportment as for a nation to be safe without laws and government.

To be able to fit into the home-life and to adjust ourselves to its requirements is one of the best traits of beautiful girlhood. This is not always accomplished without a struggle on the girl’s part; for when the years of fickle, changing youth are with a girl she finds that something in her nature rebels against the restraint of home.

She finds that in many instances she would take a different course from what her parents are taking, that what seems most needful to them and upon which they insist seems needless and superficial to her, while other things which she thinks are very necessary they call foolish and silly.

She wants to do many things of which they do not approve and will not permit, and require of her what is irksome and hard. She feels as if she were being pressed into a mold that does not fit, while her whole heart cries out for freedom to come and go and do as she pleases.

Some girls accept their own point of view as correct and contend and argue for their own way until all the beauty and peace of the home-life is destroyed. This is a grievous mistake, and one that can bring only sorrow and regret in its wake.

Other girls despondently give up to their parents’ way and develop no mind or character of their own. This, too, is a mistake, which weakens the nature of any girl.

But other girls submit to their parents because it is right that they should do so, yet holding, weighing, and considering their own opinions, really trying to learn what is best. A girl who will do this will soon develop judgment and discretion that her parents will be glad to honor.

I have in mind now a sweet girl of eighteen who for two years and more has not only helped to earn the family living but has done practically all the buying and planning of the younger children’s clothes.

Her mother is not afraid to trust the care of the children to her when they go out nor does she fear that her oldest daughter will misbehave when not in her presence. She does practically as she pleases because she has by thoughtful consideration developed judgment and wisdom sufficient to be given that liberty. How much of the happiness of this home rests at the door of this sweet girl we cannot say.

The younger daughter in the home has it in her power to make home a sweet, comfortable place to live, where laughter and sunshine will cheer the cloudiest day; or she may turn all its pleasures to bitterness and bring sorrow and heartache.

If she can submit to her parents’ control, can be obedient, kind, and thoughtful, she is a constant comfort; but if she is always contending and arguing, speaking up in a saucy manner when she is crossed, or scolding and quarreling with the younger children, she makes home almost unbearable.

If she has a separate set of manners for her own people from what she uses when with company, she is a constant disappointment. I never like the blank look that a mother’s face takes when someone commends the gentle kindness of a daughter of this type. She does not wish to lower her daughter in her friend’s estimation, nor can she heartily agree as to her daughter’s kindness.

A girl should have her full share of responsibility in the home. She should go about her work willingly, not as if it were an irksome duty which she was ill-disposed to perform. She should count herself one of the family, one of the children, having only equal rights and privileges with the rest.

A girl and her father should be good comrades. Too often this is not the case, but they live lives entirely apart from each other in interest and enjoyment. This is not always altogether the girl’s fault, but it is a condition she can remedy to a great extent by a little thoughtful kindness.

Father very often has been too busy to keep acquainted with his growing daughters, and finds them rather out of his range. They seem as much strangers to him as are their young friends whom he meets in the home. He thinks they do not care to have him about, and takes himself off to his room or chair or on the porch and leaves them to themselves.

One girl who found herself thus a stranger to her father formed the habit of going to meet him each evening she could get off. She was either at the corner, or, at least at the door when he came, and when she could she was at his office, so that they might have the whole way home together.

It was only a little while until this homecoming was the happiest part of both their days, and many loving confidences were exchanged, which would never have been possible without her first step.

Another family had the “father’s hour,” as they called it, the first hour after supper, and both he and the others planned their day to have this hour together. Fathers do like to be counted in.

Any girl who will speak disrespectfully either to or of her father is lacking in one of the first principles of real womanhood. She should always remember that Father has the right to direct her life, to say what she shall and shall not do, to forbid her to go anywhere that is not proper. His word to her should be final. His approval to her should mean much.

The daughter and her mother come into closer relationship. They touch each other on many more points than do daughter and father. And if the daughter is safe from the temptations and allurements of sin about her she is a girl who makes her mother her chief confidante. To her goes every secret, every hope, and every fear. All the perplexities of her young life are threshed out by Mother’s side.

But Mother has so much of her daughter’s life to oversee that it becomes irksome to the girl. When the girl is small her mother is responsible for almost every act every hour of the day. She says how the child’s hair shall be combed, what dress she shall wear, where she shall go, and what she shall do.

This oversight does not end all at once for the mother dare not let loose of the responsibility till the girl is able to take hold of it. And the changing over from complete supervision to self-direction is often a hard time for both mother and daughter, the early teens usually being the hardest struggle.

Let us think of a long bridge reaching across the years, one end of it resting on those approaching years from ten to twelve and the other end resting in the early twenties. When a girl begins to travel this bridge her parents have her complete oversight and are wholly responsible for her, and by the time she reaches the other end their responsibility ends and she is on her own. Somewhere along that bridge the reins of her life slip out of her parents’ hands and into her own.

The young person begins to feel the urge to be independent, grown up, and “on his own,” and the parent tries to hold him back till he understands better. If parents always understood, they would give over responsibility just as fast as young folks could bear it, but unfortunately parents do not always understand.

If boys and girls understood, they could be more patient, for grown-up years will come in time to all. But since it is hard for both the parents and the boys and girls to understand, there are a few years along in the teens when some very hard struggles occur between parents and children.

One of the sweetest places a young girl may have in any home is that of big sister. What a field of happiness and usefulness is open to the girl with little brothers and sisters! They are ready to look up to her as a guide and a pattern in everything. If she manages rightly, she can have unlimited influence with them.

Have you seen her, the ideal big sister? She is ever ready to kiss away the bumps and bruises of little heads and hearts, she knows just how to mend broken dolls and balls, she likes to pop corn and make candy for little people to eat, she knows such wonderful stories to tell or read, she will pick up and put out of sight those evidences of childish neglect that might bring little people into trouble, she understands and is a companion for everyone of them. Yes, many homes have just such older daughters as that.

The girl who is learning day by day to be a good daughter at home and a good sister to the young children, is also learning day by day how to make in time a good wife and a good mother. She is getting ready for the greatest work a woman can do.

It was a woman who had given her life for a noble and far-reaching work, and who had never married, who when commended for the much that she had accomplished said, “I would give it all for a pair of baby hands.” There is no work so good for any woman as making a good, true home for somebody. Every truly beautiful character is at its best at home. Let us never neglect the home life.

“These diapers that are changed daily, these meals that are cooked again and again, these floors that are scrubbed today only to get dirty tomorrow — these are as truly prayer in a mother’s vocation as the watches and prayers of the religious are in theirs.” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2yTp42S (afflink)

Mrs. V talks to your children about obedience and how important it is! ….”Children, do you want to have a happy life? Do you want to go to heaven to see Jesus and Mary after your life here on earth? Then practice the virtue of obedience!”

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February ~ Printable Traditional Catholic Daily Planner ~ Meal Menu/Homeschool Page ~ Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily Goals!

This can be used each year for the month of February.

Available here.

This book is a condensation in verse of the amazing story of a rebel, who in a fit of anger burnt down his family’s barn and took off to Texas to become a cowboy. Eventually after years of roaming he came home, reconciled with his family and eventually decided to become a Trappist monk.

We have reprinted Brother Joachim’s story to provide a portrait of God’s grace at work within a soul. Our hope is that this special publication may inspire others to discover the SOMEONE waiting at the door of each and every human heart. May those who read this work always be ready to welcome and embrace Him.

Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there. Her employer, a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet contrarian, always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. The neighbors, too, are capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside.

Prudencia hoped for friendship in San Ireneo but she didn’t suspect that she might find love—nor that the course of her new life would run quite so rocky or would offer challenge and heartache as well as joy, discovery, and fireside debate. Set against a backdrop of steaming cups of tea, freshly baked cakes, and lovely company, The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy, and the search for happiness.

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“We Were So Glad to See You” ~ Alice von Hildebrand

Painting by Dan Andreasen

by Alice von Hildebrand, By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride

Dear Julie,

How grateful I was to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with you and Michael while I was traveling through St. Louis!

In the gentle and affectionate way that you and Michael looked at each other, I sensed the great reverence you have for each other and I could see how your love has blossomed despite the minor obstacles you both have encountered.

As I said to you at breakfast, even good marriages are sometimes difficult and require great patience and forbearance. Marriage thrusts spouses into such an intimate relationship twenty-four hours a day that small irritations arise in even the best of marriages.

I think, however, that one widespread modern attitude aggravates our difficulties in marriage and in all our other relationships: lack of reverence.

I don’t only mean lack of reverence for God. I also mean lack of reverence for other persons and even for things: the failure to recognize the inner nobility and worth of persons and things which leads to the failure to treat them with the deep, tender respect that is due to them.

In his writings, my husband called reverence “the mother of all virtues” and stressed that reverence is the key to a happy life and certainly the key to a happy marriage.

Only the reverent person adopts the right attitude toward his wife, his children, other people, and God.  The irreverent person, on the contrary, approaches others with a basically self-centered attitude. He views the world as a means for his personal satisfaction: “How can these things satisfy my desires?”

In doing so, he deprives himself of the greatest and most beautiful things human life can offer, including friendship and love, which are destroyed by the arrogance that forms the heart of lack of reverence.

One of the most ominous symptoms of our contemporary age is its lack of reverence – for people, for sexuality, for the mystery of life, for death, and last but not least, for God.

Lack of reverence is so much a part of modern society that we must constantly be on guard lest we, too, unconsciously be infected with it.  We all sin against the dignity of other persons, often in shameful ways.

I recall a wife who treated her china with amazing care, while regularly speaking harshly to her husband. There are men who address their bosses with great respect but treat their wives with no reverence at all.

“Familiarity breeds contempt,” says the proverb. Unfortunately, it contains some truth. It’s up to us to falsify it.  Especially after a difficult day at work when you both return home tired and exasperated, it’s easy to be testy with your spouse.

Although it’s usually difficult in such circumstances, you both must continually remain conscious that your spouse is a person made in God’s image and likeness, a being of tremendous dignity, who is to be respected and loved.

Continue to show your reverence in the tone of your voice, in your attitudes, in your gestures, in the way you touch each other.  The beauty of your marriage to Michael depends to a large extent upon your enduring reverence for each other.

The closer you are to Michael, the more you should tremble with reverence. I personally am convinced that many marriages flounder because there is no reverence between the spouses.

No marriage can survive our tempest-tossed existence without it.  My visit with you last week convinces me that you already understand much of this.

If you sometimes fail in this domain, the main thing is to acknowledge your failings, ask for forgiveness, and start over again with renewed courage. To hear from you and to know you’re happy would be a joy.

Lovingly,  Lily

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

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Here is a marriage blueprint that every woman can follow. Happy marriages do not just happen, they are made. It takes three parties to make a good marriage; the husband, the wife, and the Lord. This book is concerned with helping the woman to become the wife desired and therefore loved that every man worth having wishes to find and keep.<P> This book sold over a quarter of a million copies shortly after its publication in 1951, and it was read by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It is a practical manual. It should be read by every woman considering entering the matrimonial state and also by those women who are already married.

We all have it . . . the desire, the longing for love. God meant for marriage to be beautiful, resilient . . . lovely, but this broken world can make it hard sometimes. 100 Ways to Love is a practical guide to find and live in the rich, fulfilling marriage God intended for husbands and wives. You can get beyond just living in the minimum of your relationship. Ladies, we have one shot at loving our man. We all have the capacity and capability to love him and to do it well. It’s time for our marriages to start thriving in love.

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The Mother’s Office Toward Childhood ~ Fr. Bernard O’Reilly

From True Womanhood, Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894

THE MOTHER’S OFFICE TOWARD CHILDHOOD.

Oh! the joy

Of young ideas, painted upon the mind

In the warm glowing colors fancy spreads

On objects not yet known; when all is new

And all is lovely: he looks around, and lo!

As if returned to Eden bowers, everything

Is very good.

You know the manners of boys, the characteristics of children —that these are innocence, simplicity, purity, truth, and humility. They have no passion they need blush for, no ambition, no care for riches, no anxious solicitudes, neither malice, nor fraud, nor suspicion, nor hatred. . . .

All is pure, so that the very word boy, or puer (in Latin), is derived from purity. O happy state of boys! O golden age of children! Add intelligence, and what will be wanting to make them angels? For in both are the same beauty, the same countenance, the same native joyousness.

O how often, when I see them passing by, do I wish that they might grow in intelligence and not in stature! Truly it would be good for them to continue thus until Christ shall come.—St. Thomas Villanova

Assuredly if Christian mothers make it the chief purpose of their life to be supernatural in their own interior, and in all their motives, actions, and methods,—they will only have to labor with the divine assistance, “to add intelligence” to all the treasures of mind and heart bestowed upon their babes by nature, increased and hallowed in such a wondrous way by Baptism,—and nothing “will be wanting to make them angels.”

Nay, if they cultivate in them the “gifts of the Holy Ghost,” bestowed in an inferior degree in Baptism and in their fullness in Confirmation, they will grow in that understanding which is all divine in its objects and the light it pours on all things, without ceasing to grow ” in stature.”

Such mothers, by the careful and loving culture of the pure souls confided to them, will omit nothing that is “wanting to make them angels ;” and as the result of such training many will continue angels “,until Christ shall come.”

We have some of these angelic men and women before our mind’s eye now, watched over in childhood, as if they were incarnate spirits entrusted to the mother’s care, to be trained in all the perfection of manhood and womanhood while preserving all the glorious characteristics of their angel-nature.

They grew up in the spiritual beauty and spotless innocence of their baptism, unfolding in mind and heart these priceless “gifts” of the Holy Spirit, just as they developed all the exterior graces and loveliness of their human character; and so they continued till Christ came to summon them away,—all too early, the world thought,— from the society which so much needed the light of their examples.

Once more, let us see in the baptized babe of the Christian mother what God sees in it: let the same sublime conception of the child’s position and destinies which is in the Divine Mind be also in the mind of the parent.

Just as a savage, ignorant of the value of gems or the precious metals, will prefer brilliant-colored glass beads to the diamonds of Brazil, the emeralds of New Grenada, or the pearls of Coromandel, even so will it be with the mother who forgets or ignores what is the divine destiny of her babe, what price Christ has paid on the cross to lift it up to His own level, and what capacities are in that young soul for the most godlike virtues and goodness.

In the child brought back from the baptismal font to the mother’s arms, there is the human being with the fallen nature inherited from Adam, but redeemed. and restored in Christ, and there is also the godlike being created anew in baptism in the likeness of its Divine Parent.

In spite of the sacrament of the second birth and the grace of elevation with all its attendant gifts and aids,—there remains in the child the wound left by the primeval transgression: our inclinations are downward, and they have to be resisted, to be overcome, mortified and deadened, if we would rise to the glorious heights of Christian heroism and godliness, which belong to the angelic and heavenly nature we have put on in Christ.

Thus, the mother has to watch over the manifestation of the evil dispositions which early peep out in the child, and tend to drag it down, because they are the inclinations of flesh and blood, and are of earth, earthly.

These have to be combated, counteracted, immediately and unceasingly, from their first appearance in infancy and childhood, if the mother would not see them shoot up in boyhood and girlhood, overtopping and choking the growth of every supernatural, or even natural, virtue.

It would be a fatal neglect,—one, in all likelihood, irreparable,—to allow the babe to have its own way in everything. Wise mothers are careful to check the temper of their youngest infants, and they do succeed in making them acquire even then habits which ever after grow with their growth.

Even pagans looked upon the soul of the child as a something so mysterious, so deep, and so holy,—as if a divine being tenanted the little helpless body,—that they would have their babes treated with infinite reverence.

We Christians know clearly what mighty spirit dwells within that regenerated soul; and we may divine somewhat of the workings and promptings of the Paraclete in His living tabernacle.

Who of us, who has roamed in boyhood or early manhood through the solitudes of our great virgin forests, but has come unexpectedly upon a lovely little lake,—the parent spring of some lordly river,—nestling in a secluded valley, with the great trees along its margin sending their roots down to drink of the pure waters, that margin itself fringed all around with wild flowers,—while the calm mirror-like bosom reflected the blue skies above, with their white or golden clouds, and the mighty hills which stood sentinels around to protect from intrusion or profanation all the sanctities of the place?

It is not a mere reflection of the heavens, or an image of the eternal hills that the attentive and wondering mind can see within the pure passionless depths of the soul of infancy or childhood. We know that the God of that great temple we call the universe, the Spirit Creator and Sanctifier, is there Himself in person.

What is the nature of his working within these mysterious depths of the child-soul? What foundations of mighty things to come is His hand laying beneath the untroubled surface of that life in its well-spring?

Mothers,—the educated, the wealthy, the God-fearing,—would do wisely to ask themselves such questions as these, —when they gaze into the upturned face of their babe, and look down into these deep and fearless eyes, through which a glimpse is had of the mysterious infant world of thought and feeling within.

“Children in their tabernacle know the secrets, not of cities, not of human society, not of history, but of God—their fair eyes are full of infinite sweetness—their little hands, joyous and blessed, have not committed evil—their young feet have never touched our defilement—their sacred heads wear an aureole of light—their smile, their voice, proclaim their twofold purity.

O the paradisaical ignorance, coveted, perhaps, by angels, of all the errors which heresy has sown in later times What cruelty to intercept the view of children by suffering their feet to get entangled in such briers, and their minds to be thus cankered, as is the bud bit with an envious worm, ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, or dedicate his beauty to the sun!

Later they will not thank you; far happier had it sufficed them to have known good by itself, and evil not at all! As terns and other birds from arctic solitudes, when found flapping their long, silver, tapering wings over our rivers that wind. through woodlands and rich yellow meadows, show no fear of man, but keep close hovering over the clowns who with stones and staves assail them, so these innocent souls, coming first amid the crowded haunts of life, are ignorant of evil, and of all dangers unsuspicious.”

It should be our principal business to conquer ourselves and, from day to day, to go on increasing in strength and perfection. Above all, however, it is necessary for us to strive to conquer our little temptations, such as fits of anger, suspicions, jealousies, envy, deceitfulness, vanity, attachments, and evil thoughts. For in this way we shall acquire strength to subdue greater ones. – Saint Francis de Sales

At the end of the day, you need to first and foremost be patient with yourself….look back on the day and see the energy you DID EXPEND for your family….

Our granddaughter, Agnes, who is 8 years old, has started her own little business! It is called “Agnes’ Clayspirations”. She is very good at what she does and, so far, has given her creations away for gifts to all the ladies in the family. We are impressed! Here is her first Clayspiration that she put on our shop. She will be doing more when she finds time. She’s a busy little lady looking after Esther and doing school! 😉

Available here.

Lenten Flip Cards available here.

Lenten Bundle Available here.

The first of Ronald Knox’s three “Slow Motion” collections, The Mass in Slow Motion comprises fourteen sermons preached during World War II to the students of the Assumption Sisters at Aldenham Park. Modest yet arresting in style, Knox explains the Mass from the opening psalm to the solemn words of conclusion: Ite missa est. While the liturgy Knox contemplates is that of the Tridentine Rite, the abundant fruits of his contemplation can be easily translated to the Ordinary Form of the present day. Indeed, their primary impetus is the powerful portrayal of the continuous action of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which formula yields to mystery and man participates in his own salvation.

During the WWII bombing of London, Ronald Knox—a priest, radio personality, detective novelist, scholar, and Catholic convert—found himself the chaplain of a girls’ school where students were being sheltered. When his existing homilies were exhausted, Knox began to write new ones for his students based on the Apostles’ Creed. The homilies were so well-received that they were later published as The Creed in Slow Motion.

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Are You Moving? & New! The Lenten Way of the Cross Picturesque and Prayer-Filled Coiled Flip Cards!

This is an update and a repost.

I learned about T-Tapp about 8 years ago. I did it faithfully for a year so I learned it well. I then recorded the audio off the DVD onto my phone and that is what I use now.

There are periods that I slack off on exercise. I begin to feel it…my knees begin hurting and I start to get tired and lethargic.

So…I get back on the Exercise Wagon!

Right now I am doing T-Tapp 2 days out of the week and treadmilling for 20 minutes on the other days. It makes such a difference!

Here is a great review about T-Tapp from Wellness Mama if you are so inclined…

Here is another review:

I bought this DVD in April 2017, along with the book. It took me a while to get through the book because the workouts were explained in it, and I’m a visual person so it was hard to read about the steps and trying to implement them. Reading the science behind the T-Tapp program helped me understand the moves better once I watched the instructional workout.

I started learning the Basic Workout on 9/3/17. Within a week of starting my foot pain went away. In a month, I lost a total of 23.75” from my body, and my triglycerides went from 249mg/DL to 89mg/DL. I didn’t change my diet at all.

I did the instructional workout (about 20 mins long) for two weeks everyday. After that I did the 15 min workout daily for a long time. I hate exercising, I’ll be honest. I’m also a mom. But I can absolutely spare 15 mins a day to focus on ME and my health.

There is a learning curve. Yes, you will be sore. Yes, you will sweat PROFUSELY in 15 mins. But keep going, and REALLY focus on doing the moves correctly and you will see awesome results.

And a note from Elizabeth, one of our readers:

There is an issue with Teresa Tapp’s will and the workout DVDs are now very difficult to obtain. I had only the fifteen minute one, and I wanted to purchase more. I was able to obtain them via a homeschool swap list, and I think there are some on eBay, but they are going to be tough to get. Hopefully the legal issues will eventually be resolved and we will be able to get them again. Meanwhile, I did find some of her workout videos on YouTube which may be useful for those who cannot get the DVDs. I like them for variety. https://www.youtube.com/c/TTappInc

And here is my older post about T-Tapp….

Toning With T-Tapp

So many mothers struggle with their weight. Wouldn’t it be great to find something doable for busy mothers?

I heard about T-Tapp and how great it was some time ago. I didn’t pay too much attention but then my mom handed me the book Fit and Fabulous, Lose 2 Sizes in 4 Weeks by Theresa Tapp. OK, now I was interested!!

Anyway, it held true to its promise. I lost 2 sizes in 4 weeks and felt so much better. My posture was better which certainly was a plus. Years of nursing babies takes its toll on your carriage!

What I like about this workout is that it only takes 15 minutes, you can do it in the privacy of your home…and it works! 🙂

Listen and watch Charlotte Siems, a mother of 12 who went from a size 22 to a size 6! It’s quite encouraging!

You can get the book Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes
and/or the DVD. The DVD is very helpful! I have got to the point to where I have memorized all the moves and recorded the audio of the DVD onto my phone. It is all I need to do my T-Tapp workout!
T-Tapp Basic Workout Plus

Happy Exercising!

New! The Lenten Way of the Cross Picturesque and Prayer-Filled Coiled Flip Cards!

Help make Lent more meaningful for you and your family with the Lenten Way of the Cross Cards!

Follow along with your family and prepare your hearts for the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord each year at Lent and Easter using these special picturesque and prayer-filled cards to help keep your mind and heart focused each day There are 41 cards in total.

Keep the cards in a visible spot in your home as a reminder to you and your children.

You can look up more details on the Lenten Way of the Cross here.

A big thank you (and a prayer) to Mary Ann Scheeler for this lovely Lenten Activity and for sharing it with all of us!

Available here. 

Package Special (Flip Cards and the Lenten Journal) available here.

Everything we do each day, we do for our families and ultimately for the love of God. Our daily duties are a springboard towards heaven and will be the way in which we gain our own salvation and bring blessings upon our family. -Finer Femininity, Painting by Jeffrey T. Larson

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.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Published 80 years ago, this Catholic classic focuses on the Christian family and uses as its foundation the1929 encyclical “On Christian Education of Youth” coupled with the “sense of Faith.” Addressing family topics and issues that remain as timely now as they were when the guide was first published, “The Christian Home” succinctly offers sound priestly reminders and advice in six major areas…

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Improper Liberties ~ Fr. Lovasik

From the little book Clean Love in Courtship by Father Lawrence Lovasik

Improper Liberties

There is no love between persons of the opposite sex which does not aim at nature’s design implanted by God, namely, the bringing of children into the world.

Since parenthood is unlawful outside of marriage, indulgence in free love for its own sake outside marriage and apart from all intention of marriage, is unlawful and mortally sinful. The only love-making which is morally justified is that of lawful courtship, with possible marriage in view and with all the restraints of respect and modesty proper courtship and marriage imply.

Worldlings try to prove to you that sinful ways are natural and that there is no wrong in obeying certain natural impulses when they call you to indulge in thoughts, desires or acts which are against the sixth and ninth commandments.

Do not deceive yourself nor permit yourself to be deceived!

Impurity is not sweet, though temptation and the tempter would urge that such sin is desirable. Lust lures, but in the lure lies death.

If you think of man as a high-grade animal or a cultured brute, you are not going to be very backward about taking and permitting liberties on dates and in courtship.

But if you regard your friend and yourself as Temples of the Holy Ghost — which you are—then you will be very careful not to desecrate those temples, though the tendencies of the lower man forever urge you to do so.

If you defile His temples, God gave you His word that He will destroy you, for St. Paul says: “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which you are.” (1 Cor. 3, 17.)

That destruction need not be death: most often, following sinful dating and courtship, punishment takes the shape of destruction of peace and joy in marriage. The best way to forestall so horrid a disaster is to steer clear of every carelessness in the observance of Christian modesty in company-keeping.

Nature has endowed woman with a stronger instinct for modesty than man. That is the saddest moment in a girl’s life when for the first time she kneels before the crucifix or image of Our Lady and feels ashamed to look into the eyes of Jesus and Mary.

The stain of a sin of impurity wiped out by one fatal sweep all the previous beauty and charm of her virtue. She has not the heart to meet her mother’s loving glance by looking her fondly in the eye, but casts her eyes down self-accusingly.

Woman’s welfare is more directly bound up with the preservation of chastity than that of man. It ought to be her special concern to safeguard this beautiful virtue. She can exert a special power over man in this regard, and it is her sacred duty to use this power.

She can sharpen man’s conscience in these matters and inspire him with a sense of reverence with respect to everything that pertains to sex.

It depends largely on her whether the sex relation will be ennobled or degraded. Man is inclined to look up to her as an ideal; it is her fault if she steps down from the pedestal and cheapens herself.

The fact is that woman suffers more severely from laxity in sex matters than man and that, consequently, in self-defense she must demand an absolute respect for the virtue of chastity and allow no compromise.

A young woman who prevails on her fiancé to approach the sacraments with her at regular intervals builds up a strong bulwark against improper advances and obtains the best guarantee for a happy future.

Nature also gave man the instinct for the maintenance of manly honor and chivalry, which prompts him to earn the respect, attachment, and love of a pure woman. Nature inclines him to be a chivalrous protector of her virtue and honor, making him willing to suffer any hardship in order to keep her innocence from every harm, as he would in the case of his own sister.

When, instead of protecting a woman’s virtue against others, man himself turns traitor and, to satisfy his low carnal desires, does what he can to wreck it, he disgraces his manhood, plays false to his title of Christian, and renders himself an object of scorn and disgust to the woman he seduces.

A man who takes undue personal liberties with a girl is her deadliest enemy—a robber who has deprived her, not of all her money and jewels, but of her greatest possession, her spotless innocence.

The meanest criminal, even if he murdered her in cold blood, would not be able to harm her as she has been harmed by her so-called” friend.” A girl’s worst enemy is this sort of “friend,” who, demon like, desecrated and devastated the beautiful temple of her soul. The preservation of chastity depends on the presence of honest and genuine love. He who sincerely loves will keep the proper distance and will not allow the bloom to be worn off the flower of love by cheapening, immoral intimacies?

True love gives strength of character and assists in the acquisition of self-control. It never takes advantage of another for the sake of personal gratification. To preserve bodily integrity before marriage, a young man must also possess some knowledge of women. Good and pure-minded women inspire respect and make the task of a young man easy, for he will have no difficulty in keeping the right distance.

A self-respecting young man will have nothing to do with girls of loose morals who hold themselves cheap and sell their favors like wares. But it is the height of chivalry to deal with an intermediary group: thoughtless, superficial girls, who play with fire.

They test to the utmost the character of a good young man. He must protect these silly creatures against their folly and against his own passions which they foolishly arouse.

In order that a young man may keep the virtue of chastity intact in himself and in his prospective life mate, he must firmly believe in the possibility of a chaste life before marriage and be convinced that God demands sexual abstinence outside the married state. God imposes no duty that is beyond our power, and He knows well what man can accomplish aided by His grace.

This realization will influence the young man’s attitude towards his fiancée and make him feel ashamed of any improper intimacies. Very wisely a decent girl will conclude that if her lover insists on indulging in mutual indecent liberties in courtship, and if he cannot master himself in the period immediately preparatory to marriage, when this mastery is comparatively easy, she cannot expect him to control himself after marriage, when control is likely to be more difficult.

What chance would she have for salvation and happiness in a marriage in which her partner would be a constant occasion of sin to her? The loss of chastity will be a terrible memory in afterlife and a source of painful reproach.

Chastity untarnished will be a source of moral strength and the best guarantee of fidelity in the marital union.

A frequent reason for cursed marriages is the folly of couples who under the screen of courtship usurp the privileges of married life without assuming the burdens of it. Had they abstained from illicit love making in their courtship, God would have blessed them with the sacred and lasting love the Sacrament of Matrimony and its subsequent blessings bestow.

Since they loved in an unholy way before they married, God consigns them to a loveless life after their marriage. Not infrequently they must bemoan in vain their punishment or trial of not having children.

Nature has its fixed purposes and limits. Once these are willfully perverted, ignored or ruthlessly exhausted by immoral practices, no regret or promise of betterment will ever restore nature’s forces to their productive power.

Against such sins St. Paul warns, “Be hot deceived: God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that sows in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that sows in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting.’? (Gal. vi. 7, 8.)

When you prepare for a date, you may make yourself as attractive as possible; that is the sensible thing to do if you do it with a good intention, that is, to show that you respect both your escort and yourself by making yourself as innocently inviting as you can, but by all means be reserved and hold your treasures from rough hands and evil desires. Rather die than permit yourself to be embraced and kissed by the men who seek your company and extend their social courtesies only to demand that you pay by surrender to their desires.

The man takes you to the movie, to dinner, to a dance, to a party, or for an automobile drive, but you owe him no liberties for this. If you are an earnest Catholic girl, you will retain the grace of God and your self-respect, while enjoying the esteem of all good men. You will even make evil minds pause, dazzled by the purity in your eyes, the modesty of your actions, and the reserve in your words.

Are there any against whom I feel tempted to bear a grudge? Any of whose misfortunes I feel a little pleasure in hearing? Why am I willing to listen to conversation disparaging to someone else? Can I cleanse my soul of touchiness and jealousy? How can I become more and more unselfish, and efface myself? Let me put aside considerations of my own satisfaction. . . . Ask Our Lord in Holy Communion to free you from touchiness and jealousy. -Fr. Daniel Considine, 1950

Doilies by Rosie!

These are beautiful, lacy, handmade doilies made with size 10 crochet cotton. They have been blocked and starched and are ready to decorate and accent your home decor.
“The quality & workmanship of this crocheted doily is suburb! And the beauty even more so–I am so happy to be able to purchase a handmade doily just as lovely as my grandma used to make…” Available here.

Salvation and spiritual perfection should not be sought haphazardly; a strategy is needed to win the battle for our souls.
The Spiritual Combat, first published in 1589, provides timeless guidance in spiritual discipline. St. Francis de Sales (1576-1622) read from it himself every day and recommended it to everyone under his direction.

Vigorous, realistic and full of keen insight into human nature, The Spiritual Combat consists of short chapters based on the maxim that in the spiritual life one must either “fight or die”. Fr. Scupoli shows the Christian how to combat his passions and vices, especially impurity and sloth, in order to arrive at victo

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

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The Loving Dispensations of Divine Providence ~ Fr. Lasance

by Father Lasance, Peace, Not as the World Gives

Nothing happens in this world but by the direction or permission of God. “Nothing,” says St. Augustine, “occurs by chance in the whole course of our life. God overrules all.”

“Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from God” (Ecclus. xi. 14).

It may, perhaps be said that this holds good in sickness and in death, in cold and in heat, and in all the events of inanimate nature, but not in what depends upon the free will of man.

You say, “if someone speaks evil of me, defrauds me, persecutes and ill-treats me, is that the will of God? How can I see God’s will in that? Does He not forbid such actions? Consequently I can ascribe them only to the evil designs, to the wickedness or to the ignorance of men.”

But, I answer, God Himself speaks clearly and distinctly on this point. On His own Holy Word, we must believe that even what appears to be left to the caprice of men must be attributed to God’s permission.

The Jews imputed their captivity to other causes than the dispensation of Providence. The prophet Jeremias says: “Who is he that hath commanded a thing to be done, when the Lord commandeth it not? Shall not both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Most High?” (Jeremias iii. 37).

Therefore, when we are robbed of our good name, despoiled of our wealth, abused or otherwise wronged, we must ascribe it to the will of God. It is His hand that is visiting us; all is the work of His providence.

But, again, you object, “All such actions are sinful. How can God will them? How can He take part therein? God’s essence being holiness itself, He can have nothing in common with sin.”

I answer: In every evil deed two things must be clearly demonstrated; namely, the action itself, or the exterior movement; and the straying of the will from the Divine Law.

Does your neighbor strike you, or calumniate you? You must, on the one hand, distinguish the motion of the arm or of the tongue; and, on the other, the evil intention that directs the movement.

The movement itself is not sinful; therefore God can be the Author of it. And this He really is, for no creature has life or motion of itself; all receive it from God, who works in them and by them.

The evil intention, on the contrary, is entirely the work of the human will, and it alone makes the sin. In this God takes no part. He permits the evil act in order not to do violence to the free will of men.

Accordingly, God shares in the deeds of men only insofar as He contributes to the exterior movement. The bad intention underlying the act proceeds from our will; and in this God has no part.

You have abused your honor, your riches—God wills that you should lose the one or the other; but He takes no part in the sin of either the robber or the calumniator.

Patient endurance should characterize our conduct towards those to whom God has given command over us. We should neither judge their intentions nor harbor aversion against them. We should rest satisfied that, however hostile or inimical they may be toward us, they are only instruments of salvation in the hands of an All-good, All-wise, All-powerful God.

He will give them no more power over us than is for our good. Creatures can do us no harm, unless power is given them from on high. All enlightened souls have been firmly convinced of this truth.

The history of Job presents a beautiful illustration of it. Job is bereft of his children and stripped of all his wealth; from the pinnacle of human happiness he falls to the depths of earthly misery, and what does he say? ‘The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.”

“Behold,” says St. Augustine, “how this holy man understood the great mystery of God’s providence! He did not say: ‘The Lord hath given me children and riches, and the devil hath taken them from me.’ But he said: ‘The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken. As it has pleased the Lord, and not as it has pleased the devil, also is it done.’

Not less striking is the example of the Egyptian Joseph. His brothers, actuated by hatred and envy, sold him; but he ascribed all to God’s providence.

“God,” he said, ‘sent me before you into Egypt for your preservation, that you may be preserved upon the earth, and may have food to live. . . . Not by your counsel was I sent hither, but by the will of God” (Gen. xiv, 5-8).

Tobias, that faithful servant of God, was made blind while engaged in acts of charity. As we read in the Book of Tobias: ‘This trial the Lord permitted to happen to him, that an example might be given to posterity of his patience, as also of holy Job.

For whereas he had always feared God from his infancy, and kept his commandments, he repined not against God because the evil of blindness had befallen him. But continued immovable in the fear of God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life.

For as the kings insulted over holy Job: so his relations and kinsmen mocked at his life, saying: Where is thy hope, for which thou gavest alms, and buriedst the dead?

But Tobias rebuked them, saying: “Speak not so: For we are the children of saints, and look for that life which God will give to those that never change their faith from Him.”

David, pursued and insulted by Semei, sees the hand of Providence in the insolent behavior of his unruly subject. Twice did he restrain his indignant servant who wished to avenge him, with the words, “Let him alone and let him curse: for the Lord bath bid him curse David” II Kings xvi. Io).

And Jesus Christ Himself, the Holy of Holies, Our Lord and Savior, who came down from heaven to teach us by His word and example, did He not say to Peter, who with inconsiderate zeal urged Him to avert His sufferings and deliver Himself from the hands of His enemies: “The chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” (John xviii. ii).

Jesus attributed the ignominy and pain of His bitter torments, not to their immediate authors, not to the Jews that accused Him, not to Judas who betrayed Him, not to Pilate who condemned Him, not to the executioners who, with most horrible treatment, dragged Him to death, not to the devil, the instigator of the shocking deed: but only to God, in whom He saw, not a cruel Judge, but a loving Father.

We must not attribute our losses, our misfortunes, our sufferings, our humiliations, to the evil spirit or to man; but to their true author, God.

Let us not venture to say: “This one or that one is the cause of my misfortune, my ruin.” No, our trials are not the work of man. They are God’s own work.

This will redound to our greater tranquility, for all that God, the best of fathers, does is full of infinite wisdom; all is subservient to His highest and holiest purposes.

Parents should remember this: children can get along happily without constantly demanding their parents’ attention, provided there are regular times when Dad or Mom have no concern except being with them.
If we are riddled with anxieties instead of leaving them in God’s hands, we can’t offer our children that kind of time, and they will never feel secure in our love, no matter how many expensive gifts we lavish on them.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom, Painting by Alfredo Rodriguez

Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit…

My Book List

Book List for Catholic Men

Book List for the Youth

 

 

 

 

 

Purity, Humility ~ The Catholic Teacher’s Companion

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

It was originally written for teaching Sisters….

PURITY

This is a virtue which the teacher has much at heart, and yet she may often be puzzled about the best means for inculcating it.

The Rev. Dr. John M. Cooper has therefore rendered a real service not only to our young people but to our teachers as well by treating the delicate subject so very well in his book, Play Fair.

In order to induce the teacher to take up the book, we shall quote a few passages from the chapter on Purity.

“And God created man to His own image: to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them.”

We are men and proud of it. But God, who treats us as men, not as babies, expects us to play the man’s part. God trusts us. He puts us on our honor in the field of purity as in other fields of our lives.

Our sex nature and powers were given us as a sacred trust for the founding of homes and the protection and upbringing of helpless and defenseless childhood. Around these things cluster like stars many of the glories of life, above all, the hallowed name of mother.

But purity, fallen and dragged in the slimy sewers of sin, turns into something more hideous than rotting leprosy. “Here is a champion swimmer. Look at his broad massive shoulders, his deep chest, his muscles of iron.

Every stroke of his mighty crawl drives him through the water with engine – like force. Trained to the very pink of condition, his sun-tanned, brawny, robust body is a sight that makes you glad to look upon.

One day he ventures out in the river too near the falls, is sucked into its powerful draw, and is swept over the brink. A week later there floats up to the surface from down in the depths a bloated Thing with glassy, mud-filmed eyes, reeking with the stench of decomposition.

So changes purity sucked into the draw of sin.

“Be a man, and chaste,” challenged the old pagan writer. And a modern poet has put a still more stirring challenge into the mouth of the noblest of the knights of poetry, Sir Galahad:

My strong blade carves the casks of men:

My stiff lance thrusteth sure.

My strength is as the strength of ten,

Because my heart is pure.

“Your body is like a frisky, spirited colt or bronco. Treat it kindly and fairly and it will carry you galloping toward your goal in life. Give it a chance. But do not let it throw you or run away with you. Make good in the bronco-busting game. Either you must break the bronco, or the bronco will break you.

Any mollycoddle can get himself thrown over a horse’s head. It takes a man to break in a worthwhile colt.

Be a man, and chaste!”

“Unchaste thoughts and images will come at times, invited or without an invitation. Three things will help keep them out or shoo them away.

*First, keep busy—with hobbies, collections, pets, sports, athletics, live games, books with much action in them, anything. It will be time to mope and daydream when you are ninety years old. Keep on your toes.

*Secondly, if wrong thoughts come, say a short prayer to Our Lord, His Blessed Mother, your Guardian Angel, then turn your attention to some of the things just mentioned and in which you are interested.

*Thirdly, stick to frequent Confession and Communion, weekly if possible. Be master of your thoughts and your tongue as well as of your body. Otherwise a boy becomes master of neither and the cringing flunkey of both.”

HUMILITY

Humility is the foundation of all virtuous living, and hence is of basic importance for character training. The normal child is predisposed to humility, as may be seen from the words of Christ wherewith He made the humility of the child the condition for entering into heaven: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.”

But if the teacher should discover that a pupil is conceited, she must set about to correct the defect.

In the first place, she will insist on prompt obedience. She will also insist on the child’s showing proper respect to all his superiors.

W. Foerster maintains that it is important in this connection for the children to arise when their elders address them, never to interrupt the conversation of their elders, and not to sing or whistle in their presence.

Religious education offers still more helpful means. The habit of prayer, insistence on original sin with its tragic consequences, consideration of our many sins and frailties, proper preparation for Confession and Communion—all these are means to impress upon the child the need of deep humility, and afford him an opportunity for practicing this very important virtue.

However, while training her pupils to humility the teacher must be on her guard lest she teach them diffidence and faint-heartedness instead of humility.

Outside of religious motives, there is, indeed, no set of principles that will safely guide her pupils in observing the golden mean between pride and faint-heartedness.

The wisdom and training you give to your child will determine the outcome. It is not the time to give in to weariness, indifference, laziness or careless neglect. Their souls are in your hands…. Painting by Tasha Tudor

Your solution to chapel veils that slip off! Little Girl’s Lovely and Lacey Crocheted Veils! Available here.

book suggestions

Marva Collins offers a beacon of hope in the midst of America’s educational crises. MARVA COLLINS’ WAY recounts Marva Collins’ successful teaching strategies and offers inspirational advice on how to motivate children to fulfill their potential…

 

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Chit~Chat: Just a Cozy Day in January

This post is about the simple things…

It is the simple things in life, the gratitude that comes from our hearts for the simple things which makes the “humdrum” of life…not humdrum!

We can work each day at making our homes and our lives more beautiful, more peaceful and more orderly. No matter if we have many children….we can find those  little ways to make life special…for ourselves and for our families.

Here’s a beautiful quote from Charlotte Siems, mother of 12:

There’s no rewind button on parenthood.

So let’s change the way we think about the have to’s. In fact, let’s get practical. Every time you notice yourself thinking or saying “I have to….,” stop and change it to “I get to….” It causes a shift in perspective and a change in your energy.

“Get to” comes from a grateful heart. “Get to” implies honor and thankfulness and privilege and excitement.

“Have to” comes from a fearful heart. “Have to” creates overwhelm and victimhood and dread and anxiety.

Sometimes we change our insides by starting with the outside. Disciplining our words can help us discipline our thoughts. Yes, out of the heart the mouth speaks, but words have power and it can work the other way, too.

Anyway….

Yesterday was a lovely day. I couldn’t make it to Mass in the morning…the residuals of a stomach flu was hanging on. Nonetheless it was a great day and I thought I would chit-chat a bit with you.

Here is my table.  The doily is the Christmas gift Rosie gave me 3 years ago. The bouquet was given to Hannah by her best friend, Madeline.

I usually keep a tea light lit on the table…at least in the winter. I plan to get a good amount of them and have them blessed at Candlemas so that I will always be burning a blessed candle!

Yes, that’s my List Book on the table, this wasn’t a “posed” picture…

It’s being used a lot lately. Like everyone, I go in an ebb and flow depending on what life is sending my way. For the last while, I have been quite solicitous in using my List Booklet to keep my life organized. It always makes such a difference!

I usually get up in the mornings before everyone else. I light my candle on the table and start my diffuser that Hannah gave me last year. I put the Holiday Blend Essential oil in it. I then turn the Christmas lights on throughout the house for a warm and cozy glow.

As you can see, we still have our decorations up for Christmas. They will be hanging around until close to The Purification of Our Lady, Candlemas, which is Feb. 2nd. It’s always nice to get the space back (our Nativity is big, as you know) but it is also sad to see them go.

It will look sparse for awhile here…which is perfect for Lent (fast approaching!)

Hannah and Gemma just got back from Topeka. They were dressed nicely (every day seems like a “dress-up day” when you wear skirts), but today was especially nice.

Here is Hannah’s outfit for your inspiration. All of it was bought at our favorite resale/coffee shop called God’s Storehouse. We very seldom buy new clothes.

Her sweater is very pretty. It wouldn’t be a sweater to wear if you have kids! Or, at least, only for Sunday Mass! But a single girl can get away with it.

Gemma is wearing her Christmas colors. She got this outfit from God’s Storehouse, too. The skirt was originally $75 and she got it for $6! Quite a deal!

Hannah has been using her relaxing time in between work and babysitting to do a bit of crocheting. She just finished this lovely hat. She so wanted to keep it for herself but had already told one of her married sisters they could have it. Haha She’ll just have to get busy and make another one! Here is the pattern if you want to try your hand at it!

She likes these little leather-like tags she found at Hobby Lobby!

And just a random picture. I got these Women’s 1920s Sequin Shawls Sparkly Flapper Evening Wrap Capes” for the girls for Christmas. Pretty, aren’t they? Perfect for a feast day!

We are at the beginning of saying a 54 Day Rosary Novena. We usually say one or two of those a year. There are always so many special petitions that we feel we need a little extra ooomph to get answers for the bigger problems of life! It is very powerful and efficacious. Maybe you would like to try one yourself? Here is the link to get the booklet. And yes, we say it in place of our family rosary each day. It has extra prayers for each mystery…

Make sure and write down your petitions so you can see and remember how God has answered your prayers!

The Feast of the Holy Family was Sunday, January 8th. Here a couple of very good sermons to inspire you on that difficult but rewarding path!

 

As a gift from a dear priest friend, I was sent this delicious coffee! 

Here is a tidbit about the coffee…

Patris Roasting Co. was founded in 2020 by parishioners of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. Our goal is to provide specialty grade coffee to those who are passionate about quality and freshness.
So…if you would like to give someone an amazing cup of coffee for a gift or just savor the flavor yourself, take a look at their website, Patris Roasting,  here. You would be supporting a good cause!

May you all have a lovely rest of January and Christmas season! Time flies so quickly, make the most of each moment!

 

 

The Meaning and Beauty of Candles

The Feast of the Purification, Candlemas, is Thursday, February 2nd. If you have the opportunity to get your candles that you will use throughout the year blessed by the priest on that day, make sure you do!

by Father Arthur Tonne, 1950’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of the Oxford Oratory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Beautiful and Happy Home

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What do you think makes a beautiful and happy home? How important is this?

Having a happy home is crucial to the spreading of our faith. To whom do we want to spread our faith? First of all, to our children. They need to see the deep and lasting beauty of our faith shining forth in our everyday lives, making our home beautiful and happy. Our faith should be the undercurrent in the everyday bubbling brook, that flows into every facet of our lives.

This happiness does not have to be unrealistic. Life is what it is and there are many days where the smiles don’t come as easy and nerves are rawer because of whatever is upsetting the apple cart at the time. These are opportunities too.

Father Curtis,  over this past weekend, said that if our kids see ONLY that life is perfect at home, if they grow  up wearing rose-colored glasses all the time, they are going to get quite a jolt when they enter into their own vocation and it is less than perfect…and it will be. So it is good that the kids see reality, too.

That being said, we need to create a home that is joyful and lovely, in amongst the “real”-ness.

J.R. Miller gives us a lovely analogy of moss on an old thatch of a ruin, comparing it to the love that surrounds and covers a multitude of sins and makes an imperfect home, with imperfect souls dwelling therein, a fortress of beauty and happiness.

SECRETS OF HAPPY HOME LIFE – J.R. Miller

Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home. He who does this builds a sanctuary for God and opens a fountain of blessing for men.
Far more than we know do the strength and beauty of our lives depend upon the home in which we dwell. He who goes forth in the morning from a happy, loving, prayerful home, into the world’s strife, temptation, struggle, and duty, is strong — inspired for noble and victorious living.

The children who are brought up in a true home go out trained and equipped for life’s battles and tasks, carrying in their hearts a secret of strength which will make them brave and loyal to God, and will keep them pure in the world’s sorest temptations.

We may all do loving service, therefore, by helping to make one of the world’s homes — the one in which we dwell — brighter and happier. No matter how plain it may be, nor how old-fashioned, if love be in it, if prayer connect it with heaven, if Christ’s benediction be upon it, it will be a transfigured spot. Poverty is no cross if the home be full of bright cheer. Hardest toil is light if love sings its songs amid the clatter.

“Dear Moss,” said the thatch on an old ruin, ” I am so worn, so patched, so ragged, really I am quite unsightly. I wish you would come and cheer me up a little. You will hide all my infirmities and defects; and, through your loving sympathy, no finger of contempt or dislike will be pointed at me.”

“I come,” said the moss; and it crept up and around, and in and out, till every flaw was hidden, and all was smooth and fair. Presently the sun shone out, and the old thatch looked bright and fair, a picture of rare beauty, in the golden rays.

“How beautiful the thatch looks!” cried one who saw it. “How beautiful the thatch looks! “said another. “Ah!” said the old thatch, “rather let them say, ‘ how beautiful is the loving moss!’ For it spends itself in covering up all my faults, keeping the knowledge of them all to herself, and, by her own grace, making my age and poverty wear the garb of youth and luxuriance.”

So it is that love covers the plainness and the ruggedness of the lowliest home. It hides its dreariness and its faults. It softens its roughness. It changes its pain into profit, and its loss into gain.

Let us live more for our homes. Let us love one another more. Let us cease to complain, criticize, and contradict each other. Let us be more patient with each other’s faults. Let us not keep back the warm, loving words that lie in our hearts, until it is too late for them to give comfort. Soon separations will come. One of every wedded pair will stand by the other’s coffin and grave. Then every bitter word spoken, and every neglect of love’s duty, will be as a thorn in the heart.

 
“Be merry, really merry. The life of a true Christian should be a perpetual jubilee….A prelude to the Festivals of Eternity.”
-St. Theophane Venard
Make a statement with this lovely and graceful “Queen Bee” handcrafted apron….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.

Father Francis Finn SJ was an early 20th-century Jesuit priest who wrote delightful children’s stories about life in Jesuit boarding schools. Taken from his years of experience teaching Catholic boys, Father Finn writes about various human personalities with warmth and humor that makes for enjoyable reading for all types.

This delightful story centers on 10-year-old Tom Playfair who is quite a handful for his well-meaning but soft-hearted aunt. Mr. Playfair, his widowed father, decides to ship his son off to St. Maure’s boarding school–an all-boys academy run by Jesuits–to shape him up, as well as to help him make a good preparation for his upcoming First Communion. Tom is less than enthusiastic, but his adventures are just about to begin. Life at St. Maure’s will not be dull as the reader will soon find out…

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The story opens upon Claude Lightfoot, a reckless 12 year old boy who constantly acts first and thinks later. After being in clash with some bullies, Claude is obliged to miss his First Communion. In the course of the story, Fr. Finn manages to cover a host of topics, including smoking, drinking, the devil, Confession, Holy Communion, retaining one s Baptismal innocence, the 9 First Fridays, the priesthood, mothers and sisters, truthfulness, lying, courage, effeminacy, atheism, sacrilege, baseball, Americanism (true and false), Latin, virtue, honor, leadership, etc.

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