by Father Aloysius, O.F.M., The Catholic Home

Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it.—Ps. 126.

Even under the Old Dispensation the marriage bond was held in reverence. We read how the son of the venerable old man Tobias meeting his bride exhorted her to join with him in prayer, “for,” he said, “we are the children of saints and must not be joined together like heathens that know not God.” Tobias VIII.

But how sublime is the Christian ideal of marriage! “This,” says the Apostle, “is a great Sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church.” That is to say, it is a sacred sign, a symbol of the union between Christ and His Church: the husband represents Christ, the wife the Church.

“Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord; because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church.”

“But since the husband represents Christ and since the wife represents the Church,” comments Pope Leo XIII, “let there always be in him who commands and in her who obeys a heaven born love guiding both in their respective duties.”

It is not a subjection of fear or a servile obedience that the Apostle demands, but a filial dependence of respect and love, and, therefore, he adds : “Husbands love your wives as Christ has loved the Church, and delivered. Himself up for it.”

And then he reminds us, the faithful, that “we are members of Christ’s Body, of His Flesh and of His Bones.”  And the same bond that unites Christ and His Church unites husband and wife—the bond of grace.

These thoughts should inspire those who enter into Christian wedlock with lofty ideals and with far seeing plans for the realization of their ideals.

As valid marriage is indissoluble—”What God hath joined, let no man put asunder” “—their plans must visualize a life-time, and not a holiday or a few years of romance and enjoyment, they must visualize a life of reality, not a season of sentiment.

Living together, it is inevitable that the partners will in time find that no human being is perfect—and that no two human beings are exactly alike in temperament, in mood, in mind and in tastes: there are differences which will appear as the months go by.

Strangers see us at our best and on our best behaviour; our parents and sisters and brothers know our limitations and our failings. Until now the newly married pair had met as friends, indeed, but not as familiars —to some extent they were strangers to each other. Now they will live together, and little peculiarities not noticed before, will become apparent.

Then with the years will pass the freshness and the buoyancy of youth, and the external attractiveness: the hair will turn to grey, the features will pale and wrinkle, the laughter will be less exhilarating, the voice will be tired and tiring—the golden film which youth and novelty had cast over the shortcomings and imperfections will wear thin and bare.

But ‘love is strong as death’;  and real love—not counterfeit sentiment, love touched by the fire of supernatural charity will be proof against the ravages of time and the trials of infirmity and age.

It was to quicken that charity in their lives, to strengthen with divine strength the bond of union, to make it a spiritual union of soul and heart, that Christ ennobled and enriched wedlock by raising it to the dignity of a life-giving Sacrament.

The Sacrament, if received in the spirit of faith and piety, will create a closer tie and deeper appreciation and understanding, will impart courage in trials, and cooperation in labor, so that one will help the other greatly in the leading of a Christian life and the fulfilment of the divine designs in the family.

“A sacramental blessing was given to your marriage which is bestowed on no other state in life, except that of the priesthood. From the altar you brought with you a higher spiritual life. You were nearer to God than before; in your soul there was a higher dignity and a more profound reality.”

“By the Sacrament Christ made marriage the sign and source of that special interior grace by which married life is perfected, the indissoluble unity of marriage is secured, and the married parties sanctified .

And if the fruit of this Sacrament is not frustrated by any obstacle, it not only increases in the soul sanctifying grace, the permanent principle of supernatural life, but also adds special gifts, good impulses, and seeds of grace, amplifying and perfecting the powers of nature, and enabling the recipients not only to understand with their minds, but also to relish intimately, grasp firmly, will effectively, and fulfil in deed all that belongs to the state of wedlock and its purposes and duties; it also gives them the right to obtain the help of actual graces whenever they need it for the discharge of their matrimonial tasks.”

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Advent & Christmas Cheerful Chats for Catholic Children

This is a unique book of Advent and Christmas stories and devotions for Catholic 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.

These are short faith-filled stories, within the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Each story is followed by a few questions, a prayer, and a short poem enabling the moral of each story to sink into the minds of your little ones.

The stories are only a page long so tired mothers, who still want to give that “tucking in” time a special touch, or pause a brief moment during their busy day to gather her children around her, can feel good about bringing the realities of our faith to the minds of her children in a childlike, (though not childish), way.

There is a small poem and a picture at the end of each story. Through these small stories, parents will sow seeds of our Holy Catholic Faith that will enrich their families!

Package special here.

Meet Saint Anastasia, one of the greatest Christmas saints and the Patroness of Martyrs. Take her hand and let her lead you to the Crib! When people think of saints that remind them of Christmas, Saint Anastasia is almost always forgotten. For centuries, this humble and unassuming martyr has remained hidden in the shadows of the stable. Yet of all the saints in Heaven, she is the only one whose feast day falls on Christmas itself! It’s about time she stepped forward and made some new friends!Join Saint Anastasia and her best friend, Saint Theodota, as they bravely prove their love for God and neighbor, even unto the sacrifice of their own lives. With charming full-color illustrations and easy-to-read text, this third book in Susan Peek’s new series for children (companion to her series for teens, “God’s Forgotten Friends: Lives of Little-known Saints”) is sure not only to capture the hearts of Catholic children everywhere, but to inspire and inflame them with a greater love for their Holy Faith and the saints who lived and died for it.

A baby reindeer longs for a name. Before his mother can choose one, invaders come and the herd flees . . . except for him. His wobbly legs are too weak to run. Captured and taken to a new land, the little reindeer yearns for escape . . . and for a friend. Meanwhile, as Christmas Eve draws near, a saintly bishop and a holy monk plan a surprise for the poor of their village. When problems arise, all seems doomed, until their paths cross with that of the baby reindeer . . . and a legend is born. “Saint Rudolph and the Reindeer is a delightful new Christmas story that the whole family will adore. The brilliantly creative Susan Peek has written a heartwarming tale that is destined to become a new family favorite. Taking her vast knowledge of saints, Peek has added a beautifully religious twist to transform a favorite children’s Christmas story into a holiday treasure.”- Leslea Wahl, Author of Award-winning The Perfect Blindside and An Unexpected Role “A loving God leaves no misfits behind! A warm and tender story of Christian charity and everyone’s favorite reindeer.” – Carolyn Astfalk, Author of the Christmas Romance, Ornamental Graces “I’ll definitely be adding this to my Christmas story-reading traditions and highly recommend it to other families.” – T.M. Gaouette, Author of Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

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