It’s in the Attitude….

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This is a repost.

So… a little update. Vincent has been suffering from back problems that are affecting his sciatica. He has not been able to work for weeks. He just went in for two cortisone injections…which have not helped thus far.

Since this post is about attitude….I will say that my husband has, I am sure, been discouraged through this. He also doesn’t know what the end result will be…whether he will work again or whatever. But his attitude is of faith and joy, thanking God for each day, in spite of his pain.

Could you spare a prayer for him today?

Hubby with the girls’ best friend, Madeline, who just had knee surgery. They are in the church parking lot.

A little story…Hubby was filling up his truck one day, it was early and cold and he was off to work….a job that was hard and required much physical labor.

A priest (and friend) was at the gas station also. He said hello to my husband and then asked him how he was?

Vincent answered, “Fantastic!”

The dear priest said to him, “That’s nice. Why are you fantastic?”

Vincent’s answer “Well, because I am alive, I have my health, I have many blessings, it is a beautiful day and I am a Roman Catholic!”

The priest smiled, “Yes, if you look at it that way….”

We are in control of our own thoughts, reactions and attitudes, as Fr. Philippe points out in the following story….

A story from Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe:

A witness for our times: Etty Hillesum

I want to cite briefly a  recent testimony to interior freedom, one both very different from and very close to St. Thérèse’s. It moved me deeply. It is the testimony of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz in November 1943, and whose diary was published in 1981.

Her “story of a soul” unfolded in the Netherlands at a time when the Nazis’ persecution of Jews was intensifying.

When Etty began to write her journal, her moral life was far from edifying. She was emotionally vulnerable, had no fixed moral guidelines, and had had several lovers. She was, however, driven by a powerful craving for the truth about herself.

Thanks to a friend of hers, a psychologist and also a Jew, she discovered (without ever becoming explicitly Christian) some of the values that lie at the heart of Christianity: prayer, the presence of God within herself, and the evangelical invitation to abandon herself trustingly to Providence.

Before she was finally deported to Auschwitz, while a prisoner in a Dutch transit camp, she showed a faith in God, courage in suffering, and a devotion to neighbor that demonstrated the reality of her spirituality despite the dark areas in her life.

It is astonishing to read how this young woman devoted herself to living by the Gospel values she was discovering little by little. Just when all her exterior freedoms were being progressively taken away, she discovered within herself a happiness and interior freedom that no one could steal from her from then on.

There is a very significant passage in her spiritual experience:

This morning I cycled along the Station Quay enjoying the broad sweep of the sky at the edge of the city, breathing in the fresh, unrationed air. And everywhere signs barring Jews from the paths and the open country. But above the one narrow path still left to us stretches the sky, intact.

They can’t do anything to us, they really can’t. They can harass us, they can rob us of our material goods, of our freedom of movement, but we ourselves forfeit our greatest assets by our misguided compliance. By our feelings of being persecuted, humiliated, oppressed. By our own hatred. By our swagger, which hides our fear.

We may of course be sad and depressed by what has been done to us; that is only human and understandable. However, our greatest injury is one we inflict upon ourselves.

I find life beautiful, and I feel free. The sky within me is as wide as the one stretching above my head. I believe in God and I believe in man, and I say so without embarrassment.

Life is hard, but that is no bad thing. If one starts by taking one’s own importance seriously, the rest follows.

It is not morbid individualism to work on oneself. True peace will come only when every individual finds peace within himself; when we have all vanquished and transformed our hatred for our fellow human beings of whatever race—even into love one day, although perhaps that is asking too much.

It is, however, the only solution. I am a happy person and I hold life dear indeed, in this year of Our Lord 1942, the umpteenth year of the war.

Interior freedom: Freedom to believe, hope, and love

The life experiences of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Etty Hillesum indicate the next point we need to consider. True freedom, the sovereign liberty of Christians, resides in the possibility of believing, hoping, and loving in all circumstances, thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit who “helps us in our weakness.”

Nobody can ever prevent us. “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No circumstance in the world can ever prevent us from believing in God, from placing all our trust in Him, from loving Him with our whole heart, or from loving our neighbor.

Faith, hope, and charity are absolutely free, because if they are rooted in us deeply enough, they are able to draw strength from whatever opposes them!

If someone sought to prevent us from believing by persecuting us, we always would retain the option of forgiving our enemies and transforming the situation of oppression into one of greater love.

If someone tried to silence our faith by killing us, our deaths would be the best possible proclamation of our faith! Love, and only love, can overcome evil by good and draw good out of evil.

Growth in faith, hope, and love is the only pathway to freedom.

The mother is the real homemaker. It is in her hands, that the tender life is laid for its first impressions. In all its education and culture, she has the main part. Her spirit makes the home atmosphere. The law of God makes the father the head of the household, and devolves upon him as such—the responsibility for the up building of his house, the training of his children, the care of all the sacred interests of his family. -J.R. Miller

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Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion….

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! 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! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Finer Femininity!

May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with blessings! I am thankful for you, your prayers and support! ❤

Some inspirational quotes

Mothers,  on Thanksgiving, know how very special you are. You are the essence, the heart of your home. Your smile lightens the burdens, your words brighten the hearts of those who will be part of your festivities. The tone of this special family time is set by you! We, as mothers, are privileged to have such an important part in the making of our homes! May your day be filled with grace and love! ❤

This Thanksgiving let us offer up our little inconveniences, our stresses, our fatigue for those less fortunate than ourselves. And, on the flip side, let’s start becoming more aware of the little things and thanking God for them.

“After committing a fault of whatever kind, rather than withdrawing into ourselves indefinitely in discouragement and dwelling on the memory, we must immediately return to God with confidence and even thank Him for the good that His mercy will be able to draw out of this fault!

We must know that one of the weapons that the devil uses most commonly to prevent souls from advancing toward God is precisely to try to make them lose their peace and discourage them by the sight of their faults.”
Searching For and Maintaining Peace, Fr. Jacques Philippe https://amzn.to/2pSwDmQ (afflink)

Thank God for His many blessings. Make the most of each and every day. Enjoy the journey. The world will keep whizzing by but we must take time to smell the roses. Each day is a gift, each person in your life is special. Take nothing for granted.

“For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy!” -St. Therese of Lisieux

Be attentive to the sacrifices your husband makes for the family. Each day he battles the world, the flesh and the devil out in the workforce for you. Don’t let that go unnoticed. Thank him often! Appreciate him. -Finer Femininity

Discussing the dynamics of Catholic family life…

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

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

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

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So Very Thankful by Theresa Byrne

So very thankful,
Incredibly grateful,
Unbelievably blessed!

Without the cloves, cinnamon and ginger, the pie is mundane and tasteless. So it goes with life….a little Joy, Thanksgiving and Gratefulness adds flavor!

The past year or so it has become very apparent to me how important it is to be grateful. As the thought-provoking question goes, “If you were able to keep everything you were grateful for today, what would you have?”

When I seriously look at my life I see how I have been so blessed, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the “what I don’t have” or the comparing game.

Thrift shopping, I overheard a conversation between a grandmother and a small grandchild, that she had on an outing. The child loudly, obnoxiously hollered in the middle of the store, “I want to go to Chick-fil-A, not stupid McDonald’s!”

Ugh, is this what we have become? I remember the first time I went to McDonald’s it was on my honeymoon. Growing up, going out to eat was a very rare, joyous occasion!

For me, having children is the best way to see where my attitude is at. They reflect me. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom, there is no one that they rub shoulders with more than me. The more I have become aware of their attitudes, the more I know me.

When my seven-year-old daughter started yelling more at her siblings, I stopped and saw me. When my nine year old son kept getting frustrated in school and repeating, “I’m not comprehending,” I saw me. And so on and on we go.

The positive I have learned through this, is that I can change my attitude, and just like the bad, the good also rubs off. In the past year I have tried to be more consciously grateful. …For the beautiful day, for a warm home, good food, the people I love. While this has been a huge positive, I realize that in order for my kids to pick it up I must verbalize gratefulness.

So I try. During the day I will say things like, “Thank you for this beautiful day, Jesus,” or “We are so blessed to have this good food!” The more I have verbalized gratefulness, the easier it has become. Just like the yelling rubs off, so does the gratitude.

It warms my heart when my very hungry four-year-old gushes, “Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful food!”

As we have begun to practice gratitude more and more, we have found more to be grateful for. The negatives can turn into a positive. For instance, “Daddy has to work late again tonight, but we are very grateful he has lots of work and we might be able to do something as a family, with the extra money.”

In general, I feel that gratitude has made us more happy and joyous. Sometimes I can feel the joy bubble over, and I believe that has become the side effect of gratitude….

“When gratitude becomes your default setting, Life Changes.” -Nancy Demos

It has also made me more aware of the lack of gratitude. When we were young, mom would go shopping and usually bring us home a little treat from the Health Food Store. We would always work very hard to have the house sparkling clean, and we were always very grateful for our stick of licorice or stevia soda.

So one day, when I got home from a shopping trip, and my son demanded, “What did you get for me?” I thought, “Uh-oh, what am I creating?”

Next time I went to town, I skipped the treat….and that seemed to make the impression… that it is not something to be demanded or expected, but to be grateful for.

I feel like gratitude has helped us make a big deal out of little things for us. We are grateful to make homemade fries, to go on a walk, to have a bonfire. It is beautiful, simple and I feel blessed!

This Thanksgiving, our family is trying to remember the spices of Joy, Thanksgiving and Gratefulness! It just makes the pie so much better!

“A true wife makes a man’s life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love ‘turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.’ While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is noblest and richest in his being. She inspires him with her courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path.” J.R.Miller

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In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him…..

Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God’s will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer–a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the “arrogance of evil” that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.

He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God–even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”
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Give Your Loved Ones the Gift of Courtesy this Year

This is such a beautiful excerpt that gives us an opportunity to meditate on something that should never grow old…that old-fashioned virtue, Courtesy.  Yes, it is very “in” to be courteous, especially to those within our four walls.

by J.R. Miller

A secret of happiness in married life is courtesy. By what law of nature or of life is it, that after the peals of the wedding bells have died away, and they have established themselves in their own home, so many husbands and wives drop the charming little amenities and refinements of manner toward each other, that so invariably and delightfully characterized their interaction before marriage?

Is there no necessity for these civilities any longer ? Are they so sure now of each other’s love, that they do not need to give expression to it, either in affectionate word or act? Is wedded love such a strong, vigorous and self-sufficing plant that it never needs sunshine, rain or dew?

Is politeness merely a manner that is necessary in interaction with the outside world, and not required when we are alone with those we love the best? Are home hearts so peculiarly constituted, that they are not pained or offended by things that would never be pardoned in us, if done in ordinary society?

Are we under no obligations to be respectful and to pay homage to our dearest friends— while even to the rudest clown, or the greatest stranger, which we meet outside our own doors— we feel ourselves bound to show the most perfect civility?

On the contrary, there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained, as in the home. There are no hearts which hunger so, for expressions of affection, as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love which so needs its daily bread—as the love that is strongest and holiest.

There is no place where rudeness or incivility is so unpardonable, as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved! The tenderer the love and the truer— the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart!

It is not costly presents at Christmas and on birthdays and anniversaries, that are needed ; these are only mockeries— if the days between are empty of affectionate expressions.

Jewelry and silks will never atone for the lack of warmth and tenderness. Between husband and wife there should be maintained , without break or pause— the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the utmost affectionateness!

Coleridge says, “The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling .”

These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted.

It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife— which fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter— but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been forever very happy in each other— had their early love but been cherished and nourished.

“Do the things you don’t want to do. Do them cheerfully and well. E.Schaeffer wrote, ‘Somebody has to get up early, stay up late, do more than the others, if the human garden is to be a thing of beauty.’ At first glance it doesn’t seem fair, but there are hidden and precious rewards for dying to self and serving. Stomping and self-pity cancel the reward points.” 😊 -Charlotte Siems

Inspire Your Children!

Review: Catholic Mother Goose, Volume Two, is a ‘one of a kind’ treasure for young and old alike! Little minds will be captivated by the beautifully colored and illustrated pages. Throughout the nursery rhymes, children will learn the lessons of kindness, unselfishness, the efficacy of suffering and the value of prayer! They will become more familiar with the lives of the Saints, St. Therese, St. Francis, etc. and their great love for Jesus and Mary. These beautifully written poems will plant the seed for good literature and a love for reading for years to come. This is how we make our Catholic faith and culture come alive for our children! This book is a must!
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History ~ Harvest Festivals/Thanksgiving Day

by Father Francis Weiser, The Holyday Book

HARVEST FESTIVALS PRE-CHRISTIAN FEATURES

One special, and yearly, thanksgiving celebration going back to ancient times took place at the successful conclusion of the harvest. That is why we find harvest festivals with thanksgiving rites everywhere as far back as we can go in our knowledge of religions and cultures.

Among the Indo-European races it was the great “Mother of Grains” to whom these rites were addressed. Within the various ancient nations this common mythological Mother of Fields was represented as a national god or goddess of vegetation (Astarte, Osiris, Tam-muz, Demeter, Ceres ). Great festivals were held every year in their honor in thanksgiving for the harvest.

The most famous of all these feasts were the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, held every September as a tribute to the grain goddess Demeter.

Among the Slavic, Germanic, and Celtic races the ancient belief in the great Mother of Grains has persisted to our day in the form of many superstitious practices connected with fall harvesting, especially with the “last sheaf” in every field.

Sometimes the sheaf is personified, molded into the form of a straw doll and, as “harvest baby,” carried in joyful procession from the field to the village.

In Austria it is shaped into a wreath and placed on the head of a girl who then is designated at the harvest festival as “queen” or “bride” (Erntebraut).

Similar customs were universally practiced in England, where the last load brought home with great rejoicing bore the name “horkey cart,” and in Scotland, where the last sheaf is called “kirn [grain] doll.”

In northern France harvesters, seated on top of the last load brought home from the fields, chant an ancient traditional tune to the text Kyre-o-dle. This is an interesting relic of folklore from Carolingian times, when shepherds and field workers cheered their solitary toil by singing the Kyrie eleison as they had heard the monks sing it at High Mass.

In southern France the last sheaf was tied in the form of a cross, decorated with ribbons and flowers, and after the harvest celebration was placed in the best room of the house to be kept as a token of blessing and good fortune.

JEWISH CELEBRATIONS

Moses instituted among the Jews two great religious feasts of thanksgiving for the harvest: the Feast of the Spring Harvest (Hag Shavu’oth, Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost; Leviticus 23, 15-21) and the Feast of the Fall Harvest (Sukkoth, Feast of Tabernacles; Leviticus 29-43): Thou shalt celebrate the festival of weeks to the Lord thy God, a voluntary oblation of thy hand which thou shalt offer according to the blessing of the Lord thy God. And thou shalt feast before the Lord thy God, thou and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates. and the stranger and the fatherless, and the widow, who abide with you in the place . . . (Deuteronomy 16, 9-11).

Thou also shalt celebrate the solemnity of tabernacles seven days. when thou hast gathered in thy fruit of the barnfloor and of the winepress. And thou shalt make merry in thy festival time, thou, thy son, and thy daughter, thy manservant, and thy maidservant, the Levite also and the stranger, and the fatherless and the widow that are within thy gates (Deuteronomy 16, 13-15).

CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS

In the Christian era the custom of celebrating a thanksgiving harvest festival began in the High Middle Ages. For lack of any definite liturgical day or ceremony prescribed by the Church, various practices came to be observed locally.

In many places, as in Hungary, the Feast of the Assumption included great thanksgiving solemnities for the grain harvest. Delegates from all parts of the country came for the solemn procession to Budapest, carrying the best samples of their produce.

A similar ceremony was observed in Poland, where harvest wreaths brought to Warsaw from all sections were bestowed on the president in a colorful pageant. These wreaths (wieniec), made up of the straw of the last sheaf (broda), were beautifully decorated with flowers, apples, nuts, and ribbons, and blessed in churches by the priests.

The most common, and almost universal, harvest and thanksgiving celebration in medieval times was held on the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours ( Martinmas) on November 11. It was a holiday in Germany, France, Holland, England, and in central Europe.

People first went to Mass and observed the rest of the day with games, dances, parades, and a festive dinner, the main feature of the meal being the traditional roast goose (Martin’s goose).

With the goose dinner they drank “Saint Martin’s wine,” which was the first lot of wine made from the grapes of the recent harvest.” Martinmas was the festival commemorating filled barns and stocked larders, the actual Thanksgiving Day of the Middle Ages. Even today it is still kept in rural sections of Europe, and dinner on Martin’s Day would be unthinkable without the golden-brown, luscious Martin’s goose.”

THANKSGIVING DAY IN AMERICA PILGRIMS’ CELEBRATION

The tradition of eating goose as part of the Martin’s Day celebration was kept in Holland even after the Reformation. It was there that the Pilgrims who sailed to the New World in 1620 became familiar with this ancient harvest festival.

When, after one year in America, they decided to celebrate a three days’ thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621, they went in search of geese for their feast. We know that they also had deer (a present from the Indians), lobsters, oysters, and fish.

But Edward Winslow, in his account of the feast, only mentions that “Governor Bradford sent four men on fowling that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

They actually did find some wild geese, but a number of wild turkeys and ducks as well.

The Pilgrim Fathers, therefore, in serving wild turkeys with the geese, inaugurated one of the most cherished American traditions: the turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

They also drank, according to the ancient European tradition, the first wine of their wild-grape harvest. Pumpkin pie and cranberries were not part of the first Thanksgiving dinner in America, but were introduced many years afterward.

The second Thanksgiving Day in the New World was held by the Pilgrims two years later, on July 30, 1623. It was formally proclaimed by the governor as a day of prayer to thank God for their deliverance from drought and starvation, and for the safe arrival from Holland of the ship Anne.

NATIONAL CELEBRATION

In 1665 Connecticut proclaimed a solemn day of thanksgiving to be kept annually on the last Wednesday in October. Other New England colonies held occasional and local Thanksgivings at various times.

In 1789 the federal Congress authorized and requested President George Washington to proclaim a day of thanksgiving for the whole nation. Washington did this in a message setting aside November 26, 1789 as National Thanksgiving Day.

After 1789 the celebration reverted to local and regional observance for almost a hundred years. There grew, however, a strong desire among the majority of the people for a national Thanksgiving Day that would unite all Americans in a festival of gratitude and public acknowledgment for all the blessings God had conferred upon the nation.

It was not until October 3, 1863, that this was accomplished, when President Abraham Lincoln issued, in the midst of the Civil War, a Thanksgiving Proclamation. In it the last Thursday of November was set apart for that purpose and made a national holiday.

Since then, every president has followed Lincoln’s example, and annually proclaims as a “Day of Thanksgiving” the fourth Thursday in November. Only President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date, in 1939, from the fourth to the third Thursday of November (to extend the time of Christmas sales). This caused so much consternation and protest that in 1941 the traditional date was restored.

Be attentive to the sacrifices your husband makes for the family. Each day he battles the world, the flesh and the devil out in the workforce for you. Don’t let that go unnoticed. Thank him often! Appreciate him. -Finer Femininity

The Mass: The Perfect Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Catholics take the opportunity to meditate on how much we have to be grateful for, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

Father Kenneth Walker’s (R.I.P.+) First Mass:

The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland

Men have not only prayed in thanksgiving, but have offered in thanksgiving: something that was a sign of themselves, to show they were thankful for life, were sorry for their sins against the Giver of life, would give their lives in return, if they might, to the One they owe so much.

They made offerings in thanks for the things that sustain life, for the preservation of life. “Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat.”

“So Noah went out, he and his sons, his wife and the wives of his sons – all living things went out of the ark. And Noah built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowl that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar….”

They made bloody offerings, because the offering is a symbol of the offerer, and blood is the essence of life. Blood is life.

There were other offerings: “Melchizedek, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God, blessed him and said, `Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth.'”

“‘ .. Because bread maintains life, and wine enhances life. God told them what to sacrifice and how to sacrifice; but especially He told them to make the sacrifice of the Pasch, because it was a memorial to their freedom and their protection, a memorial of thanksgiving to the God who loved them: ”

. . . and it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, one year … and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening.” . . . ”

And this day shall be a memorial unto you: and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord … for with a strong hand the Lord hath brought you out of this place.”

He brought them through water, led them by fire, fed them with manna, and when they sinned against Him, He chastised them and accepted their sacrifices of expiation. He made it part of their Law, their Covenant, that they were to offer sacrifice: of reparation, of petition, of praise, of thanksgiving.

Then Christ came. When it was time for the thing to happen for which He came, He said to the Apostles, “This is my body, which is being given for you; do this, in remembrance of me.” And He said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you.”

This was the new covenant, the new Pasch … “in my blood,” He said. From that moment on, they were to make sacrifice “in my blood.”

The offering is a symbol of the offerer. Blood is the essence of life. This is our gift to offer: His Body and Blood, every day.

Think of all the things the Redemption accomplished, and do not forget this last: to put into our hands the perfect Gift, the pure Victim – “holy and spotless, the holy bread of everlasting life and the chalice of everlasting salvation.”

THE VALUE OF THE MASS 

  • At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.
  • Every Mass will go with you to Judgment and will plead pardon for you.
  • By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less, according to your fervor.
  • By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.
  • Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
  • He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed. The Power of Satan over you is diminished.
  • By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
  • One Holy Mass heard during your life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.
  • Through the Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.
  • During Holy Mass you kneel amid a multitude of holy Angels, who are present at the Adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.
  • Through Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
  • When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honor of any particular Saint or Angel thanking God for the favors bestowed on him, you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honor, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection for yourself.
  • Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honor of the Saint of the day.

The history books will tell you that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Protestant pilgrims of Massachusetts in 1621. Not so. There was the Catholic Thanksgiving of 1565 in Florida and another Catholic Thanksgiving of 1589 in Texas….

Read more here.

Advent Chaplet /Hail and Blessed,/ St. Andrew Novena) and Prayer Card!

This St. Andrew Novena Chaplet consists of 15 beads that make up the 15 prayers for the novena throughout the Advent Season up to Christmas Eve. The chaplet is wire wrapped with Vintaj square brass wire and will last for many Advents to come! Also included is a laminated prayer card that has the novena prayer printed on it.

Review: “Quality materials and workmanship. There will be no losing beads because the wire is beautifully woven in and around each bead itself. The box it came in had a handmade flower glued on it, inside a little ribboned gift bag with the prayer card. It could have been gifted as is. Shipped quickly.

An aside: This chaplet was quickly and accidentally adopted by my four year old because “It’s pretty so its prayers will be pretty.” Well, that isn’t quite the point but I love how little kids’ minds make connections. We prayed 15 Glory Be prayers that day, and the next day 15 little Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity.”

Available here.

Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion….

You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! 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! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

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

The Wife Desired is Patient – Fr. Leo Kinsella

Painting by Alfredo Rodriguez

From The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

Webster’s Dictionary has this to say about patience. Patience is “uncomplaining endurance of wrongs or misfortunes.” Patience “denotes self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation.” It also suggests “quiet waiting for what is expected” or persistence in what has been begun. Forbearance, leniency, and sufferance are given as synonyms.

Patience is a quality of maturity. Little children are not noted for “uncomplaining endurance of wrongs.” Mother would begin looking for the thermometer should she notice anything resembling “quiet waiting for what is expected.” It takes a bit of living and dodging of the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” before people get enough sense to value patience.

Patience connotes a “self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation,” and it brings to one a quiet confidence. The patient wife is master of her own soul. She, and not every imp to come flying into her mind, is in charge of her own fort.

Since no one can be truly successful without patience, it should be expected that the possession of the virtue is a requisite for every desired wife.

Indeed, no vocation or profession in life requires patience more than that of husband and wife.

The first reason for this that they live in such proximity to each other. They rub elbows day in and day out. There is bound to be a little chafing here and there. Among saints there would be. Patience is the soothing oil preventing the irritations from becoming running sores.

Some years ago I was faced with the necessity of working up a talk on the ideal wife. Naturally, I was open for suggestions, particularly from a few ideal wives whose friendship I highly prize.

One evening, as I visited the home of one of these friends, I mentioned the task with which I was confronted.

“Mary, if you had to give an hour talk on the ideal wife to high school seniors or to a woman’s club, what would you discuss?”

Here was the voice of experience talking. I was not asking any air scout how to fly that Constellation. The senior pilot of the airlines was briefing me now. I was not asking any camp fire girl how to whip up that batter of soda biscuit mix. Grandma herself was looking over her glasses at me.

I think that it is of interest to point out here that, although she did not indicate that she considered patience the most important quality of the desired wife, she unhesitatingly suggested it first.

Not only did she mention patience first, but she also explained what she meant by patience in the wife.

Notice that the discussion deals with the patience required of the wife, not of the mother in her relations with her children.

A woman is first the wife of her husband before she is the mother of his children. Later I hope to say a few words concerning the twofold role which the woman must play.

At present I just want to make it clear that Mary is no rattle brain. She was on the ball and stayed there. She was explaining what she meant by the patience in the wife and her dealings with her husband.

Marriage is not a fifty-fifty proposition. (This of course, is Mary talking through my memory.) The wife who enters marriage with the misconception that it is, has failure lurking just around the corner. Often she will think that she is giving her fifty per cent. As a matter of fact, it is only fifteen or twenty per cent. On many other occasions the husband unconsciously is demanding ninety per cent. The fifty per cent proffered falls miserably short. The result is two people at loggerheads. A fight begins and love takes a beating, if it is not turned out-of-doors.

The understanding, the sympathy, and the patience required for happy living cannot be measured out. The stupid expression “marriage is a fifty-fifty deal” implies yardsticks, tape measures, half cups, full tablespoons, and the like.

Love has nothing to do with these things–will not be fenced in by them, for love partakes of the very limitlessness of God.

A wife’s parsimonious measuring out of her imagined fifty per cent produces many serious fights.

She wins these fights too and loses her husband.

Let us illustrate the above by concrete examples.

The wife was getting supper ready. John was fighting the traffic on his way home from work. She was humming softly as she busied herself contentedly about the kitchen. He was muttering loudly the red light blues. She felt fine. He was half sick and out of sorts. Things had not been going well at work. He was upset and unwittingly looking for a fight.

As he entered the house and gave Mary a little hug and kiss, she noticed that he looked tense and jumpy. A few minutes later she could hear him scolding one of the children. The storm warnings should have been flying by now. They had better steer clear of him tonight.

Before the family was called to the supper table, Mary had been fully on guard. Unless she was very mistaken her husband was going to demand much more than fifty per cent somewhere along the evening. So the measuring devices, the half cups and full tablespoons were behind her for this evening.

The meal was already prepared. She would not use them on her husband. She would not measure out her patience and understanding. Her husband was definitely off color this evening. She would give him her all. No matter what he said, she would pass it off.

The supper got off to as good a start as could have been expected with the cloud hanging over the table. Soon one of the children massacred table etiquette in such manner as to cause Emily Post to wince.

Before her husband could draw in sufficient breath to let out a blast at the culprit, she quickly took the wind out of his sail by firmly correcting the child. Before the dessert appeared, she took in her stride a caustic remark about the quality of the pot roast and a criticism leveled at her through one of her children.

Mary was nobody’s dish rag. She had a lot of fire and spirit. She could have stood up to him that night, “let him have it,” and have had a fight which she might have won, or, at least in which she would have held her own. But, did anyone ever win a fight of this kind?

This ideal wife had made up her mind to carry her husband through the evening, come what might. He was not himself.

Tomorrow would be another day. If he had been physically sick in bed and needed her care, would she have given only fifty per cent? Of course not. She would have nursed and lavished upon him all the warmth of her nature.

Well, he was sick that night–sick in mind and spirit. He needed her intelligent, loving and patient consideration. She would have considered herself a very shallow person to have reacted otherwise. She was in love with her husband that night too, unreasonable though he was.

A few weeks later the tables were turned. She was the one who was at wits end with herself. She started the day with a headache and things went from bad to worse. It was a rainy day, and for some unfathomable reason the school shut its doors on the children.

They were under her feet all day. Often she had to act as referee in their squabbles. As the afternoon wore on toward supper time, she was becoming conditioned for more adult opposition.

An unsuspecting husband made his entry. He was back to his little castle in the suburb with roses round the door (metaphorically speaking) and babies on the floor (literally speaking).

During the meal Mary “blew her top” about something. Oh yes, the car did not start that afternoon. The battery or something must have been dead. Some junk! It was time they had a new car.

So it was a junk, was it? John could think of the days of work it had taken to buy that old bus a few years previous. It was still a good car. What did women know about cars anyway? There ought to have been a law against women ever—-.

There is no future in this kind of thought, so John quickly banished the hideous little devil from his mind. Mary was worked up tonight. He would have to be cautious. Did he defend his car against his wife? John was a little too sharp for that.

He jumped on the band wagon and lambasted the car too. Yes. We would have to do something about that nuisance. He felt like going out then and burning it up. He knew that by the time they got to the dishes, she would have forgotten all about the car.

Mary purred through the rest of the meal contentedly with that wonderful feeling that her husband was all for her. Together they stood against the whole world.

Suppose that John had been a little thick between the ears and that he took exceptions to her remarks about the car and defended the car against his wife. A fight would have ensued. Feelings would have been hurt. And there was danger that their tempers would have swept them on to the name calling stage. Once this has been reached, real harm frequently has been done to a marriage.

Mary finished her explanation of what she meant by patience by saying that she and her husband had never had a fight in the twelve years of married life. Then she added what I thought was the epitome of her whole conversation by saying that she and her husband did not intend to have any fights.

This determination not to fight was indicative of their intelligence and maturity. Surely it was one of the factors contributing to the happy stability of their marriage.

This couple has had arguments and disagreements I believe that I have been in on a few warm ones. An argument is not a fight.

People with minds of their own will not always see eye to eye on every phase of their daily lives. Viewpoints will vary and disagreements will result even as to whether or not junior should have a crew haircut. But let us not make junior a ward of the divorce court because husband and wife cannot agree on the proper length of junior’s hair. After all, it is not that important.

Arguments and disagreements degenerate into fights, when ill-feeling, name-calling and bitterness come into the picture. The ideal wife, fortified with the virtue of patience, sets her face against such loss of harmony. Whatever be the cost she wisely realizes that her effort at peace is worth the price.

No good comes from fights in married life. I have been asked whether it is not a good idea for husband and wife to have a fight once in a while. The air is thus cleared. The very young, theorizing about this, often add that it is so sweet when they make up. In connection with this question one inquirer quoted Bishop Fulton Sheen as saying that a couple never really knows how much they love each other until they have made up after their first fight.

Nothing was said about how many found out how little they loved each other and never made up.

It is very true that sometimes good comes out of evil. Yet, how insane it is to seek or even permit avoidable evil, on the chance some good might come of it.

Fights among married people are evil things and bring untold misery into lives. So many broken marriages have come before me in which there was no third party, no drinking, no in-law trouble, no major difficulty. They just fought. So often people are less mature than their children, whom they have brought into the world to endure their bad tempers.

Fights begin between human beings because of pride. We have a will of our own. When we do not get our way pride suffers. Like children we want to fight the opposition to our will. So far we have no control of our reactions. We are made this way.

If we are adults, however, we have learned by bitter experience that our pride is the surest destroyer of happiness and love. Unless we are psycho-masochists, we crush our insurgent pride and prevent ourselves the stupid and dubious pleasure of hurting the one who has stung our pride.

Once a fight has begun between man and wife it is clear that one or the other must win the struggle against pride. One or the other must curb the desire to win the empty victory.

If the wife makes the first effort at reconciliation, her humility will make it difficult for the husband to nurse his pride. Pride cannot face up to humility. It is shamed out of existence.

Even when husband and wife make up completely after a fight, a fight is still unfortunate. Fights leave scars. The wound heals, but there ever remains a scar in the mind.

I have had many estranged married people tell me that their partners did this or that to them twenty-five or thirty years ago. Happy years had intervened between the fight and the present estrangement. But they could not forget, even if they had forgiven.

The wife desired meditates deeply on the hatefulness of fighting.

She has made up her mind to suffer anything rather than fight and thus wound her husband. Remember that there is always the danger that we begin to hate whom we hurt for the same reason that we begin to love whom we help.

finer-fem-quote-for-the-day3

“Lord, Help me to be a good wife.  I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help.  Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things.  Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.  Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation.  Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy.  I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment.  Only You can transform me.”

Do you want an idea for a simple Christmas activity? Join Angelo for a night of fun building a simple Christmas nativity scene with his nieces and nephews…

Graceful Vintaj Wire-Wrapped Rosary Bracelets! Take  Your Rosary Wherever You Go!

Available here.

 

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

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

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

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

Lying – Emphasize the Importance of Truth

by Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children

To deny that God is the remedy for a child’s lying is to forget that Christ said, “I am the Truth.”

It is quite probable that there are more immediate reasons, but there’s only one perfect cure, and that is love of Christ.

Children are not born liars. They don’t bother to lie when they’re tiny because they haven’t learned yet the pattern of crime and punishment. But after they have, they decide to try ducking the punishment by pretending they have committed no crime. On the surface, it’s a perfectly logical thing to do.

Any mother who has a child who has never told a lie must thank God for giving her child unusual graces. However, all is not lost if a child does lie. It only means that he is showing the effects of Original Sin. Our job is to give him a motive for not lying that will override the motives for lying.

Telling him it isn’t nice won’t do it. By the time he’s in the first grade, he’ll discover that it isn’t always honesty that is rewarded, but carefulness. And the older he gets, the more he’s able to look about the world and discover that the rules for success do not include a complete devotion to truth.

We can tell him that lying is a sin, which he certainly must realize; indeed, for children who have made their First Communion, it’s a matter for Confession. To hold that fear of sin is a bad thing for a child is nonsense. The fruits of sin are death to the soul, and it depends on how you look at the soul just where you intend to start setting up a few healthy frustrations.

You can give way to the philosophy of complete freedom and permit your child to run wild in the name of the passive approach, and he may end up in eternity with a frustration for which there is no cure.

Nevertheless, just chatting about sin won’t accomplish much if he has nothing against which to measure sin.

The story of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai is a dramatic framework in which to anchor the idea of sin, and reading children the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Exodus — in their own words — will help to make not only the Commandments but the catechism lessons on the Commandments far more vivid and dramatic than dry references to them as things to be learned and obeyed. Lying is a sin against the Eighth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

A picture of a soul in the state of grace helps, too. It’s told of St. Catherine of Siena that she fell to her knees before a vision of such light and beauty that she thought it was God. And when an angel said to her, “Arise, Catherine, for it is God alone thou shalt adore,” she asked what it was she saw. The angel replied that it was only the sight of a soul in the state of grace.

If we have taught our children that the Holy Trinity resides in their souls as long as they commit no serious sin, we must make it clear that venial sin does destroy some of the splendor, and although the Trinity remains, out of merciful pity for our weakness, God is not so sublimely happy as before.

It’s my experience that, of all the things one says to a child who is tempted to lie, “Please, dear, don’t do anything that will destroy the beauty of your soul” has the most telling effect. That is, if he understands something of the beauty of the soul.

The positive reasons for being good are, however, far more rewarding than the negative, and the positive reason for not lying is Jesus’ statement, “I am the Truth.” When He stood before Pilate, He said, “Everyone that is of truth heareth my voice.”

The small voice of conscience that warns us to tell the truth in times of temptation is like the voice of our Lord in us, begging us to be one with Him.

“You must try to remember, dear, when you’re tempted to lie, that Jesus is present, waiting to see if you will be with Him or against Him. He not only said He is the Truth, but He also said the Devil is the father of lies. So there is a great choice to be made. A lie doesn’t just pop into your head. The Devil whispers it there. He hates our Lord and wants you to hate Him, too.

When you think it would be better to lie than receive the blame for something wrong you’ve done, try to stop first, and think how much you love our Lord. If you’re afraid to tell the truth, then inside yourself tell Him you’re afraid. Ask Him, quickly, ‘Please help me to tell the truth.’

He’ll send you the grace in the wink of an eye if only you’ll ask, and your soul will be stronger for telling the truth because you’ll have done a very brave thing.”

Does it work? I wish I could say, “Yes, they’ll never tell a lie again.” But it’s such a big idea, and children do not retain a lesson, word for word, after being told just once.

The emotional urgency is very strong when it comes to telling a lie. It isn’t the same mood at all as night prayers, when a child is fairly recollected and thinking of God. It usually follows some calamity, and with his heart pounding in his breast the temptation comes and almost overpowers him. He’s frightened, or he wouldn’t toy with the idea in the first place.

And we must try to remember this. It’s best never to ask a child (if we can keep our heads), “Did you do it?” especially if we know that the temptation to lie is especially strong in this child. Given only a matter of seconds to reply, he’s quite likely to seek frantic cover in a lie. Demanding such a quick answer is unfair.

And although it isn’t good to hint that we will distrust his answer even before he gives it, for children who find telling the truth difficult there’s a measure of security to be told, “Now, before I ask you, I want you to know I understand how hard it is sometimes to tell the truth. If you did this thing that you know was naughty, there must be some kind of right punishment for it. But to add a lie would only make it twice as bad.

Stop and ask God to help you tell the truth, and then if you must have a punishment, it can be your penance, your way of telling Him you’re sorry.”

I know one little boy who had great difficulty with lies. He learned to calm down and get over his first panic when he was given five minutes to go alone to his room and kneel down and say a Hail Mary to ask for the grace to tell the truth.

This is not just a mechanical trick to free a child of his tension. Hail Marys are effective — and why shouldn’t they be? Mary is the Mediatrix of all grace; if human mothers are concerned about teaching their children truthfulness, how much more so the Mother of God?

So often, however, the situation that precipitates a lie has everyone off balance, mother as well as child; and only because I have made the mistake myself do I presume to warn other mothers against the “I want the truth” approach.

God wants the truth, whether from a small child or a grown man; to allow it to rest simply on a mother’s demand for the truth leaves the field wide open for lying under other circumstances.

We’re raising children who will soon be men and women, who will have to contain within them the soundest reasons of all for telling the truth, no matter what the personal cost.

It’s obvious from the daily news reports that even personal honor has no meaning to many people anymore, that perjury is as easy as breathing, and if no one finds out, what does it matter?

But even personal honor is not a good enough reason. Pride in one’s truthfulness is as risky for the soul as cleverness at lying, and it’s a form of self-love with which the Devil can eventually have a field day.

If we can teach our children to tell the truth for the love of God, we can know for certain that each temptation resisted binds them closer to Christ and that through Him they will gradually develop a hunger for the truth.

Relating punishment to penance helps to lift it out of the category of “getting it” because Mother is mad. It helps a mother or father, too, to remember the reason for punishment for anyone, for anything. Fundamentally it is because we have offended God.

If we start punishing children or men or societies because we’re mad, we’ll end up annihilating them.

Unless we really want our children to conclude that we’re mean little dictators, we must learn to instruct and chastise them from God’s point of view.

I must confess this is very hard, not so much the instruction as the chastising — and if suffering all the remorse that follows the too-harsh punishment of a child has any value for parents, it is seeing all over again their own weakness and how, if they are to teach effectively at all, they must learn detachment well enough to be able to separate their own irritations and anger from the cause, and not use punishments as a personal sop for their disappointment with their children.

Of course, when you know that a child has done something wrong, it’s being coy to ask him if he did. It’s better to let him see that you know. Asking is only throwing temptation in his way.

As for children who spin tales, all mothers recognize these tales when they hear them; and when children are very little, they love to have us pretend to believe them.

Like Stephen’s mythical “friends.” His friends do all the horrid things he’s not supposed to do. He feels very virtuous to be able to regale us with hair-raising accounts of how some of his friends eat, talk back to their mothers, stamp their feet, and throw stones through windows.

I am sure it’s very healthy for Stephen to have such horrible friends and to feel so superior to them. At least it makes eating nicely much more rewarding when he’s able to drain off his secret desire to get in there with both hands by clucking over his friends.

But then Stephen is only three and some months, and no one, not even he, is really fooled.

Another lad who is older can spin a yarn that is really out of this world. He once had a teacher who rubbed him the wrong way, and he came home with wild tales about things she said to him. None of it belonged in the class of serious lies. It was his own private way of getting sympathy and “getting even.” And he nearly got me into difficulty one time by reporting that she had publicly criticized him for not having his hair shampooed often enough (could be).

I was all set to bike down and give her a small piece of my mind on the subject of humiliating children in front of the class. But God is good. Before my temperature rose too high, He sent a small grace that suggested I take a chance on guessing that it was an invention.

I said, “You really made that up, didn’t you?” He looked a little sheepish, and then said yes. We had a long talk about making up stories, and how sometimes it seems like a good thing to do, and how it isn’t really a bad thing to do unless, of course, you make up something like this, which puts someone else in a very bad light. Then it could be terrible.

Now that he was older, he ought to try to remember that it’s best to identify the stories as “stories” and be more careful not to give everyone the impression that he doesn’t care about the truth.

When we finally got down to business and shampooed his hair, I decided Teacher would have been well justified if she had made some remarks about it. It was June, and he was pretty grimy, and maybe the whole thing started in the first place because, poor darling, he was longing for a shampoo.

Anyway, if you persevere, the teaching about lying works eventually. With some children, it works right away, but the fact that a child does have difficulty with lying is no reason to abandon hope. One who will not lie may find that some other virtue is hard.

Our job is to explain it patiently and often, theirs is to ask for the grace, and God will do most of the work.

Monica was telling me about a wrangle at school that involved lying. A Catholic child and a Protestant child were having an argument over religion. The Catholic child said that Catholics do not lie. The Protestant child said they do; only Protestants do not lie.

“What did you say?”

“Oh, I said both Catholics and Protestants will lie if only they will listen to the Devil telling them to lie.” So that’s that.

Now, all this will be so much noise if we’re not examples of impeccable truthfulness ourselves. Children are not easy to fool, and if we’re given to elaborate promises that we don’t qualify (“If it’s possible, I will . . .” “I’ll try very hard to . . .” “We’ll see, dear, maybe we can . . .” and so forth) and don’t keep, they’ll do exactly as they see us do, and we can take all the credit for it.

This involves all kinds of things, such as what to tell them about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, where babies come from, and all the rest.

And whether they like to admit it or not, the elaborate fictions parents invent about these things amount, in the end, to nothing more or less than lies.

“You are the most important person your child will ever know. Your relationship with him will transcend, in depth of feeling, any other relationship he probably will ever have–even the one with his marriage partner. From you he will learn what true love really is. From the tenderness you show and the security you give, you will develop his attitudes toward other human beings which will always remain with him.” -The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George Kelly http://amzn.to/2CvZdQ6 (afflink)

 

Lovely Aprons by Gin!

Make a statement with this lovely and graceful “Our Lady of the Streets” 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.

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

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

Delicious Christmas teas…. I love this brand of tea! What a great Christmas gift idea!


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

Encouraging Catholic Customs

This is a post on Catholic customs…a very important part of our spiritual walk with our families…. (And how can you tell I’m excited about Advent!!?)

If you have been following my site, you may have adopted some of the customs we talk about here. The following are some sample pages from the Traditional Advent Journal.

Digital version the Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal here.

Here is the link to the book.

Samples…

 

  

From A Candle is Lighted, P. Stewart Craig

THE FAMILY

There is a whole school of thought that sniffs at the idea of encouraging Catholic customs in the home—or anywhere else, for that matter. Customs like the saying of the rosary together, the decorating of an altar in May seem to them too childish for consideration.

For them the doctrines of the Church are sufficient, without these extras. And indeed the doctrines of the Church are enough for anyone. They are like straight, unwinding roads that lead into eternity; only on either side of these roads are hedges and ditches and meadows and all sorts of flowers.

The ultra- catholic Catholic is not interested in these flowers or fields. Still, such things are to a road what Catholic customs are to the faith; they adorn it, enliven it, they help to keep one on the journey.

It is not strange that all sorts of devotional practices have sprung up round Catholicism, sometimes practices that may seem rather trifling until one realizes that customs cannot be worthless that have evolved from the faith of the people through many hundreds of years, sometimes through well over a thousand years.

What family is there that does not use certain sayings and phrases that have significance only for those belonging to the circle? What family exists that has no peculiar customs, nicknames, rites, birthday ceremonial that outsiders cannot be expected to appreciate?

I can remember an unfailing ritual that was observed among us as children when we ate porridge. First, you ate it all round the edge until half of it was gone and then straight across until the red and blue figure of Tom the piper’s son showed himself on the bottom of the plate, complete with pig and pursuing policeman.

Why we did that I have no idea and I doubt if anyone can account for the curious rites they observed as children. Those rites are not necessary for family life, but they adorn it and enliven it.

And since the Church is not an institution but a family that ranges from God and God’s mother and thence to the saints and thence to the souls in purgatory and from them to ourselves, is it astonishing that spiritual family rites and customs have sprung up?

It is surprising how few people think of this. But the parents who do enter into these spiritual family customs can give their children treasures, whose value they may not realize until eternity. And not only parents can do this, but anyone who works with young people and children, whether in school or clubs or any type of organization.

There is nothing forced in this idea: why does the church in her liturgy allot the various days to the honor of her saints, or to events in the lives of Christ and of Mary, if she does not wish us to celebrate them in some way?

These feasts are fixed, but the way they can be celebrated can vary—and does vary tremendously from place to place.

With the passing of time the festivities and the customs of the day have also changed, still the essence remains the same.

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“Bank holidays are a poor exchange for the feasts of the Church. It means that people’s noses are now kept much longer to the grindstone than they ever were in the days when the civil year was based on the liturgy.

It means too that a popular, vivid, visual way of teaching the faith has almost disappeared. Those who work with young people, in schools or any sort of youth organizations, or those with families of young children are the only ones who can ensure that this way of making religion real does not vanish completely.

Many of the Church’s feasts were celebrated in a childish, obvious even crude way. This ought to be a recommendation, rather than a drawback. When boys and girls drift away from their faith the reason almost always is that this faith has never been a reality to them. The popular celebrations that obtained so long in this country did indeed help to make the faith real then to those who took part; it could do so again.”

“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/2vBGgH7 (afflink)

Thought you’d enjoy this one….

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Celebrate with this beautiful Christmas soap pack. Give the gift of beautiful, gentle, nourishing, 100% natural soaps. Get in the Christmas spirit, with Frankincense and Myrrh, Candy Cane, Christmas Forest etc.

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Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.

Now with photographs from the original edition.

Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!

With the help of Maria Von Trapp, you, too, can provide Christian structure and vibrancy to your home. Soon your home will be a warm and loving place, an earthly reflection of our eternal home.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Martinmas ~ Our Lady’s Presentation ~ Priests’ Saturday

From A Candle is Lighted, P. Stewart Craig

MARTINMAS: NOVEMBER 11TH

St. Martin’s day once used to rival St. John’s day, so much was it given to rejoicings and festivities. So often did Martinmas bring with it a brief return of warm weather that the days around the feast are still called to this day “St. Martin’s summer.”

All types of people claimed Martin as their patron—”monks, priests, soldiers, knights, travelers, inn-keepers, charitable organizations of every kind.” Why these last claimed Martin as patron the office of his feast makes clear: “At the age of 15 he became a soldier and served in the army, first of Constantius, afterwards of Julian. On one occasion when a poor naked man at Amiens begged an alms of him in the name of Christ, having nothing but his armor and clothing, he gave him half his military cloak. The following night Christ appeared to him clad in that half cloak, and said; `Martin, while yet a catechumen, has clothed me with this garment.'”

How better could one honor St. Martin’s day than by living it in that spirit of his? Martin gave away half his cloak: we can go through our wardrobe and select any clothes that are at all superfluous—if we would really resemble Martin we should give more than what can be spared—and we can immediately send or give it to someone in need, either directly, or indirectly through some organization.

It is important to remember, though, that Martin gave the cloak he was actually wearing, that is to say, something that was fit to be worn. The idea is not to give away merely old clothes, but garments in such condition that we ourselves would be willing to wear them.

After all, when Martin saw his cloak, not on the beggar but on Christ himself, it was reality that he saw. Any clothes, any single thing that we give to another person we are giving to Christ himself.

OUR LADY’S PRESENTATION: NOVEMBER 21ST

This feast was kept for hundreds of years in the east before the west took it over; and in England it was observed long before the rest of Europe.

“The lovely Virgin being born according to the divine decrees, her parents led her to the temple, to fulfill their promise to give her to her Creator. Anna in her joy thus cried out to the priest: `Receive this child, lead her into the most secluded parts of the temple; surround her with all care: for she was given me as the fruit of my prayers, and in the joy of my faith I promised to devote her to God her Creator.'”

It is easy to see how this day, which describes Mary as entering upon a new life, to which she would bring ever greater exactness to her service of God, came to be thought a fitting occasion for priests and religious to renew their vows.

One may still commemorate the traditional life of Mary in the temple by making this day an occasion in youth groups or schools when everyone belonging to any Catholic organization renews their membership and the promises they have made on being accepted. This renewal might well be made in the church, and after the ceremony some sort of general party or festivity could be arranged.

PRIEST’S SATURDAY

As recently as 1934 the General of the Salvatorians suggested to Pope Pius XI that one Saturday each month might become a day specially devoted to prayers for priests. Pius XI agreed wholeheartedly, declaring that he praised and blessed the suggestion, and since 1934, bishops of more than fifty European dioceses have recommended this practice.

How does one take part in Priests’ Saturday? It means offering the Saturday after the First Friday of the month wholly and entirely for the sanctification of priests throughout the world; offering Mass and Holy Communion together with all the prayers, actions, joys, sorrows of the day and offering it all to Christ through the hands of Mary.

Many people probably pray for priests on the Ember days, which are the ordination days. But then it is naturally for the newly ordained. Priests’ Saturday is intended to help all priests—the Pope, the bishops, missionaries, all who teach in seminaries and schools, the contemplative religious, the parish priests.

For some people a week-day Mass will be impossible. Still they can make an offering of their whole day, and they could say this prayer at least once on Priests’ Saturday:

“Divine Savior, Jesus Christ, who have entrusted your work of redemption to the priests, who take your place on earth, I offer you, through the hands of your most holy Mother, for the sanctification of your priests and future priests this whole day, all my prayers, works, joys, sacrifices and sufferings. Give us saintly priests. Grant to them apostolic hearts, filled with love for you and all the souls belonging to you, so that, being themselves sanctified in you, they may sanctify us who are entrusted to their care and bring us safely into Heaven.

Loving Jesus, bless all their priestly work and sacrifice. Bless all their prayers and words at the altar and in the confessional, in the pulpit, in the school and at the sickbed. Call many young men to the priesthood and the monastic life. Protect and sanctify all who will become your priests. And grant to the souls of the priests who have departed this life, eternal rest.

And do you, Mary, Mother of all priests, take them under your special protection and lead them ever to the highest priestly sanctity.”

“Mothers, as far as possible, be at home with your children. As you nourished your child before he was capable of eating solid food, so in the early formative years, nature has determined that you must nourish your child in virtue.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2lCqRG5

A package special for you! Volumes 1 & 2 of Catholic Mother Goose! Available here.

When my children were young I loved to read to them stories, poems and nursery rhymes! They knew those rhymes inside and out and it was such a happy pastime! I did yearn, at times, for little ditties that had more meaning…….So I decided to write a book myself for the generation after me….especially thinking of my grandchildren, but for all Catholic children everywhere!

Our own children grew up learning and repeating Nursery Rhymes. It was very enjoyable and it was an easy way to teach the children the use of rhythm and rhyme. How much more meaningful those little poems would have been if there had been more depth in the considerations behind each little verse!

That is where this book comes in. It gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children. Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith.

Research shows children learn more in their first eight years than they do in the rest of their lives. This is a powerful time to teach them.

Most important, it is a crucial time for us, as those devout Catholic parents of old, to teach our children their Faith as they sit at our feet and learn from us.

So, parents, here is a teaching tool that can help! These are meaningful little rhymes that will provide an enjoyable way to teach your children and will enrich your home with Catholic culture!

Encourage your children to learn the poems in this book. Let them peruse the pages and look at the pictures. You will find that it will be a meaningful experience for all!

 

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

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

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

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