The Saint of Modern Times ~ Christ in the Home

A home ruled by the spirit of Christ is a happy home. It is also a school of virtue directed to spiritual transformation in Christ. But Christ does not force His entry into a home. He enters only by invitation. He remains only when evidently welcome.

It is the wise bride and groom who let Him know by their spiritual preparation for marriage that they want Him to accompany them from the altar of their vows into the home they are about to establish.

It is the wise husband and wife who let Him know they want Him always present by striving to put on His mind and to establish their family according to His principles. In such a home, husband and wife and children will enjoy gladness of heart, happiness in the fulfillment of duty, and intense union of souls.

The strength and honor of the family come above all from within, from union with Christ which gives power to manifest in daily living the beautiful family virtues of patience, energy, generosity, forbearance, cheerfulness, and mutual reverence with their consequent effect of peace and contentment.

This is an invitation to the married or those about to marry, to spend the interior effort required to unite them solidly in Christ and to make them worthy transmitters of the Christ-life to their family. It is an invitation to fulfill the high purpose of their marriage which is to help each other to sanctity and to rear saints for heaven; to possess Christ themselves as completely as possible and to give Christ to their children.

         Now sanctity is the result of personal cooperation with grace. It is no passive attainment. Equally true is it that spiritual truths and principles merely known but not realized are of little force in stimulating spiritual energy and effort

THE SAINT OF MODERN TIMES

       Formerly when people dreamed of sanctity or even of the interior life, they aspired to one thing only–to get away from the world, to go off to the desert, or at least to the priesthood or the religious state.

To become a saint in the world, to acquire a true and profound union with God in the world, to exercise oneself in the practice of complete abnegation, and to pursue perfection in the world seemed scarcely possible.

People are beginning to realize better that there is such a thing as sanctity in the world.

We honor those who follow a priestly vocation or a consecrated life in religion. They have chosen the better part which will not be taken from them.

But are we to conclude, therefore, that the laity, because they live in the world, because they have entered the married state, must be content with a cheaper view of perfection? Must they assume that the practice of the highest virtues is not for them? That they may not aspire to divine union and the secret joys of a valiant fidelity inspired by love?

Fortunately there are many who realize the falsity of such a conclusion. Saint Francis de Sales challenged the laity to strive for high sanctity.

“The world of today longs to contemplate the saint of modern times who will take his place beside the ancient and venerable figures of our history,” observes Rademacher, the author of “Religion and Life.”

“It demands the saintly man of the world who unites harmoniously in his personality all the aspects of a noble humanism established on correct values, entirely impregnated with a living faith, a strong love of God, and a supple, joyous participation in the life of the Church…

There ought to be even now on this earth a type of saintly employee, saintly merchant, saintly industrialist, saintly peasant, saintly wife, saintly woman of Christian culture and refinement.

The saint’s role in the world today is to be the pioneer of the new family, of the new State, of the new Society, of the new humanity, of the Kingdom of God which is always new.”

No profession is of itself an obstacle to holiness. No state of life is an obstacle; and marriage, if rightly understood, not only demands holiness but leads those who fulfill all its requirements to true sanctity.

In trying to picture what the saint of the next centuries should be, Foerster did not hesitate to write: “Just as in former times the saint was characterized by his courage to confess his faith and die a martyr, since he held faith to be his highest ideal for which he must be willing to suffer; just as the saint of the Middle Ages and even of our own day, has been characterized by virginity, since then and now, and especially in our times, it requires a struggle to conquer many temptations to preserve personal purity; so perhaps the saint of the centuries to come will be the perfect wife or husband, since the vital ideal for which we should willingly suffer today is the sacredness of marriage.”

There is much truth in these words. It may be thought that the age of martyrs is not so far distant as the author would have us believe. And consecrated virginity, thank God, continues to hold a strong appeal for many souls.

But is Foerster not pathetically correct in stating that saints in married life, in conjugal fidelity, are a crying need of our age to counteract the attacks on the family and notably the attacks on the indissolubility of marriage?

“At a certain moment when going to confession to a Capuchin father, St. Therese came to understand that it was just the opposite: her “defects did not displease God” and her littleness attracted God’s love, just as a father is moved by the weakness of his children and loves them still more as soon as he sees their good will and sincere love.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe,The Way of Trust and Love, http://amzn.to/2fpXVzl Painting by Millie Childers

 

 

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A must-read for the married and those considering marriage! This guidebook to finding a happy marriage, keeping a happy marriage, and raising happy children has been out of print for over 50 years…until now! From the master of the spiritual life, Raoul Plus, S.J., it contains loads of practical and spiritual advice on family life. Have you been looking for a handbook on marriage and raising children that is based on truth? You’ve found it!

The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God and make us more like Him.

No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart! In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life, a simplicity which in the saints is completely focused on its true center, God.

That’s easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.

For our lives are complicated and our personalities too. (We even make our prayers and devotions more complicated than they need be!)

In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for the even the most tangled lives.

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The Excellence of Motherhood

From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, 1927

Nature’s Great Mystery

The labor of childbirth for the mother remains one of the deepest mysteries of nature. Why something that is so necessary for the preservation of the human race should be coupled with so much difficulty, pain and danger baffles our understanding.

The fall in paradise and the consequent curse inflicted by the Lord upon woman hardly accounts for what we call the natural mystery; for human nature, whilst it dropped from its preternatural and supernatural elevation through the fall, is not worse or otherwise than it would have been, had it never been elevated.

Why then is childbirth naturally so arduous and perilous?

The Excellence of Motherhood

The best explanation seems to be given by the high dignity and sublime prerogative of motherhood. Nature demands a corresponding payment for whatever distinctions and privileges she bestows.

She confers no higher excellence and gives no loftier station than that of motherhood: hence the big price she demands in return in the way of maternal suffering, anxiety and dread.

Her reward for their endurance, however, is also in proportion to their size and intensity.

Our Lord expresses it thus: “A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John, 16, 21).

By common consent mankind gives more consideration, appreciation and gratitude to the mother than to the father. We have a fine historical illustration of this in the rapturous exclamation of the woman in regard to our Savior: “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee” (Luke, 11, 27).

She centered all her admiration and gave all the credit to the mother. Jesus had no father according to the flesh, of course; yet the woman was not aware of this when she declared her sentiments.

The mother naturally seems also to get greater joy out of parenthood than does the father. She feels a sweeter transport and a higher pride in being able to point to her children and say with the ancient Roman matron: “Behold my jewels.”

In view of all this a sensible woman willingly resigns herself to the ordeal of motherhood when she feels called to it by God.

What Mankind Owes to Motherhood

It was in and through motherhood that one of our kin was elevated to the highest dignity, and endowed with the sublimest sanctity any actual or possible created being is capable of :— at the incarnation of the Son of God.

Through becoming His Mother, Mary at once and forever rose above all the angels and archangels of heaven. Through her divine motherhood she more than repaired the loss inflicted upon mankind by the first woman.

For the paradise Eve deprived us of Mary gave us heaven: a prettier, a more blessed and a more glorious heaven than we should have had, had Eve never seduced Adam to sin.

So much we owe to motherhood. What a grand privilege, then, accrues to every woman who becomes and is a mother after God’s own heart!

Your job is to help them reach this state of full and complete independence in a gradual fashion. And your success as a mother will depend to a great extent upon the amount of emancipation you permit them as they step progressively toward adulthood. Therefore you should try to judge realistically when your children truly need your help and when they do not. -Fr. George Kelly, 1950’s https://amzn.to/2NXlMld

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Hands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world. It doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means looking our loved ones in the eye and giving them the gift of our undivided attention, living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.

With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M. https://amzn.to/2T06u28 (afflink)

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The Honorable Woman

Painting by Claude Monet

by Father Eric Flood

When we consider men and women, we know God created them equal as being human, but with differences to fulfill Divine roles.God endowed each gender with necessary capabilities, and for women, this meant gifting them with a womb to bear children.

We can even consider the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as the day the womb of St. Anne reached its perfection, and the Annunciation as the day the womb of Our Lady reached its grandeur.  At the very foundation of every female’s dignity is her capability of being a mother, and from this stems her honor, her value, and why she deserves respect, care, and protection

Let’s take a fruit tree, and examine when does an apple tree reach its full excellence?  As it is growing? in the springtime, when it has blossoms?  Is it not when the tree is full of ripe fruit?

So too a girl.  When does a female reach her fulfillment:  as she is growing as a child? when she enters the springtime of adolescence?  Is it not when she bears fruit and brings a child into the world.

This marvelous ability confided to women, bringing life into the world, requires a body designed by God to not only feed her child, but with the emotional life which is more caring and compassionate.

When a girl grows in her understanding of this honor, her behavior changes, her self-esteem is lifted up, and she places great value upon herself.  It could be said that possibly everything how women are to act and behave differently than men is rooted in their ability to bear children.

As a result, any attempt to downplay the great role of motherhood, any act to thwart her bringing forth life, injures her dignity.  It replaces her exalted ability and her exalted place in society with lesser goals: pleasure, or the pursuit of worldly achievements or recognition.

So all women, whether mothers or not, deserve to be treated in accord with this dignity, and to encourage this attitude towards are females, we will use the assistance of the image of a garden as a fitting analogy to the womb.

There are grand botanical gardens and arboretums throughout the world, displaying beautiful landscapes and plant life.  The myriad of flowers, plants, and trees arranged to radiate with beauty, splendor, and life.  What could have been a simple plot of land – is made pleasing to the eyes after great labor.

Soil needs great care, diligence, and protection to become an elegant garden, and the womb needs great attention and labor to use the fertile ground to yield the great flowers of children.

Each woman, from her childhood, devotes abundant labor into preparing and preserving her garden.  Plowing, cultivating, and removing stones, making sure the weeds of any secular thought of pleasure over purpose do not take root.

Her heart, too, is greatly involves as it learns that love is beyond a good feeling, but is to be genuinely valued for who she is.  There is an aqueduct between the heart and womb, so what the woman perceives about herself – the degree she rightly loves herself and knows she is loved by God – supplies the womb with the nutrition of charity.

In understanding her true worth, she builds a fence around the garden, enclosing it so animals cannot enter and trample the garden.  This wall is what Catholic spiritual writers call modesty.  Extending beyond clothing, as it encompasses behavior, eyes, words, and demeanor.

We find in the original Garden of Eden, the mention of only 3 persons:  Adam, Eve, and God.   So too, in this garden of the woman, the only persons the woman allows are God and the husband.  God, because He has dominion over all He created.

The husband who is given the keys to the gate of the garden on their wedding day, who has the duty to treasure it rightly as a gardener would show towards a beautiful garden.  On her wedding day, it was as if the bride told him:  “I have preserved my garden, it is precious to me, it is committed to your care, it is a place we can now walk together.

We especially implore, the Immaculate Virgin, to have continuous motherly care over our daughters, so that Our Lady, who preserved her integrity to the perfect degree, will inspire all females here the desire to preserve integrity.

For Our Lady, her garden was immaculate, and now the Gardener would not be any man, but God Himself.  His power overshadowed her (Lk. 1:35), and her womb could not be a less beautiful garden than the original Garden of Paradise.

For women, God does not grant such a noble ability of childbearing without expecting it to be treasured.  So He makes it natural for a girl to esteem her ability to bring life into the world, that from the first instance of recognizing the potential within her, a young girl begins to make a comfortable “home” for her children.

There was a boy who gave a hard boiled egg to a 2-year-old girl thinking she would drop it, then he would peel it.  But what was her reaction:  She carefully held the egg, making sure it would not be injured or broken.  A boy probably wouldn’t do this, he would throw it, to see what would happen, but the girl, it is already within her to protect the precious.

We know that a baby girl is born with all the unfertilized eggs she will most likely ever have in life.  Some speculate more may be made later, but it is a scientific fact that she is born with a tremendous number.

God gave her the eggs at birth, as well as the almost immediate instinctive care of them, like the 2 year old towards the hard boiled egg.  This means, from her infancy, she has to protect them; shielding the garden from enemies, fertilizing the soil by a virtuous life.

Obvious, then, is the importance of appropriate instruction as she matures as to the great gift of childbearing confided to her.  When a young lady understands that her value rests upon this, she more quickly acts and behaves in ways which display the awareness of her dignified position in the world.  Her true feminine dignity shines in all she does in daily life.

From the way she conducts herself around others, to her external appearance, she knows what she does either adds or takes away from her grandeur.  This should be cause for women to consider and meditate how their value, beauty, and honor is built upon, not by what in seen in the mirror, but the ability to be a mother.

Your mind, heart, and womb are so united that everything you do, can be seen in the light of bringing children into the world.  This is why people can be more surprised when women use bad language, sit in a chair like men, are overly aggressive in competition.  These forego a certain elegance of one of such tremendous dignity.

This analogy of the womb to a garden also gives a way mothers can teach daughters about the treasure they hold within.  A little girl easily understand the fragility and preciousness of flowers, and the garden-analogy associates an image of something beautiful in the world to something beautiful within.

As she matures and develops this image of a lovely garden over years of your reiterating it, she will be reassured of keeping the garden beautiful for her future husband and children.  It gives a concrete picture of the place her children will one day play, move, and enjoy living; bathing in the sunlight of motherly love.

It is good to also consider the possibility of the woman who has allowed weeds to grow in her garden?  First, just because there are weeds, it doesn’t stop being a garden.

Second, it can become elegant again; it can still be cultivated into a beautiful garden, but much effort will be required.  With the assistance of the all-powerful God beginning with confession, a vastly arrayed garden can soon flourish.

By His masterful workmanship, God turns the soil into a prosperous garden just as easily as when He took earth which “was void and empty” (Gen. 1:2), created many plants and animals, and the earth abounded with an abundance of life and beauty.

Our Lady was honored to provide a garden for Our Lord, and we extol the tremendous privilege confided to each woman here – whether God has blessed you with children or not.

Since your nobility, esteem, and value are rooted in the ability to have children, this is why it is such a sacrifice for women to become nuns and take a vow of chastity out of love for God.  But they are remembered for it… for all eternity:  for the Church has a special category for saintly women, but not a similar one for men, who made the sacrifice of not having children:  Virgins.

And for those mothers whom God asks to bring children into the world, a tremendous sacrifice is required.  Men know it, and sometimes, they don’t know what to say, but to make a joke, but it is not an easy 9 months, nor the months afterwards, nor the years following.  Why stop there, it is the sacrifice of all your life…  and your very life also.

Your children will always be your children.  Your womb, mind, and heart were so united, that even after they leave the womb, they cannot leave the mind and heart.  They are inseparable from you.

We conclude, then, with the obvious:  men know we have to treat a pregnant woman differently:  there is greater care, compassion, and a certain awe.  The challenge before every man and boy is, since you know how to treat a woman when she is pregnant, then strive to treat every female (mother, sister, daughter) the same way you would as if she were pregnant.  Show continual care, protection, and wonderment; hold her up in high esteem for the way God made her.

And not to leave all women and girls unchallenged, strive to view yourself at all times, whether pregnant or not, as having an elegant garden inside from which life comes forth, so that you live and breathe in accord with your exalted position, with grandeur, nobility, and tremendous value.

Even if not pregnant or elderly, you have a garden inside; giving the importance of behaving, dressing, and acting elegantly all the days of your life.

So that when the years of childbearing pass, the finer part of you, remains – your femininity.  Let the world stand in awe of you.  And when the end of the world arrives, you receive your body back, including your womb – your cherished garden – radiant, elegant, a treasure.

Question: If the home is such a powerful factor in the future of the children of a nation, why are such powerful groups in the nation arrayed against the home?
Answer: Precisely because the home is powerful. If it were not an important institution, the enemies of God and of man would leave it alone. Because the people who control the home control the future, because parents are the first representatives of God on earth, because within the home is the hope of morality . . . . for these reasons the men who wish to control the future, who hate God, and who would for their own selfish purposes wipe out morality attack the home openly or subtly.
-Fr. Daniel A. Lord, S.J.. Questions People Ask About Their Children, 1950’s

 

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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?”

 

 

Practical Tips on Dating ~ Fr. Lovasik

From Clean Love in Courtship, Fr. Lawrence Lovasik

Three General Principles

I. Always Keep Your Courtship on a High Plane. Keep sex in the background! It must not dominate your thoughts and dictate your conduct. The physical must be subordinated to the spiritual because man is a spiritual creature and not mere animal.

Allowing your courtship to degenerate to the physical would mean a loss of honor and respect. An attraction which springs largely from the physical element of sex is an insecure foundation for enduring friendship and conjugal love.

Pure love is the foundation of a happy courtship. The reason why there are so many sinful, saddened hearts in courtship is because too many young men and women fail to distinguish clearly between love and lust; and yet they are as completely different as day is from night.

True love is pure, beautiful, noble, self-sacrificing. It is dominated by mutual respect for each other’s character, not by mere emotion, passion and lust. True love is unselfish, thinking only of the good of the other; it would rather endure any self-restraint than harm the other in any way.

If love-making does not rise above the mere thrill of bodily sensations, it can be no more than indulgence in passion, which is lust. Lust, on the other hand, is ugly, base, selfish, impure; it seeks nothing outside itself. All fine promises and sweet expressions of love are but lies.

A beautiful friendship is marred because the boy and girl permit indecent liberties which are like vicious cancers eating their way into their very hearts and destroying virtue, peace and happiness.

Pure love is the best preparation for marriage; lust draws down God’s curse upon it. If by company-keeping you are encouraged in purity, the true love is the basis of your friendship and enduring affection will be the result.

If through company-keeping you are encouraged to impurity, then lust, not love, is the foundation of the friendship and evil will be the result. There is a natural and necessary relationship between your conduct now and your status later in marriage.

If a young man is selfish, loose, crude, unreasonable now, do not expect that he will be unselfish, high-minded, spiritual and controlled in marriage.

The Sacraments do not change nature; they elevate it if it is disposed to be elevated. A foul love must be driven out by a fair love. In the pure love of a young man for a virtuous girl, he finds a shield against unchastity.

Reverent love will be a protection for both. If a boy wants the girl he goes with now to be the best wife she can be for his children; if he himself wants to be the best husband he can be for her and the best father he can be for his children, he must respect that girl before marriage.

He will do everything he can, in a positive way, and at any price, to retain or regain his personal purity and to protect the modesty and loveliness of the girl he respects, even as St. Joseph kept himself spotless and safeguarded the virginity of the Mother of God. Consequently, you need not resort to lust to enjoy one another. You will find untold happiness in the mere presence of the one you really care for—happiness which arises from the contact of mind with mind, of heart with heart, of personality with personality. This is infinitely more satisfying and enduring than mere contact of bodies.

Wondrous beauty can be found in the character of any good boy or girl if you will only patiently look for it. A young man will surely win the heart of a girl if he always acts as a gentleman and places her upon her rightful pedestal of innocence and queenly modesty. In like manner, a girl will command the respect and win the love of a boy if by words and actions she makes it clear that she will tolerate no Compromise with her ideals of honor and integrity.

Any momentary weakness may be implied as an invitation to dangerous liberties. Direct your friendship so that it may square with Christ’s law of honor and purity in a chaste and noble love.

Elevate your love to Christ that your love may be sweeter and more enduring. Then leaving one another, you can walk to the Communion rail and receive your Eucharistic Lord with reverent minds and chaste hearts. Where chaste love fills your company-keeping, courtship becomes an aid to virtue and an encouragement to holiness.

II. Follow a “Hands-off” Policy

The purpose of courtship is to prepare you for marriage by enabling you to find the boy who will one day be your partner in life; hence it is to be spent in the manner God has intended. Anything that is contrary to God’s holy law in courtship should be avoided, lest the devil, and not God, rule your friendship and lead it most certainly to moral disaster. Too many perfectly decent and innocent girls do not understand a young man’s problem of self control. Many dangers and temptations will be avoided if you remember that the physical element of sex is more highly localized in man and that he is more easily aroused, while the psychical element is more pronounced in woman.

Actions and contact which leaves you undisturbed may greatly arouse the passions of your companion. Consequently, be considerate of him as well as of yourself and discourage any liberty which may be an occasion of sin.

An earnest word, a look of disapproval, a sudden change in the conversation, a quick and determined step away will be a hint that a decent young man will not fail to take. With his senses restored to him, he will appreciate this firm yet sympathetic gesture and will admire you all the more for it because he will see that you really want to keep your courtship clean.

On the other hand, if you yield to his entreaties for certain liberties, he will be ashamed of himself for his humiliating defeat and disgusted with you (though he may not show it) because you occasioned it.

You will equally share in this feeling of shame and disgust, especially if you realize that your womanly modesty should be your greatest treasure. It is therefore wise and even necessary for you to follow a “hands-off” policy.

Respect the person of the friend with whom you are keeping company and make him respect you.

Do not try to set him —and yourself as well—on fire by exciting desires which cannot be satisfied save at the expense of all that you both should hold dear. Love should occasion happiness, not pain; so do not torture your friend by inflicting on him restlessness and a disturbed conscience.

To refrain from the defilement of the good and to allay lust in the hearts of men is the greatest human victory that woman can win over man. She then becomes close to the angel in appeal.

III. Plan Your Dates

If you have to plan for the prolonged date that is marriage, you are smart if you plan for even the brief date of a day or an evening together. A marriage without interests or things to do is dull  and dangerous.

To go off on an unplanned date with nothing in particular to do is also dull and often dangerous. At the end of the date the boy finds that he has spent a lot of money on a lot of things that did not give either of you a great deal of fun.

The girl finds that she is expected to accept or is forced to resist a vigorous effort on his part to fill out a flat, unplanned date with adolescent love-making.

Dates are successful when they are planned. That means that you ought to look around for unusual and interesting things to do, novel places to visit, pleasant things to talk about. But a date is not merely a recreation quest—dancing, the theater, the movies, going places. A date really is anything that two or more people enjoy doing together. Real fun is found not on dates where a lot of things are done for you, but on dates where you are doing things yourself.

Dates lose their charm if you assume that they must be expensive. You can have more fun walking with someone you like than you can dining at a fashionable restaurant, paying a heavy cover charge and checking an expensive menu merely to impress somebody who may not even want to be impressed.

A bank-roll is not the essential factor of a good time. A girl who has to have a lot of money spent on her before she has a good time on a date will make a nagging, money-digging, selfish sort of wife.

A boy who will not ask a girl out unless he has a pocketful of money is a show-off. Worth-while girls do not expect a man to spend a lot of money on them. Be honest about the fact that you have not a lot of money to spend.

Your city is full of places to go and things to do that do not cost much more than a little walk or carfare. You can spend very happy hours wandering with a pleasant companion through a park, an art gallery, a museum, an industrial center, a beautiful church, or listening to a good lecture or a band concert.

Hobbies can enter into the schedule of dates—things you do extremely well, things you are interested in collecting. A girl should be interested in what interests the boy she likes. A boy probably gets more zest out of his hobby if he thinks that some pleasant girl is interested in it, too.

It is often advisable to add another couple to your dates if you find each other a temptation and danger; this is better than giving up dating altogether. This self-chaperoning often eliminates a lot of problems for both the boy and the girl.

Be interested in foursome or six some dates. Talking is simpler and there is more fun. It ceases to be a dialogue, or, worse, a monologue. Double dating need not be expensive if expenses are shared.

Temptation is much less likely when there is a small crowd. Then, too, a foursome or a six some on a date can take part in games, which are often very exciting. All this means more dates at home; more dates where money does not have to be considered; where the radio brings the music of the greatest name orchestras in the nation right into your living room; where a recording machine and a supply of records keep a crowd going for an evening; where a homemade sandwich tastes delicious; where the piano becomes the center of fun, and a crowd put their heads together to sing to their own delight.

Thus dates could be built around that very normal love that both boys and girls have for good youthful talk. This sort of date will cut the occasion for adolescent love-making to a minimum.

Your dates will be happy if they are sinless. The people you go out with should be better  because they were with you. Do not permit yourself to be touched by any of the things that make so much modern dating ugly and perilous—too much drink, dirty stories, disgusting dances, questionable taverns and roadhouses, sin and all its ugliness. Foresee and guard against the dangers that might spoil your dates. Always take Jesus and Mary along with you on your dates. They are deeply happy to see you happy.

There is something terrible in the thought that, while sorrow often drives young people to the feet of Christ and Our Lady, good times are often occasions for driving Jesus and Mary from their side, when they hold out their arms to evil.

When you are going out on a date, why don’t the two of you make a call on Christ in the tabernacle? You should make a date to go to benediction, to the novena, to May devotions, to confession, to a special sermon, as naturally as you go to a movie or dance. Make a date to go to Mass and Holy Communion together before you start off on your hike, your picnic, your day in the Country.

You can do nothing better than to make dates that include Jesus and Mary. There is no better company! Nothing could make your date happier!

“We must be content at certain times to do anything that is innocent and lawful; and console ourselves with the reflection that all lawful works are works of grace in him who is in the state of grace.” -My Prayer Book, Fr. Lasance

A Rule of Life for a Catholic woman, no matter what walk of life she may be in, is very valuable. It will save her from caprice and will help her to accomplish much in her vocation and her personal journey of sanctity…

This book 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…. Available here.

This book consists of fifteen discourses (four on Sins of the Tongue, three on Envy and Jealousy, two on Rash Judgments, two on Christian Patience, and four on Grace) that were originally talks given to laywomen of his diocese in the late 19th century. At the beginning the good Archbishop says… I propose, my children, to give you some instructions on the tongue, and the faults which it causes us to commit. I shall commence today by speaking of the power and beauty of that organ, of the noble use which ought to be made of it, and of the many advantages we may derive from it… There is precious little teaching on the topics covered in these instructions which is accessible to the average man and woman of today.

If you want to make progress in the spiritual life, you can’t afford to miss the bracing insights in this handbook for souls who yearn to be kinder. They’ll give you years of solid help in overcoming sin so that you’ll live more fully with others and truly transform your corner of the world!

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Joyful Service!

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Joy! It is such an important ingredient when raising a family! There will be something (terribly) missing and your children may be tempted to jump ship….if there is no joy. Why would they want what you have….your religion, your way of life…..if you don’t have joy? It’s something worth praying for and striving for! Father Considine may help us today!

Rev. Daniel Considine, S.J., 1950’s

St. Paul says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.'( 1 Phil. iv. 4.).

If we want to serve God, joy should be not only an element; it should be the staple of our life.

Our difficulties are so great, our enemies so many, that unless we are supported by joy, we shan’t do what God wants us to do. It is a point of great consequence.

There is a sort of impression that in the service of God there ought to be a certain sobriety, an earnestness-yes, sadness, which makes the distinction between the service of the world, and the service of God; and that those who serve God must expect more tribulation and uneasiness of mind. Entirely false.

St. Paul, speaking under the dictation of the Holy Spirit, says, ‘Rejoice, again I say, rejoice.’ If we think the ideal of a religious person is to be sad, it is quite wrong; it is the direct opposite to the truth.

We are never so much fitted to cope with the difficulties of the spiritual life as when we are in joy. Often, when difficulties are to follow, God strengthens souls by an extra dose of joy. He expands the heart, and fills us with more faith and hope and love, and so makes us ready to overcome our enemies.

Read carefully the Acts of the Apostles: no one can read them without being struck by the spirit of buoyancy and exaltation that fills and pervades them; one might almost call it high spirits.

The Apostles carried their lives in their hands; they were scourged, and came forth from their severe flogging full of joy, rejoicing they were found worthy to suffer for Our Lord. We certainly then can’t be doing wrong in making our lives lives of joy.

This matter bears on our daily life. Is this our view? We are so apt to think others have so much to make their lives happy. ‘They ought to rejoice.’ The question remains: does God mean ME to rejoice in Him? Don’t evade the difficulty by saying, ‘Oh, it’s some sort of spiritual joy which I don’t understand: ordinary joy I can’t feel.’

‘What is meant if not real joy, real happiness, and if you don’t feel the service of God produces this, there is something wrong with you.

It is a very common error-that God sends us trials for their own sake. Looking on pain and trouble as good things is not a sound view. It does us harm by making us think God takes pleasure in seeing us suffer.

The greatest possible happiness to be got out of life is in the service of God. God doesn’t like to see us cry, even though it is good for us. It pains God for me to suffer pain- that is a lovable and TRUE view of God. To think of the Passion as God heaping torments on His Son is Jansenist.

Taking our lives as they are, and being happy in them, is a true way to perfection.

Very few crosses are DIRECTLY sent by God. God permits them, but they come from someone, or something else, or from ourselves- being disappointed in something we had aimed at. We should cut down our estimate of what God really sends us very considerably.

What does He want of me? He wants you to take your life as it is, bearing your trials and disappointments as quietly as you can. Empty lamenting over things not being as they ought to be, must be eschewed.

The way to make things better is not to be doleful, but happy and cheerful. ‘Your joy no man shall take from you . . .’ (I John xvi. 22).

Our life is as it is: in that I am to find the material for serving God. Supposing even my trials are my own fault really-the results of my own actions staring me in the face.

If I can’t put it to rights, let me be sorry for what is wrong and go on cheerfully. Start afresh. The service of God is from hour to hour and from day to day. If things are going contrary, it is a pity to be thinking we have great crosses and trials, and bemoaning ourselves: the way to do work for God is to be full of happiness. . . . No heart was ever so tender as the Heart of Our Lord; He couldn’t see a person weep without wanting to stop their tears.

Then how am I to account for my life being so full of misery?-Is it all as I think? If the fault is in me, it is hard to put it all on God.

You don’t think your temper, for instance, comes down straight from God? God respects our free will. Should we like to be milksops in God’s service? One of Our Lord’s favored servants prayed to Him to take away certain faults of temper in her Superior. ‘Not at all,’ Our Lord answered her, ‘they are very good for you, and for her too. She is so sorry for them. I love her all the more.’

We need not be dissatisfied because we have no special trial; bearing with our wretched bodies and souls is the staple of our service to God. ‘Traffic till I come.’ (Luke xix.13). Bear the cross and all your difficulties well – don’t make much of them.

We ought to be ashamed to run like children with a hurt finger for sympathy and consolation in every little trouble. God loves His own as the apple of His eye. Bear all then in love and patience for His sake.

We must get out of our heads the idea that we can only be religious by being miserable. If you will think of God as difficult and unapproachable, – if you are afraid of Him, and think He is high and haughty, and far away from you, you won’t love Him.

One of the ruses of the devil, whenever we fall short of the highest standard, is to tell us: ‘You art not one of those chosen souls who are called to love God.’

You must think of Him as one who knows our poor craven natures. He knows it all seems flat and monotonous, and that you feel weary of well-doing. It will all pass: Our Lord hasn’t abandoned you.

Hold on – it will all come right again. When we are unfaithful, to believe that Our Lord will give us up, that is utterly false. We can never love Our Lord as we should, if we think He remembers things against us. Remember the way He behaved towards His Apostles.

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No one likes to be taken for granted. In any human relationship a little sign of appreciation goes a long way. Life does not have to be a hard pull uphill all the time. To know that someone, especially the one we love, values our efforts sends us off with our heads in the clouds. The wife who is wise enough to show her husband appreciation for all his efforts will keep his heart fixed upon her. – The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

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

Dutch Artist: Nicolaas van der Waay, 1936

 

 

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Just Pray and Get Out of the Way

I think it would be very difficult for a woman to just “watch and pray” when it comes to a differing Religion in their home. It is what matters most to us who want to do what is right by our family. How hard it would be not to needle and nag the one we live closest to, so he will see things “our way” …for the sake of the family! You can relate? Me, too! It would be an awful struggle and I’m glad that’s one I haven’t had to tackle!

God bless my friend, Anne, who has lived and learned this lesson. Read and listen as she tells of her own walk in this area in the following testimony:

Just Pray and Get Out of the Way

(or the Power of the Rosary)

Anne Ross Kootz

How often I am my own worst enemy!

A cradle Catholic, I never left the Church. I always thought myself among the most devout and dedicated. Oddly enough, I did not insist on this quality when I met and married my husband, Buddy. Brought up as a Methodist, now he was essentially agnostic….and my temperamental opposite, though I didn’t see that yet. A very good man in every respect except this area of religion.

Most of my extended family married Protestants of one stripe or another. All converted to the True Faith within a couple of years. Buddy already courteously attended Mass with me; surely he will convert in short order. I believed, when I thought about it at all, this problem would be easy to fix.

Those of you in ‘mature’ marriages are chuckling. Little details, insignificant in the glow of romance, glare in day to day married life. High expectations soon submit to dull reality. I advised Buddy of his need for religious growth. But what began as warm, loving suggestions gradually became shrill.  Five years later I was at my wit’s end. This had become the greatest handicap to my domestic bliss. Completely out of patience, I shook my fist at Our Lord (forgive me!) and shouted – OK. I’ve done ALL I can. This is NOT my problem anymore. It is YOURS!

Notice it was my issue, not Buddy’s. As I struggled at this time, I did read a helpful book on temperaments. It was an eye-opener. So Buddy really wasn’t trying to make me crazy? God made him that way! Our personality conflicts – choleric wife and phlegmatic husband – became more acceptable. However, the disconnect in our spiritual lives did not mend. Not that this was the only trouble.

Months and then years passed. No children. Nine failed attempts to adopt. At the nine year point, with both the spiritual and fertility issues unresolved, I needed a diversion – a challenging occupational interest. I began the process to enroll in Optometry school.

Of course! Hearing me resolved to accept His Will in this as in all things, suddenly Our Lord stepped in. On our return from a Christmas holiday a phone message greeted us.  Our 10th attempt had succeeded in the adoption of our first son. Our 2nd son was underway within two days. Go ahead – no one laughed louder than Buddy!

Our family life became intense. There was no time to pine about our spiritual disagreements – babies to feed, toddlers to corral, and children to prepare for First Communion. Nonetheless, our common adversary was not idle. At 16 years a new, very painful threat to our marriage emerged.

In agony, I pleaded with Our Lord. In response, a still, small voice whispered, ‘You say you are such a good Catholic. Have you been praying for your husband?’ Oh — my! Immediately I started a daily rosary, for ‘whatever Buddy needs.’

At precisely the 90 day point in my desperation-novena, Buddy returned from a long, work-related trip. He invited me out for a drink. Understand, we never went ‘out for a drink.’ I could hear it coming… “I want a divorce.” With nothing left to lose, I got a sitter and joined him at a nearby bar for a cocktail.

You guessed it. “I’ve decided to join the Catholic Church.” A pause to pick my jaw up off the floor! Our Lady had interceded so completely – beyond my wildest imagination! As he related the process, during that long trip he had decided to quietly “try on the decision, like a shoe you wanted to buy. Then if I didn’t like it…” So like him to be ultra cautious! But Our Lady had the last laugh. Once he had ‘tried it on,’ it stuck!

Buddy was received into the church about a year later. He remains steady, if not overtly, devout. On occasion he relates a funny exchange with co-workers in which he defends the Church. He quietly endures his extended family’s preferred misinterpretation … “well, Anne is so outspoken, he finally gave in.” Sadly, never has his parents or siblings or in-laws offered him an opportunity to explain himself. It is our little secret.

Meanwhile, our 4th, and evidently final son, Peter was born, named in honor of our family’s safety in the Barque of Peter. But even here I am still wary of my own worst enemy.

“A decent young man really respects the young woman who quietly refuses to be ‘pawed over’ and ‘necked’; he wants a wife who has kept pure.
A decent girl breathes a sigh of relief when she finds that a young man respects her as a human being, as a friend, and as a lady.
There is nothing so beautiful and so powerful as virtuous loveliness. Riches, high position, physical beauty—none of these entrances as does sinlessness. Self-control, purity, exalts the soul while preserving it from defilement.” – Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship

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“Sacrifice means compromise. Maybe you’d always be willing to subjugate your own wishes because of your love, but your partner, in turn, should be willing to deny his (or her) wishes so that you can have your way. Thus the act of giving is shared, and the act of taking is shared too.” -Rev. George Kelly, 1950’s

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What is Worthwhile Now?

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by Father Lasance

It is always worth while doing the good that just at this moment lies within my power to do.

St. Francis de Sales, when a student at the University of Paris, suffered long and cruelly from a horrible thought, that he was sure to be damned. At length he flung the temptation from him and conquered it quite, in this way.

He said manfully: “Well, if I am not to see and love God for eternity, at least I will love him with all my heart this hour while I may.”

It is worth while now for me, – now while the brief occasion lasts – to overcome one temptation, to do one small kindness, to improve my mind by one half hour of study, to wait in patience when there is nothing else to be done, to bear a headache, or sleeplessness, or some small pain.

Life cannot be filled with great deeds, nor deeds of manifest profit and advantage to oneself and mankind.

There must be margins and leavings in the web of human existence: there must be pieces over, the use of which is not apparent; and these leavings, as they seem void of good, are readily turned to evil use.

We shall find, if we think, that many of our sins are committed in these loose and unoccupied times; whereas our hours of active and successful work, or keen sport and play, are usually innocent.

The author of the “Imitation of Christ” has a chapter  “that we must apply ourselves to humble works when we are not up to our best.”

We must be content at certain times to do anything that is innocent and lawful; and console ourselves with the reflection that all lawful works are works of grace in him who is in the state of grace.

On the other hand, I must be jealous of the hours in which my faculties are bright and available for work. Even in my worldly interest I must be jealous of them.

Those are precious hours.

Keep your eyes fixed upon your heavenly home, upon the long, long, everlasting vacation, upon the eternal rest of the just.

“One day at a time. This is very important. Very often we exhaust ourselves going over the past again and again and also our fears about the future. But when we live in the present moment, we mysteriously find strength. We have the grace to live through what we encounter today. If tomorrow we must face more difficult situations, God will increase his grace. God’s grace is given at the right time for it, day by day.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love http://amzn.to/2wGXpkw Painting: Scent of a Rose by Sheri Dinardi (afflink)

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Come Rack! Come Rope! is a historical novel by the English priest and writer Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914), a convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism. Set in Derbyshire at the time of the Elizabethan persecution of Catholics, when being or harbouring a priest was considered treason and was punishable with death, it tells the story of two young lovers who give up their chance of happiness together, choosing instead to face imprisonment and martyrdom, so that “God’s will” may be done. It is perhaps the best known of Benson’s novels, and has been reprinted several times…

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“The Earls of Ravenhurst must always stand for God and Our Blessed Lady, let the cost be what it may!” In seventeenth-century Scotland lies Ravenhurst, the stronghold of Clan Gordon, a family whose reputation for defending their people and their Catholic faith is legendary. But now the rights and lives of Scottish Catholics are in grave peril, and a traitorous usurper controls the clan. With the help of his mother, the “renegade priest,” and other heroic allies, young Charles Gordon must strive in the face of persecution and martyrdom to defend the true faith and restore to Ravenhurst a good, noble, loyal, and Catholic earl….

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Taking Him for Granted ~ Fr. Kinsella, The Wife Desired

The Wife Desired, Fr. Kinsella

No one likes to be taken for granted. In any human relationship a little sign of appreciation goes a long way. Life does not have to be a hard pull uphill all the time. To know that someone, especially the one we love, values our efforts sends us off with our heads in the clouds. The wife who is wise enough to show her husband appreciation for all his efforts will keep his heart fixed upon her.

With a fixed heart he will have a free hand to do the things a responsible head of the house must do. That is why, as Chesterton has pointed out, Christ said, “My son, give Me thy heart.” With his heart securely fixed on Christ the disciple had a pivot from which he could swing through all the complexities of life without losing his purpose. Appreciation gives purpose and motivation to a husband. It is one form of inspiration.

Some years ago a couple came to my attention whom I always have remembered. They illustrated the importance of a wife’s making her husband realize that she valued him. The wife had to leave her home and care for her sick mother. She was gone for a month. She and her husband rented without a lease, wondering from week to week whether they would have a home for themselves and their three little children.

While she was gone, he fell upon a good buy in a fairly new home. He said that he regretted the transaction was made while she was away, but the opportunity came then. He felt that it was his responsibility to do something about their living conditions. Having failed twice to locate her by phone he closed the deal.

The first Sunday his wife was home they went out for a drive. He intended to surprise her. As they were driving around, he suddenly stopped in front of their new home. Her curiosity at his action turned to grief on being let in on the secret. As she sat in the car looking at her new home she began to moan and groan that she did not like it. Why did he do it? Why did he not wait until she came back?

For a moment he sat there crestfallen, not knowing what to say or do. He expected elation and was prepared for a pat on the back. He made an effort to recover his confidence and suggested that they see the inside. She would like the arrangement of the rooms and closet space.

As they went from room to room, she continued her manifestations of disappointment and even resentment that she had no say in the choice of their new home. It was a bad day for both of them, how bad neither of them were to realize for several years. On that day he got the idea that his wife did not appreciate him. The idea continued to grow.

When we talked over their problems, their estrangement, and the future of the children, they had been separated for over a year. By that time he was all through and living with another woman. He had found someone to give him appreciation.

There is always someone around to give it if the wife does not. “The big dummy,” every woman is saying who reads this, “should get everything coming to him.” Perhaps he was something of dummy, but his wife had always loved him, still did, and wanted him back.

In justice to the husband in question, we should remember the circumstances prevailing when he bought the home. However, to make all wives happy, let us suppose that he made a terrible mistake in buying a home without his wife’s knowledge. The deed was done. What did she profit reminding him of his mistake? Was it wise for her to carry a grudge, to give him the idea that she considered him unfair or incompetent? Did her duty of inspiration cease because he was guilty of the worst possible judgment?

She was an excellent wife and mother in some respects, but she failed completely in the important function of inspiration. She told how she had never thought of it but now realized her big mistake, her shortcoming.

This woman was not the nagging type, at least not habitually so. She took her husband for granted. She felt that she was doing her job well. She assumed that he was. She did not assume a thing when they were courting.

If wives worked just half as hard and wisely at keeping their husbands as they do in getting them, the divorce mills would go out of business. A husband needs his wife even more than she needs him. With a little intelligence and verve she can keep him easily.

“If your large family brings ridicule from neighbors and even strangers, remember that you have a lasting treasure worth suffering for, and that the Lord called blessed those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook 

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This is a unique book of Catholic devotions for young children. There is nothing routine and formal about these stories. They are interesting, full of warmth and dipped right out of life. These anecdotes will help children know about God, as each one unfolds a truth about the saints, the Church, the virtues, etc. These are short faith-filled stories, with a few questions and a prayer following each one, 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. Your children will be straining their necks to see the sweet pictures! Through these small stories, parents will sow seeds of our Holy Catholic Faith that will enrich their families all the years to come!

This revised 1922 classic offers gentle guidance for preteen and teenage girls on how to become a godly woman. Full of charm and sentiment, it will help mother and daughter establish a comfortable rapport for discussions about building character, friendships, obedience, high ideals, a cheerful spirit, modest dress, a pure heart, and a consecrated life.

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The Blessedness of Labor

Painting by Sheri Dinardi

GUIDE for CATHOLIC YOUNG WOMEN by Rev. George Deshon, 1863

“Why was I not born a lady?” says the poor girl who has to work hard for a living. “There are the ladies, with little or nothing to do, amusing themselves all day, and enjoying all the good things of life, while poor I must drudge the whole blessed day, from early morning till late at night, for a living, and a scant one at that. I wish the Almighty had placed me in some better condition of life than the one I am in!”

My good girl, you who talk in that way, you do not know what you are saying. Instead of complaining of the good God, if your eyes could only be opened to see things as they really are, your heart would leap for joy, and your tongue would praise Him that you have not been made a lady, or anything, but just what you are.

For the truth is, your condition of life is one of the very best in which God could place you, and it is a great privilege for you to be in it rather than in any other.

Let us look into it, and see how this is. I dare say you remember that among almost the first words of the little Catechism, the question is asked: “For what were we created?”

The answer to it is: “To learn to serve and love God in this world in order that we may be happy forever with Him in the next.”

Ah, this lets us into the whole secret! We were not created to be rich, to live without work, to live in fine houses, and wear fine clothes, and ride in elegant coaches, and have, what folks are apt to call, a fine time of it.

No, it was for nothing of all this, but to learn to love and serve God during this life, in order to earn heaven, and prepare ourselves to be happy forever with God.

This is the reason why the rich are so often unhappy, in spite of all their money and splendor.

They are just living for riches and pleasure, instead of to please God, and they cannot find any real satisfaction in such a life. God will never let us have any real happiness unless we live in order to please and love Him.

It is true, a rich man or woman can serve God and be happy, but it is difficult, for riches and honors and pleasures steal away the heart, and cause Him to be forgotten. And when God is forgotten what enjoyment can there be of life?

What is over and above our necessary and suitable clothing will bring but little satisfaction.

It only feeds an idle vanity, destroys contentment, and fills us with desires for a thousand things that never satisfy us when they are supplied.

We are always the worse for it when we eat or drink much more than is necessary for us; we lose our appetite, our health and our strength, so that the body becomes a burden, and life a misery.

All the money or honor in the world cannot ensure health or contentment of mind.

Then there is death, in the midst of our earthly enjoyments, always staring us in the face. Our friends are cut down around us, and we know not the day or the hour when our turn will come.

But we know very well that when it does come, we must be torn away, whether we will or no, from everything in this world which we have set our hearts upon.

Can we have any enjoyment in such a life as we have here, unless it is grounded on peace with God? Unless we carry out the blessed intentions which God had in creating us, namely, that we should love and serve Him?

And, then, think of that vast eternity which stretches away beyond, after this life is over.

How small and mean everything here is in comparison with it! What difference will it make to us when we are once in the presence of God, clothed with glory and honor, with white garments and the palm of victory in our hands, with no sorrows, sighs, or tears to be feared any more forever; — what difference will it make whether we had a little more or a little less on this earth? Why, this whole life will seem a small speck in the grand ocean of eternity.

In short, in considering any state or condition, the principal thing is, to take into account the advantages it holds out for securing a holy and pious life, so that we may come safe through all the trials and temptations of this world to our only true home in heaven.

In this view, I do not know any among the ordinary conditions of life as good and desirable as that of a life of service or of daily labor.

A life of labor has always been considered, by spiritual persons, most favorable to the soul.

To have nothing which we are obliged to do may seem very fine to our worldliness and love of ease, but it is most dangerous. You know the old saying: “The devil finds work enough for idle hands to do.” It is most true. Idleness opens the door for the worst temptations.

Suppose you had pretty much all your time to do what you pleased with, how likely it is that a great part of it would be misused! Habits of idleness would be formed, your time would hang heavy on your hands, and you would not know what to do.

You would seek for amusement: you would soon be altogether taken up with it, and your whole life would become one given up to the world and to wickedness. You would indeed stand a great chance of going straight down to perdition.

The labor of the hands is, then, a source of blessing. It furnishes a great help to spending life in innocence. It fills up our time with holiest industry, while it leaves the soul free to raise itself from time to time to God.

The labor of the hands is not like that of the head. Head work fills the mind, and takes up its attention, but hand work leaves the mind in a great measure free.

St. Anthony was taught this by an angel from heaven. One day when he felt tired by uninterrupted prayer, and unable to continue it, he grieved over it before the Lord, and begged to be instructed how to get over this trouble, which was a hindrance to his salvation.

After his prayer he went out of his cell, and saw a person, the exact image of himself, seated at work making mats out of palm leaves. The saint perceived it was an angel who took this form and acted in this manner to make him understand how, by going from work to prayer, and from prayer to work, he could cheerfully and surely work out his salvation.

The old hermits of the desert all understood this. They did not dare to be idle, but made baskets, cultivated the ground, spent all their time in labor or prayer, and so worked out their salvation in the utmost security.

We cannot have the life of these old hermits of the desert over again nowadays, but, outside the wall of the convent, whose life is most like theirs?

That of the good girl who earns her own living at service, or at some other honest employment. She it is who enjoys, more than any others that I know of, the advantages which these old saints coveted so much — who can spend her days in work and prayer, and thus keep off the evil one, and work out her salvation with comparative ease.

Do not then complain of labor, but rejoice, and thank God that He has given you not a life of idleness, but honest and continual labor. Tt is a very great favor of His love, as you will see, when this body of the flesh falls away, and you stand on the other side of eternity.

 

“A man wants a woman who will place him at the top of her priority list, not second but first. He does not expect his wife to neglect important duties in his behalf. He is aware of the demands of her life and wants her to give each responsibility the attention it requires. He does not want his children to suffer neglect. And he knows she is entitled to other interests and diversions. But, he doesn’t want to be less important.”~Helen Andelin

 

CATHOLIC HEARTH STORIES!

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We often don’t realize the impact of those lessons, those Catholic lessons, that are taught each day to our children. It is so much worth the effort! The signs of the crosses, kneeling to say prayers, dipping fingers in holy water, laying fresh flowers at the statue of Our Lady, etc., etc. These are gold nuggets that will live on in your children’s lives. This is building Catholic Culture!

The following two books are to help you parents with those little things…..They are story books from my new little series, “Catholic Hearth Stories”. I wrote them especially for my grandchildren….and am sharing them with yours.

Catholic Hearth Stories are tales filled with traditional, old-fashioned values. They are about everyday situations in the life of a Catholic family…Tales about home, friends, fun, sacrifice, prayer, etc. These are full-color books sure to capture the heart of your children.

Each book is about 35 pages of full-color pictures that tell a lovely Catholic story. The ages they are appropriate for are approximately 4 – 12 years.

Celine’s Advent: Take a walk through Advent as Celine and her family prepare for the coming of the Baby Jesus at Christmas! You will enjoy celebrating the beauty of the season with Celine as she helps her mom with the special traditions and activities that make the liturgy come alive in their home! Her “peanut gallery” consists of a mouse named Percy and some charming and delightful Christmas Angels! They are sure to capture your heart!

Joseph and the Bow Shoot: Meet Joseph, a Catholic boy who wants to enter the Parish Bow Shoot but doesn’t have a bow. How does he overcome this obstacle and what lessons does he learn along the way?

Two Tea Parties and a Sacrifice: Meet Agnes, a fourteen-year-old Catholic girl, who is challenged to make a sacrifice. Will she cheerfully accept what she knows is God’s will in this situation?

Brendan, The Seafarer: It’s Brendan’s birthday and he is fighting pirates, steering ships and wielding swords! He learns of St. Brendan, the Navigator and the pious Christopher Columbus. Life is a nautical adventure for him! Will his daydreaming cause him trouble? What lessons does he learn?
There is a “peanut gallery” in this book….a turtle named Ollie and a seahorse named Sherman and other sea creatures that make their appearance now and again and have their own chats among themselves!

Available here.

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.

Celebrate the Faith with your kids all year round!

For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

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And This Peace Nobody Can Take From Us

From Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Phillipe.

Let us then seek to put into practice all that has been said, with patience and perseverance, and, above all, without becoming discouraged if we don’t arrive at perfection! Permit me to formulate an axiom that is a little paradoxical: above all we must never lose our peace because we can never find or be as much at peace as we would like! Our reeducation is long and it is necessary to have a lot of patience with ourselves.

This, then, is the fundamental principle: “I will never become discouraged!” This is another phrase taken from the little Therese, who is the consummate model of the spirit that we have attempted to describe in these pages. And let us also repeat the words of the great Saint Teresa of Avila, “patience obtains everything.”

Another very useful, practical principle is the following: If I am not capable of great things, I will not become discouraged, but I will do the small things!

Sometimes, because we are unable to do great things, heroic acts, we neglect the small things that are available to us and which are, moreover, so fruitful for our spiritual progress and are such a source of joy: well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things, I will now trust you with greater. Come and share your master’s joy. (Matthew 25:21)

If the Lord finds us faithful and persevering in small things in terms of what he expects of us, it is He Himself who will intervene and establish us in a higher grace.

The application: If I am still not able to remain at peace when faced with difficult situations, then it is better that I should begin to strive to keep this peace in the easier situations of everyday life: to quietly and without irritability do my daily chores, to commit myself to doing each thing well in the present moment without preoccupying myself with what follows, to speak peacefully and with gentleness to those around me, to avoid excessive hurry in my gestures and in the way I climb the stairs!

The first steps on the ladder of sanctity could very well be those of my own apartment!

The soul often is re-educated by the body! Small things done with love and to please God are extremely beneficial in making us grow; it’s one of the secrets of holiness of Saint Therese of Lisieux.

And if we persevere in such a way, in prayer and with the small acts of collaboration with grace, we will be able to live the words of Saint Paul: Don’t be anxious; instead, give thanks in all your prayers and petitions and make your requests known to God, and God’s peace which is beyond all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)

And this peace nobody can take from us.

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“The facts are that Church teaching is supported upon a bedrock of logic and that many of the foremost thinkers throughout history have found her doctrines unassailable. Therefore if you yourself cannot cope with your adolescent’s arguments, you can refer him to Catholic books, literature, and other sources of information.
Do not expect your child to accept a religious teaching simply and solely because the Church says it is so. As an individual with a growing intellectual capacity of his own, he has a legitimate right to know why the Church maintains a certain position.
When helped in a friendly way to understand that position, he will become a stronger Catholic as a result.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook, 1950’s
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“Did you ever bewail losses and mistakes in an exaggerated way, out of all proportion to their magnitude? We have all done so….” Fr. John Carr, C.SS.R., Helps to Happiness

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