"It is God's merciful will that a Christian atmosphere, so to speak, should pervade every Christian household, in order that these precious germs of Christian virtue may unfold and grow, blossom and bring forth good fruit, and that the child's heart may thus become truly consecrated in a Christian manner."
Today's post is taken from a most wonderful book called The Christian Mother written by Rev. W. Cramer
. Its a most wonderful book full of prayers of every kind for mothers as well as different meditations for mothers on the Rosary, Stations of the Cross etc. We are thankful that it has been reprinted and The Christian Mother is now available over at All the Saint's Books.
The winner of our give-a-way from last week, of the title Mary Help of Christians
, is Laura G.! Please email us
with your address and we will get that book out to you right away.
THE CONSECRATION OF A MOTHERThe Christian Mother - By Rev. W Cramer
If we desire a plant or flower to grow, it is necessary that the surrounding atmosphere be a quality corresponding to its peculiar nature. Thus it is that the most beautiful flowers generally thrive only in a mild southern climate. And in the spring would not everything die and wither away were the cold north wind continually to sweep over the fields and dampness and cold prevail, and were the rays of the sun to remain powerless? So also in a home a corresponding atmosphere must prevail if what is good in the child is to come forth and develop. In addition to the supernatural life, Almighty God has engrafted in the tender heart of the child in baptism the germs of the heaven-born plants of faith, of hope, and of chary, and the virtues contained in them. There they must grow more and more, and bring forth blossoms and fruits worthy of eternal life. The house of the parents is the enclosure to which these heavenly plants in the child's heart are almost exclusively confided during its childhood. Here they are hidden, and thus it may easily be seen that everything requires a proper atmosphere to exist in it; in other words, that here a truly Christian spirit should reign, that in all the relations and conditions of the family life the ruling of truly Catholic sentiment should make itself felt. And that this should really be the case, especially in the first years of the child-in those years properly called childhood- depends almost exclusively upon the mother.
It is God's merciful will that a Christian atmosphere, so to speak, should pervade every Christian household, in order that these precious germs of Christian virtue may unfold and grow, blossom and bring forth good fruit, and that the child's heart may thus become truly consecrated in a Christian manner.
Let us imagine a child who from its most tender years has been in such a truly Christian family, who has lived in a home where everything was full of the spirit of a Catholic fear of God and of true piety, so that it never saw nor heard anything contrary to this spirit, but was rather met everywhere, in behavior, in conversation in the doings and omissions of the other members of the household, even in the furnishing of the house, with the influence of a truly Catholic spirit, of a truly Catholic taste and sincere piety; would it not be almost impossible for a child living under such influences to grow up with a different spirit and to lead a different kind of life? Such an effect has atmosphere of a truly Christian home beyond doubt; it is of immense advantage the happy and truly Christian development of the child; it gives to the tender heart of the child in truth a certain kind of consecration, the consecration of a Christian heart.
Rise, then, Christian mothers! create as much as it is in your power a Christian atmosphere within your homes! This belongs particularly to you, since the child is, as we have indicated before, in its earlier decisive years especially
, yes, often exclusively
, given to your care. The behavior of the mother, her conversation, her manner of acting, her example, her management of the family, these create the atmosphere for the little ones. Happy for her and for her children if she understands how to make this atmosphere truly Christian and Catholic, that is to say, truly wholesome for her children. And this is accomplished by every truly Christian mother.
The very house has, through her endeavors, a Christian outfit. Therein we meet, at least in the principal rooms, religious pictures, a crucifix, perhaps a statue of the blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God, and of some Saints. There one sees a vessel for holy water, probably also blessed candles and the like. The child notices all these things, becomes inquisitive about them, puts questions, learns from its mother the signification of them, receives from what it sees and hears salutary religious impressions, and becomes thus quite early and imperceptibly accustomed to a Catholic life - a consecration of the young, tender heart.
But far more does the true, genuine, practical Catholic life
of the mother create this wholesome atmosphere for the child. It observes that the mother prayers, that she goes to church, to instructions, to confession, and to holy communion. It sees how, before and after meals, the mother devoutly folds her hands and prays; and all this very soon becomes sacred in its eyes, for the very reason that it is done by its mother, and it feels itself impelled to do the same; it tries to imitate its mother as closely as possible. Or the child notices how industrious the mother is; how carefully she preserves order and cleanliness; how, when exposed to difficulties and troubles and sufferings, she maintains her peace of heart and bears everything patiently, so that it never hears form her lips an impatient, angry expression, far less anything like profanity. It sees how it s mother conducts herself with great compassion, mildness, and affability towards all the persons of her household; how much goodness she shows towards strangers; that she is always ready to oblige and please them, and how willingly she assists the poor. All these things are so many silent exhortations for the child, which delights in always doing as its mother does and thus, without perhaps a single word of direction from her, it is induced and encouraged to begin to practice all those virtues that shine forth in her, and thus the germs of these virtues, which God has laid in its heart, begin to thrive and grow.
And the same may be said of all other actions of the mother with regard to her child. In fine, whatever a truly Christian mother does is for the child a salutary, wholesome influence, which causes the germs which God has planted in its heart to shoot up and grow continually, whereby from its earlier years a reverent esteem and love for religion is instilled into it. This, then, is the Christian consecration of the child's heart.
The influence which the uninterrupted Christian conduct of a mother exercises on her child descends deeply into its whole nature. This influence engenders in its heart effects almost imperishable, so that in many respects it is to be valued much higher than exhortations and other influences. Happy the child that has experienced this in itself! A happiness, a grace, wherewith nothing upon earth can be compared.
"You cannot think that the buckling on of the knight's armor by his lady's hand was a mere caprice of romantic fashion. It is the type of an eternal truth- that the soul's armor is never well set to the heart unless a woman's hand has braced it; and it is only when she braces it looselh that the honor of manhood fails." - Ruskin
+++ We shared this wonderful book with you all last August and it is such a wonderful title so we thought we would bump this post up. It is a great title to read in May (the month of Mary) and also makes a great Mother's Day gift, a book for the heart of every mother. +++
In a day and age where every lady dreams of her knight in shining armor and struggles to find him. When doors are not normally opened for ladies by gentleman and when women generally want to be equal with men this book is as fitting (or even more so) today as it was in 1877 when it was written.
Thomas Foley, Bishop of Chicago in 1877 said: This work is "fitted for our times. It will be of vast service to many mothers and daughters in the Church, by showing them how they may practically conform their lives to the bright pictures of womanly virtue you have so felicitously portrayed."
This wonderful book, The Mirror of True Womanhood, was written by Rev. Monsignor Bernard O'Reilly. It covers so many beautiful topics involving true womanhood with Mary as our shining example. From home-life, a woman's love, supernatural virtues, a living faith, hospitality, making our homes a paradise, biblical examples of virtuous women, stewardship, resourcefulness, spirit of charity, education of our children, childhood, building religious character, city life vs. farm life, generosity, formation of boys and girls in childhood, Christian idea of service, social duties and many, many more topics!
This book is chalk full of real life examples about woman and how they mold the men of the world and how they inspire virtue in the home. Today woman think that their power lies in working and providing an income, in making their way in the world. This book shows in so many ways how special the woman is that molds the world though the children she raises, the home that she keeps and the husband that she loves and honors.
One of the most impressive stories in this book (so far, as I haven't finished reading it yet) is about St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland. Because she was so full of virtue, love of God and charitableness she would never allow anyone to leave her table without first saying the meal prayer at the end of the meal. It was not uncommon for people to get up and leave after they were done. Instead of using her queenly authority she, in a more delicate way, provided those finished with their meal with plenty to drink until everyone had finished their meal. In this way she was able to insure that all gave their thanks to God in a most charitable manner.
There are several secular and Protestant books on the market, even a few Catholic ones, that try to show how a woman is head of the house and how she influences her family and even beyond with her womanly talents. One of the more famous biblical quotes for this sort of topic is also stated in this book: "Who shall find a valiant (brave-hearted) woman? ... The heart of her husband trusteth in her... She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands... She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night... She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow." - Proverbs xxxi. This book far exceeds those other books in explanation and its so thoroughly Catholic that it would be hard for any other book to compare to this one.
Mirror of True Womanhood, is one of those books that holds its place in every Catholic home's library, as a wonderful wedding gift, a gift for any young lady, for any mother-to-be as well as one that should be read over and over again. There is true beauty in womanhood and it has its own special place. Not a place that is the same as man's but is different yet equal in importance. The same author has also written a book for men titled "True Men as We Need Them." I imagine it is equally fitting for men in our times. These two books can be found in ebook version online for free.
Download them here:Mirror of True Womanhood True Men as We Need Them
The internet is full of treasures and especially those that bring back the traditions of the Faith. Everyonce in a while one really special treasure is given to us. A little teacher's guide called Christian Doctrine Teachers Manual
was written in 1904 (imprimatur with the same date) and details the basics of what a Catholic child should learn in their Faith from 1st through 8th grade. Its a great guide full of names of lots of old books that are gems in themselves! The Patron Saints for each grade's Catholic Children's Journal was taken from this book and now another printable inspired by the same. Each grade in this book has prayers that should be learned by the student listed at the beginning of each section. Since our children already know many of the prayers sort of out of grade level order I decided to make a chart to track the ones they know and the ones they need to learn. In our home we learn in many different ways using the three learning styles. This form also serves as a way to track our different learning. To use the form in this way simply write the activity you do down and the date. Say you happen to do the Willson's lovely "Our Father ; A printing book for Children" during school today (for religion, writing etc.). Write down that under activitty and then make an 'x' under the Our Father slot. Perhaps on the next day you have your child recite the 'Our Father' aloud as memory work. Under activity write 'recite Our Father' then mark an x under Our Father. Another day you decide to have the child read the story about Our Father in Heaven, mark that on your list with an 'x' under Our Father.This can work all across the board as well. Say you are learning the Angelus .. you can mark down your activity that you are using to teach it and not only mark an 'x' under Angelus but also under the 'Hail Mary' as they share similar stories. In this way you can track what prayers need worked on, which forms of learning you are using and perhaps which forms of learning should be added so that the child fully understands not only the words of the prayer and the form but also the meaning what he/she is saying.Eventually I hope to have all the prayers listed on the forms typed up and added to our site. Its down the list on a very long to-do list of projects. For your reference the e-book versions of the Christian Doctrine Teacher's Manual can be found free online. Please feel free to share with us ways in which you help your children learn the wonderful prayers of Holy Mother Church! God bless!
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Many children are headed back to school and many mothers starting their homeschools' up this time of year. In keeping with the school season we are sharing a bit on Catholic Education.
Mirror of True Womanhood
Rev. Monsignor Bernard O'Reilly
THE DIVINE SPIRIT'S SHARE IN THE WORK OF EDUCATION
Surely it must be a consolation and an encouragement to the mother to know that in this laborious but sweet work of forming each mind and heart under her care, she is doing God's own most blessed work, in which she has a right to count on his most effective and continual co-operation.
In imparting instruction, in forming the minds and hearts of her dear ones, the mother only does one part of God's work; He takes on himself to do the other and the most important part. This she must rely on with undoubting certainty; but this, unhappily, is what so many Christian mothers never think of.
Let them, - such, at least, as are desiours of profiding by the directions here given, - only look at the work of the husbandman. He clears away the ground in which he purposes to grow his crop; plows it, prepares and examines his seed, casts it in the furrows, and covers it over. The rest is the work of all-bountiful nature, - of Him, rather, who is the all-wise and provident author of nature. He gives the warmth, the rain, and the dew. His hand unfolds the rich germ in the soil, till it grows up and fructifies and ripens for the harvest.
So it is with your culture, O mothers: the precious seeds of truth which you cast into the minds of your children, just when the spring-tide of their souls begins to dawn, are far more the care of God than the crops of the husbandman, - dear as these surely are to His fatherly providence, Fear not then but his Holy Spirit dwelling in the dear souls you are cultivating, will shed on the germs you deposit the warmth of his sunlight, the late and the early rain. Do your best, - and trust to the Divine Husbandman for the certain increase in the rich harvest in his own good season.
Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers
By: Monsignor P. Lejeune
Imprimatur 1913 Part I -Chapter 5
One of the resolutions which I suggested in the preceding chapter was fidelity to a rule of life. Have you a rule of life? Do not say that a rule is possible for a religious, but impossible for the mother of a family. This is an error! Every woman, whatever her lot in life, and whatever her obligations, ought to have a rule of life. Of course, the rule of a religious will be less open to modification, and will entail greater precision and severity than yours. Nevertheless, you must have a rule, otherwise your life will be squandered in a thousand follies and futilities. Need this rule be written? When written, it will have much more precision than if it were only in the memory. But do not imagine that it should cover many sheets of paper. A few simple resolutions, clearly stated, will be entirely sufficient. You need not overburden yourselves in the beginning. Go forward step by step. A rule is not immutable; we can always add to it according as divine grace directs us. Indeed, it is better to add to a rule than to subtract from it. It is better to begin at a moderate pace, than to be obliged to slacken our speed, and perhaps lose heart.
Let me call your attention to the advantages of a rule of life. First, it saves you from yourselves, so to speak; from the spirit of caprice which finds its way so easily into your actions, and robs you of the greater part of your merit. We all are tempted to do only what pleases us, and to avoid sacrifices as much as possible. An act needs but to take on the appearance of duty to become an object of aversion to us. The result is that unless you are bound by a rule, your lives will drift unceasingly; they will float along guided only by caprice, and the sense of duty will be almost entirely lost. In that case it is your own will that you have followed from morning until evening, and not the will of God.From the viewpoint of merit, what a sad life is that which is not regulated. It is a life which, from a worldly standpoint, may have a certain respectability, but which, from the supernatural side is a mere farce. Will you tell me what that day weighs, in the divine balance, during which you follow your own will with never a thought for the will of God? The evil of our century is precisely the absence of the supernatural in life. It is this naturalism, this worldliness, that draws Christian souls back to the ideals which honest Pagans formerly conceived at Rome or at Athens. Do you imagine that you can combat this naturalism by leaving your life unbridled, so to speak, without a bit to restrain it, or a rule to regulate it? I have no hesitancy in saying that a life without a rule, is a life wherein the supernatural, that is, the part of God, has little or no importance.
Here is another advantage of a rule of life: there are many bound by a rule whose lives are very fruitful. She who lives by a rule finds time for everything. Such a life produces its effects much more quickly, and with less fatigue, than life without a rule. Ask any Christian mother who accomplishes an astonishing amount of work, yet never has an air of depression, ask her, I say, the secret of her activity. She will tell you that she works methodically, because she is guided by her rule. Others, though always occupied, accomplish little because they follow the inspiration of the moment. When perchance they have finished a work, they lose a quarter of an hour asking themselves what to do next. Then they attempt something, leave it unachieved because it has suddenly become distasteful to them, pass to another work, return finally to the first, and, in the end, accomplish nothing.True, they have been occupied continually, but they have been badly occupied, and have succeeded in making every one around them discontented. Now the ridiculous part of it all is this, that instead of laying the fault to themselves, they feign to be misunderstood, and accuse their husbands of not rendering justice to their tact.
If you desire me to draw up for you the essentials of your rule, I will say that you should first determine the hour of your rising and retiring. Do not remain undecided on this important point. The rule extolled by spiritual writers, as well as by physicians, is to retire early in order to rise early. Here is another article that ought to find its place in your rule: morning and evening prayers should be said kneeling. Moreover, there is hardly one among you who cannot spend a quarter of an hour each day in spiritual reading. You should have a special article binding you to that. Those of you who have the time, and who are unwilling to be satisfied with merely earthly piety, ought to take measures to make a meditation every morning, and also to attend Holy Mass each day, or at least several times during the week.
Do not forget to receive the sacraments. But of all the articles this will be the one most subject to modification. The more often you communicate, the more ardent will your desire for the Holy Eucharist become. It will be necessary, therefore, to modify your rule more and more frequently in regard to the reception of the sacraments.
I will propose this rule for the distribution of your time. Give your attention, above all to the most important duties. I mean those of your interior, and station in life. Then attend to the less important duties; the remainder of your time may be spent on duties of pure decorum--if any more time remains.
Since your rule has been made for God, it is for God that it should be followed out. This rule is the expression of the will of God in your regard, which must of necessity be very dear to you. Bring, then, to the accomplishment of each of these articles, a true spirit of faith, and a truly supernatural motive, and place yourselves a hundred times daily under the eye of God, saying frequently to Him and love: "All for you, My God."
For the Month of May
Children, 'tis the month of Mary,
Strew her altar-steps with flowers,
And your guileless witness bear
What a genial faith is ours!
To our Blessed Lady offer
Joyous hymns of love and praise;
Make atonement for the scoffer,
For he knows not what he says.
May for you is doubly blooming,
Life itself is in its Spring,
No dark clouds o'er you looming,
All seems fair and promising.
Therefore, to most holy Mary
Consecrate your hearts and live,
She will not forget her servants
When their trial-hour arrives.
Wait then for not more to-morrows,
Cast ourselves before her feet,
She will soften all your sorrows;
She who is with grace replete,
In affliction will not leave you,
But, when life has passed away,
Will with open arms receive you
Into everlasting May.
In this blessed month of Mary
Heavenly Father, grant to me
True devotion to that Mother
Who alone was worthy thee;
Grief for every thing that grieved her,
Joy for all that gave her joy;
And in those who've not believed her
Worthy of our love, destroy
Whatso'er it is that blinds them,
Through her suffering Son, we pray
Till at length Thy mercy find them,
And they, too, to Mary pray.
Poems for Catholics & Convents and Plays for Catholic Schools
By: The Sisters of Mercy
"My God, what will happen to me today, I do not know; but I do know that nothing will happen to me which Thou hast not forseen and ordained for my greater good. I accept, then, Thy thrice holy will; I submit myself to it, and desire to delight in it despite all the revolts of my reason, and the repugnance's of my nature."
I stumbled upon a wonderful audio book called Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers. This wonderful book/mp3s touch on so many subjects that are near and dear to many Catholic mothers. Often I see online articles and blog posts about burnout in motherhood and/or homeschooling, in parenting, in the normal every day life. Typically these articles talk about many things; amongst them taking more time for oneself, taking breaks, more rest and organizing ones day. This book gives a truly Catholic aspect of those every day things of motherhood and it is very different from the modern day approach to give oneself more time alone doing the things one wants to do above our duties. In fact it speaks much of the opposite, sacrifice is the theme that runs through this book and there are many saints referenced to give wonderful examples. The book contains the following topics: True and false devotion, a catalog of souls, naturalism, the value of time, promptness in rising, venial sin-its ugliness,
venial sin- its effects, impediments to spiritual progress, impediments to spiritual progress concluded, affections and aversions. Part two: spiritual reading - its advantages, spiritual reading- how to engage in it, spiritual reading- what books to read, meditation, good resolutions, examination of conscience, the art of rising after we fall, the interior life, the government of the tongue, spiritual imperfection. Part three: The holy Mass, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, The communion of children and young people, the communion of little children, the Eucharistic education of the child and the Church.Chapter five gives a wonderful explanation of how we, as mothers, should have a daily rule of life just as the religious but with more flexibility yet an equal purpose:Chapter V - THE NEED OF A RULE OF LIFE. Let me call your attention to the advantages of a rule of life. First, it saves you from yourselves, so to speak; from the spirit of caprice which finds its way so easily into your actions, and robs you of the greater part of your merit. We all are tempted to do only what pleases us, and to avoid sacrifices as much as possible. An act needs but to take on the appearance of duty to become an object of aversion to us. The result is that unless you are bound by a rule, your lives will drift unceasingly; they will float along guided only by caprice, and the sense of duty will be almost entirely lost. In that case it is your own will that you have followed from morning until evening, and not the will of God…..Here is another article that ought to find its place in your rule: morning and evening prayers should be said kneeling. Moreover, there is hardly one among you who cannot spend a quarter of an hour each day in spiritual reading. You should have a special article binding you to that. Those of you who have the time, and who are unwilling to be satisfied with merely earthly piety, ought to take measures to make a meditation every morning, and also to attend Holy Mass each day, or at least several times during the week.
This book keeps in mind our purpose for our life earth and our vocation. The MP3's are free to download
(after clicking the link scroll down about 1/4 of the way) and if you would like a free printed version it can be found here
. The book is long out of print and an original copy is near $100. Have any of you read this wonderful book? Have you written a Rule of Life?
Some free downloads to help organize a daily rule of life::