"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
"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::
“After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy Mother.”
"And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.”
-St. John xix. 27
Our Blessed Mother -Talks on Our Lady
By Father Edward Leen, C.S.Sp. And Father John Kearney, C.S.Sp.
DE LICENTIA SUPERIORUM 11 Octobris 1946
NEHIL OBSTAT & IMPRIMI POTEST: 24 Novembris, 1951
You cannot have failed to notice that the Church celebrates throughout the year a multitude of feasts of Our Blessed Lady. No month passes without several reminders of her glory and of her dignity. No week passes without at least one day—Saturday; particularly set aside in her honour. No day passes without her being invoked in some particular manner whether in Holy Mass, the Divine Office or the Rosary. Indeed the Church wishes us to keep constantly before our minds this most glorious creature, God’s Masterpiece, “our tainted nature’s solitary boast.” We should strive therefore to discover some method of approach to Our Blessed Lady so that we may be the better enabled to understand her position in regard to us, and the reason why the Church insists so much on our devotion to her. One supremely consoling truth provides us with this method of approach to Mary and explains all that we want to know. It is the truth of Mary’s Motherhood. Mary is a Mother. Let us dwell awhile on this fact and examine its import.
Our Blessed Lady is really a Mother. Now you all know what that word “mother” means. Every letter of that word spells loyalty, sacrifice and love. All the dearest associations of life cling to it. The word brings up a vision of her who brought us into the world, who cared for us and nourished us. It tells of days of anxious watching and loving care. A mother’s love is the most perfect reflection of the love of God Himself. It is the most gentle, the most tender, the most compassionate affection on earth. A mother’s heart is a divine creation. No one but God could have thought of motherhood. None but God could have given us mothers.
So wonderful a creation is motherhood that God Himself determined to have a Mother. When He decided to send His Divine Son upon earth to save us, a Mother was chosen to minister to His needs. And Mary was this Mother. Of all mothers she is the tenderest, the most understanding, the gentlest, the most full of sympathy and compassion, the most motherly, and Mary was all this for her beloved Son. When she smiled on Him at Bethlehem her smile was a perfect mother’s smile; when she clasped her Child to her heart at Nazareth it was the perfect embrace of a Mother; when she stood beneath His Cross on Calvary her sacrifice was the perfect consummation of her motherly love. The relation of a mother and son, always sacred, reaches its summit in the highest perfection that can be conceived when Mary is the Mother and Jesus is the Son. The love of a mother is unlike all other love and the crown of the love of mothers is the love of Mary the Mother of Jesus.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, holds an unique place in God’s creation. By God’s grace she possesses the singular privilege of divine Motherhood. She is the Mother of God. There is none beside her. When we say God is God, we have said all that can be said of God. In like manner when we say that Mary is the Mother of God we have exhausted the measure of her dignity. When that is said, all is said: it resumes and includes everything. Every honour is contained for Mary in the title of Mother of God. It is an immense prerogative for her to possess with the Heavenly Father a mutual Son.
When you think of it, was it not a tremendous privilege for Our Lady to be the Mother of Jesus! For thirty years she lived side by side with Him. She alone of all the human race enjoyed with Him for all those years that intimacy and familiarity which exist between a mother and son. During those years she exercised all the functions and fulfilled all the duties of a mother. She was the witness of His smallest actions, she piously laid up each one of His words in her heart, she knew intimately each one of the sentiments which animated Him. And to His Mother Jesus paid a perfect tribute of submission, respect and love. Never was mother so loved, never was Son so loving. Now it was in this close association with her Son that Mary learned to love mankind. It was with Jesus that she prepared to be the Mother of Men. For, besides being the Mother of Jesus, Mary is our Mother.
It was her Divine Maternity that made Mary our Mother. When she became Mother of Jesus she became our Mother too. Her Motherhood of us is not of the body, for we have our bodies from our earthly mothers. Mary is our spiritual Mother. She is the Mother of Jesus in the flesh; she is the Mother of His members in the Spirit. Because she is the Mother of the Head, she is the Mother of all the members. The Mother of Christ is the Mother of the members of Christ because the Head and the members form but the one Christ. To give birth corporally to the Head was to give birth spiritually to the members. Motherhood consists above all in the communication of life. Mary fulfilled this function of motherhood in giving life to Jesus, Our Saviour, and in giving to us her children, the spiritual life of our souls.
There is no member of the human race of whom Mary is not the spiritual Mother, for there is no member of the human race who is not, either actually or potentially, a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, an adopted son of God, and therefore a child of Mary. But just as physical motherhood is not confined to conception and to the labours of childbearing, but must continue in the rearing and education of the child until it can fend for itself, so also the function of Mary’s spiritual motherhood, in regard to men, is not merely that of conceiving and giving birth to the life of their souls. The role of motherhood must be prolonged until the supernatural life, which under Christ we owe to her, is beyond all the dangers that assail it. Our spiritual mother must rear her children until they have reached spiritual manhood, until they have arrived at the age of the “fullness of Christ,” that is, until they have entered into the glory of heaven. During the whole of our life on this earth, according to the teaching of St. Paul, we are spiritually children, and until we have “put away the things of a child” we need the constant care of our spiritual Mother.
How greatly then are we dependent on our good Mother. How essential to our happiness is her motherly care. Our dependence on Mary is perfectly illustrated by the dependence of a child on its mother; not the child who has seen the light of day, but the little infant yet unborn. The reason for the choice of this illustration is evident. The little infant is absolutely dependent on its mother. We too, whatever may be the degree of sanctity which we have reached, are completely dependent on Mary. At each moment Mary is essential to us. We can do nothing without grace, and it is through Mary, that every grace comes to us. We cannot, therefore, at any moment, no matter how holy we may be, be without Mary’s care. Her motherly care is ceaselessly active. We are the very little infants of the most holy Virgin, and our lips ought to address her as “Mamma” rather than Mother. This childlike title has nothing about it of the puerile or the affected. It shows in its own way, and perhaps in the fullest way, this incontestable truth—the fact of our littleness, of our utter dependence as infants and of Mary’s preparation by God that in her ceaseless solicitude as Mother, she might answer our need.
This attitude of spiritual infancy towards our good Mother, is not a pious excess, but it expresses simply our very real condition. It clarifies and makes easier our relations with God, Our Father. Led, so to speak, by the hand of Mary, we are brought with Jesus, and in Jesus, Our Brother, to the true home of the family of the Blessed Trinity. Developing within us the spirit of Mary, a spirit that looks to humility, to joyous, loving resignation, to childlike tenderness, to holy courage in prayer, to perfect confidence, we are led to have the same childlike attitude towards Our Father in Heaven. Mary is the teacher, training us in the exercise of that baptismal gift by which the Holy Spirit enables us to say “Abba, Father.” (Rom. viii. 15.) Through her is revealed in human flesh the maternal tenderness of God for His children, who are in Jesus, His only Son.
We are the brethren of Jesus. He calls us His Brethren. “Go and tell My Brethren” are Our Lord’s own words spoken of His disciples. He who is Mary’s Son calls us His Brethren. Hence His Father is Our Father, and His Mother our Mother. Our Lord by His Brotherhood has given us a share in His Divine Sonship, and so we are the Sons of God. He has also given us a place by His side in His Mother’s Heart. We are the children of Mary, for Our Brother is Mary’s Child.
Mary is our Mother by a threefold title. Firstly, by the title of our spiritual relationship with Jesus her Divine Son, for as we have seen, Our Divine Lord has adopted us as His Brethren, made us to be His members, so that we form one Mystical Body with Him. At Nazareth, in conceiving Jesus, Mary conceived us too. By her consent to give Him corporal life, she consented to give us the life which He had come to bestow. Mary bore, though in different ways, both Jesus and His members in her maternal womb, for the members and the Head have not a separate existence.
Secondly, Mary is Our Mother by her co-operation in the great work of our Redemption by which the life of grace was truly merited for us. Mary bore Jesus without sorrow, but she bore us, her adopted children, with the greatest anguish. On Calvary she brought us forth when she offered up her Son as a sacrifice for us. Our deliverance from sin and death was accomplished only on Calvary. And it was in union with His Mother that Jesus accomplished this work. She had conceived Him as a Victim; she had brought Him up for the sacrifice, and at the supreme moment she offered Him to the Father for our salvation. At that moment her Motherhood in our regard, was completed. That is why Our Divine Lord proclaimed it by confiding John to Mary and Mary to John: “Mother, behold thy son; son, behold thy Mother.” (John xix. 26-27) These words did not create that motherhood; they attested, confirmed, and completed it at that most solemn moment of His life, in that hour when His Mother, having become our Mother in the full sense of the word, was able to understand her maternal mission.
And thirdly, Mary is our Mother by her truly maternal solicitude; she continually intercedes for us and looks after all our necessities. During the whole course of our lives she does not cease to busy herself with us. As our Mother, Mary knows all the graces of which we stand in need; as the best of Mothers, Mary asks these graces for us; as the Mother of God, and therefore all-powerful, Mary obtains them for us. We will always be her “little children” whom she continues to bear “until Christ be formed in us.” She loves us all, we who are so poor and imperfect; she loves us all with a love that surpasses in purity and intensity the motherly love of all the mothers of the world.
Mary is Mother of Jesus. She is our Mother too. It is our duty then to be loyal to her, to honour her, to obey her, to imitate her, to love her as Jesus loved her. It is our duty to love one another, because we are her children and she loves every one of us most dearly. It is our duty never to grieve her maternal heart by offending her in any way. It is our duty to be united with her and to make her interests our interests. But her interests are identical with those of her beloved Son. Consequently she wants us to adopt and to enter into the programme for which He came down on earth and died on the Cross. She wants us to be true and faithful members of the Catholic Church of which she is the Mother. She wants us to profess our willingness to respect God’s rights over us. She wants us to signify this willingness by striving, as a united body, to mould the society in which we live in accordance with her Divine Son’s programme for the order of the world. And for this end she wants us to unite ourselves with Him, through her, in that great central act of submission to the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Mass, which is the representation of Calvary. Then only can we say most truly that we are her children, and that she is our Mother. Then only can we call her with Jesus “Mother.” It was from her maternal womb that we first came to the real life of our souls. Let us ask her to take us back again into her bosom at the hour of our death, to be born again, and to live for ever with Jesus as her children in heaven. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” Amen.
“Am I not your Mother?”
Taken from Our Blessed Mother.
Listen to this entire book, and all the books by Father John Kearney on Cassette tapes. Order from: Holy Family Publication Ministries For other audio books on MP3 please visit http://www.jmjsite.com/audiobooks.html