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Adapted from Father Raoul Plus, S.J.’s Christ in the Home

 

When Motta was elected to the Swiss Federal Council, his first act was to send this telegram to his mother: “To my venerated mother, who remaining a widow while I was still a child, engraved in my heart the concept of duty by teaching me that duty dominates all interests, all selfishness, all other concerns.”

To be sure, God remains the Master of vocations and Motta was not entering upon Holy Orders. But what is certain is that never—or shall we say rarely, very rarely—is a vocation born into a family unless the mother has inculcated in her children a sense of duty and a habit of sacrifice.

Mother and SonOf course, all children who receive a strong supernatural training do not enter the priesthood or religious life, but no child enters upon any career calling for great self-sacrifice if he does not acquire early in life a solid spirit of renunciation of the world and generosity in the accomplishment of duty.

On the other hand, where mothers know how to go about teaching and above all practicing complete fidelity to duty and total renunciation, where they always put the supernatural love of God before material love for their children, Our Lord finds it easy to choose His privileged souls.

Monsignor d’Hulst said many a time to Abbe Leprince, “It takes a truly Christian mother to make a good priest. The seminary polishes him off but does not give him the substance, the sacerdotal [priestly] spirit.” All things considered, that holds true for novitiates and those practicing the religious life. Nothing replaces family training, above all the influence of the mother. But that training and that influence must be wholly supernatural.

Mother and DaughterMadame Acarie, foundress of a French Carmelite Convent where she was known as Sister Marie of the Incarnation, strove earnestly to rear her six children for God. She explained to them: “I would not hesitate to love a strange child more than you if his love for God were greater than yours.”

However, individual free will always remains and God is always Master of His gifts. That thought ought to calm the fear—unjustifiable as it is but humanly understandable—of certain mothers who think, “If I conduct my home along lines too thoroughly Christian, if I instill into my children too strong a habit of the virtues which lead to total renunciation, to an all-embracing zeal, I shall see my sons and daughters renouncing marriage one by one and setting off for the priesthood or the convent.”

If that were to happen, where would be the harm? But that rarely happens in practice. Furthermore, is marriage a state of life that does not require a sense of duty or abnegation? Let there be no anxiety on this score, but perfect peace. The important thing now is not that God might choose so-and-so but that the home gives Our Lord maximum glory; that each child, whatever his destiny, serves an apprenticeship in generosity and the true spirit of the Gospel.

Everything else as far as the future is concerned should be left to God.

 


Adapted from Father Raoul Plus, S.J.’s Christ in the Home (Colorado Springs, CO: Gardner Brothers, 1951), pp. 316 – 318. This book is a treasure chest of advice for Catholics on the practical and spiritual concerns of raising a family.

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 24, 2021

Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, not ev...

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January 24

 

Do not lose your inner peace
for anything whatsoever,
not even if your whole world seems upset.
If you find that you have wandered away from
the shelter of God,
lead your heart back to Him quietly and simply.

St. Francis de Sales


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Francis de Sales

Francis suffered a terrible temptation to despair of being s...

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St. Francis de Sales

Francis de Sales was born in the Duchy of Savoy, in present-day France, in the Château de Sales. His father was Francis, Lord of Boisy, Sales and Novel and his mother Frances de Sionnz, the daughter of a prominent magistrate.

Born prematurely, Francis was delicate but slowly strengthened, though his health was never robust.

Being the oldest son of six, his father destined him for a secular career, despite Francis’ early leanings to the religious life. He attended the Jesuit college of Clermont in Paris where he excelled in rhetoric, philosophy and theology. During this period, Francis suffered a terrible temptation to despair of being saved. He was miraculously delivered before an image of Our Lady and there and then made a vow of chastity.

At twenty-four he received his law degree in Padua. With a brilliant career ahead of him, and a noble prospect of marriage, Francis declared his intention of following an ecclesiastical career. A sharp struggle ensued between him and his father who only relented in his opposition when Bishop Granier of Geneva offered Francis the post of Provost of the Chapter of Geneva in the patronage of the Pope.

Francis was ordained in 1593. The next year he volunteered to evangelize the region of Le Chablais, recently returned to the Duchy of Savoy from Calvinist Geneva and on which the Genevans had imposed their creed. With enormous tact, charity and zeal the young provost confuted the preachers sent to debate him, converted several prominent Calvinists and at great personal risk and traveling extensively brought back to the Church tens of thousands of the people of Chablais.

He was consecrated Bishop of Geneva in 1602, ruling his diocese from Annecy in France where he immediately established regular catechetical lessons for young and old. He himself taught the children of  whom he was beloved. He visited the parishes throughout his rugged diocese, made provisions for the clergy, reformed religious orders, and preached incessantly, everywhere known for his kindness and patient zeal. Those who flocked to hear the holy bishop said, “Never have such holy, apostolic sermons been preached.”

With St. Jeanne Frances de Chantal he founded the Order of the Visitation for girls and widows who had not the health or inclination for the austerities of the great orders.

In the midst of all his activities he found time to write numerous letters and works, among the most famous being his Introduction to the Devout Life.

Francis de Sales died in 1622 at age fifty-six and crowds thronged to venerate him. He was canonized in 1665 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1877.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a con...

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Our Lady and the Three Dresses

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

One day, their priest-confessor advised them that, as a preparation for the feast of the purification of Mary, they should recite the whole Rosary every day for forty days. The three nuns obediently complied.

On the night before that holy feast day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to the three nuns as they gathered in the choir. To the first of these three sisters she handed a rich garment, embroidered with gold. Holy Mary thanked her and blessed her.

She then handed to the second nun a much simpler garment, and also thanked her. Noticing the difference in the two garments, the second sister asked, "Oh Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?" Mary Most Holy lovingly replied, "Because she has clothed me more richly with her prayers than you have done."

Mary then approached the third nun with a canvas garment. Being an observant young lady, this sister at once asked pardon for the half-hearted way in which she had prayed her rosaries.

A full year had passed when all three fervently prepared for the same feast, each saying her Rosary with great devotion. On the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: "Be prepared, for tomorrow you shall come to paradise."

The following morning dawned, full of promise. Each nun wondered if this would be her last day in this vale of tears. When evening came, would they retire to their modest cells once more, or did Holy Mary have something else in store for them?

The sisters related to their confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline (evening prayers) they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her. Amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

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