- Fenelon -
Internal peace resides, not in the senses but in the will. One keeps it in the midst of the bitterest sorrow so long as one's will remains firm and submissive.
- Fenelon -
Grace is the light God gives the mind,
That we the truth may surely find
Grace is the strength he gives free will,
His holy precepts to fulfill.
- Songs for Catholic Schools, 1862 -
One of our favorite hymns. We love to sing this one before the little ones go to bed. It's very soothing to all of us.
Goodnight, Sweet Jesus, Guard us in sleep,
Our souls and bodies, In Thy love keep.
Waking or sleeping, Keep us in sight,
Dear gentle Saviour, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight, Dear Jesus, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight Sweet Jesus, Grant that each day,
Of our lives mortal, Thus pass away.
Thy love o'er watching, Guiding aright,
Dear gentle Saviour, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight Dear Jesus, Goodnight, goodnight.
Grant gracious Jesus, when sets the sun,
Of our life earthly and day is done.
That Thou wilt take us to Heaven's light,
Dear gentle Saviour, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight Dear Jesus, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight, sweet Jesus, thanks for Thy loyal love,
And all Thy wondrous gifts showered from above.
Grant us forgiveness, poor sinners in Thy sight;
Dear gentle Saviour, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight Dear Jesus, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight, sweet Jesus, watch while we rest in sleep;
Thou art our Shepherd Lord; we are Thy sheep
When we awaken, be Thou our Morning Light,
Dear gentle Saviour, Goodnight, goodnight.
Goodnight Dear Jesus, Goodnight, goodnight.
Seek not for consolation but for the Cross, seek for work and not for rest, for bitterness rather than joy, for the least and not the most, for the worst and not the best, for poverty and not the possession of anything whatever.
- St. John of the Cross -
This lovable Saint was born at Assisi and received the name Francis at Baptism, in honor of the great St. Francis of Assisi. His mother died when he was only four. Francis' father sent for a governess to raise him and the other children.
Francis grew to be a very handsome, likeable boy, who was the most popular dancer at all the parties. He really loved to have fun, but he was a good boy and even while having good times, he felt bored. He felt in his heart a strong desire for the things of God. Twice when he became so sick that he nearly died, he promised Our Lady that if she obtained his cure, he would become a religious. He did get better both times, but he did not keep his promise.
One day, afterwards, as he looked at a picture of the Sorrowful Mother being carried in a procession, it seemed to him that the Blessed Mother looked at him. At the same time, he felt something like a voice in his heart telling him: "Francis, the world is not for you any more.'' That did it. Francis entered the Passionist monastery. He was only eighteen. The name he took was Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother.
Gabriel's three great loves were the Passion of Our Lord, the Blessed Sacrament and our Sorrowful Mother. He practiced two virtues in a special way: humility and obedience. In just six years, Gabriel became a saint.
His feast day is February 27th
We should not think only of having good times. God made us for Heaven. So we should often think of the great joys awaiting us there, if we live a life pleasing to God.
You can find a coloring page of St. Gabriel here.
Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory, to be said When the Church Bell is Tolled or after the Evening Angelus
Thy mercy, Lord, we humbly crave
For souls whom Thou didst die to save.
Suffering amidst the cleansing fire,
To see Thy face they yet aspire.
Grant them, O Lord, a swift release,
And bring them where all pain shall cease.
Eternal rest give unto all the faithful departed, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
-The Catechism Explained, Imprimatur 1927 -
I bless Thee, O Thou Lord of heaven!
Whose life for sinful man was given.
Let not Thy Cross and bitter pain
Have been for me borne all in vain.
-The Catechism Explained, Imprimatur 1927 -
From the Letter of Diognetus
Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.
Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.
To speak i n general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from
it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it,
not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.
Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its member despite the body's hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together,
and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian's lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.
Jesus wishes to take entire possession of your heart; in order to do this He will make you suffer much . . . but then, what joy will flood your soul when you will have arrived at the happy moment of your entrance into Heaven!
- Soeur Therese -
Do not look at life's long sorrow; See how small each moment's pain; God will help thee for the morrow, So each day begin again.
- Adelaide Procter -
I really enjoy poetry, well the poetry that rhymes anyway. I came across this and thought I would share it. It's lovely!
PRAYER AGAINST TEMPTATION.
Oh, Mary ! Mother Mary!
We place our trust in thee
Our faith shall never wary,
Though weak the flesh may be.
Too oft with steps unwary,
From duty we have bent:
Oh, Mary! Mother Mary!
Thou teach us to repent.
The grisly form of terror
Now rises on our way;
Now more seductive error
"Would lead our feet astray.
Satan is strong and wary,
But thou wilt crush his might:
Oh, Mary! Mother Mary!
Strengthen us in the fight.
From dangerous occasions
That blind, imprudent eyes
From treacherous persuasions
That point not to the skies.
From mirth too light and airy,
From thought too sad and deep :
Oh, Mary! Mother Mary!
Thy little children keep.
Let us remember ever
The presence of the Lord;
Let us with fond endeavor
Obey his holy "Word.
As Monster, or as Fairy,
Satan may take the field
But Mary ! Mother Mary !
Thy name will be our shield.
~ Songs for Catholic Schools, Imprimatur 1862 ~
The newest issue of our family's Gazette, Issue 33 is now available here. Wonderful stories, coloring pictures and Catholic games for children of all ages. So go on over to our Gazette page and take a look.
If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, it is a sign of the great holiness to which He desires you to attain.
- St. Ignatius -
Do not look at life's long sorrow; See how small each moment's pain; God will help thee for the morrow. So each day begin again.
- Adelaide Procter -
THE Introit of this day's Mass, which begins with the word Reminiscere, from which this Sunday derives its name, is the prayer of a soul begging God's assistance, that she may sin no more:
Remember, O Lord, Thy compassions and Thy mercies, which are from the beginning, lest at any time our enemies rule over us: deliver us O God of Israel, from all our tribulations. To Thee O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed. (Ps. xxiv.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who seest us to be destitute of strength, keep us both inwardly and outwardly; that we may be defended in the body from all adversities, and cleansed in our mind from all evil thoughts. Through our Lord, &c.
EPISTLE, (I Thess. IV. I - 7.) BRETHREN, we pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us, how you ought to walk, and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more. For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God: and that no man over-reach nor circumvent his brother in business; because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification; in Christ Jesus our Lord.
EXPLANATION. From these words we see, that the great Teacher of Nations has carefully showed the Christian congregations the sanctity of their calling, as he labored to lead them from the blindness and abominations of heathenism.
ASPIRATION. Grant, O God, that I may live an honest, chaste and holy life in accordance with my vocation, and go not after earthly and carnal pleasures, as the heathens who know Thee not.
GOSPEL. (Matt. XVII. I - 9.) AT THAT TIME, Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine asthe sun, and his garments became white as snow. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them, and lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said to them : Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes, saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man: till the Son of Man be risen from the dead.
Why was Christ transfigured in presence of His apostles on Mount Thabor?
To permit them to see the glorious majesty of His divinity; to guard them from doubts when they should afterwards see Him die on Mount Calvary; to encourage the disciples and all the faithful to be patient in all crosses and afflictions, for the bodies of the just at the resurrection will be made like the glorified body of Christ. (Phil* III. 21.)
Why did Moses and Elias appear there?
That they might testify, that Jesus was really the Saviour announced by the law and the prophets, and that the law and the prophets received fulfillment in Him. The former was represented by Moses, the latter by Elias.
Why did Peter wish to build three tabernacles there?
The delightful sweetness of the apparition in which Jesus made him participator so enraptured him, that he knew not what he said, not considering that glory can be attained only through sufferings, the crown through fight, joy through crosses and afflictions.
ASPIRATION. Draw us, O Jesus, to Thee, that by the contemplation of the sacred joys awaiting us, we, by Thy grace, may not be defeated in the spiritual contest, but conquer through Thy grace and carry off the unfading crown of victory.
The more we complain of our trials the heavier our burden grows; if on the contrary we humbly and lovingly bear them, the burden becomes light and agreeable.
- Blessed Egidius of Assisi -
As the priest reverently, devoutly, and lovingly gathers up from the paten the tiniest particles of the Host, so should you gather up all the thorns, the trials and the sufferings you meet on your way, to put them in the chalice of love along with the Precious Blood of the Saviour.
~ Father Brisson ~
Learn to suffer and to be silent if you wish to live in peace and to attain to great virtue.
- St. John of the Cross -
A Catholic Family at Prayer coloring picture can be found on our Coloring Pictures page.
My daughter Sarah has just added her newest 18" doll costume to her blog, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. You can view the details on her blog Bella's Boutique.
What is death? It is but the leap of a child springing into his Father's arms.
- Father Tesnieres, SSS., D.D. -
The above book was written in 1875 by Father Michael Muller a Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. I read it many years ago and it made a great impact on the way I think about things, especially sin. A dear friend brought it to my attention again, so I started to read it once more. Again, it made me think especially the chapter below on "Bad Books." In our day and age there are not only 'bad books' to look out for there is the internet, television, and other technology that can lead us into sin. So with these thoughts in mind I'd like to share the following:
There is one special occasion of sin which must be dwelt upon more at length. It is the reading of bad books.
Bad books are,
1. Idle, useless books which do no good, but dis tract the mind from what is good;
2. Many novels and romances which do not appear to be so bad, but often are bad;
3. Books which treat professedly of bad subjects;
4. Bad newspapers, journals, miscellanies, sensational magazines, weeklies, illustrated papers, medical works;
5. Superstitious books, books of fate, etc.;
6. Protestant and infidel books and tracts.
There are certain idle, useless books which, though not bad in themselves, are pernicious because they cause the reader to lose the time which he might and ought to spend in occupations more beneficial to his soul. He who has spent much time in reading such books, and then goes to prayer, to Mass, and to Holy Communion, instead of thinking of God and of making acts of love and confidence, will be constantly troubled with distractions; for the representations of all the vanities he has read will be constantly present to his mind.
The mill grinds the corn which it receives. If the wheat be bad, how can the mill turn out good flour? How is it possible to think often of God, and offer to Him frequent acts of love, of oblation, of petition, and the like, if the mind is constantly filled with the trash read in idle, useless books? In a letter to his disciple Eustochium, St. Jerome stated for her instruction that in his solitude at Bethlehem he was attached to, and frequently read, the works of Cicero, and that he felt a certain disgust for pious books because their style was not polished. Almighty God, foreseeing the harm of this profane reading, and that without the aid of holy books the saint would never reach that height of sanctity for which he was destined, administered a remedy very harsh, no doubt, but well calculated to make him alive to his fault. He sent a grievous sickness on him, which soon brought the solitary to the brink of the grave. As he was lying at the point of death, God called him in spirit before His tribunal. The saint, being there, heard the Judge ask him who he was. He answered unhesitatingly,
“I am a Christian; I hold no other faith than Thine, my Lord, my Judge.”
“Thou liest,” said the Judge;
“Thou art a Ciceronian, for where thy treasure is, there thy heart is also.”
He then ordered him to be severely scourged. The servant of God shrieked with pain as he felt the blows, and begged for mercy, repeating in a loud voice,
“Have mercy upon me, Lord! have mercy upon me.”
Meanwhile, they who stood round the throne of that angry Judge, falling on their faces before Him, began to plead in behalf of the culprit, implored mercy for him, and promised in his name that his fault should be corrected. Then St. Jerome, who, smarting with pain from the hard strokes he had received, would gladly have promised much greater things, began to promise and to swear, with all the ardor of his soul, that never again would he open profane and worldly works, but that he would read pious, edifying books. As he uttered these words he returned to his senses, to the amazement of the bystanders, who had believed him to be already dead. St. Jerome concludes the narration of this sad history with these words:
”Let no one fancy that it was an idle dream, like to those which come to deceive our minds in the dead of night. I call to witness the dread tribunal before which I lay prostrate, that it was no dream, but a true representation of a real occurrence; for when I returned to myself, I found my eyes swimming with tears, and my shoulders livid and bruised with those cruel blows.”
He tells us, finally, that after this warning lie devoted himself to the reading of pious books with the same diligence and zeal that he had before bestowed upon the works of profane writers. It was thus that Almighty God induced him to that study of divine things which was so essential to his own progress in perfection, and destined to do so much good to the whole Christian world.
It is true that in works like those of Cicero we sometimes find useful sentiments; but the same St. Jerome wisely said in a letter to another disciple:
“What need have you of seeking for a little gold in the midst of so much dross, when you can read pious books in which you shall find all gold without any dross?”
As to novels, they are, in general, pictures, and usually very highly wrought pictures, of human passions. Passion is represented as working out its ends successfully, and attaining its objects even by the sacrifice of duty. These books, as a class, present false views of life; and as it is the error of the young to mistake these for realities, they become the dupes of their own ardent and enthusiastic imaginations, which, instead of trying to control, they actually nourish with the poisonous food of phantoms and chimeras.
When the thirst for novel-reading has become insatiable as with indulgence it is sure to do they come at last to live in an unreal fairy-land, amidst absurd heroes and heroines of their own creation, thus unfitting themselves for the discharge of the common duties of this every-day world, and for association with every-day mortals. The more strongly works of fiction appeal to the imagination, and the wider the field they afford for its exercise, the greater in general are their perilous attractions; and it is but too true that they cast, at last, a sort of spell over the mind, so completely fascinating the attention that duty is forgotten and positive obligation laid aside to gratify the desire of unraveling, to its last intricacy, the finely-spun web of some airy creation of fancy. Fictitious feelings are excited, unreal sympathies aroused, unmeaning sensibilities evoked. The mind is weakened; it has lost that laudable thirst after truth which God has imprinted on it; filled with a baneful love of trifles, vanity, and folly, it has no taste for serious reading and profitable occupations; all relish for prayer, for the Word of God, for the reception of the sacraments, is lost; and, at last, conscience and common sense give place to the dominion of unchecked imagination. Such reading, instead of forming the heart, depraves it. It poisons the morals and excites the passions; it changes all the good inclinations a person has received from nature and a virtuous education; it chills by little and little pious desires, and in a short time banishes out of the soul all that was there of solidity and virtue. By such reading, young girls on a sudden lose a habit of reservedness and modesty, take an air of vanity and frivolity, and make show of no other ardor than for those things which the world esteems and which God abominates. They espouse the maxims, spirit, conduct, and language of the passions which are there under various disguises artfully instilled into their minds; and, what is most dangerous, they cloak all this irregularity with the appearances of civility and an easy, complying, gay humor and disposition.
St. Teresa, who fell into this dangerous snare of reading idle books, writes thus of herself:
“This fault failed not to cool my good desires, and was the cause of my falling insensibly into other defects. I was so enchanted with the extreme pleasure I took herein that I thought I could not be content if I had not some new romance in my hands. I began to imitate the mode, to take delight in being well dressed, to take great care of my hands, to make use of perfumes, and to affect all the vain trimmings which my condition admitted. Indeed, my intention was not bad, for I would not for the world, in the immoderate passion which I had to be decent, give any one an occasion of offending God; but I now acknowledge how far these things, which for several years appeared to me innocent, are effectually and really criminal.”
Criminal and dangerous, therefore, is the disposition of those who fritter away their time in reading such books as till the mind with a worldly spirit, with a love of vanity, pleasure, idleness, and trifling; which destroy and lay waste all the generous sentiments of virtue in the heart, and sow there the seeds of every vice. Who seeks nourishment from poisons? Our thoughts and reflections are to the mind what food is to the body; for by them the affections of the soul are nourished. The chameleon changes its color as it is affected by pain, anger, or pleasure, or by the color upon which it sits; and we see an insect borrow its lustre and hue from the plant or leaf upon which it feeds. In like manner, what our meditations and affections are, such will our souls become either holy and spiritual or earthly and carnal.
In addition to their other dangers, many of these books unfortunately teem with maxims subversive of faith in the truths of religion. The current popular literature in our day is penetrated with the spirit of licentiousness, from the pretentious quarterly to the arrogant and flippant daily newspaper, and the weekly and monthly publications are mostly heathen or maudlin. They express and inculcate, on the one hand, stoical, cold, and polished pride of mere intellect, or, on the other, empty and wretched sentimentality. Some employ the skill of the engraver to caricature the institutions and offices of the Christian religion, and others to exhibit the grossest forms of vice and the most distressing scenes of crime and suffering. The illustrated press has become to us what the amphitheater was to the Romans when men were slain, women were outraged, and Christians given to the lions to please a degenerate populace.
“The slime of the serpent is over it all.”
It instills the deadly poison of irreligion and immorality through every pore of the reader. The fatal miasma floats in the whole literary atmosphere, is drawn in with every literary breath, corrupting the very life-blood of religion in the mind and soul. Thus it frequently happens that the habitual perusal of such books soon banishes faith from the soul, and in its stead introduces infidelity. He who often reads bad books will soon be filled with the spirit of the author who wrote them. The first author of pious books is the Spirit of God; but the author of bad books is the devil, who artfully conceals from certain persons the poison which such works contain. Written, as they generally are in a most attractive, flowery style, the reader becomes enchanted, as it were, by their perusal, not suspecting the poison that lies hidden under that beautiful style, and which he drinks as he reads on.
But it is objected the book is not so bad. Of what do bad books treat? What religion do they teach? Many of them teach either deism, atheism, or pantheism? Others ridicule our holy religion and everything that is sacred. What morals do these books teach? The most lewd. Vice and crime are deified; monsters of humanity are held out as true heroes. Some of these books speak openly and shamelessly of the most obscene things, whilst others do so secretly, hiding their poison under a flowery style. They are only the more dangerous because their poisonous contents enter the heart unawares.
A person was very sorry to see that a certain bad book was doing so much harm. He thought he would read it, that he might be better able to speak against it. With this object in view he read the book. The end of it was that instead of helping others he ruined himself. Some say, “I read bad books on account of the style. I wish to improve my own style. I wish to learn something of the world.” This is no sufficient reason for reading such books. The good style of a book does not make its poisonous contents harmless. A fine dress may cover a deformed body, but it cannot take away its deformity. Poisonous serpents and flowers may be very beautiful, but for all that they -ire not the less poisonous. To say that such books are read purely because of their style is not true, because those who allege this as an excuse sometimes read novels which are written in a bad style. There are plenty of good books, written in excellent style, which are sadly neglected by these lovers of pure English.
To consult those books for a knowledge of the world is another common excuse for their perusal. Well, where shall we find an example of one who became a deeper thinker, a more eloquent speaker, a more expert business man, by reading novels and bad books? They only teach how to sin, as Satan taught Adam and Eve to eat of the
forbidden tree, under the pretense of attaining real knowledge; and the result was loss of innocence, peace, and Paradise, and the punishment of the human race through all time.
Some profess to skip the bad portions and read only the good. But how are they to know which are the bad portions unless they read them? The pretext is a false one. He only will leave the bad who hates it. But he who hates the bad things will not read the books at all, unless he be obliged to do so; and no one is obliged to read them, for there are plenty of good, profitable, and entertaining books which can be read without danger.
There is a class of readers who flatter themselves that bad books may hurt others, but not them; they make no impression on them. Happy and superior mortals! Are they gifted with hearts of stone, or of flesh and blood? Have they no passions? Why should these books hurt others and not them? Is it because they are more virtuous than others? Is it not true that the bad, obscene parts of the story remain more vividly and deeply impressed upon their minds than those which are more or less harmless? Did not the perusal of these books sometimes cause those imaginations and desires forbidden by Christian modesty? Did they not sometimes accuse themselves in confession of having read them? If not, they ought to have done so. Who would like to die with such a book in their hand? Readers of bad books who say such reading does not affect them should examine themselves and see whether they are not blinded by their passions, or so far gone in crime that, like an addled egg, they cannot become more corrupt than they already are.
See that infamous young man, that corrupter of innocence. What is the first step often of a young reprobate who wishes to corrupt some poor, innocent girl? He first lends her a bad book. He believes that if she reads that book she is lost. A bad book, as he knows, is an agreeable corrupter; for it veils vice under a veil of flowers. It is a shameless corrupter. The most licentious would blush, would hesitate to speak the language that their eyes feed on. But a bad book does not blush, feels no shame, no hesitation. Itself unmoved and silent, it places before the heart and imagination the most shameful obscenities.
A bad book is a corrupter to whom the reader listens without shame, because it can be read alone and taken up when one pleases. Go to the hospitals and brothels; ask that young man who is dying of a shameful disease; ask that young woman who has lost her honor and her happiness; go to the dark grave of the suicide; ask them what was the first step in their downward career, and they will answer, the reading of bad books.
Not long ago a young lady from Poughkeepsie, NY, who was once a good Catholic, began to read novels. Not long after she wished to imitate what she read, and to become a great lady. So she left her comfortable home, and ran away with another young lady to New York. There she changed her name, became a drunkard and a harlot, and even went so far in her wickedness as to kill a policeman. Here is the story, told in the woman’s own words as given in the public press: Fanny Wright, the woman who killed police officer McChesney, in New York, on the night of November 2, has been removed to the Tombs, and now occupies a cell in the upper tier of the female prison. The clothing stained with blood of her victim, which she has worn since her arrest, has been changed. In reply to interrogations she made the following statements respecting her life:
“About ten years ago I was living happily with my parents at Poughkeepsie, in this State. Nothing that I wished for was withheld. I was trained in the Roman Catholic faith, and attended to my religious duties with carefulness and pleasure until I was corrupted by a young girl of the same age, who was my school-fellow. She had been reading novels to such an extent that her head had become fairly upset, and nothing would do her but to travel and see the world! The dull life of a small country place like Poughkeepsie would not suit her tastes and inclinations, and from repeatedly whispering into my ears and persuading me that we would be great ladies, have horses, carriages, diamonds, and servants of our own, I finally reluctantly consented to flee from home, and we started together one beautiful night for the city of New York. [Here the poor woman gave way to tears, and sobbed hysterically.] On our arrival in this city we took up our quarters with Mrs. Adams, at No. 87 Leonard Street, and this was the place where I lost my virtue and commenced to lead a life of bitter, bitter shame. My family ultimately succeeded in finding out my whereabouts and took me home, but I could not listen to the voice of reason. I felt that I had selected my mode of life, and was determined at all hazards to follow it out. I escaped a second time, and went back to Mrs. Adams’s, where I was confined of a sweet little girl shortly afterwards. I used to keep myself very clean, and dressed with great care and tastefulness. From Mrs. Adams’s I moved to Mrs. Willoughby’s, at No. 101 Mercer Street, and lived there until the death of my little girl, three years ago; that had an awful effect upon me; I could not help taking to drink to drown my sorrow. From this period I date the commencement of my real hardships. My father emigrated to California, and I had no one left but a young brother; he tried to reform me, and also his poor wife; God bless her! She used to cry herself sick at my disgrace. Previous to this the young girl who accompanied me from home in the first instance fell out lucky, and got married. Drinking was the only pleasure of my life, and it was not long until it began to have its results; I was arrested and committed to the Island for six months; I got down before my time was up, and again took to liquor and street-walking. I used to walk all the time between Greene, Wooster, and Mercer Streets, in the Eighth Ward. I was soon arrested the second time, and sent up again for six months. During the last three years of my life, I have been sent on the Island six times altogether for drunkenness and disorderly conduct. On the night the officer was killed [here she gave way again to tears, and rocked herself around on the bed in a fearful manner], I was walking through the street, going home with message, and picking the kernels out of a hickory-nut with a small knife, when the officer came up to me; I was almost drunk at the time, and much excited; I did not know what I was doing, when on the impulse of the moment I struck him with the knife and killed him.”
On Tuesday the brother of Fanny, a respectable young man, residing in the neighborhood of Poughkeepsie, called at the prison and had an interview with his sister. A more affecting scene, says the Express, it has seldom been our lot to witness. Although a strong, robust man, he fairly shook with emotion from a keen sense of grief and shame. He remained with her for nearly an hour. She was almost frantic with violent outbursts of grief, and after his departure became insensible.
Another young lady of the State of New York was sent to a convent school, where she received a brilliant education. She spoke seven languages. She wished to enter a convent, but was prevented by her parents. Her parents died, and after their death the young lady took to novel-reading. She soon wished to imitate what she had read; she wished to become a heroine. So she went upon the stage and danced in the “Black Crook.” At last she fell one day on Second Avenue, in New York, and broke her leg in six places. She was taken to a hospital, where a good lady gave her a prayer-book. But she flung it away and asked for a novel. She would not listen to the priest encouraging her to make her confession and be reconciled to God. She died impenitent, with a novel in her hand.
Assuredly, if we are bound by every principle of our religion to avoid bad company, we are equally bound to avoid bad books; for of all evil, corrupting company, the worst is a bad book. There can be no doubt that the most pernicious influences at work in the world at this moment come from bad books and bad newspapers. The yellow-covered literature, as it is called, is a pestilence compared with yellow fever, and cholera, and small-pox are as noting, and yet there is no quarantine against it. Never take a book into your hands which you would not be seen reading. Avoid not only notoriously immoral books and papers, but avoid also all those miserable sensational magazines and novels and illustrated papers which are so profusely scattered around on every side. The demand which exists for such garbage speaks badly for the moral sense and intellectual training of those who read them. If you wish to keep your mind pure and your soul in the grace of God, you must make it a firm and steady principle of conduct never to touch them.
Would you be willing to pay a man for poisoning your food? And why should you be fool enough to pay the authors and publishers of bad books and pamphlets, magazines, and the editors of irreligious newspapers for poisoning your soul with their impious principles and their shameful stories and pictures?
Go then, and burn all bad books in your possession, even if they do not belong to you, even if they are costly. Two boys in New York bought a bad picture with their pocket-money, and burned it. A young man in Augusta, GA, spent twenty dollars in buying up bad books and papers to burn them all.
A modern traveler tells us that when he came to Evora, he there on Sunday morning conversed with a girl in the kitchen of the inn. He examined some of her books which she showed him, and told her that one of them was written by an infidel, whose sole aim was to bring all religion into contempt. She made no reply to this, but, going into another room, returned with her apron full of dry sticks all of which she piled upon the fire and produced a blaze. She then took that bad book and placed it upon the flaming pile; then, sitting down, she took her rosary out of her pocket, and told her beads until the book was entirely burnt up.
In the Acts of the Apostles we read that when St. Paul preached at Ephesus, many of the Jews and Gentiles were converted to the faith. “And many of them that believed came confessing and declaring their deeds. And many of those who had followed curious arts brought together their books and burnt them before all. And counting the price of them, they found the money to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
A young nobleman who was on a sea voyage began to read an obscene book in which he took much pleasure. A religious priest, on noticing it, said to him: “Are you disposed to make a present to Our Blessed Lady?” The young man replied that he was. “Well,” said the priest, “I wish that, for the love of the most holy Virgin, you would give up that book and throw it into the sea” “Here it is, father,” answered the young man. “No,” replied the priest, “you must yourself make this present to Mary.” He did so at once. Mary was not slow in rewarding the nobleman for the great promptness with which he cast the bad book into the sea; for no sooner had he returned to Genoa, his native place, than the Mother of God so inflamed his heart with divine love that he entered a religious order. †
In another post I will share the opposite, the chapt
This book in its entirety can be downloaded as a PDF here:
A file of this chapter alone can be found below:
When we feel us too faint, remember Christ's strength. In our fear, let us remember Christ's painful agony that Himself would (for our comfort) suffer before His passion, to the intent that no fear should make us despair.
- Blessed Thomas More -
"All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee
Rise, clasp my Hand, and come! ,
- Francis Thompson -
THIS Sunday is called Invocabit, because the Introit of the Mass begins with this word, which is taken from the ninetieth psalm, wherein we are urged to confidence in God, who willingly hears the prayer of the penitent: He shall call upon me, and I will hear him; I will deliver him, and glorify him; I will fill him with length of days. (Ps. xc. 15. 16.) He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. (Ps. xc. i.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly fast of Lent; grant to Thy household that what we strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, by good works we may secure. Through our Lord, &c.
EPISTLE, (II. Cor. VI. 1 - 10.) BRETHREN, we exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God; in much patience, in tribulations, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, by the armor of justice on the right hand, and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report, and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet known; as dying and behold we live; as chastised , and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, and possessing all things.
EXPLANATION. The Church very appropriately reads on this day this epistle of St. Paul, in which he exhorts the Christians to make use of the time of grace. A special time of grace is Lent, in which everything invites to conversion and penance, a time, therefore, in which God is ready to make rich bestowal of His graces. St. Anselm says, those do not use the grace who do not cooperate. Let us, therefore, follow St. Paul's exhortation, and earnestly practise those virtues he places before us, and especially those of temperance, patience, chastity, liberality, love of God and of our neighbor. Let us arm ourselves with the arms of justice at the right and the left, that is, let us strive to be humble in prosperity and in adversity, confident of God's help. Let us never be led from the path of virtue, by mockery, contempt, nor by persecution, torments, or death.
ASPIRATION. Grant, O Jesus, that we may always faithfully cooperate with Thy graces, and employ well the time Thou hast again given for our salvation.
GOSPEL. (Matt. IV. I - 1 1) AT THAT TIME, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be temptedby the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming, said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written: He hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord 'thy God.
Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and said to him: All these will I give thee, if, falling down, thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus said to him: Begone, Satan, for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left him; and behold, angels came, and ministered to him.
I. Christ went into the desert by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to prepare by fasting and
prayer, for His mission, and to endure the temptations of Satan, that, as St. Paul says, He might be one tempted in all things such as we are, without sin, and so become for us a High-priest who knew how to have compassion on our infirmities, (Heb. iv. 15.) and to show us by His own example, how we should, armed with the word of God, as with a sword, overcome the tempter. (Eph. VI. 17.) Let us, therefore, courageously follow Christ to
the combat against all temptations, with His assistance it will not be hard to conquer them. He has certainly taught us to overcome the hardest ones: the lust of the eyes, of the flesh, and the pride of life, and if we overcome these, it will be easy to conquer the rest.
II. If Christ, the only Son of God, permitted Himself to be tempted by Satan, even to be taken up on a high mountain, and to the pinnacle of the temple, it should not appear strange to us, that we are assailed by many temptations, or that we should find in the lives of so many saints that the evil spirit tormented them by various images of terror and vexation. This we find in the history of the pious Job, where we also find at, the same time, that the evil spirit cannot harm a hair of our head without God's permission.
III. From the coming of the angels to minister to Christ, after He had conquered Satan, we see that all who bravely resist temptations, will enjoy the assistance and consolations of the heavenly spirits.
INSTRUCTION ON TEMPTATION. To be tempted by the devil. (Matt. iv. i.)
What is a temptation?
A temptation is either a trial for instruction and exercise in virtue, or a deception and incitement to sin. In the first sense, God tempts man; in the second, he is tempted by the devil, the world or bad people, and the flesh, by evil thoughts, feelings, words, or works.
By what are we principally tempted?
By our own evil concupiscence and inclination to sin which adhere to us through original sin, (Jam. i. 14.) on account of which it is said, that the flesh lusteth against the spirit. (Gal. v. 17.)
Does the devil also tempt us?
He does, and is therefore called, in this day's gospel, the tempter. St. Peter teaches us this, having himselfexperienced it: Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour, (i Peter v. 8.) Not all temptations are to be ascribed to the devil, however, they often come from our own corrupt nature, our own incautiousness, or looseness of our senses, by which we expose ourselves to the danger of falling into sin.
How does the devil tempt us to sin?
In a twofold manner: He incites the concupiscence of man to those sins to which he sees him inclined, and then seeks to blind and confuse his imagination, so that he neither reflects, nor properly sees the temporal injury, disgrace, and derision, nor the shamefulness of sin and its eternal punishment. Thus the devil seduced Eve, our first mother, and thus he tempted Christ, with whom he could not, of course, succeed, for He was incapable of sin. He tempts bad people to persecute us, or to try us by their wicked vanities, as he did by the friends of Job.
Can the devil force us to evil?
He cannot; "for as a chained dog,'' says St. Augustine, "can bite none but those who go near him , so the devil cannot harm with his temptations those who do not consent to them. Like the dog he can bark at you, but cannot bite you against your will." Not by force but by persuasion Satan strives to injure, he does not force our consent, but entreats it. Seek, therefore, to subdue your passions and your senses, especially your eyes, and you will either remain free from all temptations, or easily overcome them.
Does God also tempt us?
God does indeed tempt us, but not to sin, as St. James expressly teaches. (Jam. i. 13.) God either Himself proves us by sufferings and adversities, or He permits the temptations of the devil or evil-minded people to give us opportunity to practise the virtues of love, patience, obedience, etc. Thus He said to the Jews through Moses: The Lord your God trieth you, that it may appear whether you love him with all your heart, and with all your soul, or no. (Deut. xiii. 3.)
Does God permit us to be tempted by man also ?
He does, and for the same reasons* Thus He permitted the chaste Joseph to be tempted by Putiphar's wife.; (Gen. xxxix. 7.) Job by his wife and his friends. (Job ii. 9.) But He never permits us to be tempted beyond our strength, but gives us always sufficient grace to overcome and even to derive benefit from the temptation, (i Cor. x. 13.)
Are temptations pernicious and bad?
No; they are useful and necessary, rather. "Hard is the fight," St. Bernard writes, "but meritorious, for although it is accompanied by suffering, it is followed by the crown;" (Apoc. iii. 12.) and Origen says. (Libr. Num.) "As meat becomes corrupt without salt, so does the soul without temptations." Temptations, then, are only injurious when consent is given, and we suffer ourselves to be overcome by them.
When do we consent to temptations?
When we knowingly and willingly decide to do the evil to which we are tempted; as long as we resist we commit no sin.
What are the best means of overcoming temptations'?
Humility; for thus answered St. Anthony, when he saw the whole earth covered with snares, and was asked, "Who will escape?" "The humble;" he who knows his own frailty, distrusts himself, and relies only on God who resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble; (Jam. iv. 6.) the fervent invocation of the Mother of God, of our holy guardian angels and patron saints; the pronouncing of the holy name of Jesus, making the sign of the cross, sprinkling holy water; the remembrance of the presence of God who knows our most secret thoughts, and before whom we are indeed ashamed to think or do that which would cause us shame in the presence of an honorable person; frequent meditation on death, hell, and eternal joys; fleeing from all those persons by whom, and places in which we are generally tempted; fervent prayers, especially ejaculations, as: "Lord, save me, lest I perish! Lord, hasten to help me!" finally, the sincere acknowledgment of our temptations at
the tribunal of penance, which is a remedy especially recommended by pious spiritual teachers.
PRAYER. O Lord Jesus! who spent forty days in the desert without food or drink, and didst permit Thyself to be tempted by the evil spirit, give me, I beseech Thee by that holy fast, the grace to combat, during this holy season of Lent, under Thy protection, against intemperance, and to resist the suggestions of Satan that I may win the crown of eternal life. Amen.
A printable file of this post can be found below.
-Goffine's Devout Instruction, Imprimatur 1880
Holy Mother Church
has dedicated the month of
May to the Blessed Virgin Mary
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