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Of Course Your Kids Should Come First. Duh.

We have this great thirst for freedom because our fundamental aspiration is for happiness; and we sense that there is no happiness without love, and no love without freedom. This is perfectly true. Human beings were created for love, and they can only find happiness in loving and being loved. . . The problem is that our love often goes in the wrong direction: we love ourselves, selfishly, and we end up frustrated, because only genuine love can fulfill us. . . There is true love, and therefore happiness, only between people who freely yield possession of the self in order to give themselves to one another.

-Father Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom

I came across this article recently which urges moms to put themselves first. The writer suggests unapologetically that moms should be selfish: Read More →

Mary’s 15 Promises

Tradition tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary made 15 promises to St. Dominic which she extends to anyone who prays the rosary. Here are her promises along with a brief explanation for both adults and children.

1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.

Explanation: What are “signal graces”? They are little signs that God will give you that you are headed in the right direction so you can make good decisions.

For children: If you pray the Rosary, God will help you make good choices when you’re not sure what to do.

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.

Explanation: Mary is a channel of God’s graces to us. She has a special place in her heart for those who pray the Rosary. They receive her special attention and protection.

For children: When you pray the Rosary, Mary promises to make an extra effort to protect you and send you special blessings.

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The Family Rosary: How to Start

“Give me an army saying the rosary, and I will conquer the world!”

Pope Blessed Pius IX

October is the Month of the Holy Rosary!

Yep, the Church devotes a whole month to the rosary, one of the most popular and quintessentially Catholic spiritual practices. If you have been thinking of starting a family rosary but you’re worried it just won’t work with your family, or if you are just curious about the devotion, this month I will share some tips and insights with you.

My Rosary Confession

Have you tried praying the Rosary with your kids and it didn’t go very well? Perhaps your toddler whipped the beads around her neck like a hula-hoop or your tween asked incessantly, “Why are we doing this?” Or maybe you aren’t really wild about the rosary yourself, and you can think of 100 other things you’d rather do.

I’ve been there. To be honest, I didn’t always like the rosary. In fact, for a long time I would pray the rosary with my children only because I thought it was the right thing to do since we were Catholic and all. I wanted them to have a strong Catholic identity, but I didn’t really love praying it. Too frequently I would find my mind wandering while we were praying it. “Why’s that sock underneath the t.v. stand?” What am I making for dinner?” “How many more beads to go?” “I think I have an eye infection.” My own ambivalence about the rosary helped my compassion for my squirrely but well-meaning kids who tended to do things like hang upside down off the couch while holding their prayer beads.

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Raising Children Who Are Free

As we celebrate July 4 as a nation, I am thinking today about the meaning of “freedom.”  Most folks nowadays think that freedom means they get to do whatever they want without limits, without judgment, without boundaries, and without responsibility. In truth, this is not freedom; it’s a prison. Here is what real freedom means to me.

Freedom Is the Ability to Love

First, freedom is the ability to love generously. In fact, the more unselfishly you can love, the more free you are. Fr. Robert Spitzer explains 4 levels of human happiness in his extraordinary book Finding True Happiness:

  • First level: happiness derived from material objects and the pleasures they can provide. There’s nothing wrong with level 1 happiness, but if you spend most of your energy here, you’ll be pretty shallow. This kind of happiness is very short-lived.
  • Second level: happiness derived from achievement and comparing ourselves to others and finding we are better or more beautiful in some way. People who live mostly at this level tend to use people for their own gain, and they are not satisfied for very long because they worry that they might lose what they’ve gained.
  • Third level: happiness derived from doing good for others and making the world a better place. People who live mostly here are interested in the welfare of others. This is more robust level of happiness, but still people disappoint us at times and don’t do what we hope.
  • Fourth level: happiness derived from seeking the transcendent. They don’t want to just meet the immediate needs of other people; they see the deeper goodness in people and work for their salvation. People who live at this level have a desire for communion with God. Level four is the most perfect level of human happiness.

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