"It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a help like unto himself." Genesis ii. 18.
[continued from yesterday]
...In truth the older one grows, and the more one has experience of mankind, the more does one recognise this fact; that most women, above all most young women, do not realise their proper dignity, do not realise their power, but play with the one and are reckless with the other until both slip from their grasp.
Woman comes into the world, and grows up in the world, with all the dignity of a queen; her weakness is her defence, if only she will not throwaway her shield; her honour is her admiration, if only she will not make light of it; her power over man is incalculable, if only she will not misuse it, if she will show in herself that she is worthy to wield it, if she will keep it true and not bend man by means of it to any selfish ends of her own.
But too often woman awakens to all this when it is too late; she has revelled in the sunshine of her glory, laughed at the slavery she has enforced, until the sun has sunk, and the slave has revolted, and she is left alone, helpless in herself, useless to others, broken for the rest of her days.
For what is the secret of woman? What is that in her which draws human nature around her, and makes every woman a queen if she will be one?
Too often she discovers it by experience, and is content with the fact; she does not look to its basis so that it may be made secure. But if she will examine her own heart she can very soon know.
What is that which she respects most in herself; which, so long as she possesses it, she cherishes as a pearl beyond all price; which her first and last instinct, without any teaching or instruction, tells her is the first thing on which her dignity, and attraction, and her power lie ?
We need not dig deep before we find our answer; it is written on the face of every true woman, found within her hand, stamped upon her very dress; and we call it her honour, because it is the noblest word we can find.
A sinless woman, particularly in one respect, that is a thing before which all the world bows down; and if man desires to possess it, even if evil man is willing to destroy it, it is only because he knows that it is the greatest treasure on this earth. Sinlessness negative, which consists in freedom from stain; sinlessness positive, which will keep every danger of stain far from itself; this is the true secret of a woman's dignity, the root from which all true beauty and charm and personal fascination grow...
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918