CHOICE OF A STATE
[continued from yesterday]
...On the part of the man the doubt is hardly ever as to whether he is in love or not, nor yet as to whether he is called to marriage or the Church.
He usually knows quite well what he wants. He doubts only his power of fulfilling the obligations of the new state of life.
In regard to marriage he is afraid he cannot afford to keep a wife. The number is growing of those young men who abstain from marriage in order that they may have the pleasure of trifling luxuries. They prefer to be free for the joys of cigarettes and billiards rather than undertake the burden of marriage with its greater joys. Such a choice is nothing but low, unworthy selfishness.
More important, however, is the case where the young man finds the single life a constant temptation to impurity. Then must he seriously turn his attention to marriage as to his salvation.
"It is better to marry than to burn."And it is best of all to marry early, before bad habits are formed.
The number of unhappy homes, caused through youthful indiscretion before marriage, is appalling. It were better therefore to marry, even with poverty in prospect, than to lead a single life continually tempted and perhaps continually falling.
Vocations to the celibate life usually begin to show themselves before the age adapted to marriage. Parents need to know that such a vocation is a special gift of God.
Its chief sign is a spontaneous and constant desire. Two dangers are to be avoided.
Parents must not force the idea of the priesthood or of the cloister on their children. Nor on the other hand must they suppress it when it appears.
Indeed, they will be on the lookout for the signs of zeal and piety which accompany the desire, so that the vocation may have every chance of coming to maturity. It is a great privilege to be able to offer a child for the special service of God.
There is a prevalent impression in many Catholic families that there are only two callings for girls, either to get married or to become a nun.
Now such is not Catholic teaching. There is an impression too that the single state outside marriage or religion is something lower than either.
Neither is that Catholic teaching. On this point the Church is in full sympathy with the age. She sanctions and encourages a career for certain women in a life of single blessedness without the cloistral vows. And more, she provides the means in her Sacraments by which such a life is lived to its highest perfection.....
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.