CHOICE OF A STATE
[continued from yesterday]
...In the natural order the normal condition of chastity is work. Rene Bazin, in his exquisite story, "Redemption," draws a fine picture of a young milliner who made her occupation a fascinating and consoling joy. But she was an exception, and ended, moreover, by taking the nun's veil.
The occupation of women in workshops does not of its nature tend to keep them good. It is drab and uninteresting. Marriage, therefore, is their hope. And if they adopt the single life, either voluntarily or in willing submission to necessity, their hope lies almost solely in the regular use of the other Sacraments.
The single life is more easily chosen by the woman of the middle and upper-middle classes. She can enter the learned professions. An expert authority has said, though the statement has been questioned, that from twenty to thirty per cent of women are by temperament adapted to single life in the world. Whatever the exact percentage may be, it would seem to pertain to the normal state of a healthy society that a certain number should be free from the cares of a family, so as to be able to take a more active and independent part in the social and spiritual regeneration of the community.
It is well, in these days, to insist upon this phase of the Catholic ideal. Single blessedness, thus sanctified by the Church, has a social as well as an individual value. The restraint practiced in the single life re-acts generally on the whole social organism. It re-acts particularly on the marriage state, strengthening it and keeping it pure. We are all members one of another. The power of self-conquest which virginity implies is bound to tell in greater or less degree on every member of society.
Let no one then despair of being unable to find a vocation. Those who marry do well, for without them neither the Church nor the world could continue. Those who marry not do better, for they sacrifice themselves for the whole spiritual kingdom, bearing fruit to the extent of many souls. If they do not choose this state spontaneously, even so they can sanctify it by using it and dlrecting it to the higher claims of the spirit.
[End of chapter]
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.