CHOICE OF A MATE
[continued from yesterday]
That was a naive answer given by the little Irish girl. Asked by the priest what was the way of preparing for the Sacrament of matrimony, she replied: "A little courting, your reverence."
The truth thereby unconsciously spoken needs to be well spread abroad in these days. Courting time is a preparation for a great Sacrament.
In speaking of this, even as of all other phases of Christian life, there is need of much common sense. On the one hand the young people who have arrived at this interesting stage may be expected to take it seriously, but on the other hand they must not be expected to deport themselves as if they were preparing for a funeral.
Company keeping is one of the happiest times of life, and if it is not attended with joy and brightness there is something wrong somewhere. At the outset, then, let it be known to all parents that there is nothing sinful in their grown-up children looking for partners.
Let it be known to all nuns that there is nothing wrong in big children of Mary speaking to the young men of the congregation.
Let it be known to all young men and all young maidens that the affair of courtship is not something to be ashamed of.
Of its nature it involves a certain amount of modesty and shyness. Still, from its earliest signs and movements it is something which ought to be perfectly aboveboard, known to father and mother, acknowledged in the presence of the family. It is a preparation for a great Sacrament, and its verve and joy and delight can suffer no loss through being regulated by the claims of religion.
Now, although falling in love is something which ought to be controlled by reason, it is not entirely an affair of the reason. It is primarily an affair of the heart.
If only such marriages took place as were the result of clear reasoning and mere reasoning from beginning to end, this would become a very dull and uninteresting world, and we might indeed have grave fears for the survival of our race.
But In addition to reason, God has given man and woman affection and love. The affection and the love have reason to guide them, but their action depends largely on their object.
The light of intellect in the man cannot make a woman's face look more beautiful.
The light of intellect in a woman cannot make a man's form look more handsome.
A case of real love between a man and woman is beyond adequate explanation. A man may love a woman for her good looks, for her domestic virtues, for her intellectual endowments; but the kind of love she likes best is that when he is obliged to say: "I do not know why I like you, I only know that I do."
So the problem to be solved by all young Catholics is this: How are the claims of this mysterious and inexplicable love and affection to be reconciled with the claims of stern reason and sublime religion?...
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.