Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - June 16


[continued from yesterday]

..."Husbands, love your wives."

The Apostle is evidently referring to a neglect on the part of the husbands. He is not talking as if love were to be a one-sided affair. The very nature of love requires that it should be reciprocal, and should exist at least between two persons.

The ideal love requires three persons. In God it is the love of the blessed Trinity. In the religious it is the love of God and of one's neighbor. In the family it is the love of husband, wife, and child.

The love between two is the inchoate and root love which issues in the perfect love between three. The love of the Father and the Son issues in the personal Spirit of love.

A religious must love God before she can love her neighbor. Husband and wife must love each other before they can love their children perfectly. It often happens that a wife who is without a husband's love can take refuge in the love of her children. But she can love her children more when she knows that she possesses also the love of their father.

The nature of man and woman, however, is such that the love of the man toward the woman needs a more careful watching, a more careful cultivation. A woman's love is as a torrent which is always flowing. It has been used even by God as one of the most forceful analogies by which to make men realize His love for mankind. It is of its nature so generous and so constant as to overshadow that other endowment of woman, her intelligence.

The difference, however, between the two faculties, the faculty of loving and the faculty of thinking, is not so great as has been frequently supposed. In our endeavor to emphasize the quality of a woman's love we may not undervalue her intelligence. We must ever remember that woman is essentially a rational being just as man is. She herself is beginning to realize this all the world over. One of the most remarkable phenomena of the age is the movement for the emancipation of women.

While admitting and asserting then the claims of woman's intelligence, we cannot overlook the fact that it is in affairs of the heart that she is the stronger.

On the other hand it is, ordinarily speaking, the lot of the man to be the breadwinner of the family. He it is who must use his brains in the learned professions, in commerce, in the arts, and in the crafts.

There are exceptions. Oftentimes the wife is the brains of the family. Half of the teaching profession consists of women. But the lady doctor, the lady dentist, and the lady professor, usually find it more convenient to retire from their professions whenever they enter the state of matrimony.

And simply because man is the working brains of the family his faculty of loving needs a special culture. He has so many outlets for his attention that if he does not take the greatest care, his love which should be devoted to his wife and family is absorbed in his business or other intellectual pursuit...

[Continued tomorrow]
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.

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