BEFORE AND AFTER CHILDBIRTH
[continued from yesterday]
...Whilst allowing this liberty of substitute, the Church points to the law of nature as the more perfect ideal, and as tending more to the welfare of the child and the happiness of the family. Nay, she ennobles the law of nature by setting before the world that type of mother of whose Child it was said: "Blessed is the womb that bore thee and the breasts that gave thee suck." Any suggestion of substitution in this case is simply unthinkable.
And if it were not beneath the dignity of such a mother to accept the full burden of her office, so it should not be beneath the dignity of the dames of a worldly society. It should rather be their glory to set the example to their poorer sisters. The poor nurse, who is taken away from her own child, has all the dignity and feelings of motherhood equally with the richest woman in the land.
Not on this point only, but on every other that pertains to the care of the child, born or unborn, the mother's mind is raised and her heart enkindled by the Catholic ideal. This ideal is realized in Mary, the Mother of God. The Protestant consciousness has never become reconciled to the title, and consequently has never learnt the lesson which it teaches to the whole Catholic motherhood.
When the eternal God took flesh in the womb of the Virgin, and deigned to be the object of a mother's tender nursing, care, and affection, then was motherhood raised to its highest grade of splendor and magnificence, then was the law of nature made perfect by the law of grace. A real perfect Mother of flesh and blood was given to the mothers of the world to show them the glory of their state. She was instrumental to the forming of the Incarnate Christ; they are to be instrumental to the forming of the Mystic Christ.
"But, every day that goes[End of Chapter VIII]
Before the gazer, new Madonnas rise.
What matter, if the cheek show not the rose,
Nor look divine is there, nor queenly grace?
The mother's glory lights the homely face.
_ _ _ _ _
Oh, sainted love: oh, precious sacrifice:
Oh, heaven lighted eyes.
Blest dream of youth; best memory of age."
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.