THE BLESSINGS OF MANY CHILDREN
[continued from yesterday]
When man and woman were first joined together in holy matrimony, a divine command was given unto them to increase and multiply and to replenish the earth. Adam alone was lonely, and lonely in more senses than one. Eve was given him to be his companion, not merely, however, for the sake of companionship, but also for the benefit of the race of which he was to be the father. She was to be the co-principle with him for the procreation of the great human family. She was to be his help in domestic life and also his help in the life of the race. The whole earth was to be replenished by their offspring.
This was one of the first and most peremptory laws of nature. And being such a fundamental law it has persevered until now, and must persevere until this world is exhausted, until there is no more use for the law, until we are safe in heaven, where we shall be as the angels, neither giving nor taking in marriage.
This natural law, moreover, has in the meantime been fortified by additional sanctions. The natural law is a reflection of the divine Mind. The new sanctions, therefore, do not alter, but emphasize the original law. Throughout the Jewish dispensation, therefore, we find that fruitfulness in child-bearing was ever regarded as a sign of divine predilection, as a fulfilment of God's promises of prosperity. And as fruitfulness was looked upon as a special sign of God's favor, so was barrenness looked upon as a sign of God's displeasure or forgetfulness.
Further, when the contract of marriage was raised by Christ to the dignity of a Sacrament, this same end of marriage remained as the chief, the procreation of children; but at the same time it was raised to a higher plane, the procreation of children both for this world and for the next. The mother who had done her duty in this matter had fulfilled her highest destiny. By bringing many children into the world, by bringing them into the Church through Baptism, by bringing them to their final salvation through her good example and zeal for Christian education, she had saved her own soul. "She shall be saved, however, through child-bearing, if she shall persevere in faith and love and holiness and sobriety."
Seeing then that this frultfulness is according to God's will, it must be rewarded with God's blessing. And, indeed, it is first a blessing to the family, secondly a blessing to the State, and eventually a blessing to heaven itself.....
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.