THE BLESSINGS OF MANY CHILDREN
[continued from yesterday]
...Again, we must remember that in most countries the provision of free education is such as to leave no room whatever for the excuse of economy. If the father has the pretension to go further, and to leave his two children enough inheritance to save them from the necessity of working for a living, then he is doing an injustice both to his children and to society. Drones are a nuisance in every line. In all stages of society the work of bringing up a family of children is a burden both to the father and to the mother. It is a burden, however, which is followed by a handsome reward if only it is generously accepted.
The children, too, must profit by their larger number. The world is so wide, trades and professions are so manifold, as to leave practically little difference in the difficulty of finding situations for eight and that of finding situations for two.
Nay, if we look around we shall find that it is the only boy rather who fails to make a good beginning, and the only girl rather who fails to secure a husband or a vocation. Owing to the absence of fraternal influence and education, they have not got the grit in them to make them attractive to others.
Then again, later in life, the many are a help to each other in time of difficulty. They do not all meet with adversity at the same time. If one is low down in business or low down in health, his brothers and sisters are there to help him, each knowing that he or she may likewise depend on the others whenever the hour of distress shall overtake them.
This mutual support extends also to the sphere of faith and morality. How often has not a father been kept to his religion, and a mother been saved from temptation, by the thought of the children! It is curious how parents who have given up the practice of religion themselves, have often insisted on their children being taught religion and brought up in a good moral atmosphere, and eventually through the children have been brought back again to God. Holy marriage is a Sacrament and as such is a means of grace. It is an instrument of the Holy Spirit, and no one can tell the multitudinous ways and times and places in which the Holy Spirit uses this instrument.
The family being the foundation of the State, its life must produce an effect on the life of the State. If fruitfulness in child-bearing is a blessing to the family, it is likewise a blessing to the State. A man has reached a high state of natural virtue if he can be so unselfish as to take the interests of the State as a motive for his own right conduct. Human nature being what it is, such a motive can hardly be expected to work as the predominant one. It can, however, act, and act effectively, as a supplementary one. It is a motive, too, which goes a long way in the formation of public opinion which reacts on private opinion.
When the abuses of family life were first propagated, they were propagated ostensibly with a view to promoting the nation's welfare. The country was said to be overpopulated; and these abuses were introduced to reduce the population.
The nations, however, which have allowed themselves to submit to these abuses have found out to their heavy cost the great mistake which they have made. Statesmen, with no pretensions to high morals or a godly life, have discovered that this abuse is a canker eating away the vitals of the nation....
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.