THE BLESSINGS OF MANY CHILDREN
[continued from yesterday]
...France stands out pre-eminently as the worst sinner of all. This last year her death rate exceeded her birth rate. Germany is wide awake to the evil, and a movement has been set on foot to counteract the growing practice. Otherwise prepared for emergencies in the case of war, this would be her weakest point. England has to lament her decadence due to practices introduced from France. And in America the sermon preached by President Roosevelt on the burden and duties of the married state, tells of the prevalence of the evil, and emphasizes the fact that the evil is a curse to any nation.
It weakens its power of production; it weakens its power of defense; it weakens its power of intelligence and morality; it weakens the very life blood of the limited offspring which actually is born, for such offspring must come from a principle which is already marked by weakness, softness, and decadence.
The Christian family, however, was not made for the State as for its final destiny. It was made for the glory of God. Fruitfulness in child-bearing tells eventually for the greater glory of God. The mutual happiness of the persons of the blessed Trinity is all sufficient for the intrinsic glory of God. God, however, has chosen to surround Himself with an extrinsic glory. He has created creatures to give Him honor and praise. And the greatest honor and praise of this kind which can be given Him is that of man. It adds nothing to God's internal happiness, but is rather the expression and diffusion of God's love and goodness outside Himself.
God, therefore, having provided this great happiness for His creatures, He wishes as many as possible to avail themselves of it. In this way He obtains His greatest external glory. The greater the number of souls that are added to the number of the elect, so much the richer is the music of nature's hymn of praise. That this is the mind of the Church may be seen from the enormous care which she takes for the happiness of infants. Her priests are bound to undergo the gravest inconveniences, in order that they may apply the baptismal water to any child in urgent need of it.
Why is this ? It is because Christ has died for and purchased these children. It is because God has chosen for Himself a number of elect souls, a great number which we cannot count, but which we must do our best to make up, presuming or rather knowing that to do so will require all our spiritual efforts....
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.