from True Womanhood – Rev. Bernard O’Reilly
We have just spoken of the Divine assistance, which never fails the soul striving earnestly to fulfill important duties and to do all the good she can.
Think of the contract God entered into with you when you entered into the married state and received at the hands of the Church the nuptial blessing.
You were told that the matrimonial union had its model in the union of Christ with his Church, that his great love for her, which brought Him to the cross, and binds Him to be present on our altars to the end of time, is the type of the great and self-devoted love which husband and wife should ever have for each other.
Did you ever reflect that when you put your hand in your husband’s hand before the Church, giving him your heart and your life thenceforward, that God, who is ever by the side of those who believe and trust in Him, promised you a mighty wealth of grace to be all your own till death!
It enables you to love your husband more and more daily, with a deeper and a holier love, to make your own life like that of the Church towards her Crucified Love, one perpetual act of devotion and self-sacrifice – giving him in his every need your own strong love to sustain, and comfort, and strengthen him, taking up his cross courageously, and cheering him to labor and to suffer, because you both know, or ought to know, that God is ever with you.
Were your lot cast and your home built in a tree-less plain amid a dry and barren country, how you would thank the man who would dig for you at your very door a well so deep and so unfailing that its cool and sweet waters would ever flow forth, winter and summer, for yourself and your dear ones!
And yet the great graces attached by Christ to the worthy reception of the divine sacrament of matrimony, from within your home, wherever you chance to be, a well of water for the soul’s health and strength so divinely prepared, that no length of time can exhaust it.
Why do you not drink of the waters of your own well?
We have just said how much the true woman has it in her power to do — no matter how poor her home or hard her husband’s lot — if she only knew both the extent of her power to cheer his lot and the sacredness of the obligation which binds her to do it. We now appeal to the experience and generosity of the wife, mother, and sister of the laboring man.
There was a rapid sketch previously of the comforts and delights of the poor hard-working man’s home, when love and devotion were toiling to prepare a sweet rest for him when the day’s work was ended.
DARK AND CHEERLESS HOMES
But have we seriously thought of the number of homes made dark, and cheerless, and desolate, and hateful to the husband, the brother, the son, and the daughter, too, by the absence of that bright spirit of love, which works at home from dawn till sunset, to have everything warm and pleasant and restful for the weary ones coming back after their eight and ten hours of labor?
If the devoted, God-fearing, sweet-tempered woman is rewarded by seeing her dear ones unhappy when kept away from the bright home she makes for them, and most happy when seated near the warm hearth and charmed with her smile and her voice, it is no less certain that the selfish, untidy, ill-tempered, and bitter-tongued woman succeeds in making home unbearable for everyone who is dependent on her.
Why is it that so many men — thrifty, hard-working, made to be and disposed to be devoted husbands and exemplary fathers — are driven at the end of their day of toil to find — not rest, indeed, nor recreation — in the neighbor’s house — but some distraction from the thought of their own comfortless home, some rest from the din and lash of the ceaseless tongue which is their torment?
Why are so many, at length, driven to the tavern to seek forgetfulness in intoxication? Is it not because woman forgets to be loving and devoted and ingenious in the sweet arts of making her fire burn brighter on the hearth, and her own person more attractive to her dear ones by some little ornament put on to welcome the laborers at evening, and her humble meal made more appetizing by some of the many cheap seasonings that the poorest can buy, and her whole house shining with cleanliness, and filled with the sweet music of her own delighted tones?
Ah! love has stores from which can be borrowed without stint, and at little cost, kind words and warm smiles and a thousand other things which go straight to the heart thirsting for the endearments, the joys, and the repose of home.
Why will you not be a queen in your own little kingdom, wife, mother, sister, and make all hearts subject to you by this ascendancy of your goodness and devotion.
There are worse consequences still — especially in cities and manufacturing towns — which are caused by the want of the wifely and motherly qualities described above.
Young people of both sexes who are forced — perhaps from early boyhood or girlhood — to seek for employment outside of their home, feel an imperative need of the rest and comfort and love of their own fireside, when the end of their long day of toil has come.
Blessed is the mother who knows how to make their home bright and warm for them! But what shall we say of her who cares not to do so? Or who makes her home intolerable to her dear ones?
This much is certain, that in our overcrowded cities, if not elsewhere, thousands upon thousands of hard-working young people are driven into dangerous company and corrupting amusements because they have no home to love, to be proud of, in which to find the repose of heart and body so needful for their age especially.
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