from The Christian Mother
The present age, which in many respects has renounced God and religion, that is to say, the truth, no longer knows the true destiny of man, and gives itself up to the vain and erroneous belief, that he most perfectly attains the end of his existence, who secures for himself the greatest amount of earthly goods, worldly honors, and sensual pleasures.
The Church, on the contrary, and the truth confided to her care, teach and proclaim that the end of our existence here upon earth, and of the existence of all created things, is the glorification of God and the salvation of man; that we must live the life of the children of God, and by serving and glorifying Him make ourselves worthy of being admitted to the never-ending happiness of heaven.
This also holds good with regard to the state of matrimony. The chief endeavors of married people must be directed towards serving God in the state of life on which they have entered, that in so doing they may work out the salvation of their immortal souls.
But their special care must be for the children whom God may confide to them, to make them good and fervent Christians, who will prefer the service of God and the salvation of their souls to all things else. It is for this reason that the Church does not allow her children to live in the state of matrimony before having offered to them a careful preparation—that is to say, before having first sanctified and consecrated them by that Holy Sacrament which our Divine Savior Himself has for that purpose instituted and left to her care.
By virtue of this Sacrament man and wife become in a mysterious manner intimately united, as Christ is united with His Church, so that they cease, as it were, to be two persons; “They shall be two in one flesh.”
All the graces they may stand in need of will through this Sacrament descend immediately upon the newly married couple, and continue to descend, enabling them to persevere in leading a truly Christian life, far different from that of the heathen, “who do not know God, “ but like to that which is expected of the “children of the Saints.“
Wedlock thus consecrated and sanctified is blessed by the Lord;—the spouse becomes a mother. Rejoicing as a mother she holds her newborn babe in her arms. The word of the Lord has been verified in her:
“A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (St. John xvi.).
But her joy is to become yet fuller. The Church hastens to meet her and receives the child from her arms, in order that, after being freed by the waters of regeneration from the unenviable inheritance of our first parents, it may become a child of God.
As such it is again confided to the happy mother, who, whilst casting the eye of faith on her darling, beholds henceforward also a child of God, clothed with all the majesty becoming the child of so great a Father, loved by Him even more than by herself, and endowed with the right, as honorable as it is unmerited, to become in due time an heir of God’s own heavenly glory and happiness.
Is not this well calculated to fill a mother’s heart, if enlightened by faith, with transports of joy and delight? And what shall I say of her vocation from this day?
What more precious in the sight of God than a child in whom is reflected the image of His divine majesty!
This most precious gift He confides to the father, it is true, but especially to the mother, that hence-forward she may be His helpmate in the grand work of fitting it for the enjoyment of heaven, for that glorious and blissful life which He has destined for it from all eternity, and that she may participate in that joy which is found in the consciousness of having worked for a soul’s salvation.
What a glorious and high vocation! And consequently, what a high dignity is conferred on her—the dignity of a mother! Behold here how we are to regard a Christian spouse after she becomes a mother!
Will not, or rather must not, a grateful joy take possession of her heart? Will not the consciousness of her dignity as a mother, and of the consequent high and important duties devolving upon her, elevate her heart and at the same time urge it forward to a holy earnestness?
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