THE VANITY WHICH LEADS TO DISHONOR
Would it not be a most ungracious act to darken these pages with a description, though never so brief and lightly shaded, of the home, whether of rich or poor, ruined or made desolate by infidelity?
Better far, so our readers will think with us, to paint the heroic constancy and preternatural joys of the faithful wife—faithful even while “the hungry fire with its caverns of burning light” was trying and searching every corner of her heart.
Only let a priestly hand add a brief warning and as brief an exhortation.
If it be most true, and the voice of experience attests that it is, that the danger for the womanly heart tried to its utmost by marital unworthiness, lies in the need of sympathy; so, in happy homes, where there exists perfect love and neither unsuitability nor disappointment, ruin comes from vanity and from the appetite for display and enjoyment.
SAFEGUARD TO HONOR
Against this vanity there is no remedy, apart always from the grace of the sacraments and these aids which God may vouchsafe to some souls; there is no remedy, we say, but in a wife’s never seeking to please any other eye than that of her husband, or valuing any praise on dress, personal appearance, and accomplishment of any kind, but what falls from his dear lips, or caring for any amusement that is not shared by him, or in wishing to have any theater for the display of any gift natural or acquired, how transcendent soever, save the bosom of one’s own family.
We have heard of women, most gifted and most accomplished, who, blessed with a large family, and burdened with the care of a numerous household, made it a point of conscience to dress every day of their lives, even in extreme old age, with the greatest care, in order to please their husbands, and give them thereby an outward proof of undiminished love; and to please their children, by ever setting them an example worthy of imitation. With these admirable wives and mothers it had been a life-long study how to make their own gifts and accomplishments contribute daily to the delight of the family circle.
Intellectual and artistic culture, music and song, and the charming illusions of private dramatic entertainments, all was made to serve the one great purpose of rendering home the sweetest, brightest, dearest spot of earth.
THE LOVE OF DISPLAY WHICH KNOWS NOT PERIL
One need not fear to display to the utmost within the home sanctuary and for the delights of one’s own dearest, every best gift of God; the praise which comes from these dear lips is not that which intoxicates dangerously; the vanity which such praise may create is not that which is to be dreaded by mother or by daughter; and the delicious satisfaction enjoyed both by the delight a wife and mother gives, and by that which she receives in return, is not one which the good angels may look on with displeasure.
On the contrary, the love of praise and display, which is so common and so natural in a certain measure, will find its lawful and most healthful satisfaction in these home-pleasures and celebrations; in these lie the antidote or preservative against the vanity fraught with peril.
Home-life, home-pleasures, home-virtues, in this respect, as in so many others, are the great means Providence employs, and religion counsels, to prevent or to counteract the tendencies toward finding one’s only or chief distractions and enjoyments outside of home and the family circle.
There are men who only sleep at home, and spend the remainder of their time outside of it. They cannot be said to have a home, or to have any conception of what a home is or could be.
If they are blessed with wives able and anxious to make their homes a paradise for them, what shall we say of their folly or their guilt?
And who will pity them, if the home thus forsaken and absolutely neglected by its appointed guardian should become a prey to the Tempter?
But of the women who only make their homes a brief breathing or resting-place in their unbroken and eternal round of vanity and dissipation, we need only say what everybody sees,—that the curse is upon them, and that shame is ever flitting round their homes,—like these legendary evil spirits that haunt the precincts of families doomed to perdition.
To the nobility of true womanly natures we need not recommend to be watchful over the sanctity of the homes in which they are the priestesses of the family religion, the jealous guardians and loving teachers of the Ancestral Faith, and the custodians of that treasure,—dearer and more precious to every home where God is feared and men’s good opinion is valued than royal power or fabulous wealth,—the peerless jewel, Honor.
Penal rosaries and crucifixes have a wonderful story behind them. They were used during the times when religious objects were forbidden and it was illegal to be Catholic. Being caught with a rosary could mean imprisonment or worse. A penal rosary is a single decade with the crucifix on one end and, oftentimes, a ring on the other. When praying the penal rosary you would start with the ring on your thumb and the beads and crucifix of the rosary in your sleeve, as you moved on to the next decade you moved the ring to your next finger and so on and so forth. This allowed people to pray the rosary without the fear of being detected. Available here.
A very valuable book for the guys plucked out of the past and reprinted. It was written in 1894 by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly and the words on the pages will stir the hearts of the men to rise to virtue and chivalry…. Beautifully and eloquently written!
A very beautiful book, worthy of our attention. In it, you will find many pearls of wisdom for a woman striving to be the heart of the home, an inspiration to all who cross her path. You will be inspired to reconsider the importance of your role of wife and mother! Written by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly in 1894, the treasures found within its pages ring true and remain timeless…
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That was a very good read! I have not found so well stated as this, thank you!