From The Wife Desired by Fr. Leo Kinsella, 1950’s
HUMOR AND HUMILITY
Since humility is the foundation for all virtue, it is not surprising that it is the requisite for a sense of humor. Humility is the proper and correct appraisal of ourselves. We are the creatures of God. Of ourselves we are nothing. Whatever we are or have is from Him and His.
Because we are able to see ourselves in proper perspective, we are able to laugh at ourselves as well as at others. Our foibles and fancies and past blunders are a source of amusement to ourselves as well as to others.
We are not completely unremunerated comediennes. I have never forgotten the scene of a small boy crying with a banana in his mouth and a loaf of bread under his arm. Too many of us go through life in this comic fashion, sad-eyed-Sams with God’s blessing all about us.
On the other hand many wonderful people keep their cheerfulness with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. If sick people can remain cheerful, how ashamed the rest of us should feel for being wet blankets.
The real difference between a gloomy Gerty and a cheerful person is that the latter is tuned into the harmony of God’s never ending and always new symphony. The gloomy Gerty is out of tune and full of static, a nuisance to herself and to all within earshot.
We must admit that there is an undertone of tragedy to real humor, as is evidenced in the works of Dickens. However, a sense of humor is productive of a cheerful attitude toward life. The living are more attractive than the dead.
The interested wife is interesting because she is animated to the joy of living. Joy appeals to all. The joyful wife is a pleasure to her husband. She is a pearl of great price. The wife who has a sense of humor will make a much more stable wife as well as a much more lovable and desired one. She is safeguarded against many repelling characteristics.
Conceit and a sense of humor do not get along together very well. Adolph Hitler was not famous for a sense of humor, nor are any of the other tyrants, who plague the world.
Some people are perfectionists. They want to do things perfectly all the time. Because of their aim they are in a dither with themselves and others too frequently.
A wife who is a perfectionist must watch herself. Unless she be on guard, she can easily commit one of the mortal sins of marriage by nagging her husband. A sense of humor will temper this tendency and save her from becoming a veritable shrew.
Possessing a sense of humor the wife is prevented from getting too excited over the idiosyncrasies of her husband. She can see the amusing side of things and thus is saved from many heartaches.
Besides, because she is humble, she is less sensitive. Consequently, it is hard for anyone to hurt her. She will have little temptation to go around brooding over real or imagined slights. For the give and take of every day life with her husband she is well equipped.
THE WIFE DESIRED IS A COMPANION TO HER HUSBAND
The wife desired is the companion of her husband. Hand in hand they walk through life sharing their joys and sorrows. Together they stand against the world. They have secrets shared with no one else. Their union goes beyond that of friendship, for in it are found the little intimacies of lovers.
Together they meet life fortified with each other. Their hearts leap for gladness in the merry month of May of their lives. In the grey December their sorrows are softened with the comfort of carrying each other’s burden.
No pain can equal the pain of the loss of each other. Their loneliness when death takes the other has no counterpart in this vale of tears.
Marriage is a partnership in the business of living. Just as most phases of life are specialized, so marriage itself is specialized. To the husband fall certain obligations, to the wife others. He must bring home the bacon. She upholds her end of the bargain by being the queen of the home. “As the sun when it rises upon the world in the high places of God. so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house.” Ecclus. 26, 21.
In this chapter we consider a number of aspects of married life which may seem to have little or no reference to companionship. A girl contemplating marriage and especially the phase of companionship which it brings may wonder what sewing, cooking, and housework can have to do with companionship. The answer in a nutshell is that, unless the wife takes care of her end of the bargain, there will be little companionship.
If the husband is irresponsible and does not support the family, how can there be the normal companionship of marriage? Likewise, if the wife is remiss in the specialized chores which are her lot in life, she will make a very poor companion.
In other words, the husband’s support of the home and the wife’s cooking and housework are the basis upon which it is possible for them to build a companionship without which marriage is a bleak affair.
As we have already said, marriage is a partnership, and companionship is the reward beyond reckoning for those who accomplish the duties befalling them as partners in a glorious enterprise.
Suppose that a young lady married a man unequipped for and irresponsible about his obligations. After a few days of honeymoon–he did not have the cash for a more extended one– they returned to live with her parents. He had a few more days of freedom, she understood, before getting back to his job.
The first day or two passed well enough: but then she became worried. As she busied herself about the house under mother’s watchful eye, her man seemed unconcerned about the future.
As the days went by, his naps on the davenport became more frequent and prolonged. She could not hide her anxiety any longer, so she asked him whether he was going back to his job soon. “What job?” he frowned up at her. It did not seem that he had a job at the time, but, like Micawber, he felt that one might turn up soon.
To be sure, a wife in this position would be in for a very difficult marriage. I have seen very many men of this type–lazy, selfish, irresponsible, and as well prepared for marriage as a jackrabbit.
Occasionally, he will be a very likable individual. He is good natured and easy going and dances like a gigolo–a wonderful fellow with whom to pass a holiday at the lake, but not a man to settle down within the partnership of marriage.
Let us return to the wife. After all, she is our wonderful subject. Again we can imagine the opposite case in which the wife was delinquent.
The husband was a fine, responsible young man. He was industrious and had saved money for his marriage. In fact, he had bought a home albeit with a fat mortgage. After ten days of honeymooning they returned to their little home. He had several more days vacation before returning to work. It was summer, and they were going to make the most of it at the beach.
The wife suggested the first day that, instead of wasting time in the kitchen, they have a sandwich and milk shake on their way. They could thus have more time at the beach. The husband thought it was a good idea.
On the way home in the middle of the afternoon the wife mentioned that Aunt Susie wanted them over for dinner that night. Remember Aunt Susie? She went all out for us in the generosity of her wedding present. Splendid. Aunt Susie’s it was.
The next day and the next it was the same story–clever maneuvering away from the kitchen. By now the husband wondered why he did not save construction costs on the home by eliminating the kitchen.
This poor little wife could just about manage to boil water. She had never cooked a thing in her life and did not evidence any concern for the future.
Although these two imaginary cases are extreme, do not think that they are out of this world. One would think that a girl would pride herself on being able to cook, to sew, and to keep house. Sometimes an over efficient and fussy mother keeps her daughter from having a chance to learn these things.
More often her inefficiency indicates an indolent and even selfish girl. She prefers to let her mother spoil her by waiting on her hand and foot, while she ensconces herself on a sofa with a book and bonbons.
Of course, many of these girls rise to the occasion with their marriage and learn to be efficient wives in respect to the home. The love of her husband and children does the trick.
The worst offenders in this important phase of marriage are those who stagnate after marriage and lose interest in their homes.
One instance comes to mind in which the husband would come home from work and wash several days’ dishes and tidy up the kitchen. He had hoped to shame his wife into a realization of her position. She merely laughed at him.
She was slovenly in the care of her child. When she got around to changing the baby’s diaper, she was more than likely to throw it into a corner to remain there for some distant future reference.
This woman did little more than visit her girlfriends all afternoon and gossip with them. She flounced into the home a few minutes before her husband’s return from work.
Her preparation of dinner consisted of opening a can of beans, unwrapping some cold cuts, and placing on the table a loaf of chaff and straw dust commonly called bread by a generation unfamiliar with the joys of eating homemade bread.
Had this woman married another Okie it is possible that they could have been happy. Not many people can live in a pigsty like this and be contented.
In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.
Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him…..
Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God’s will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer–a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the “arrogance of evil” that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God–even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”