by Charles Hugo Doyle, 1958
Lord Bacon, one of the great English philosophers and essayists, tells us: “He was reputed one of the wise men that made answer to the question–when a man should fall in love and marry–‘a young man not yet, and an older man not at all.'”
I, for one, cannot dismiss the feeling that the formulator of that answer was either once in love and was jilted, or he was married and his wife beat him.
Love is the wine of existence and marriage is an honorable estate, or, should I say, for some it is an imperative one, and go along with Saint Paul, who fiercely puts it:
“For it is better to marry than to be burnt.”? (I Cor. 7:9.)
In the second chapter of the Book of Genesis we are told that when the world was in its freshness of new beauty and Adam was master of it all, God saw the need of making a companion for him. One thing was lacking: “for Adam there was not found a helper like himself” and “it was not good for man to be alone”; and so God made Eve.
Strange as it may seem, falling in love means searching and finding in another, the partner who will make it easier for you to fulfill your destiny and realize God’s plan for yourself. At least, that is one conception of love.
A clear-cut definition of love is not as easy to find as one might imagine. Few encyclopedias even carry the word. They devote pages to economics, art, and music, but ignore love.
The writers of books on marriage either avoid giving a definition of it or frankly admit that it is indefinable.
Cole Porter went so far as to set the question “What Is This Thing Called Love?” to music, yet he gave no satisfying answer. The inimitable George Bernard Shaw, when invited to contribute to a book on marriage replied: “No man dare write the truth about marriage while his wife lives.”
Perhaps that answer may supply a key to the problem of why so few have dared to define love. There may be as much “dare not” as “cannot” involved in this complex matter.
The gifted St. Thomas Aquinas had no inhibitions on the subject and boldly declared that “to love a person is to wish him well.” .
Sir Walter Scott says:
True love’s the gift which God has given
To man alone beneath the heaven.
It is not fantasy’s hot fire
Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly;
It liveth not in fierce desire–
With dead desire, it doth not die.
It is the secret sympathy,
The silver link, the silken tie
Which heart to heart and mind to mind
In body and in soul can find.
To Scott, then, love is a composite thing which, laying hold upon one’s nature, binds it with another in secret sympathy. Like grace, the effects of love are easier to treat than its nature.
Love, like death, is the universal leveler of mankind. It is nature’s motive and reward. “We are all born of love,” said Disraeli, “and it is the principle of existence and its only end.”
It is only natural that since love was to be the mainspring of man’s existence it would be the very thing Satan would endeavor to counterfeit.
Thus true love, like every genuine thing of value, has numerous imitations. The cruel task for many is to sift the wheat from the chaff, to distinguish the true from the false, the precious metal from the slag.
There is but one thing against which genuine love is helpless and that is time. Love is like wine in that age improves the good and sours the bad.
If we are to accept modern songs, novels, the radio, and movies as our criteria, we shall believe that love comes at first sight and with such a crushing force that one is powerless to resist.
Such, however, is not the case. If love were always to strike like lightning, then no one would be safe. Your mother might be smitten by the paper boy and your father by John’s Other Wife.
Momentary attraction must not be confused with love, for love needs time.
Love at first is fancy, then there follows admiration, joined with respect and devotion. In this mélange of emotions there occurs, sometimes, violent agitation, but more often there is a gentle simmering, a confused but agreeable mingling, until gradually all becomes transfused into a vital feeling called love.
“The introduction to this felicity,” says Emerson, “is a private and tender relation of one to one, which is the enchantment of human life; which, like a certain divine rage and enthusiasm, seizes a man at one period and works a revolution in his mind and body; unites him to his race, pledges him to the domestic and civic relations, carries him with new sympathy into nature, enhances the power of his senses, opens the imagination, adds to his character heroic and sacred attributes, establishes marriage and gives permanence to human society.”
“You will keep a watchful eye on their steps; you will not suffer the whiteness of their souls to be stained and contaminated by corrupt and corrupting company; you will inspire them with a high esteem and jealous love for purity, advising them to commend themselves to the motherly protection of the Immaculate Virgin. Finally, with the discretion of a mother and a teacher and thanks to the open-hearted confidence with which you have been able to inspire your children, you will not fail to watch for and to discern the moment in which certain unspoken questions have occurred to their minds and are troubling their senses. It will then be your duty to your daughters.” -Pope Pius XII
NEW! CHEERFUL CHATS FOR CATHOLIC CHILDREN PODCAST ~ Catholic Mother Goose…Jack Be Nimble, Etc.
Join me as we read some delightful poems from Catholic Mother Goose….highlighting the beautiful traditions of our Faith. The Children will be reminded of such things as the sacramentals, the timeless truths of the Catholic Religion, the Works of Mercy, etc. What a fun and easy way to turn those little minds to what is most important in their lives….their Catholic Faith!
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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.
October & November 2021! Printable Traditional Catholic Planner~Meal Menu/Homeschool Page~Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily Goals
Excellent book by Fr. Jacques Philippe…
This book describes the great spiritual power of the Mass, how it holds back the wrath of God, its wonderful eternal and temporal benefits, and several excellent ways to pray at Mass. Hidden Treasure is the prototype book on the Mass for all other books on the same subject; others basically repeat what this small book contains.