Cultivate the hearts of your children. This is more particularly needful in the case of your girls. It is by the right or wrong in their affections that women become so powerful for good or evil.
Not that their intelligence is naturally inferior to that of men,—on the contrary, in many respects the female intellect is remarkably superior.
Intelligence dawns earlier in girls and ripens at a very precocious age. Hence the wisdom of cultivating the judgment and forming the imagination of girls during their fifth, sixth, and seventh years.
One will often be astonished in conversing with a little girl of that age, on questioning her closely, to see (when she has been carefully watched by an intelligent and virtuous mother) how completely she will master the great scheme of the creation, the fall, the redemption and reparation, the necessity of a visible and infallible teaching authority, the beauty of the sacramental system of help toward all the purposes of the supernatural life in the individual soul as well as in the body of the Church.
All this can be made so clear and so attractive to the childish intellect, without wearying it with theological terms or definitions. The idea of God is connatural to the mind, as well as that of his providence, of moral good and evil, of rewards and punishments.
No child but can be made to ascend from the familiar notion of her father’s house, well governed by firm laws, by love tempered with justice, to the great family of nations under one almighty ruler and judge.
These and a thousand other notions are so quickly taken in by the youngest girl, that one is reminded forcibly of the famous theories about innate ideas. It is impossible in a really Christian family that the head should be wrong if the heart is right.
The teaching of the Church is so complete, embraces in one firm grasp our origin in the past, our duties in the present, and our prospects for all time and eternity; our doctrines are so positive, so clear, so satisfactory, and so comprehensive that they set the mind at rest, and thereby leave the soul free to direct and control its own affections.
Generally speaking, boys and girls in Catholic families have such a clear sense both of what they have to believe and what they have to do, that when they are led astray it is by their affections.
We have explained in the preceding chapter how mothers are to win and to keep the love of their boys and girls. This is one necessary step toward cultivating their hearts and training their affections.
You cannot repair or beautify the interior of a house unless you secure an entrance and be in so far the master in it that no one shall disturb you while you are occupied in your labor.
The heart has been endowed by its Maker with so mysterious and so great a power, — that even a babe in arms can shut its heart against its own parent, and that a child of seven can form, rightly or wrongly, likings and dislikings which may last a lifetime.
It is for the mother to study from the very beginning the dispositions of her precious charge.
We say commonly that some natures are richly endowed, and others but poorly; that some persons are all head and no heart, while others are all heart and no head.
That is to say, there are souls in which the intellectual powers seem to predominate and to absorb into themselves the affective powers; while there are others in whom the affections seem to run away with the understanding and the judgment. There is some truth and a good deal of exaggeration in these estimates which we pride ourselves in forming of the innate faculties of children as well as of grown-up persons.
Doubtless, through some physical accident of formation or birth, the brain may be affected and the reasoning powers partially or almost totally paralyzed;—but there is no instance of this total paralysis of the will or the executive and effective powers in the soul where the mind retains its full vigor unimpaired.
Some persons are less sensitive, less affectionate, less imaginative, less passionate than others; but in all persons of sane mind there is imagination and sensibility and affections and passions,—though in very different degrees of intensity.
Now where a faculty or special power in the soul is known to exist, it can be developed, strengthened, increased almost indefinitely by exercise and proper culture; just as a faculty neglected either dies out or lives on in a sort of rudimentary condition for want of proper exercise.
The hand and arm of one man becomes as terrible an instrument of destruction as the arm of the tiger, by long muscular training. While another man, though more powerfully built by nature, will have a hand as soft as a babe’s, and an arm as feeble as a girl’s, from the absolute lack of exercise.
Women, above all other persons, are familiar with the success which so often attends the cultivation and development of the voice, and how young persons, seemingly deficient in all aptitude for singing, will exhibit, under careful culture and practice, the most splendid vocal powers.
“Modern mothers have been relying on psychology books to interpret child behavior for so long now that if all the psychology books were burned to a crisp, few mothers could relax with the conviction that God’s love, the maternal instinct, and divine grace could take their place. What we all — little or big — want is God; if we do not realize it, however, we choose many ignoble things in His place. And if we want to teach children to be good with a goodness that’s lasting, we must teach them to be good for the love of God.”
Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children, 1954 http://amzn.to/2qCq6Md (afflink)
Thank you, Brandi!
This journal is absolutely awesome. Thank you so very much for putting this together, it arrived just in the nick of time (by the grace of God because I am notoriously late on everything!) and now I can begin journaling my resolutions in time for Shrove Tuesday. Very excited to have this lovely companion on my Lenten journey this year! God bless you for your efforts in making this book. 🙂
Lovely Veils! Old World Veil and Capelet. A beautiful twist on the normal chapel veil. Ties with a ribbon in front..made from chiffon and lace. 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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