Fr. EDW AHD HOLLOWAY, S.T.L.
WHEN a child is young, nobody is so good and right as " Mummy " and " Daddy ".
Alas, the child's trust is often betrayed. Half the " leakage " is already a fact in the junior school. In the seniors it has reached twothirds of the percentage it will he in the late 'teens.
The weakness lies in the home, in the Faith dimly understood and drearily lived, or not lived at all. This modern "treason of the parents" is even more disastrously in evidence in the non-Catholic home and in the teenage youngsters rockin' and rollin' around the town.
Take God out of the home and you take Him out of the minds and hearts of little children. That is a scandal for which Christ reserved His most terrible curse— and it falls first upon bad parents.
Lower the ideal of marriage, destroy the sanctity of sexual union, and next you produce a horde of young savages with the powers and passions of adult life but no means to control or direct them, or even to assess their real meaning. This brings the primeval jungle into Trafalgar Square. The tall grey buildings and their quiet majesty are the product of the earlier, Christian, investment of our civilisation; the bankruptcy beneath is today's. Here are the results of "free thought" corning home, of agnosticism, easy divorce, promiscuous intimacy, and "do as you like." This is the natural growth from the midden of the national press, glossy magazines, and the neon-lit advertisements of So-and-so's contraceptive, the best, naturally, there is: a proud harvest.
THE CURSE IF the Catholic home is to stand against this flood—and on the home depends the future of the Church—it will not be by appeasing evil but by digging down to the bedrock of the highest Christian ideal of personal integrity and chastity. We can draw much inspiration from the thought of the Church in those early ages when she lived and suffered in a world worse than ours, and triumphed within it. The modern Feast of the Motherhood of Our Lady offers one such rallying point for the Catholic home. We may hope that it will grow in stature in the Church's liturgy. From the womb of Mary comes all the joy and graciousness pf Christian living. all the sweetness of the Christian hearth and home. 11 is her gift because it comes from Christ, Who has given us life and life more abundant. If we doubt that through all the sin and toil of the centuries, the teaching of Christ in the Church, the grace of the sacraments, has leavened the lives and cultures of Christian peoples, let us look to the lands where the Light of the world has never shone, even in the twilight which most Englishmen know today. See how little human life is respected, how callously children are exploited, above all, how little a woman matters, and how dishonoured she is in her womanhood.
Truly, out of Christ there is fulfilled in woman the curse of Genesis: "Thy love shall be unto thy husband, and he shall lord it over thee."
CHRISTIAN womanhood is sanctified in Mary, the joyous purity of girlhood in her Virginity, full of grace, the careful love and hallowed faith of family life in her Holy Motherhood, the image and exemplar of that love with which the Church cherishes every son of God. All we have, in time and in eternity, we have from God made man. His gift is His own, but it is Mary's, too, for she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word." In those words she reached up to God in an act of universal, all-embracing love and sacrifice. She united her immaculate justice and love to His, for the redemption and elevation of mankind. Therefore Simeon, speaking not from his own but from the Holy Ghost, taking the Child into his arms, prophesied as one both the Cross and the sword of the Mother's sorrows. At the present time, especially during Mars's month, let us ponder the urgency of giving God "holy motherhood." in the likeness of the Holy Motherhood of Mary. Whether a mother has one child or many children makes no difference; we are talking of the holiness of the office; all motherhood is "holy motherhood." We will have better fathers and purer, more unselfish husbands, when men reverence in their wives the likeness of Mary's vocation— the bearing to God's through Christ, of "sons" for all eternity. This is the first great meaning of Christian marriage, and the love which is its rich consequence binds a man and his wife in a communion expressed sufficiently only through the love which joins Christ to His Bride. the Church.
TRUE LOVE " HUSBANDS, love your wives as Christ loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it " (Ephes. 5.25), From the character of baptism and the the grace of holy matrimony, a husband shows forth to his wife the office and care of Christ to His Church. A tremendous, almost an appalling thought, is this—and would that we taught our people to grasp it fully. Let husbands love their wives with the reverent cherishing with which Christ loves His Church, who through Him becomes the careful Mother of us all. Let a man understand himself so imaged in Christ's on Person. and he will easily revere in his wife their
mutual flesh, and the sanctity of the womb. vocation of her
MARY'S CARE MARY is the "Mediatrix of all graces." In the birth of Christ her Blessed Motherhood mediated between God and the created universe, she is the Immaculate Offering the earth gave to God of its own to make possible the flesh of Christ. Let us savour the thought sweetly while we sing during October: "Spiritual Vessel," "Vessel of Honour," "Singular Vessel of Devotion." Her womanhood, through the vocation of her womb, is the vessel of God's election: she is the woman clothed with the sun and crowned with the stars: Creation's gift back to God. The mediation of the womb of Mary was universal for atl mankind, in Christ. and so also, in the Unity and wisdom of God's plan, is the universality of her motherly care and intercession as the channel of the graces of Christ. A mother stands between God and nature too, and mediates through her flesh, in Mary's likeness, that a man shall be con
ceived and then made without delay a son to God, at the font of Baptism. She moulds the very lineaments of her child's soul, at her breast, upon her knee.
A TRIUMPH FROM "s4 u m m y" and "Daddy" a child comes to know of "Our Lord Jesus," and to lisp its earliest prayers. "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not"; truly, where a Catholic man and his wife and child are two or three gathered together in His name, there is Christ in the midst of them.
Let parents and especially mothers, take to heart the prayer of Christ for His disciples: "For them do I make Myself holy, that they also may be hallowed in truth." (John 17.19).
It is not what they say or do which makes the soul of a child; it is what they are in their living
personalities A child drinks in the personality of a parent as simply as it breathes the air.
It is a glory and great example in a parent, especially a mother, if she can go to daily Communion without neglect of her home ditties. Perhaps one day the Church may decide in her wisdom that this goes to justify the extension of the evening Mass, for few young mothers or fathers can get away in the mornings.
IF the "Weeping Madonna" of Syracuse was a miracle from God (and here one does not intend to anticipate any judgment of the Church) its most obvious meaning would seem to be that Our Lady desires a more explicit honour to be given to the dignity of motherhood. Here lies the whole sanctification of marriage and the sexual nature of man which we need today. According to the story, that mother was not outstandingly devout, and her husband was a Marxist and an atheist. They were very poor, and she was with child. He abused her for her condition. In tears she turned to the cheap Statue of the Madonna, and prayed for help. The statue is claimed to have wept with her. Whether of Gcd or not, nothing could better point the grief of Mary for the desecration of marriage today, its carnal intent, the countless homes broken, and the lives of children with them. Maybe she would grieve, too, for the lot of the poor in so many countries. For if Our Lady wept with a woman in such straits, would it not be for the little reverence shown to that holy office of motherhood, through which men are born to God for eternity, a vocation made possible and sanctified only in the fruit of he; own most holy womb?
THE Feast of the Motherhood of Our Lady, which is a general Communion day for the Union of Catholic Mothers, should be a day holy to all Catholic parents, and a day when every Catholic mother dedicates anew her motherhood to God through the holy motherhood of Mary. That dedication will renew and make fruitful the blessing she received from the priest at her "churchiog," which we could wish were always read also in English: "Almighty, Eternal God, who through the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has turned the sorrows of Thy faithful at childbirth into joy: look in blessing upon Thy daughter here, who comes with gladness to Holy Church to render thanks. Grant moreover that after this life, by the merits and intercession of the same Holy Mary, she, and the child horn unto her, may be found worthy to come to the joys of everlasting happiness. Through Christ Our Lord, R. "Amen."