THE FAMILY IS THE FOUNDATION OF STATE AND KINGDOM
EVERYBODY has a vocation, and all vocations are essentially one to know, to love and to serve God and this knowledge, love and service is first and foremost the duty of each individual, so that none can put the entire blame of his failure in these matters on another.
But God did not make us to live our whole lives as solitary individual s; from Him also come the institution of the family and the State. Consequently in our family life and in our public life we must also know God's will, we must seek to please and serve Him.
Everybody's vocation then, is the loving service of God; but to carry out our vocation in its fullest measure of perfection, we must seek light from God, and have the right motives for embracing it. In the ordinary course of life, vocation, according to God's will, is the married state. That is necessary for the propagation of mankind as well as for the continuance of the Church. It can be, has been, and is a vocation of Sanctity. The number of married living Saints to-day exceeds that of any other calling. The names of Canonised Saints who had received the sacrament of Matrimony are found in the Canon of the Mass, and in the Lives of the Saints for every month of the year.
The mutual attraction of a man and a woman which tends towards marriage is one of the most powerful of mental forces. As the family is the foundation of all social order and government, so it is most fitting that the bond, in which the family itself is founded, should be a powerful influence— capable of inducing those under its sway to great, even, heroic, acts of self-denial; and not merely of inspiring single actions, but also of producing a complete change of outlook, sufficient to modify the whole future life. Although many of the extreme sacrifices ascribed to human love may perhaps only exist in the pages of fiction, still the writers of those fictions are witnesses to the ideal, not only of what they themselves feel possible, but also of what they hope will find an echo in the hearts of their readers.
This great motive force has been given in order that a man and a woman, when uniting together for life in the bond of marriage, may be willing, with God's grace, to undertake any, even the most painful and lasting of sacrifices if only it will lead their partner to a higher life and an increase of God's grace.
It is for this reason also that there has been instituted the period of "engagement" so that the two may seriously study each other's character, and thus may learn how they can best help that other to self restraint and greater virtue, while acquiring that true love which will make any sacrifice easy.
Titles, honours, wealth, position, personal charms, accomplishments; without the blessing of God and mutual love can mean only failure.
Having to live together until death thorough agreement is necessary.
This cannot be expected in the absence of the essential— love, strong love, mutual love, sacrificing love—in other words to love and be loved. This is quite a different thing from its mere semblances— emotion, fascination, passion—which are not love. They lack the continual, unwavering union of hearts and wills that characterise the love of Holy Matrimony—the flow and reflow of love that gives joyous happiness while filling the heart. But, the unity of love is not enough, lt must be strengthened by unity of religion, religious belief and sanctity of life, otherwise a bridgeless chasm exists.
Mere natural love, no matter how strong, is insufficient to sustain the trials, sorrows and difficulties of married life. Many forget this in time of courtship, and God is not consulted by prayer and by the reception of the sacraments.
Religious indifference, selfishness, love for excitement and pleasure, bad temper, are seldom cured by marriage, of course, there have been miracles of God's grace, but such miracles are not the ordinary course. Marriage includes a tremendous responsibility to the wedded pair, to the children—resulting in happiness or misery— both unspeakable. Good parents realize their apostolate. They watch over the first dawning of reason to turn their children's hearts to God. They confirm their words by the example of Christian virtues. A visit to such a home, no matter how humble, is an effective sermon without words.
Surely the Vocation to Married Life is high, magnificent, and even sublime!
The devil, the world and sensual pleasures will strive for mastery in the children. What a privilege for parents to be, not only guardians of their virtues, but trainers of it, to be associated with their Creator in the work of their sanctification.
If you would know what happy
homes should be,
Or probe the cause of ill we
Go and behold with mental gaze
and awe What angels reverent, oft in
Beneath the roof where Jesus
Where Mary dwelt, and Joseph
breath'd his last,
And learn there from how ev'ry
home should prove
A shrine of peace, a place of joy
MALAYA CATHOLIC LEADER, SATURDAY, 14th DECEMBER, 1935.