Attaining our Ideals
We have been
considering how best to try to bring up our children in accordance with Christian
teaching, what lines we should try to follow in training them how to think
about and deal with reality. For this purpose, we have been trying to apply
the great principle that God Himself uses in teaching us His truth and giving
us His life in the Church, the sacramental principle that reality on every
level is planned by God to raise our minds and hearts to Himself, and, if
rightly used in Christ and for Christ, is meant to be a means whereby we
can take our part in building up God's kingdom in love. We have been trying
to see how this principle may be applied to the actual facts of daily family
life, and to do so in the light of Christian teaching, particularly as shown
in the liturgy of the Church and in recent Papal encyclicals.
We have observed that, for most of us at least, the process of trying to
give our children a thoroughly Christian education implies, first of all,
that we revise and rectify our own ways of thinking and acting. A proverb
attributed to the Jesuits says that nobody really knows a subject until he
has taught it; so we parents find that the necessity for teaching our children
the art of Christian living almost forces us to try more earnestly to master
it ourselves. As parents, we begin to realize how much we need to think about
our faith and its implications, how much we need to pray for grace and to
try to live fully Christian lives, so that it may be a whole integrated way
of life and thought, at least in germ, that we hand on to our children.
In essentials, then, this sacramental way of living and thinking implies
that we think of everything dynamically, in terms of the growth and perfecting
of Christ's mystical Body, the building up and the victory of His kingdom.
We see all history at once as a battle and as a work of construction, the
battle of the City of God with the city of the devil, the perfecting of the
City of God taking place somehow in and through the battle.
We see also that the life, Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord is,
so to speak, the main plot or story-line or pattern of this battle as it
should be waged in each life, as it is being fought out in the whole history
of mankind; that this redemptive work of His is also the pattern for building
up His City.
We are preparing our children, then, to become Christ's soldiers and fellow
workers, to share in the fellowship of His sufferings with all their work,
with all their sufferings, in the joy of His companionship and of the victory
that He has already won. We are preparing our children to find and to take
whatever special part God made and endowed them to take in this great work.
This purpose implies that the children learn to think about themselves and
other people as Christ's members and to treat them accordingly. It implies
that they learn to think about all created things as signs of God's truth,
as means to His praise and service, as means to serve Him in the loving service
of others. This purpose implies that the children learn to see heaven and
earth as full of God's glory, that they learn to see their churches as God's
special meeting-places with mankind, the gates of heaven, images of the heavenly
This purpose implies that the children learn that all human work and human
suffering is meant to be a share in Christ's work of building up His kingdom,
that Christian play is meant to be a reflection of the effortless activity
of Him who is Pure Act, in whose image and likeness we are made. This purpose
means that we try so to live that the pattern and framework of our days and
weeks and years is, again, the pattern of our Lord's life, Death and Resurrection
as the Church shows us how to translate it into daily living.
And this purpose means that we try so to live and act in ordinary family
life that--as a shadow exists because of the thing that casts it, as a picture
exists to represent some reality, as means exist for the sake of ends--so
all our eating and drinking is ordered toward the holy Eucharist and the
eternal Feast of heaven; all our building and decorating is ordered to the
building-up of God's eternal Temple; all our cleaning and clothing to the
preservation and adornment of our Bap- tismal robes of grace; all our care
and training of the children to the shaping of the living stones of the heavenly
Jerusalem; all our sleeping and waking to our Lord's Death and Resurrection,
to our final awakening with Him to the glory of everlasting life when all
things shall have been made new.
Now there are two obvious difficulties to such an application of the principle
of sacramental living to ordinary family life today. The first is, how in
the world can we parents find time and energy under modern conditions even
to begin to carry out such a program, to work and play with the children,
or even to be with them long enough seriously to train them or to try to
influence their outlook and actions?
This difficulty is a very real one, as every parent knows. On the other hand,
all authorities agree on the fact that, even under modern conditions, the
basic assumptions and tastes and prejudices of a child's own family are still
the chief influence in his formation. Willy-nilly, then, we shall hand on
to our children to a great extent our own ways of treating people, of acting
about possessions and work and the use of time, as well as our standards
of taste in home decoration, in food, in literature and so on. And since
we cannot help transmitting our standards in some degree, is it not our plain
duty to make as sure as we can that these are thoroughly Christian?
But it is also true that most of us could make some time to be with our children,
to work and play with them, if we really tried to do so. Here, it would seem,
is part of the necessary asceticism of married life: to conserve one's time
and strength so as to be able to work at being a parent. Perhaps, for instance,
if we went to bed earlier than we have been doing several nights a week,
Father would not come home from the office too tired to discuss scouting
with big Jimmie or to play with small Peter or read to young Jane; and Mother
would not be so completely exhausted by the day's work that she only begins
to come alive again after the children are in bed...
At least we must always find the time and energy for the greatest necessity
of all, that of keeping open the channels of communication with each child
during all the years of his growth, by seeming to have time at his disposal,
time to listen, time to sympathize, time simply to be with him. For otherwise
he will resent whatever preoccupation stands between him and us (and if this
be religion, so much the worse for it).
The second difficulty is, perhaps, even greater: Would not children brought
up along these lines feel queer, especially with their own contemporaries;
would they not grow up maladjusted, misfits for life in today's world; might
they not so resent their difference from other people that they would come
to hate us and their religion and even, perhaps, leave the Church?
In answer to this difficulty, it must first be acknowledged that if we hope
to have our children grow up even as the most minimal sort of Christians,
obeying the commandments of God and the Church and keeping out of serious
sin, they will have to be and to feel "different" to some extent at least.
For we shall have to bring them up to think about and believe many truths
that other people do not think about or believe, and we shall have to bring
them up to standards of conduct other than those of the majority of their
Since this is so, would it not be better to try to bring them up by one
integrated standard of positive Christianity? Would it not be an even greater
cause of neurosis or maladjustment to give them, even implicitly, two different
standards at once, that of Christ in absolutely vital matters of faith and
morals, that of the world in everything else? Perhaps the restlessness,
unhappiness, neuroticism of so many Christians today (it is a fact, for example,
that an undue proportion of alcoholics are Catholics) is the result of trying
to live by such a double standard and to be as much like everybody else as
possible, short of actual sin.
In any case, our Lord knew that His followers would have to be different
from other people, "If you had been of the world, the world would love its
own, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
If we do everything in our power, then, to help our children to adjust vitally
and healthfully to this inevitable difference, rather than trying to minimize
it, our Lord will surely help them to grow up without being harmed by it.
How then, can we help our children to make such an adjustment? First of all,
let us try to make sure that we ourselves are deeply, habitually convinced
of the truth and value and joyfulness of whatever we are consciously trying
to influence the children to think or do.
Secondly, let us never insist on more than the Church herself does in the
way of Mass attendance, confession, holy Communion, prayers. And let us never
use the weapons of ridicule, displeasure, indirect criticism and so on to
persuade them towards more than the minimum, but only the positive means
of example, peaceful teaching, reasons suited to their understanding. For
instance, we ourselves may be most deeply convinced of the desirability of
daily Communion, but a child must learn by God's grace to desire It himself;
we cannot safely try to impose daily holy Communion on an unwilling child.
Thirdly, let us try as soon as possible to show the children the reasons
for what we command, recommend and do, especially when our practice varies
from that of our neighbors and contemporaries. And let us never insist on
our own whims or strictly personal tastes.
For example, we must insist that our children do not read immoral or
realistically violent comics. But we have no right to forbid them to read
truly harmless comics on the grounds of poor art or bad taste. We can only
try to give the children a taste for real reading, and to show them that
much looking at comics is a childish and rather silly way to spend one's
time. Let us, in other words, try to enlist their own reason and sense of
humor on the side of Christian living from as early an age as possible, but
never try to enforce by our authority more than is really necessary.
Again, let us try so to talk and live and act that the children will never
have real reason to think that being old-fashioned, dowdy, behind the times,
etc., are synonyms for being Christian. We should rather try to show them
that to be fully Christian means to be more truly sophisticated, more "hep"
than other people can be. To this end, we can try to make sure that all the
outward signs of our Christian living, pictures, statues, cards, etc., are
as technically good as we can get. No teenager or grown-up is embarrassed,
for example, by the presence of a Fra Angelico reproduction in his home (and
it is quite possible to obtain such reproductions of masterpieces cheaply)
or by a really first-class example of modern religious art; it is the
sticky-sweet so-called "popular" and the inane-looking "modern" crucifix
or statue whose presence in the family living room makes the sensitive teenager
Again, let us try not to confuse the qualities of Christian child-likeness
with childishness, ineptness, or lack of due maturity. We want our children
to remain child-like and not to fall victims to the false sophistication
of the age. But this cannot be accomplished alone or mainly by negative means.
We must rather see to it that our children dress themselves, for example,
in accordance with real norms of suitability and taste, modified by current
and local fashion. And where, for instance, modesty demands a great variation
from the current fashion, let us try to teach them to see for themselves
that immodesty is not becoming to anyone and that an immodest dress does
not, in actual fact, serve one of a dress' chief purposes, that of helping
them to look their best.
Along the same lines, let us try to ensure that the children acquire a reasonable
proficiency in whatever sports are played in their neighborhood by children
of their age, that they learn as they grow up all the normal social skills,
and are not kept away from all means of keeping up on information about ball
teams, popular songs, etc. We should try to see to it, for example, that
the children acquire a real knowledge of what good swing is, and how to
distinguish it from poor jazz; that they know how to dance modern as well
as classic and folk dances properly.
To sum all this up, let us not be in any way afraid of any of the manifestations
of modern American culture, simply because they are new, different from what
we were accustomed to, etc. But let us try, with the help of the Holy Spirit
to find whatever is of value in them, and to show the children what this
is and how to use it, while rejecting what is wrong and meretricious. Thus
they will be on the way to becoming truly sophisticated, men and women of
creative Christian taste, ready, if God wills, to help in the formation of
a true American Christian culture.
But more than this, let us try to show the children that, as Catholics, God
has given them special privileges and responsibilities toward the rest of
the world. For no merits of ours or theirs, God has told them more about
reality than other people are aware of; God has given them means of dealing
with it that other people do not have; God has given them a source of joy
and vitality and strength not granted to everyone. And He has done all this
so that they will be able to share His truth, His life, His joy with others
not so highly privileged.
It may not be at all clear how they can go about such a task when many of
their friends and acquaintances seem to know so much more than they do, to
be so much more grownup and sure of themselves perhaps than they. But if
they work to appreciate their own great treasures of the Christian faith,
and to appreciate the needs of other people rather than thinking about their
own deficiencies, God will show them how to be His leaven, His messengers,
His co-workers in sharing that treasure with all their neighbors.
Far greater, of course, than the difficulty caused by feeling different from
non-Catholics is that caused by feeling different from the good Catholics
among whom we may live, who, for one reason or another, have not as yet become
aware of the necessity for trying to think out and carry out Christian principles
in every field of human life. For if we try to give the children any
holier-than-thou feeling of superiority to their fellow-Catholics, we shall
only turn them into nasty little prigs, not into apostolic Christians. The
solution here would seem to lie in the early enlistment of their own awakening
faith, reason, taste, common sense and humor in the battle against being
just like everybody else. Would our children really think it better to do
exactly what other children are doing? Do they think they would really enjoy
it for long? And if so, what other children, since every family differs somewhat
both in what is allowed and what is forbidden.
Obviously, whatever we do, the children will rebel often and again against
our authority and against any standards we may set. After all, the children
would be subject to the effects of original sin even if all the parents around
us had exactly the same standards as we. No parent, however lax, seems to
be always in good favor with his children! And besides their natural rebellion
against our authority, the children will blame us for the struggle in themselves
between all kinds of temptations and the habits and standards which we have
helped to give them.
This again seems to be an inevitable part of growing up. Do we not remember
such rebellion in ourselves? Here, surely, is the place for prayer and great
love and sympathy to tide over the complete transfer of authority from us
to the children themselves, until they realize fully that the task of becoming
Christ's co-workers has become their own responsibility, between them and
God, and that we are not going to butt in.
Above all, therefore, we need to remember all during the children's years
of training that it is the formation of Christ in each child, the special
image of Him that each is meant to become, that is of supreme importance.
To have what looks like a "Christian home," to lead an outwardly well-ordered
Christian home-life, these are means to the end that the children and ourselves
may grow up in all things in Christ.
The value of all external practices, ceremonies, family customs, then, must
be judged by the norm of whether or not they really are helping to achieve
this purpose. (Here, perhaps, is also an answer to the question of how to
introduce older children to the more full, more externally manifested Christian
life which their parents have just discovered or are in the process of
discovering.) All externals are meant at once to express and foster the reality
of Christian living. But any Christian who is old enough to reason and to
choose must see the connection between the reality and the external expression
we are giving it; otherwise it will neither express that reality for him
nor foster it in him. Younger children perceive such connections intuitively;
but older children usually need the same kind of patient, rational explanation
as do their parents.
For example, small children do not need much talk to grasp the general purpose
of an Advent wreath; they like the smell of pine, the special ceremony, and
the flame of the candles (especially if they are allowed to take turns at
blowing the candles out). And the growing light of each week fits in beautifully
with their mounting excitement at the approach of Christmas.
But a teenager might well be desperately embarrassed at the whole idea,
especially if it was suddenly introduced into his home. Suppose his friends
found him going through all that some evening! An Advent wreath is certainly
not an essential part of faith or morals; if an explanation of why we ourselves
have come to think that its use is a good way to prepare for our Lord's coming
really does not register with a child, it might well be better to give him
ungrudging leave to stay away from the whole ceremony. It would be still
better, of course, if he and his friends could be made interested in all
that such a practice implies, by methods similar to those which awoke our
own interest. But if this is not possible, let us try to adhere to the main
purpose to which such practices are, after all, only secondary; and look
for some other way, more suited to this child, of preparing him for Christ's
Yet, when all is said and done, the task of bringing up our children as
Christians is clearly beyond our own powers. We are only ordinary men and
women, not the marvels of sanctity, wisdom, prudence, discretion, charity,
and skill that parents obviously ought to be in order to carry out their
vocation. Even to bring our children up to be decent human beings usually
seems more than we can hope to accomplish! Our strength and comfort, surely,
is to realize that the task of training our children is primarily not ours,
but God's, and that He is far more interested in the outcome than we. It
is He who is in charge of our children's up-bringing; we are only His instruments
But, for His own mysterious purposes, He has given us these particular children
to bring up for Him. He must, therefore, in some way beyond our understanding,
have suited us to them, our special abilities, circumstances, virtues, faults,
and defects to their special make-up and their special needs. If we try,
then, to serve Him in them with all that we have of intelligence and strength
and skill, little as this may seem or may be, we can trust Him to do the
rest, to perfect His own Work, so that "doing the truth in charity" we and
our children may "grow up in all things in Him who is the Head, that is,
1. List suggestions for getting children to participate in religious practices
over and above the minimum. Should children be promised secular rewards (going
to a movie) for performing a religious act? Should they be threatened with
the loss of a secular value (going to a party) unless they perform certain
religious counsels (going to daily Mass for the week)?
2. Conduct an experiment in drawing up imaginary schedules in which each
family would review the past week and try to see if it would have been possible
to increase its religious participation simply by organizing the schedule
better. Would it be possible for most families to cut down on the present
activities of its various members? Do teenage children today have too many
extra-curricular activities? In what way might religious participation help
to strengthen the "family circle"?
3. Will the family which follows a pattern of sacramental living necessarily
seem "old fashioned" and "behind the times"? Discuss.
4. Discuss the relationship of children to their parents. In the Christian
concept of the home will the attitude of the children toward their mother
be somewhat different than toward their father? Is it normal that parents
should always be in "good favor" and "popular" with their children? Can parents
expect to discipline their children and to hold up ideas and standards without
the children sometimes resenting or misunderstanding them?
5. Read aloud the final two paragraphs of the chapter. Discuss the role of
Divine Providence in our efforts to establish "family-life-in-Christ."
1. What are the two most serious difficulties to the application of principles
of sacramental living to ordinary family life?
2. Did Christ expect His followers to be "different"? Explain.
3. Should parents insist that their children do more in way of religious
observance than the Church herself commands?
4. Do the obstacles to sacramental living come only from non-Catholics?
5. Should parents expect that their children will be uniformly submissive
and agreeable to their plan for sacramental living?
1. Needless, perhaps,
to say, the ideal of fully Christened family life is not that of monastic
life. St. Benedict modeled the monastic family on the Christian family, but
that does not mean that the Christian family should try to pattern its life
on that of a monastery. For the monastery is designed to lead its members
to Christian perfection, to "run in the road of God's commandments," but
the family has to start its members on the road to Christian perfection and
teach them to walk. The ideal family meal, for instance (I speak as one less
wise), should normally include conversation, for part of the children's training
in Christian eating is to learn how courteously and happily to share experiences
and ideas while courteously sharing physical food. By such complete human
"sharing" we fashion our kind of sign and reflection of the Eucharistic feast.
The monastic meal, on the other hand, is conducted in silence or with spiritual
reading, so as to unite the monks' minds on the highest possible level, leading
them through the "sign" of the meal to thoughts of the reality. But the monastic
meal presupposes many years of training in family meals, otherwise it would
seem (at least to the mother of small boys) that the participants would distract
each other from God, rather than lead one another to Him in their common
act of dining!
2. We are made to need food, drink, etc., in limited amounts and kinds. Beyond
this, nobody can try to obtain extra satisfaction by eating more than so
much food, or drinking more than so much drink without finally suffering
the immediate and/or long-range effects of over-indulgence, which themselves
take away the original appetite and of themselves limit temporarily or
perpetually the possibility of continued indulgence--in extreme cases, by
causing death. This holds good for all physical satisfactions and also for
all true cultural needs, namely, for books, music, the fine arts and, even,
for companionship. We cannot really enjoy more than so much reading, music,
etc. and over-indulgence in such pleasure results in a form of mental indigestion
which itself, temporarily at least, presents further enjoyment. But the appetite
for "thrills," for more and better gadgets, for being ahead of other people
for "security," "success," etc., can never be satisfied, nor does it bring
the obvious punishments of these other forms of over-indulgence, for it exists
in imagination only, not in the realities of human nature and human needs.
3. If this statement seems harsh, just go and wander around a depart- ment
store, especially its basement.
4. This is not to say, of course, that people do not practice these virtues
today, only that the whole spirit of the times is against our doing so, and
is rendering it more and more difficult.
Nor is this to say that "the machine" is essentially un-Christian. There
is no such thing as "the machine," only various kinds of machines, each of
which needs to be judged on its own merits and its effect on human living.
To quote a vital distinction made by John Julian Ryan in a forthcoming book
called "Practical Wisdom," a machine which is a powered tool may certainly
be an aid to human and Christian living; a powered tool is one in which the
machine provides the power but not the control: the work remains always under
the direct control of a man's skill: e.g., a power saw, a dentist's drill,
a steam-shovel, a tug-boat. Again, a machine which really saves human drudgery
(that is, work that requires no intelligence), even though such a machine
performs several successive operations automatically, could also obviously,
be a means to human and Christian living, e.g., a washing machine, machines
for generating power preparing crude material. Of course, even with regard
to such machines the question would remain to be investigated, whether or
not they actually do or do not lessen the total amount of human drudgery
or distribute it more equally, considering the work involved in procuring
raw materials, making the machines that make the machines, the actual
manufacture, distribution, sales, etc. And also whether or not such machines
use up an undue amount of irreplaceable raw materials.
Again, there is no intrinsic reason why the evils of mass production could
not be avoided and better results obtained if, in the production of things
which must be exactly alike (parts, small objects like pins, screws, etc.,
and especially raw materials), the process of manufacture were re-thought
out and redistributed to allow a man or team of men to work on whole tasks
of producing at least whole parts, using their human brains and skill and
powers of cooperation instead of simply minding machines. If the amount of
ingenuity that is now spent on "making the system work" were spent on thinking
and planning to put true human welfare as planned by God before the "efficiency"
of machines, perhaps a truly Christian civilization that used machines properly
might, with the help of God. begin to be built. Nobody wants to "put the
clock back" in the name of Christ: we want, rather, with all human brains
and intelligence and skill, to prepare for the coming of "Him who is to come."
5. See "Rich and Poor in Christian Tradition"--Writings of many centuries
chosen, translated and introduced by Walter Shewring (Burns Oates, London,
6. Inexpensive booklets containing translations of some of the commoner blessings
are: "Family Blessings," by Bernard Strasser, O.S.B. (NCWC, Washington);
"Family Sacramentals," by Walter Sullivan, O.S.B. (Grail, St. Meinrad, Ind.):
"With the Blessing of the Church," by Bishop Schlarman (NCRLC Des Moines);
"Lord Bless Us," by Rev. Harvey Egan (Grail, St. Meinrad, Ind.).
7. An almost indispensable family tool here is Fr. Weller's translation of
the Blessings of the Roman Ritual (Vol. III, Bruce).
8. It is our own experience of such a thrill, for instance, which makes us
able to appreciate the wonder of the pilgrims at the glorious sight of Jerusalem:
"Thou city built into one perfect whole!" (Psalm 121), and so to appreciate
what our spiritual emotions should be at the vision of the Church on earth
and in heaven.
9. See "My Book About God" by Julie Bedier (MacMillan) for a wonderful
presentation for children of different kinds of work as God sees them.
10. If one may say so in all reverence, the common notion of the value of
making the Morning Offering is that it turns our work into a kind of heavenly
boondoggling (work which, people think, has no eternal value in itself; whether
it be well or badly done, if we 'offer' it to God, He will pay us eternal
wages for it in consideration of the merits of Christ).
11. Here is the truth about work which, largely forgotten by Christians,
has been re-discovered by Communism, and warped and perverted to make only
the perfection of the City of Man its end and justification.
12. To make this truth real and vital to ourselves, study-clubs, sodalities,
etc., could follow the example of a group in Louisiana who have made a study
of how each man's work in fact aids his fellow-members of the mystical Body;
the men concerned with oil, for instance, help everyone all over the country
who uses the oil in furnaces, cars, etc. Those concerned with natural gas
help families they will only meet in heaven to cook and heat their houses.
So a man cannot always have the obvious advantages of direct person-to-person
service in his work, but he can take such means as this to make its quality
of loving service of Christ in others a vivid reality both to himself and
to his children.
13. It is ultimately, of course, the task of professional associations and
of experts in each field to get together with moral theologians, determine
the Christian norms for each occupation and profession, and decide on general
lines of procedure best adapted to begin the transformation of what is into
what should and could be. And, as yet, our Catholic professional schools
and professional associations have only here and there begun to go about
this task. But unless everyone who is aware of the necessity for restoring
all kinds of work in Christ, according to the directives of the Popes, begins
to look at his own work and kind of work in the light of Christian principles,
to discuss it with others, to judge what could and should be done and to
begin to do it, the experts will never go to work on the real problems and
no action would result from their conclusions if they did.
14. In this connection, priests and religious might consider the effects
of the "clergy discount" especially on the price of Catholic books. Since
they are the most numerous purchasers of such books, this discount means
in effect that the lay reader must pay extra. Is this practice, then, calculated
to increase the spread of Catholic books among the laity? Or to help the
Catholic bookstores who are trying to make these books available?
15. Such a policy does not mean, of course, that we are ordinarily under
any obligation to patronize a workman on any level who, however good his
motives, simply does not or cannot produce good work. It is no part of
reestablishing all things in Christ to foster the already too prevalent Catholic
vice of technical and artistic carelessness, the vice that follows on the
idea that it doesn't matter what you do or how you do it so long as you "mean
well" and "offer it up. However "apostolic" a work may be, the apostle is
obviously under the obligation is a Christian to strive for perfection in
his daily work as well as in his life.
16. Here, of course, is the value of games, both for children and adults.
Our responsibility here is to see that our children learn to play, rather
than to look on, learn to handle themselves adequately in the legitimate
games and sports common to their age and neighborhood, and how to choose
their games wisely to suit their own needs and circumstances.
17. What follows is not meant to be a complete theological description of
each vocation, but a working or practical one in terms of characteristic
18. A very good form of morning offering for children, and for morning prayers,
is to be found in that excellent child's prayerbook, "Glory to God," by Dorothy
Coddington (W. H. Sadlier & Co.).
19. The "Manual of Prayers" prepared by the Precious Blood Sisters of O'Fallon,
Mo., is an inexpensive booklet containing a good variety of psalms and other
prayers arranged for seasonal use.
20. It is well worthwhile to ponder the implications of the fact that Sunday
is considered by some Fathers of the Church not to be merely the first in
a series of weekdays, but rather the eighth day, outside of the seven days
of ordinary time, partaking in the perfection and time-less-ness of eternity.
21. For this purpose, see particularly Therese Mueller's booklets, "Family
Life in Christ" (Liturgical Press) and "Our Children's Year of Grace" (Pio
Decimo Press); Msgr. Hellriegel's article in "The Family in Christ" (Proceedings
of the 1946 Liturgical Week, Elsberry, Mo.); and Mrs. Florence Berger's "Cooking
For Christ" (National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Des Moines, Ia.).
22. On this topic, and many others sketched in this book, see the excellent
and more detailed treatment in "Ourselves and Our Children" by Mary Reed
23. These prayers are contained in "A Manual of Prayers" for the use of the
Catholic laity. Prepared by order of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore
(Kenedy & Sons, N.Y.); it is a book which no family should be without,
since it contains the ceremonies for administering the sacraments, the essentials
of what Christians should believe and do, and much more besides.
24. "O God, who by Thy mighty power hast made all things where before there
was nothing; who, having framed and put in order the first kinds of all
creatures, didst constitute woman as a helpmate for man made to Thine image,
a helpmate, therefore, who should never be separated from him fashioning
her in such a way that woman's body took its origin from man's flesh, and
teaching thereby that since it pleased Thee to construct her body from his,
it is never right that their union be sundered... "O God, who hast consecrated
the marriage union by a hidden and sacred design so exceedingly great that
in the marriage covenant Thou dost foreshow the Mystery of Christ and the
Church... "O God, who dost join woman to man, and give to that primal society
the blessing which alone was not taken away in punishment for original sin
nor by the doom of the Flood..." (From the blessing given during the Nuptial
25. For excellent suggestions as to specific ways of telling children the
facts of sex, see "Christopher's Talks to Catholic Parents," by David Greenstock.
(Templegate, Springfield. Ill.).
The Christian Pattern
"...You Did It Unto Me"
Training for Life's Work and Play
Redeeming the Times
Attaining Our Ideals