7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol. 13 :: Resuming life

JMJ1

MondayTakes

Enjoy previous rambling installments here 🙂

1.

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My parents cutting their lovely anniversary cake, made & decorated by Lena. Picture taken by my brother 🙂

Two weeks ago, we prepared for and celebrated my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, and it was both a lovely and exhausting stretch of days in which I gained a big dose of party planning/coordinating experience . . . last week, thusly, was mental recovery week. Today proved to be recovery day from recovery week, especially in the region of my half of the bedroom, which had become a positive landing zone and, while not exactly messy, was cluttered. I did begin by wiping out the family microwave, since a miniature explosion had occurred there recently. But eventually I retreated into mine and my sister’s bedroom and went to war 😉

At long last, I situated all my tutoring supplies into their bin; I stashed away bags of handmade party decorations; I sorted books and shelves, finally updated all my monthly calendars, plowed through the Mines of Moria (also known as my desk drawer), went walking by the lake for an hour with mom and siblings, came home, cleaned off my desk, dusted and vacuumed nearly every surface, and have now collapsed with immense satisfaction. There is nothing so domestically marvelous as sitting in a dusted, vacuumed, de-cluttered space 😀

2.

May is already winding down . . . and getting hotter . . . we’ve seemingly already entered our summer weather pattern down here of hot, muggy days with scattered thunderstorms at any time. But there has also been plenty of sunshine and breeziness to keep things nice.

Around the house, schoolwork has largely wrapped up for the school year and tomorrow, most likely, will be the first day of celebratory swimming with The Dash’s family 🙂

3.

I have been compiling a list of summer goals . . . some smaller, some bigger, some random, some obvious. One goal, however, is to brainstorm and figure out how to blog more consistently about courtship (and eventually, God-willing, betrothal and wedding planning) topics . . . so we’ll see what happens here starting early summer!

4.

The Dash and I were messaging earlier about automotive troubles, and in the course of our conversation he gallantly asked me if I were looking as beautiful as ever . . . I replied that I was in workout clothes, holding a can of furniture polish, and that I had mildly frizzy hair, so I would leave him with that mental image in order to make a decision.

I presume it is natural for any person to default towards putting a nice photo of themselves on their blog. Being sanguine, I am particularly geared towards appearances and impressions (which holds its own mixed bag of potential virtues and inherent vices, but that’s for another post . . .)

Not that I am a frequent selfie-taker, but it seems to me that a self-taken photo revealing your current post-cleaning state prods one a little more towards virtue than a selfie when you are all fixed up. I did have to pull in the cherry blossom cup (a lovely gift from one of my students!) to add a little femininity, though 😛 Here’s to cleaning and to enjoying it!

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5.

Currently, we are in the few-weeks-long break between the end of The Dash’s semester and the beginning of his summer internship . . . it’s like one huge holiday and has been so wonderful so far to spend extra time with him! 🙂 Time truly is a gift from God, and when you are able to live it well and full with those you love, it becomes a joy!

6.

For most of this blog post, I have been clicking back and forth between my internet browser and my graphic design software as I attempt to finish up one of three jobs lined up for me to complete by the end of next month, and get the final products off to be printed. It might not make for the most coherent of posts, but, hey, I’m multitasking 😉

7.

The FSSP ordinations are this Saturday, May 26th, streaming live from LiveMass.net! God-willing, Lena and I will be able to watch them! What beautiful memories from last year, and what spiritual joy.

http://fssp.com/wp-content/uploads/2018-Ordination-Flyer.pdf

Have a lovely rest of your Monday!

Sig

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“Nothing is so beautiful as spring . . .” (A Woman at Home post)

+J.M.J.+

. . . or thereabouts, anyway.

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What is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of earth’s sweet being in the beginning, in Eden Garden. Have, get, before it cloy, before it cloud, Christ, Lord, and sour with sinning; Innocent mind, and Mayday in girl and boy, most, O Maid’s child, Thy choice, and worthy the winning.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring”

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This morning, we drove Lena and our dad to the airport, dropped them off, and drove home under a glorious blue-skied start to a beautiful, chilly March morning. Her visit to Our Lady’s House begins!

Upon returning, I cleaned up a few rooms, made some beds, switched some laundry . . . and then, quite spontaneously, snatched my camera and dove outside to capture some of the “juice and joy.” It was cold and windy, belying all the early-budding trees and flowers. Shivering in my bulky green coat, I only stayed out for a few minutes. But it was so very refreshing. There is intoxicating fun and a strange peace to be found in getting down on your stomach and viewing the world like a baby does.

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I am eighty or so pages into reading aloud The Fellowship of the Ring to my youngest sister, who is still recovering from her cold. This morning, we trekked with the irrepressible hobbits towards Woodhall, evaded the ominous Black Rider, and met Gildor Inglorion together in the quiet sunshine while other family members recuperated with naps from the morning that started in the 5 o’clock hour.

It is a delight: both the story, and reading it aloud to her. Nostalgic in that it brings me back to that time when I was her age (nine years ago!) . . . and new in that the story grows ever stronger and more potent in its images, its themes, its applicability (to use Tolkien’s word) the longer I leave it, like good wine. The Old Winyards, to be precise.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began; now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can, pursuing it with eager feet until it joins some larger way, where many paths and errands meet, and whither then? I cannot say . . .

-J. R. R. Tolkien

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Today is First Friday, and Friday of the Second Week of Lent. It’s strange to be praying my devotions and the Mass by myself, without Lena . . . but at the same time, it has its own beauty and stillness.

In fact, the above verse from Tolkien seems incredibly appropriate for today, the more I ponder it. Our paths are branching, little by little. My road is unfolding in one direction; in hers, another. This brings so much joy and excitement, mixed with the natural bittersweetness. All good things come from God, and to be nearing one’s vocation, one’s path of sanctity, to be able to smell it like salt in the air as one approaches the ocean, is such a very, very good thing. To Him be all the glory! We pursue our paths with eager feet!

Look down, O Lord, to help me: let them be confounded and ashamed together that seek after my soul to take it away: look down, O Lord, to help me.

-Offertory, Friday of the Second Week in Lent

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As I continue to pray for the one-day gift of daily Latin Mass nearby, earlier, I was reading this from Dom Prosper Guéranger, “An Explanation of the Prayers and Ceremonies of Holy Mass” and thought it particularly beautiful:

Having made the sign of the Cross, the Priest says the Antiphon: “Introibo ad altare Dei,” as an introduction to the 42nd Psalm. This Antiphon is always said, both before and after the Psalm, which he at once begins: “Judica me Deus.” He says the whole of it, alternately with the Ministers. This Psalm was selected on account of the verse “Introibo ad altare Dei: I will go unto the altar of God.” It is most appropriate as a beginning to the Holy Sacrifice. We may remark here, that the Church always selects the Psalms she uses, because of some special verse which is appropriate to what she does, or to what she wishes to express. The Psalm, of which we are now speaking, was not in the more ancient Missals: its usage was established by Pope Pius the Fifth, in 1568. When we hear the Priest saying this Psalm, we understand to whom it refers:- it refers to our Lord, and it is in his name, that the Priest recites it. We are told this by the very first verse: “Ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.”

The verse here used as an Antiphon, shows us, that David was still young when he composed this Psalm; for, after saying, that he is going to the Altar of God, he says: “Ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam: To God, who giveth joy to my youth.” He expresses astonishment at his soul being sad; and, at once, cheers himself, by rousing his hope in God; hence, his song is full of gladness. It is on account of the joy which is the characteristic of this Psalm, that holy Church would have it be omitted in Masses for the Dead, in which we are about to pray for the repose of a soul, whose departure from this life leaves us in uncertainty and grief. It is omitted, also, during Passiontide, in which season, the Church is all absorbed in the sufferings of her divine Spouse; and these preclude all joy.

This 42nd Psalm is an appropriate introduction to the Mass, inasmuch as it in our Lord whom it will bring among us. Who is He that is to be sent to the Gentiles, but He that is Light and Truth? David foresaw all this; and, therefore, he uttered the prayer: “Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam.” We take his prayer and make it ours; and we say to our heavenly Father: “send forth Him, who is thy Light and thy Truth!”

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Small things are beautiful; folding a stack of laundry, brewing a pitcher of tea, wiping off a counter, sitting across the table from my mother, faking (very bad) English country accents for hobbit’s voices, kissing a sibling’s hair, praying the Rosary while driving, taking the time to capture moss growing on a log in a certain transformative slant of morning sunlight.

There is a stillness that, eventually, comes with simplicity. I don’t always have it, because I often go about things the complicated and absorbed way. When I have the brains to seek out the simplicity, that disconnecting from noise, and when I begin to hear in my heart a stirring of hope for a future family, a future life, a future culture built around the Holy Faith, around books and conversations and the old-fashioned, simple, homey things–then stillness comes.

The further I travel into this Lent, the more deeply I am drawn towards my future wifehood and motherhood being built upon simplicity and quiet of heart. I am at the very beginning . . . I don’t exactly know what all it entails yet. I’m sure I’ll be constantly learning as the years elapse. For now, I do know it means openness to life and radical unselfishness; it means the family table; it means cooking and singing together; it means reading aloud books together in the evening, discussing all of life’s aspects with enthusiasm and a desire for truth, engaging and building up one another in the warmth of the family heart as our means of recreation and leisure. It means daily Mass (God-willing!) and the daily family Rosary; it means a healthy and wholesome lifestyle of homeschooling and tradition and solid work and pure playfulness, of living in community while protecting the integrity of our family; it means service and sacrifice; it means steadfastness, fidelity, and prayer; it means wanting to be saints and believing that is very the purpose of our lives. A perfect quote from Mary Reed Newland’s We and Our Children made it into my Commonplace Book the other week:

Simplicity of soul is one of the prerequisites of sanctity, and it is one of the things our children already possess. We must be very careful not to contribute to the great cluttering-up. We must make a heroic effort to rid our lives of all but one motive, that “impractical” spirituality of the saints, a life in union with God. If this is the undercurrent of our existence, then we can expect the spiritual training of our children to bear fruit.

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Next week, The Dash and I arrive at half a year of courtship! That seems unbelievable! Half a year since I sat in the pew with him, the first Sunday of our relationship, and was greeted by the words of the Offertory:

The Angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them: O taste and see that the Lord is sweet!

How overwhelming is God’s goodness! St. Raphael, ora pro nobis.

Smiling, I just now remembered a certain paragraph out of The Wife Desired:

Ordinarily, love begins for a young girl when she becomes well enough acquainted with a young man to develop a spiritual affinity with him. She admired his qualities and abilities. She likes his attitude toward life in general. She begins to feel at ease, at home in his presence. Then other things begin to happen. A simple phone call brings a flutter to her heart. Her pulse quickens when he calls at her home. She has eyes for no one but him.

With reason she wonders whether she is in love. Her doubts will vanish when she reaches the point of growth in love where all her being reaches out for him in the effort to bring him happiness. Her own whims and desires fade into the background. His happiness is her only real concern.

What a beautiful and brilliantly wise description of the God-given journey I am still undertaking! Half a year is a grossly insignificant amount of time when it comes to even beginning to get used to how much God has blessed me with The Dash, and how wonderful, steady and virtuous a man he is.

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The rest of today . . . well, for me, it’s quiet and full of sunshine, carrying the diffused scent of eucalyptus essential oil; I’ve got some tutoring planning to sort through, although that may spill over into tomorrow . . . then there’s the Daily Full Meal (should I trademark that Lenten expression?) and the evening with the family (hopefully Stations of the Cross will be part of it). May the rest of your day be very blessed! Please do pray for Lena as she visits Our Lady’s House 🙂

Sig

Fr. Ripperger on Ember and Rogation Days . . . and Poetry

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I meant to mention that, later on today, I’ll be listening to Fr. Ripperger’s talk on Ember and Rogation Days at Sensus Traditionis (scroll down to “Conferences given by Fr. Ripperger in Tulsa“) and I definitely look forward to learning more 🙂

Also, my youngest sister inspired me yesterday by her flawless memorization of John Gillespie Magee’s “High Flight.” We spent some time outside together this morning, trading poetry in the sunshine. What a glorious poem!

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Impressed as I was by her, suffice it to say that I was similarly motivated this morning to copy down and memorize Robert Herrick’s “His Meditation Upon Death,” which seems so appropriate for this holy season of Lent. (It’s been too long since I’ve memorized a poem . . . needless to say, it’s a challenge!)

His Meditation Upon Death
by Robert Herrick

Be those few hours, which I have yet to spend,
Blest with the meditation of my end :
Though they be few in number, I’m content :
If otherwise, I stand indifferent.
Nor makes it matter Nestor’s years to tell,
If man lives long, and if he live not well.
A multitude of days still heaped on,
Seldom brings order, but confusion.
Might I make choice, long life should be withstood;
Nor would I care how short it were, if good :
Which to effect, let ev’ry passing-bell
Possess my thoughts, “next comes my doleful knell”;

And when the night persuades me to my bed,
I’ll think I’m going to be buried.
So shall the blankets which come over me
Present those turfs which once must cover me :
And with as firm behaviour I will meet
The sheet I sleep in as my winding-sheet.
When sleep shall bathe his body in mine eyes,
I will believe that then my body dies :
And if I chance to wake and rise thereon,
I’ll have in mind my resurrection
Which must produce me to that General Doom,
To which the peasant, so the prince, must come,
To hear the Judge give sentence on the throne,
Without the least hope of affection.
Tears, at that day, shall make but weak defence,
When hell and horror fright the conscience.
Let me, though late, yet at the last, begin
To shun the least temptation to a sin;
Though to be tempted be no sin, until
Man to th’ alluring object gives his will.
Such let my life assure me, when my breath
Goes thieving from me, I am safe in death;
Which is the height of comfort : when I fall,
I rise triumphant in my funeral.

And yes, I had to look up who Nestor was . . .

Sig

My Vocabulary Lesson for the Day

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How long ago was it? Two or three weeks? Well, whenever it was, my mind randomly remembered something called a Commonplace Book, and I thought it might be nice to try and keep one up: to record various bits of information and assorted quotations that I wanted to save and ponder in a handwritten, old-fashioned way.

It hasn’t been particularly regular so far, but I’ve written down some meaty quotes from Newland’s We and Our Children, from Fr. James Mawdsley, FSSP, and Fr. Augustine Wetta’s Humility Rules (as snagged from Lena’s post on fasting). My handwriting is a little rambling, which matches perfectly with the workings of my brain.

Today, however, I wrote down three words and their accompanying definitions . . . one word that I had positively never heard of before (a real shock for this presumed wordsmith), and all three words possessing meanings that I didn’t really know at all. I’d heard of the other two words, but only had the vaguest notion of what they might mean.

Two words were from this morning’s (stupendous) section from Chapter One of Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child; and one word was from Fr. Ripperger’s homily (remember, Penanceware!) on the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which I listened to this morning.

So, I thought that I would brighten your potentially humdrum Thursday afternoon by sharing with you my newfound knowledge, and my three new pet words. 😉

Concatenation

This one completely bent my mind. How do I even say this? How many C’s and N’s are in this darned word?!

Concatenation. A noun derived from the adjective Concatenate, which is pronounced “cun-CAT-eh-net.” So, “cun-CAT-eh-nation.” You’re welcome.

Concatenate :: linked together

Concatenation :: a series of interconnected events, concepts; the act of linking together; the state of being joined

Refractory

All right, so I’d heard of this one somewhat before; refracted angles, refracted light, that sort of thing. And I knew how to pronounce it, which lifted my sodden spirits a little after being so overwhelmed by concatenation.

Refractory. An adjective as well.

Refractory :: showing or characterized by obstinate resistance to authority or control

Refulgence

Similarly, I’d heard this one used before, probably most frequently in prayers . . . and, fittingly, this was the word Fr. Ripperger used in describing the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. (Please do listen to that homily! And make the penance! 😉 )

I knew it meant something good or beautiful, roughly . . .

Refulgence. A noun.

Refulgence :: a radiant or resplendent quality or state: brilliance.

It may sound a trifle silly, but somehow, I feel so excited to have expanded my vocabulary, to have discovered mysterious words and copied down their definitions like I used to do in school with Wordly Wise.

Although the old adage holds true that “you never stop learning,” and I hope I’m learning and expanding my mind every day . . . there are times when I wistfully wish I could go back and redo some of my grade- and high school subjects with more appreciation and enthusiasm–but it has dawned on me that, God-willing, homeschooling my future children will be a major Round 2 of my education! And in the meantime, I’ll keep reading my concatenation of educational and inspirational books 😉

A blessed feast of St. John of Matha to you all!

Sig

 

Goals and Guiding Principles for My Future Homeschool, Vol. I :: Sainthood

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This is a potential series, based off more serious thoughts I’m typing up on a semi-regular basis as I contemplate what my future homeschool and its curriculum might look like once I’m a wife and mother 🙂 It may be subject to change as my thoughts fluctuate and I learn more!

This morning, I was reading Mrs. Berquist (Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum) in the quiet before anyone else was up, and as I pondered, agreed or good-naturedly debated with her thoughts, it came to me quite clearly that I needed to start setting down my current goals and guiding principles for my future home and children, especially how it relates to the extension of my future motherhood that would be homeschooling.

    Sainthood

My greatest desire is that everything in my future husband and I’s home will be properly ordered and oriented towards our final end: the glory of God, and our sanctification—a secondary result of which would be the restoration of an authentically Catholic culture.

The world can’t be a guide for us. Recently, I read an article that stated something to the effect of, The world is obsessed with orienting the constant around the transient, when the transient must be ordered around the constant. One of the most important guiding principles, when I consider my future homeschool, would be that of ordering the transient around the constant in our home.

My greatest hope for my future children is that they will look upon their lives as gifts from God to be given back to Him, in the way He asks, and that they will waste no time in seeking out His Will for their lives. My hope is that they will give Him their youth (Ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam!), and be intent upon not deciding their career, but in preparing themselves for, and discerning, their vocation–and letting everything else be ordered around it.

I want everything that I teach them and help them to discover to, collectively, aid them in self-abandonment to God’s Will, and assist them in the critical period of vocational discernment they’ll come to in early adulthood: priesthood, consecrated life, or holy marriage.

This will require diligent spiritual, mental and physical education in our homeschool curriculum, with great care and attention given to cultivating authentic masculinity and femininity in the hearts and intellects of my sons and daughters, respectively.

    The Mass

by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, available from http://fssp.org.

With this having been laid out, the foundation of my homeschool curriculum would have to be a continual growth in understanding and love for the Holy Mass, specifically in the Extraordinary Form: the Mass of the saints. I want my children to be drawn into these most beautiful mysteries from their youngest years; and, as they grow older, to let the Holy Mass mold their intellect and their understanding of life and its meaning, of the Faith, of their final end. I want it to be the fertile soil in which they will plant the seeds of every subject and thought of their heart, and reap a hundredfold from it.

I want it to be available to them on a daily basis (if not physically, then through internet stream), frequently pondered and deeply discussed as they grow older. In a special way, I want to expose my sons, early on, to the life of the traditional priest and the wondrous calling to the priestly life, through exposing them to the beauty of this Mass which, with strength and clarity, reveals the true nature and station of the priestly role.

Similarly, I want to expose my daughters to religious orders that are oriented around the traditional liturgy. And I want all of my children to see and grow up amid the generous family life that so often teems around the Traditional Mass.

Like orphans who have discovered a rich inheritance, I want my children to delight in this traditional liturgy that is visibly ordered and oriented towards God alone, and in every aspect of it, all of which can immeasurably enrich and strengthen their physical, spiritual and intellectual lives. I want it to shape them intimately and definitively, because more than any other tool, Holy Mass will equip them for discerning and embracing their specific vocation.

  Traditional Theology

If our homeschool is grounded in the Mass and specifically the traditional liturgy, then traditional theology and a proper understanding of Church teaching will naturally spring from it. In this arena of study, my homeschool curriculum will be made up of books such as:

  • The Catechism of the Council of Trent

  • The Baltimore Catechism

  • Butler’s Lives of the Saints and many beautifully illustrated saint books

  • The Douay Rheims and Revised Standard Version of Holy Scripture

  • The 1962 Missal

  • True Devotion to Mary

  • many, many writings of the Saints, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, St. John Vianney, St. Louis de Montfort, St. John Bosco, St. Therese, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, St. Teresa of Avila . . .

  • books about the Traditional Mass such as Treasure and Tradition

  • A Map of Life and other works by Frank Sheed

  • Catholic Morality; Mass and the Sacraments; Catholic Apologetics etc. by Fr. Laux

  • 2,000 Years of Church History by Fr. Fox

  • The Young Man’s Guide

  • The Catholic Girl’s Guide

These and other books written with an authentic, traditional adherence to the Faith will be the treasures of our homeschool, because they will form our souls and intellects firmly around the good, the true and the beautiful.

   Masculinity, Femininity, and Vocational Discernment

From their earliest years, I want to instill in my sons and daughters knowledge and appreciation of their God-given masculinity and femininity. With prudence and wisdom, I would want to try and keep a healthy and reasonable level of distinction between girl’s work/dress and boy’s work/dress (while taking care to not be overzealous about it, which would only push them away from the very thing I desire them to make their foundation).

I would want to encourage chivalry and a spirit of virtuous protectiveness and provision in my young sons, and nurturing tendencies and domestic love in my young daughters, so that they won’t look down upon one another’s differences, but instead deeply respect and admire them.

As they grow older and as part of daily living, I want to keep up a reasonable resolution to require the boys to do “tougher/dirtier/heavier jobs” and be solicitous and kind towards their sisters and mother (though this must really be something set down and maintained by their father, with me merely reinforcing it), while encouraging the girls to take care of the things that are more appropriate to their girlhood, such as to care for their brothers and father through keeping things clean and pleasant and beautiful, making/baking/crafting things to please others and beautify the home . . . but all of this, without letting either boys or girls be afraid of hard work, of helping one another in necessity, or of joining in the others’ tasks. Reasonableness and prudence in all things!

As they grow older, I want to expose them to books such those by Fr. Lasance, which will begin to give them words to articulate the beauty of their sex and the virtues than need developing in relation to it.

These things will be cultivated and encouraged from the time they are very young, and throughout the years when they are both applying themselves to their education and studies. In high school, however, I see an even more purposeful shift: I would want my sons to be guided towards preparing themselves to discern their vocation and to evaluate what academic requirements or work skills that might entail, whether to go into religion or to support a family. My daughters would similarly be guided into subjects that develop their femininity and love of the home, and that stir their hearts into contemplating the religious and married states. The central aspect of my high school curriculum would be one of discussion, contemplation, and initial vocational discernment.

During their younger years, but most especially by high school, I would want to encourage them to maintain a private devotion to St. Raphael, for his guidance in regards to their vocation, and, if marriage, for the protection and hastened appearance of their future spouse in their lives.

By the time of their graduation from high school, my hope is that my sons will have at least the beginnings of clarity of heart and a strong desire to do God’s Will, and be equipped to make a prudent initial choice towards continuing to discern their vocation, whether it’s to explore the priestly or monastic life, or to begin learning a trade or study for a degree that will enable them to support a family. This very possibly could entail the collegiate path, but if so, the preference would be for a community college and for them to not leave home right away as they continue to gain their bearings, deal with a fresh onslaught of the world in college, and grow into men of God, for God.

And as for my daughters, by the time of their graduation, it’s my sincerest hope that they will feel inspired and enabled to pursue their interests, dreams, and their joyful feminine creativity, but always carefully subjecting these things to the priority of their vocational discernment.

If they feel called to marriage, how can they prepare themselves to be good, holy wives and mothers? I would love to read The Wife Desired with them and discuss it. What skills do they need to learn? What hobbies or jobs can they engage in in the meantime that would cultivate their feminine genius, but not hinder or delay marriage once their future spouse appears? Are there healthy ways they can meet like-minded young men and women? And if they are interested in the religious life, what orders are they drawn to? Help them seek out a spiritual director. Enable them to correspond and visit with these communities. Give them time for prayer, frequent Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and encourage them to using their time to serve others and build detachment from their possessions.

But either way, I will not encourage college for my daughters. There is so much they can learn and do that will not accrue debt, potentially delay marriage and waste childbearing years, or delay a possible entrance into the religious life—in other words, hinder them from giving God their youth in marriage or consecrated life, and draw their hearts away from the home and towards a career mindset that only mocks their femininity, or (if they see themselves doing it only until they’re married) takes advantage of it.

This doesn’t mean they can’t study, work, and expand themselves after high school—rather, there is a far more beautiful and enriching way to do all of these things, one that fully enables them to grow, unhindered, into virtuous and feminine women of God.

It would be fruitless and foolish of me to try and build the argument that this is the only way for young women to be happy and become saints, and that if they attend college and marry somewhat later in life, they are destined to be less happy and less successful in their femininity. I know there are many wonderful Catholic girls, or wives and mothers who are devoted to their children and the home, all of whom are simultaneously convinced of the worth of the collegiate path as based on their own experience. So no, I can’t say that this is the only way—but I can say this is, objectively, a more perfect way.

God works for good all things for those who love Him. Undeniably, there are many women who love Him and are trying to please Him, but who have left home and are in college or a career life. Our Lord will certainly work much good out of these circumstances for their sanctification and the fulfillment of their vocation, in relation to His Will and the purity of their intentions.

However, this doesn’t diminish the fact that there is a Divinely established order to things, an order that is obscured, forgotten, and so often perverted in today’s society. There is an intrinsic distinction and complementarity between manhood and womanhood, and an order that follows from it; it spills into the Divinely created order meant to exist in the family, the home, and most of all in the proper roles of marriage. The woman is intended, by God, to be the heart of the home through wifehood and motherhood—or to be “love in the heart of the Church,” through the consecrated life. Objectively speaking, there is very little in college and career life that specifically and necessarily prepares a woman to be the heart of the home, or of the Church—certainly nothing that she can’t easily obtain elsewhere, more clearly and wisely and with less hindrance, for these same ends.

A woman who refrains from college and a career, does so not merely because of these things themselves, but also because of the inescapable context our fallen culture has placed them in, especially in regards to women being established outside of the home. By doing so, she is preparing herself to live out her proper and justly ordered role of womanhood, of helpmate, of nurturer and beautifier in the home or convent; she does it with an ease, clarity, and conviction that’s inevitably unavailable to a woman who is immersed in the demanding and divided lifestyle that results from intensive collegiate studies, in a desk job, or in a career.

So, while God can, and will, work good for women who are in these situations—how much more good will He work for a woman who strives to harmonize herself with the natural order He has set in place since the beginning?

And it is precisely because of this that my post-high school hopes for my future daughters are what they are!

To be continued . . . someday . . . 🙂

Sig