‘Pope Pius XI teaches: “This outward expression of love in the home demands not only mutual help but must go further; must have as its primary purpose that man and wife help each other day by day in forming and perfecting themselves in the interior life, so that through their partnership in life they may advance ever more and more in virtue, and above all that they may grow in true love toward God and their neighbor, on which indeed ‘dependeth the whole Law and the Prophets.’
“Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that ‘order of love,’ as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: ‘Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church.’ This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband’s every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs. But it forbids that exaggerated liberty which cares not for the good of the family; it forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.
“Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglects his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family [e.g., spiritual formation and education]. But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact.
“With great wisdom Our predecessor Leo XIII … teaches: ‘The man is the ruler of the family, and the head of the woman; but because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, let her be subject and obedient to the man, not as aservant but as a companion, so that nothing be lacking of honor or of dignity in the obedience which she pays. Let divine charity be the constant guide of their mutual relations, both in him who rules and in her who obeys, since each bearst he image, the one of Christ, the other of the Church’” (cf. Casti Cannubii, 23-29).
St. John Chrysostom adds: “Observe again that Paul has exhorted husbands and wives to reciprocity…To love therefore, is the husband’s part, to yield pertains to the other side. If, then, each one contributes his own part, all stand firm. From being loved, the wife too becomes loving; and from her being submissive, the husband learns to yield.”
She ought to love her home. – In order to be happy in her home, a mother must look upon it as another Nazareth; she must delight in it, and love the solitude and seclusion which it affords, keeping the world’s scandals at a distance and sheltering her from its dangers; she ought to transform it into a cenacle of prayer and grace. For the safety of all, without any presumption, internet connections ought to be protected and used with limitation and prudence.
One of her first concerns will be to establish a well-regulated home, to assign to each one his duties, to insist on cleanliness and order and on the Christian manners of her children among themselves, making herself the soul and center of everything. Her home will then be like the House of God; she will enjoy therein the delights of peace and happiness of virtue.
To complete these duties unto perfection, to avoid the errors of our time, the faithful wife and mother should pray daily to love her husband, children and even her home, for love is patient, kind and enduring of all things, and it is only by prayer that this love will be attained.
Of our times, Pope Pius XI teaches: “Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity” (Divini Redemptoris, no. 11).
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.