Politeness. – These duties consist especially in receiving visits and in returning them. She should lend herself readily to them when duty or charity requires it. On such occasions, she should be known for her respect of the truth and love of charity, her motivation being the edification of her neighbors. But in the interests of her religious duties and of those of her state, she should avoid as much as possible useless and idle visits, which dissipate the soul, weaken piety, and not seldom offend charity.
Business. – Prudence and simplicity should regulate the managing of her business. She should be prudent in the choice of means, calling into play all that God has given her in the way of intelligence, ability, and an honest industriousness to succeed in her work; that is the legitimate investment of one’s talents, spoken of in the Gospel. She should be simple in her business transactions, seeking only justice, acting only according to the truth, and trusting in God alone for success; a life that is based on faith need nothing further.
As the praises of Solomon for the valiant woman in Proverbs indicates (cf. 31:10f.) a woman’s work in the home has immense economic value, although it is rarely remunerated monetarily or justly acknowledged. Nevertheless, none should ever belittle or degrade her work which is of vital importance for her family’s sustenance and economic viability. The virtuous woman will not lend an ear to worldly values and human respect, trusting that God Himself will repay her loving efforts a hundred-fold. Note too that society at large is better served when its citizens are raised at home by the loving care of a mother. Unless there is grave necessity, a mother ought not work outside the home. A mother who places greater value on a professional career and earning income over the duties of her family and home places her own soul and that those of her family in grave danger.
Social proprieties. – The faithful wife and mother is occasionally obliged to take part in worldly festivities; her position, her family obligations, the demands of friendship make it a duty for her to do so. On such occasions, which are distasteful to her piety, the virtues of modesty, charity, and humility will be her rule of conduct and her safeguard.
Modesty. – Modesty should be her chief finery, her Christian protest against the vanities of the world, and her powerful defense against its dangers. The Catechism teaches: “Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden… Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet… Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressure of prevailing ideologies.”
Pope Pius XII once said: “There is nothing wrong in being fashionable. But, fashion can never be the supreme rule of conduct. There is a limit beyond which fashion can bring about the ruin of a soul.” And in another place, he taught: “modesty foresees threatening danger, forbids us to expose ourselves to risks, demands the avoidance of those occasions which the imprudent do not shun. It does not like impure or loose talk, it shrinks from the slightest immodesty, it carefully avoids suspect familiarity with persons of the other sex, since it brings the soul to show due reverence to the body, as being a member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Ghost. He who possesses the treasure of Christian modesty abominates every sin of impurity and instantly flees whenever he is tempted by its seductions” (Sacra Virginitas, no. 58).
Charity. – Wanting what is best for another, the Christian woman should be gentle in order not to embarrass anyone, obliging in everything that conscience allows and truth is not violated, devoted to the very limits of duty.
Humility. – In the presence of human glory and ambition, the humility of the wife and mother should shine in all its simplicity. She should step into the background and forget self in order to busy herself only with others; she should accept in peaceful serenity the humiliations inflicted on her vanity and self-love, knowing how to find God in the midst of the joys and pleasures of the world as well as its sorrows.
When she is modest, charitable, and humble, she can take part in worldly festivities without fearing its dangers. She will have done her duty and left behind her the sweet odor of the Christ, in whom she lives and for whom she acts.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.