J.G. H. Barry.

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to me just, but I am by no means satisfied that in the long run it will
prove a boon either to them or to society at large. But I am at present
thinking of their spiritual equality, which after all is the basis of
their other claims; and this comes to them through the Gospel, and was
shown to the mind of the Church largely through S. Mary. In the earliest
records of the Church woman stands on the same level of privilege as
man, and the same sort of spiritual accomplishment is expected of her.

There are many members of the Body of Christ and there is a certain
spiritual equality among them; but "all members have not the same
office." In the Holy Spirit's distribution of functions within the Body
there is a difference. Some functions, by the allotment of God, women
are not called to exercise: these are sacramental and ruling functions.
Others, as prophecy (the daughters of S. Philip), and ministry (the
deaconess), are given them. For centuries she recognised this allotment
and gave her best energies to her appointed works. She showed herself a
true daughter of Mary in her loyal acceptance of the divine will and her
zeal in its accomplishment. And what was the result? The Calendar of
Saints, filled with the names of women, is the answer. There are no more
wonderful works of God than the women whose names are commemorated at
the altars of the Church and whose intercession is constantly asked
throughout Catholic Christendom. There can be no thought of narrowness
of opportunity or limitations in life as we study that wonderful series
of women who have illumined the history of the Church from the day of S.
Gabriel's message to this very moment when there are many many women who
are faithfully following their vocation and doing God's will, and who
will one day be our intercessors about the throne of God and of the
Lamb, as they are our intercessors in the Church on earth to-day. Why
any woman should complain of lack of opportunity and of the narrowness
of the Church - the Church that has nourished S. Mary and S. Monica, S.
Catherine of Genoa and S. Theresa; the foundresses of so many and so
varied Religious Orders, so many who have devoted their lives to
teaching, nursing, conducting works of charity, I am at a loss to
understand. To-day we are witnessing all over the world a revolt of
women against the Church; we hear not infrequent threats of what is to
be done to the Church by those revolted members. I am afraid that woman
is on the edge of another tragedy. She is once more looking fascinated
at the fruit which "is good for food, and pleasant to the eyes and to be
desired to make one wise," and listening to a voice that whispers: "Thou
shalt be as God."

The question which is becoming more urgent everywhere is, What are the
women of the future to be, - the daughters of Eve, or the daughters of
Mary? It is not a question for declamation, but a question that calls
for immediate action: and the action must be the action of women. If
women clamour for work in the Church of God, here it is, and here it is
abundantly; and to accomplish it there is no need that they "seek the
priesthood also." The work in the Church of God is in the first place a
work that God has given mothers to do; it is the primary duty of a
mother to bring up her children, and especially her daughters, in fear
of the Lord. That she can always succeed I do not for a moment claim;
there are many adverse factors in the situation that she has to deal
with. But she is inexcusable if she does not give her effort to the work
as the most important work of her life. She is utterly inexcusable and
must answer to God for the result if she turn her children over to the
care of maids and teachers while she occupies herself with society or
any exterior work.

In the second place the work of the Church of God is a work that ought
to appeal to all women and a work that any woman can help in. All women
can help the spiritual progress of the Church by meditating upon the
life of Blessed Mary and fashioning their lives upon her example. We are
all tremendously affected by example, and that is especially true of
young girls. Their supreme terror seems to be that they should be caught
doing or saying something different from what all other girls say or do
or wear. Their opinions are as imitative as their clothes. Hence the
need of the pressure of a strong Christian example, which would result
most readily in the union of Christian women in a single ideal. Our
present difficulty is that so many of our women who are devout members
of the Church in their private capacity, so far succumb to the
group-mind in their social relations that they are possessed by the same
terror as the young girl in the face of the possibility of being
different. Therefore are they careful to hide their real feeling for
religion and their devotion to spiritual things under the mask of
worldly conformity which evacuates their example of much of the power
that it might have. I am quite convinced that fear of the world is about
as strong an impulse toward evil as love of the world.

We need that women should clear their ideals and realise their public
responsibility for the presentation of them. We need terribly at this
moment insistence on the purity and simplicity of the Holy Mother of
God. One is stunned at the abandonment of the ideal of reserve and
modesty that the last few years have seen. Women seem to take it quite
gaily: men, one notes, take it much more seriously. I have been
consulted by more than one father during the past year as to the
possibility of sending a boy to a school where he would be kept out of
the society of half-naked girls. Have mothers no longer any sense of the
value of purity? Or have they simply abandoned all responsibility that
normally goes with being a mother? One recognises how helpless a man is
under the circumstances, that his intervention in such matters simply
casts him for the part of family tyrant; but why should a mother abandon
her duty simply because her daughter says: "You don't understand. Girls
are not as they were when you were young. All the girls do this. No
other mother takes the line that you do. You are not modern."

One knows, of course, that the whole matter of decline in manners and
morals is but a part of the world-wide revolt against the morality of
Jesus Christ that we are witnessing everywhere. Social and religious
teachers, students of history and social movements have seen the
approach of this revolt for a long time, have been watching its rise and
growth. When they have pointed out the end of the path that we have been
travelling, they have been disposed of by calling them pessimists. These
"pessimists" pointed out long ago that the denial of the obligation to
believe would be followed by an abandonment of all moral standards. They
pointed out to the devotees of "liberal religion" that they are in
reality the leaders of a moral revolt, that if it does not make any
difference what you believe it will soon come to make no difference what
you do. It is a rather silly performance to blow up the dam which holds
back the mass of water of an irrigation system and imagine that no more
water will flow out than you want to flow out. When the Protestant
revolt blew up the restraining dams of the Catholic Religion they had no
right to expect that only so much denial of Catholic truth as it suited
them to dispense with would be the result. Through the broken dams the
whole religion of Christ has been flowing out and it is mere empty
pretence to claim that all that is of any value is left. It is
impossible to maintain anything of the sort now that all the moral
content of the Christian system is openly thrown overboard by vast
numbers of the population of the world, in every country that claims to
be civilised. It is useless to say that there has always been evil in
the world and that the maintenance of the Catholic religion has never
anywhere abolished sin. That is true, but it is not to the present
point. The social situation is one where there are definite religious
and moral ideals strongly maintained and universally recognised, though
there are many men and women who violate them; it is quite another
situation when the ideals themselves are repudiated and set aside as
superstitions. That is our case to-day. The Christian theory is
confronted with a theory of naturalism in morals, and those who follow
that theory do not do so with a feeling that they are violating accepted
ideals, but with the assumption that they are missionaries setting forth
a new faith. Those who have revolted from the Kingdom of God have now
set up another kingdom and proclaimed openly, "We will not have this Man
to reign over us." The revolt which began with a breach in the dogmatic
system of the Church and denial of the authority of the Catholic Church
in favour of the right of private judgment, has ended, as it could not
help but end, in open abandonment of the life-ideal of the Gospels. We
now have the application of the right of private judgment in the theory
that one's morals are one's own concern. Such things have happened
before. "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every one did
what was right in his own eyes." The social state depicted in the Book
of Judges reflects this revolt. The result of the same repudiation of
authority is seen in modern society where what is right in one's own
eyes is the whole Law and Gospel. Are we to remain quiescent, or are we
to make the attempt to generate moral force?

But how can Christendom generate any more moral force? The teaching of
the Gospel which it proclaims is perfectly plain. True, but is the
adherence of the Church to its statements perfectly plain? Is there no
falling away, no compromise, there?

When one speaks thus of the Church one is conscious of a confusion of
thought in the use of the word. The teaching of the formal documents of
the Church is not here in question; what we necessarily mean is the
effect that the existing membership of the Church is having upon
contemporary life. What we have especially in mind is the attitude of
the clergy and the action of the congregation in the way of moral force.
What sort of a front is the church presenting to the world, what sort of
moral influence is it exercising?

It seems to me perfectly evident that all along the line the conventions
of contemporary society have been accepted in the place of the
life-ideals of the Gospel of Jesus. We have accepted plain departures
from or compromises with Christian teaching as the recognised law of
action. This is due largely to the natural sloth of the human being and
his disinclination to struggle for superior standards. He feels safe and
comfortable if he can succeed in losing himself in a crowd: thus he
escapes both trouble and criticism. A violation of law may become so
common that there is no public spirit to oppose it. The same thing may
happen in morals, - violations of the Christian standard, if sufficiently
widespread, command almost universal acquiesence. What is actually
uncovered in the process is the fact that the plain man has no morals of
his own, but imitates the prevailing morality; and if fashion sets
against some particular ruling of the Christian Religion he feels quite
secure in following the fashion. The _vox dei_ in Holy Scripture and in
Holy Church affect him not at all if he be conscious that he is on the
side of the _vox populi_.

It is easy to illustrate this. The non-Catholic Christian world has the
Bible, and boasts of its adherence to it as the sole guide of life; but
in the matter of divorced persons it utterly disregards its teachings.
By this acceptance of an unchristian attitude it has vastly weakened the
fight for purity in the family relation which the Catholic Church, at
least in the West, has always waged. It deliberately divides the
Christian forces of the community and to a large extent thereby
nullifies their action. The divisions of Christendom are terrible from
every point of view; but there are certain questions on which a united
mind might well be presented, and in relation to which an united mind
would go far to control the attitude of society. An united Christian
sentiment against divorce would go far to reduce the evil.

On the other hand the progress of the movement to abolish the evils
growing out of the use of alcohol has had its strength in the Protestant
bodies. On the whole (there were no doubt individual exceptions) the
Churches of the Catholic tradition have been lukewarm in the matter. It
is quite evident that the reform could never have been carried through
if left to them, and especially if left to the bishops and clergy of the
Roman and Anglican Communions. It is a plain case of failure to support
a vast moral reform because of the pressure of opinion in the social
circles in which they move, combined with a purely individualistic
attitude toward a grave social question.

Another instance is ready at hand in the practical abandonment of the
religious observance of Sunday. To Christians Sunday is the Lord's day,
and is to be observed as such. It is not true that an hour in the
morning is the Lord's day, and is to be given to worship, and that the
rest of the day is given to us to do what we will with. But in our own
Communion do we get any strong protest in favour of the sanctity of the
day? Or are not the clergy compromising in the hope that if they
surrender the greater part of the day to the world they will be able to
save an hour or two for God? But is anything actually saved by this sort
of compromise? Do we not know that the encroachments of worldliness that
have narrowed down Sunday observance to an hour a day will ultimately
demand that hour, that is, will deny any obligation other than the
obligation of inclination? Are we not bound to stand by the Lord's day?
Are we to be made lax by silly talk about puritanism? Those who talk
about the "Puritan Sunday" would do well to read a little of the
Medieval legislation of the Church. Are we to keep silent in the pulpit
because wealthy and influential members of the congregation want to
play golf and tennis on Sunday afternoons, or children want to play ball
or go to the movies? Are we to be taken in by talk of hard work during
the week and consequent need of rest? It is no doubt well that a man
should arrange his work with a view to an adequate amount of rest; but
it is also well that he should rest in his own time and not in God's.
The Lord's day is not a day of rest. It ought to be, and is intended to
be, a very strenuous day indeed.

One could easily spend hours in pointing out where and how the Gospel
standard of life has been abandoned or compromised, and the life of the
Christian in consequence conformed to the world. The result would only
strengthen the position that has been already sufficiently indicated
that a wholly different standard of living has been quietly substituted
throughout the Western world for the standard that is contained in Holy
Scripture. Now we are either bound to be Christians or we are not; and
we are not Christians solely by virtue of certain beliefs more or less
loosely held. Our Lord's word is: "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever
I command you." And the Gospel view of life is a perfectly plain one,
and is as far removed from the common life of Christians to-day as it
possibly can be. The Gospel conception of the Christian life is
contained first of all in our Lord's life. That is the perfect human
life; and the New Testament optimism is well illustrated by its
conviction that that life in its essential features can, with the grace
of God, be imitated by man. And by those who have approached it in this
spirit of optimism it has been found imitable. Innumerable men and women
have lived the Christian life in the past and are living it in the
present. To-day the possibility of living the Christian life, of
bringing life approximately to the standard of the Gospel, is declared
to be an impracticable piece of optimism, and our Lord's teaching
hopelessly out of touch with reality. When people talk of the difficulty
of living the Christ-life under modern conditions, the plain answer is
that there is in fact only one difficulty in the matter, and that is the
difficulty of wanting to do it. It is a confession of utter spiritual
incompetence to say that we cannot follow the Gospel standards under
modern conditions because of the isolation in which we at once find
ourselves if we attempt it. If the attempt to be a Christian isolates
us, it tells a pretty plain tale about our chosen companionship. It is
asserting that it is hard for us to be Christians because we are devoted
to the society of those who are not Christians, of those who ignore it
and habitually insult the teachings of our Saviour. That is surely an
extraordinary confession for a Christian to make! Can we imagine a
Christian of the first period of the Church excusing himself for
offering incense to the divinity of Augustus on the ground that if he
did not do so certain court festivities would be closed to him, and that
his friends would think him odd!

"Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you," "The friendship
of this world is enmity with God." We have to choose. It is not that we
may choose. It is not that it is possible to have a little of both. As
Christians it is quite impossible in any real sense to have the
friendship of the world, though many Christians think that they can.
What really is open to us is the enmity of the world if we are sincere
and strict in our profession, and the contempt of the world if we are
not. You have not to read very deep in contemporary literature to learn
what the world thinks about the Christian who ignores or compromises his
standards. The world knows perfectly well what constitutes a Christian
life, and it shows a well merited scorn of those who, not having the
courage openly to abandon it, yet show by their lives that they do not
value it. We may not show the same sort of contempt for the "weak
brother" as S. Paul calls him, but we ought to make it plain that we
have no sort of approval of the brother who pleads weakness as an excuse
for laxity.

There is one law of life and only one; and that is summed up in our
Lady's direction to the servants at Cana in Galilee: "Whatsoever he
saith unto you, do it." There is no ground for pleading that our Lord's
will is an obscure will, or that circumstances have so changed that much
that He set forth in word and example has no application to-day in the
America of the twentieth century. Perhaps if any one feels that there is
some truth in the last statement, he would do well to examine the case
and to find out just what and how much of the Gospel teaching is
obsolete, and how much has contemporary application, and to ask himself
whether he is constantly putting in action that part which he thinks
still holds good. It will, I think, on examination be found that none of
our Lord's teaching is obsolete, though in some cases changed
circumstances may have changed its mode of application. Certainly there
is nothing obsolete in His teaching in the matter of purity. The virtues
that He dwells upon - humility, meekness and the rest - are universal
qualities on which time and social change have no effect.

What Christian conduct needs on our part is interest. We have to make
clear to ourselves that a certain kind of life is like the life of God,
and therefore is the medium for understanding God, and ultimately for
enjoying God. The Christian life is not an arbitrary thing; it is the
highest expression of humanity. Any other life is a distortion of the
human ideal. People talk as though they thought that by the arbitrary
will of God they were obliged to be good - a thing wholly contrary to our
nature and to our present interests. But goodness is the natural
unfolding of our nature as God made it: we find our true expression in
the likeness of God. Perfection is what nature aspires to. Religion is
not a curb on nature; religion is a help to enable nature to express
itself. Nature reaches its perfect expression when by the grace of God
it becomes godlike.

And the words of Christ are our guide to the perfect expression of our
best. Therefore the earnest Christian is willing to give time to the
careful study of them, and of the whole ideal of life that is contained
in them. He is not concerned with what they will cut him off from; he is
concerned with that to which they will admit him. He is concerned to
find the meaning of Christ's teaching. This that S. Paul says is
fundamental is his rule of life: "Be not conformed to this world: but be
ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Of one that is so fayr and bright
_Velut maris stella_,
Brighter than the day is light,
_Parens et puella_;
I crie to thee, thou see to me,
Levedy, preye thi Sone for me,
_Tam pia_,
That I mote come to thee
_Maria_.

Al this world was for-lore
_Eva peccatrice_,
Tyl our Lord was y-bore
_De te genetrice_.
With _Ave_ it went away
Thuster nyth and comz the day
_Salutis_;
The welle springeth ut of the,
_Virtutis_.

Levedy, flour of alle thing,
_Rosa sine spina_,
Thu here Jhesu, hevene king,
_Gratia divina_;
Of alle thu ber'st the pris,
Levedy, quene of paradys
_Electa_:
Mayde milde, moder _es
Effecta_.



PART TWO

CHAPTER XV

WHO IS MY MOTHER?

Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is
my brother, and sister, and mother,

S. Matt. XII, 50.

Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, that we may keep with an
immaculate heart the sacrament which we have received in honour of the
blessed virgin mother Mary; so that we who celebrate her feast now, may
be found worthy when we have left this life to pass into her company.
Through &c.

SARUM MISSAL.

Our Blessed Lord had begun his ministry of preaching. The mark of the
early days of that preaching was success. Crowds came about Him wherever
He taught. The fact that there were frequent miracles of healing no
doubt added to the popularity that He achieved. It was largely the
popularity of a new and strange movement, of a preaching cutting across
the normal roads of instruction to which the Jewish people were
accustomed. There was a fascination about its form, its picturesque way
of conveying its meaning, its use of the parable drawn from the everyday
circumstances of life. There was nothing of hesitation in the words of
the new Preacher, but the ring of a dogmatic certainty. "He taught as
one having authority, and not as the scribes." He pushed aside the
rulings of the traditional teaching with His, "Ye have heard it said ...
but I say." "Verily, verily, I say unto you." And yet there are people
who tell us that there was nothing dogmatic about our Lord and His
teaching! One would infer from much that is written upon the subject of
our Lord's teaching that He was a very mild giver of good advice but
evidently the Scribes and Pharisees did not think so. They saw in Him a
man who was setting himself to undermine their whole authority.

This popularity was at a high point when an interesting event happened
of which we have an account in the first of the Gospels. "His mother
and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him." One gathers
from the whole tone of the narrative that they were anxious about Him,
that they looked with doubt upon this career of popular teacher that He
was launched upon and felt that He was going too far. He needed advice
and restraint, perhaps; it may be that there were already reports of
possible interference by the national authorities. The fact that His
"brethren" were present suggests the well meant interference of the
older members of the family, who must always have thought Jesus rather
strange. That they had induced His mother to come with them makes us
think that they were counting on the influence naturally hers, an
influence which must always have been apparent in their family
relations. So we reconstruct the incident.

No doubt S. Mary herself was anxious. She must always have been anxious
as to what would be the next step in the development of her mysterious
Child. And while there was one side of her relation to Jesus which would
always have run out into mystery, the mystery of the as yet unrevealed
will of God; on the other side she was no doubt a very real normal human


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