Finally, it all makes sense.
I’ve seen time and again commenters at many of the Christian sites say they no longer attend church because they cannot find one that is true to scripture. This is something that my husband and I struggled with a bit as well until last summer. We are Catholic and used to attend the Novus Ordo Mass (Vatican II) and while the church we attended was mostly accurate to Scripture, it would avoid that which was uncomfortable in today’s culture and we would often leave rather frustrated or feeling as if something was lacking. At the beginning of last summer, we began to attend the Extraordinary Form or the Traditional Latin Mass and the difference is stark. The Mass is quite masculine in it’s nature (in the discipline of it, the delivery and in other aspects which I cannot quite put my finger on right now) and what I’ve noticed is that there are other aspects of the Mass and the Church itself which are beautifully feminine as well. The two seemingly opposites come together in such a way as to feel complete (where have we heard this before?).
Anyway, for those of you who might be interested, EWTN will be debuting a new series (independently produced),
that showcases the beauty of classic Catholic sacred art, architecture, liturgy, and music. Special emphasis is given to the Traditional Latin Mass, also known as the Extraordinary Form or Tridentine Mass. This historic form of Catholic worship has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years, especially among the young, and is a rich source of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
There is more information about this at the link above. The first episode will air on April 14 at 4:30 EST. Going live this evening at 5:00pm EST is a website supporting the program. There will be previews for each episode there as well as resources for those interested in learning more about the Traditional Mass. For those of you wanting to learn more and to be able to discuss this, they will have a Facebook page offering discussion of not only this program but will be answering questions regarding Catholic tradition (www.facebook.com/ExtraordinaryFaith). For those of you who do not have cable, each episode will stream on the Extraordinary Faith website linked above.
Of note as well,
To further help promote Sacred Tradition, members of the Extraordinary Faith team will also offer on-site training for priests, servers, and musicians who wish to learn the Tridentine Mass. No fee will be charged for the instruction or travel costs involved, but parishes who take advantage of this service will be required to commit to offering the Extraordinary Form at least once per month. Details about this service will be posted on the web site.
I’m a bit of a sucker for Disney movies. I’ve always been. While I see them through a much different light now and understand the drivel that they teach, the music, the singing, the handsome man and he beautiful girl, it all can still pull me in (for moments at least. The girl power will forever ruin them for me). In all of these films, there is always a theme of love. Love conquers all. If you just love enough, you can get through and do anything. It comes to a climax, to prove this point of true love, with a moment of enormous sacrifice. Then this true love is proven and they live happily ever after. In that moment of sacrifice, the audience *feels* this love and goes away from the movie confusing love for what they feel rather than what was done. Those good feelings we experience are not the love; the sacrifice is.
For us, in our lives, we’re very likely not ever going to have that moment of ultimate sacrifice to show our love. And we soon discover that those feelings we began with, that ache in our heart, that excitement of seeing our husband walk in the room, it will wane. By it’s very nature, it cannot be constant. That does not mean that love is gone. It only is if we let it be. Something that those Disney movies do get right (in a very dramatic and impossible way) is that it is sacrifice that is love. It is doing for our other what is best for them regardless of what it means for us. It often means sacrificing not only our time and our effort, but often times what we mistake as ourselves (I was taught to look after me! What about me?!?!).
And this love takes work:
20 years in, the depth of emotion I feel for my husband can still catch me by surprise. This man can make my knees weak. Still. And still, I have to work to consistently maintain a right attitude. No matter how perfect things seem to those on the outside looking in or how committed you are to the vows you took, marriage requires effort.
This is not a bad thing. It’s just reality. Anything worth having in life is worth working for. We often expend far more energy on things of far less value. The fantasy that you can live with another human being and never have an off day, a disagreement, or disappointment is exactly the reason why so many marriages crash and burn; that fantastical notion that love is something we feel rather than something we do.
We all want those intense feelings to stay with us and to believe that they can get us through any storm. We want to believe if we feel strongly enough that love will unthaw a frozen heart or that our kiss is somehow magical. But, at the end of the day, those are just feelings. They can’t do or create anything. They can’t soften your heart towards your husband whom you might not see properly. But what you do for him can. If you’re willing to sacrifice your pride and let yourself see, if you’re willing to sacrifice your time and do for him what he needs, and if you’re willing to sacrifice your fear and give your marriage your life then you will love. In every sense of the word. And this love, it can conquer.
The very beautiful thing, is that through this love, this willing of their good, we often start to see things differently. We see things that we hadn’t before and our hearts change. And while, again, it will never be constant, the feeling, the ache and the excitement, it comes back. Different and better than before.**
**As always, this is a just a consequence of loving, not the reason to work so hard at it. We work hard at it for our men, for their sake. Not to make the feeling return. As if you grasp for it in that manner, it will likely never come.
Originally published in The Illustrated London News, 18th December, 1926.
The recent controversy about the professional position of married women was part of a much larger controversy, which is not limited to professional women or even to women. It involves a distinction that controversialists on both sides commonly forget. As it is conducted, it turns largely on the query about whether family life is what is called a “whole-time job” or a “half-time job.” But there is also another distinction between a whole job and a half job, or a hundredth part of a job. It has nothing to do with the time that is occupied, but only with the ground that is covered. An industrial expert once actually boasted that it took twenty men to make a pin; and I hope he sat down on the pin. But the man making the twentieth part of the pin did not only work for the twentieth part of an hour. He might perfectly well be working for twelve hours – indeed, he might have been working for twenty-four hours for all the happy industrial expert generally cared. He might work for the whole of a lifetime, but he never made the whole of a pin.
Now, there are lingering still in the world a number of lunatics, among whom I have the honour to count myself, who think it a good thing to preserve as many whole jobs as possible. We congratulate ourselves, in our crazy fashion, whenever we find anybody personally and completely doing anything. We rejoice when we find remaining in the world any cases in which the individual can see the beginning and the end of his own work. We are well aware that this is often incompatible with modern scientific civilization, and the fact has sometimes moved us to say what we think about modern scientific civilization. But anyhow, whether we are right or wrong, that is an important distinction not always remembered; and that is the important distinction that ought to be most remembered, and is least remembered, in this modern debate about the occupation of women.
Probably there must be a certain number of people doing work which they do not complete. Perhaps there must be some people doing work which they do not comprehend. But we do not want to multiply those people indefinitely, and then cover it all by shouting about emancipation and equality. It may be emancipation to allow a woman to make part of a pin, if she really wants to make part of a pin. It may be equality if she is really filled with a furious jealousy of her husband, who has the privilege of making part of a pin. But we question whether it is really a more human achievement to make part of a pin than to make the whole of a pinafore. And we even go further, and question whether it is more human to make the whole of a pinafore than to look after the whole of a child. The point about the “half-time job” of motherhood is that it is at least one of the jobs that can be regarded as a whole, and almost as an end in itself. A human being is in some sense an end in himself. Anything that makes him happy or high-minded is, under God, a thing directed to an ultimate end. It is not, like nearly all the trades and professions, merely a machinery and a means to an end. And it is a thing which can, by the constitution of human nature, be pursued with positive and unpurchased enthusiasm. Whether or no it is a half-time job, it need not be a half-hearted job.
Now, as a matter of fact, there are not so many jobs which normal and ordinary people can pursue with enthusiasm for their own sakes. The position is generally falsified by quoting the exceptional cases of specialists who achieve success. There may be a woman who is so very fond of swimming the Channel that she can go on doing it until she breaks a record. There may be, for that matter, a woman who is so fond of discovering the North Pole that she goes on doing it long after it has been discovered. Such sensational successes naturally bulk big in the newspapers, because they are sensational cases. But they are not the question of whether women are more free in professional or domestic life. To answer that question, we must assume all the sailors on the Channel boats to be women, all the fishermen in the herring fleet to be women, all the whalers in the North Sea to be women, and then consider whether the worst paid and hardest worked of all those workers were really having a happier or a harder life. It will be at once apparent that the vast majority of them must be under orders; and that perhaps a considerable minority of them would be under orders which they did not entirely understand. There could not be a community in which the average woman was in command of a ship. But there can be a community in which the average woman is in command of a house.
To take a hundred women out of a hundred houses and give them a hundred ships would be obviously impossible, unless all the ships were canoes. And that would be carrying to rather fanatical lengths the individualist ideal of people paddling their own canoe. To take the hundred women out of the hundred houses and put them on ten ships, or more probably on two ships, is obviously to increase vastly the number of servants and diminish the number of mistresses. The only ship I remember that was so manned (or perhaps we should say womanned) was the ship in the Bab Ballad commanded by Lieutenant Bellaye: [Note: The lieutenant is the hero of Gilbert's "The Bumboat Woman's Story". He is so loved that numbers of young women disguised as sailors stow away on his ship.] even there it might be said that the young ladies who sailed with him had ultimately rather a domestic than a professional ideal. But that naval commander was not very professional himself, and it will be remembered, excused his sailors from most of their duties and amused himself by firing off his one big gun.
I fear that the experience of most subordinate women in shops and factories is a little more strenuous. I have taken an extremely elementary and crude example, but I am not the first rhetorician who has found it convenient to discuss the State under the bright and original similitude of a ship. But the principle does apply quite as much to a shop as to a ship. It applies with especial exactitude to the modern shop, which is almost larger than the modern ship. A shop or a factory must consist of a very large majority of servants; and one of the few human institutions in which there need be no such enormous majority of servants is the human household. I still think, therefore, that for the lady interested in ships the most supreme and symbolical moment is the moment when her ships come home. And I think there are some sort of symbolical ships that had much better come home and stay there.
I know all about the necessary modifications and compromises produced by the accidental conditions of to-day. I am not unreasonable about them. But what we are discussing is not the suggestion that the ideal should be modified. It is the suggestion that the ideal should be abolished. It is the suggestion that a new test or method of judgment should be applied to the affair, which is not the test of whether the thing is a whole job, in the sense of a self-sufficing and satisfactory job, but of whether it is what is called a half-time job – that is, a thing to be measured by the mechanical calculation of modern employment.
There have been household gods and household saints and household fairies. I am not sure that there have yet been any factory gods or factory saints or factory fairies. I may be wrong, as I am no commercial expert, but I have not heard of them as yet. And we think that the reason lies in the distinction which I made at the beginning of these remarks. The imagination and the religious instinct and the human sense of humour have free play when people are dealing with something which, however small, is rounded and complete like a cosmos.
The place where babies are born, where men die, where the drama of mortal life is acted, is not an office or a shop or a bureau. It is something much smaller in size and much larger in scope. And while nobody would be such a fool as to pretend that it is the only place where people should work, or even the only place where women should work, it has a character of unity and universality that is not found in any of the fragmentary experiences of the division of labour.
I bought the book Queen of the Home compiled by Jennifer M. McBride a while back and in it was this beautiful play called When Queens Ride By by Olive White Fortenbacher (Which she adapted from the short story of the same name by Agnes Slight Turnbull). I was thinking about this play today while driving around and wanted to share it with you (It’s not terribly long, so if you have the time, it’s well worth reading in it’s entirety).
The basis of the play is a young couple who have taken on a farm. In her quest to help her husband and her family, Jenny Mangrave had taken on more of the responsibilities of the farm and had little to no time for their home or children. She then meets a stange woman, who in her older age has a youthful beauty about her. In their talking, the stranger relays this story:
Just after we were married, my husband decided to have his own business, so he started a very tiny one. I helped my husband in the store, but we would both be tired and discouraged after a hard day at the office and we didn’t seem to be having any great success. The house got run down and dinner was always a hasty affair, and soon we both started complaining and bickering with each other. Finally, we decided that maybe I should stay at home and let him take care of his work at the office as best he could. And then I worked in my house to make it a clean, shining, happy place. My husband would come home dead-tired and discouraged, ready to give up the whole thing. But after he had eaten and sat in our bright little living room, and I had told him all the funny things I could invent about my day, I could see him change. By bedtime, he had his courage back, and by morning, he was all ready to go out and fight again. And at last he won.
Jenny, at first frustrated by the advice to help her own family, decides to try this and attacks it with zeal. The difference it makes in their life along with the promise of beauty is wonderful. Not necessarily just her beauty, but the beauty of their potential together.
This wonderful play got me thinking of the concept we often talk about in our Men being our Rock. He is there for us to cling to; to hold tight to when we need him to hold us steady. When we feel frightened, anxious, angry, we can turn to him to calm the storm. But what is the corollary to this? What can we do for our men to support and be there for them that can possibly show how much him being our Rock means to us?
What many of us will try to do is take on his load. We will try to make the money, pay the bills, put our backs up to the world and be strong and independent, even when we’re married. We’ll do this while still wanting our husbands to be that Rock and clinging to him through the storm. We are convinced that our strength and independence will help him weather it, as well. But, that’s not how it works. A Rock cannot cling to another Rock to steady himself. He cannot grab onto another solid surface to find relief. The stress of the day just bounces off of that hard surface and back onto him. There is no place for it to go, so it simply continues to grow. Our husbands and our Men do not need their own Rock in us to cling to, they need a soft place to lie their heads. They need a place they can go to and let the stress melt away. That is the corollary to our husbands Rock. A soft place to land. A place where they can just be and enjoy the beauty and peace around them.They then have the strength and energy to be our Rock and to face the world again and again and again.
This is so very hard for us to see today. We are encouraged to be strong, but that so often turns into being abrasive. We think we are helping by nagging, by demanding, by saying our way is the way it must be done. We become hard (and often brittle) and when our husbands need a place to let their stress dissipate, we only give them a hard surface for it to bounce back onto them.
To let go and to see that we aren’t being the help he needs can be very hard to see. It feels passive to us; almost as if we aren’t doing much of anything. But that’s simply not true. To have a space to let the day go, to let it dissipate into nothing and have a soft spot to land and recharge is a wonderful and necessary thing. Don’t discount what you are doing as nothing or unnecessary. Him having a soft and beautiful spot to land is just as important as him being your Rock to cling to in a storm.
Side Note: This is not to say that wives should not help as they can whenever necessary. My point is that men don’t need more hardness to help them through their day.
Excerpt from When Queens Ride By, Olive White Fortenbacher. Published 1932. Adapted from When Queens Ride By, by Agnes Slight Turnbull. Published 1888.
I was reading a thread at the Red Pill Women subreddit not too long ago wherein someone made the comment that while cooking is indeed an important skills for woman to have, it’s not as big a deal as so many make it out to be around these parts (I can’t remember the thread or the commenter so I can’t leave a link). This comment really stood out to me and I felt deflated and sad upon reading it. On the surface, this sentiment is quite true. Cooking is only one of many things a woman and a wife should know how to do. But cooking is so much more than heating food and putting it on a plate.
I come from a very Italian family on my mother’s side and while, genetically, I’m only about 1/4 Italian, their love of family and food is something I’ve always deeply identified with. I remember going to picnics and get togethers as a child and thinking about all the different kinds of foods that would be there. At Christmas there would be profiteroles, pizzelle, and lu beans (not to mention Christmas Eve dinner!!). At family gatherings there would be ziti, lasagna, plates of cheese and meats, vegetables, cookies and so much more. As I began to get older, it started to bother me a bit. I would think, “The only reason everyone is coming to these things is for the food. Isn’t this supposed to be about family? Shouldn’t we just be coming together because of the people?” But even then, I knew that without all the food, not as many people would come and for the people who did, the event just wouldn’t be as fun. These niggling thoughts would come and go, but for a long time, I just pushed them away. The important thing was, we were together. Finally, as a young woman, it finally hit me. I had spent all that time wondering why the food was so important and not the people. But that wasn’t the case at all. The food was there to bring the people. All of that wonderful smelling and tasting food, it wasn’t the highlight. It was the catalyst for bringing people to the home, and then bringing them together into the same room and around the same table to be together. It warmed our hearts, loosened our tongues (greatly aided by wine and other fantastic drinks) and brought us altogether as friends and family.
On the surface, cooking might just seem like another wifely task. Something that she should know how to do to feed her family. But cooking is so much more than that. Keoni describes it thus:
Cooking food is one of the ultimate expressions of love a person can do for others. It’s no accident the feminist movement defines women cooking in the kitchen for their families an act of slavery, or to deride it as toiling away in the oppression of the “comfortable concentration camp.” That’s because feminism sells people on the lie that “love” is a feeling you experience. Love is not an adjective. Nor is it a feeling.
It is a verb describing actions you do for others.
Next to smell, taste is one of the strongest memories and connections we have.
There’s a reason “Mom’s Home style Cooking” or “Just Like Mom Used to Make” are some of the most well used marketing slogans to sell fast/convenience and restaurant dining in commercials, bill boards and advertisements.
For those of us who grew up with home cooked meals, homemade Christmas cookies, and with holiday meal smells wafting through the house we remember the excitement that filled those days; the longing to taste whatever it was that was filling the house with such a wonderful smell. These memories are warm, comforting and beautiful.
To those women who do cook, but might think of it as just another task, I ask you to think about it again. It’s not just a way to keep away hunger and to help your children grow. What you cook feeds their bodies, but it also feeds their minds. If you take it beyond just a task, but do it with love, those are memories that your children will remember when they are 90 years old. They are memories that they will want to create with their own children so as to give them the same gift you gave to them.
To those women who still think that being stuck in the kitchen is slavery or unfulfilling, you are wrong. Just like any task, cooking is what you make of it. It can be a daunting and tedious task if that’s what you tell yourself it is. But if you see beyond the chopping and the peeling. If you look at the whole picture, you will see your husband and your children eagerly opening the oven door dying to see what is creating that amazing smell permeating the house. You will see your family gathered around the table, waiting there for what you have created. Your ability to see it as a loving act is what will frame what things look like around that table and the memories your family will carry with them for a lifetime.