Monday, March 8, 2010

Frugality in Marriage part 1

I'm going to approach this a little differently than Father Dubay does. Earlier posts have probably already covered most of what would be covered here. Let's reiterate that in Father Dubay's view (and the Scriptural support is indeed quite strong for his case) there is an obligation for poverty in the married state as well as the religious vocation. Our wealth is not to enjoy, hoard or strive constantly to increase, but to use for good purposes. It's like a trust.

What's the difference between a married vocation and a religious one? Well, one obvious difference is that marriage is ordered towards raising children while the religious one is celibate. Both are spiritually fruitful but matrimony is physically fruitful as well. The religious vocation is ordered towards Christian perfection in a unique way. See St Paul's teachings about being eunuchs for Christ. Marriage is necessary as well and though it is a more indirect approach to sanctity (sorry, I know this is generally not well understood in our modern day) because of the inevitable distractions (again, see St Paul's teaching) it is still necessary and very possible to lead a holy, Christian married life.

However, the obligation to raise and educate children will change some of the details. The considerations Father Dubay raises in regard to married life are:

  1. Value motivation
  2. Maintaining one's state
  3. Secular signs
  4. Challenging the world
  5. Focusing on beauty
  6. Saintly radicality
Since I am a Charlotte Mason-influenced type I thought I could try to relate those things to her principle:

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.
This may take more than one post. The reason I am taking the "education" approach is that from Day One, parents raising children are educating them -- by default, or intentionally. Priests and religious educate too, but in a different way. Parents have a generative responsibility, according to St Thomas Aquinas -- they cooperate with God in bringing the child into being, but this cooperation is not simply biological -- it has to extend to everything done.

Charlotte Mason writes:

Have we considered that in the Divine estimate the child's estate is higher than ours; that it is ours to "become as little children," rather than theirs to become as grown men and women; that the rules we receive for the bringing up of children are for the most part negative? We may not despise them, or hinder them, ("suffer little children"), or offend them by our brutish clumsiness of action and want of serious thought; while the one positive precept afforded to us is "feed" (which should be rendered 'pasture') "my lambs," place them in the midst of abundant food. A teacher in a Yorkshire Council School renders this precept as,––"I had left them in the pasture and came back and found them feeding," that is, she had left a big class reading a given lesson and found them on her return still reading with eagerness and satisfaction. Maxima reverentia debetur pueris has a wider meaning than it generally receives. We take it as meaning that we should not do or say anything unseemly before the young, but does it not also include a profound and reverent study of the properties and possibilities present in a child?

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