Monday, August 27, 2007

The Catholic Girl's Guide

The other day my grandmother was doing a good cleaning of her bedroom and ended up going through all the prayer cards, books, rosary pamphlets, etc. that she had stowed away in a drawer in her bedroom. She piled it all up on the bed and asked if I wanted any of it. Would I like a picture of Pope Paul VI, writer of my favorite encyclical 'Humanae Vitae?' You bet I would!!!
I came across a precious gem: a little book she had gotten back in Catholic school which had been printed in 1946. The book is titled "The Catholic Girl's Guide." Let me tell you, if a raging feminist saw it, she would flip!!! It would be beyond belief that they'd ever give this kind of book to any girl these days, even if she were attending a Catholic school! The author (a priest) trying to tell girls how to live their lives?!?! It's amazing how society's attitudes have changed so radically (for the most part for the worse!) in about 60 years.
Now, I might not agree with him that my greatest joy in life should be a clean, tidy house, (not because I'm against women being domestic, but because I've had a difficult time keeping my room clean my entire life!) but you know, a lot of the things he says would probably be beneficial to the women in society if they took them into account.
Would you believe that a marriage is actually supposed to be based on God? Did you know that children are blessings and a person can actually be fulfilled by caring for them? Did you know you shouldn't marry a man just for money, but should marry him based on his strength in his Catholic faith? You should marry a man who respects you as a human being and not as a sex toy? Such revolutionary ideas these are!?! Maybe if women these days would try to live by them, we'd realize it's true! Perhaps if all women tried to live up to the innocence and purity of our Blessed Mother and would try to follow her example, society would be a lot better off these days.
There's some great advice in there that can benefit male and female alike in helping to keep the Catholic faith and to live it well. Let's survey a few of these excellent thoughts that I found just by paging through the book for a few minutes. They speak for themselves without commentary by yours truly:
1) On no account lend your ear to bad Catholics (perhaps religious who wear silky outfits instead of their habit, right Father?!), to persons who have no faith or who have not a good reputation... There are yet other counselors to whom it would be most inadvisable to listen. I mean worldly persons, who are entirely absorbed in material things. For higher interests they have no perception; their thoughts are set upon nothing else but money, honors and pleasures. Persons of this class usually depolore the entrance of a girl into religion. (pg. 309)
2) Take counsel with yourself in such a manner as will enable you to say to God in a spirit of resignation: "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth. I desire nothing but what is Thy will. If only I can do Thy will it is a matter of indifference to me whether I am rich or poor, whether happiness or sorrow is my portion, whether my life is full of work or spent in ease without exertion. All this is of no consequence, if only I can please Thee, O my God, and save my soul in the end." (307)
3) Contemplate the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and your Mother also. Her whole life was a continual practice of humility. The more highly God exalted her the more did she humble herself. The angel saluted her as the Mother of God; she called herself the handmaid of the Lord. All self-love was banished from her heart. (175)
4) How great and wonderful a thing is the sacrament of Penance! It is in very deed the source of life, the medicine of salvation, the death of sin, the fount of healing, the beginning of all that is good. O happy Penance, which works so marvelous a transformation! It regains what was lost, it renews what was destroyed, it awakens to new life that which was dead.

O Christian maid, obey thy Saviour's call --
Before His mercy-seat He bids thee fall;
And ere the grave close o'er thee He would fain
Have thee confess thy sins and pardon gain;
For from His sacred wounds a stream doth flow
To cleanse thy soul and peace of mind bestow. (158)

5) Your God did all this in order that you might save your soul! Ought you not therefore to strive more earnestly to work out your salvation? Adopt as your own the words of St. Augustine: "Ever since I became aware that my soul was purchased at no less a price than the blood of the Saviour, I resolved to keep it with all care, and never to sell it to the devil by means of one single sin."

To save my soul, be this the end
To which my hopes, my efforts tend;
My time on earth may I employ
So as to gain eternal joy. (140)

6) Care for your soul with zeal and prudence. On account of its likeness to God it is the most precious, the only really precious thing which you posess. Therefore you must take at least the same care of it which men generally take of rare and costly things. If you had a good likeness of your beloved father, or of your tender mother, and if, moreover, there were only one copy of this portrait in existence, with what care would you not preserve this treasure, how you would value and prize it! How great then ought to be the care you take of your precious, your immortal soul, a masterpiece from the Creator's hand, the image of our heavenly Father Himself! Above all avoid sin, grievious sin, which will deface and destroy the image of God in your soul.

And, for my favorite that I've found so far!
7) Avoid, as far as possible, the society of those who deny the truths of religion and scoff at faith, the sacraments, and so on. If they are your equals and among the number of your acquaintances to whom you can speak plainly, cut them short with some such words as these: "May I ask you not to talk in this way, for, if you persist in doing so, this must be the last time I shall have anything to do with you." Do not argue with such persons, but say quite simply: "Are you wiser than the Catholic Church and almighty God Himself?" If they are persons to whom you cannot speak in this way, observe an expressive silence, and thus show your displeasure; or adroitly turn the conversation to a different subject. Under such circumstances it is a great advantage to possess a ready toungue, for those who have this gift can often, by some appropriate speech, silence the scoffer at once and forever... [B]eware of reading books and pamphlets hostile to the faith or which attack the Church... There are unfortunately many books, periodicals, newspapers, etc., in which the teachings of the Catholic Church, or faith in general, are more or less openly attacked, and in which shameless falsehoods, calumnies, and misrepresentations in regard to her ministers are given to the public... Be vigilant, and see that amid the numerous dangers and temptations by which you are surrounded the light of faith is not darkened within you, but shines with ever-increasing brightness, guiding you on your heavenward way. (43-45)


Prodigal Daughter said...

Beautiful! I'd like to get that book. Is it out of print? I have to admit that I do find much joy in a neat and tidy house, but with all this great Catholic stuff to read I can't seem to find the time. ;)

You are in my prayers for a blessed semester!

omniscientthefirst said...

Amazon has some used copies.

You probably don't want to pay that much for it though. You can always borrow mine.

Yes, reading is by far better than a clean house. I wouldn't mind the cooking, baking, taking care of the kids, etc., but it's the cleaning I hate!