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THE OFFICE OF CATHOLIC WOMEN IN THE WORLD
In Ezekiel ch8v12-14, we see clearly how women provoke God to anger, and neglecting their divine vocation:
“God asked me”, says Ezekiel, “mortal man, do you see what the Israelite leaders are doing in secret? They are all worshipping in a room full of images. Their excuse is: “The Lord does not see us. He has abandoned the country”. “Then the Lord said to me”, “you are going to see them do more disgusting things than that”. “So He took me to the north gate of the temple and showed me women weeping over the death of the god Tammuz”.
I am standing here in the vision of Ezekiel against the wasted motherhood in the temple of the Baal of fashion, the Baal of modernism, and the Baal of the lust of flesh to which most of the Catholic women weep in lust after them, thereby abandoning the divine office constituted in motherhood.
Many Catholic women have wasted the years of their motherhood in doing things disgusting to both God and His Church; overwhelmed in immorality, they have abandoned Christian practices, and no more fear of God.
In this lecture today, we have three fields to deliver as the divine office of Catholic Women in the world. The first field deals with office of Catholic women in the family, the second field deals with their office in the state and the third field deals with their office in the Church.
We cannot start without, first, knowing what the word ‘Office’ implies in this case.
What is Office?
When we talk of the office of Catholic women in the world, we do not mean a room in which you sit and be served a cup of coffee. And we do not mean your commercial room.
When we talk of your office in the world, we mean the branch of religious and hospitality duty that falls to your gender as women, and as women of Catholic faith. Therefore, today we talk about your office in the family, in the state and in the Church.
There are three principal branches of humanitarian vocation that falls to you as women, and as women of Catholic faith. And among the three, the family comes first in the natural order of things. It is even said that, charity begins at home.
Catholic Women and the Family:
Basically, a family consists of married male and female adults and their offspring. The question is now; what is the duty of Catholic women in the family?
The answer is that, Catholic women have psychological and religious vocational duties to responsibly carry out in the family.
Catholic women have the vocational duty to create psychological security in the family. The psychological security is created by pure marital companionship. The Catholic women should acknowledge the fact that, pure marital companionship with their husband generates such binding power of love that, as a necessary result, binds their children in harmony, and, by such, the natural unity of the family is secured. Family psychological security is the fountain of family unity.
The parents are the natural center of attraction to their children. Disunity between the husband and the wife negatively affects the psychological security of the children. And, as a result, they lack defined central focus and fall into a random motion; totally confused and scattered psychologically.
Women are primary generators of this psychological security. They generate it by true show of love and care, first, to the husband, and then it naturally diffuses to the children. You cannot be quarrelling with and barking at you husband and believe that the children are not psychologically affected. When the center cannot hold, all dependents must scatter. Where the center of attraction collapses, every surrounding must collapse with it.
There must be a source of peace and unity in the family. Now, since God created the children by the unity of man and woman, the parents must be the source of the unity and peace of the children. Do not believe that God will build peace and unity in the family where the parents made no vacancy for peace and unity.
The first in the order of nature to make that source active or dysfunctional are women. This is because, the way they look at a man, talk to him, or kiss him can turn a foolish man to a wise man, and can also turn a wise Solomon to a foolish Nabal. You women know you have the power to make Adam go back to the dust, and you also know you have the favour to give birth to a saviour. Therefore, if the family is in Katakata (disunity), it is because you women have not decided to make peace and unity return to the family.
Women, who go and do love-charm for their husbands, do it because they are ignorant of the fact that, the way they deem their eyes and the way they role their tongues is more powerful than love-charm. You must discover you are living charm in the world.
The family psychological security is achieved by love and care. These love and care cannot be seen. It is made real by your human act. How constructively or insultively do you talk to your husband before your children? How do you try to cook edible food with a little amount of money? Have you ever in any month bought a bottle of Massimo wine for your husband without him requesting for it? Don’t you understand that the Bible gives you a secret when it says that, wine gladdens the heart of man?
Again, it is not a sin to be making money more than your husband. But do you announce to people that it is you who carries the economic responsibility in the family?
You cannot love your husband and treat the children harshly, for children is the seal of marriage. Do not sow hatred and jealousy among the children. Do not show much love to Nkiru and less love to Onyiye, and do not buy better things for Okechukwu and inferior things for Anayo. This does not mean you don’t give each according to his need, but that you don’t be partial. Let your acts serve to bind the children together, and not to make them different nations.
It is your duty to create a forum for true socialization of your children. You create the forum by love and care.
The Religious Duty of Catholic Women in the Family:
A Catholic family must be praying family. If it is not, it is not Catholic, and a prayerless family is irreligious family. And irreligious family cannot be Catholic.
The family of true Catholic mother prays daily. Even if the children are abroad, she calls and admonishes them to pray daily.
True Catholic women make sure that, within their daily prayer, the children are given some seconds moral instruction. Nothing will prevent God from blessing a Catholic family that daily kneels with one accord around the family altar, and calling upon the Living God. A Catholic woman that achieves this glory in her family is a pious Catholic mother, and God must glorify her family.
By gathering your children in daily Catholic prayer, you make your family a dwelling place of God.
Catholic Women and Child’s Education:
The education of the Catholic child means the shaping of the child to become good man, and not to become man. The idea of good comes first in the training of Catholic child before any materialistic idea.
A thief is a man, a murderer is a man, but a man who is evil is not good man. Every male is a man, but not all is good; a good man is not the man who is a thief. What we teach is that, ‘Virtue’ should be the primary stuff to be inculcated into the Catholic child by Catholic women in the family. Virtue is goodness and goodness is the primary purpose for creation of the Catholic child. Money, political office and wealth do not make a Catholic child good, but a good Catholic child makes political office, money and wealth good. A medical doctor, who is not a good man, will abort many children, but a good man who is a medical doctor will save much live. Therefore, medicine does not make man good, but good or virtuous man makes medicine good.
That is why it is naturally necessary for Catholic women to inculcate virtue into there children from the day of their breast-feeding; let them not start life with bitter breast, which will make them start feeling the world as bitterness. Mind what you say and do before them. Even though they don’t talk, they see, and their spirits register whatever they look at; the human eyes are cameras and store images in the memory. Learn to buy good films for your children.
However, it is the moral responsibility of Catholic women to virtuously educate the child first before the Church and other necessary agencies. Charity must begin at home. The women are more charged with this first human education. This is because, by mystery of nature, the child’s natural attraction to the mother is 60%; the child naturally tends more to the influence of the mother. This fact was what propelled Pope Pius XII to assert that;
“The charge laid by God on parents to provide and to procure for them a suitable training saturated with the true spirit of religion, cannot be wrested from them without grave violation of their rights….To woman God has given the sacred mission…and to her too, more than to any one else, is entrusted the first education of the child in its early months and years….Mothers, keep a vigilant eye upon your babies throughout their infancy….It is your task from the cradle to begin their education in soul as well as in body; for if you do not educate them, they will begin, for good or ill, to educate themselves. Many of the moral characteristics, which you see in the youth or the man, owe their origin to the manner and circumstances of his first upbringing in infancy…. ”.
(Pius XII On World Problems. By James W. Naughton, S.J. 1943, pgs. 88/89/90)
This issue of child’s education is well confirmed in the Bible in Sir. Ch7v23, where it is written: “If you have sons, educate them. Teach them self discipline while they are young”.
Catholic women must be made to understand that, in the order of nature, the Church receives the child from the family; the catholic child appears first on earth in the Catholic family. So, the family is the first divine office into which the child is born. Therefore, the family is the primary formator, and more than to any other person, God has charged the mother with the sacred mission to inculcate virtue into the child in its early months and years. This implies that, Catholic women should also understand that the Church receives the Catholic child from the family as second formator, not as reformator. The Church is not a reformatory. So do not think that, after spoiling your child at home, you come to the Church to disturb the priests. A bent tree cannot be straightened. The only remedy is to imitate the mother of St. Augustine by booking masses, bringing the child to priests for counseling and praying zealously with repentance for God to convert the child as he converted St. Augustine, for it is only Him who can straighten a bent tree.
We must first recognize that, the Catholic family does not possess the means of education adequate to equip the Catholic child for full meaningful existence as human being, for example, the family cannot provide complete spiritual guidance to the child. The Catholic family, therefore, while recognizing its first fundamental responsibility, must recognize that it depends on other good agencies to provide the child with other necessary education. But the first fundamental education of Catholic child must come from the family, and the mother is the principal of this natural family school.
The Duty of Catholic Women in the State
The duty of Catholic Women Organization in the state can also be termed their Secular Duty, which includes all non-ecclesiastical activity and which constitutes their universal area of duty. This means that Catholic Women, as powerfully organized body, should devise a rational means of how to realize Christian destiny in the secular sphere. Although they cannot make authoritative decisions for the state, the Catholic Women Organization should open up as powerful channel of relevance in the state.
They should spread the faith, and manifest it in their daily lives and thus help in sanctifying the state. The Catholic Women should participate in national conferences and works, such as on policies essential to minority women, essential to improving educational opportunities, health care, move strongly against abortion promotions, champion the reproductive rights for women; combat rape and other violence against women. You also have every moral right to demonstrate or protest against, for example, inactivity of government, against programs that pose hazards to the public and to children's health.
The Duty of Catholic Women to the Mother Church
As Catholic Women Organization, you have:
You are free to think out a noble original idea and table it to the bishop or the parish priest, who will examine the idea and may adjust it to tally to the tradition of the church, after which you start working for the realization of the idea.
You already have a Constitution as C.W.O. You have to make sure that your constitutional duty to the Mother church is alive and kicking.
Farness to the bishop and parish priests slows down the evangelistic progress of the Church. Nearness to them is everything beautiful and bears much fruits of progress.
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