There’s no sense trying to hide the fact that we’ve
really dropped the ball this month where The Remnant’s
publishing schedule is concerned. The latest issue of The
Remnant was delayed to such an extent, in fact, that we
had to petition the postmaster to allow us to break The
Remnant’s bi-weekly publishing schedule for the first
time 44 years. He was gracious enough to allow us to
publish two issues in one, without violating our permit,
so long as I assured him it won’t happen again.
There are a number of reasons why we found ourselves in
this predicament, not the least of which was the early
arrival of our seventh child, Michael Ignatius Marie,
who decided to make his entrance in dramatic fashion a
full ten days ahead of schedule.
Baby Michael was in something of a hurry. The doctor
didn’t make it in time. The nurse was in a panic. The
dad was in shock. Come to think of it, the only ones to
keep their heads throughout were the baby himself and
his mother. To give you an idea of how it happened—my
wife and I arrived at the hospital after 1 am, and the
baby was sleeping in his mother’s arms by 3 am. No
anesthetic, no drugs, even the high-tech delivery bed
hadn’t been broken down. There just wasn’t time.
“This baby is coming RIGHT NOW!”, my wife politely
roared in a voice that should have raised the dead.
“Okay, Sweetie,” replied the nurse, who apparently
didn’t realize that when the mother of 7 says it’s time,
it’s time. “Do you have any allergies? Do you
When Michael was born a few moments later, the only
attendants on hand were that same nurse and yours truly
(who couldn’t possibly have been more stunned). Of
course, husbands are pretty useless in labor and
delivery rooms even under the best of circumstances. In
an emergency--well, they might as well give us
Michael Ignatius was born on the 31st of
July and he was baptized one week later. You might say
he hit the ground running. And things have been a wee
bit chaotic ever since, which is why I must apologize to
Remnant readers who’ve been trying to figure out what
happened to us. Where’s The Remnant been?
I ask your patience as we try to catch up, despite
little sleep and even less office help than before,
since the “volunteers” (my slightly older children) now
have their hands full trying to make room for the new
arrival while helping the Remnant’s accountant (my wife)
prepare for the first day of home-school in a few weeks.
I have no idea how they do it—these home-school
mothers. And it’s not just my wife, of course.
There’s a veritable army of them standing on the
frontlines of defense in this escalating war against
Christ and all things Christian. They’re the heroes
nobody’s talking about.
Yet there they are with their large Catholic families,
like it’s 1951 rather than 2011. There they are, night
after night in the nurseries, with darkness closing in
around them figuratively and otherwise, babies asleep in
their arms. With wars and rumors of wars an ever
constant in their lives, the future for those babies is
terrifyingly uncertain. Invest in gold, they’re
told! Stock up on food! Keep your passports up to
date! Don’t vaccinate your children! Look out for
predators! Home schooling won’t be legal much longer!
Lesser men, I think, would likely not be having babies
in times like these. Even Holy Scripture warns them to
watch their backs:
When therefore you shall see the abomination of
desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet,
standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him
understand…let them flee to the mountains: And he that
is on the housetop, let him not come down to take
anything out of his house: And he that is in the field,
let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them
that are with child, and that give suck in those days.
(Matthew 24: 15-19)
Undeterred, they walk in Mary’s footsteps, with courage
no mere man possesses. They endure the mockery of the
feminists and the scorn of the 2.2-kids per family
“conservatives”. In unprecedented financial crises,
they have no money and no promise of any in the future.
The price of gas to fuel the SUVs and vans needed to
move their little troops from pillar to post has
obliterated whatever was left of their retirement
accounts. To find a Latin Mass on Sunday many of them
drive an hour or more, one way. The cost of groceries
and health insurance causes their openness to life to
become nothing less than a pure leap of faith—but they
leap anyway, even when they’re asked to do that which
their good mothers never were: Educate their own
children at home! Since Catholic education these days
means loss of Catholic identity by Grade 8,
homeschooling is the only option for most of them. Like
Ruth and Esther they work in those fields too, by
themselves, all day, every day and for the next twenty
years of their lives.
Heroic? Without a doubt! Their neighbors smile
patronizingly; their government threatens; their local
school district superintendents hound; even their
priests cajole them to enroll in Catholic schools, like
“proper Catholics” do. But without rancor or bitterness
they hold their ground. They are, after all, Catholic
women! They dismiss the grateful praise of their
husbands as overdone, as they laugh, love and pray their
way through life with an army of little ones in tow. They don’t see themselves as heroes. Just mothers
doing what mothers have always done.
Never mind that the future of our civilization may well
depend on their perseverance in this sacred, God-given
mission to succeed where the Church and State have
failed. If they were to give up tomorrow, the sun would
set on what’s left of Christendom. And though they
rarely complain, their husbands know their sacrifices.
My wife (who will likely banish me to the couch for a
week when she discovers I’ve published the next few
sentences) spends most nights in a chair beside the new
baby’s old crib, recently installed at her bedside
because there is no room for a nursery in our home
anymore. The baby nurses in her arms; her rosary often
dangles from her fingers, though, exhausted, sleep no
doubt overcame her long before the fifth mystery. No
matter. Their guardian angels--his and hers--will finish
it for them both as they finally get some sleep. After
all, in a few hours the house will be awake again, the
home school will spring into action, and the 3- and
5-year-olds will have a list of needs a mile long. No
school bus is coming, no daycare, no time off.
“Me time” for Mommy? Maybe in her dreams!
St. Frances of Rome was tending to her babies one day
when she grew fearful that she wasn’t giving to God the
things that are His. “Most of the time I feel like a
yo-yo, pulled and spinning in every direction and
getting absolutely nowhere. What do I have to give you,
O Lord? Just interruptions and distractions, bits and
pieces of trying to do your will. Why would God bless me
when I can’t sit still long enough to pray to him?”
“Because,” her guardian angel replied, appearing to her
suddenly and from out of nowhere, “you showed your love
for Him by doing exactly what he wants you to do—loving
and taking care of your family.”
With the family under attack in every quarter today,
what fool would not stand in admiration of the Catholic
mothers who love and care for large families when the
whole world stands against them! They lead their
children through the darkness, showing them by example
what it means to be a woman, teaching them how to
enlist in the army of God. William Ross Wallace got it
Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Here’s to Catholic mothers everywhere—the last line of
defense! And I’d like to present to you, readers and
friends of The Remnant, the newest member of the
Catholic resistance-- my son and your future editor (Deo
Volente), Michael Ignatius Matt…