Chapter 2 (Part 1) Pages 51 - 64
Midlife “Crisis” vs Lucilian Wisdom
Week 17 Questions
It was that time in Brazil when “It was considered shameful for a man to openly proclaim himself a Catholic.”
Plinio, to the great relief of Dona Lucilia, had early on made the decision to continue in the path of true Catholicism set by his mother. It was for him, though, a time of painful isolation. Divine Providence provided him with the opportunity to enthusiastically enroll in the First Congress of Catholic Youth in Sao Paulo, the initial step of his entering the Marian Congregation. While interiorly consoling, this decision was filled with struggles to overcome the public reaction of his peers and the “little” Sao Paulo mentality of the time.
In keeping with his nature, Plinio decided to confront the temptation to human respect in a decisive way, by not only attending Mass at a “high society” parish but praying the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary while the church was filled – many of the people being well known to him.
This had the effect he anticipated among his acquaintances, and though they dared not confront him, they urged Dona Lucilia to dissuade him from this path. It had serious repercussions on his life and even his career, as he advanced in his public Catholic life.
Plinio was already devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Mary Most Holy and so was armed for the conflict.
Some of us must daily, at least psychologically, enter the “lion’s den” by our choices of modest dress and behavior. Having made these difficult decisions, how can we fortify ourselves socially and spiritually for the battle?
It is 1926. Dona Lucilia has turned 50. Roseé is soon to be married and Plinio is in Law School. Much of her direct involvement in her children’s lives is completed.
Many women. of course, use this time in useful and spiritually uplifting ways. Some though insist on interfering in their children’s lives, and some just turn to full time shopping.
Dona Lucilia, however, wanted to be able to “… stand before the Divine Tribunal with her motherly obligations impeccably fulfilled.” She wanted to continue to “guide and counsel her children.”
What a delicate venture, requiring nothing less than Lucilian diplomacy and finesse.
What do you see as a way for a lady to use her time in an appropriate and valuable way when her attention is able to shift or broaden from her main occupation to other matters?
Plinio was accustomed, before leaving home, to say goodbye to Dona Lucilia, “and receive her blessing.” She would trace one, or “several Signs of the Cross on his forehead, while murmuring a prayer.” She willingly complied with Plinio’s cousin’s request for the same whenever he was present.
The prayer might have been as simple as the words of the Sign of the Cross, along with something like: “God Bless you and keep you from all sin this day and always” or words naming a particular need of the day, or honoring the Saint of the day. “Dona Lucilia was well aware that, according to Catholic Doctrine a parent’s blessing draws God’s protection…”
Parents have the privilege of blessing their children in this or some similar way. It is a beautiful small ceremony or custom which unites the family and strengthens religious fervor and bonds of affection. It can be started at any age and can become part of family custom even with grownup children.
Does your family already have such a custom, or if not, are you willing to make a start, in order to receive the spiritual benefits?