Aug. 9, 2013
It was my wife’s idea. She is a retired Navy captain and she didn’t have a lot of time in thirty years of active duty for wedding showers, baby showers and such. Since retiring, however, she has more than made up for lost celebrations. Two years ago, we had a Royal Wedding Reception in our home at the time of the Will & Kate nuptials. Pretty nice event here.
With the TV image of carriages headed to Westminster Abbey from the Royal Mews, Kate’s forty lady guests delighted in the clip-clop of curry combed royal mounts conveying the happy couple to their date with destiny. Here, tea and scones were served on chintz plates. (Do I even know what chintz plates are?)
Today, my wife hosted dozens of ladies for a Royal Baby Shower. On such high occasions, I fly my British and English flags. I am working from home and usually just wave as the ladies arrive. Today, however, I was honored. Kate asked me to offer the prayer.
I thanked God for the marriage of William and Catherine. And I reminded our guests of what the Bishop of London said when he spoke of marriage to two billion people watching around the world. On their wedding day, every couple is the King and Queen of Creation, he said. It is through the blessing of marriage that we are co-creators with God of new human life. This miracle is at the heart of marriage.
No objections heard, I asked the Lord’s blessing on the event. My wife conceived the idea of welcoming the young Prince with an event that would celebrate life. Dozens of guests came bearing gifts for newborns in our town. Many of those invited who could not attend, popped in to drop off their offerings.
Our foyer this morning looks almost as full as it did ten years ago. Then, Kate and her Annapolis friends responded to an urgent call from Bethesda Naval Hospital. Wounded Marines were being Medevaced fromIraq. When they arrived, their uniforms had been cut away and they had only their hospital gowns. In order to walk around, they needed sweats, shorts and tee shirts, socks and skivvies, sneakers and flip-flops.
Kate put out the word. In less than forty-eight hours, our front hall was filled almost to the ceiling with enough rec gear to clothe an army. (Yes, she provided the Bethesda’s surplus to Walter Reed’s wounded warriors, too.)
On Ladies’ Days like today, I smile and retreat to my study. Here, I can take my Tocqueville down from the bookshelf and read this:
Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion—for who can search the human heart?—but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.
Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835) astonished the world. He probed deeply into our manners (moeurs). I doubt very seriously whether the community organizers who hold the reins of power in our country today ever read their Tocqueville.
The America they seek to “fundamentally transform” is an America in which the women have always dominated good works, those indispensable works of mercy and compassion. And most of these Christian women.
I was blessed to have seen this event. And I’ll “turn to” later today to help sort and deliver all the baby clothes and gifts that will go to the Pregnancy Care Centers in our town. There, I can already be sure; the volunteers who warmly greet us will be women.