The Wife is the Radiant Sun
of the Family
Pope Pius XII
This commentary by Pope Pius XII (d. 1958) on the famous Proverbs 31 tribute to the perfect wife is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for Saturday in the 6th week of Ordinary time with the accompanying biblical reading taken from Proverbs 31:10-31.
The family is illuminated by its own radiant sun, which is the wife. Of her Scripture says, with feeling:
The grace of a wife will charm her husband,
her accomplishments will make him the stronger.
A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,
no price can be put on a well-trained character.
A modest wife is a boon twice over,
a chaste character cannot be weighed on scales.
Like the sun rising over the mountains of the Lord
is the beauty of a good wife in a well-kept house.
The wife and mother is indeed like the sun shining in the family. She shines by her generosity and the way she gives herself to others. She shines by her alertness and watchfulness and by her wise and gentle providing of all that can give joy to her husband and children. She radiates light and warmth.
A marriage will prosper if each partner goes into it not for his own happiness but the other’s happiness – but although it belongs to both partners, this emotion, this goal is particularly a quality of the woman. Her very nature as a mother entails it. Her wisdom and prudence mean that even if she encounters troubles she will respond to them with joy; if she is belittled, she will respond with unaltered dignity and respect. She is like the sun that brightens a cloudy morning with the dawn; the sun that illuminates the shower-clouds at dusk.
The wife is like the sun shining in the family with the brightness of her glance and the ardour of her speech. Her looks and words enter into the souls of her family, softening them, touching them, raising them up from the tumult of emotion. They recall her husband to joy in good things and delight in family life after his uninterrupted and often heavy work of the day, whether in an office, in the fields, in trade or in industry.
The wife is like the sun shining in the family by her unforced, transparent sincerity, by her simple dignity, by her decent Christian behavior; by her inward thoughts and her upright heart; and also by the appropriateness of her dress and bearing, adorned by her open and honest way of life. Subtle signs of feeling, shades of expression, silences and unmalicious smiles, little nods of approval – all these give her the grace of an exquisite but simple flower opening its petals to reflect the colors of sunlight.
If only you could know the full depth of the feelings of love and gratitude that such a perfect wife and mother inspires in her husband and children!