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The Catholic Home

 
 

August 31, 2015

A home is a place unlike any other in this world. It is where parents and children go to live their private lives away from the public eye. It is meant to be a place of shelter from the outside elements, whether storms or heat. It provides the place where children go be with their loved ones, away from the school environment and other various places of activity. It is the place where parents go to find peace and quiet away from the chaotic world of the workplace. It is the place where, in general, all wish to go regardless of who they are or where they live after they have completed a day’s work.

Ideally, the home ought to be a place of peace and quiet away from the distractions of school and work. This peace in the Catholic home ought to be the result of a family in the state of grace. Where there is sin (mortal) there is no peace. Parents need to lead the way for their children by giving a good example. This brings up the responsibilities of the parents so vital in the proper raising of Catholic children.

Quite often today when one speaks of the necessity of a good example from the parents, the response of one or both adults is “I’m not perfect.” This is already known and should not be something which prevents parents from doing their best. Depending upon the person, the “I’m not perfect” comment is nothing more than a means by which to avoid parental responsibilities.

Catholic parents ought to approach their responsibilities from the spiritual standpoint. If they are honest with themselves they will realize their faults and work to overcome them. One can be sure that parents with the proper disposition are able to accomplish considerably more than previously considered. Parents simply need to understand they are not capable of doing anything without the grace of God, and with grace comes the possibility of being good, holy parents.

The failure of Catholic parents finds its cause in the lack of supernatural grace or the refusal to use that with which they have been blessed. If parents who rely upon faulty, but sentimental ideas children will be raised with the same faults being passed to the next generation. How often have children been the victims of parents who are unwilling to change their erroneous, stubborn ways! It is, indeed, a strange way to show their love for their child.

Catholic parents of today must realize there are some things in the life of the family that should never change whether it is 1950 or 2015. The first and most important is that of teaching the Faith. Parents are the first educators and are principally responsible for this education. All too often this is left to the mother although the father is fully capable of assisting her or perhaps doing a better job than she. This is simply culpable negligence.

Observations by this writer in recent years lead to the conclusion that too much mediocrity, or to put it another way, apathy exists among those who are responsible for young children. The faith of the parents must be an active, lively faith. Parents must have a proper, regular prayer life which they can pass onto their children. The importance of daily family prayer cannot be overstated. The blessings of these prayers can have a lasting effect well beyond the years when the children live in the parental home. Time MUST be set aside each day for prayer. This is not only a teaching moment for the parents, but also a moment when children understand the importance of prayer. This writer has seen far too many families who sadly neglect family prayer. What is the result? Children do not pray as they should, if at all. This means they do not understand the importance of prayer and its role in the life of the Catholic. Lack of prayer brings on a variety of other problems in life which would have been avoided through prayer.

Something ought to be said also about the “weak link” among parents. Unless a child is well instructed, he may tend toward the parent who does not pray or does not practice the faith. Both parents must do what is necessary to make sure this situation is avoided. Once again, it has been seen that such “weak links” eventually lead to a loss of faith.

As important as it is to teach the Faith to children, it is actually more important to teach them a love of the Faith. This, of course, can only be done through good example and the parents themselves possessing a true, sincere love of the Faith.

It should be noted at this point that all too often today parents are unable to pass along the Catholic Faith in a proper manner simply they do NOT know it themselves. How many parents take the time to educate themselves on the Faith? How many are willing to teach the catechism and learn along with the children? It has been said many times that the best way to learn is to teach. Parents should not wonder why their children leave the Church as young adults when as parents they failed to do their duty. Parents should be quite concerned with how they will answer to God for their negligence.

It is imperative that parents establish a daily routine for prayer. I have seen parents and children create such a busy schedule for themselves they really do not know how to make time for prayer. The fact is that parents and children need to arrange their busy day in such a manner that prayer is possible. It should be done so that one is not constantly squeezed for time. This over- scheduled scenario will undoubtedly provide everyone with a reason not to pray.

Parents as adults ought to realize the devil is quite the “expert” at arranging schedules so you will NOT pray, and unless the parents understand how the demons work, they will be oblivious to what is taking place. How can parents lead a family when they are blind themselves? The blind leading the blind does NOT work!

To be Continued
Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM