Sunday, December 28, 2014

STRATEGIES FOR A GREAT FAMILY



Discover the wisdom-filled principles revealed by Jesus through his Church’s Catechism and his Vicars, the Popes



BEAUTY OF MATRIMONY

Marriage and its mission. God who is love and who created man and woman for love has called them to love. By creating man and woman he called them to an intimate communion of life and of love in marriage: “So that they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mt 19:6). God said to them in blessing “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28).

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church [with self-sacrifice]. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Entrust self to Jesus. “To spouses, God the Father gives his Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to him, he will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path. The love of Christ can restore the joy of journeying together.” (Pope Francis)  

True love, not feelings. “You can’t base a marriage on feelings that come and go. But rather on the rock of true love, the love that comes from God. When we pray ‘Give us this day our daily Bread’, when it comes to marriage, we can say: Give us this day our daily love. Being in love means saying three phrases more often than not: May I?  Thank you and I’m sorry. It’s important to acknowledge that your spouse is a gift from God. When you receive a gift from God, you say Thank You. There is no such thing as a perfect husband or wife. It’s us who do exist, sinners. Jesus tells us a secret: Never let the day end, without apologizing…A small gesture is enough.” (Pope Francis)  Love means “willing the good of the other” (Aristotle and St. Thomas) and “self-giving” (John Paul II).


PARENTS:  PRINCIPAL EDUCATORS

Your children are God’s. Parents must regard their children as children of God.  Every spiritual soul is created immediately by God. It is not “produced” by the parents. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.

Teach Jesus’ greatest commandments. God has loved us first. The ten commandments then make explicit the response of love that man is called to give to his God. Jesus said: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  (Mt 22: 36-39)  

First school of Christian life and human enrichment. All members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way by the reception of the sacraments [frequent confession and Sunday Eucharist] , prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity. “The breakdown in the way Catholics pass down the Christian faith is caused by a lack of opportunity for dialogue in families.” (Francis)

Educate in right use of reason. Parents’ respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and devotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.

Spiritual over material. Interiority over instincts. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones. The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and social responsibilities.  Large families [are] a sign of God’s blessing and the parents’ generosity.

Give good example and discipline. Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.  

Live in the truth. Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another. “Parents must actively ensure the moderate, critical, watchful and prudent use of the media [and] train the conscience of their children.” (JP II)

Family catechesis and choice of school. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.

Virtues and chastity. Education in virtues requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people about the dignity of married love [and]  the value of chastity.

First vocation: follow Jesus. Family ties are important but not absolute:  “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:37). Parents must support with joy their children’s choice to follow Jesus in whatever state of life. [“Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Gen 22:12).]

Domestic church and family prayer. The family is the “domestic church” where God’s children learn to pray “as the Church” and to persevere in prayer. “How much peace would flow into family relationships if the family would begin again to pray the Rosary” (JPII). “Read the Bible often, especially on Sundays, husband and wife, parents and children” (Pope Francis).


This one-page leaflet can be downloaded here

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