Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, July 8, 2011

Feast of the Martyrs of China

Good morning. Our role as parents these days is enormous. As I reflected upon the words of Jesus in the Gospel for today, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves” I could not help but consider the daunting task that faces so many parents these days. Let’s not kid ourselves, raising children in today’s world where the message of materialism bombards them day-in and day-out is no walk in the park. The message children constantly hear in today’s marketing inundated world is that ‘it is all about stuff.’ Early on our children hear and see the message, and all too often witness in the lives of their own parents, that it is okay to treat other people as objects, it is okay to use people for one’s own pleasure and gain. We live in a world which grooms children for living lives of unrestrained impulse and self-centeredness, a world that is all about consumption and gratification—even where it involves other people. Unfortunately, too often the very places parents look for help tend to respond with wishy-washy, feel-good, indulgent, psycho-babble parenting advice. Instead of helping parents develop more structure, warmth, authoritative direction, and increased involvement to their approach to parenting, all too often parents are instructed to be more permissive and they are informed that it isn’t about bad choices but it is about Johnny’s “bad wiring.” DO NOT BE AFRAID! I have some Good News . We already have some sound parenting advice available to us. As Pope Benedict XVI in his homily for the Mass celebrated for the 2006 World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain noted parents just need to pass on the sound heritage of the faith that was passed down to them toward helping their children to “…find their own identity, to initiate them to the life of society, to foster the responsible exercise of their moral freedom and their ability to love on the basis of their having been loved and, above all, to enable them to encounter God. Children experience human growth and maturity to the extent that they trustingly accept this heritage and training which they gradually make their own.” In this media-crazed materialistic world where our children are exposed to a multitude of negative images and messages, as parents we have at our disposal a guidebook; we have a parenting arsenal which has been tried and proven to help parents guide their children in developing into healthy and responsible adults. These time-proven tools are found in the Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, and in the Book of Proverbs. These writings have served parents well for thousands of years. We likewise are able to turn to the Theological Virtues and Cardinal Virtues as proven guides for directing our parenting playbook. We know what we need to do as parents, the instructions are there in the Gospels, they are found throughout the anthropology of our faith. Mary Carty, the Home and Family Editor of Catholic Online, offers an article I think may be helpful. In her February 2010 article, Top 10 Catholic Parenting Tips Found in the 10 Commandments, she suggests that parents use the Ten Commandments as a guide in their parenting efforts. Another source I think is quite helpful is a book I often refer to written by the former director of Boys Town, Father Val J. Peter. Father Val recently authored a book entitled Love, Warmth, and Discipline: Lessons from Boys Town for Successful Parenting . I strongly recommend this informative and easy read for all parents. Parents we just need to ask ourselves: “What Would the Holy Family Do?” Make a great day!

Today we recall the good lives, gifts, and works of the Martyrs of China. As parents may we have the fortitude we find in the example given to us in the lives of these martyrs for the faith.

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