Holy Family

Holy Family

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Feast of Saint Boniface

Good morning. Throughout scripture, old and new, we are reminded that we have an obligation to give back to God. We read of numerous stories of parents giving back their children to God, we read of Hannah handing Samuel over to Eli, and there is Abraham offering up Isaac, and Joseph and Mary bringing Jesus to the Temple, and of course most all of us parents brought our infants to church to be baptized. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church notes the importance of the family with regards to the formation of the child and the family’s importance to the common good of society and we are instructed to give back to God through accepting our role as parent responsibly and to do all we can to raise our children in the faith. For giving our children back to God is a confirmation of our love for God and for our children. 

“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up…” Can you imagine? Well, imagine, because each one of us, and Jesus reminds us of this in today’s Gospel are asked to return to God what is rightfully His. As parents we are called to give our children back to God, perhaps not as Abraham or Hannah but in teaching our children to be upright and virtuous adults we are fulfilling our obligation to give back our children to God. Our Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio wrote regarding the role of parents: “For Christian parents the mission to educate, a mission rooted, as we have said, in their participation in God's creating activity, has a new specific source in the sacrament of marriage, which consecrates them for the strictly Christian education of their children…” The Church teaches us that we are the Domestic Church, we are the primary teachers of the faith, and it is from us that our children learn the faith. We are the Domestic Church. 

Henri Nouwen, in Bread for the Journey,  notes that our children are not our “property”, they are given to us from God for safe keeping and it is our duty to help them find their way back to God through attending to their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We need to keep strong in our efforts as parents and as Saint Boniface, our saint whose life we celebrate today, instructs us, we need to turn to Christ for strength in our mission as parents. “What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ” 

The most important thing we offer to our children is the gift of love, and they learn this in the love we give to them and in the love they see shared between us, their parents. It is in coming to know and appreciate that love is about self-giving that we fulfill our obligation to God through raising our children to be responsible and productive citizens. Raising children these days is no easy task, there is much evil out there that seeks the souls of our children. As parents we have an obligation to bring up our children in the love of God. Pope Benedict XVI recently reminded us parents of the obligation we have to teach our children the joy which is to be found in coming to know of a loving God. Are we giving back to God? Make a great day! 

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Boniface.

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