Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, July 13, 2012

Feast of Saint Henry II

Good morning. Make no mistake about it parenting a child these days is no walk in the park. As reflected in today’s Gospel it often seems like we are sending our children out into a world like “sheep in the midst of wolves.” Well, know this to be true it is exactly that way. We do live in some very confusing and challenging times. 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. We live in a culture of considerable duplicity, where people daily toss others to the curb to meet their own needs. So often in our daily lives we encounter people pretending to be magnanimous, when in reality they are only ambitious. So, we need to both prepare our children to be as “shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” 

As parents we need to remind our children to be prudent and offer them examples of living wisely, but we need at the same time instruct them to approach life with simplicity; for the moral virtue of simplicity or of perfect loyalty is a reflection of God’s will for us. As we are reminded in Proverbs, “Better is the poor man, that walketh in his simplicity, than a rich man that is perverse in his lips, and unwise.” As parents if we can provide our children the gift of simplicity then they will find all relationships and their day-to-day dealings in life to be changed for the good by its embrace. We see exemplified in the life of Saint Henry II, whose life we commemorate today, both the virtues of prudence and simplicity. 

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.” But, don’t lose heart, as parents 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. We are reminded in today’s Gospel that with simplicity united to discretion, no matter what happens, with God all things work together for good. We need not be discouraged as God will give us the courage and wisdom to simply speak the right words. Make a great day! 

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

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