By ERIC GIRTEN
THE CATHOLIC KITCHEN
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” St. Pope John Paul II spoke these words in 1986, but it was not a new concept. St. John Chrysostom (b. 347) wrote that “the love of a husband and wife is the force that welds society together.”
That’s great, you say. I’m trying to get my kids to school in the morning, help them with homework at night and stay sane in the process. So, get to the point.
I’ve been there and done that, so I get it. The point is that what are seemingly ordinary, routine and sometimes annoying weekly tasks are actually heroic. ... I will pause for your reaction as you think of some of the things done in the last week categorized as heroic. Get used to it because it is true.
Now, what is heroic must also be virtuous; and this has implications. If we want to live in a world guided by Catholic principle, then we as Catholic parents must uphold our baptismal and matrimonial promises of surrounding our marriages and families in the cloak of our Catholic faith … period.
What this means in our busy weekly family calendars is that we are called, first and foremost, to lock in our Sunday Mass times and ensure that everyone in the family attends. Then come the more basic needs: grocery shopping and family meals together (food); paying the bills (shelter); and doing the laundry (clothing). After those come homework and school functions (education); and finally, we insert any recreational time or events. This recreation is, of course, scheduled around our career/job requirements. Make no mistake; this involves heroic and virtuous self-sacrifice.
The reality is that our fast-paced world has flipped this paradigm so that if something has to get bumped out of our schedules, it usually is the Mass or our prayer time, which inevitably leaves us, our families, our parishes, our communities and eventually our societies searching for that something to fill the gaping void that can only be filled by God – thus resulting in strictly human (and often harmful) searches for love, pleasure and personal fulfillment.
It can be a tough priority reorganization, especially when we are entrenched in another family routine; but it is a must. There is no other way around it. And it can be done by those who are willing to accept their virtue and their heroism as Catholic spouses and parents. Easy? Maybe not. Possible? Yes.
My brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, we are continually at a crossroads in the history of our Catholic faith. We are the recipients of the sacrifices made by those who have gone before us, and we are the sacrifices of those who will follow.
Those who read this may reject it outright; but in that rejection, I would suggest they ask the question as to the reason for the rejection. Is it too forward? Is it too radical? Is it too inconvenient?
Once we have chosen to enter into a covenant with our spouse and God, we have placed ourselves in precarious positions. In so doing, we are accepting the calls to reach heaven, to aid our spouse toward heaven, to lift our children toward heaven and to proclaim the kingdom of God through our marriage vocation.
If we fail at this, then our marriages, our families, our Church and even civilization itself will begin to crumble upon itself; and what is raised from the rubble will be laid upon the very foundation that we ourselves helped pour. However, if we succeed, we will find fulfillment previously thought unattainable.