From the HouseTops, Catholic Magazine

Saint Benedict Magazine

By Sister Lucia of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart

The Fatima Call for the

Sanctification 

of the

Family

God entrusted to the family the sacred mission of cooperating with Him in the work of creation. This decision to associate his poor creatures with his creative work is a great demonstration of the fatherly goodness of God. It is as if He were making them sharers in His creative power; making use of his children in order to bring forth new lives, which will flower on earth but be destined for Heaven.   Thus the Divine Creator wished to entrust to the family a sacred mission, that makes two beings become one in a union so close that it does not admit of separation. It is from this union that God wishes to produce other beings, as He generates flowers and fruit from the plants.

God established Matrimony as an indissoluble union. Once a couple have received the sacrament of Matrimony, the union between the two is definitive and cannot be broken; it is indissoluble as long as the couple remain alive. It was thus that God ordained it to be.

We read in the book of Genesis, “God created man in His own image, to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them; (Gen. 1:27) two, yes, but these two are one: Wherefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) This is a law of God, which Jesus Christ confirmed and endorsed, in the face of human efforts, at that time, to pull in the opposite direction: “Have you not read that He who made man from the beginning made them male and female? And He said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore, now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matt. 19:4-6)

This is the law of Matrimony: from the time that they have been joined together by the blessing of God, the two become one, and this union does not allow of separation—What God has joined together, let no one put asunder. They become one by the bond of love that led them to commit themselves to each other in the one ideal of cooperation with God in the work of creation, and this involves the sacrifice and immolation that the giving of oneself always implies; it involves, too, mutual understanding, forgiveness and pardon.

It is thus that a home is built up, made holy and gives glory to God.   A home must be like a garden, where fresh rosebuds are opening, bringing to the world the freshness of innocence, a pure and trusting outlook on life, and the smile of innocent happy children. Only thus does God take pleasure in his creative work, blessing it and turning his fatherly gaze upon it. Any other way of behaving is to divert the work of God from its end, to alter the plans of God, failing to fulfill and carry the married couple. out the mission that God has entrusted to the married couple.

Hence, in the Message of Fatima, God calls on us to turn our eyes to the Holy Family of Nazareth, into which He chose to be born, and to grow in grace and stature, in order to present to us a model to imitate, as our footsteps tread the path of our pilgrimage to Heaven.

The Evangelist Saint Luke, after describing for us how Jesus Christ, as a young boy, went up to the temple in Jerusalem where He got separated from his parents and where they found Him three days later, adds: “And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.” (Luke 2:51-52).

Parents who do not instill a knowledge of God and of His commandments into their children from an early age, teaching them to keep them in mind and to observe them, are failing to fulfill the mission entrusted to them by God. It is a law that God prescribed for His people: “These words which I command you this day shall be in your heart; and you shall tell them to your children, and you shall meditate on them sitting in your house, and walking on your journey, sleeping and rising.” (Deut. 6:6-7). Parents who disregard this law of God make themselves responsible for the ignorance of their children and for any misdemeanors that may result from it. Very often, it is this ignorance that is responsible for the disordered lives of the children who torment the declining years of their parents, and are themselves lost.

In the message of Fatima,
God calls on us to turn our eyes
to the Holy Family of Nazareth…

What has been said applies even when the children are entrusted to the care of competent teachers, because what remains most engraved in the hearts of children is what they have received in their father’s arms and on their mother’s lap. Nothing can dispense parents from this sublime mission: God has entrusted it to them and they are answerable to God for it.

Parents are the ones who must guide their children’s first steps to the altar of God, teaching them to raise their inno­cent hands and to pray, helping them to discover how to find God on their way and to follow the echo of his voice. This is the most serious and important mission that has been entrusted by God to parents; and they must fulfill it so well that, throughout their lives, the memory of their parents will always arouse in their children the memory of God and of his teaching.

This is how Saint Paul encourages us to behave: “Children, obey your par­ents in the Lord, for this is just. Honour your father and thy mother, (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and you may be live long upon earth. You, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and cor­rection of the Lord.(Eph 6:1-4) In the second letter of Saint John, which was undoubtedly addressed to a church community, but which he sees personified in the person of a mother—the elect lady and her children—we find, from the pen of the Apostle, a eulogy that we wish could be applied to all fathers and mothers: “I was exceeding glad, that I found of your children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech you, lady, not as writing a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.” (2 John 1-5)

In families composed of parents and children, there are duties which the parents have to fulfill in relation to their children, and, vice versa, the children in relation to their parents. The book of Ecclesiasticus, after listing the many duties of children, concludes with this appeal to their submission and gentleness: “My son, do your works in meekness, and you shall be beloved above the glory of men. The greater you are, the more humble in all things, you shall find grace before God.” (Ecclus. 3:19-20)

The Apostle Saint Peter presses home the same idea: “In like manner, you young men, be subject to the ancients. And do you all insinuate humility one to another, for God resists the proud, but to the humble he gives grace. Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in the time of visitation. Casting all your cares upon Him, for He has care of you. Be sober and watch.” (1 Peter 5:5-8)

Parents who do not instill a knowledge of God…
into their children…
are failing to fulfill the mission entrusted to them by God.

These words are addressed to us all, but especially to the young people who have as yet no experience of life, which is why the Apostle urges them to be sub­missive, sober and vigilant, in order not to be taken in by the illusions of life, by the disordered appetites of nature, and the diabolical seductions of the world. Because—Saint Peter goes on—:Be so­ber and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour. Whom you resist, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. But the God of all grace, who has called us into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:8-10)

Yes, firm in faith, in hope and in charity, we must all struggle to achieve victory over evil, and attain the peace, joy and blessedness of the house of our Father who is God; and we, all together, form his family.

The children must never forget or set to one side the respect, gratitude and help which they owe to their parents, who are for them the image of God. In fact, just as the parents sacrificed themselves in order to bring up, educate and establish their children in life, so the children, in their turn, have a duty to sacrifice themselves in order to give pleasure, joy and serenity to their parents, aiding and assisting them, if necessary, in such a way that everything is done out of true love and with one’s eyes fixed on God: “Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not to men. Knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance. Serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:23-24) And we shall enjoy his friendship, as He has told us: “You are my friends, if you do the things I command you” (John 15:14) And what has He commanded us? “This is my com­mandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).

This is how a family sanctifies itself, grows and prospers in that unity, fidelity, mutual understanding and for­giveness which generate peace, joy, mutual trust and love.

Ave Maria!

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