Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thoughts, words, and deeds

     It is funny that our faith comes down to those three simple words.  Last week, we had a family meeting at my house.  It was time to discuss how chores had not been getting done, or where not being done completely, people were speaking to each other with contempt and disrespect, and overall, we just needed to reset/reshoot the azimuth.  After our meeting, the girls understood how we were to act as a family, and things have been going rather well since then.  My wife used the words 'thoughts, words, and deeds' to demonstrate how we should reflect our Catholic faith in all aspects of our life; at home, at school, with one another.  That truly stuck with me, and led me to realize that I had also been lacking those things that I expected from my family. 
     Perhaps the most overlooked and difficult portion of being a father is the level of accountability that we are held to.  Many parents, myself included, use the default position of the Ten Commandments.  If you are a parent, you know the one I am talking about. 'Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be longlived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.' (Exodus 20:12).  Talk about a leverage point a parent can use!  I mean, God said that, not Mom or Dad!  However, there is one, small issue that can come up.  That is, the lack of responsibility placed on the parent.  At least, that is what can happen.  Children know when they are being told 'just  because'.  That can be a toxic development, and I am sure there are many who know this fact.
     So, I had to personally take a look at what was required of me as a father, and lo and behold, God clearly states what has to be done, and how God will view a father during judgement.  To be sure, the job of being a father is not for the faint of heart.  See, Proverbs 22:6 states that 'Raise up a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it'.  (paraphrased by me).  That was the first one that put on the warning flashers.  So, I am responsible for the raising of my children in faith, so that they will not depart from God.  No pressure there, right?  But wait, there is more.  Ephesians 5:25-31 states, 'Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it:
That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church:  Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh.'  Let the holy butt kicking begin!!  So, I am a husband, and must lay down my life for my wife as Christ laid his down for the Church.  As memory serves, Christ willingly entered into His Passion.  Would I willingly do so for my wife?  That is a whole other ball of wax.  But if I am a husband, there is a probability that I have children.  (Yes, that is a traditional assumption.  Imagine that, I am a Catholic who is Traditional.  Next obvious statement, please.  And if that offends you in any way, you probably aren't reading my blog, so....)  So now, I must raise my children in faith, and die for my wife as Christ did for the Church, which for the record was for the FAITH OF THE CHURCH THAT THEY WOULD SEE THE RISEN CHRIST AND CARRY OUT THE GREAT COMMISSION.
     With that now being my course correction, I realize that I cannot require something of my children that I myself am not doing.  For my children to be raised in faith, I must live my faith (words and deeds).  And I must die for my wife (thoughts, words, and deeds).  And as another reminder, I am the example to my daughters as to how a man should treat a woman.  So, how I treat my wife is just as powerful, if not more so, that the words I speak.  As I said earlier, not a job for the faint of heart.  So each day, I must take time by myself, read and meditate of God's words, pray for His guidance that I may be what I have been called to be; a husband and father who is worthy of the vocation of a lifetime.

Ad maiorem Dei Gloriam

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