"Fides et Familia means "faith and family." It is to the holy Catholic Faith and to his family that a Coepiscopi member is dedicated unto the giving of his life. Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy. (EPH 5)
A husband begins the giving of his life by giving up certain aspects of his life. First and foremost by entering into holy matrimony he gives up all other women both in action and affection. This exclusivity, this singular devotion to his wife, is the sine qua non of the Catholic patriarchal charism, strength, wisdom, and efficacy. As such, a Catholic man can never strive enough to bar that which might incite him, even if only in affection or lack of custody of the eyes, to stray from this exclusivity. The militant rejection of the hedonistic, crass elements of popular culture and all its portals is thus mandated.
The rejection of the hedonistic elements of popular culture necessarily leads to the subsequent rejection of many segments of that culture that are contaminated by them, such as many facets of entertainment, fashion, or recreation." Dr. G.C. Dilsaver
"Does it not strike you as a surprising fact that Catholic parents so often [not surprising in these days where this is the norm] urge their children to do what is asked of them from merely human motives and that everything about their homes tends to nourish ambition and luxury? They tell them how such and such a man of obscure birth has made himself famous by his eloquence [or sports ability, good looks, or goofy reality show stunts] or has acquired great riches and has married an heiress, that he has built himself a magnificent house and lives envied by all. Such examples are held up [more like forced upon] to the children, but the parents never think of talking to them of those who are great in the kingdom of heaven [ah, we'll leave that up to the priest on Sunday...]. If anyone else tries to speak of these things, the parents stop them as though they would spoil everything by such talk. [...just as long as the priest doesn't challenge us!]
There are mothers who take great care of their daughters' health [and appearance...] but little of their conscience. Far from forbidding them foolish and even bad books, indecent dresses, undesirable friends, indecent pictures, plays [movies], and dances [and immodest, unladylike sports], they allow them these things and even sometimes force them on their children.
Do not such parents know that spiritual fornication is a crime among Christians; that a look may kill a soul and that a desire or thought is enough to rob children of innocence and grace? [emphasis mine...pretty important point!]
Some mothers think that when they have brought a child into the world they have no further duty toward it. They hand it over to a nurse [or daycare] who may pass on her own bad inclinations to the child with the milk which nourishes it. From the hands of a nurse the child passes into those of a governess or tutor [or worse, a public or Catholic school!], who has perhaps been chosen without the parents' knowing if the person is good or bad! [I don't think the background check covers that - even in Catholic schools]
Yet marriage was instituted and is blessed only that children may be brought up in the fear of God. If only parents would take the trouble, what could they not do for their children!" [of course, this assumes parents are first open to life, and then actually open to parenting!]
On the education of children - Saint Claude de la Colombiere
comments in red - mine
"First, masculinity is opposed to sentimentality—not to sentiment, but to sentimentality. There is an absence of any trace of sentimentality in the Traditional rite, also called the Extraordinary Form. This is seen in its collects and prayers that are succinct and to the point without sacrificing beauty of language, and in its rubrics that prevent the personality of the priest from inserting his own feelings and choices into the rite itself. If we take note of Cardinal Newman’s insight that sentimentality is the acid of religion, meaning that it destroys true religion, then the rubrics of the Traditional rite are the little purple pill that prevents the reflux of sentimentality into the liturgy..."
Please click here to read more on the Rorate-Caeli blog.
Yesterday we celebrated one of my son's 11th birthday. While this may not be a traditional "rite of passage" birthday, it was for my son. Why? Simple, we gave him a few tools requiring maturity to handle and use.
This got me thinking about the tools that we share and give to our children. While we could spend time talking about actual hand tools, toys, and equipment, I am referring here to those "invisible" tools that we each hand down to our children from our own toolkit.
For example, how you handle stress in your life will most likely be a "tool" you hand down to your children. Do you overeat in stressful situations or stop eating all-together? Do you say things like, "I just need a beer" or "I need some serious relaxation time, just for me"? These tools are the way in which we deal with those things bombarding us on a daily basis. What is important is that these are tools that we have adopted and accepted over time as ways to function in life. Why is this important? It is important because these tools are not an integral part of us, contrary to what many modern folks will tell us. The stressed out over-eater can learn how to adopt new tools during a diet. The alcoholic can learn to deal with stress outside of relying on "fire water". There is proof of this in all of our lives.
As a parent, the tools we hand down to our children are usually our own. Sure, we may poke, prod, and cajole our children to become better persons than we are, but they will grasp onto our example more than our words. This is where we have to take a good, hard look at how we do things. Ignore what you want to do, what you hope to do - and be honest about where you are and what you do today. You may want to be a soft-spoken, peaceful parent, but you continue to explode and yell at your children. Face it. Challenge it...oh and realize, you can change it!
Let's go back to the first example, how you deal with stress. Picture yourself as an early settler, pioneering your way across the open plains...you look up and see a group of Indians facing you with drawn bows. What is your first reaction? This stressful situation will move some to lay down and cry, others to buckle down and fight, others to yell and try to scare off the enemies, and others to try some other, unheard of option. There are always options....even for you. In this scenario, the first step is to accept that the Indians are real, the bows and arrows are real, and you are really in a bad situation. You can't fight unless you realize that the battle is real and really important. Do you see how real this battle is?
Now let's think about our children. You are passing on your faults and virtues to your children each day. Do you care enough to challenge yourself to be better...so that your children can be better? Are you ready to trade in some outdated, overworn, worthless tools for some that are time-tested by the saints?
In the sport of boxing, opponents are judged on a multitude of criteria, but one is how many "clean" punches are landed. A punch is considered clean if it impacts the scoring area of the opponent (face, side of head, torso, etc) with the knuckle area of the aggressor. The important part is landing your punch in the right area. A good boxer doesn't throw away punches and knows how to connect and land those punches where he wants them.
The boxer learns to always be attentive in the ring, especially to small movements by the opponent. These small movements alert him to opportunities and warn him to prepare defense. These movements are but microseconds, but a talented boxers learns them well and is ready to react. The talented boxer is always "on his toes".
Landing these small punches was never the talent of an animal like Mike Tyson. He had such a powerful punch that he continually KO'd one fighter after the other. In some ways, Tyson was in a league of his own. His antics both in the ring and out proved he was not a man to emulate.
Now, this may seem over simplifying things, but life is like a boxing match. Our opponent may be ourselves, the world, or the devil, but let's face it, it can be a slugfest. In this slugfest, most of us aren't Mike Tyson - we can't down our enemy with one solidly sunk blow. Most of us fall into the amateur boxer category, where we just get by. We fight, we plant some punches, we dance, we weave, we get hit, sometimes we get KO'd. However, the method of scoring in the ring can teach us a valuable lesson.
The most obvious lesson learned is that small punches, as long as they are landed, are important. The more "clean" punches we throw, the more likely we are to be victorious. We can't simply play defense - dodging and weaving to victory,...it doesn't work that way. When entering the "ring" we have to be ready to fight. We have to be ready to land punches on our enemy. We have to be ready and willing to win! What are these small punches?
First, taking venial sin lightly is like failing to consider your opponents clean punches. Venial sin are punches landed on your scoring area that can ultimately lead you to lose the fight. Venial sin wears you down. Venial sin spells victory for your opponent. While we can block, dance, and weave, ultimately we have to plant some punches on this opponent. Landing these punches throughout the rounds wears down your opponent and builds your resolve and strength. These punches are the little things you do everyday, be them sacrifices, prayers, or commitments, which build you up and tear down the enemy.
Here is a quick list of "clean punches" for the spiritual life:
1. Fast from meat every friday throughout the year
2. Give up something for a 30 day period - soda, sweets, chips, beer, tv, etc.
3. Buy and commit to read a spiritual book daily - Imitation of Christ or Introduction to the Devout Life are good ones
4. Go to confession regularly
5. Say the Rosary
6. Lead all prayers in your family
7. Bless your family and home daily with Holy Water
8. Set standards for dresscode within your home
9. Refuse to allow R-rated movies to be shown in your home - no exceptions
10. Make evenings "quiet time" in the home - no radio, tv, internet, or loud talk - use this for prayer / reading time
Theme: Concerning Heroes and Heroines, talk given at the 2012 SBC Conference
Founder of the Imago Dei Psychiatric Clinic, G. C. Dilsaver has authored two books, one on Catholic psychotherapy, the other on being a father,The Three Marks of Manhood. If one were to capsulize the theme of Dr. Dilsaver’s powerful presentation, it would be that, in warfare, fighters for a just cause must know themselves and their enemy. He began his talk by stating the obvious: we have been overwhelmed by a hedonistic counter-culture that is totally antithetical to the teaching of Christ and His Church. We have enemies, we have to live in a society heavily influenced by the disproportional power of anti-Christian media, Islamists, evangelicals, and war-mongering Christian Zionists. Our biggest enemy on the outside, however, is now the mammoth state. It is the enemy within, however, that we must battle relentlessly: the enemies within the Church, and the enemy within ourselves.“Technology and wealth,” he said, “keep us artificially alive and ominously allows us to decay into a decadence unprecedented.” To be a Catholic hero today, Dilsaver said, in modern circumstances, is not to shoot to be “the last man standing . . . but, rather, the first man kneeling.” Download the talk in MP3 format here.
"It is the anti-Christian ideologies of secularism and liberalism - embodied in the modern state and promoted by the mass media - that have directed the attack upon the traditional familial order. These ideologies, inherently materialistic and therefore at least in practice atheistic, hold that the state is the highest, in fact, the only legitimate authority that exists. As a corollary to what is tantamount to the deification of the state, an absolute code of morality ensues where man is viewed purely as a political being and his good defined exclusively in terms of political rights. And the issuance and bestowal - or rescinding - of these rights are the exclusive domain of the state. It is the state, not God, from which these rights are seen to originate; and it the state, not man's nature in the image of God, which defines these rights" TMM, Dilsaver pg 167
Traditional familial order in these disturbing days can often be buried under the issue of one man and one woman marriage. However, seen in the light of biblical history, we are speaking of a more richer understanding of the family and the hierarchy establishes a proper order. For to speak of family without a hierarchy is to speak of a family in disorder. This disorder comes directly from the denial that there is a God-established duty for each member of the family, and that in failing to fulfill this duty is to fail in truly being "family".
Destruction of the traditional family is not the result of same-sex marriage, but same-sex marriage is the result of the destruction of the traditional familial order. Let's face it, if families were functioning and beautiful order carried out in the majority of families, it would perpetuate itself. However, each member of the modern family seeks his or her own rights, goods, and way. No longer does the family function as a cohesive whole, in which each member sacrifices for the others. Fathers selfishly seek wealth and power in the workplace forfeiting their kingly dignity for wage-slavery. Mothers abandon sacrifice and selfless service of the family for increased wealth, entertainment, and control. Children are thrown to the wolves through over-involvement in modern sports and activities that promote selfish individualism and fame over humble development toward their ultimate goal of eternity with God the Father. These perversions are the root of the current state of the redefinition of marriage, and these are what the modern state and culture have peddled to the world over the last 100 years.
Why has the destruction of the family been on the agenda of the state? As Dr. Dilsaver states, it is the goal of the state to gain power and claim sole arbitration over rights and authority. By disrupting the order of the family authority structure, the state is able to supplant the father as the guide and leader. The state becomes the sole authority that every member of the state goes to, to decide what is right and wrong. This can be seen in the power of the modern state education system, that daily gains more and more time and power over the children forfeited to it. The behemoth now feeds them three meals a day, bandages their injuries, indoctrinates them, provides counseling and health care, and then attempts to "educate" them for future productive roles in society. Teachers view parents, and especially fathers, as threats to their authority, and will either politely snub their leadership, or outright tell them, "I know better for your child - after all I spend more time with them every day!"
As the political powers pretend to quarrel over the so-called issues of the day, let us return our focus to our own area of responsibility - our family. What we need is the power of Elias, "that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people" (Luke 1:17). So many seek to place more and more power into the hands of the politicians, on both sides of the aisle, that the state is assured to gain the power it seeks. The only answer to the issues of the day, is a turning of the hearts of men to true Christian Manhood, true leadership, and true kingly, priestly, and prophetic fatherhood.
"The lesser of two evils." It's a phrase bantied about in politics, education, business, ok, well in just about every aspect of life. This phrase is used to justify just about anything that might go against my ideas and philosphy of life, but seemingly demands a decision. I use the word justify loosely, for is there really any justice in choosing an evil?
As men we are constantly bombarded with decisions that demand a response. The challenge for many is to see that there may be more than just the two options presented...there may be a third way. Although many may think I am refering to politics, lets take a real life scenario that may be presented to a father in a properly patriarchal family: sports. What is a father to do when deciding how much his children will be involved in sports?
One might see that there are two options, either my children play in organized sports or they do not. If they do, that means practices and games which may conflict with family meals and religious observances. If the children are not involved in sports, well, they may be deprived of the physical outlet for excess energy and the learning experience of playing on a team. These two options are all many parents will ever consider. But wait, could there be a third or fourth option?
Let's face it, many of us just don't put the effort into thinking through these things until we learn that our child learned some new four letter words or worse yet, was exposed to some evil on a peer's cell phone while traveling with the team. We seem to be more concerned with being perceived as overprotective or controlling by other parents than holding a true standard of goodness in our homes. God forbid that our child would be deprived of the great learning experience of playing tee-ball!!!
So what is a father to do? The decision always has to start with our eternal goal in mind. What benefit is this to my child's soul and eternal salvation? What is the effect on the child's soul by opting out? The next step is to face our own insecurity and baggage - Why do I want my child to play midget football? Why do I feel like I am neglecting my child's welfare by choosing to not enroll him in the local soccer league? While this sports discussion is just an example, this decision making process goes for most every decision related to my family's welfare. Do I make decisions for the eternal good of all or am I earth-bound and making decisions based on worldly concerns?
Of course, the really hard part is facing the consequences of our decisions. Am I seeing my college-age child distancing himself from the faith because of his sports performance anxieties? Am I able to embrace the cross of children playing around the house, rather than farming them out to some volunteer soccer coach?
The reality of the evil that looms in our post-Christian culture can be glimpsed in the above Japanese animation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfJZ6nwxD38 feature=player_embedded.
And remember the second target was Japan's Catholic city of Nagasaki. 6–9 August 1945
If I were to ask my parents if they knew what love is I am quite positive I would get an entirely different answer than if I were to ask a young couple in their college years. The word "love" is bantered about carelessly, even though many are afraid to either admit their love or to speak it out. Love can mean so many things to so many people...it can have theological and philosophical meanings...even Popes have written documents on love.
So what can I add by entering into the fray? Not much in the big picture, but when it comes to men living out their calling to imitate Christ in their homes, it means defining a very specific goal and action for that role. You see, men, as called by God to act as the priest, prophet, and king in their home are called to a very specific goal of their love. This goal, this end game is to see all of our family one day in Heaven. This goal, this ultimate end, is also the ultimate good, the Beatific Vision as it is called by theologians should guide all of our actions in the home.
Recently I was asked what I thought about video games in the home. When judged by the ultimate goal of eternity with our Heavenly Father, the answer seems clear to me. Unfortunately this clarity is not shared by many. The reason for this may be that many still have a somewhat worldly way of looking at things...I know I suffer from this quite often. Take for instance my post during the spring in which I confessed "motorcycle lust"; how does purchasing, riding, and enjoying the two-wheeled beast help me obtain my ultimate goal? If I am honest I will say that it won't, in fact, it could be a great hindrance to me achieving my goal.
Back to the video games. This, of course, is a question faced by many christians these days. Entertainment of all sorts is thrown at us in a constant barrage...sports, games, electronics, movies, parties....only the strongest ones make it through unscathed (and I don't claim to be one of them). These things are like grenades thrown into the home, if we don't thrown them out they are going to blow up and wreak havoc on our family. Why do I call them grenades? Well, let's go back to how we judge the worth of something, does it help us and our family obtain our goal of eternity with God? In my mind, video games are the most clear...if anything they steal a soul away from Christ by initiating the child into immoral fantasy where killing, maiming, stealing, and gore are acceptable. It also draws them into an unreality, ie, driving, sports, fighting, etc, all without having to lift more than a thumb. I have even heard a child state that he was great at football, even though he never actually played outside of his family room! Once confronted with the reality of slippery grass, flying pigskins, boys larger than himself, and the need to run, jump, throw, and catch...he was totally flumoxed.
So the grenade is that thing that forced its way into the home, blows up, all to the destruction of the home and its members, in this case, video games.
Now back to love. As men we show our love in many ways, but the most important is to "love" our wife and children into Heaven. While kisses and hugs, flowers and presents may get us a listen from our family, in the end, our leadership, our Christ-like bearing, our sacrificial manliness will be the greatest help to our family. In these times it is like a heavy snowstorm leaving three feet of snow on the ground. The true TMM man will shovel the path to clear a way for his family, and then guide his wife to the path, going before her, and then he will call his children, guide them, and at times carry them along the path. Is this what we do? or do we just throw them into the snow?