What follows is a quote from the Catechism of the Council of Trent on fulfilling the fourth commandment to "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother." In reading this we should use it as an examination of conscience with regard to our own parents as well as how we are training our children. Let us all firmly grasp the importance of living the challenge of this commandment of God!
"The honour which children are commanded to pay to their parents should be the spontaneous offering of sincere and dutiful love. This is nothing more than their due, since for love of us, they shrink from no labor, no exertion, no danger. Their highest pleasure it is to fed that they are loved by their children, the dearest objects of their affection. Joseph, when he enjoyed in Egypt the highest station and the most ample power after the king himself, received with honour his father, who had come into Egypt. Solomon rose to meet his mother as she approached; and having paid her respect, placed her on a royal throne on his right hand.
We also owe to our parents other duties of respect, such as to supplicate God in their behalf, that they may lead prosperous and happy lives, beloved and esteemed by all who know them, and most pleasing in the sight of God and of the Saints in heaven.
We also honour them by submission to their wishes and inclinations. My son, says Solomon, hear the instructon of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother; that grace may be added to thy head, and a chain of gold to thy neck. Of the same kind are the exhortations of St. Paul. Children, he says, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just; and also, children, obey your parents in all things, for this is wellpleasing to the Lord. (This doctrine) is confirmed by the example of the holiest men. Isaac, when bound for sacrifice by his father, meekly and uncomplainingly obeyed; and the Rechabites, not to depart from the counsel of their father, always abstained from wine.
We also honour our parents by the imitation of their good example; for, to seek to resemble closely anyone is the highest mark of esteem towards him. We also honour them when we not only ask, but follow their advice.
Again we honour our parents when we relieve their necessities, supplying them with necessary food and clothing according to these words of Christ, who, when reproving the impiety of the Pharisees, said: Why do you also transgress the commandments of God because of your traditions? For God said: "Honour thy father and thy mother," and "He that shall curse father or mother let him die the death." But you say: "Whosoever shall say to his father or mother, The gift whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee." And he shall not honour his father or his mother; and you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition.
But if at all times it is our duty to honour our parents, this duty becomes still more imperative when they are visited by severe illness. We should then see to it that they do not neglect confession and the other Sacraments which every Christian should receive at the approach of death. We should also see that pious and religious persons visit them frequently to strengthen their weakness, assist them by their counsel, and animate them to the hope of immortality, that having risen above the concerns of this world, they may fix their thoughts entirely on God. Thus blessed with the sublime virtues of faith, hope and charity, and fortified by the helps. of religion, they will not only look at death without fear, since it is necessary, but will even welcome it, as it hastens their entrance into eternity.
Finally, we honour our parents, even after their death, by attending their funerals, procuring for them suitable obsequies and burial, having due suffrages and anniversary Masses offered for them, and faithfully executing their last wills."