Two things in particular must be nurtured in the home: love and self-sacrifice. Sincere parental love makes the child home-centered and gives security, purpose, and direction to young lives. Self-sacrifice, demanded by discipline, remains the basis of order in the home. Firm parental discipline frees a child from his own confusion. It places the parents in their rightful place in the home. It sets the rules of family life and teaches respect for authority. If a child learns obedience early in life, he will extend that obedience to his teachers, and to wider authority as he matures.
As a parent, you stand in God’s place in the home, and in such a position you have God’s authority in training your children. Do not surrender that authority.
What a child needs more than anything else is to belong to two devoted, God-fearing parents who work together to bring about his eternal salvation. He wants a cheerful home where there is love, goodness, and generosity of heart. He needs the security of knowing his mother and father consider him a precious gift from God. He needs the faith that sustains a family whose members pray together and speak confidently of Godwatching over them. He needs parents strong enough to say, “This is right,” or, “That is wrong,” no matter what other people around them may be saying. He needs to share his parents’ time and thoughts often enough and intimately enough to feel the blessed closeness that makes them a family living to love and serve God.
Eight Beatitudes for the Home
Blessed is the home
where the father, mother, and children
love God sincerely and keep His commandments faithfully,
go to Confession regularly, receive Holy Communion frequently,
and pray much; for the Lord abides in such a home.
Blessed is the home in which Sundays and holy days
are properly observed, for the members will one day
meet again at the festival of Heaven.
Blessed is the home that no one leaves
to go to sinful amusements,
for in it the joy of Christ shall reign.
Blessed is the home where unkind speech does not enter,
nor cursing, nor bad literature, nor intemperance,
for on that home will be heaped the blessings of peace.
Blessed is the home where father and mother are conscious
of the sacred dignity of bringing children into the world and
educating them in the service of God, where they faithfully fulfill
the obligations they have toward each other and their children,
and detest the sins sometimes committed in the married state,
for they will merit the favor and abundant blessings of God.
Blessed is the home to which a priest is called to attend the sick, for their illness will have its consolation and death will be happy.
Blessed is the home where Christian doctrine is properly appreciated and learned from the Catechism and good books, for in that home, the Faith will be kept firm and active.
Blessed is the home where the parents find their joy in children
who are dutiful and obedient, and where the children find
in their parents the example of the fear and love of God,
for that home will be the abode of just people,
the haven of virtues, and the ark of salvation.
Where there is faith, there is love.
Where there is love, there is peace.
Where there is peace, there is God.
Where there is God, there is Heaven.
Editor’s note: This article is a chapter from Fr. Lovasik’s The Catholic Family Handbook, which is available from Sophia Institute Press.