“Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.” These words of Jesus, taught in the context of the Sermon on the Mount, is a universal command! This must be carried out according to one’s specific vocation of life.
What are some specific ways in which men who have chosen the married life can live out this universal call and command to be as holy as our heavenly Father is holy?
In this short essay we will focus on the Husband’s relationship to God and his wife. Once married, the hierarchy of importance for the married man must be the following order: God, wife, children, then parents and loved ones. When this order is turned topsy-turvy, then confusion and problems inundate the family!
The following are five building blocks to construct a solid and holy family.
1. Pray for Your Spouse
A holy and noble husband should be a man of prayer. He should pray fervently and frequently for the totality of his family; however, first on the list should be for his wife. He should daily pray for her daily conversion, sanctification and eternal salvation.
2. Pray With Your Wife
Not only should he pray for his spouse, but he should have the habit of praying with his wife. Sometimes, “macho-type” men ask their wives to pray for them and at times say that they pray in private but excuse themselves from praying in common with their wives. This is wrong!
St. Joseph shines as a brilliant example to follow! No doubt, this great saint offered fervent and frequent private prayers, but he also would pray with his wife—the Blessed Virgin Mary.
3. Primetime to Pray
Prayer can be considered both the easiest of all activities, but at the same time the most difficult. Why? We can pray at any time, in any place and in any words we choose—at least it seems easy!
However it is difficult because of three things that prevent us from praying: the devil, distractions, and daily-duties. All of these tend to suffocate and crowd prayer from our lives. Therefore, spouses should prioritize “Prime-times” of prayer together: morning prayers upon waking, meal times, the most Holy Rosary, and if possible attendance at Holy Mass and Holy Communion together. When husbands take the initiative to pray together this serves as a type of “super-glue” to unite them in a harmonious and cohesive whole.
How true resound the words of the Rosary-priest, Father Patrick Peyton: “The family that prays together stays together.”
4. Offer Masses
Wives that take their spiritual lives seriously would rejoice to their heart’s content if on their birthday as well as on their wedding anniversary their husbands would have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for their intentions. Indeed all prayers are good and pleasing to God if offered with purity of intention and for a noble purpose.
However, the greatest prayer underneath the sun is by far the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. One Mass is worth more than all of the private prayers put together. Why? The Mass is opus Dei—the very work of God Himself. Husbands, the next time your wife’s birthday arrives, as well as your wedding anniversary, why not have a pre-planned Mass offered for the treasure of your life, your loving wife!
5. Consecrate Your Family to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
Fathers are called to be the “Head” of the family, as well as “The Priest of the family”. What a sublime and supernatural gesture for the Husband to take the initiative to have his wife, children, and the whole family consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This would entail a bit of work: purchase the material (books or pamphlets), obtain the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, invite the priest to enthrone the images as well as the specific time. How many wives would be exultant with overflowing joy seeing their husbands take the initiative to consecrate their lives and family to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary!
The Husband is called to be the Head and Leader of the family; if you like, he is called to be the Priest of the family. This means that he is called to a deep prayer life that he manifests in private prayer, but also in family prayer, still more, in finding a time and place to pray with the treasure of his life: his wife!
How true: “The family that prays together stays together.”
You can hear more practical advice on holiness through Fr. Broom’s video reflections as well as his books Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary and From Humdrum to Holy.