Avoiding Purgatory

Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus,
that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies."

Mortification of Jesus (Rev 22:12-15)

Role Models, Teachers, and Guides

The Gift of Children

The sacrament of matrimony confers the special graces needed in the vocation of married life. These graces are available to those who wish to receive and nurture them.

Prior to the conception of their first child, a couple is 'expectant' of the graces and gifts that God, in tremendous Goodness, will shower upon their marriage. The promise of His tenderness and love in their marriage — that He will be with them — is a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength in times of trouble. Despite weaknesses and foibles, all couples begin a marriage rooted in His love, trusting that it will help them endure sickness, health, good times and bad.

With the arrival of their first child, the couple re-experiences the innocence and wonder of childhood. This tiny new being, created in the image and likeness of God, is utterly dependent upon their love for all its needs. A natural sense of responsibility surfaces toward this new little being. It draws the new parents to teach and train their child in all that is good and pure.

More importantly, the gift of their child teaches them that the kingdom of God begins here. As Jesus came to us — Emmanuel - God with us in His tiny, helpless form — so does their child. Jesus wants them to receive the Kingdom in the same manner, with the same trust in Him as the child has in them.

Jesus has entrusted them with His creation as a means to inherit eternal life with Him.

Role Models

To what degree do we take responsibility for the proper formation of our children?

Do we let others, particularly the media, do this crucial task? Young minds cannot properly discern the true and the good in barrage of contradictory messages that assaults them. Do we let others, with a monetary conflict of interest, lay claim to their hearts and their souls?

Do we monitor their activities, and supply those that will lead them to grow in their love for Jesus?

What example do we set for them? Is Jesus the central person in our lives to whom all our actions and thoughts are directed? Our children keenly observe our lives, listening more to the unspoken words of our actions. They will mimic our behavior, even to our rote observance of the 'Sunday' event. Do we preach, with our lives, the ways of the world, or do we preach Jesus Christ Crucified out of love for us and the world?

"Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to the children." (CCC #2223)

Perhaps a true story will illustrate the consequences of our actions toward our children:

A woman went to confession to St. Padre Pio, who had the gift of reading hearts. As soon as she had knelt down, he chased her out of the confessional. Gathering her nerve the following day, she returned, and asked why he had done so. He told her that as soon as she had knelt down, he had a vision of her three children in hell. He told her that they were there as a result of her lax attitude toward their spiritual upbringing and her permissiveness toward their immoral activities. He told her to confess and repent.

Teachers and Guides

Filling Our Child's Mind with the Love of Christ

Family prayer is essential to the spiritual growth of both of the family and the child. The daily family rosary, prayers of thanksgiving before and after meals, daily morning offering prayers and night prayers teach the child that their family belongs to the wonderful family of God. Humility in the home blesses all with the grace of God.

Lives of child saints, such as St. Dominic Savio, St. Therese of Liseux, St. Maria Goreeti can show the child that other children have aspired to love God with their whole heart, mind, and soul, and to love their neighbor as themselves. Providing suitable books, movies, and other media can facilitate a deep yearning for God.

"Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when the family members help one another grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic comunity and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents." (CCC#2226)

Check out an excellent resource for fathers: http://www.fathersforgood.org

Action Item

The Church teaches that one of the spiritual works of mercy is "to pray for the living and the dead." May we invite you to sponsor a Beloved? If you have already done so, would you consider 'adopting' another soul, and agree to pray for their repose?

May God bless you abundantly here and in the life to come!