The Christian Family as God's Gift to the World
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Our subject is The Christian Family As Gods Gift to the World. The
word Christian is essential. Certainly the family is a gift of God. But the
family, as we Catholics understand the term, came into existence only with the
coming of Christ.
The Family Before the Coming of Christ
- Familia did not mean family as Christianity understands the
- Contraception and abortion were legal throughout the Roman Empire.
- Infanticide was legalized. The father decided whether the newborn child
should remain alive.
- Familia in the Latin vocabulary of the last century before Christ
meant a household. At the head of the household was the man who had wives, concubines,
and absolute control as the male head.
- Even in Judaism, divorce, remarriage, and polygamy were part of the
Coming of Christ
- Marriage became a sacrament:
- to do the humanly impossible
- to practice monogamy, one man and one woman until death
- thus unity, stability, accepting whatever children God sends
- Utterly unique phenomenon in world history.
Reaction of the Pagan World
- Mainly hostility, originally.
- Gradually a change
- from incredulity to respect.
- from opposition to acceptance.
- from rejection to imitation.
Dissenters Among Christians from the Beginning
- First major break in Christian unity among the eastern churches, from
the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. Rise of Eastern Orthodox churches.
- Second major break in the sixteen century.
- All original Reformers broke with Rome over the indissolubility of Christian marriage.
- Divorce with the right to remarriage legalized by the State.
- Pattern for the Western world in which the State has control over marriage.
- Third major break in the twentieth century.
- Secularization of once vital family life.
- Basically the paganization or de-Christianization of the family.
Causes of Secularization of the Family
- Media consistently promoting pagan morality. Historic importance of
- Civil laws revert to pre-Christian paganism.
- Financial pressures against Catholic principles on marriage and the
- Rise of Marxism, promoting social conflict between men and women. Marxism
is widespread in the United States. Feminism is simply Marxism with its hostility
to the family.
Necessary Means to Preserve the Catholic Family
- Know what is happening in modern society.
- As a society becomes de-Christianized, the Catholic family becomes the most vulnerable victim.
- Realize that this is the verdict of two thousand years of Christian history.
- Deepen your faith convictions through continuing Catholic education.
- Read good Catholic books and periodicals.
- Listen to authentically Catholic lectures, radio, audio and video programs.
- Organize as Catholic families.
- To protect your own and your childrens Catholic faith.
- To preserve your Catholic family heritage.
- Pray for the grace that you need, both as an individual person
and as a family.
- This means obtaining supernatural light for the mind and strength for the will.
- This means obtaining from God superhuman wisdom and superhuman strength.
- The family that prays together stays together.
- Use the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession.
- In the early Church, Christians went to Mass and Holy Communion everyday.
- Communion may now be received twice a day.
- Confession should be frequent. The Churchs definition of frequent Confession is every two weeks.
- Develop the use of the media to promote Catholic family principles.
We have no option. Those who control the modern media are anti-Christian on
- Teach your children from infancy.
- Education begins in the womb.
- Home education is of the essence of Catholic education.
- Mobilize the Catholic forces to Christianize our civil laws.
- Catholics in our country are pathetically passive.
- Opposition is notoriously aggressive.
- Expect to suffer.
- The world has never accepted Christs teaching on the family.
- There will be rejection and misunderstanding and open persecution
- We are living in The Age of Martyrs.
- Do not conform to the secular values of this world.
- Reexamine your lifestyle.
- Practice poverty of spirit.
- Be wise as serpents and simple as doves.
- Be selective in whom you marry.
- Yet be trustful of your spouse if he or she does not agree with you.
- Do not compromise with your faith.
- Do not be afraid.
- This is Christs command.
- He tells us, I have overcome the world.
- Be confident.
- We Catholics are the soul of the world, Anima Mundi.
- We have the fullness of Gods truth in excess to all of His grace.
Lord Jesus, our God, when you became Man you chose to be conceived and born
into a human family.
- Enlighten our minds
to see that your Incarnation changed human history.
us to see that, as Catholic families, we are in a world that does not believe
what we believe.
- Strengthen our wills to remain
faithful to your teaching, at no matter what cost to our own preference or ease.
- Jesus, Mary and
Joseph, we entrust our families to your loving care.
- Preserve our families here
on earth in anticipation of the day when we shall be reunited, with you in heaven,
as families for all eternity. Amen.
Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica