During Mass this past Sunday, the Priest explained in his homily the required elements of a Catholic Church building. Every Catholic Church must have a pulpit, a confessional, and an altar. He went on to apply these elements to the domestic church we should each have in our homes. I thought this would be a good theme for a reflection in applying his instruction in our homes.The Pulpit – The pulpit in our homes would include all of the Holy books and instructional material available for our families to read and study, principally the Holy Bible as well as catechisms, volumes on the lives of the saints, religious classics, prayer books, and other authoritative documents.
It is a joy for me as a father to share the Catholic Faith with my family and to pass it on to my children. The richness of our Faith is the true Heritage that we give to them that transcends any ethnicity or nationality. In our family, we have gradually accumulated many great Works for study and learning of our entire family. We’ll have those moments when even the adult progeny (it’s strange to refer to them as children—a weakness of the English language) will come up with a question or something they are contemplating where they will need a source to reference to get an answer.
I remember just starting out as a young family we had some basic things like a Bible, and then the new Catechism came out, and we got that. From there we just knew what to look for and what was good and what to avoid. We became with the great publishers like Tan and Ignatius. It seemed like we just had a hunger for the Faith and to learn things ourselves on an adult level, and then that has just rubbed off on the kids. This is the pulpit of the domestic Church. Kids need to see their parents really have a love and hunger for the Faith. They should be able to obviously see this in their father. If the wife is the spiritual head of the home, as the children grow they will come to see religion as just a feminine thing. A strong lead by the Father in knowing the Faith and teaching it to his children is part of fulfilling his role of priest in his domestic Church.
The father as the head of the home has the ultimate authority, and this includes holding everyone else in the home accountable. Someone has to be the final line of authority, and Christ has appointed the father of the family to that role. There is no such thing as dual-authority or co-headship or co-leadership. If anyone states that their marriage is oriented as such, it means that the wife has taken over leadership in the relationship or has always had it. It is very common today and frequently occurs during the dating relationship of the couple especially if they compromise themselves sexually before marriage. When a man has compromised himself this way, it is very simple for the wife to be in control of the relationship. When sin is welcomed in a relationship, Satan twists things and makes them backward. It takes a while once married and returning to a state of grace to get the roles corrected and coordinated properly. Unfortunately, most never do since often contraception has been introduced and the relationship continues to be robbed of grace during the marriage years as well.
An apparent situation of a controlling wife came to my attention a couple of weeks ago in a grocery store. I was with my 17-year-old son and was looking at the merchandise on the shelf. I noticed a couple of young boys with their parents, and they caught my attention because they were decked out in their LSU garb for the day’s football game. Well I just heard one of the kids say something about making a decision, and that would have been a bit of a mature thing for him to say at his age. My son then muttered to me, “That’s a miserable life.” I said “Why’s that.” He said what had happened was that the dad was looking for something, and his wife and kids were waiting for him. So she relayed the statement through the little kid to his father that “Mom said you need to make a decision.” Now obviously their whole relationship can’t be judged on this one incident, and it would be totally improper to do so. But just as a case for example, the scenario speaks volumes. Chances are because of the prevalence of the feminist ideology in society, that lady wore the pants in the family. It certainly sounded like she did. I know my wife would never make a statement like that to me, much less through one of the kids. The message being driven through those kids minds with that type of behavior is poison.
The father’s leadership in the home should be honorable and respectful of all but it should also be firm with resolve. His plans and actions for the family should be well thought out, and his family members should work together to carry out those plans. His wife should honor him in his role and never disrespect him, especially in front of their children. Her obedience to him is out of obedience to God, and her actions are setting an example to them to be obedient or disobedient, respectful or disrespectful.
The Altar – The altar in our homes is the crucifix that takes the most prominent place. It is here that the family gathers to pray on a regular basis. Family prayer is vital for the members’ spiritual well-being. So many fruits are granted when a family gathers to pray. All are assisted in carrying out their duties. The parents are granted wisdom in having their thoughts and judgment guided toward carrying out the duties of their respective roles.
Pope Francis advises parents on the importance of the family praying together. In a Homily for Family Day during the Year of Faith, on October 27, 2013 he said:
“Praying the Our Father together, around the table, is not something extraordinary: it’s easy. And praying the Rosary together as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength! And also praying for one another! The husband for his wife, the wife for her husband, both together for their children, the children for their grandparents…praying for each other. This is what it means to pray in the family and it is what makes the family strong: prayer. (Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP and Donna Giaimo, FSP, Give Us This Day our Daily Love (Boston; Pauline Books & Media, 2015), p 38)
God bless you+