Church, Family, Home

31st October, 2018

Fr Emmanuel

Governments are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to respond to problems facing families and communities throughout Australia. Some years ago there was a government strategy in place to support the building of strong families and communities. It is widely believed that if we can build strong families and communities this will have a positive effect on people. This view has great merit but the question is, can government programs achieve such a goal?

I believe that the way we treat our children and elderly people, reflects a great deal about the health of our community. It is disturbing to note that child abuse in Australia is at record levels as is the incidence of violence on the elderly. Violence and abuse that preys on the weak is now commonly reported in the media. Is it stating the obvious to say that faith in God, life in the Church, love in the family, is the making of a good home? The making of such a home is what protects our young and makes for strong families and communities. The Christian home not only builds strong foundations for this life, but also prepares for the promised eternal family and Kingdom of God. It does this by not only being interested in building strong bodies, healthy minds and promoting good behaviour, but by protecting what is pure, what is innocent and what is good by building strong foundations that support spiritual health, the source of all healing and well being. In years gone by, parents were helped to achieve this by the Christian values of schools and the general community.

No government or community program can replace the Christian home. For such secular programs can only deal with the symptoms and cannot deal with the causes of such problems. As the Church is the centre of all healing it goes straight to the core of our being like nothing else because Christ Our Lord knows the state of every person’s heart (kardiognostis). One thing about today’s schools is how differently they relate to young children as compared to teenagers. There is for me a sharp contrast between the tender care and love afforded to young children of primary school age as compared to those in high school. In the early development years, schools pay particular attention to the whole person, their physical development, their feelings and emotions and respond accordingly to their overall needs.

Childhood education and child rearing starts with such great promise but ends with so much confusion. In high school the same feelings and emotions acknowledged in the earlier years are largely ignored and consequently ‘bottled up’ when they most need expression. This to me effectively equates to the denial of the human spirit and the crucial role it plays in achieving overall health. This dramatic shift prepares young people for an independent but vulnerable adult life. For by remaining ignorant of the existence of the spirit and its ally, the conscience, morality which is our anchor to God becomes a source of discomfort for many who live outside the life of Christ and His Church.

Added to this, our impressionable young receive a barrage of messages from their peers, media and the general community convincing them that being independent is a strength necessary for achieving a ‘good life’. So in just a few short years children in many families lose their innocence, the love and the security of their family home, whilst pursuing the crazy culture of adulthood that has a disturbing and diminishing reference to the Church, family and home. So whereas the early years of childhood focused on personal development through cooperation and tolerance, the later years are characterised by a spirit of competitiveness, aggression and individualistic drive. Self esteem shifts from feeling good about oneself to feeling good by outdoing others… the opposite to Christ’s message that teaches us to consider ourselves the least among all.

‘Today’s lost generation is lost because it cannot see the importance of faith in God, life in the Church, and love in the family home; these three together. ‘

Let us therefore strongly affirm that the family home must always be regarded as the family home, it is more than just a place, and it can never cease to be a home even when the children reach adulthood. This is true of our children as well, for our children are our children forever and we must not forget to live like children ourselves, if we desire to enter the Heavenly Kingdom. Here in the home is where love and respect is first known, where God’s Word and work is taught by the example of love, patience, obedience and serving others in order to serve Christ.

The family and the Church are what constitutes a good home and these are inseparable if we are to live as true Christians. Today’s lost generation is lost because it cannot see the importance of faith in God, life in the Church, and love in the family home; these three together. All these three are centred on Christ and united by His Spirit. To lose the first of these is to lose all three, because nothing endures without Christ and His Church. Secular programs attempt to bind things together with objectives and outcomes.

Those managing such interests are unable to recognise or value the human spirit so their response is to devalue and overshadow the spirit by heightening the importance of the superficial, symptomatic and temporal activities related to human suffering. All very noble and just sounding causes indeed but who can relate to such programs with their heart or their spirit which naturally cries out to be healed by God? Who indeed can hear this calling? For the state of the heart and the voice of the inner person is known and heard only by God. How often do we hear the words: “We cannot wait for our children to grow up so that we can get on with our own lives.” Their wish is the abandonment of their children and their family homes, which are already divorced from the Church.

We belong to the great family of the Church, the One Holy Body of Christ. But perhaps the greatest danger of all in this apostatised age is the belief that we can have a good family life and good family homes and that this is sufficient for us. Seeking a “good life” without Christ is like preparing for an impending disaster where all life perishes, but where the pain and the suffering remain with us forever.

Fr Emmanuel

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Fr Emmanuel

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