Have you ever wondered if there are any spiritual wisemen [and women]living in the US and abroad? Every era seems to have them and a few names come to mind; but what about these spiritual wisemen? What do they do for us? Are spiritual wisemen also modern-day prophets? This author thinks so since the two roles are similar. Prophet is defined as one who teaches about God. [Being able to foretell the future is another common understanding of the word but that definition doesn’t pertain to this article.] And spiritual wisemen also lead us to God as did the original three [maybe four]wisemen from the time of Jesus’ birth.
How do great spiritual wisemen lead us to God? First and foremost, they reveal God while following His Guiding Star (moral laws, natural laws, sacraments, the Church) — not their own. Faithfulness stokes their desire to teach about God and His Creation. Their teachings are consistent and do not contradict what has already been taught about God in and through the Bible, Tradition, and Revelation. Prophets do not assume their roles for personal gain although they probably appreciate being able to make a difference in human lives. Like in ages past, prophets stand to lose a lot [personally]as they correct, teach and bring about conversion to God and His Church; some pay heavily either in the larger society or in familial relationships. Many are/were martyred — paying the ultimate price for loving Christ authentically. These great teachers direct us to focus on God and His truth as we navigate everyday life. They remind us that life is short but eternity is forever. They reveal our real identity [as a child of God]. They refute those who encourage sin against God, self and others. Wisemen also form and change hearts and minds of those willing to listen and learn. Their ultimate mission invites us to conform ourselves to God’s will. It is these refutations, instructions, and invitations that get under other people’s skins.
Not all prophets are famous; some lead very ordinary lives. Likewise not all prophets are martyrs. Neither are they all of a bygone era. You are called to be one! What? Yes, all Christian parents have been commissioned to be their children’s first heralds; they are called to be their children’s primary educators in matters of faith and morals.[CCC2221] This is similar to the role of a prophet. Christian homes are known as domestic churches for within that church parents have grave spiritual and moral responsibilities and obligations. Parents are to shoulder these responsibilities as lay priests, prophets and kings. [CCC 1657] How willing are you to be a lay priest? How prepared are you to do so? What does the role of lay priest or priestess entail? How willing are you to be a prophet or prophetess for the sake of your children’s temporal and eternal life? What does that role entail? And how willingly and rightfully do you exercise your duty as King and Queen [protectors and defenders]of the family?
Parents are best suited to be their children’s spiritual wisemen, gurus, and the persons whom they seek out for insight and answers — but it requires some heavy lifting on the part of parents. Therefore, parents have to stay well-grounded, connected, and faithful to their own Church in order to carry out these awesome duties and responsibilities. We recently met a 25-year-old man who has never prayed to God a day or moment in his life, principally because he was never taught how, why and to whom to pray. He has never praised God for one single thing in his life. His life is devoid of any spiritual knowledge or direction or insight. He knows nothing about God; nor does He believe in God. He has no concept of morality beyond do no harm to others; he seems ready to be introduced to God, but what will happen when that occurs? Imagine the personal transformation [of heart, mind and will]needed to transition from knowing nothing about God to knowing, loving and serving Him eagerly. Imagine the pushback he will receive from his own family. His parents clearly missed an opportunity; perhaps their parents made the same mistakes. Let’s make sure nobody can say that about us.
Some parents presume they are unqualified to the their children’s primary teachers in matters of faith and morals, but given the right tools, attitudes and determination any of us can do it. Some parents believe it’s not their job; in fact, that’s why many send their children to parochial schools and CCD classes. They fail to realize that these arenas should supplement what children have learned at home not the other way around. Still other parents have busy lives that prevent them from taking the time to talk about matters that matter. These parents provide the lesson that busy-ness is equivalent to resourcefulness; however, doesn’t busy-ness mostly prevent us from being truly resourceful in the long run. One of the greatest ironies of our time is busy-ness. [The acronym for BUSY is being under Satan’s yoke] because it keeps us doing what is most important as we concentrate on the little things that eat up our time and energy.
Making excuses never exonerates anyone from doing what he/she is called to do.
Finally, there are parents who actively form their children — morally and spiritually — but in all the wrong ways and for all the wrong reasons. It is accusatory language that derails progress within our own marriages, family life, and personal relationships. It is this same accusatory language that prevents children from discovering God’s Truth.
Prophets [parents]have one purpose: [Proverbs 19:20] to give advice which when the instruction is accepted and the advice is listened to their children “in the end will be wise.” And it is wisdom that is worth seeking for it is a great treasure … it is like a pearl of great worth… In addition, all of us ought to be willing to give everything we have to[sell everything we have]acquire wisdom. [Matthew 13:45] Wisdom always points us to God and gives us the desire to meet Him one day face to face.
As we raise children, it is easy to wonder if hard heads and stubborn wills signal their rejection of our advice and wisdom or whether seemingly willful defiance and disobedience simply prove their lack of wisdom and judgment. I believe that the latter is most likely the case and so I urge parents to dig in and hold on tight to the Truth because their journey toward maturity and wisdom will never be easy. Yet, a parent’s job is always worthwhile. Young people have a lot to learn — as do we. [ Job 12:12] “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Parents have to be the ones committed to patiently and firmly guiding their children to the moral/spiritual life; if not us than who? And we can be successful by relying on the Wisdom gained from conforming to God’s Word and His Church, and through prayer, sacrifice and service.
Venerable Mother Julienne Morrell [Doctor of Laws; 1653] wrote: “three essential virtues are necessary in order to acquire true wisdom that leads us to God”. [Magnificat. July 2016. Page 285.] The first foundational virtue necessary [for the acquisition of wisdom]is humility. The second is purity and the third charity. “In order to reach charity great purity is necessary; and to attain purity one must pass through humility.” And as we ascend the rungs we are blessed with greater and deeper Wisdom that comes from God.
I believe that the order is important; let me use a personal example. While dating my husband — who at that time was a practicing Lutheran [Missouri Synod] — we would discuss faith differences fairly frequently. I appreciated the fact that he believed in God and was not anti-Catholic; and he seemed to appreciate my Faith. Eventually we got married and had a mixed marriage — as it was called back then when spouses shared different faiths. We kept discussing our similarities and differences even though neither of us seemed capable of convincing the other of the what and why of the differences. We were proud that our faith differences seemed minor yet failed to grasp why certain issues kept re-surfacing. One day we really got on each other’s nerves. I disagreed with Dave’s once saved, always saved mentality/philosophy and stated why. Dave disagreed because he believed that he was saved because he believed — pure and simple. He was grateful for the assurance of going to Heaven regardless of what he did or didn’t do. He crossed the line when opining that I lacked faith if going to Heaven was ever in question for me. Dave’s opinion stung. Long story short and many disagreements and agreements later, Dave became a Catholic but continued to cling to his once saved, always saved philosophy. So, occasionally the same argument would erupt with the same outcome. Eventually, Dave began to see the folly of his attitude and belief with good reason. It allowed him to use the philosophy as an excuse to ignore the Church’s teachings about mortal and venial sin. It gave him an excuse to excuse sin in his own life. After all what sin matters when once saved always saved? And he began to see the folly of presuming that the mantra proved he had great faith. He learned great lessons that were inextricably linked to the virtue of humility. And he credits that new-found wisdom to his being faithful to 24 Hour Adoration and a few other revelations, circumstances, people and graces.
Pride will disaffect any marriage and personal relationship. Humility, on the other hand, leads to purity, which in turn allows me to love my husband [and God]more authentically. The order matters. Humility is necessary to resolve differences and difficulties within family life — regardless of the issue. Great and little issues are never resolved by prideful thoughts, words or deeds. The wisdom required to resolve differences will always remain elusive if/when humility, purity and love are compromised. Why does this matter? Because it is within family life, that we find the pathways to salvation according to Blessed Mother Teresa – and I believe that advice is Wise.
“Wisdom will enter your heart, discretion will watch over you saving you from the way of evil men, from men of perverse speech who leave the straight paths to walk in the ways of darkness.” [Proverbs 2:10-13]
Therefore, parents are called to be prophets for the sake of their children. And parents need to be/stay fortified in their own faith in order to pass wisdom to their children. Pray for God’s wisdom; pray for humility, purity and love for the sake of your whole family.
If you were stumped by the earlier discussion about how to carry out the role as lay priest, prophet and king, the following suggestions/tips are for you.
- Adam was the very first lay priest because it was through him that his offspring learned how to give right praise to God. (Bishop Barron, WMF 2015) Therefore we are to teach our children how to give right praise to God.
- Help others come to know God and give Him right praise.
- We must use our whole hearts, and minds and souls to give right praise to God.
- We are prohibited by the first commandment from giving praise to any other being; “if we are not praising God we will praise ourselves.”
- We are to help our children discern what false gods are present in their own lives. We have to help them identify what/if they give false praise to someone/something other than God. We are to identify any false gods present in our lives as well.
- “The lay priest is to create centers of radiant faith” (CCC 1656) through the preaching of truth, forgiving, and administering blessings to his children.
- Must endure ridicule from a secularized world.
- Pray for and with your family.
- Perform sacrificial service for your family
- Prophets are God’s mouthpiece on earth; they reveal God’s Divine Plan. Learn what that is.
- We will also be persecuted when we speak God’s Truth because the Truth sounds harsh and incriminating to those who fail to know, love or serve God.
- Our message to our children should fully align with God’s past, and present revelations, His Church, and the Bible, whereas false prophets belittle God, Truth, and the Divine Plan.
- Parents are to be the children’s’ means of conversion. This means that we are called to teach God’s Truth to our children about faith, and morals, God, His Divine Plan, sin, immorality and God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.
- We have to set consequences when/if our children fail to love others or God.
- We are to teach virtue by modeling it.
- We have to answer questions truthfully and courageously. We have to show why behavior, attitudes and philosophies separate us from God. We have to cogently defend the faith and moral living.
- We are to introduce God’s Kingdom to our own families.
- We are to exercise rightful, just parental authority.
- We will have to make important proclamations for our family: “From now on this … is going to happen.” (“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15)
- We are called to be merciful, just and forgiving.
- We are called to judge fairly and impartially.
- We are called to practice/model generosity and benevolence.
- We are called to offer up our life — sacrificially — for the sake of our children and spouse
- We are to model LOVE.
Take a few minutes to see how you can apply each of these to your immediate family. Discuss them with your spouse.
Thank you for reading this and sharing it with friends. You can find more helps by visiting our website: http://www.fortifyingfamiliesoffaith.com.
Copyright 2016 Linda Kracht.