The term household proposes multiple definitions with respect to who or what makes up a household. Whether a household is viewed as a community, family, or an agreement-covenant amongst a group of individuals there exists multiple understandings of how one would define a household or family structure. In the book of Joshua, we read how Joshua invites Rahab and her household into his own after she asks to become part of Joshua’s community (household) in return for her kindness in not turning in Joshua’s spies to the King of Jericho (2:18). The understanding of household in this specific passage demonstrates a reference to a genealogical-related family. In the Gospel of St. Luke, we discover Christ warns of a house(hold) divided within itself shall fall (Luke 11:17). In other words, Christ exhorts the importance of fidelity to the will of God to maintain a united household in His name.
The family as the throne of God
St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) once commented that “the field of battle between God and Satan is the human soul. It is in the soul that the battle rages every moment of life. The soul must give free access to the Lord so that it be fortified by him in every respect and with all kinds of weapons; that his light may enlighten it to combat the darkness of error; that it be clothed with Jesus Christ, with his justice, truth, the shield of faith, the word of God, in order to conquer such powerful enemies. To be clothed with Jesus Christ it is necessary to die to oneself.”
St. Pio’s comment on the battle for the soul introduces us to an important characteristic of a household (family) structure centered on the Blessed Trinity; it serves as a reflection of the throne of God. What this means is that any family structure rooted in Christ and His Church is an extension of God’s throne on earth, rooted in His Son Jesus Christ. We see a clear example of this from the very onset of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, specifically article 1 which states:
God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. (CCC 1)
St. Paul’s letter to Timothy echoes these significant directives where he proclaims that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth (1 Tim 2:3-4). What we see revealed in both the Catechism and St. Paul’s letter to Timothy is God’s desire to bring his children to Him. We are called, asked, provided, nurtured, and taught to come before the throne of God and dwell with Him.
The development of Charisms within the home
It is fair to argue that a child of God desires to receive love and be nurtured by this love in a sincere and visible way. Because we bear the image and likeness of God, our own nature is intimately tied to God the Father and nourished in a more profound way through Jesus Christ who is love made visible. Our actions as parents, guardians, and caretakers are called and asked to demonstrate God’s love to the very children entrusted to our care by God.
This journey of faith begins with a visible proclamation and recognition that our children are gifts. Their souls are to be nurtured and cared for and thus prepared to engage the battle of faith St. Pio spoke about earlier. How do we establish this crucial first step in the development of charisms (gifts of faith) within the family? Respective of the different charisms that may already exists between all entrusted in the care of their children, the value of prayer and praying for your children visibly and fruitfully is priority. Models of this first step may entail the following:
- Pray over your children by making the sign of the cross on their foreheads before going to bed and asking Christ to protect your child and to develop an intimate relationship with Him.
- Establish a time in the morning and evening to pray for one another to open and close the day, whether through an Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be.
- Erect a prayer intention board (white board) within the home and write down any prayer intentions you may have for one another or those in need.
- Pray before every meal.
- Incorporate the recitation and reflection of Sacred Scripture and Marian prayers such as the Memorare and the Angelus.
- Adopt a patron saint and the charisms associated with the saint for the home and seek the saint’s intercession in all matters within the family.
- Create a sacred space that consists of a Bible, crucifix, and the liturgical color of the season to incorporate the liturgical seasons into the home.
The premise of these steps it to introduce and initiate an opportunity for growth and holiness through a charism of prayer. Regardless of the specific charism of prayer (meditation, adoration, petition, thanksgiving, vocal or silent) one is comfortable with, the aim is to establish and foster an atmosphere of prayer. In communion with this process the hope is to develop and awareness of Christ in the lives of our children that affords them the opportunity to engage the world through a Catholic lens.
Copyright 2020 Marlon De La Torre