The Holy Family and ours
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - December 29, 2019 - 12:00am

With the Feast of the Holy Family, we should take time to examine how our own families conform to the model family of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We should never take this occasion and duty for granted. Our families, like each of us, are still a work in progress. They are still on their way to perfection as exemplified by the Holy Family.

We cannot deny the world and families in general are drifting toward godlessness. Today, we are witnessing a more aggressive type of secular humanism that excludes God and that only depends on some human consensus, however derived.

Many of our public officials are now espousing their own theories and ideas, based more on what is practical and popular, rather than on what our faith teaches us. They believe more in these theories than in the doctrine of our faith, and sometimes put their theories and the faith in direct contrast.

We now have to grapple with the many manifestations of practical atheism, like relativism, materialism, commercialism, hedonism, agnosticism, etc. We have to be familiar with their causes and symptoms. More importantly, we have to know the appropriate weapons to use for combat.

Definitely we cannot be blind to the many challenges and difficulties the contemporary family faces. The number of broken and dysfunctional families is increasing. Its nature, purpose, and requirements are getting vaguer and vaguer to many people, especially the young.

Many developments today, while offering some good, also create havoc on the family because they aren’t understood well or assimilated to the needs of the family. There’s so much concern for the economic viability of the family at the expense of taking care of its spiritual and moral vitality which is more important.

The main challenge now is for parents to educate their children properly. Precisely as parents their primary duty is to raise their children properly. And this responsibility isn’t only in the material aspects, like feeding and clothing, but more in the spiritual and moral aspects that are a matter of education and formation.

That’s why parents should realize very deeply that they need a good and ongoing human and spiritual formation. Remember that this aspect of formation serves as the foundation for any education and training parents give to their children.

The practical aspects of learning can only be truly effective if they rest on a good, solid, and consistent human and spiritual formation. The basic human and spiritual values and virtues are learned by giving children appropriate basic responsibilities, like greeting or kissing parents to instill respect, doing household chores to inculcate the idea of responsibility and concern for others, etc.

Parents should also realize that to create a proper and conducive atmosphere of learning, they should try to create and keep an atmosphere of peace and cordiality at home. Since there will always be differences, conflicts, mistakes, and failures, parents should know how to handle these without compromising peace and cordiality at home.

Also very important for parents to carry out is to introduce their children as early as practicable to a life of piety. The rudiments of prayer and faith should be planted in children as early as possible. This is very important and should not be regarded as only secondary in the priorities of what to teach children.

In dealing with their children, parents should try their best to put themselves in the level of their children. Friendship, affection, and intimacy should be fostered, such that there is trusting openness between parents and children, even as the right to privacy is also respected and, in fact, promoted.

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