Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good Advice from Father Timothy Finigan

Families can do a lot to promote vocations:

A. "Nothing impure in the home"

1. Keep mainstream mass media out of the home, period. This will go a long way toward creating a prayerful, peaceful, joyful home.

2. Afford no opportunity for the children to develop friendly regard and admiration for atheist uncles, lesbian aunts and the like. Keep all such far, far away, period.

B. "Whatever things are true ... honorable ... just ... holy, etc. ... think on these things."

1. Lives of the saints. Read these to the children from their earliest years. Many lives of saints begin, "When Johnny was a little boy his mother used to read to him from the gospels and the lives of the saints." So began the life of the Cure of Ars, patron of priests.

2. Read other good, uplifting literature that "baptizes" the imagination, esp the Chronicles of Narnia and the like.

3. Children have a phenomenal memory and want to learn much earlier than we think. From age four work with the catechism 20 minutes per day. From this the children will learn that you value the faith very highly. They will also come to have a love of learning and desire for God and a respect for their own accomplishments.

C. "Pray always ... "

1. Pray often but briefly with the children, for example before they go out to play put your arm around them and pray for their physical and moral safety, but also that the Lord will bless them today and every day of their lives. With our children that scene was replayed three times a day or so till they were nine or ten. It was the most natural thing to hear, "Dad, will you pray with me? I want to go out and play!"

2. Pray often for the children, especially that the Lord will keep them from everything harmful, but also that He will lead them into His highest and best for their lives.

3. Have a prayer life yourself, and ratchet it up as the years go on. Dad pacing the hall with a rosary in hand should be the most natural thing in the world.

D. Also,

1. Visit old churches with beautiful stainglass windows, and let the beauty of the place catechize and inspire your children.

2. Encourage your son to serve Mass.

3. Sit right up front with your children so they can see what is going on at Mass, rather than making it a tedious experience of their staring at the back of someone's overcoat for 45 minutes.

4. Speak well of the priests.

5. Encourage a spirit of self-sacrifice in your children ala Louis and Zellie Martin.

6. As a couple, read out loud "The Story of a Family- the Home of St. Therese of Lisieux" by Fr. Piat.

7. When your son is a little older, take him on retreat with you.

8. Let it be known that you are very open to your children pursuing religious life or the priesthood and would feel greatly blessed if they pursued such a life, but for pity's sake avoid all semblance of nagging or propaganda.

wise words


FatherTF said...

Many thanks for the link, Father. I should be honest and say that the advice here is from Lee Gilbert who is a regular commenter on my blog. I thought it was worth posting in the main body of the blog.

I had put up some thoughts of my own earlier:Priestly Vocations and Catholic Families

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Very good advice.

John C. Hathaway said...

Thanks! Part 2 under impurities was a tough one for us, given our extended families, but we've taken some drastic moves, and I think my in-laws are finally accepting our terms on what relatives we allow our children to associate with.

I'm teaching my soon-to-be six year old to memorize her basic prayers in Latin (already knows them in English) as well as the Psalms. She's almost got Psalm 1 memorized, which is very apropos to the above.

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