Family Life in Christ

Written by Gary Shirley

Continued from page 1

It is impossible to liverepparttar sacramental life while actively engaging in any contraceptive practices, for we knowingly defraud God ofrepparttar 126933 result of a loving act due to our selfishness and sinful pride.Upon assumingrepparttar 126934 role of parents, we must remember that we haverepparttar 126935 “primordial and inalienable” responsibility forrepparttar 126936 education of our children (CCC #2221-23). While we can delegate certain educational duties to a formal school, we cannot delegate responsibility for oversight of our children’s education. The term “education” means more than just secular studies, for home must berepparttar 126937 place for evangelization and catechesis. First, we must give our children a solid grounding inrepparttar 126938 virtues. Second, we must offer apprenticeship in self-mastery, self-denial and sound judgment, so they can learn to forego pleasures inrepparttar 126939 spirit of Christian discipline. This helps widen their focus outside ofrepparttar 126940 family in order to seerepparttar 126941 needs of others. Third, education inrepparttar 126942 Catholic faith means creating an environment of personal and family prayer, participating in devotions (such as Enthronement, Adoration, Novenas, Stations ofrepparttar 126943 Cross andrepparttar 126944 Rosary), attending Parish Missions, and ensuring thorough Sacramental preparation. Fourth, we must guide children in exploring potential vocations, especially being open to God’s call torepparttar 126945 priesthood or religious life. All of these efforts point torepparttar 126946 only true goal inrepparttar 126947 education of our children - to make them holy people.

All of this responsibility may seem daunting torepparttar 126948 average Catholic parent. Like any task, however, we can create hope by building a strategy for success. Considerrepparttar 126949 following as a guide:

A. Set and Honor Priorities - Make it known that God is first in your life and let your decisions consistently reflect God’s preeminent place. Ensure thatrepparttar 126950 family’s choices regarding books, magazines, entertainment, and clothing all reflect proper Christian values. Ensure that attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days (and especially while on vacation) is a family priority. Letrepparttar 126951 family home proudly exhibit signs and symbols of our faith.

B. Distinguish between Vocation and Occupation- Understandrepparttar 126952 distinction between “what we are” versus “what we do.” Success in our vocation (married, single or priest/religious) is our life’s goal. Our occupation, onrepparttar 126953 other hand, is merely what we do to payrepparttar 126954 bills. God cares deeply how we embrace our chosen vocation, whereas it matters little to Him what field we choose to earn our daily bread. As any committed Catholic parent will affirm, it is infinitely harder to live one’s vocation than it is to succeed at a chosen occupation. Why? Because our vocation demands that we give everything of ourselves, a notion that runs contrary to our culture. Doesrepparttar 126955 next rung ofrepparttar 126956 career ladder undergo prayerful scrutiny for its impact on our chosen vocation or is it weighed solely for its occupational benefits?

C. Embrace a Vigorous Sacramental Life - Continue to foster a love ofrepparttar 126957 Sacraments in your children once they initially receive by havingrepparttar 126958 same level of commitment yourself. Demand of yourself an ever-higher standard of Christian behavior rather than simply remaining atrepparttar 126959 same level year after year. Start a relationship with a spiritual director.

D. Surround Yourself with Committed Catholic Families - Americans love “support groups,” so why not as part of our faith journey? Haverepparttar 126960 courage to discontinue relationships if certain friends do not support your moral values. Make an active effort to be involved in parish life beyondrepparttar 126961 Sunday “obligation.” Be willing to be challenged by others more advanced inrepparttar 126962 faith to delve deeper into its mysteries.

E. Continue Your Education inrepparttar 126963 Catholic Faith - Considerrepparttar 126964 last 10 books youhave read. Did they support or conflict with your faith values? Ensure that your faith education includes doses of Scripture, Catechism, Lives ofrepparttar 126965 Saints, Papal Encyclicals, Council Documents and works of Spirituality.

F. Actively Demonstrate Christian Service - Remember that, “...a contented Christian does not exist.” We are called to mix it up with society and fearlessly speak out against injustice, poverty and wrongdoing. In short, being Catholic means being countercultural, just as Jesus was countercultural. Our family life must reflectrepparttar 126966 admonition of St. James that, “...Faith without works is dead.” (Jm 2:14) and render Christian service in a truly selfless way. Sincere actions will instill in our childrenrepparttar 126967 importance of a life focused on service to others.

“We are not called to success, just faithfulness.”

Mother Teresa

*Catechism ofrepparttar 126968 Catholic Church, Second Edition.

Gary Shirley, his wife, and three children are members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Kennesaw, Georgia, where Gary serves as catechist in the adult education program.

My Finest Cutoffs

Written by Gary Shirley

Continued from page 1

Andy reflected on his week. He spent countless hours trying to make sure that his clothes sentrepparttar right message. He had “dressed for success.” Only his best effort would do for Zenon. He imagined what would have happened if he had shown up at Zenon in his cutoffs. Probablyrepparttar 126932 same thing that would occur if he met with a major client while donning his Speedo. If he knew anything, Andy knew that clothes did indeed send a powerful message. They say, in their silence, that, this event is worthrepparttar 126933 effort. Andy realized that not only did he insult God with his lack of effort, but he also sentrepparttar 126934 wrong message to his little boy.

Upon arriving home from Mass,repparttar 126935 humbled executive decided to see just whatrepparttar 126936 Church had to say about proper dress for Mass. Inrepparttar 126937 Catechism ofrepparttar 126938 Catholic Church, he found such guidance inrepparttar 126939 section devoted torepparttar 126940 Eucharist,repparttar 126941 “source and summit” of our faith. He reflected uponrepparttar 126942 words, “Bodily demeanor (gestures and clothing) ought to conveyrepparttar 126943 respect, solemnity and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.” (CCC #1387) Andy found further insights inrepparttar 126944 section devoted to personal modesty: “Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resistrepparttar 126945 allurements of fashion andrepparttar 126946 pressures of prevailing ideologies. Modesty...exists as an intuition ofrepparttar 126947 spiritual dignity proper to man.” (CCC #2522-24)

Powerful reminders. Ideas that are lost in America today, Andy thought. The Church’s insights made him reflect upon his youth when his whole family went to Mass in their “Sunday best.” To appear in Church in anything less caused a scandal back then. Sunday was special, it was important, and it was holy. What happened? What have we done? Have we lost our sense ofrepparttar 126948 sacred? Have we now “casualized” our culture torepparttar 126949 point of a complete loss of decency? Is nothing set apart and sanctified? Andy recalled reading a recent article on how businesses now have several “levels” of casual attire to try and combatrepparttar 126950 various interpretations that are creeping intorepparttar 126951 workplace. Like many people in corporate America, he knew that once we openedrepparttar 126952 Pandora’s Box of “casual” then everyone’s personal interpretation had equal value, like it or not.

Andy reflected onrepparttar 126953 Catechism’s words and onrepparttar 126954 message he sent to God, his fellow man and his son. Did his choice of clothing convey respect forrepparttar 126955 Real Presence? Was he bending torepparttar 126956 “allurements of fashion” by pretending to honor God in his finest cutoffs? Did he kowtow torepparttar 126957 “prevailing ideologies” by equating Sunday Mass attire with a morning of golf? Didrepparttar 126958 virtue of modesty really disappear or was it just bludgeoned into obscurity by a self-indulgent culture? Andy thought about how ironic it was that his old company’s dress code prohibited cutoffs and T-shirts, but somehow he decided God did not care.

It was hard to imaginerepparttar 126959 confusion he sowed in his son Colin’s mind. Here was an impressionable little boy who idolized his father. He was trying hard to understand how two events declared “important” by Dad were treated so differently. The sad part is, Andy knew there was really only one important thing. In his search forrepparttar 126960 proverbial “better life” he had forgotten its Giver.

The following Sundayrepparttar 126961 family was assembling for Mass. As his Dad roundedrepparttar 126962 corner torepparttar 126963 kitchen, Colin spotted him and his face was wrinkled up with confusion. “Dad,” he asked, “Why are you are all dressed up? Do you have to go to work today?” “No,” said Andy with a smile, “but I am going to have a long talk with my Boss and enjoy a banquet with Him. Ready to join me?”

Gary Shirley, his wife, and three children are members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Kennesaw, Georgia, where Gary serves as catechist in the adult education program.

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