Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6TH Lk. 16: 1-8 For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”
Part 1: Being a Good Steward by Saint Catherine of Siena
Part 2: PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN SURROUNDED BY WOLVES by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Being a Good Steward by Saint Catherine of Siena (+1380)
There are specific things I am asking you, in your position, to do for the love of Christ crucified. The first is to make light of the world and of yourself and of all earthly pleasures. For you know well that life, health, wealth, honor, status, dominion – none of these belongs to you. If they did, you could own them in your own way. But just when we want to be healthy, we are sick; just when we want to be alive, we die; just when we want to be rich, we are poor; just when we want to be in power, we are made servants.
And all this because these things are not ours, and we can keep them only as much and as long as it pleases the One who lent them to us. So it is really foolish to hold as if it were our own what belongs to Another; it is, in fact, thievery worthy of death. This is why I am asking you to act wisely, as a good steward, holding everything as lent to you who have been made God’s steward. End
- All that we are and all that we have is God’s grace and Providence in our life. The only thing that belongs to us is our sins! Therefore, Saint Catherine of Siena reminds us: “It is really foolish to hold as if it were our own what belongs to Another.” This is especially true of our children, entrusted to us by God to protect, defend, and nurture into adulthood.
- Today more than ever, parents need to be aware of the dangers threatening their children and how to protect them. And if we don’t have children, we know people who do, and they need our prayers and support against this present darkness!
PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN SURROUNDED BY WOLVES by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
A Good Shepherd is intent on protecting his sheep from the ravenous wolves on the prowl seeking the prey. Such a shepherd knows where the wolves come from, when they attack, and how they attack. The authentic Good Shepherd is even willing to lay down his own life for the sake of the safety of the sheep. (Jn. 10: 1-18)
Of course the best model in the world of the Good Shepherd is Jesus Himself. He says the Good Shepherd is willing to lay down his life and die for the sheep entrusted to his care. The welfare of the sheep supersedes and transcends the value of the Shepherd Himself.
Jesus’ death on the cross on Good Friday is the most eloquent proof of the love of the Good Shepherd for the sheep under his care. The Precious Blood that He shed on the cross shows most clearly and convincingly His limitless love for His Sheep.
Never have we lived in a world where there are so many wolves on the prowl to attack, bite, devour, and kill the sheep of our flock—that is to say our children and teens! Therefore, parents must be in training formation so as to be able to protect their children from these prowling wolves.
We would like to offer a spiritual strategy plan that could be of great use to help us to be that Good Shepherd that Jesus our Good Shepherd wants us to be.
1. BAPTISM AND CONSECRATION TO MARY. Parents should provide and procure the Baptism of their child as soon as possible. With the Baptism, in the same ceremony, they should consecrate their child to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One of the special intentions will be to protect the child from the ravenous wolves that are on the prey to attack and kill. In our spiritual battle, we should prepare for war as early as possible and be well safeguarded and protected by a sacramental life and protection from the Virgin Mary, whose prayers and protection are most powerful.
2. PRAYER. Family prayer is of the essence. Parents are the first educators of their children, especially in the path of faith and love for God. One of the essential elements of our faith is PRAYER. With respect to prayer, parents should faithfully carry out three fundamental tasks:
1) Pray for the protection, welfare, and salvation of their children.
2) Then parents should teach their children to pray and as early as possible. Children are like sponges, they absorb either good or bad. The other day I listened to one of my relatives, a child of only two years of age, recite the Creed! This is a sign of good parents working at a very tender age with their little one. Let us not underestimate the capacity and potentiality of the child. Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me.” (Mt. 19: 14)
3) Finally, parents should pray with their children. The Rosary is a prayer most pleasing to Jesus and Mary. How often have we heard: “The family that prays together, stays together.” (Ven. Father Patrick Peyton).
3. CONTROL ELECTRONICS WORLD. Parents, as the Good Shepherds of their flock, must strive to control the use of the electronics world in the lives of their children. Television, movies, but most especially the use of the INTERNET must be supervised constantly on the part of parents. As daunting a task as this may seem, still this is the responsibility of parents—the Good Shepherds of their flock. Allowing free access and use of the Internet for children and teens has proven catastrophic in too many cases. The number one addiction in the USA is that of pornography—the abuse of the electronic world, specifically the Internet. How true this sage proverb: “Better preventive medicine, than curative medicine.”
4. LIVE THE SABBATH DAY WITH YOUR FAMILY. Sunday is the Lord’s Day and it should be lived fully and properly according to God’s plan. But Sunday, after being the Lord’s Day, is also FAMILY DAY! After attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receiving Holy Communion in one of our outdoor Churches, then you are ready to enjoy family time and bond with family members. How? Start with a good meal or picnic together. Go to the park to play together, rest together, and enjoy each other’s company. Take a nature walk and thank God for the beauty of His creation. Once Covid-19 is over, visit an elderly or sick person who is abandoned, giving this person joy and hope. At night have a pizza party and watch a good movie together; there are many good Christian movies and Saint movies to watch as a way of working on the spiritual formation of your children. After the movie, talk together about the values that were transmitted. Finally, to end the day, pray the family Rosary together. This is the way to live out the Sabbath rest and to bond emotionally with family members.
5. FRIENDS. The Bible teaches us that a good friend is indeed a great treasure beyond price. The poet says that no one is an island unto himself. Aristotle says that man is a social animal. Jesus Himself willed to enter the world in a family and choose the Apostles as His friends. We all need friends, or at least one good friend. However, parents must be very careful and judicious in watching over the choice of friends that their children desire. One bad friend can ruin their lives. Indeed, we should define what a good friend is and not a pseudo (or false) friend. As followers of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, a true friend is someone that brings us closer to Jesus our BEST FRIEND. This should always be our first criteria for ourselves and our children!
6. IDLENESS IS THE WORKSHOP OF THE DEVIL. Saint John Bosco had a dreaded fear every year for his young when it was the vacation months. He was aware of the many temptations that young people are exposed to when they have too much free time on their hands. It is so true: if we have nothing to do, the devil will give us a lot to do! Look at the sin of King David in the Old Testament who committed adultery and then murder. One of the principal reasons for David falling into sin was that he had a block of free time and no plans. Good parents, as Good Shepherds to their flock, should always have their children, and especially their teens constantly engaged in wholesome and enriching activities. We should always be busy—though not nervously frenetic and agitated. Our engagement can basically be in three areas: physically, mentally, or spiritually. Sports for young people are invaluable to keep the body occupied in a wholesome manner. The habit of reading good books so as to cultivate the mind will never be regretted, especially age-appropriate lives of the Saints can be inspiring! A strong and holy mind can do limitless good for the society; take Aquinas, John Paul II, and Augustine as examples! Finally, spiritual activity is of paramount importance. On holidays and vacation time there is no reason why parents—the Good Shepherds of their flock—cannot go with their children to daily Mass and receive Holy Communion, the Bread of Life and the strength of the saints and martyrs. Monthly Confession as a family is strongly recommended for peace in each one’s heart and harmony as a family!
7. COMMUNICATION. Busy work schedules, paying the bills, shopping for groceries, being caught in traffic jams, all of the above characterize modern life and sometimes can serve as an excuse to neglect a very important component of family life—dialogue and communication between parents and children. The modern man, woman, and teenager unfortunately spend more time in front of the screen than in front of a human person. In the eyes of God, the human person has infinitely more value than all of the material objects in the world. Many young people today are addicted to the internet and all that is involved in the electronic world. In a certain sense we can say that many young people live more in a fantasy world than in the real world. Parents, for the love of God and the future of your children, find time to talk with and listen to your children! This is your responsibility!
8. LAUGHTER AND JOY IS THE BEST MEDICINE. One of the many fruits of the Holy Spirit is that of JOY! Parents should strive to cultivate an environment of joy in their home. The family milieu should have an aroma and ambience of joy so that after school their children do not dread returning home—as if to a jail or penitentiary—but rather to a place of joy, peace, harmony, and wholesome rest. Many young people have recourse to premarital sex, drinking, and drugs or even seek gang involvement, because there is no festive, welcoming, and joyful family environment in their homes. Beg the Holy Spirit for the grace to experience joy and share it with your children. Saint Paul exhorts us: “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 2: 2)
9. MERCY AND FORGIVENESS. The English poet, Alexander Pope, coined an immortal saying that all of us should memorize and live: “To err is human; to forgive is divine.” Only God is perfect and the just man falls seven times a day. The family is a school of virtues and a school of forgiveness. We can all hurt other family members by our words, gestures, silences, inattentiveness, and at times, crude selfishness. However, that which can really tear down families to the very foundation is to fail to forgive and instead to foster resentments and bitterness against any family member. Jesus’ last commandment was: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13: 34) Jesus also said: “Be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6: 36) Finally, in the most famous prayer in the world, the Our Father, we pray: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Starting today, right now, let us reconcile with each other and foster family peace, harmony, and love.
10. REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE AND WEEP WITH THOSE WHO WEEP! Saint Paul enjoins us in the above words! The family should cultivate what the athlete’s term, TEAM WORK! A successful team always rejoices in the success of one of the team members and suffers at the failure of one of the team members. When a baseball team, or basketball team, or football team wins a game or championship, it is not the victory of one member, but all of the members playing and working together towards the same goal. Likewise, whenever a family member triumphs—morally, spiritually, physically or intellectually—then all the other members of the family should rejoice in this victory. Jealousy and envy can kill; rejoicing together in love builds up families and triumphs.
In conclusion, the family today is surrounded by a pack of ravenous wolves that desire to attack and destroy. It is up to parents, the Good Shepherds of the flock entrusted to their care, to do all in their power to protect, preserve, and save their children. The key to being a good shepherd to the sheep in our care is that we must first be a good sheep of the Good Shepherd, Jesus the Lord. “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall lack.” (Psalm 23: 1)
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA