Be parents to the full PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 11 July 2015 10:50



Parents are, of course, crucial in family life and the upbringing of children. After all, they are the ones who beget children and form a family. In the long run, they are crucial in the development of society, the world and the Church. Everything has to be done for them to perform their duties to the full.

As begetters of children, they cooperate with God in the creation of their offsprings. That’s why they are called procreators.

As such, they actually are the first link that their children have with God, and the first ones to have authority over them, an authority that is a sharing of the authority that God has over all mankind.

Let’s remember what St. Paul said in his Letter to the Ephesians—that all paternity in heaven and earth is named after the Father of Christ, God himself. (cfr. 3,14-15)

I am sure that our common sense could readily believe that, since where or whom else can any authority here on earth come from? It just cannot be of our own making. Our parenthood, our authority over the children, our responsibility toward them cannot be other than a vital participation of the fatherhood of God over all mankind.

This is a basic truth about parenthood that should not be lost to the progenitors, nor taken for granted. It has implications and consequences that actually condition all the other duties of parenthood.

We should not trivialize our parenthood and limit it to its biological aspect alone, nor to its social or cultural aspects, etc. Our parenthood over the children should reflect and cover as much as we can the fatherhood of God over all of us.

This is where we can approach the fullness of parenthood. It would be good if parents can meditate more on this basic truth so as to draw practical resolutions that can guide them in a daily basis.

That’s why I was happy to read from St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation, Familiaris consortio, the following words: “Through the witness of their lives, parents are the first heralds of the Gospel for their children.

“Furthermore, by praying with their children, by reading the word of God with them and by introducing them deeply through Christian initiation into the Body of Christ—both the Eucharistic and the ecclesial Body—they become fully parents, in that they are begetters not only of the bodily life but also of the life that through the Spirit’s renewal flows from the Cross and Resurrection of Christ.” (n.39)

Parents should understand this most important aspect of parenthood, and should organize their married and family life in such a way as to give due priority to this responsibility. May they know how to properly blend the pressing and the precious concerns, the short-term and the long-term goals, the incidental and the essential aspects of family life.

It would be good if time and effort is spent to translate this ideal into a practical plan that is effective in the daily life of the family. I am sure that with a proper intention and will in this regard, and availing of all the subsidiary help provided by schools parishes and other groups, this task can be facilitated.

There are many aspects of parenting that need to be integrated and inspired by the proper spirit. To mention a few, parents should know, for example, what to do when their children are still infants, toddlers, adolescents, young adults and mature persons.

They have to be aware of the distinctive needs each age would have, the possible dangers and the new horizons each child may be introduced to as he or she passes from one stage to another. In this, we have to aim at nothing less than competence and expertise.

At this time when things are getting very complex and complicated, the task of parenthood can be very challenging as well and should not be taken for granted. There should be more effort invested to see how parenthood can be effective and lived to the full.

In short, the art of parenthood should somehow be professionalized, with continuing scientific studies and monitoring of relevant developments being made, and sustained by prayers, sacrifices and the other elements of a vibrant piety.

What is crucial is the cooperation of everyone, and a great amount of sacrifice, even to the point of heroism, because a lot of thankless efforts really have to be exerted here.

It’s good that aside from what are done in the diocesan and parochial levels, there are now private initiatives getting involved in this universal concern.