How Can I Become a Better Catholic Husband and Father to my Family?

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Dear Sister,

I’ve been reading your answers to questions on Integrated Catholic Life™ and have been playing with the idea of writing you a question that I’ve been thinking about for many years. It’s about my family. I don’t consider us bad Catholics, nor do I consider us to be devout “pillars of the parish”. We are just a regular Catholic family. I feel uncertain as the head of the family whether I am doing a good enough job of passing along the Catholic faith to my family. Do you have any advice that would help me?

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your question, which I’m pretty certain many other husbands and dads find themselves asking.

What a blessing! You state that you are just a “regular Catholic family”. You are blessed, indeed, and so is the rest of your family. Don’t belittle yourself and your role as the father of your family. I believe you are doing a lot more than you realize to share your faith with your children.  The Catholic faith isn’t so much “taught” as it is “lived”. Or rather, the very living out of the Catholic faith teaches.

We Catholics often taken our faith for granted. It is so natural, so easy, that we can lose the depth of the beauty of our Catholic faith. Your, and my, relationship with our Catholic Church is much like meeting an old friend, and if you haven’t seen each other in a while, the two of you just take up, effortlessly, when you last left off – the kind of friendship that is deeper than words, and more valuable than gold. Like a pair of shoes, all broken in, comfortable and just right, so, too, is growing up in the Catholic faith within a Catholic family.

Within our family setting, we learn who we are and what is expected of us. We are assured of forgiveness when we are truly sorry, and we have a place where we can verbally let our sins go and hear the words of Christ’s absolution through the voice of the priest.  We can show up in any church, at any time, in any country of the world and be accepted. We can participate in the Mass anywhere and know what is going on, despite language barriers.

In your home, your children learn the sign of the cross as you trace it on their tiny foreheads or taking your child’s tiny hand, support it as it forms the sign of the cross.  This one action teaches them about the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), our salvation from our sins (the cross) and our status as sons and daughters of God our Father for we can pray “In the Name…..”

A Catholic sacrament will accompany every milestone of their lives. Their birth (Baptism), their coming to the age of reason (Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist), maturing and individuation as teens (Confirmation), commitment to a life-long spouse (Matrimony) or being sealed with the holy oils as a priest (Holy Orders) and finally, in times of sickness and, ultimately, at the hour death (Sacrament of the Sick).

Like most Catholics, we live a blessed life and often don’t even give a random thought about it.  We just take our faith for granted.  We are the children of the King, living our lives within His palace, often without even thinking about those outside of the palace. We sit on the lap of our Father, unaware of the many who do not know of God, and who have no idea of the serene and confident trust that accompanies us every day. We just accept it.

Even if your family at times may not be “up to par” – not going to Church or receiving the Sacraments as regularly as you should, you know you can always go back and pick up where you left off.  You know Christ is waiting in the Holy Eucharist within the tabernacle, night and day, waiting for you to come.

You, as father of your family and head of your household, need only to bring your children to Christ, help them meet Him, get to know Him at the baptismal font, at the Eucharistic feast, in the sacrament of reconciliation. Then God, who works from within each child’s soul, will continue that relationship in a way that far surpasses your hopes and dreams. He will do the rest. On that we can depend.

Thank you for your question and until next time,

Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography below and visit their website.

We encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and planned giving. Click here to learn more..

If you hear God calling you to the religious life, I encourage you to visit their vocations page. – Deacon Mike

Or for more information, please contact:
Sister Elizabeth Therese, O.C.D., Vocation Directress
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service

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