For all who seek to purge themselves of sin and truly live – let him first deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Jesus Christ daily. Gentlemen, it must first and foremost be our goal to become saints. Not to become a doctor, a lawyer, a president, or an ambassador; but instead to rise to excellent and sublime heights according to God’s pleasure and designs for the sole purpose of obtaining holy perfection. This is a most praiseworthy and noble path but often, as St. Francis of Assisi said, “…a path strewn with thorns”. In other words, this will not be easy! This is why we must pray and contemplate on good and holy truths that have been revealed to us through Holy Mother Church, the Pillar and Ground of Truth – the Roman Catholic Church. All of these holy truths found in Christ’s Church we can form our and that of our family’s entire lives around. This is why it is vital we practice devotions of these sacred and holy truths.
Devotions are contemplated prayers that focus on a particular teaching or revelation of God through His Church. Such a devotion would be to contemplate on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Dogma of the faith, according to God’s good pleasure and will, that He should have a mother without the stain of Original Sin. Thus, Mary the mother of Jesus was conceived without any stain of sin as the image of the Second Eve. This devotion alone would take a lifetime to fully comprehend and meditate on so as to have a glimpse at God’s limitless love for all mankind. Another irreplaceable devotion would be that of the Most Holy Rosary. Quite literally, the Rosary is the Bible on a string! For all the Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary can be understood through Sacred Scripture! So in a way, you aren’t just praying a set of prayers but in a certain sense, you are praying the Bible – while meditating on the lives of Jesus and Mary in their specific roles for the salvation of souls. Besides the saints and their individual devotions, there are countless devotions spanning 2,000 years worthy of mediation! But for us and for our families – how about we better ourselves in understanding how we can increase devotion to God.
- Make an effort to read at least the Gospel of that particular day out loud before your family before bedtime. This, of course, goes without saying that you should pray for your family and yourself for the protection and peace of that particular night of rest. Make mention of all those in your family – immediate or extended – that are in need of prayers and do not forget to offer prayers for those in Purgatory so that they may be loosed into Heaven. Being Catholic, I assume you have holy water, therefore bless yourself and your family before they sleep so as to offer up to them God. Also, make provisions to prepare for the coming Sunday and its readings so that the Mass may be a more anticipated event rather than just something the kids have to do.
- Find time to read about the Saints of the Catholic Church and their lives. Sometimes it can be hard to identify with some of the Saints of the Church but only because people know so little about their lives. We often only hear of their miraculous and heroic deeds but not much of their human aspects that were usually filled with mistakes and pitfalls in their lives. Take time to discuss these things with your family and attempt to draw attention to similarities you and your family may have with those holy men and women that have gone before you.
- Make a routine of holy practices and STICK TO IT! If you wish to incorporate a family rosary to be prayed – choose a time that you are all available and DO IT! Or any other pious practice and sacred devotion, just set something in motion that can be expected between all family members. Make a tradition in your home where you all come together to do something holy.
It is steps such as these that will help root your family in holy devotion to God as well as add reverence and respect to you as husbands and fathers. For you were crowned with the responsibility to lead as a priest of your household – take hold of your sword and scepter and reign for Christ!