Protecting the Sheep

9 Nov

The Church in recent decades has called the family a “church in miniature” or  “domestic Church.” As the pastor of my domestic Church, I must admit that we don’t have any pews or bells. We do, however, have areas set aside in our home for prayer, and through the years we have adorned our home with crucifixes, Catholic art, holy water fonts, and the like, which serve as helpful reminders of our family’s Catholic identity. Even so, it’s not the externals that make the Church–domestic or otherwise–so much as the lives of faith, hope, and charity that are fostered on the inside.

Pastors of parishes are often presented with programs and ideas, and while they want to say “yes,” they rightly scrutinize the proposal to make sure nothing harmful to the faith is allowed into the parish.

Similarly, we have to be careful about what we allow into our homes. I’m not suggesting that we adopt a bunker mentality, but are we good shepherds, truly committed to protecting the souls that have been entrusted to our care? We might talk a good game when it comes to what’s going on at the parish, but do we apply the same level of scrutiny to what goes on in our own homes? Are we careless in letting in influences, often under the guise of entertainment, that are harmful to our family’s life of faith, hope, and charity?

Families may take different approaches to the Internet, television, cell phones, and the like. But whatever approach we take, we must be clear in our resolve to protect the faith of our children from thieves and marauders that want to steal it from them. Catechism, no. 2088 provides the standard, and I find it quite sobering:

“The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it.”

One Response to “Protecting the Sheep”

  1. Valerie November 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Yes! It is a fine line we walk, as parents, to be in this world, but not of it! It requires constant vigilance on our part as we allow our children to experience life, especially in its various forms of entertainment.

    Sometimes though, I have to guard myself…against…myself, so that I don’t allow “fear” to steal away the joy that my children might experience in living life. I think sometimes, in an effort to protect our children, we become fearful of things such as public school, the Internet, television, celebrating Halloween, etc. Instead, we need to prayerfully discern whether or not participation in these activities is morally and spiritually harmful. If so, then by all means prohibit access/participation. But if “fear” of some “great unknown” is the underlying determinate, then perhaps it’s time to step back and reevaluate the decision-making process.

    Currently, our family is prayerfully discerning our daughter’s on-going participation in Girl Scouts. While she’s only a “Daisy”, we are concerned that we are being “careless in letting in influences, often under the guise of entertainment, that are harmful to our family’s life of faith, hope, and charity…” As Blessed John Paul II told the youth in preparation for World Youth Day 2002, “If you have an ardent desire for the Lord you will steer clear of the mediocrity and conformism so widespread in our society.” On the other hand, if we abandon participation in this organization, are we (I am her troop leader) losing the opportunity to be “light of the world and salt of the earth?” It’s a deeply troublesome situation…

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