- Taken from the sermon “Advice to Parents” by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Let us consider the means of bringing up children in the practice of virtue. I beg you, fathers and mothers, to remember what I now say to you, for on it depends the eternal salvation of your own souls and of the souls of your children.
Saint Paul teaches sufficiently, in a few words, in what the proper education of children consists. He says that it consists in discipline and correction. “And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:4) Discipline, which is the same as the religious regulation of the morals of children, implies an obligation of educating them in habits of virtue by word and example. First, by words: A good father should often assemble his children and instill into them the holy fear of God.
The wise man says that a well-educated son is the support and consolation of his father. “Instruct your son, and he will refresh you, and will give delight to your soul.” (Proverbs 29:17) But as a well instructed son is the delight of his father’s soul, so an ignorant child is a source of sorrow to a father’s heart, for the ignorance of his obligations as a Christian is always accompanied with a bad life.
In the first place, a parent ought to instruct his children in the truths of the Faith, and particularly in the four principle mysteries: First, that there is but One God, the Creator and Lord of all things; secondly, that this God is the Just Judge, Who, in the next life, will reward the good with the eternal glory of Paradise, and will punish the wicked with the everlasting torments of Hell; thirdly, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, that is, that in God there are Three Persons, Who are only One God, because They have but One Essence; fourthly, the mystery of the Incarnation of the Divine Word, the Son of God, and True God, Who became Man in the womb of Mary, and suffered and died for our salvation.
Should a father or mother say, “I myself do not know these mysteries,” can such an excuse be admitted? Can one sin excuse another? If you are ignorant of these mysteries, you are obliged to learn them, and afterwards to teach them to your children. At least send your children to a worthy catechist. What a miserable thing to see so many parents who are unable to instruct their children in the most necessary truths of the Faith. Instead of sending their sons and daughters to Christian doctrine, they employ them in occupations of little account. When the children are grown up, they do not know what is meant by mortal sin, by Hell, or eternity. They do not even know the Creed, the “Our Father,” or the “Hail Mary,” which every Christian is bound to learn under pain of mortal sin.
Religious parents not only instruct their children in these things, which are the most important, but they also teach them the acts that ought to be made every morning after rising. They teach them first to thank God for having preserved their life during the night; secondly to offer to God all their good actions which they will perform, and all the pains they will suffer during the day; thirdly, to implore of Jesus Christ and Our Most Holy Mother Mary to preserve them from all sin during the day. They teach them to make, every evening, an examination of conscience and an act of contrition. They also teach them to make every day the acts of Faith, Hope and Charity, to recite the Rosary, and to visit the Blessed Sacrament. Endeavor to train them from their infancy to these religious habits, and when they grow up, they will persevere in them.
Article taken from http://www.faithfulcatholics.com I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!