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Year of Faith Series 9

Posted on : 15-08-2013 | By : TAG | In : Faith Series

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LOVE FOR OUR PARENTS

(Ref. CCC Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 4)

 

The Fourth Commandment: HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER.

The mutual love between parents and children is one of the basic elements in the family structure. God Himself has commanded us to honor our father and mother. The founder of Opus Dei has called this commandment “the sweet commandment” because it is particularly pleasing to any upright person.

By it love is mandated as the controlling principle of the relations between parents and children; its fulfillment calls for genuine friendship between them. We are naturally inclined to such love. Nevertheless, the complexities of life, the conflict between the authority of the parents and a rebellious propensity toward independence on the part of growing children, the difficulty to comprehend the different points of view, and other factors tend, at times, to diminish the natural affection which they feel toward one another. At such times, it is well to recall this divine commandment. Love for parents is the first expression of love of neighbor.

 

Parent Child

The fourth commandment reminds us to honor and respect our parents and those whom God, for our good, has vested with his authority. The family is the original cell of social life; it is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God and make good use of freedom.

Society has the duty to support and strengthen marriage and the family. Public authority must respect, protect and foster the true nature of marriage and the family, public morality, the right of parents and domestic prosperity.

The duties of children toward their parents include respect, gratitude, docility and obedience. Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom and grace. Filial respect is shown by docility and obedience. In paying them respect and in fostering good relationships with their brothers and sisters, children contribute to the growth in harmony and holiness in family life. (CCC 2214-2220)

Parents’ first responsibility is the education of their children and they are the first heralds of the faith for them. They have the duty to love and respect their children as persons and as children of God and to provide for their physical and spiritual needs. Parents educate their children mainly by example, prayer, family catechesis and participation in the life of the Church. (CCC 2221-2231)

God’s fourth commandment also enjoins us to honor all who for our good have received authority in society from God such as civil authorities. Public authorities are obliged to respect the fundamental rights of the human person and the conditions for the exercise of his freedom. It is the duty of citizens to work with civil authorities for building up society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity and freedom. A citizen is obliged in conscience not to obey the laws of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of moral order: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts of the Apostles 5:29).

 

RESPECT FOR LIFE

(Ref. CCC Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 5)

 

The Fifth Commandment: YOU SHALL NOT KILL.

Human life must be respected because it is sacred. From its beginning human life involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. (CCC 2258) God alone gives life and He alone is entitled to take it away. Each individual human soul is directly created by God and God alone has the right to decide when a man’s time on earth should come to an end.

The Fifth Commandment forbids as gravely contrary to the moral law: direct and intentional murder and cooperation in it; direct abortion, willed as an end or as a means, as well as cooperation in it; direct euthanasia; suicide and voluntary cooperation in it.  (CCC 2268-2283)

Not only external infliction of evil but even the will to inflict evil is a violation of the moral law. Hatred, anger, vengeance are violations of the fifth commandment. We must struggle against disorderly thoughts or feelings and learn not to harbor resentment but to forgive in all sincerity.

The fifth commandment requires that we also respect the spiritual and supernatural well-being of others. We violate this by the bad example which induces others to sin, this is called scandal. By our manner of dress, our conversations, our jokes, the encouragement to see certain movies or read certain books, we may often give scandal. Jesus has warned us, “Woe to the man through whom scandal does come” (St Matthew 18:7). We need to be prudent in our behavior and conversations if we are to avoid this violation of the fifth commandment.

In closing, we quote from the Pastoral Letter of the Prelate of Opus Dei dated September 29, 2012:

Christians have to act with the security of our faith, in order to cleanse everything around us that is not in harmony with God’s law, doing so without human respects, without being afraid for others to realize that we are people who are convinced about our faith. Certain values are non-negotiable, as Benedict XVI has so often stressed: protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family—as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage—and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role; the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

The Pope explained that these principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself.

 

August 15, 2013, feast of the Assumption of our Lady

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