Following up on my SMART goals for LENT, I have finished the sixth of my pile.
Only Heroic Catholic Families Will Survive (Fr Robert J. Fox ed.)
I am glad I revisited this anthology after a long hiatus. What a storehouse of great talks from some great contributors. It has been many years since I dove into this, pulling it out of our bookcase again last year and reading a couple of chapters before it began to gather dust on my bedside table.
Fr John Hardon has an amazing story in his own right, and could have an entire book written about him. He has written so much himself, some of which has been made available on the web. He writes the prophetic words from which the title of this book has been taken. What does he mean?
Fr Hardon is quoted in another chapter titled “Heroic Families and the Media.”
“Only families willing to suffer martyrdom will survive as believers into the Third Millenium! … Only heroic believing families will survive! Ordinary Catholic families will not survive.”
Fr Hardon outlines the many forms of disintegration of the family and how these can be overcome.
The book also includes chapters on Men as husbands and fathers.
This is followed by an absolute jewel by Dr Alice von Hildebrand on “Woman as Wife.” Her philosophical and theological depth is astounding, but presented in a very approachable manner in this highly challenging chapter. She writes:
“The word “forgiveness should be written large in every marriage. The closer two persons are to each other, the more likely they are to offend and even wound each other. It is part of our tragic earthly situation that we become constantly entangled in our own faults and defects. “I shall never forget this; or I shall never forgive that”: these words should not exist in Christian life, and still less in marriage. We must be aware that we often wound others unwittingly, either because we are spiritually hibernating or because we fall into all our uncorrected mistakes and tendencies.” (pg.99)
And that’s just one paragraph. Wow.
The book goes on through numerous authors to present many recurring themes regarding the great richness of family life if lived well. It covers such topics as parents as the primary educators, including one of our all-time favourite quotes regarding this:
“Parents must be primarily and principally responsible for the education of their children. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.” Gravissumum educationis. 3.
Although some of the content is dated, many of the themes remain highly relevant as they draw on the wisdom of the church in tackling the complexities of the modern age. This includes the concepts of Families and Martyrdom.
This is a solid grounding in many aspects of the Church’s vision of marriage and family life in the times we live in.