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제목 The Wife's Role in the Family(Dominica in albis, 2022-04-24)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2022-04-25


The wife's Role in the Family(Dominica in albis, 2022-04-24)


My dear brethren,
 These past two weeks, I noticed that there are many devout women but few men, not only during the week (men must work during the week) but even on Sundays. This is not a local problem but a much wider problem, linked with a worldly spirit in too many men. They think that piety is for women only. Not at all! Did God create only women, and not also men? Is Heaven only for women and not also for men? Did Christ died for women only and not also for men? Is ungodliness a mark of manliness? That would mean all men should go to hell: this worldly spirit is absurd!
 
 The truth is beautifully said by St Paul: “I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11:3). That is, as much as Christ as a man perfectly followed God, so men ought to follow Christ, and then women will follow their man. This is indeed the vocation of men: to be leaders in good, not followers in evil, and much less leaders in evil. And that place of a truly Catholic man is irreplaceable. 

  Let us take the example of family prayer: the husband should be the leader of family prayer. It must be his decision, and he should fully support it. The influence of such good leading decision on a family is then very visible. Often the boys follow the father and the girls imitate the mother; but in fact, not only the boys would follow the good example of their father leading family prayer, but also the girls would esteem family prayer as important, because it is their father who leads it. Because the man follows Christ, then the women follow the man and the whole family is united at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in such families that virtue will grow, vocations will blossom. Such families where the man is the true leader in good, where the man really follows our Lord Jesus Christ, such families are the glory of the Church, the edification of their neighbour, the light in this world of darkness.

 I remember my grand-parents, always faithful to the family prayer led by my grand-father; my parents too had daily family prayer, led by my father; it was my father who had decided not to have TV in the house, because already in the 1950s and 1960s, TV was filled with the spirit of the world. My parents would not have had three priests among their five children if my father had not taken that good decision, thus leading us in good, in the following of Christ.

 But on the contrary, when the man fails to his duty to lead in good, it becomes very difficult for the mother to truly educate her children in the fear of the Lord. How can she make them fear what her own husband does not fear? She tries to edify them, but what she builds he destroys – and it is often easier to destroy than to build. The consequence is much sorrow for the good wife and much scandal for the children. Then the temptations of the world become much stronger: women then tend to view men as useless and them as better and thus they want to take the places of leadership in the world, and you have the whole feminist movement, which no longer respects the natural order. At the root of this evil is the fault of the men who failed to be leaders in good, followers of Christ: “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” This is God’s order, and it is good.

 So, what to do? First, let the women who have good husbands, who are really leaders in good, wholeheartedly thank God for their husband and be so much the more docile to them that they are docile to Christ. A good husband is a gift of God.

 Those good women whose husbands do not practice the faith must pray much for their husband. It is not by commanding them, or fighting with them that they will win them over, but rather as St Peter taught: “In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives” (1 Pet. 3:1). “Conversation” here means “behaviour, modesty, good example and good life”. 

And St Peter continues: “In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives, considering your chaste conversation with fear, whose adorning let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel: but the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. For after this manner heretofore the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: As Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, doing well, and not fearing any disturbance” (1 Pet. 3:1-6). Of course, Sara had a good husband, a very great Saint, Abraham. But St Peter mentions her example as a model for all women.

 In today’s gospel, we see the slowness of the Apostles to believe in the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Note that only the Blessed Virgin Mary had kept that faith in the Resurrection, which is the reason why she did not go to the tomb, knowing that it was not where to find Jesus. But not even St Mary Magdalen had believed in the Angel’s announce, otherwise she would not have said to Jesus – whom she thought was the gardener – “Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away” (Jn. 20:15). If she believed what the angel had told her, she would never have said that. Only when she saw our Lord Jesus Christ did she believe in His Resurrection.

 The same with Thomas. He waited to see our Lord Jesus Christ in order to believe. We tend to blame the Apostles for that, and indeed our Lord Jesus Christ Himself did blame them for their slowness to believe. However, God’s providence did well by not preventing such slowness: as St Gregory the Great said, the very fact Thomas touched the wounds of our Risen Lord healed the wounds of unbelief in us. The care the Apostles took to ascertain the Resurrection helps us much to strengthen our faith.

 But once they had all the evidence of His Resurrection, then they went into the world, preaching without any fear of death, because they knew, they really knew that God had the power to rise us from the dead, as He did it for our Lord Jesus Christ. As St Athanasius says in his treaty on the Incarnation, by His Resurrection Christ saved us from the fear of death. By His Passion, He saved us from sin, paying the price of our sins. By His resurrection, He saves us from that fear of death. Hence the martyrs did not hesitate to give their life for Christ, knowing that “faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall live also with him” (2 Tim. 2:11).

 This hope of the resurrection and of everlasting life is at the very heart of the Christian life, of the Catholic life. Our life on earth is a pilgrimage towards that eternal life, a pilgrimage to Heaven. May the longing for eternal life always grow in us. It keeps us on the right path: indeed nothing is worse than to lose eternal life, and end up in eternal torments! That eternal life is worth all the efforts to avoid sin on earth, even martyrdom. That hope of eternal life gives a fundamental joy to our whole eternal life: “Rejoicing in hope” (Rom. 12:12), says St Paul.

 That hope of eternal life makes that the Catholic life is not a merely natural goodness, but it is essentially supernatural, a beginning of eternal life, the life of a child of God for whose redemption the Son of God has shed His own Blood! May the Blessed Virgin Mary, who perfectly lived that life of hope after the Resurrection until her Assumption help us on that pilgrimage to Heaven! Amen.

Father François Laisney