The Catholic Father as Prophet
Courtesy of Sam Guzman over at the Catholic Gentleman, here is the link to Sam’s great article on the three duties of a Catholic father.
Please also see Dr. Gregory Dilsaver’s book that offers a very comprehensive and compelling case for the Catholic father being Priest, Prophet and King: The Three Marks of Manhood: How to be Priest, Prophet and King of Your Family. One of the great blessings of Dr. Dilsaver’s book is an overview of how the post-modern culture has sunk into such a state of decay. Pick it up and read it!
As noted here, there is a Catholic “man-crisis”, one that is fueled by many men not knowing their duty or knowing their duty and shirking it. Check out this recent post that gives some of the statistics of the Catholic “man-crisis.”
In terms of Prophet, we rightly turn to Jesus Christ – The Divine Prophet.
Certainly, the family is a school, and Catholic men need to take leadership to teach their children. New Emangelization research shows that many men simply refuse that duty, perhaps because they don’ t know their faith…and this is why 70-90 % of catechists in our parishes are women. When young men see the lack of participation of men, they conclude that “religious stuff” is not manly.
Men need to not only teach in their homes, but step up and teach young men in their parishes; to be prophets. See the discussion with Jason Craig and his great work at Fraternus for more on the need for mentorship of young men.
Sam offers a great practical list of how Catholic dads can be prophets in their homes:
- Pray with your children, morning and evening
- Bless them
- Review a catechism – Catechisms have fallen out of favor in recent years, but they are an excellent way to teach your children the faith in a simple and straight forward manner. Of course, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is too heavy for a child, so I recommend the tried and true Baltimore Catechism (Parts 1 and 2).
- Be a student of the faith yourself – You can’t teach what you don’t know
- Receive the sacraments frequently
- Apologize when you sin toward them – This requires a lot of humility, but it will teach them the power of forgiveness
- Teach them about the lives of the saints – Forget Batman and Spider Man, the Church gives us thousands of real-life superheroes!
- Pray frequently – St. John Paul II was launched on his path to the priesthood, and eventually the papacy by waking in the middle of the night and seeing his father praying. A father’s prayer life is incredibly powerful.
- Listen to their needs and concerns
- Take them to mass, and not just on Sunday
- Read an age appropriate spiritual book together
- Be genuine – Kids have a powerful ability to detect hypocrisy. They will know if you are faking it.
- Be faithful – If you tell your children you will do something, you better do everything in your power to make it happen. Few things are more devastating to a child than their father going back on his word. Faithfulness teaches them about God’s faithfulness
- Suffer well – Suffering heroically is intrinsic to the Catholic faith. Teach your children to “offer it up” by doing so yourself.
- Love their mother – Broken marriages are the norm these days, and that’s why it’s all the more important that you model true, sacrificial love for your wife. Teach your kids how much Christ loves the Church by how you love your wife.